Watch Our Video: Rebecca Black and Ark Music Factory
Videography by Hannah, Kevin, Kristen, and Kyle. Edited by Kyle. Interviews Coordinated by Kristen and Kyle. Street Interviews by Kevin and Hannah.
After doing some initial investigation into the sites we chose to analyze (Kickstarter, CofundOS, Rockethub, and Quirky), some important themes in crowdfunding have started to emerge. There are some basic problems that site administrators have to deal with when trying to create a platform for non-traditional start-up funding, many of which resemble issues that we’ve been talking about all semester. For example, almost every site handles the task of vetting proposals differently. Some, like Kickstarter, require that a funding proposal first be approved by site staff before being shown to potential funders. CofundOS, on the other hand, allows any proposal to be posted, and relies on users to filter out the garbage for themselves. Those are just two examples- every site handles the publish/filter dynamic differently. Other important differences arise in how the sites manage the relationships that come into play in projects like these. The ways in which funders interact with each other and with who they are funding, as well as with the project itself, vary widely from site to site. Read the rest of this entry »
The end of the semester seems like the perfect opportunity to look ahead and explore what might come next. We’ve examined the social networks that we’re familiar with, looked at sites that encourage user generated content, and imagined what the implications of dating and gaming sites might be for real world relationships. Now, we should take what we’ve learned and a tell a story about what the future has in store.
At this stage, I’d like to leave it fairly open ended. We could take a sci-fi approach and create something dystopian, extending and exaggerating some of our fears about surveillance, homogenization, and the demise of quality cultural production. Alternatively, we could keep our feet more firmly planted on the ground and explore companies that are being developed at tech start-up incubators like Y-Combinator, BetaWorks and TechStars. We would likely be able to interview mentors in those programs, as well as some of the budding entrepreneurs. We could use their insights to drive our analysis.
Blogging (see the video) has dramatically altered the concept of news from a purely professional endeavor to a phenomenon considered both professional and personal. The blog allows anyone to be a reporter and publisher, facilitating different versions of news, often for free. The blogging platform has revolutionized the way we share news and ideas by creating a universal media outlet for various people to express their diverse interests. Popular blogs like The Huffington Post cover world news while TechCrunch shares insights on new technology and gadgets. Unlike newspapers, blogs have the remarkable freedom to be topic-specific or to cover a wide spectrum of issues. Most importantly, however, is the power of the blogging personality. In “Breaking News: I’m Paid to Blog,” we take a look into how the ambiguous “professional blogger” constitutes a career, why professional blogging is difficult to isolate from journalism, and what remains as blogging’s distinct advantage over traditional press.
An article from the Wall Street Journal named “blogging” America’s Newest Profession. About 1.7 million people profit from blogging. From Clay Shirky, we learned that blogging is “mass amatuerization of publishing” but now some people’s full time job is blogging (i.e Perez Hilton). We will be focusing on the concept of “professional blogging” and “professional blogger.” Comparison between blogging professions and other forms of journalism. Some questions we will be exploring:
For decades, advertisers have relied on the meticulously crafted spokesperson to reach out to their target market audience, a fabricated ‘Average Joe’ that appeals to the least common denominator and unambivalently states, “I’m just like you; this product is for people like us.” Whether it is with the Marlboro man proffering a pack of ‘Reds’ to the self-styled bad boy, or the simple farmer informing other farmers of a better way to buy insurance, or the model two-kids-and-a-yard household family relishing in the delights of frozen dinners, advertisers have historically represented their brands with an image of their intended customer that is tailored to be so extremely ‘average’ that he/she captivates vast numbers of consumers without actually embodying any particular individual. However, as Frédéric Filloux points out in his article “The Death of Joe Average,” this kind of advertising is becoming increasingly more inefficient due to the fact that “as the content scatters on the internet, so does the audience,” and “analyzing trends [in consumption] has become more complicated” because “audiences are no longer monolithic, their breakdowns are hard to ascertain” (Filloux, 2010). More simply, people have no reason to pay for material they can access freely online, which disintegrates the subscriber base demographic upon which advertisers have traditionally based their marketing decisions. At the same time an individual consumer no longer relies on one source of information, but rather scans various websites with different stories and perspectives. As Filloux bluntly asserts, “Forget about Joe Average, he’s dead” (ibid.). How then should firms reach out to their consumers? Nabisco’s Wheat Thins brand is certainly not the first company to tackle this difficult question, but it is one of the most creative in its attempts. Through the use of viral ads and extensive, hands-on involvement with its Twitter fan base, Nabisco has successfully adapted traditional marketing strategies to the new media environment, promoting its product in a way other firms strive to imitate.