MK 354 Spring 2010

April 26, 2010

Bullying 2.0

Filed under: blog #10 — michaelryan89 @ 1:39 am

Has bullying been made easier through the use of social media? I would definitely say yes. Cases such as Phoebe Prince’s show the severe effects that cyber bullying can have on youth. Prince ended up committing suicide after nearly three months of apparently routine torment by students at the school, via text messages and social networking site Facebook.  The 15-year-old’s mother made a point to talk to school staff members about the treatment of her daughter, yet nothing was done. In a news report titled “Some Parents Outraged No School Officials Charged in Teen Cyberbullying Case ” seen on Good Morning America, Massachusetts state representative John Scibak voiced his opinion saying, “I think if people knew about it and did not report it, this is a very serious allegation and one that really needs to be investigated.”

Phoebe Prince


Out of this anger has come legislation to fight back against cyberbullying. Scibak says that it would “require that schools provide training to parents, to teachers, to students, that incidents of bullying must be reported [and] the principal, upon hearing that determines whether this should go to law enforcement officials. The parents of the bully as well as the victim must be called in [and] it needs to be addressed.”

I am in complete support of this legislation. It is unfathomable that nothing was done even when Prince’s mother went to staff members. However, it also shows the lack of social media education in schools. In addition to this legislation I think that there should be mandatory workshops dedicated to informing school faculty about cyberbullying and how to handle it in real life situations. It is obvious that staff had no idea how to handle Prince’s situation and thought it was out their hands because the bullying didn’t occur on school property. It is time that social media experts make a change and teach others that any kind of bullying will not be tolerated in the new millennium.


April 12, 2010

Synthesize My Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelryan89 @ 11:39 am

Today’s popular music seems to have become something future. New ways of producing, mixing, and creating sounds have led to awesome sounds that people love. However, what have we lost from this from this powerful technology? Looking at the lyrics for a lot of these songs, I realized that not a whole is actually being said. For instance, Britney Spears is an artist who is known for making very light music that people can dance too. When I looked at her song “3” though it became fairly obvious that the song was about having threesomes and not anything else.  These are literally the lyrics to the chorus of the song, which she repeats about a million times:

Britney Spears' "3"


1, 2, 3

Peter, Paul and Mary

Gettin’ down with 3P

Everybody loves (sexy moan)


What does that even mean? Those words don’t even make sense together. What is 3P? Have we given up artistic integrity in favor of a beat that we can dance to? I don’t want to sound like an old man when I’m only 21 years old, but what happened to our society? Are we now that shallow and attention deficit that we need a beat and a chorus that repeats a billion times in order to hold our attention? I know that this could probably be said about other eras of music, like 80s New Wave, but it seems as if popular music has hit a new low. Songs such as “Shots” by LMFAO and “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha (yes that is how you spell her name) discuss relevant topics such as getting crunk and hooking up with people. Yep, that’s pretty much it. What does this mean for the future of music? Well, for every Britney Spears there is a Regina Spektor, and for every LMFAO there is a Ray LaMontagne. Hopefully, people will soon recognize the significance of lyrics over beats and start to demand that this music be played on the radio.

April 5, 2010

Dangerous Minds?

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelryan89 @ 12:34 pm

With the recent release of Precious on DVD, I decided to look back at other films that had a similar message of empowering disadvantaged youth through education. I found it surprising that there so many films that focus on a white person coming into an underprivileged minority school and getting into the mindset of these “angry kids” in order to bring out their true creative prowess. Films such as Dangerous Minds and Freedom Writers depict inner city teens that hate school and just want to stick to the status quo.  It seems as if these films focus on racial stereotypes to bring to light some important and relevant issues affecting our nation’s education system. Is that right though. Many people know about the lack of funding in our country’s poorer areas in terms of education, but is this the best way of telling the story? Is this the only way that people can recognize this subject?

I find it hard to believe that the people who make these films are authorities on this subject.  Wealthy white screenwriters who don’t really know the situation write most of these films. Most of the elements within these films feel dated and stereotypical. I feel conflicted about this topic though because although the authority to write about inner city education isn’t there, the intent is in the right place. Maybe this is changing though with the addition of Precious into the category. Geoffrey Fletcher made headlines as the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay. Hopefully his work can inspire many other people of different races, ethnicities, sexualities, etc. to create art that gives a voice to those who don’t have one.

March 29, 2010

Hate Groups Take to the Web

Filed under: blog #7 — michaelryan89 @ 12:10 am

“The Internet allows people to communicate with other people with the same views without any danger.” That is the quote that rung the most true to me in a recent article I found in the Norwalk Reflector. It seems that the anonymity of having an online personality has lead many hate groups to social media. A lack of fact-checking and professional guidelines on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter give groups devoted to terrorism and hatred a platform in which to spread negative messages. Although Facebook encourages users to flag other members who abuse Facebook’s policies, there are no real repercussions for hate groups besides having their site taken down. However, even then it is still very easy to create another site.

Research done by the Southern Poverty Law Center has shown that there is an increase in extremist groups since 2009. This rise is attributed to “[the] country’s troubled economy, its changing demographics and some of President Barack Obama’s policies.“ Coming out of this resentment are blogs and forums committed to informing youth about hate groups’ rhetoric and beliefs.  As Mark Potok, SPLC’s Intelligence Project director states, “the online strategies of hate groups these days to be less recruitment [because] real membership and indoctrination comes when individuals attend a Klan rally or ‘Skinhead concert.’”  

This is so disturbing. The youth of today have enough to worry about regarding the media that we are forced to digest. With shows like The Jersey Shore and music that tells them to degrade others, we don’t need this hate and terror to be brought into our own homes. That’s why there needs to be more organizations like amplifyme out there that encourage everybody to take a stand and make a difference by creating positive media that can hopefully overpower the negative messages one day.

March 1, 2010

Filed under: blog #5 — michaelryan89 @ 12:24 pm

Pampers has teamed up with Unicef to create an opportunity to give life to those who have to fight for it without even knowing. According to the Pampers website, the 2009 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine program provided funding “for over 31 million tetanus vaccines, helping UNICEF protect mothers and their newborns in less industrialized nations from this devastating disease.” That is absolutely massive. I think the one aspect that really strengthened the great support was the advertisements.

  The ads are very simple. They are the same ones that are shown all over the world, with only the text being translated. It depicts a series of mothers from third world nations holding their newborn babies and hugging and kissing them. At the same time, a very slow and unadorned version of the “Happy Birthday” song is sung in the background. The philosophy of the commercial is reminiscent of what Chip and Dan Heath have to say in the “Emotional” chapter of Made to Stick. They talk about how people know that people suffer all over the world but it doesn’t necessarily result with them giving to charities. We need to understand the Mother Teresa effect. Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” This can be applicable to this situation as well. People would not act if Pampers was to give money to an organization that helped to do research to find a way to end poverty. That is just too complicated and not on target. The people at Pampers realized that mothers buy most of its products and that mothers all around the world could relate to one another through their children. From there, creating advertisements that show how their money is being used to save the lives of other mothers and babies creates empathy.  The commercials speak directly to mothers, creating a sense of duty and comradery. That’s probably why the program’s been so successful because it’s on point and invokes emotion in its target. It could also be because it’s for a great cause too. 🙂

February 22, 2010

The Biggest Loser

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelryan89 @ 12:33 pm


Jillian Michaels


Jillian Michaels, one of the highly exuberant trainers on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, is being sued for false advertising.  Actually, three people are suing her.  Recently, Michaels has been seen all over television hocking her new products, Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control pill supplement, as well as the Maximum Strength Fat Burner. She talks about how she was fat going into her teenage years, and now she is passionate about getting people healthy.

Now this is great to hear that someone is so passionate about getting people healthy, but what if the product doesn’t work? That is what Kathy Hensley and Christie Christensen are saying. Christensen told USAToday that “[Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control] failed to lessen her appetite or cause her to lose weight as advertised.” Meanwhile, Kathy Hensley brought up another important aspect about the same product.  Hensley claims in Us Magazine that the pills contain a     “’potentially lethal’ ingredient called citrus aurantium, which can cause high blood pressure and cardiac issues in rare instances.”

Both the women claim that the reason the decided to use Michaels’ products was because of her credibility. What gives her even more credibility than say, Michael Jordan for McDonald’s, is that she is an authority figure. People recognize her as being the tough as nails trainer from one of the most successful fitness programs network television. Michaels own story of growing up overweight gave others inspiration.  As mentioned in Made to Stick, people trust celebrity endorsements because they want to be like those people. However, this can be faulty since there is so much publicity surrounding these people, if one thing goes wrong then the whole house can burn down.  Unfortunately, such is the case with Jillian Michaels, whose credibility has been severely hampered, making her the biggest loser.

February 16, 2010

Turnaround at Domino’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelryan89 @ 12:35 pm


You like?


It must be a difficult task for a company to admit they are not that great. For a very large company like Domino’s do to that, must be even harder. Probably the hardest part of all though, is finding the best way to communicate to the public how they are going to change. Do they offer new and improved pizzas without acknowledging their “old” ones? Or, do they create a dialogue with their consumers and find out what they want? Domino’s went above and beyond by not only creating a dialogue but also creating an entire campaign around their issues.

In this campaign, actual Domino’s employees talk about the harsh criticisms that they received from consumers in focus groups, interviews and social media, such as Twitter.  There was no division between company and consumer anymore. They are finding better ways of relating to the customer. In the campaign, they talk about the original company and how it grew. The staff then goes into how they changed their pizzas and subsequent reactions from customers. This transparency gives Domino’s concrete and tangible aspects that it did not have before. For the Heath brothers, ideas only stick with people if they can relate to it. Once they can do this, the idea is much more likely to be understood and stay in the minds of people. The way that Domino’s does this reminds me a lot of the Hewlett Packard/Disney case study discussed in Made To Stick. There needs to be commonalities between both parties and ways that both can influence the other. By telling Domino’s what they want, the customers are happy, and with happy Domino’s will generate more revenue. Now, whether or not the new pizza is good, has yet to be determined.

February 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaelryan89 @ 12:34 pm

When I first saw a commercial for, I thought it was for something like Playboy. After learning that the site is actually meant to be a place to buy Web domains, I was shocked. What a bizarre take on such a boring topic. I guess it does make sense though. I had never really seen a commercial before last night’s Super Bowl game.  I also don’t typically watch a lot of sports on television, so maybe I keep on missing these precious diamonds of advertising.

 Basically, the whole commercial series revolves around racing star Danica Patrick doing everyday things like getting a massage or getting pulled over for speeding. However, the only people that Danica interacts with are sexy bimbos that strip off their clothing and say they want to be a “GoDaddy girl.” Some of these girls even talk about the great features that offers. I was flabbergasted. I know it was the Super Bowl but my god! I was offended and I’m a guy.

Poor Danica Patrick


In the book, Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath talk about the benefits of the unexpected. Once you have found your core message, you have to find a way to make it new and different to get through all the clutter. Surprising people is a great way of doing this. Set up our guessing machines of preconceived knowledge and then tear it down. However, they also mention the importance of relating this surprise back to the core message, and if a commercial doesn’t do that, then it fails.

That’s why I don’t understand Technically, it should fail. The commercials have absolutely nothing to do with the message of selling people cheap Web domains. However, according to a news release sent out today,, accounted for a majority of Internet usage spikes last night. In fact, GoDaddy ranked twice on Twitter’s top ten list last night.  Also, according to CEO Bob Parsons, “We signed up more new customers than any other Super Bowl Sunday in our six year history and set a sales record too.” I guess GoDaddy is an enigma then.

February 1, 2010

Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, And All That Other Crap

Filed under: blog #1 — michaelryan89 @ 1:31 pm

Yup, you’re covered. That’s the first thing I see when I go onto Pepto Bismol’s website, along with a man who is getting ready to eat nachos, onion rings, pizza, chicken wings, and anything else that could make an elephant’s intestines explode.

Pepto Bismol is great at what it does, which is sticking to its core message. This coincides with one of the key tools that brothers, Chip and Dan Heath, describe in their book, Made to Stick. In order for an idea to “stick” in the mind of the consumer, it must be stripped to its core. That is not as simple as it seems because we are a details-oriented society that wants to give people as much information as possible to help guide them along the path. The path never stays the same though. Forks are stuck in it all the time. This is why it’s so important to have one core message to remember that can help with decision-making.

Now I know that discussing a person’s bowel movements can traumatizing for some, including me, but when watching commercials for Pepto Bismol and seeing people dance to a song about nausea and diarrhea, I can’t help but chuckle. They make all of these disgusting things common and accessible. Everyone has these problems so let’s get straight to the point and let people know that they can eat whatever the hell they want, because with this product you will be fine 3 hours from now. I mean yes, these ads are funny and bizarre but after you’re done watching/looking at them, they stick with you. When it feels like you’re stomach might actually burst out of your body, just remember the little jingle and reach for the pink bottle!

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