Social Networking

Posted on: February 17, 2010


Clear communication will always be humans  major movement in their well being, as a means of constantly falling forward to develop together. The digital age has open avenues to further explore our obsession of self, and others around us. Looking at how the masses have been manipulated by historic giants  (Edward Bernays advert campaigns ‘Lucky Strike‘ cigarette’s) shows how the experimental exploration of psychology has been used to search deep into the human psyche to uncover man’s deepest desires. The discovery of powerful sexual drives fuels the human emotion/s and behavior/s, and has been carefully crafted into the layers of countless advert campaigns to relate to the ideal ego or super ego.

Looking at how digital platforms has advanced, has given advertisers a wider range of social demographics; sub cultures, popular cultures, careers, professions, music, news, etc. So much so that there are now more dedicated websites to specific groups of people within a culture (self promotion)  changing how we see ourselves and those around us, is it politically correct? Many questions!

Looking back at my dissertation I realised that we are now in an age where information has become more and more valuable, and as Eva stated that this includes information that is useless to its user (Wikipedia). This could be a behavior of just knowing more than your peers, and other status it brings to its user. (See research book for brief psychology notes). One important thing  from just looking at a glance the implications, and terms psychology offers you, the subject does not give anyone the satisfaction they are looking for (whatever they are looking for). It remains static and cold, telling us what people are not rather than what people are, as explained by Fromm, 2004:195. For me, who the person is, would bare more importance than what they are, and so many times when you ask the question who they are, you usually end up with a response to what they do e.g.: what they do as a profession, what things they have found out and achieved, where they’ve been, what they own etc. All of which advert campaigns strive to use as a way to make people want objects and inadvertently need things to satisfy their own well being.

“We must shift America from a ‘needs’ to a ‘desires’ culture, people must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old has been completely consumed. We must shape a new mentality in America, man’s desires must over shadow his needs.”

(Mazur, Lehman Brothers, 1930).

This is not to say you can’t enjoy the capitalist realm, but have we lost sense of what we really need/desire? Has the struggle to self preserve what we allude ourselves with a myriad of illusions; the irrationally distorted vision we see ourselves and others (like looking through a glass of water), become innately integrated into our digital culture? (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Forums, platforms where the initial control of information of ourselves is controlled by us; to paint a picture). Can we say that ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome has not only effect what we possess; material worth, but also the amount of information that is available, which can be applied to any platform and shared with anyone? Where does the separation between the digital realm and the analogue world occur?

With full control over this project I have been bothered about questioning where our morals lie as a designer, when it comes to manipulating the viewer to accept certain things with their consent (sometimes even unconscious consent). The previous projects like the O2 advert, Ebay, and E4 they have all been based on just having fun, and youth like behavior; which can be laughed at (school boy humor), but ultimately making the viewer want purchase or watch the products these companies offer (mental note: concept, narration, quality of execution). A good question was brought up in a talk led by Mc Faul Studio where Mc Faul was asked whether he had a moral dilemma when it came down to designing an advert that challenges our common morals. He gave the example of producing an ad for a cigarette company which at the end of the day, provided food and shelter for himself.

What  I want to focus on in this project is producing a piece (interactive would be nice) that either  gives (not challenge, it may lead to a negative response; think about maintaining the balance in the viewers psyche) the viewer some happy/joy feedback that can be shared (social network). Like music when you compose its easy to relate to sad emotions then it is with happy ones (in its simplest form), its the same with the listener. The funny thing about nursery rhymes I’ve noticed, is that with seemingly innocent connotations it is actually littered with cynical undertones:

Rockabye baby

Hush-a-by baby
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
Down tumbles baby,
Cradle and all.

If music can produce something so instant how can the visuals keep up? What makes us happy, what gives us joy. Can music help? How effective would the piece be with visuals and no audio.
How can the use of social networking be used in the piece? Can the idea of manipulating desires be used to produce a positive response without the need to want anything but the basic human level of love? What is love? What part of love gives us the sense of joy and happiness? Whats the difference between joy and happiness?How can that be shared with others?

Platform-video via webcams.
Narration-planned and coordinated actions to seem to interact with other users.

Interesting to note, humans and few primates recognise their own reflection, and likes to play around with their reflection whether mirrored or shadowed.

Or just plain scared of it…


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