prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Archive for November, 2011

Show Your Best

Posted by prof e on November 28, 2011

The 2012 Olympic Games are coming to London next summer, and the International Olympic Committee wants to attract younger viewers. How will they do that, you ask? Well, how about a website that allows youngsters to upload video clips of themselves performing some athletic feat…then create a mashup with their footage and footage of real Olympic athletes that can be posted to their Facebook page. Oh, and there’s a chance to win prizes and a trip to the London Games in the process. Sounds like a perfect scheme to take advantage of the inflated egos of the “participation generation”…those who grew up getting ribbons and trophies just for showing up. As the campaign says, “everyone’s best is worth celebrating.”

You can watch an introductory video clip here:!/intro

According to a write-up in the New York Times,

Mike Doherty, the president of Cole & Weber, said the campaign’s theme would resonate with a younger audience since many are used to interacting with others around the world through platforms like social media and video games. Most important, he added, “they certainly all think they are the best at something.”


Posted in advertising, new media, social media | 44 Comments »

Facebook spammed with explicit and violent images

Posted by prof e on November 16, 2011

Facebook, which has heretofore managed to maintain a family friendly reputation, suffered a setback earlier this week when explicit and violent images began to show up on the site. According to news reports, hackers were able to exploit a security weakness to spread images which included “hardcore porn; photoshopped images of celebrities, including teen pop star Justin Bieber, in sexual positions; ‘extreme violence;’ and at least one image of an abused dog.” Images of this nature can be extremely disturbing and numerous victims of the scam have expressed outrage and intent to deactivate their accounts.

Facebook users whose accounts were hacked were unable to see the images that are being posted on their friends walls…even though the images appeared to be coming from their account activity. According to Facebook, “the spam attack all started with users being tricked into pasting and executing malicious JavaScript in their browser’s URL bar.” Some are suggesting that the security flaw was limited to a particular browser…specifically Internet Explorer. In any case, one lesson to be learned is to not click on links from questionable sources, and never copy and paste code into your browser’s URL bar.

Some suspected the hackivist group Anonymous who earlier had warned [YouTube] of a cyber-attack on Facebook for their policies which compromise users’ privacy. However, as of today Anonymous has not taken credit for this event and a new post on ZDNet claims that Facebook has identified the source of the attack.

If you think your Facebook account has been compromised, here’s a link to steps to take to try to restore order.

Posted in interactive media, new media, social media | 57 Comments »

Indecency on trial

Posted by prof e on November 11, 2011

How do you define indecency? Do you know it when you see it? Or hear it? Are fleeting expletives indecent? Or does it depend on the context? And most importantly, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines at stake, who gets to decide what is and what isn’t indecent? The National Association of Broadcasters recently filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the FCC’s enforcement of indecency rules is too vague and subjective, making it impossible for broadcasters to know what content might be subject to fines.

Some are wondering whether this brief is part of a larger effort to relax indecency regulations for broadcasters. Broadcasters, who have historically been much more restricted than cable networks when it comes to language, sex and violence, have felt that this differential treatment puts them at a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive environment. However, according to a quote published in Broadcasting & Cable, NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said, “We do agree with the networks and the Second Circuit that the FCC’s indecency policies are unconstitutionally vague and chill broadcasters’ protected speech. However, we do not call for the overturning of Pacifica or Red Lion.” Wharton’s references to “Pacifica” and “Red Lion” refer to Supreme Court cases that are foundational to broadcast regulation.

The debate has heated up in recent years after several incidents of offensive language on live awards shows and scripted nudity on NYPD Blues attracted the attention of Parents Television Council. The recent overturning of the $550,000 fine against CBS for the now infamous wardrobe malfunction in the 2004 Superbowl halftime show suggests that the courts are less inclined to side with the FCC. What do you think? Has indecency enforcement been too aggressive, too lax, or too uneven?

Posted in 1st amendment, media industry, politics, regulation, tv | 22 Comments »