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In the reading (see ref) there is a discussion of the “Multi option society” referring to this kind of hyper consumerism where a single function of a product e.g. mobile phone for voice calls is no longer enough. The mobile phone now has to be loaded with as much functionality as possible, not just for differentiation between products but to engage the consumer needs for more of and better quality products, believing that all this extra functionality will somehow increase their quality of life. I am not separating myself from consumers as I am a consumer and often have an urge to get the latest gadget. Added to this is emotional loading which is more than just the branding (of oneself), aesthetic qualities of the hardware and the emotional response of owning a new piece technological bling. This emotional loading is the need to be connected with others or the perceived connection or the invisible ping between devices connecting us all. The new generation of smart phones, such as the  iphone allows us the possibility of more simultaneous relations on a single device. The smart phone offers GPS, Wi-Fi and 3G, multiple streams of connection, allowing multiple applications msn, Skype, email, facebook and voice calls to run simultaneously. In theory it sounds great, I was running to pick up one of these babies when I realised how much is enough (it took me awhile) and how much of this functionality do I need, and how connected do I need to be. The idea of pinging is relevant to the idea of being networked, when one computer pings another it is to check if it is still connected to a network. This is basically how computer mediated technologies function, there is no need for one to one streams of interaction and communication there has been a movement to a one too many simple single “test messages” sms, msn, facebook apps to remind the network that we are connected.

Ref: Glotz,P & Bertschi, S, Loading mobile phones in a multi-option society in Glotz,P & Bertschi, S, and Locke,C.(Eds) (2005): Thumb Culture: The meaning of Mobile Phones in Society, Transaction Publishers, London, U.K.

Methodologies

Mobile Privatization (Williams 1974)can be defined as the users identity moving away from home, the identity becomes attached to a perceived vision of home and where the mobile phone becomes the anchor. In a sense “Mobile Privatization” is a contradiction; a user of the mobile phone can exist physically and geographically at home while being transported to another space. The idea of home for Williams is a shrinking social space where individuals allow themselves to become isolated but have increased ability of mobility, a system of “mobile privatised social relations” (Du Gay 2001).

Glocalization (Fernback 2007) When one looks at mobile technology, one notice’s through mobile technology people’s social networks expand while linking themselves closer to the local community.

Nagara Mobilism (Fujimoto 2005)based on William’s mobile privatisation. Nagara means “while doing something else” the ability to parallel process text video and sound while riding a bike. There exists a conflict between the geographic space called home and the reference to the virtual home. The conflict arises when public space becoming private.

Interspace (Hulme 2005) Transit zone between the social, work and home.

Hans Geser uses four main attributes that show how mobile technology undermines societal development:

1: by increasing the pervasiveness of primary, particularistic social bonds.

2: by reducing the need for time based scheduling and coordination.

3: by undermining institutional controls and replacing location based with person based communication systems.

4: by providing support for anachronistic “pervasive roles”

Technological Determinism “Technologies can be designed, consciously or unconsciously, to open certain social options and close others” (Henrikson 2004).

Mobile Phone Definition an intimate techno social tethering, a personal technology supporting communication, that is constant, light weight and a mundane presence in everyday life. Mobile technology allows the creation of a fluid mobile time undermining fixed institutes, timetables and dissolving the boundaries between social systems with the ability to merge public and private spaces. Another possible definition for Mobile technology “Mobile technology both colonises and adapts to the structure of existing practices and places” and “ubiquitous computing is not about technical features or seamless integration but as a social technical practice of engaging with information technologies” (Ito 2005). The mobile phone as an extension of the local becomes a symbol of identity through customization and domestication (Hjorth 2005). The mobile is not specifically about technology or freedom, but a device that supports communications as a personal technology creating a “social tether” (Ito 2005) while being invisible in everyday life. Keeping in mind the user adapts the technology to suit their needs and the social circles which they occupy.

Mobile technology gives the user the capacity to use the Mobile phone as a social shield protecting themselves from certain forms of social interaction and only connecting to the “highly familiar predictable relationships”(Fortunati 2000). This can be seen in the way the mobile user can insulate themselves within the own social group. Ichiyo Habuchi refers to this as “telecocooning” where technology stops certain forms of communication confining communications to smaller pre-existing socially intimate networks.

Negative social effects of Mobile technology a “pacifier for adults” an umbilical cord connecting themselves to their intimate social groups. Giving the user “a permanent channel of communications during periods of spatial distance” (Ling 2004).The negative side of this is that the user starts to lose certain abilities. Such as the ability to make their own judgements and the loss of specific social skills. As they communicate only within their own groups they lose the ability to interact in unpredictable situations. This happens because of the mobile phone user becoming used to strongly defined social encounters. This closed interaction leads to the splintering of languages into informal sub-cultural forms of expression.

With the mobiles fluid time there is no longer a need to look ahead, before with fixed phone lines here was a need to plan and once plans were made it was difficult to change. Systems that require planning and schedules such as public transport, schools and other institutes, create a tension between the fluid dynamic mobile time and fixed schedules. Townsend remarks that minutes, hours and days are all shattered into a constant stream of negotiations, reconfigurations and rescheduling. Able to interrupt friends and colleagues at any time connected to a “phonespace” unable to give up this link as it is the only line that connects us to the temporary spatially fragmented network of friends and colleagues that they have constructed for themselves. Studies have shown the greatest effect of technology is that the current situation becomes dominant while the impact of rules and schedules decline. Which have impacted how interspace is used. Interspace which is defined as a time of transit between two events such as home and work. Since the arrival of mobile phones, interspace has become a field of restructuring allowing a person in interspace to redefine events through mobile use. The capacity of the mobile phone to redefine space has led to the mobile phone user been forced into multiple specific roles in the same location. Before the mobile phone, social identities were generally location based. Where a person was situated defined their identity based on a fixed communication system.

Ling mentions that mobile telephony has cut out the intermediary there is no longer a need for a secondary system that is not synchronised with mobiles fluid time and does not allow the direct interaction that mobile technologies offer.

The importance of 3G networks is that they increase the ability to customise technology, bringing about the idea of “user as content producer” an example of this would be I-mode an mobile based internet system is seen as giving users the ability to create a more personal and unique identity, while being able to add more warmth, humanity and immediacy to technology by bringing warmth to technology. Studies have also shown the main uptake of mobiles is the need for security and safety. Because of this need for safety mobile users have given up certain personal freedoms to be connected and available at all times. Instead of an invisible social controlling force, the control comes from our own social groups.

Phase 1

Firstly I will need to examine and define the ubiquitous nature of mobile technologies, the need to find out why mobile technologies are defined as ubiquitous. As well as a working definition of mobile technologies, the definition of mobile technologies will need to contain a meaning that is applicable to my research.

Phase 2

During this phase I will need to look closely at the impact of mobile technologies on communications. Looking at the changes that have occurred since the advent of the mobile phone, specifically the impact of mobile communications on advertising (conceptual communications).

Most of the research done through phase 1 & 2 will be secondary sources which will allow me to build up a general understanding of the evolution of mobile communications and advertising. Through the research in phase 1 & 2 there will be a development of key issues above where emphasis should be placed for the advertising communication. Should advertising communications be placed on the mediums technologies i.e. new hardware and software developments or should higher-value be placed on communications in the realm of the mobile phone by that I mean using pre-existing communications and refining them. By the end of phase 2 there should be a couple of working theories that I can use, which will help in developing a stronger framework.

Phase 3

During phase 3 there will be a critical review of sources directly related to the use of marketing tools and how they are utilised in mobile advertising. Finding out if there is a critical engagement and realisation by advertisers of the personal and private nature of the mobile phone, and how this realization if any has impacted on mobile advertising campaigns.

Last night I downloaded a demo of an amazing game called Audiosurf. The game kind of looks like one of those visualisation plug-ins except you get to fly through the music. When you start Audiosurf; you direct the game to your music files and basically the game will take your music file and create a racetrack from the beats and tempo. The game looks a bit like a guitar hero but the game play is more like Tetris. As I was saying the game is based on ones selected sound file so as the beat builds it is shown as slowly ascending a hill but when the beat reaches its top BPM you have this exhilarating rush as you descend rapidly following the music, getting totally into the beats. Every track is unique to the song which totally gives the game longevity. The first song I tried was DJ Shadow’s “Building steam from a grain of sand” which was pretty good, then I tried Fat Boy Slim “Gangsta Trippin” and that was better some heavy fast beats, but then I tried the Orbital remix of the Doctor Who theme song that was a mind blowing rollercoaster adventure. Probably the most amazing thing is the price only $10, if you buy it online from Valve. Audiosurf brings back all those old songs, it forces you to look through your MP3 selection and find those songs which could make the greatest tracks in the game. You can then go online and compete on other people’s soundtracks. One final warning about Audiosurf when you get into it, it’s highly addictive.

My research is about the invisible ties of mobile communications focused on conceptual communications. Primary research is very relevant to mobile marketing it is often used as a tool to measure consumer behaviour through surveys etc. If I were to use primary research I would need to understand the consumer in relation to the communications and the mobile medium.

There are possibilities of using a virtual survey, issues I might face with a virtual survey are that the response rate which can vary between 15-29%. This is very reliant on the topic of research, which may or may not encourage participation.

By using primary research I firstly would need to come up with a hypotheses (Def a proposition, or set of propositions, set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts.)(Dictionary.com) and a conceptual model (Def a type of diagram which shows of a set of relationships between factors that are believed to impact or lead to a target condition; a diagram that defines theoretical entities, objects, or conditions of a system and the relationships between them.) (Dictionary.com)

One hypothesis could be that, if mobile advertising is of use or providing a benefit, this would positively affect the willingness of the consumer to accept mobile advertising in the future.

The hypothesis would then lead to generating a methodology (Def the theoretical analysis of the methods appropriate to a field of study or to the body of methods and principles particular to a branch of knowledge.) (Dictionary.com) suited to what I need to achieve.

A methodology applicable to what I need to achieve could be the creation of a virtual mobile campaign, which would then link to a website. Within a specific timeframe I would send out a survey asking questions directly related to my virtual mobile campaign. The questionnaire would be broken up into 2 parts the first been demographic questions such as age, gender and medium usage etc. The second part would be a series of questions focused around what situation or location could the consumer find advertising of use on their mobile. As well as looking at how to quantify value of content and see if there is a base line value of information between respondents.

There are a couple of point I should mention, only well trusted brands are successful at incorporating a mobile channel into their goods and service promotions. Through my research it would be important to consider not just the medium or what is been communicated but who is actually saying it, in this case which brand and how.

Another point about mobile advertising is that the mobile user acts favourably to what they perceive as content that is of entertainment value and information value, which in time could lead to higher acceptance of advertisng on the mobile medium. It is not just about who is saying it, but the message needs to be creative, engaging and of perceived value. Perceived value can be defined as ratio between perceived benefits and perceived sacrifice (Monroe 1991: Zeithaml 1988)

Raulas, M.(2007),’An empirical study of the drivers of consumer acceptance of mobile advertising’, Journal of Interactive Advertising, vol. 7,no.2,

Okazaki, S.(2007),’How Mobile Advertising Works: The Role Trust in Improving Attitudes and Recall’, Journal of Advertising Research, vol.47, no.2

 

The hardest element of trying to create a Web-based documentary is how to deal with the user having the ability to choose their own story. When thinking of creating any story there is always a need to create subconsciously and overarching narrative, a visual journey. This overarching narrative structure is taken away by the hypertext nature of the web-based documentary. Questions that come to mind, is this structure still important? Will users structure the content to create what they perceive the story is to be?

The footage I have shot so far is a series of interviews with call of duty gamers. Through these interviews I want to break down the perceived ideas people have of gamers. Mass media still portrays gamers as dysfunctional with no ability to really interact socially. Through the interviews I want to deconstruct this imagined world of hard core gaming. To show gaming as any hobby, pointing out that there is a difference between enjoyment and addiction and that many gamers choose to play only for enjoyment.

An excellent point which was raised in the tutorial is that a non-gamer who had never seen a first person shooter would be shocked at the level of violence, which I did not realise. I have played a number of first person shooters and have become oblivious to the level of violence shown. I have forgotten that first person shooters are a violent type of social interaction which makes my job more difficult, because that even portraying the gamers as normal and interviewing them when one sees the in game footage there is that level of violence which might defeat what I’m trying to achieve. So that is the main problem by showing the nature of the game, no matter how pleasantly normal the interviewee is. Will the realistic violence of the game polarise the viewer against my portrayal of gamers as just regular guys.

 

 

 

Working Title: Invisible Ties of Mobile Technology

Due to the ubiquitous nature of mobile technologies, conceptual communications in a market economy have underestimated the impact of these technologies on both explicit and implicit communications. From these invisible communications certain issues arise, should emphasis be placed on the effective use of the mediums technologies or the effective use of communications on the medium. Organisations that focus on commercial market driven communications need to understand the relationships between the mobile phone as a marketing tool as well as the very personal & private nature of the mobile phone to the individual user.

 

 

The research I have done so far has been to look at the effectiveness of advertising. One good book I have read has been “In defence of advertising arguments from Reason, Ethical Egoism, and Laissez-Faire Capitalism” written by Jerry Kirkpatrick. What I found interesting about this book is the definition of advertising which is; advertising is a conceptual communication in a market economy.  Another definition was advertising is an accelerator it speeds up the acceptance of new products, thus encouraging the development of more new products. The author makes the case that denying advertising is in essence denying the market economy and thereby individual freedom. This is a very simplistic summary of the book, the book looks in depth at the philosophies of Marxism, Kant and Ayn Rand and uses these philosophies and world views to place advertising in the current market environment as the point man of capitalism. The book makes a very good case for advertising as an essential tool of capitalism and freedom. There still does need to be some kind of control mechanism in place to protect the consumer from the more deceptive types of advertising, especially if it can be hazardous to the individual’s well-being.

 

For my documentary website I am looking specifically at the online gaming community and the game in particular is Call of Duty 4. What I’m hoping to change is the perception people have of gamers. The gamers I know all have families they have normal lives and for them gaming is just a hobby. The reason I’ve chosen Call of Duty 4, is that I play COD4 with a few of my friends every Sunday night and I understand the social aspect of online gaming. So what I want to achieve in this documentary is to show gamers in a different light. What I have found out so far is that gaming gets very mixed emotions from different people. Some see gaming as a very negative hobby believing that it is just software based and therefore non-transferable at all to the real world in anyway. Others use gaming as a way to relax and in some sense socialise with others when online. I already have conducted a few interviews and the content is already looking interesting.

The premise that my research is based on is that advertising communications are needed in our current capitalist system. I am not arguing about the value of advertising, I don’t believe that advertising will ever disappear. This thesis is to try to get the best out of advertising for the consumer.

The question that I am asking is; how would the individual like to be communicated to about brands and products on their mobile in the future, while adding value to their lives?

Is the problem worth asking? In the current environment where so many products are of equal value the need to build a strong brand identity through communications becomes of great relevance. The mobile medium allows the possibility of another point of contact, where advertisers can build up a more personal relationship with the customer. The mobile medium will allow the advertiser to develop positive attitudes in consumers by creating content of higher value.

Who is my research for? My research would be of interest to those in advertising or those involved in any communications where the effective use of the medium becomes of greater importance. Or those who want to approach the mobile medium as a medium in itself not just a smaller version of a traditional media. Through my research I really want to look at mobiles as a networked medium and think critically about the technologies ability to add an extra dimension of value to content.

Is my research viable and relevant? As consumers become more suspicious and ambivalent to advertising, there is a greater need to change perceptions. As mobiles are a very personal technology, to use the medium effectively communications have to be personal and of value. The model that has been applied to traditional media, no longer is applicable to the mobile medium. The relevance of a new system is of great importance, the need for personal advertising of a truer connection is vital in sustaining any brand.

It is difficult to discuss a singular solution as there is a multitude of marketing communications based around an array of small to large businesses on varying budgets. Most businesses cannot affordably sustain a personal relation with their clients, but to those organisations out there that sees more than just the bottom line and realise that an investment in sustained and value communications can in some cases future prove themselves against rapid changes in the current environment.