After a bit of confusion as to what to blog about, I’m going to veer off into the sociologist place for a bit, but still with the public communication slant. Every advertisement is a story, every label/bumper sticker/etc. is an advertisement, so we’ve got stories all around. Truth is stranger than fiction so why not shift focus to the people and products advertising reality…
Yeah, life is seeming very Trap-ish. Either way, Atlanta is a fascinating city that loves labels (from denim to demographics, and good gravy how many bumper stickers can one car have? Atlanta’s answer: not enough) so I’m going to take a second look at what Atlantans say about themselves without opening their mouths.
The (long) story behind the blog direction du jour…
Lately I’ve been in a writer’s rut. I’ve been trying to get some structure and focus to my blog — but to no avail. So, I stepped back and just thought about what I could write about that 1.) I could actually write about 2.) people could theoretically, and realistically, read 3.) has some value. Not that any of the aforementioned criteria are met by my conclusion, but I figured at the core I am a communicator. I am a medium — and thus a message by logic. I tell stories, I build stories and meanings from what I absorb in my day-to-day. I love the style of pop culture (clearly) but I love the authenticity of the general public. Being a Public Communications major and Sociology minor I like the dichotomy of the perceived/portrayed and the real.
That said, just as traditional advertisements are brilliant depictions of our idealized selves (that which we aspire to be, through material goods of course, etc.) manifested from hours of focus groups and market research on our actual selves (that which we are, primarily founded upon those material goods, etc. that we currently lack); so people’s clothes, homes, cars, gadgets, etc. are equally brilliant depictions of who we are, but more importantly because identity through brand loyalty is founded upon how we want people to perceive us.
Long story short: as above, so below. Highlighting, analyzing, and dissecting broadcast advertisements is like solving a puzzle: someone put that advert together after highlighting, analyzing, and dissecting a target audience, all you have to do is figure out what means what. Highlighting, analyzing, etc. people and their personal adverts (because in this hyperconsumerist world we are essentially walking billboards, whether it is a company or a cause) though is much more interesting because it reflects the effects/influences of formal advertisements, but leaves so much more open for interpretation of what it all means because there was no marketing team in your room telling you to wear what you wore today (they were on your living room tv).
Point: Deciphering traditional ads is fun, but we live in a world of walking billboards. I figure the stories behind common people like myself are more relevant and fresh than the stories behind a corporation — why not decipher what I see in the day to day?
It’s hard to have a writer’s rut for long if you just open your eyes and say what you see. It may be similar to someone else’s view, but rarely is it identical. As Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see,” and we all see things differently. For the next few posts I’ll smatter a bit of traditional adverts, but mostly around town shots of people promoting themselves.
Watch this space: we’re drowning in information and starving for knowledge, I’m just trying to make sense of the deluge; even if not immediately, at least I have a record so I can rationalize it all when I come up for air. Everything’s an advertisement, there’s a million messages just waiting to be read; if the world was Blackberry, it’d be nothing but red flashing lights.