Aggregation not Aggression

To Aggregate: to gather into a mass, sum, whole. To amount to, total.

Aggregation in relation to new media is a topic which almost all scholars agree upon. Representing the sense of collection/division of groups in terms of interests. Aggregation is the upmost important factor in advertising. Companies first need to decide who their target audience is, and relate those ad’s to their desired consumers specific interests.

We have all experienced this type of advertising while surfing the net. Youtube does this especially well. Related to music videos or videos of interest of that targeted audience. Watching videos all within the same genre you’re likely to be exposed to the same advertisement 8 times out of 10.

Through Facebook, advertisers have a way of collecting information through our interests listed on your profile, or companies/products you’ve ‘liked’. The advertisements posted on your Facebook are specifically tailored to your interests. They would know I’m a girl so I often get makeup promotions or women’s clothing advertisements. They also see that I’m single so I get a lot of ‘hook up with singles in your area’ advertisements. Thank you Facebook, stop rubbing it in.

With a passive medium, like television, companies advertise on specific programs that they know their targeted audience would watch. On the OWN network (Oprah’s Network) for example, they target to that middle aged to older women, who most likely has a home and family. So you’ll see advertisements for cleaning products, cars, food/restaurants, home improvements, etc. All things that these advertisers know would interest their potential consumer.

Billions are spent on advertising by corporations yearly, and it’s obviously understood why.

The power of advertising is far larger than the majority of us, and our conscious mind realizes.

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Leapfrog the Middle Man

Before the internet, there were required steps of consumption; consumer, middle man, and retailer/service. To go about getting this acquired service, the consumer needed to go through the middle man, who held all the answers and resources that you needed. This middle men held positions like; real estate agents, travel agents, sales agents…. sense an ‘agent’ trend?

People are now seeking these resources themselves. Either through online sites (powered by advertising sales) or just personal resource/private sales (ebay, propertyguys, priceline). This cut of the middle man has been extremely disappointing to those in these types of positions. Although not completely radical, this change has been on going for at least a decade or so.

Taking this step even further, companies everywhere are looking for ways to downsize, not only to save money but to cut positions. Jobs that could be done by adding it to someone else’s job title or replacing it with machines. Jobs like the grocery clerks, and the newly integrated self checkouts. Although some would still rather do it the old fashion way, by having some interpersonal interactions, there has been a growing popularity with not having to speak a word while shopping.

I definitely believe there to be some benefit in the slow elimination of the middle man but there’s also that part of me, who feels the need to speak with someone who is clearly more education on the task I’m attempting to brave myself. I mean what’s going to happen if we’re all just selling our houses private sales? Who will dictate the market sales, or give us quotes on how much it’s worth, if there are no real estate agents?

I actually thought at one point I wanted to be a real estate agent when I ‘grew up’, good thing my parents talked me out of that one…

Those parents of mine, just so smart, telling the future and all.

Got Ethics?

Ethics seems like a thing of the past. Merging the line between right and wrong, especially when it comes to consumption through the internet. People everywhere want what they want, and they want it now… most importantly, they want it for free.

People everywhere are downloading music, movies, books, you name it, people can get it for free. The worst part is, we all expect it to be this way. I believe I do, because I don’t really know any other way. It also makes me laugh to think the thought of buying a CD or even DVD. Why buy it when you can get it for free, right?

I think the thing that people aren’t considering is the harm it’s doing to the artist or company/label supporting them. By not contributing directly to them, but getting it for free online, they need to source their income from somewhere else aside from the fans or record sales. This is done mostly through advertising and sponsorship of products they usually don’t even support. Do you really think 50 Cent enjoys vitamin water THAT much?

As piracy attempts to be monitored and eliminated, we all have ways around it ie. getting it for free. Ways like the exchange of downloads between friends. I mean the initial download is illegal, but sharing it with your friends isn’t… right? We’re really pushing boundaries between what is, and what is not ethical within the internet.

These ethics are basically shared values and beliefs among us all. For the majority, it’s considered ‘wrong’ from a corporate view point, but because it’s benefitting the society as a whole, we believe it to be okay. This collective thinking has now made for a new norm.

So, I recognize it’s wrong. Does that mean I have to buy CD’s now?

The Facebook Facade

Facebook is the without question the biggest social phenomenon of our generation. Facebook in many ways has brought you and all your ‘friends’ closer and at the same time, is extremely detrimental to actual relationships.

Facebook has singlehandedly, created this forum for people to share personal information and feelings they otherwise wouldn’t have. There are more than 800 million active users of the service with complete profiles. These profiles outline information such as; their name, the school they attend, the place(s) they work, phone number and email address.

People are expressing on a daily basis their ‘likes’ and dislikes with their whole network of friends. Facebook has allowed people to talk about themselves and share information and photo’s with people around them. Before this development, these acts may of been considered narcissistic, and now it’s socially acceptable. If anything, it’s almost a social expectation, and you’re considered among the minority if you don’t have Facebook.

People are able to only share the information they want people to see. Don’t like a photo? Don’t upload it, or untag yourself. Like someone’s comment? Express that through the ‘like or comment’ option. You’re also able to remain anonymous, ‘creeping’ Facebook or reading peoples post without commenting and just staying in the ‘social loop’.

This Facebook facade is also taking the honesty out of life. People are only sharing information and pictures (usually photoshopped) with the people they chose. It also takes that face-to-face communication out of relationships. People rely on Facebook as means of communication moreover actually meeting them or even the phone. Although Facebook has provided a great deal of convenience and entertainment for all ages, realizing the negatives is something each one of us needs to consider.

Take a step back and don’t take Facebook too seriously.

Too many people do.

The Power of Relationships

With the evolution of the internet, companies everywhere have recognized it as a massive competitive platform. The internet has provided yet another outlet for market penetration within advertising and company development. Creating these ‘relationships’ with consumers is more important now than it has been every before.

There has a been a sense of power relationships between company and consumer through the internet, and not keeping up with the fast pace involvement could leave your company in the dust. It’s now a sense of power struggle to see which company can reign leader in cyber space. Companies are consistently researching for new evolutionary means to surpass their neighbor/competitor, keeping up with the internet’s demands, and consumer expectations can either skyrocket your company to the top and be a forgotten name by tomorrow.

Brand relationships between company and consumer are now closer than ever. Consumers with every turn are being bombarded with brand mentions. “The average American consumer is exposed to more than 600 advertising messages in a day in one form or another…globally corporations spend over $620 billion each year to make their products seem desirable and to get us to buy them.” – Consumer Reports

With the average American seeing more than 600 advertisements in a day, at least a few of them must have some impact right? With such large amounts of competition companies need to come up with the most creative ways of gaining consumers attention. This often involves cross-platform methods, advertising on all mediums possible.

The question is; do you buy based on the number of advertisements you experience from said company? And is your choice, what you believe to be a well educated one, or just your sub-conscious reminding you to support the company because of their catchy ad’s,  popularity and your ‘connection’ to them?

The all ‘North American’ Dream

From the boom of the industrial revolution and social reforms, Americans, Canadians and new arrivers to this continent have been striving towards this ideal labeled as the ‘All American Dream’.

This dream was formed from the existing and emerging mega corporations, providing the population with these values and the belief system of this structured and systematic lifestyle. And with achieving these goals or steps, one would be living this ultimate ‘American Dream’.

As the country (USA) took off in full force during the revolution, beginning in the 18th century. Growth emerged in all aspects; economically, politically and socially. The country was truly thriving. People everywhere were living for the first time, exceeding their means, affording beyond the basics and taking full advantage of consumerism.

The role of corporate domination began to play a huge role. As the printing press evolved and then with the invention of the television, corporations had the ultimate outlet to dominate or influence consumers nationwide. As passive consumers with the television, corporations basically dictated mostly through advertising, when, how and what the country purchased.

With this domination, the country was wrapped into this systematic lifestyle that corporations deemed as the ‘ideal American life’. To work 9-5 at a corporate job and  contributing to consumption. Working all your life for these corporations, then with your paycheques investing it back into the company.

Families everywhere were working the 9-5 corporate life, spending far beyond their means, consumerism at its all time peak, and for what? To ‘keep up with the Joneses’ because corporations told us to.

Like totally super cute, right?!

Yet another gender discussion, except this time it’s on youtube videos. For the most part, a lot of the videos on youtube are gender neutral, entertaining both men and women. But there are those specific genres that the majority of men watch, like sports analysis, band updates, and new video game reviews. Where as women watch, what’s in my bag, fashion hauls and cute puppy videos.

I know from my own personal experience I can spend hours watching other girls sit in front of their laptops, and record every little detail about their new acquired purchase at Forever21 or H&M. And when I show my boyfriend what I’m watching he thinks it’s dumb and superficial. Or the ‘What’s in my Bag’ videos, I think their fantastic, but honestly, thinking about it now, why do we have such a fascination with wanting to know what is exactly in some girls bag, who may live around the world. When we all know she’s went through her bag, taken out the garbage and organized it perfectly before shooting the video. As a girl it really is a strange phenomena that we feel the need to get this glimpse into someone’s every day life that we don’t even know.

Although from the other side of this, those girls filming, may be making millions off of these videos. They’re giving us makeup and fashion advice without ever being close to an expert, but yet we listen, absorb and emulate.  This is all such a strange concept for a girl, but there are many guys out there watching relatively the same videos but within the man’s world. Other men giving workout or zombie nuking advice to other men soaking it up just as much as us women.

Youtube has made such videos possible and allows for us to come together with commonalities. I never knew so many girls loved watching other girl’s film what they’ve purchased as much as I do. It’s like having a virtual friend, whom you stalk, watching every one of her videos with envy. All positive attributes, right?

Now for your viewing pleasure, the most obnoxious video I could find 🙂