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Saturday, February 29, 2020
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
It Starts with Us: Personal Responsibility
Let’s begin with some concessions. The author of this article concedes the following: Advertising and marketing behaviors are in fact based on tested and effective psychological and sociological methods. Taste, smell and other sensory perceptions and preferences can, in fact, scientifically be found in concentration, in select demographics and communities of interest. These concessions are made in deference to any person or persons who might be unaware of the constancy with which business and personal interests are manipulating their perceptions of choice. In acknowledging these concessions, it is the author’s hope that readers might concede the following: that the routine manipulations produced through the psychological and sociological use of the routine advertising and marketing of consumer products and services is a well known and documented occurrence, and that, as such, should be stipulated as common knowledge.
The studies into the precise nature of marketing and advertising psychological effects from passive to more aggressive techniques such as those researched in the mid 20th century into subliminal techniques are well known common knowledge.
With these stipulations in place, we can begin an honest discussion about the personal responsibilities of individuals to use sound decision-making strategies to navigate the complexities of daily life as both consumers and citizens.
In recent years several health and behavioral epidemics have been identified and targeted for their negative impacts on the general health and welfare of human beings and society. A few of these include the detrimental effects of obesity, nicotine addiction, consumer credit use and more. All of these represent a clear and present threat to the beneficial health and well being of both individuals and society as a whole. In a society, however, where manufactures, advertisers, and distributors of consumer goods are often held to account for the impacts of their products on the populace, the question remains as to what the obligations of consumers might be with regard to their own decisions and decisions made by them that might have impacts on others.
To begin, we will look at the obesity epidemic that has been identified, in particular, in western or U.S. society. Obesity is a dangerous threat to public health and welfare. Obesity can lead to several severe health problems, including heart disease, hypertension, joint and muscle debilitation and more. It is particularly important that we look at obesity, as it resultant of specific behaviors, not organic or hormonal conditions.
The ongoing battle against obesity has taken many shapes. Public or government initiatives to promote healthy consumption habits, as well as broad reaching regulatory mandates, are tools employed to combat this problem. One of the most often recourses for individuals has increasingly become litigation between the purported victims of this epidemic and those who knowingly manufacture, distribute or market products that have an apparent connection to or seem outwardly to contribute to, poor health habits with regard to weight gain. Law suits with fast food companies, grocery producers and even scientific endeavors working in the farming of crops and livestock have been targeted if the resulting products appear to contribute in any way to obesity or related behavioral disorders.
The question remains, as to the culpability of each individual for deciding to consume these products once it is known that said products are being marketed to a susceptible population. It is a foregone conclusion that once a product is brought to market, it should in fact be marketed directly to those most likely to purchase them. If an individual fits this demographic, then it can be assumed that that individual is most likely targeted for distribution. Once we know this, is it now left to this individual to make the final and accountable decision to consume or not, any such product? It can be, as above, stipulated that advertisements for such products will endeavor to produce a specific behavior, based on a targeted psychological appeal. However, the question remains, is the targeted demographic group or individual still the arbiter of the final resultant decision?
Nicotine “vaping” is one of the most recent epidemics among young people through out the country. In much the same way fast food, consumer soft drinks, and other non-essential products and services are marketed, demographic studies are engaged, psychological profiles are established, and market research directed toward identifying successful methods for manipulating consumer behaviors that are undertaken. Advertising methods are then put into practice and consumption begins. The question now bears repeating. Is the consumer or targeted demographic group or individual still reasonably responsible for the deliberate purchase and use of a product?
If we fully stipulate that we as a populace is aware of and knowable of the fact that our behaviors are the target of specific manipulation by advertising and marketing standard practices used by any and all consumer services, then we must accept that said knowledge is, at the least, a first step toward the deliberations needed to be a smart and informed consumer. If this is true, then it is derivative that the ultimate decision to act to purchase, use or consume any product is exclusively that of the individual, and that the individual assumes at the point of purchase, the sole responsibility for their own actions.
For this to be the case, any and all information about the product must be disclosed. In much the same way U.S. regulations require a surgeon general’s warning on cigarette packages, nutritional facts be published on food staples or behavioral dangers be printed on irons or other appliances, any health or welfare risks must be disclosed, so that the ultimate decision of the individual can be considered an informed and deliberate one.
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING:
To serve the above stated purposes, full disclosure and a more informed consumer population, fairness and truth in advertising regulations have been established throughout history. Efforts to reduce these restrictions in favor of the so-called “free-market” have met with limited but important success. While general health and welfare concerns are often still requisite, they can be psychologically countered by hyperbolic claims about the salutary benefits or effects of products. Many regulations have been utilized to limit these, often disingenuous, claims, but few have survived the overwhelming pressures of the “free-market” to allow manufactures and distributors to profit from their endeavors. This makes the struggle to produce a truly informed consumer public a difficult one.
In the 21st century, the seemingly unrelenting growth of social media and other internet-based information platforms has made it even more difficult to become a truly informed consumer. It is easy for providers, distributors and manufacturers to produce their own media content and influence the targeted consumer market. For this reason, the fully independent press-media market must be protected. This presents a growing difficulty as media companies struggle to diversify and become embedded in the consumer marketplace. Ownership of press-media providers by consumer goods manufacturers and distributors is increasingly prevalent, making the independent media more difficult to find. There are few regulations with regard to the ownership and influence of the presumed 4th estate, and many have been stricken as intrusive to the “free-market.” This means that it is more incumbent on media consumers to vary and critically analyze media that is directed toward them.
These trends also have salutary effects. Independent media was throughout much of the 20th century, controlled by a limited number of companies and individuals. Understanding that these have merged, diversified and reduced in numbers, while access to the Internet and social media has increased, means that there are opportunities for entrepreneurs with a genuine interest in an independent media structure. The single responsibility of consumers with regard to media today, is to be vigilant in seeking unbiased, disconnected and critically neutral media in a growing sea of choices. It is also incumbent upon consumers to know and be able to distinguish media that caters to opinion-based or paid editorializing. A general rule to apply to any editorial content that is aimed at providing information, is to analyze the content to determine if it is designed to reinforce or challenge one’s world view. If an article purports to bolster your opinions, or unduly challenges them from a distinct point of view, the content is not informative, it is designated as influential and at its best, is editorializing, and at its most extreme, advertising or ad vocation.
THIS ARTICLE (For Example) IS EDITORIAL CONTENT and is NOT Journalistically NUETRAL.
The sole and single most vital ability of a consumer or citizen is to make unilateral and arbitrary decisions. It is the right, and this article argues the sole right, and responsibility of each individual to inform themselves, form and reinforce critically considered opinions, and ultimately determine through thoughtful and deliberate consideration, to act or behave in accordance with or opposition to, the conditioned and solicited manipulations of consumer goods and services providers, distributors and manufacturers. In short, each of us must decide, knowing that we are being solicited to act in certain ways and purchase certain things, whether or not to do so.
ONLY, when we each as individuals, make deliberate choices and accept that we are in fact still the arbiters of the rewards and consequences of these decisions, can we free ourselves to consumer, citizen or to become provider, manufacturer or distributors of information, goods or services and in effect, take vital control over our economic, societal and individual health and well-being.
These are, as always, the rambling thoughts of a guy who is no smarter than any of you, and these opinions are submitted to each reader for consideration, nothing more.
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Myths, Dangers and Sustainability
There is little doubt that streaming content over the internet has changed the face of media, in fact of all the arts and entertainment community, drastically, intuitively and forever. Streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, as well as broadcast and content sharing platforms such YouTube and Vimeo, have altered not only the way media is distributed, but how and by whom it is produced.
With almost every cable network or broadcaster having a significant presence on one or more of these services, as well as the trend toward creating individual streaming or web casting apps, there can be no doubt that the Internet is the broadcast media of today and tomorrow.
Combined with the way more consumers are watching media, listening to music and even purchasing goods and services, it would seem that web streaming is going to revolutionize the arts and entertainment industry in ways yet to be discovered.
But, it is sustainable? That is a question that is being asked more today than ever in the early days of this digital content revolution.
Even as media giant and entertainment mega-corporation Walt Disney set to jump on board the digital streaming band wagon, the relative lackluster performance of services such as CBS All Access and the DC Universe streaming app, as well as the notable losses that individual apps are already causing in streaming giants such as Netflix, it would seem that the question of long term stability and sustainability is the most important question, if the technology and its applications are to be mainstays of the industry someday.
What do the losses and trends say about this? Well, it would seem that we must look to the entirety of this century-plus- old industry to learn what will be needed to carry the streaming content craze to its next phase.
First, we must examine some ideas that are long known and little studied, such as the most unreliable source of revenue for media producers and distributors, which has always been that from the media consumer individually. Media consumption patterns do not consistently match consumer spending patterns or economic health. In fact, it is arguable that downturns in economic health often create a greater demand for media content, which, due to the circumstances, cannot be afforded by media consumers. Because specific general health, staple and lifestyle are prioritized by the mass of consumers, these often become the most reliable and long tern providers of revenues. Soap and food products have been the longest and most stable sources of funding for media producers and distributors.
The only successful content media delivery and content production service to rely directly on media consumers has been the Cable TV industry, which in no small part is due to streaming and Internet content providers failing through attrition. While this industry flourished in its early days due in large part due to its ability to deliver greater quantities of varied content directly and reliably to consumers, it’s reliance on these consumers for revenue has led to greater competition and the reliability of the Internet has become more sustainable. It has also seen greater competition from within its ranks as many Cable TV stations and Channels are jumping headlong into the streaming game, and some streaming services have consolidated their services and agreements with content producers to form ad hoc cable services such as the Hulu Live Streaming Service, which is arguably a direct challenge to cable TV providers.
In this way, streaming underdog Hulu, through this latest Hulu Live venture, may be ahead of the curve. This lead can only remain or become a viable avenue for other services if content producers and broadcast distributors remain committed to such a radically “mundane” model. While prudence might dictate this, it requires a commitment to the tenants that have made media casting successful for a century, and in acceptance that it is counter intuitive to dry up the individual financial wells of consumers.
Because Cable TV was in and of itself a single service based industry, it is easily the first target in the streaming wars of this decade.
To produce a multi-tiered and sustainable content creation and delivery mechanism using the internet, it is necessary to look to the earliest models of broadcast and content production to recreate the fervor that has been longest sustained through Depression, Recovery, Recession, and Prosperity in full measure.
Understanding that the media consumer is the least reliable revenue source, and that staple providers and other commercial entities are the most stable and sustainable sources of revenue, they are a mainstay of the industry that has long withstood the changing technologies. These advantages are already, in fact, built into the Internet and its wide range of services. Youtubers, for example, rely heavily on ad revenue to produce content and to distribute it.
Hulu, hase even its paid Hulu Live service, which relies heavily on ad based revenue to off-set the need for higher rates that would force it to compete directly with long established cable TV providers.
Even cable TV providers knew that this kind of revenue was needed if long term stability was going to be created, thus as cable prices often fluctuated in their 50 year run as the top of the entertainment distribution food chain, advertising revenues remained a staple of stability.
To see streaming and Internet delivery and production succeed in the long term, it is going to be necessary to reduce the costs to media consumers while increasing the revenues collected to both create and distribute media, and for more than a century, manufacturing, retail and production companies have been the single most sustainable source of funding.
The answer may be simple, but hard to hear for millennial media execs. Stop trying to sell already financially strapped consumers, already established as the least viable revenue sources, new media services which promise only to take content away from one service to redistribute them through another, when the answer to the question of long term sustainability is answerable by studying the history of the industry more closely and seeing what has been plain for a century: Sell advertising to those whose products, services and creations are viewed as necessary and whose sales are inevitable, whose concerns are not for survival of a product but for achievement of greater market shares.
This is the way from which new media content can be best produced, distributed and profited. It is the way to a sustainable streaming and webcasting industry that will last as long as the top 3 true broadcasting companies, ABC, CBS and NBC. It has been their market strategy from inception and even amidst cable TV intrusion, it sustained the industry.
Just an observation from a guy not any brighter than you!
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Understanding Facts, Fictions, Truths and Tomes
To understand the complex dynamics of writing fiction, journaling current events or becoming a writer, an understanding of words seems a good start. In any case, understanding of a few select words is a must for the writer.
First, the word truth is an important part of any writer’s vocabulary. Truth, simply put, is a set of circumstances in which events unfold in predictable ways. Truth is most commonly thought to be universal, and its implications are certainly widely shared, but truth cannot be reliably consistent within the given context, as it is very much subject to the perceptions of individuals within this context. For this reason, one often hears the phrase, “to tell your truth.” Truth can most often be defined as the specific honest perceptions and reaction of individuals within a specified context. This is most often the purview of the fiction writer, as it is only the fiction writer that can alter the specified context to establish the predictable outcomes of situations through often differing perspectives of characters.
Fact is yet another vital part of a writer’s tool box. Facts are circumstances that are above reproach and beyond interpretation. They establish a baseline against which truths and perceptions, as well as outcomes can be measured. Fact is also a perspective, but it is most often a generic and more objective perspective, which can seldom be negated by individual perspective. Fact is the omniscient third person logical perspective, most often captured by video, audio or through the amalgamation of individual truths which are interpreted by finding points of consistency. Fact is most typically and properly in the dominion of journalists and news reporters. Journalists who chronicle fact, often find it easy to establish trust with readers and observers, as facts are rarely able to be dismissed as maters of perspective, opinion or bias.
While fact and truth can complement one another, and do often, they can also conflict with one another as well. A limited perspective of events may provide a truthful accounting that does not include all of the facts of a circumstance. Similarly, a factual accounting of any circumstance may often negate the emotional, spatial or contextual truth of the same situation. These ambiguities are relevant in many cases of journalistic reporting or even fiction development, as in order to establish a story of interest to readers, one must produce the most complete chronicle of events. If the purpose of a chronicle is merely to inform, then it is likely that fact will be of greater import. If the purpose of the chronicle is to move or convince or to elicit, in the case of fiction writing, the voluntary suspension of disbelief, then it is most beneficiary to have a truthful perspective that is easily relatable.While the words fact and truth are often seen by casual observers as the same, they are not.
A question in today’s journalistic community that is most often wrestled with is, “What is spin?”
Spin by the most comprehensive and simple definition is the argument of truth to influence the outward reaction to a set of facts. When done properly, spin should never oppose facts, and should always be derived from a position of truth.
As an example, if four people are seated at a perfectly square table, and a glass of water is placed on the table, spin is the art of reaching a consensus of all those seated that the glass has been placed truthfully as it is perceived from one person. If the water is placed in front of one person, that person may perceive the water as being at the “front” of the table, while the person seated opposite them might perceive the glass as to the “back” of the table. The person seated to the left, might perceive the glass as being to his or her right, while the person to the right will likely perceive the truth of the glass’s position to be to their left. All are correct in their assessment of truth. In fact, all that might be logically and objectively observed is that the glass of water has been placed on the table. If one wished to reach a consensus that the water was in the position that one perceived it at, instead of the less specific fact, one would argue or “spin” the truth to convince the others of such a perspective.
One might argue that because the water was further from the opposite side, and because right and left are obviously subjective, that the most logical statement of position is that the glass is, in fact, right in front of one’s self, and thus might imply ownership of the glass or its contents. While said argument is logically based in a truth, and does not contradict the fact, its implications may not be sound, but cannot be denied if agreed upon.
When a writer creates a fictional world and populates it with fictional characters and creatures, it is most often observed that these stories are best received by readers when creatures and characters act and react in logically predictable ways based upon circumstances that unfold in a truthful way. In these cases, the facts of each circumstance are subject to the will of the creative writer who is creating the environment. The truths however, must be honest reactions based in the most universal truths of the readers. The more universal the truths, the more popular the story can be. Love, discovery, ambition, and survival for instance are common literary themes that elicit very predicable sets of behavior and thus are seen as universal in their appeal. In stark juxtaposition are themes such as satirical, political or socio-economic commentary. While such intrigues are common place, the circumstances of each are often rooted in the collective moment, and while each tale might find popularity, they might find it difficult to remain relevant to future readers. There are always exceptions to such, as stories that touch on the base emotional tones, while unfolding sociological circumstances can become staples of popular imagination, such as the case of many Charles Dickens stories.
As a writer, the most important thing to retain about these distinct words is that they are not the same. That each of these words drives a story in a specific direction and once that direction is established, a faithful follow through to the inevitable outcome is essential. If a journalist relies too heavily upon truth, rather than evidentiary act, then a news story will provoke emotional and often irrational responses that are either intentionally or unintentionally the result of bias and perspective. If a fiction writer gets bogged down in the mire of historical or scientific fact, then inevitably their story might suffer from a lack of relatable characters or a mundane story-line, which will likely be detrimental to the tale or to the reader experience. For this reason, it is particularly important that writers craft their works with a complete and full understanding of these tools, and their use, as well as an understanding of how they interact and can best serve the desired outcome of the written work.
Now that we have established some fundamental guidelines, go forth and tell the truth, be it in fact or fiction, it will set your stories free!
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Time to get your Cover Model on with John Antorino! Host GW Pomichter talks with John Antorino during the Book Obsessed Babes Author Signing Event in St. Augustine Florida to find out how he got into modeling for book covers & magazines, his acting career, including upcoming starring role in A Cup Full of Crazy and more! Take a moment and come Hang With us!
The Hangin With Web Show is sending out a SPECIAL THANKS to our friends & partners who help support the show and the fabulous creators we bring to the limelight, including Taira Wilds host of BOBASE, Yvonne Mason the lovely host of Off The Chain, Space Coast Comixx, Famous Faces & Funnies, Radio.com, Celestial Healings, Coggler Emporium, Krypton Radio, JBauerArt and Foxwood Wine Company…you guys rock!