Not to Burst Your Bubble….

Take a minute and check your Facebook. It’s okay.. we can wait!

Okay, now take a look at the ads on your news feed. Does anything look familiar? Maybe you were on a website earlier this week and now the brand is popping up everywhere? Or perhaps you recently bought tickets to a concert and now you are being bombarded with “Music You Might Like”… weird, right?

This type of personalized advertising is being used to zero in on potential customers. It isn’t just on Facebook either. Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, the list continues! With the advancement of technology and the increased popularity of social media sites, your purchase history on Amazon can be lined up with your recent Google search inquires. This personalized advertising helps filter down the type of ads shown to you. The advertisements you are most likely to respond to are splashed across your regular web browsing, increasing the advertisers chance in persuading you on your next purchase.thefilterbubble

However as Eli Pasiser points out in The Filter Bubble, this doesn’t just stop with advertising. It’s no secret that Facebook started filtering news feeds a while ago, but did you know Google filters results directly to you as well? Three people could search the same exact phrase and return different results. Pasiser argues that these personalized news feeds and search results limit the power of the internet. The filter bubble makes it harder for internet content to go viral, which limits the unity the internet can create behind a movement. It can also limit the information readily available at our fingertips because we are only seeing things our history indicates we would like to see, rather than something outside of our bubble.

The flip side is: we live in a generation of information overload. Is limiting our search results, customizing our advertising, and funneling down our news feeds that terrible? People used to have to do crazy things like go to the library and look information up in books and magazines… what?! Should we count our technological blessings or demand our free browsing back?

- Michael Nunes, Daniel Schaefer, Alexandra Huss, Zach Abramo, Callie FenlonDann Williams, Lauren Habig

What’s That Doing There?

After a long day of work or school most of us like to sit down and shut off the batteries. Some people (including myself) do this by
enjoying a nice beverage and turning on the Netflix. The appeal of a service like
Netflix is, of course, the elimination of the commercials that disrupt our viewing
pleasure on live T.V. One night, I sat down and turned on The Office, I was
instantly bombarded with company logos and products. As the actors go about
their typical work day, the camera conveniently focuses on the Cisco Systems
Telephone on Dwight’s desk and the HP logo on the computer that Pam uses as she
hides behind her desk. These logos are not in the frame by coincidence, but
rather they have been carefully positioned by the show’s producers. This discreet
advertising strategy is known as product placement.

Business dictionary defines product placement as “an advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media.” This form of advertising is initiated through an agreement between a product manufacturer and whichever media company owns the program featuring the product. In the vast majority of product placement agreements the media company receives economic benefit as the manufacturers often pay a fee to have their product (or brand name) used, mentioned, or significantly featured in a program.

Product placement is everywhere. A few notable shows that are known proponents of this technique are American Idol (Coca-Cola cups for all judges), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Coors Light consumption and signs prominently placed in the bar), and 30 Rock (which features multiple Apple products.) This form of advertising has been around for years and will continue to thrive as long as people keep consuming media. In this way, companies continue to ensure that viewers have plenty of exposure to their product, even if certain audience members have learned to maneuver around those pesky commercials.


- Michael Nunes, Daniel Schaefer, Lexie Huss, Zach Abramo, Callie FenlonDann Williams, Lauren Habig