Monday, February 22, 2016

Market Mavens

Zoella. Michelle Phan. Ingrid Nilsen. Bethany Mota.

Most of us know who they are or have at least heard their names. These women are some of the top "beauty gurus" on YouTube. They are best known for makeup/hair tutorials, monthly/yearly favorites, and haul videos. They are also experts at making us want to buy certain products.  Hence the term "market mavens."

Market mavens are defined by Ashlee Humphreys as "actors who gather and disseminate marketplace information about prices, products, and consumption practices." As viewers, we don't always see their potential as marketing experts.  However, after looking at this definition and rewatching a video or two, their power as marketers in astoundingly obvious.  The ladies name their favorite products (usually high-end and expensive), leading viewers to the belief that if they buy said product, they too will be beautiful and live fantastic lives like the gurus the watch daily.  As they gain popularity, they become endorsed by certain brands and, in turn, encourage followers to purchase from said brand. They also eventually release their own beauty lines; makeup, nail polish, clothing, etc. 

While their power is something to be admired, viewers should keep the gurus' status as "market mavens" in mind when they click play on their videos.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Some notes on digital inequality

Digital inequality is defined by our textbook (Social Media: Enduring Principles by Ashlee Humphreys) as "the difference in access to social, cultural and material resources necessary to access, use, and interpret digital information and technologies."  This inequality is largely based off of the differences in economic, social and cultural capital between users.  Economic capital is, of course, money. Social capital consists of the connections with other people that could be used as resources. Finally, cultural capital is the standards that create affiliation between you and others that fit in the same class.

So how does these things equate to digital inequality? Certain classes have more access and association to each of these different forms of capital while others are lacking. As a result, social media is used differently by these classes; the lower classes use media out of necessity, whereas the upper classes use it for self-expression and creativity.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Voyant & New Media

In my English Informatics class, a required course for the English for New Media major, we've been exploring and analyzing literature online.  Instead of reading the text to gather the meaning of the work, sites like Voyant give us the opportunity to turn literature into data that can be systematically analyzed. By offering a new way (similarly, a new media) to approach literature, we are now able to look at works in a different light.

Take a look at your favorite novel using Voyant.