Google, YouTube and Smirkoff: Pseudo Hiphop for the Conspicuous Consumer Sells
September 30, 2007
Chester (2007) illustrates how the Google-sold media ad Green Tea Partay on Google-owned YouTube (viewed 3M times) featuring a pseudo-hiphop-for-the-conspicuous-consumer cleverly conceals an ad for Smirkoff Vodka.
A single tab (window) in Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 presented as a single ‘page’ on a computer screen resembles the classic print-version newspaper more than the classic web page from the 1990s. With Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 blogs (and even your very personal Gmail) and ad-enhanced content there is a cacophony of voices, a postmodern irony to the conflicting messages in advertisements, news, opinions, reviews, classified ads displayed within one frame. We became used to the classical (but now largely outdated) unique web pages in one frame, window or tag that presented information from an author from a specific standpoint with virtually no peripheral advertising. As powerful search engines like Google using complex algorithms to connect information seekers to information providers combine with a brilliant ad-service, the boundaries between page-frame-window author and paid-publicity have become so blurred that the argument in the content of the page can conflict with the products and services sold on the page. In one blog, for example, articles, reports, studies, entertainment, infotainment, advertisements, news, opinions, reviews and classified ads all appear to have resonance, when in reality their messages diverge completely. The confusion is even greater when the content-author is not clearly identified.
We can no longer say that “the media is the message” because the rhizomic media network of Web 2.0 sends mixed, often conflicting messages.
Unfortunately, in the one area where conflicting ads are absent — academic journals — the exclusive, proprietorial nature of most of these require registration or pay-per-use. They are not easily accessible and are relegated to the realm of the deep Web or Internet (once called the Invisible Web).
The solution will probably not come from more policing of Google-like service providers. In an ideal world readers might be compelled to become increasingly sophisticated in distinguishing sources and might engage in more robust critical thinking. In a dystopic highly materialistic world-view we are only one click away from buying more of what we don’t need.
Related entries on Speechless
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Synset, Semantic Web, CBC and Alberta Oil.” September 28.
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