bentangle

Tag: Facebook

Macklemore

by on Mar.27, 2013, under money, music, philosophy, politics

It started with silence, empty air. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the radio in the car even though I still appreciate new music. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge, so my morning and afternoon commutes became a vehicle to slake that thirst. I can certainly bore you with the details of my podcast consumption habits that formed from there, but that isn’t really the point of this story. The point is that with the recurring set of shows I had come to listen to, I had gotten ahead of my supply with plenty of road ahead of me. So, recalling hearing good things about The Nerdist from somewhere, I queued up the latest episode and was instantly hooked.

Two weeks later (late last week), I’m listening to Chris Hardwick chatting with this YouTube Rap/HipHop artist named Macklemore. It was a compellingly interesting episode, but without clips of his songs my curiosity was only mildly piqued. But over the weekend, on an evening after the kids were in bed, I sought out his supposed breakout hit, and here is what I found:

Say what you like, but this thing is hilarious, catchy, clearly not kid friendly (glad I listened after bedtime), fun and light, and also has a message nested in there.

Jump to today – there has been a bit of a Facebook movement where people are changing their profile pics to red squares with pink equal signs on them (or some variant thereof). This is in support of marriage equality and coincides with the Supreme Court’s initiation of hearing arguments about California’s Proposition 8. I’ve read the arguments that this is a weak move and that a stronger action would be to donate money to causes, etc. I don’t care – I partook and I stand by the sentiment that it stands for – we all deserve to live and love equally.

So this evening as I’ve relaxing (once again having gotten the kids settled for the night) and perusing the musings on Facebook when an inkling tickles the back of my brain from that Nerdist episode – Macklemore also spoke of another song he did that got some mixed reaction called Same Love:

I watched this and got goosebumps and nearly cried, emotions swelled – a mix of pride and hope as well as shame and sorrow. Watch it, and you will get it (or you won’t, you are entitled I guess). This is more than just a music video – it is a short film as well as an anthem for the marriage equality and gay rights movement. I immediately posted it to Facebook.

The point that I’m getting to here is this: I could sit here right now and write entire blog posts about each of these videos. And if I did, the Venn diagram of their traits would be a small sliver of awesome. The one – a serious and moving story and diatribe about the plight of a yet oppressed minority within our nation and world, the other – a light, pompous romp about making fashion gold out of Goodwill fare (with an unveiled jab at the fashion/consumerist establishment). Together, these songs (and many others) paint the picture of a complex, intelligent individual who has a decided talent for expression through verse – one whom I now have a great appreciation and respect for and had otherwise no knowledge of two weeks ago.

Am I about to start clothes shopping at thrift stores now? Not likely. Am I gearing up to march on Washington over political issues? Not this week, but I wouldn’t rule it out. What I’ve really learned from this is two things: First, never underestimate a medium – I was never a big fan of HipHop and mostly dismissed it as the messages were all gold, guns, and girls, but here I was proven wrong. Second, labels don’t always fit – Macklemore doesn’t get much radio airplay as he is unsigned and pretty much a YouTube artist. But Billboard is starting to get where the audience is, and as such, he made it on the charts AS an unsigned YouTube artist and has since been on SNL and various other gigs (again, I could likely do a whole blog post on this topic as well).

The bottom line is that if I can still have my mind opened further at the age of 37, we all can if we let it happen. If it’s from this, you’re welcome. If it is from something else, that’s great too. But the moment you close out new experiences you stop living in the world, and the world is a variegated and interesting place.

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Window to the Future

by on Jun.23, 2010, under technology

It seems that I can’t escape them.  I’ve been through my honeymoon phase with Facebook so I’m past the crest of full immersion and on to the phase where I’ve blocked most of the game and app requests so that my news stream looks less like some sort of ticker feed from a bizarre slot machine and more like a list of random status updates and photo posts (which I’ve gotten somewhat out of the habit of reading often anyway).  And yet this morning I found that some have taken to the closed door / open window philosophy to an odd new level.

I was on my way to work, had refueled my wheels and decided that I needed some fuel myself.  So I pulled into 7-Eleven to pick up some form of caffeine-based liquid enrichment.  As I do, in the same spot they normally place their product-promoted Slurpee poster of the moment, I saw something surprising.  It seems that the current promotional cup series for this product features various Facebook games – specifically depicted were Farmville, Yo-ville, and Mafia Wars.

As an aware consumer and one who works and has worked in various levels of marketing-adjacent industries, I like to think that I get on a core level how product placement advertising works and how important demographic targeting can be to marketing success.  It would not have occurred to me to align the users of such niche games as these in an application of fairly broad but still limited reach to the consumers of such products (though in thinking more about it, perhaps it does make a sort of sense).  But typically such cross-product promotion is intended to (a) drive the consumer to buy the immediate product (e.g., get a Slurpee because it has a cool cup) and also (b) drive the consumer to buy into the brand featured (e.g., if they were Iron Man cups, go out and see Iron Man and/or buy other Iron Man merchandise).  In this case, the featured brand is a series of free games that themselves are advertiser-subsidized.  I guess driving customers to consume such products still results in increased revenue for the producer (after all, Google fits a similar paradigm and they advertise), but it seems like a step in a new and unusual direction.

I’m curious where this will proceed.  Should I expect to next see a set of iPhone app-themed coffee mugs (could you imagine the potential of an iFart travel mug)?  Perhaps this is the dawn of a new era of marketing.  Who knows.  The only thing I can know for sure is that even with the best of efforts, Farmville is inescapable.

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Irony

by on Jun.13, 2009, under Internet

It is often said that this word is misused (which is often correct). We will use ‘ironic’ in speech all the time in reference to incidences of coincidence or oddity or as an incorrect substitute for sarcastic. I say we because I’m certainly guilty of it myself. I try to be conscious of it and avoid it when i can, but in speech it can pass as such with most simply due to the ubiquity of its misuse.

Merriam Webster lists the following as one of the definitions of irony: “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result”. In other words, if you take action specifically to foster a certain result and the opposite result occurs, you have just been a victim of irony. This was a fairly common theme in much of Shakespearian tragedy and is often referred to as tragic irony.

Today I have come to realize that I have made myself a victim of tragic irony. You see, I had long been reluctant to conform to the masses by being drawn into social networking. I initially set up this blog because, well, I had the domain and figured it could serve as a digital journal. I hope that some enjoy reading it, but traffic has never really been a strong goal. But recently I’ve decided to try to make more efforts to grow an audience.

As some of you may know, I am now a Facebook member and in an effort to drive traffic to my blog, I’ve connected my blog feed into it. And oddly, as I’ve been getting more feedback on my writing there, I’ve watched my analytics plummet. As it turns out, the feed stream does not get tracked as a hit on my site, and having full access to the posts in Facebook, no one is coming to my site to read them.

So the very efforts I’ve enacted in order to increase traffic to my site, has resulting in a huge drop in said traffic. While I’m glad that my writing is being well received, I am already making steps alter things. From now on, I will post links to these posts manually on Facebook – thus only including a blurb and forcing people to read the full content here. I hope you forgive any inconvenience this may cause – such a move feels like I’m trying to assert control over my work as if it were some sort of intellectual property (well, I guess it kind of is, but it isn’t like I’m making money off of it regardless – I just like positive graphs). If this move seems to drive even more of you away from my writing, that would indeed be yet another twist of irony (I think).

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Socially Conscious

by on May.21, 2009, under Internet, technology

It seems that I’m branching out.  I’ve done something that I didn’t think that I’d ever do – I signed up on Facebook.  I avoided it for a long time, but now I’m in and I can’t leave it alone.

The thing is, I’m not technophobic.  Internet technology is my life and my work.  I’ve been doing some form of social networking long before it had a name.  In college, well before the majority of the world knew what a website was (mostly because very few people had seen one yet), I had found myself absorbed into a realm of online chat rooms and bbs sites and usenet groups – so much so that I nearly failed my second semester.  Which is precisely one of the reasons that I have forced myself to be cautious of my involvement in such services since.

I use email and IM, but mostly only as needed and primarily reactively (many of my friends can attest to the fact that I’m not very good at keeping in touch).  I’ve generally reserved my use of the internet as an information tool and avoided active engagement.  Even this blog is something I do fairly casually and without any strong compunction to vigilance (readership is not a strong goal here – though I do thank those of you who choose to read).

So as I said, I took that plunge.  It was initially not intended for dedicated use (I actually created my account to be able to test something for work).  But I’m not it now and I’m connecting with lots of people that I haven’t talked to or seen in years (in some cases, decades).  I try to limit the time I spend there (it can be addictive), but I’m there and I’m embracing it.  I figure it will be an interesting way to learn some things about some of the people with whom I’ve crossed paths (and maybe they will learn a few things about me as well).  Maybe my life will be profoundly effected by people I previously barely knew.  Who knows.  The least I can do is branch out there and see what happens.

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Out of Network

by on Aug.19, 2008, under career, Internet

I will admit that I’m not big on online social networking.  Maybe I’m too old or it just doesn’t seem important enough, but I don’t have a page on FaceBook or MySpace (actually I do have one on MySpace, but only for work-related testing – I have no friends there, I even deleted Tom).  I don’t have any interest in Twitter, and most of the web content I read is for news/information.  I signed up a few years back on Classmates, but only to try and find some old friends from high school – I don’t keep my information current.  To all of this, there is one exception – LinkedIn. (continue reading…)

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