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March 07, 2007
Lecture: It sells you things; it is sold to you (advertising)
Key concepts: demand pull vs. marketing push, diffusion of innovations (again), critical perspectives on advertising
Examples: TLC rejected commercial, Apple "switch" campaign and spoof ads, various Microsoft ads, William Shatner Commodore ad, IBM PC "users of computers" ad
Announcement: The question box is now online
Announcement: Midterm grades are now on the grades page
Textbook: portions of 11: Advertising
Read Chapter 11, Advertising, from Media Now EXCEPT skip pp. 334-343 (start reading again at "Advertising's Forms of Persuasion").
Key concepts: the relationship between the available communication technology and the form of advertising messages, critically reading advertising
Assignment: BLOG POST: Breaching Experiment
In this assignment, you are a social scientist trying to discover some of what Garfinkel called the "seen but unnoticed features" that make up the "stable social structure" that surrounds everyday use of communication technologies (Garfinkel, p. 37). To do this, you will conduct a breaching experiment similar to "the lodger" experiment described in the Garfinkel article.
Part I: Sign-Up for one of the breaching experiments from the Password Protected breaching experiment sign-up sheet [Get Password Help]. Include the text of the experiment description at the beginning of your blog post (e.g., copy and paste it). To receive credit for the assignment, you must sign up for an experiment that is not full.
Conduct the experiment as it is described and observe the reactions of witnesses as carefully as possible. To successfully complete the assignment, you may not explain that you are conducting an experiment for a class until after the experiment has been completed. (For some experiments, you may never have to explain yourself.) You may not let anyone else in on the secret. Do not perform this assignment with other people from this class. If you are challenged during the experiment, act as if the way you are behaving is normal. Do not explain yourself.
Write up your results in a blog post. First, describe the reactions to your efforts, keeping your witnesses anonymous. If someone spoke to you, write as accurate a transcript of what they said as you can. If body language or facial expressions were important, describe them. If portions of text messages or emails are part of a reaction, include them. Describe any norms that you think your results may illustrate. Use the reactions you described to discuss the strength of the norms and how they might work.
IMPORTANT: You will automatically receive a zero for this assignment if you break either of these two rules:
- No information that could personally identify one of your witnesses can appear in your blog post. (No names, no photos, no recordings! Make it clear you are using pseudonyms so that you don't have a problem with this requirement. Example: you could write "Person A" or "I will call the first witness 'Jane Doe'.")
- You must write about your witnesses in a manner and tone that is respectful. For instance, your description of a reaction must not sound like you are making fun of the witness.
Tips and Advice:
- Experiments may range from 15 minutes of concentrated effort, to sporadic effort over three days. Plan ahead!
- Conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.
- Be polite and treat others respectfully.
- Although some of these experiments will create embarrassment, you should not scare anyone and you should not place anyone at risk.
- Do not use recording devices or photographs in this assignment.
- Do not write notes during the experiment if you can be observed.
- You don't have to attach a photograph or picture for this assignment. (Optionally, you could attach a diagram if it is helpful and it does not reveal the identity of your witnesses – example: a diagram of body language or the scene of your experiment.)
This assignment must be at least 250 words (about 1 page). Part I -- restating the assignment -- does not count toward the word limit.
DEADLINE: Post your blog entry by 11 a.m. -- one hour before class begins. (You may want to select your topic as soon as you can.)
This is the Web site for SPCM 199, Communication Technology and Society, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.