I forgot. Oops. A case study in impression mismanagement in the political sphere

Every four years we hold elections for the most powerful position in the world, the President of the United States. It is a position that requires a strong, intelligent, even-keeled person because they represent our country on the world stage. The term “stage” is one that evokes images of the theater. In fact, you could look at any human interaction in that way, a performance on a particular stage. That concept is what Goffman’s Dramaturgical theory addresses. Goffman’s theory has been criticized for being apolitical, however, as this study will demonstrate, this is not the case and Dramaturgical theory can be applied to the political sphere.

One concept from Goffman’s theory is the idea of “Impression Management”. This is the way we go about assessing a situation, consciously or unconsciously, and determining which behaviors to portray and which ones to mask in a particular situation. In politics, this may be consciously monitoring what a candidate says during a debate in an effort to remain ideologically consistent. Mismanagement of ones impression can cause one to lose face, something that, especially in the modern political world, can be devastating to one’s campaign. In communications studies face refers to “the image of yourself that you want others to see and believe” (Wood, 2010, p. 243) The purpose of this study is to investigate the consequences of mismanaging one’s impression in the political sphere. These impression mismanagements are called “political gaffes” and have been the fall of many campaigns and even presidencies. During this study I investigated Rick Perry’s recent political gaffe and the consequences of it. The purpose of this study is to answer the question: how does impression mismanagement effect our perceptions of our leaders and potential leaders? A secondary question central to this research is how politicians attempt to recover from those gaffes. Hopefully, through a better understanding of the public reaction to political gaffes, we will be able to pave way for further study on the recovery from instances of impression mismanagement.

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Joss Whedon’s ‘Reverse Kickstarter’ is a Success

 

For many, Joss Whedon – creator of the cult hit show Firefly as well as the Avengers series – is a figure held in high reverence. In addition to being a hit-maker, Whedon is also known for doing things his own way, as he showed with Dr. Horrible in 2008, so it should come as a surprise to no one that he is doing the unconventional again with his most recent film, In Your Eyes.

The plot of the film, while very Whedon-esque, is not the most intriguing thing about the film. Rather, it is how the film was released and what Whedon decided to do after that is so unique.

Whedon announced at the film’s premier at the Tribeca Film Festival that everyone would be able to download the film from Vemo for $5 after the screening. In the announcement Whedon said, “This is exciting for us because it means we get to explore yet another new form of distribution… and we get $5.” But Whedon and his team were not going to stop with simply experimenting with a new form of distribution, they decided to growth hack the hell out of the marketing.

Some time after the film’s release the tweets started pouring in about random acts of Whedon:

The cast and crew, along with Whedon himself sent out gifts to random people who rented the movie. The idea being that those people would tweet about the experience and excitedly share it with their friends (who might also think they have a chance at being randomly selected). But it wasn’t just signed posters that were sent out by Whedon & Co.

They also sent AppleTV’s….

Rokus….

And Xbox Ones….

The response has been obviously great, as those users have gone on to share the experience, allowing the campaign to go viral which raises awareness for the film. The innovativeness of the campaign – which has been compared to a ‘reverse Kickstarter’ by many on social media – is only matched by its outstanding execution. AppleTVs, Rokus, and Xbox Ones all share the fact that they are ‘big ticket items’ the kind of thing that you would hope is under the tree on Christmas, but the connection between them is more than that… they all enable you to play Vemo on your TV, and that was likely a strategic decision.

This is pure speculation, but I wouldn’t doubt that the ‘randomly selected’ recipients of these prizes were not all that random at all. In fact I wouldn’t doubt the ones that received streaming devices likely watched the movie on their laptops, signaling a need for a device like a Roku or AppleTV. Furthermore, I wouldn’t doubt the influencers were carefully picked, as it would be a waste to send it to someone who wasn’t going to tweet or Instagram it right away.

Strategy aside, this was another brilliant and unconventional move from the mind of Joss Whedon, who is proving time and again the power of fan service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#amidoingthisright: A Guide to Facebook Hashtagging

You may have been told at some point, maybe even by me, that Facebook is not the place for hashtags, they are devices for Twitter and Instagram only. Well funny thing….

Facebook recently announced that the company is going to start integrating hashtags into its network, a move that should come as no surprise to anyone. Ever since Facebook bought Instagram, the hashtag has become far more ubiquitous on the network as typically Instagram photos are posted to Facebook with no altering of phrases like ‘#nofilter’. It wasn’t long before the annoyed ‘#ThisIsNotTwitter’ comments began drying up and the hashtag itself became a part of common vernacular.

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The PRISM Separating National Security and Privacy

Every now and again a story comes along that really makes me want to stand up on my soapbox and rant, and the recently breaking government PRISM scandal is one of those types of stories. First a little bit of background on this story for the uninitiated:

According to a Washington Post article the U.S. government has been secretly tracking American’s online activity through an initiative code named PRISM. The name might sound like something out of a Marvel comic but the organization is very real, and what it does could be potentially terrifying to privacy-concerned citizens. According to leaked documents, the PRISM program has been in effect since 2007, gaining strength and capacity steadily since. Originally intended as a program to monitor foreign communications through US servers but in practice it would seem the scope is far greater.

PRISM, which began in 2007, has grown a lot since.

Under the program, the NSA is granted access to a number of familiar major company’s servers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, Youtube, Apple, if you have interacted with any of these companies over the last 6 years (and who hasn’t) your information is susceptible to government surveillance under PRISM. Now, admittedly, they aren’t likely tracking and monitoring every individual’s activity they actually have stringent guidelines for picking who to monitor. Actually, there is only one guideline, and its not stringent whatsoever. According to the report, an NSA analyst has to have only ”51 percent” certitude that the subject is “foreign”. The loopholes in this system are even bigger than the plot holes in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. And at this lies the root as to why the reaction of the American public to this story has varied along a continuum of terrified to furious.

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