Cookies. And not the edible kind.

My little sister looked up ‘Ferret harness’ on Gumtree. We don’t have a ferret, but seeing as I’m highly allergic to animals, of course the only thing she really wants in the world is a furry pet. Her 13-year-old logic tells her that if she bought ferret accessories, we would have no choice but to buy a ferret.

Around 5 minutes later, she was on Facebook and she noticed that all the ads on the side of her screen had changed. There was an ad for Gumtree, and a seller that sold ferrets for $500, an ad for eBay for a ferret cage, and an ad for a local pet store that sold ferrets.

The ads on the side of my Facebook are all for clothing boutiques. But before seeing my sisters Facebook, I never gave the ads a second thought – I just figured everyone else was also seeing women’s fashion.

Even though you may be looking up something on your personal computer, or watching a program on TV alone in your lounge room, people somewhere know exactly what you’re doing. But is this a problem? I personally don’t mind that an advertiser knows that I’m on the hunt for a khaki anorak jacket, because who knows, maybe their ad on the side of my screen will feature the perfect jacket from a boutique I hadn’t even heard of.

TV advertisers do it too, and they feature ads that are specifically targeted at the target market of the TV show. Information they find out through audience measurement, and with help like companies like A.C Neilson. But again, whilst watching the Bachelor I’d much rather watch ads for the new Maybelline lipstick, not the newest 4×4 turbo diesel car.

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However there may be gaps in the audience measurement process at the moment, like a lacking of qualitative data, I think in the future they will have figured out how to make audience measurement even more specific. Although they may know that my household watches Home and Away every weeknight, they wouldn’t have information on which members of my house watched it. Or what about all those times you’ve just left the TV on as background noise? (Sorry mum, I know you pay our electricity bill). So the system isn’t 100% accurate at the moment. But they can still get a pretty good grasp on the ratings of a TV show, at least enough to do a comparison across other networks.

I’ve heard many people complain that there are too many reality TV shows, but reality is that’s what gets the views. I’m happy for the industry to know my TV viewing habits because it may well mean new terrible, (but great,) entertainment reality shows.

Neilson in the US proudly claim that “In addition to capturing what channels viewers are watching on each television set in the home, our meters can identify who is watching and when, including “time-shifted” viewing—the watching of recorded programming up to seven days after an original broadcast.”

Although it sounds very Big Brother, all this information they’re gathering is to provide to the marketing and advertising industry so they know exactly what/when/where to target us. But how is this a bad thing? I like hearing about new products which I could buy. And even boys like hearing about the new 4×4 turbo diesel whatever.

Am I playing right into the industry’s hands? Yeah probably.

But who cares. I like a new lipstick as much as the next girl.

 

 

Update: This ad just popped up on my Facebook, and yes I work at Bunnings.

This ‘cookie’ stuff just got way too personal.

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Give Leo an Oscar

In case you didn’t know, the Internet really, really, really wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar a few weeks ago. The five-time Oscar nominee wasn’t the only one disappointed one when he walked away (again) empty handed. Heartbroken fans of the “Wolf of Wall Street” actor went to the social media to express their frustration after Leo failed to win. Again.

Memes and gifs popped up on Tumblr, parody’s on Youtube, and the hashtag #GiveLeoAnOscar on Twitter.

The angst for Leo to take home an Oscar began in an interview (here), when he spoke out about what it would mean to him to be recognised at the Oscars awards ceremony, with him saying that “everyone wants to be recognised by their peers” at some point in their acting career. 

The media text I will be analysing is a fan made gif of Leo’s Golden Globes speech – but with different subtitles. I found this on Tumblr a few weeks ago and until I started this blog post I actually thought it was his real speech. 

gif

giff

gif.

jen law

amy adams

amy admas

lol

acadamy

This text makes evident the new form of participatory culture where consumers take media in their own hands, “reworking its content to serve their personal and collective interests” (Henry Jenkins). This concept of the ‘produser’ exists because of technological advances, and has given a new meaning to fan culture. 

Interactions between the producer and audience definitely impact on the reading of the text and its meaning.  This gif was created after there was a substantial amount of user-generated content on Leo and his Oscar already on social media. This means that majority of the audience would have understood the story behind it. However it would have a very different meaning to the members of the audience who didn’t realise he didn’t actually say this in his acceptance speech, *cough cough me*.

Before I was more informed about the memes and tweets about Leo, I thought he literally cried and that was why everyone was posting crying memes.

The ever-evolving technology we have in 2014 is pretty outstanding and some of the user-created content definitely could be crossing a line if someone was to take it literally.

However in this case I really don’t think people taking the memes literally would harm DiCaprios name. It’ll just make them want to hug him.

 

Some interesting questions to be asked from the text, include why would these consumers feel the need to become a produser, or a collaborative media creators?

Because people on social media love it! I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the fans left reeling after he was left Oscarless. If you say you’re not, you’re lying. Titanic, come on.

These producers are motivated by a desire to enrich the community of fellow fans, or as suggested by Axel Bruns (2007), “the collaborative and continuous building and extending of existing content in the pursuit of further improvement.” Furthermore, by contributing to websites such as Tumblr, others will also create content and keep the website running.

Another interesting question to be considered is; will Leo ever win an Oscar? And from that, I wonder if when the Oscars is next on, these gifs and memes will reemerge or will be built upon.

I’ll leave you with a few user created content that made me giggle.

leo

cry

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Did your favourite show get cancelled? No fear, write some fan fiction.

The Veronica Mars movie is a rare example of a continuation of a beloved TV series, which was borne on the backs of her empowered fan base. Fans not only financially supported the production, but made substantial contributions to the content of the movie, thanks to their fan fiction continuations of the TV series.

To me, the production and content of this movie makes evident the changing role of the consumer, and how technological advances have allowed consumers to play an active role in interpreting and recontextualising media.

In the years that followed the cancellation of the TV series in 2007, Veronica Mars gathered a passionate fan-base, and deservedly so. Set in Neptune California, the series was an indictment of the one-percent before the term existed.

After director Rob Thomas left Season 3 unresolved “in the hopes that there would be a movie”, Mars fans — known as “Marshmallows” – spent the years after, clamouring for resolution. A platform in which they tried to reconcile the heroine’s relationships and find closure was fan fiction.

Fans extended story lines, created new narrative threats, developed romantic relationships between characters, and focused on the lives of underdeveloped characters.

Director Rob Thomas couldn’t get a studio to sign on for the movie, so he funded the film though Kickstarter in 2013. Fans donated more than $5,000,000, and Warner Bros. Pictures soon came aboard. The filming lasting 28 days. On release, the film was showed in selected cinemas and became available to rent and buy through online platforms such as ITunes.

There are some interesting questions to ask about the text, and the most prevalent is just how much impact did the fans have on the Veronica Mars movie?

I think a substantial amount!

Fans not only funded the entire project, but they made huge choices in regards to the actual movies context.

Thomas has openly admitted in interviews, that the fanbase significantly impacted the way he wrote the movie, and that “the first film was really a love letter to the fans.” While I was watching it, I wondered to myself, why does the movie have so many characters, many of which served no purpose to the plot?

Because the fans wanted to see them.

“It was a fan-funded movie, and I felt the need to bring back old characters, and cross-reference the old show,” Thomas said. The fact that the film is as much of a reunion as it turned out to be, he says, is because they felt that’s what the backers wanted. Just as (Lankshear & Knobel, 2006) suggest, official producers do not have ultimate control over the messages, products, and consequences of transmedia.

It is evident that the interactions between the producer and the audience had a great impact on the movie and its meanings, as the movie would not be the same without the fans contributions.

The Veronica Mars Movie is a first of its kind. The production and content of this movie makes evident the changing role of the consumer, and how technological advances have enabled consumers to play an active role in interpreting and recontextualising media. The movie was able to exist today because fans financially supported the production, and the content is based on their fan fiction continuations of the TV series.

References:

– Black, Rebecca W, ‘Online Fan Fiction, Global Identities, and Imagination’, National Council of Teachers of EnglishVol. 43, No. 4, May 2009, Page 399 of 397-425, available at <http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784341&gt;

– Fear, D, ‘Veronica Mars’ Rob Thomas Returns to the Scene of the Crime, Rolling Stones, viewed 20/3/14, < http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/veronica-mars-rob-thomas-returns-to-the-scene-of-the-crime-20140314&gt;