For this blog assignment, I chose to explain "The Configured User."
According to British Sociologist, Steve Woolgar, “one of the purposes of a technology’s design and the advertising for the technology is to “configure” users to understand and use it.” (Lecture, 4/20/2009) Let’s look at the first YouTube video for the Apple iPhone. In the commercial, with but a few touches of the screen and a few clicks from the camera, the user in the commercial has showed us how to use several of the applications on the iPhone. The iPhone is a recently introduced technology and I’m sure that if Apple did not advertise so often, many people would not know how many applications you can do on the iPhone. These commercials take the audience that is unfamiliar with the iPhone and teach them about what the iPhone has to offer. The genius behind these commercials is that even people that own and use an iPhone can learn something from these commercials.
Woolgar calls the dip in the certainty trough the “configured user” where certain people’s uncertainty has been reduced. In the iPhone commercial people learn about the features about this new technology and feel that it is not so foreign and that it may be very beneficial to them to buy one.
In the next YouTube example, the commercial shows a young boy operating a slideshow program on the PC. Since Apple is such a driving force with their advertising, this is an example of PC trying to compete. One of the attacks that Apple constantly throws at PC is that they are old and not user friendly. By using a young boy in the advertising, this directly counters the old man shown in many Apple ads. More importantly, the young boy shows that he can easily use programs on his computer. This commercial might configure users that might be unsure about PCs .