Mass Media and Social Issues – 9/24 Assignment CM302

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Please watch the following Frontline documentary Merchants of Cool.

You can watch the video by clicking HERE  “FRONTLINE correspondent Douglas Rushkoff examines the tactics, techniques, and cultural ramifications of the largest media organizations  in “The Merchants of Cool.”

Within each of the six video chapters you will hear from top marketers, media executives and cultural/media critics, and the teens who consume the images (messages).

As part of our assignment, I want you to consider the complexity of the relationship that exists between the media and today’s teens. Below my post, please provide your feedback. Consider the following questions:

1. Douglas Rushkoff states,  “The paradox of “cool hunting” is that it kills what it finds.” If this is true, what does this mean for new technologies as they lose their luster with younger consumers. Today in class we discussed Mark Zuckerberg’s comment, “Facebook is done with being cool”. Can the concepts discussed in Merchants of Cool be applied to new media?

2. Do you think young people are more sophisticated today than when this video was produced? Have social media changed the way young people experience cool? If so, how?

3. Finally, how are the major media conglomerates using the information they acquire from our internet and social media usage to leverage new brands, shows, etc. This article explores a few of the issues we have discussed in class regarding the big 5 Media Giants. Consider how although the tools of communication are evolving the underlying motivation of the media industry remains the same.

I look forward to reading your posts!

Dr. Marcello

6 thoughts on “Mass Media and Social Issues – 9/24 Assignment CM302

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  1. 1. Douglas Brushoff states, “The paradox of “cool hunting” is that it kills what it finds.” If this is true, what does this mean for new technologies as they lose their luster with younger consumers. Today in class we discussed Mark Zuckerburg comment, “Facebook is done with being cool”. Can the concepts discussed in Merchants of Cool be applied to new media?

    2. Do you think young people are more sophisticated today than when this video was produced? Have social media changed the way young people experience cool? If so, how?

    Facebook helps a lot of young people with low self-esteem show another side to them by expressing how they feel via internet access. People are so obsessed with Facebook and Twitter sometimes feel the need to say what they are afraid to say in person, on these internet sites. So as far as Facebook being done with cool, I have to disagree. People all over the world use Facebook and sometimes that’ their only way to stay in contact with family in other states and other countries. Mark must not really have a clue on what he helped create back in college. Facebook was the best idea anyone can think of, in my perspective. I think the youth is no longer sophisticated prior to the video’s recording. The young people of today are far more “out there” than back in the day. Yes, social media has changed the youth of today because, society sells sex and music. Young people only wanna either play a professional sport or be a musician, other careers are not highly discussed in classrooms. I believe the music of today also reflects on how the younger generations of today see the world. These kids only see money, clothes, and cars but don’t want to actually put in the time to do hard work in order to have those sort of things in life. Hard work pays off, and these kids will only have to find out through hard work in order to be successful in life.

  2. While the paradox of “cool hunting” may be that it kills what it finds, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t really become “cool” until it is discovered to begin with; until then it’s just a niche. So I don’t think it’s a paradox so much as just the nature of what it is to be cool because one of the requirements of being cool is that it’s “new” and “different” and there is only a small window of time where that is true for anything. As far as what this means for new technologies, I don’t think this is any different than it has always been since the beginning of mass media; the thing that evolves with the times is the thing that acquires longevity. I think the main difference now is that the rate at which things change is much faster than it used to be and will probably continue to speed up.

    In regards to whether young people are more sophisticated today than when this video was produced, it’s hard to say. While they certainly are more technologically advanced, they are still teen agers who are repeating the same patterns that have appeared in our society over the last several decades. Before there was Miley Cyrus there was Lady Gaga, Madonna and Marilyn Monroe. Before there was ICP there was GWAR and KISS. Even fashion goes around in cycles; my mother wore clothes that I wanted to wear when I was a teenager that have since resurfaced again. So in that sense there is nothing more sophisticated about the newer generations than the ones that came before. On the other hand, there is an increasing amount of exposure of young people who are developing and expressing more meaningful and sophisticated talents such as music, dance, painting, writing and even public speaking and intellect. Maybe I’m too far removed to know what is really going on in that age group but I really hope that depth of character is a rising trend that will stick around for a while.

    All that being said, however, the major media conglomerates only care about what is going to make them more money. One of the many unfortunate things about that is that it is usually the newest, shiniest thing that is going to do that the best so we end up with a main stream of just that; a seemingly unending flow of “next big things” that come out, shine for a minute then are tossed to the wayside as soon as the next thing comes out. The “Big 5” use internet and social media to get a glimpse of what is beginning to trend amongst young people and use that information to produce a thing that they are looking for, or even to produce things that they can convince young people that they are looking for.

  3. 1. Douglas Rushkoff states, “The paradox of “cool hunting” is that it kills what it finds.” If this is true, what does this mean for new technologies as they lose their luster with younger consumers. Today in class we discussed Mark Zuckerberg’s comment, “Facebook is done with being cool”. Can the concepts discussed in Merchants of Cool be applied to new media?

    I believe the concepts discussed in Merchants of Cool can be applied to new media. There are SOME similarities, but overall, things have changed. Today, the teenage generation is much more advances than it was when I was a teenagers. I see teenagers today acting totally different and more sexually in public– For example, Miley Cyrus on the VMA’s.

    2. Do you think young people are more sophisticated today than when this video was produced? Have social media changed the way young people experience cool? If so, how?

    I think young people are not more sophisticated today. Young people are more revealing and open then they are conservative. They also follow their icons, like Justin Bieber, who has turned into a ‘bad boy’ with drugs, rappers, police. Social Media has influenced ‘cool’ because that is how all the information is translated to the public, via instagram, perez hilton, facebook, twitter, etc.

  4. “The paradox of “cool hunting is that it kills what it finds” is, in my view, a catch twenty-two. I see it as these companies are out there seeing what the “cool people” are wearing, because the cool ones are always ahead of the fashion world, and try to expose it to the world through mass media. But, these companies advertise in a way that it can only last for a short amount of time; until the next big thing comes out. Facebook is “done being cool” because people are over it, they are onto the next big social media sites such as, Instagram or Twitter, but one day these sites will be uncool too. It is an ongoing cycle and these companies are killing these trends, just as quickly as they started them.
    I can’t say if the kids today are more sophisticated or not, but they do know more. As a communications major and a 21 year old girl who loves fashion I see it more now than I did before I declared my major, but maybe it is because I am opening up my eyes and actually seeing how ads follow us wherever we go. Young people never seem to change, although, “what’s cool” might change over time the minds don’t, they know that they want the newest Hollister top or the newest car because their parents will get for them and that’s what will make them cool in school or within their circle of friends.
    The big 5 Media Giants control everything we listen to, read, see, and hear, it is all controlled by these 5 giants, so what we hear never changes. Although the consumers may think what they are buying is their decision and it’s what they want, it’s the idea that these companies put inside the consumers head. It is almost as if they plant this chip inside our heads and when they want us to go and buy it they will put an ad out in a magazine for the product or a commercial… Even though we think we might not be doing it, we are, and they are controlling it all.

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