McLuhan and the Global Membrane of Communication

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“We remake the world through our technologies, and these in turn remake and extend us, in ever spiraling lattices of complexity. McLuhan uncannily foresaw the future, where electronic technology would shape and expand cultures and societies into a global membrane of communications.” – B.W. Powe, York University

 

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Media Psychology: What IS engagement?

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Media Psychology: What is engagement?What is engagement? Despite the fact that I work with clients everyday to track ENGAGEMENT metrics, I haven’t taken the time to reflect on a working definition. There appears to be two distinct camps approaching this question; 1) psychologists and 2) marketing professionals and academics. As a disclaimer, I have worked for almost a decade as a digital marketing strategist and therefore the latter approach to defining engagement is more familiar to me.

These dual approaches are outlined by Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G. in their work entitled ‘The Concept of Engagement’. Psychologists have defined engagement as a ‘sort of ongoing emotional, cognitive and behavioral activation state in individuals’, whereas advertising professionals ‘see it as the turning on of a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context’ (Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G., 2010, p. 4). Their work goes further to uncover contradictory definitions for the term ‘engagement’ and confusion around its actual meaning (Gambetti, R. and Graffigna, G., 2010). Continue reading

Does Facebook Make You Feel Like a Guinea Pig?

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Guest post by Liza Persson.

Recently Facebook conducted an experimental study exploring online “emotional contagion”; the emotional bias or “tone” (negative or positive) of the content of what people see online and whether it affects the emotional “tone” of content they create online afterwards. Emotional bias or tone of content was inferred using an algorithm developed for this purpose, which in itself is a good tool for analyzing content (Kramer, Guillory, & Hancock, 2014).

What Facebook was doing was not psychology or science in any other area though. Facebook violated procedures and principles in regard to conducting research scientifically. It didn’t live up to the ethical safeguards of protecting those participating in the study, although it did get consent via its terms and services policy which is probably sufficient enough to protect itself in the case of lawsuits (American Psychological Association, 2010). The goal of raising ad revenue is not the rationale for scientific research; serving the good of humanity is (Riley, 2014; Nisen, 2014).
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Personalized Pricing Brought to You by the Internet and now Facebook!

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Discrimination deemed legal, product pricing based on data collected about an individual is slowly coming to the public’s attention, although the practice came into being long before the Internet did. It appears that corporations are regularly using what they know about their customers – their income and personal purchasing habits – to make adjustments to the price points for items that appear on computer screens (Fertik, 2013; Shpanya, 2013; Valentino-DeVries, Singer-Vine, & Soltani, 2012). In effect, what you are charged for an item may not be what your friend sitting next to you is being asked to pay while shopping at the same online store for the same product. According to an unidentified programmer most of these alterations are based on your location, browsing history and your preferred operating system (Shpanya, 2013). Computer cookies pick up this information and transmit them to the store fronts (Potter, 2013). So what’s new? Do you use Facebook? If so, your preferences are about to be sold globally to enhance your mobile advertising experience using the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) (Beer, 2014).
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Beyond Advertisement: RePinning for Safety

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As the newest team member that contributes to this blog, I join with a slightly different background. Before working with media psychology, specifically, I worked with crime victims. Needless to say, headlines like this one -

“Police reunite stolen items with owners using Pinterest”

- definitely catch my eye. The advent of law enforcement using social networking sites as an extension of enforcement efforts is not necessarily new. The emergence of Pinterest as a key player in that paradigm, however, is fascinating, to be sure.

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Psychology and Advertising

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“Psychology has been at the heart of advertising since its invention, although, academically, advertising and psychology have long since gone their separate ways. For advertisers, the ability to manipulate consumer impressions and decision making has been the key to success. If product sales increase following a carefully orchestrated campaign, the persuasive tactics have evidently worked, although as with any natural experiment it is hard to establish cause and effect due to the lack of control over confounding variables” (Giles, p. 106).

 References

Giles, D., 2003. Media Psychology. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Media Psychology and Transmedia Storytelling Case Study: The Power Inside

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‘The Power Inside’ is the third social film in a series created by Pereria & O’Dell for Toshiba and Intel. The series, which launched in 2011 with the film ‘Inside’, has been proclaimed as ‘groundbreaking’ by Fast Company and won multiple awards.

This third installment launched August 15, 2013 with a six episode web series featuring a strong ensemble cast including Harvey Keitel. The campaign was aimed at tech-savvy MillenTrnials and was hoping to promote Toshiba laptops that housed the Intel Core 15 Processor. Campaign assets included six ten minute webisodes featured on a sleek website, an active Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel.
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Repurposing Classic Soviet Propaganda Imagery for the Moscow Olympics

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The Moscow Olympics, like so many before it, provides the opportunity for political statements to be made, this time one focusing on Russia’s stance against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities (Reuters, 2013). One voice against this discrimination is an artist who uses classic Soviet propaganda images and gives them new life and meaning. Posting the work on Tumbler.com, a microblogging and social networking site owned by Yahoo, #PridePropaganda has redefined an array of images using the colors of the rainbow which can often be seen in other LGBT support events. A comparison can be seen below.
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Zuckerberg’s Dream of Connecting the World: What Can We Expect? (Part 5 – Implications)

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Recapping the previous four posts on this topic, Mark Zuckerberg’s new non-profit consortium of information and communication technology (ICT) corporations would like to connect the remaining 5 billion inhabitants of the planet to the Internet who are not now connected (Internet.org, 2013). This post examines the implications of what the  studies conducted on a reduced scale involving the distribution of laptops in Ethiopia found.

What has been established is that when Western ICT is available on a daily, long term basis to an individual who lives in a third-world, collectivistic environment the ICT does cause change in individual self-construal, fosters the growth of individualistic, modern and agentic values, and increases levels of abstract reasoning among children. Although, these changes are individually significant, it does not immediately alter the individual’s culture and they are, from what appears to date, subsumed into the culture’s uniqueness (Hansen & Postmes, 2013; Hansen & Postmes, 2013; Hansen, Postmes, van der Vinne, & van Thiel, 2012; Kocsev, Hansen, Hollow, & Pischetola, 2009).
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