Madison Avenue v. Wall Street: The Mad Man will previal Thursday, Feb 23 2012 

While the article from the Business Insider declared that the advertising industry is swaying from the creative days of Madison Avenue toward a more “Wall Street” approach, I still think that innovative, imaginative ideas drive advertisement successes–not the number crunching and data gathering.

However, the quantitative assessments advertisers use to gather data about their customer base has never been more crucial with the rise of the Internet and mobile devices. Advertisers are able to track which ads are the most effective based on the number of clicks or shares the ad gathers, not just its intangible, estimated impression. This gives advertisers the ability to garner more concrete knowledge about their messages and audience.

But in order for the data to be collected, a message must first be sent. The Facebook success stories of companies who have used advertising and marketing strategies via the social networking site have been able to track how popular their advertisements are.  Only if they have an effective message will they see good results. Consider the cereal Cheerios, which was able to donate more than 124,000 books to charity through a Facebook campaign. The name of the brand is already well-known, and it used its brand name to help young children learn to read. Both the mission and the message are well-received through viral marketing. Personal care products from Burt’s Bees also saw success in Facebook marketing through viral shares of its “Tinted Lip Balm Animated Short” commercials. The videos were embedded into the banners of Facebook and then shared on personal profiles, receiving 23,000 views.

In order for the “Wall Street” advertisers to gather phenomenal data, the “Mad Men” must come up with a creative and informative message for the advertisement. You can’t have one without the other!

Media: How do you consume it? Tuesday, Feb 14 2012 

Something for You, Something for Me

“I think people are still ashamed to admit that they sit on Facebook all day. I’m not.”

My boss uttered these words when we were discussing how to promote our newly-launched weblog on Facebook. Her attitude is probably an accurate one, as Facebook has become an essential commodity for not only our generation, but older adults and younger people as well. Whether we use it to discuss schoolwork, news, celebrities and music, family life or even the whether and traffic, Facebook reaches a wide demographic.

Most people that I know use a smartphone to communicate on a daily basis. There is an app for just about anything, and having access to them breaks down demographics and practically makes them irrelevant. For example, I met a friend through a service project at a shelter for teens at risk. She was also a college student, but had grown up in a very different environment than I had. She is black, was homeless and parentless and held numerous jobs to support her education at a community college. Regardless of our backgrounds, we had a lot in common in terms of our interests and senses of humor, which we discovered through interaction on Facebook and Twitter. I unfortunately cannot easily say that we would still be friends had it not been for social media paving our path toward friendship.

My mother, a 60-year-old professor at Lindenwood University, often complains that she does not have a smartphone, as most of her (younger) co-workers do. My father is too afraid to type in “google.com” into the URL bar for fear of downloading viruses to his computer, which he strictly uses for word documents. Older generations are eager to learn about new media and technology, but I think they are still reluctant and cannot grasp these concepts as well as their younger counterparts. Social media, however, seems to be very popular among older women, who use Facebook, Twitter, and gaming daily to communicate with their families and friends. My family even maintains a Facebook group so that all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can keep in touch (some of my great-aunts and uncles only created Facebook accounts for this reason, and still don’t completely understand it). On the other hand, they were all amazed at the last family reunion when I was able to record a video of my grandfather singing “Hello, Dolly,” on my telephone and post it to Facebook in a matter of minutes. If I had never seen anything like that before, I probably would have been, too.

Regardless of our age or socioeconomic differences, everyone can find a shared use for media.

Dear Diary, Today I blogged.

I have been exposed to media gradually and have adapted to it so well that it has become a necessity in my daily routine. Through keeping a media diary, I have discovered that most of my uses for media center themselves around my job and schoolwork. Whether I be researching the web for information for my internship or listening to bands on Spotify, I am constantly referencing media to further my goals within the music industry. I read books and documents using my Kindle for class, but rarely use the e-reader for personal tasks. My iPhone, however, is used for everything – from checking email with professors to checking in on Foursqaure, I am always keeping my online connections updated on what I am up to.

I am not surprised about my findings in my media diary because it is something I constantly think about. Two years ago I did not own a smartphone or a laptop, and I wonder how I lived life without them.

Blog Post 2: Newspaper readership: Obstacle meets opportunity Thursday, Feb 9 2012 

Although newspaper websites have been in existence for the past 15 years, it is remarkable that no tool is used to indicate how many readers the website actually has. While it can be measured how many unique visitors spend time exploring the newspaper’s online content each month, it is harder to measure how much content they actually read, or to how many advertisements they pay their attention.

However, with the decline in readership and advertising revenue, (more than 33 percent since 2009, according to a study by the Pew Research Center), the obstacle has been well-received by business entrepreneurs seeking to fix this media glitch. Advertising departments at newspapers are hiring–yes, hiring–while journalists and newsroom staffs continue to decrease in number. Forty-eight newspersons at The Washington Post were told yesterday that they would be bought out, although the number of visitors to their website increased 15 percent during the last quarter of 2011. According to Reuters, the increase in web traffic for the publication “is not translating into real money,” raising the need for advertisers to develop new marketing strategies.

Although e-readership comprises less than 1 percent of newspaper readers, researchers suspect this could drastically change in the next three years, according to the Pew study. More newspaper applications will be developed and available for download at free or relatively inexpensive costs as e-readership becomes more of a commodity. Paywalls are a great source of revenue–if the paper can withstand them without losing readers.

Considering the shift from print to digital readership has given me an idea. Just as how cable television and Video On Demand list rates for audience packages, so too could newspapers and books. After all, the audiences of these mediums precede television and Internet, and I am surprised that this idea has not yet been fully explored or developed. Just as how cable television lists channels and Netflix and Hulu lists genres, so could a digital readership company. Its users could subscribe to the service through its website or by downloading an app, and, depending on the package bought, they could decide which newspapers or publishers they would like to read at any given time. It’s audiences could still be targeted toward a desired demographic, just as how cable television audiences are targeted. This concept of course takes a great deal of planning that I may not be accustomed to provide, but it is a start for the next generation of newspapers.

Blog Post 1: The Apprehension of Recognition Tuesday, Jan 24 2012 

Most members of our generation contribute to the digital society, and with the influence of this newfound community, we are shaped by how we use it and what we say in it. Michael Wesch uses the YouTube community to explain how we use social networking mediums to shape us and our culture. He explains how Marhsall McLuhan said we are in an age of recognition, where the replay is more deep and profound than the first play. This theory encompasses how I have come to approach social networks in my daily life.

When I first logged in to Facebook, I was eager to share everything – from photos to silly status updates. Now that I have enacted the Timeline feature on my profile, I find myself browsing my wall all the way back to 2005, and deleting content (mostly unattractive pictures and status updates with curse words in them) so that no one else can see it. The same holds true for Twitter. I began with numerous tweets each day about everything from politics to entertainment, and friends to family. I soon felt that my tweets, although initially protected (i.e. private account) lacked a common theme, and that they were all over the place. I have since cut back on the tweeting game, focusing my tweets on a few trends, like St. Louis, SLU or music, rather than everything, which could annoy my faithful followers.

Since the possibility of “replay” and “recognition” haunts me, I have often attempted to start weblogs but have failed. I delete what I write. I might be proud of something initially, but a few months later, I may be embarrassed about it and remove it. This has stunted my growth as a writer. I am looking forward to this class, where blogging is not only encouraged, but expected. I hope that it helps me to set aside my worries of self-consciousness and focus on my message.

Media & Society – Hello, hello! Friday, Jan 20 2012 

Welcome to my weblog! I’ll be discussing the media and its influence on our society as part of a communications course offered at Saint Louis University. Feel free to comment and share your opinions!

Andrea