BCM310- Research Project & Written Reflection

Final Research project = click here to hear podcast 

Written Reflection 

Project Experience

Creating a research project for the subject BCM310 proved to be an awarding but challenging experience. Choosing a topic demonstrated to be a difficult process, particularly choosing an interesting and engaging subject to explore. However I was able to come to the decision, to research into the topics from week two – The self, focusing on the influence of a micro-celebrity, an area that I thought would benefit my future career choice of marketing. During the experience of the project I was able to learn how to use new media platforms such as garage band and sound cloud to produce a podcast. Allowing myself to take away experience and knowledge in a field where I have no real practice, especially learning and adapting new skills and problem solving techniques that will benefit my future career. The guided timeline from our project proposal, demonstrated to be a positive outcome, as it allowed myself to keep track of where I was  up too and what needed to be done in the following weeks. Thus allowing myself to make sure that all requirements where met for this research project, without rushing or running out of time when challenges arose.

 

Research Process

In order to conduct my research project I chose to use four academic journals in order to compare and analyse my survey findings. This was determined in order to create a digital artefact with balance views and perceptions. The original plan was to conduct interviews and surveys to create data for the topic. However after presentation week for our proposal, it was suggest to me to focus on one element, with this being said I chose to follow through with a survey. This would allow me to focus and compare micro-celebrities with traditional Hollywood stars. Nevertheless it was brought to my attention to only ask students from the subject of BCM310 to answer my survey, which was posted on the BCM Facebook page and through Moodle. However challenges arose with regards to receiving a diversity of ages to respond, while also trying to gain enough response needed to analyses the data. Because of this limitation, I needed to do extensive research into other conducted studies to compare and analyses the topic, particularly the difference between a micro- celebrity and Hollywood celebrity regarding their influence on consumer’s behaviour.

Format choice

The original format choice for this research product was going to be a digital artefact in a form of a video. However after recording bits and pieces of the research it soon became apparent that a video wasn’t going to suit the research topic. This was demonstrated when the video started going over the recommend time frame. The decision was made to change the format to a better-suited platform, that being a digital podcast. Thus enabling me to present a more detailed analysis of the topic, without going over the time frame. There are many pros of using a podcast for this research project; it allowed myself to create an easy and convenient connection towards my audience. However limitations where presented, particularly the issue of presenting to much information in one podcast. Meaning the audience might switch off especially without images to keep you engaged. Consequentially I made the choice to make sure that I was using techniques of background music, different voices and voice tones to keep the audience engaged throughout.

 References used in podcast

Bernazzani, A 2017, Micro-influencer Marketing: A comprehensive Guide, Hubspot, weblog post, 7th March, viewed 29th May 2017, <https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/micro-influencer-marketing#sm.0000fl6gb6wz0erf10f7m9rg8g9xp&gt;.

Djafarova, E, & Rushworth, C 2017, ‘Full length article: Exploring the credibility of online celebrities’ Instagram profiles in influencing the purchase decisions of young female users’, Computers in Human Behaviour, vol. 68, pp. 1-7

Experticity, 2016, New Research Shows Micro-Influencers Drive Consumer Buying Behavior at Much Higher Rates Then Previously Thought, Experticity, weblog post, 29th March, viewed 29th May 2017, <https://business.experticity.com/new-research-shows-micro-influencers-drive-consumer-buying-behavior-much-higher-rates-previously-thought/>

Hellenkemper, M 2017, Celebrity vs. Micro-Influencer: Who wins the battle of engagement, InfluencerDB, weblog post, 12th April, viewed 29th May 2017, <https://www.influencerdb.net/blog/celebrity-vs-micro-influencer-battle-of-engagement/>.

Main, S 2017, Micro-Influencers Are More Effective With Marketing Campaigns Than Highly Popular Accounts, Adweek, weblog post, 30th March, viewed 29th May 2017, <http://www.adweek.com/digital/micro-influencers-are-more-effective-with-marketing-campaigns-than-highly-popular-accounts/>.

Markerly, 2017, Instagram marketing: Does Influencer Size Matter?, Markerly, weblog post, 4th November, viewed 29th may 2017, <http://markerly.com/blog/instagram-marketing-does-influencer-size-matter/>.

Marwick, AE 2013, Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Rogers, K 2017, The Rise Of The Micro-Influencer, The Natives, weblog post, 28th February, viewed 29th May 2017, <https://www.thenatives.com.au/rise-micro-influencer/>.

Smith, AN, Fischer, E & Yongjian, C 2012, ‘How does brand related user –generated Content differ across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter?’, Journal of Interactive marketing, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 102-113.

Verhellen, Y, Dens, N, & De Pelsmacker, P 2013, ‘CONSUMER RESPONSES TO BRANDS PLACED IN YOUTUBE MOVIES: THE EFFECT OF PROMINENCE AND ENDORSER EXPERTISE’, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 287-303

Background music

Morning Light Music, 2016, Whistle and Clap [recorded by Matthew Torres], on Fun Songs.vol 1, Audio file, ITunes: 19th April

 

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Poverty Porn and exploitation is it right?

Poverty Porn and exploitation is it right?

I have seen adverts dedicated to showing the lifestyle and conditions of African children while asking for my donation. I have flickered through the channels on TV to come across shows depicting the poor and their life on the screen. But never did I know that these all fell under the same category as ‘poverty porn’, an issue I choose not to notice consciously until now. According to Steven Threadgold (2015) poverty porn refers to the westerner’s portrayal of global inequity, disease and hunger, ‘in a way that presents a distorted view of the disadvantaged”, by people who are more privileged (Threadgold, 2015). Others describe the term as a way of evoking sympathy and support for a given cause (Bright, 2013), which could even evoke enough emotions to call for action or change (Beresford 2016,p.421). Resulting in charities and the media using these tactics, as a way to grab our attention and to even create entertainment through TV shows. Though the question arises if the media should be exploiting the poor in this particular light, to the point where poverty porn may be damaging these individuals then creating positive outcomes.

Within Australia we have regard poverty by the amount of people living below the 50% household income (Australian Council of social service, 2016) and because of this we tend to class anyone below it as poor. As a result we see many TV shows and charities using this information to gain our attention. A perfect case study example can be found through the Australian documentary show Struggle Street on SBS (2015). Showing lives of local community members found within the suburb of Western Sydney, Mt Druitt, a place known for their crime rate and low standard of living. Chelsea Bond from the Conversation (2016) highlights this type of documentary demonstrates a “one dimensional story of poverty”(Bond, 2016) stating the show failed in its challenge to take away the ‘status quo’ in how we think about poverty, by given and fueling our stereotypical views associated with the poor.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is another movie that depicts the debate of poverty porn and its exploitation. The movie plot tells the story of a Mumbai teen that reflects on his upbringing in the slums of India, when accused of cheating on a TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”. However the movie brings up issue of exploitation and distortion by many critics, who view the film as glorifying the poorest people found in India (Bisht, 2009, pg.17). Criticising that the film is reflecting the Western fascination with ‘ poverty porn’ (Bisht, 2009, pg.17). Ever Since the movie first realise and the success of the film winning an Academy Award, the slums of Mumbai have seen an increase of tourist tours visiting the area (Chin, 2016). Thus illustrating an emotional connection between Western audiences, and the depiction of the characters shown through the movie to create a certain point of view (Chin, 2009).

According to The LA Times (2009) the release of the movie saw many Indians being disappointed in how the movie was showing their culture. Particularly by using another stereotypical depiction of their nations poor, to the western world for entertainment by using graphic images (Magnier, 2009). The article furthers their claim by stating the film was made with the purpose to create international success through themes that would touch a chord with the western audiences (Magnier, 2009). Shyamaml Segupta, a film professor at the Whistling Woods International Institute in Mumbai, highlights the film is a “white man’s imagined India” stating the film has brought the term ‘poverty porn’ into popular consciousness (Dudek & Lee, 2014, p.73).

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( Source: Of image)

Unfortunately charities have also been known to use poverty porn in their campaigns. Australia is no exception, many non-profit aid organization use images portraying people in a “pitiful way” to manipulate their fundraising (Murdoch, 2016). The ACFID state“ campaigns should honestly convey the context and complexity of the situation in which local people live”(cited by Murdoch, 2016). The charity Sunrise Cambodia, has received serious backlash and criticism for poverty porn, after portraying a village girl, an orphan child over in Cambodia as “dirty, miserable and disheveled”(Murdoch, 2016). Labeling her as a sex worker in their latest advertisement for their charity. Critics are concerned that the young girl will now have to live with the stigma being placed upon her as a sex worker for the rest of her life (Murdoch, 2016). The chief executive of the ACFID , Marc Purcell , claimed Sunrise Cambodia did not hold up to the standard of the ACFID code , suggesting to the charity to not use images that manipulate a story in order “to portray people in a pitiful way”( cited by Murdoch , 2016). Thus raising the question about poverty porn and pity charity. The practice where charities use hard images in order to gain and draw empathy and donations, even if it means showing children in a stereotypical role. Liena Srivastava criticizes the idea of poverty porn for depicting those who are trying to find aid as it “evokes the idea that the poor are helpless and incapable of helping themselves” creating the notion of disrespect (cited by Bright, 2013).

It is evident that popular culture and the media have used poverty porn to grab our attention, whether that is through shock or just for entertainment purposes. Though the question remains does poverty porn bring justice to the poor? To some critics like Richard Chin (2009) poverty porn is just an excuse for the western world to create a quick catchy entertainment to watch.

I would love to hear your thoughts; do you believe this to be the case?

As always all the best

Chelsea x

References:

Should we anthropomorphize our animals?

Should we anthropomorphize our animals?

One of the most remarkable features of our domesticated races is that we see in them adaptation, not indeed to the animal’ s or plant’ s own good, but to man’ s use or fancy.’

-CHARLES DARWIN, The Origin Of Species

(source:images sources for all three)

I remember following the white rabbit in order not to be late, I grieved with Bambi for losing his mother after being hunted by a human, I felt joy while watching Skippy the kangaroo and I felt the adventure while watching flipper. All these animal characters have one thing in common, they where anthropomorphized by our media. The term anthropomorphism is regarded as giving “human characteristics to a nonhuman object or being such as a plant, animal, geological feature, or deity”(Mercadal, 2017). Sadly through the tragic sea world incident where an Orca trainer lost her life, reminded our society that we have forgotten that animals will behave like animals, and as humans we are shocked when tragic incident with animals surface. The well-awarded documentary Blackfish (2013) directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, left us with a lingering question, is it right for  human beings to give animal’s human traits?

(image source : Disney animals Disney logo)

Growing up in our society we are constantly bombarded with cartoons, books and movies that use animals for entertainment. A great example of this is Walt Disney; as soon as they started using the technique of animation they made “animals – even trees and flowers – talk, walk, sing, dance and dress like the human beings” (DoRozario, 2006,p.51). Disney had started to blur the binary opposition of “nature and culture”(DoRozario, 2006,p.51), producing a kind of hyper-environmentalism. Disney created animation to present an illusion of life through pictures “to connote as the real”, or posing the “unreality as real”(DoRozario, 2006,p.51). By taking and luring the real and unreal with animals, Disney had freed them from their “real oppression” (DoRozario, 2006,p.52). Donna Haraway (cited in DoRozario, 2006,p.52) states the boundary between human and animals “is thoroughly breached”, for example the popular character Tiomon from the movie The Lion King, “became more real then the real meerkats” (cited in DoRozario, 2006,p.52). Especially after witnessing a small child at the zoo scream out “look there’s Timon!” Instead of saying look there’s meerkats . In a sense the animation striped away the meerkat nature, to create a new reality made by the cartoon. Serpell (2002,p.438) states this is due to people believing that animals have feelings just like us. To the point where we assume that other objects and animals will behave the same way (Serpell, 2002,p.438).

(Image source : timon & meerkat)

Its no surprise that filmmakers like Disney use this technique of anthropomorphism on animals in order to help humans apply aspects of human qualities to non-human objects, by using the human language to communicate what we observe (Serpell, 2002,p.438). Animators of Disney where sent to study animals in order to gain details and characteristics of the animal.This was particularly done for the release of The Lion King in 1994 and Bambi, in order to create likeness and personality . However by using anthropomorphic depictions of animals can lead to real life consequences. For example young children already have difficultly trying to distinguish reality from fantasy (Goldman, 2014). Children tend to get confused between the two qualities depicted of that animal, making it harder for the viewer to relate to the real (Goldman, 2014). Illustrating that animals lose their natural identity to us, as a wild animal. A consequence that was demonstrated through the tragic incident at sea world, where the company and trainers forgot about the natural qualities of that animal. Instead they choose to look and make decision about them based on human traits, such as linking their characteristics with our emotions. The authors of ‘Considering Animals’ (2011) illustrates that even though we cannot actually feel what the animal is feeling, we make assumptions that the animals is capable of having feelings in the first place (Freeman & Leane & watt, 2011,p.82). Thus creating a dangerous outlook when regarding the nature of animal’s behaviours.

Anthropomorphism carries the risk that we overestimate animal’s mental complexity (kesling, 2011). This is a growing concern for scientist, who state this type of thinking can be problematic for animal trainers and behaviourists ,who may be evaluating behaviour problems based on human traits (kesling, 2011). Suggesting the implication of anthropomorphism on animals, has damaged our view of what really occurs in nature. DeWall (2001) mentions the idea of ‘bambification’ is a way for the entertainment businesses to strip away animals bad characteristics, while empowering them with baby appeal for the spectator. Thus seeing society neglecting the natural world (cited by Kesling, 2011).

It is easy to make an assumption about any animal’s behaviour regarding what we see on films and TV, when compared to what happens in real life. Especially when we compare their behaviours to our own. There is a serious danger and risk involved when using anthropomorphism towards our animals in Films and TV shows. It gives children and adults a false illusion , a stimulation,  to believe what they see on our screens. Anthropomorphism allows the hypereal to become more real then real, meaning we might just want to save the character Bambi on screen first then the real deer (DoRozario, 2006,p.63).

I would love to hear your thoughts , do you think we have taken anthropomorphism too far  on your TV screens? or is it a good idea ?

As always all the best

Chelsea x

References:

  • DoRazario, RC 2006, ‘The Consequences of Disney Anthropomorphism: Animated, Hyper-Environmental Stakes in Disney Entertainment’, Femspec, vol. 7, no. 1, p. 51-63
  • Freeman, C, Leane, E, & Watt, Y 2011, Considering animals : contemporary studies in human-animal relations / edited by Carol Freeman, Elizabeth Leane, and Yvette Watt, Farnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate Pub., c2011.
  • Goldman, J 2014, When Animals Act Like People in Stories, Kids Can’t Learn, Scientific American, viewed 24th May 2017, <https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/thoughtful-animal/when-animals-act-like-people-in-stories-kids-cane28099t-learn/&gt;.
  • Kesling, J 2011, Anthropomorphism, double-edge sword, WordPress, weblog post, 21st May, viewed 24th March 2017, <https://responsibledog.net/2011/05/21/anthropomorphism-double-edged-sword/&gt;.
  • Mercadal, T 2017, ‘Anthropomorphism’, Salem Press Encyclopedia.
  • Serpell, JA 2002, ‘Anthropomorphism and Anthropomorphic Selection—Beyond the “Cute Response”‘, Society & Animals, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 437-454

LETS PUT THE SELF IN SELFIE !

LETS PUT THE SELF IN SELFIE !

It is claimed that the average women between 16 – 25 years old will spend more then Five hours a week taking photos of themselves (Bates, 2016). Not only females, but in all genders have been known to take place within this phenomenon of the Selfie. It wasn’t until 2013 that the term Selfie was added to the English dictionary (BBC, 2013), so what exactly is the Selfie?

The English dictionary states that the selifie is “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically taken with a smartphone or webcam, and is shared via social media”(Dictionary of oxford Dictionaries, 2017). Many critics view the Selfie as narcissism, stating that the photo taker is no longer taking in the moment in which they stand, but instead witnessing the moment through an iPhone lens (Gopnik, 2015). But is this really true or can the Selfie become empowering for woman? Or is there a massive risk in showing your face? .

According to John Berger (cited by Kulkarni, 2016) the idea of taking ones photograph relates to the way of seeing, stating that the Selfie is related to the concept of the male gaze, a term generated from Laura Mulvey. However what he does imply is that the new ideas of the female Selfie, the taker gazes upon her own body, claiming “ it is her look, her image, and ultimately, it is her gaze that the Selfie embodies”(Kulkarni, 2016). She is the image and the photographer. In a way the Selfie allows the taker to control how they want to be seen, compared to someone taking the photo from a camera, which they have no control over, thus unlocking the potential of her own power.

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(photo source:Molly Coulthard tweeted her #uglygirlsclub selfie)

 Women are more likely to find Selfies empowering, when they post pictures of themselves that do not adhere to any socially acceptable idea of a normal selfie photo. Which in return sees the image gaining and receiving support. For example, The Royal Holloway University Feminist Society decided to encourage young women to upload unflattering Selfies of them-selves online, using the hashtag Ugly Girl Club. With the aim to encourage the public to not judge women and people on there looks. These campaigns based on the selfie is not only getting women evolved but also men, creating a sense of equal-ness.

 

The president of the Society Natasha Barrett, stated “The aim of the campaign is to empower people to not just think of their worth in physical terms. The selfies were tongue-in-cheek to start with – but they carry a serious message, too, the selfie is a powerful message. People are getting to control their own image and present it to the world.”(Cited by Biddlecombe, 2014). Through this example it’s clear to understand that Selfies have the power to create awareness and create change. This was also demonstrated through the success of the no make up selfie campaign, which ended up raising over 8 million for cancer research in the UK (Biddlecombe, 2014).

 BeautyQueenSelfie011915

(Photo source: Doron Matalon/Instagaram)

Though this does not imply that every selfie we take can have a powerful affect upon someone. Selfies can become quite problematic such as the Israeli beauty queen Selfie. The Israeli beauty queen caused such chaos with Lebanon, calling for her to lose her Miss Universe title, all because she was seen consorting with their country enemy. The photo seen above , referenced Miss Israel, Doron Matlon and Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige who are seen posing for a picture together at a pageant in Miami 2015. These two countries are technically at war with each other ( euters, 2015). The Lebanese community where outraged demanding for Greige to lose her title for talking to the enemy of the state, in need to defend herself she stated that Matalon had pestered her and finally ended up photo-bombing her photo     (Euters, 2015). From this example its clear that the idea of the selfie could have good intentions but there are certain circumstances that come with it. The law can influence the way in which you decide to show your face, which can lead to a bigger situation then you thought, a bigger risk to you and maybe your lifestyle.

 

Though the selfie can be positive, it is clear that the effects of the selfie can’t change the reality of the world. Yes it can empower you; it might bring you knowledge that you didn’t know before, through the use of campaigns and awareness. But in harsh reality a photo can cause more damage then good depending on the situation. I guess it is up to you to decide if there is a risk to it? I would love to hear your thoughts? Do you think a selfie worth the risk? Let me know below?

As always all the best!

Chelsea x

 

 

 

 

References: