Archives for April 2013

When Hip Hop & History Collide, You Get a “Belieber”



bieber blog pic

After touring the Amsterdam hiding place of the young Holocaust victim and diarist, Anne Frank; hip hop sensation Justin Bieber decided to leave his mark in the museum’s guest book: “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully, she would have been a Belieber, (a believer in Justin Bieber.)  Her chronicle, The Diary of a Young Girl is recognized as one of the most inspirational Holocaust accounts of courage, perseverance, and faith. Observing this tragic time in history was an inappropriate moment for Bieber to talk about himself with such self conscious arrogance.

Even more unorthodox, the museum did not seem offended. By posting his guest book comments on their Facebook page, the museum used the controversy to reach Bieber’s 37 million online followers. “We hope that his visit will inspire his fans (teenage girls who may not have known of the historical figure) to learn more about her life and hopefully read the diary.”

Despite an online backlash of outraged comments, new media provided a marketing opportunity for both Bieber and the Anne Frank House.  Courses in media training and presentation skills along with acting, singing, and music help celebrities and others know how to perform in public.

The Medium Is the Message

In his presentation Trends, Fads and Transformation: The Impact of the Internet to Santa Barbara’s City College Lifetime Learning series, USC Annenberg’s Director of The Center for the Digital Future, Dr. Jeffrey Cole talked about how the Internet has altered mass media, societal social norms, and ecommerce.  News is less often read on paper, more often on the internet; we tell time, get the weather and wake up with a cell phone and put television shows and movies in our pockets.

Communications theorist and philosopher, Marshall McLuhan opined in the mid 60’s that the medium is the message. Wikipedia defines his meaning as  … the form of the medium embeds itself in the message creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. McLuhan proposed that a medium affects a society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.

According to Dr. Cole, American families in 1975 watched one television screen and an occasional movie screen for an average of 16 hours a week. Now, many other screens of all shapes and sizes have crowded into view: the desktop, the laptop, the tablet, the giant flat screen TV and the smartphone for average viewing of 44 hours a week. And Google Glass, an Internet bi-focal that interacts with the internet through our voice commands, may be next. Dr. Cole points out that screens have become our constant companions because of FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out. So, many citizens of the world are constantly available on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and text. And anything communicated on the Internet can go viral within seconds. The immediacy can be both addictive and all consuming.

And everybody in the pool. According to a recent Pew Research study, more than half of seniors are online, too.  And a third are using social media. Dr. Cole questions how cool Facebook will stay? “The last place teenagers want to be is where their mothers and grandmothers are!”

Dr. Cole concludes that media doesn’t disappear. It merely adapts. Video and audio, which is still called television for lack of a better word, is how people communicate. Since 1981, audio/video recording of practice presentations and interviews with playback and constructive critique is how READY FOR MEDIA coaches clients to face audiences both in person and through the media.

In a Q&A session, Dr. Cole, who consults with corporations and governments worldwide, answered questions from the audience with respect to how small business must also adapt to the internet. We are adapting too, in helping clients get READY FOR NEW MEDIA.