January 9, 2008
Around the Consortium: FoE2, Ad Ubiquity, Tech News, Politics, and Social Issues

I wanted to start with a few stories and blog posts that are happening around the Convergence Culture Consortium this week.

First, Kevin Driscoll, a Comparative Media Studies graduate student here at MIT working with the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab, ties some of the marketing rhetoric he heard from some industry folks at Futures of Entertainment 2 to the work of Lawrence Lessig.

He writes:

Lessig is focused primarily on government officials yet it reminded me of my revulsion at many of the ideas about branding and advertising discussed at the Futures of Entertainment conference. The emotional strength of my reaction was surprising and I've been struggling to trace its roots. It seems that independence is a critical component. What credibility has a storyteller if he or she is beholden to a brand?

Definitely food for thought, and for the many ways the word "organic" was getting tossed around at that conference, it's a reminder that independence is indeed an important part of the equation, as the integrity, aesthetics, and "artfulness" of the story is important, not just in journalism but in any storytelling realm.

C3 Alum and Hill/Holliday emerging media strategist Ilya Vedrashko provides a great breakdown of the claim that people are confronted with thousands of ads per day.

Ilya writes:

You've seen this number before: an average American consumer today is exposed to -- or "bombarded by," or "inundated with" -- 5000 advertising messages a day. This number finds its way into slide decks, it peppers newspaper articles, and it is quoted in academic papers.

You probably used it at least once. I know I did. Only today, I realized I had no idea where this number was coming from.

Ilya shows how the data spreads like a game of telephone. It's worth a read.

Meanwhile, Geoffrey Long, a C3 alum and CMS Communications Director here at MIT, provides a good review of some of the biggest recent tech news and developments here.

With his return to the Just TV blog, Jason Mittell links to a TV Guide piece on some of the candidates' picks on favorite television shows. I have to admit that it just left me wondering what Rudy and Ron Paul would say...

Speaking of politics, Rob Kozinets has a good piece about a political attack ad spoof aimed at philosopher Immanuel Kant, which mocks the ways in which political attack ads code their messages. I just wish someone would go after John Rawls and W.D. Ross. I once set through a 10-minute explanation of how Ross and Rawls were, in fact, not the same person by Dr. Jan Garrett at WKU (here and here), a man who has one of the driest, but funniest, sense of humor I've ever heard.

Finally, I wanted to thank instructor Jentery Sayers at the University of Washington, who includes some of our blog entries in the reading list for an English course on social issues. It's an honor.