May 22, 2015
LDP Question #1: Choose three (3) terms from the Fine Art of Propaganda slide (in the Lecture) and answer the following question: How are techniques from the Fine Art of Propaganda used today? I identified some examples, but can you put them into the context of digital communication (social media, communication technologies, etc.), particularly as used by individuals and organizations? If possible, support your response with examples.
LDP #2: Choose any two (2) assumptions from Mass Society theories (from the slides) and provide arguments for AND against those statements. Support your arguments with examples either from your experience, from corporate examples or from academic research as applied to current digital communication platforms and contexts. Be sure to offer citations if using outside information (a link to the referenced materials is sufficient).
1) Name-calling can easily be activated by advocacy groups. The company I work for, SeaWorld Entertainment, has in the past few years been barraged by organizations, largely driven by PETA, for our perceived treatment of killer whales in our care. Through their social channels, and even entire websites (peta2.com) to rally specific demographics, they have posted statements describing our CEO literally as a murderer or our training staff as criminal with actual lawsuits filed in state and federal court systems.
Testimonial has been embraced by celebrities and most predominantly on Twitter. With some artists and actors having millions of followers on the channel, a simple post for a small brand can have huge impact as a perceived, or even downright, endorsement of a product or service. The Academy Awards selfie taken by Ellen Degeneres live during the show, while highlighting the Samsung Galaxy 5 phone (one which she personally doesn’t use) generated so many retweets that it may have impacted Twitter’s own data centers (ITProPortal, February 2015).
Bandwagon almost by its very nature seems to thrive in Social Media. “Are you friends with him/her?” or “Do you follow xyz company?” are often part of conversation between friends and colleagues. The act of a brand or individual amassing millions of followers through either personal or indirect endorsement by others is foundational to the sites’ overall purpose.
2) In “vulnerability and isolation,” we can see a trend of societal members who are now faced with an overabundance of social media engagement within these communities to be connected, or disconnected. We see individuals choosing to avoid traditional societal norms and interactions to instead engage in virtual environments connecting digitally with users from around the world; many of whom they will never meet, in very similar activities. But can these non-personal virtual social interactions actually improve upon a person’s actual interpersonal skill set? Research conducted in 2011 by a Swedish ethnologist suggests these virtual skills can have a place in the real world, although may come at the expense of interacting within the game itself (TheLocal.se, 2011).
For “social chaos and totalitarianism,” the online world can help level the playing field. While bringing a breadth of knowledge to the fingertips of its users, it can also be blocked and banned by countries or governments in fear of the information that their communities and societies may learn from the “outside world,” but also what citizens may learn about their very own government. China, as a global example, has attempted to block its citizens from the internet and specific websites, including Facebook, and companies possibly walking away from the market entirely, like Google. However, it’s believed this self-censorship isn’t maintainable, with May 35th adaptation, as the Internet itself is constantly growing, changing and evolving to counteract the fear and control (Forbes.com, 2014).
MMC6400, Propaganda, Web Theory,