Monday, October 20, 2008


YouTube has become immensely popular among internet users and as such, has piqued the interest of advertisers and public relations professionals keen on tapping into new markets. YouTube does however present both interesting opportunities and unique challenges to those seeking to use new media for advertising and public relations.
In terms of new opportunities, the music industry demonstrates the ways in which YouTube can be used for promotions. While music television stations (MTV, VH1, CMT, etc) have been criticized for far more advertising and programs than actual music playing, YouTube enables the music industry to release music and music videos with no fear of commercial interruption or programming schedules. In fact, since Google, Inc. owns YouTube and uses its search engine to tag similar videos to the videos a user is already watching, Google assists companies in finding new consumers for their products. If a person searches for a music artist such as Britney Spears, the first search result is the Britney Spears YouTube channel, complete with a listing of every Spears music video. Also, if one searches for a specific song, one can often find results showing every music artist that has recorded a song and the accompanying music videos. The number of re-recorded songs demonstrates the power of such search results and the ability of companies to use the service to their advantage.
YouTube does present novel challenges for advertisers and public relations professionals. While a competitor may be able to run a counter ad to a campaign that a company launches, the expense and time required make traditional advertisements a much safer bet than advertisements in new media. An ad or video posted on YouTube can instantly be copied and manipulated to create a video that runs entirely counter to the original message intended. Additionally, given the nature of YouTube users and creators, the independently made individual response video may garner more views and support than the original video. Consider the video of John McCain following the last Democratic primaries. While his speech was available on YouTube, the green background that he spoke in front of enabled video creators to create various backgrounds and messages surrounding the senator. So popular were the YouTube videos that the Colbert Report invited watchers to create their own videos with Senator McCain and send them into the show. While McCain’s speech did not receive coverage on the show, multiple videos with differing backgrounds, many unflattering to the message of the campaign were aired during the program.
So, what does this mean to would be YouTube advertisers and promoters? Perhaps since new media enables audience responses, promoters should consider that unless their product /company is so popular as to garner enough support that conflicting videos would be overshadowed or their product/company is uncontroversial enough to avoid such responses, then the current state of YouTube may not be the best place for current advertisements and promotions. Another exception might also be, if the viewers of the videos will primarily be those already supporting the thing being promoted. For example, political campaigns that merely want to make videos and ads available to supporters are less likely to worry about counter videos made by individuals who are unlikely no change their minds about a candidate or issue.
As a last brief note, YouTube does change the nature of political campaigning in a number of ways, but an often ignored fact is that YouTube has made targeted advertising more complicated. While negative ads may play well in one area they may be dramatically harmful in another. YouTube means that any individual anywhere can be exposed to an advertisement. Campaigns can no longer run an ad in Idaho without voters in Mississippi having easy and instant access.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sexism is alive and well

So, following Hillary Clinton's less than stellar performance in the Iowa caucuses, many media mistakenly asserted that her campaign for the presidency was over; however, her skill as one of the most powerful politicians in America and her subsequent performances in the elections post-Iowa, quickly proved how wrong her media critics were. Following Iowa, Gloria Steinem wrote a powerful and accurate editorial detailing the many reasons that a woman is never a front-runner and asserting that the single most restricting factor in American society is gender; considering that many women alive today were born before women even had the right to vote, Steinem's argument seems quite compelling. While, I've already briefly posted about the ethicality of sexism in the media, recent coverage of Gov. Palin, continues to demonstrate the sexist nature of American society. Gov. Palin's clothing, her makeup, accessories, shoes, hair, etc. have all received critiques and actual news coverage. Even, CNN devoted almost 8 minutes of coverage to the aforementioned items, and then almost laughably decided to have a panelist discuss whether or not such coverage was sexist. While talking about whether or not such coverage is sexist, which it is (if you disagree try and think of the last time you heard any of those items discussed about men or when men are ever questioned about their ability to govern and still be a parent), is a worthwhile and important, media should realize that simply talking about sexism while engaging in it is still wrong. It matters little that for 30 seconds out of 8 minutes, sexism is considered as a possible problem, those individuals reporting for media outlets have an ethical obligation to do more than simply talk about sexism; they have an obligation to quit engaging in sexist discrimination. By placing emphasis on Palin's pumps more than her politics, media outlets perpetuate the harmful myth that women are only important in terms of their sex appeal, or at the least are primarily important because of it. By engaging in sexist coverage media not only fail to fulfill their obligations and functions in our society of providing important and accurate information, "they" also dehumanize women and in turn dehumanize everyone. While I am not an advocate of universal ethical codes, I do think it is a safe bet that in almost every situation, and especially every situation media workers would find themselves in, abstaining from behavior that treats individuals as less than anything except fully human is ethical and failing to do so is unethical.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Media Ethics

So, media ethics has been on my mind; not just because I'm taking a media ethics class, but because my concerns with the Democratic primary and its media coverage: specifically the coverage of Hillary Clinton. My media ethics textbook outlines multiple ethical perspectives: deontological, utilitarian, universal, etc. But, as I think about the sexist coverage of Hilary (i.e. "She's a bitch, She's a monster, Iron My Shirt," etc.), I can't help but think that regardless of your ethical standpoint, there is little justification for such coverage. Perhaps arguing from an egoist or Machiavellian-egoist point of view might be able to justify such coverage by arguing that reporters might benefit from such coverage; thus, it is justified. However, the authors of my textbook argue that most, or at least many journalist, cling to universal ethics as a justification for the job they perform (i.e. educating the public, serving the public good, etc.). So, one can only wonder where these principles were in play when the NY Times ran its highly criticized piece about John McCain and supposed infidelity or at least the possible appearance of, yet no journalist would actively pursue, during the primary campaign, serious investigation of the true allegations against John Edwards. Clearly, I have a pro-HIllary point-of-view; however, I think that media ethicality evaluations about the coverage of her campaign are deserving of serious academic, critical and ethical evaluation. I also can't help but wonder wether our societal evaluations of racism and sexism and the cultural emphasis, or rather emphasis on eliminating them, play a serious role in the cultural conversation about those types of discrimination and the ethicality of each. One is highly, highly culturally disdained, while the other is disdained in talk but rarely in action. As Geraldine Ferraro wrote in her compelling editorial, Hillary supporters know that if the media or surrogates of the campaigns had engaged in racism, leaders of both parties would be screaming from the hilltops about the discrimination, but very, very, very few barely lifted a finger to discuss sexist issues in the campaign. For now, that is all I have to to say about this topic....far more questions than answers, and perhaps, my support of Hillary makes me less comfortable in ensuring my views are not tainted....but then again perhaps my strong support and abhorrence of the sexist coverage just demonstrates that ethicality is important in every situation, and just because one recognizes it more in one situation than another doesn't change the actual original question.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Been A While....I Shouldn't Have Kept You Waiting...But I'm Here Now

So, it's been a while since I posted a blog, and by a while, I mean over two years. One might question what the point in blogging is since it has been so long; however, I ifnd no outlet for my political angst right now, so I've decided to give this a shot again.

This political season has seen a definitie shift (no pun or reference to the blog title intended here but in the future I'm sure there will be) in my political ideology and party loyalty.

So, why the shift? Was it the war? The economy? Minority Rights? Rising tuition and student loan interest rates? The increasing threat of global warming? The constant tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations and individuals? No. I have decided to be more compassionate and caring.

Compassion dictates thats you care for others; those that are like you and those that are different; those who will inhabit the earth with you and those who will inhabit it long after every trace of you has dissappeared; those who believe the same things as you and those who don't; those who advocate for tolerance and those who spew the most unadulterated hate speech. And, if you truly can begin to develop compassion for all of those groups of people and the many groups I couldn't think of nice "those and those" categories for, then I believe your politics are left (pun intended) with only one way to move: to the the left (Yes go ahead sing know you were thinking it and if you're like me go ahead and add a little head movement with it).

It's not that I believe those on the right lack compassion, although many do, and it's not that I believe that the left is always right; however, if one really begins to examine the policies of the last 20 years that have largely been dominated by Republican-Right-Wing-Religious Agendas and you begin to examine the effects that those policies have had on people that aren't represented by the rich, white, heterosexual males that direct Republican policy, it becomes clear that whatever compassion might exist in those making policy, it has failed to any substantial way be translated into our government.

So, vote for Democrats I say and vote for Hillary!
...More on why Hillary later and more I'm sure on why Democrats

Also, if you got the title of this blogs subtle shout out to Ms. Spears, kudos to you!