Archive for October, 2010

A Disney World

Growing up, I had all the Disney movies on VHS and loved to watch them. I loved the animation and the singing. The songs featured on the movies were often used in our elementary music classes. Just like today, it seemed liked Disney couldn’t put out a bad movie.

A common theme in a lot of the movies is falling in love with someone completely different and “off limits”. This is nothing new… Shakespeare started it with Romeo and Juliet and others have adapted it over time to fit the social climate. In The Little Mermaid, a mermaid fell in love with a man; in Alladin, a street rat fell for a princess. And these lovers always found a way to be together, despite the odds and who was against them.

Many problems often arise in Disney movies, and they always fix themselves beautifully by the end of the film. This is definitely not a mirror of real life, but what kid-movie shows disappointment and sad endings? Disney realized very early that it needs to keep its movies optimistic in order for youth to keep their dreams alive.

As for promotion of these movies, I believe that Disney commercializes their products perfectly. They get kids obsessed with the movies and then cross-produce it, making those kids want EVERYTHING with that specific character they love. I know first-hand that once a kid loves a movie character, they want all its products. My daughter adores Tinkerbell… we have costumes, dolls, movies, panties, pajamas, and blankets all centered around the fairy. And I know that it will only get worse!

But, I love watching Disney movies with my kids. They are beautifully animated and have catchy music that easily gets stuck in my head. And, as I mentioned earlier, it seems like Disney never misses. Their movies are always popular and fun. Even if the movies don’t teach the most realistic values, I will still enjoy watching them with my daughter because I will not rely on just the movies to instill values in her. She will get her morals from me, not a movie!

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The Social Workplace

Generation Y are our youngest workers, and the way they interact socially could soon have an impact on company policies and hierarchies.

I found an blog post from a writer with the Wall Street Journal named Gary Hamil. The post is entitled “The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500.” It is part of GH’s blog entitled “Gary Hamil’s Management 2.0, A look at new ways of managing.” This particular post was published on March 24th of 2009.

The blog post’s main point is trying to relate the online life of today’s high-schoolers and college-goers and what they will expect from their future workplace environments because of social networking. He gives “12 work-related characteristics of online life.”

Here is a quick overview of GH’s 12 characteristics:

1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.
(A workers’ ideas are accepted and valued equally, no matter what their status at the job.)

2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.

3. Hierarchies are natural, not prescribed.
(One’s popularity is due to personality, not rank, at work.)

4. Leaders serve rather than preside.
(The boss is working right along beside their workers instead of telling them what to do and how to do it.)

5. Tasks are chosen, not assigned.

6. Groups are self-defining and -organizing.

7. Resources get attracted, not allocated.
(In numbers five, six and seven, the employees have the right to choose what projects to work on, who to work with, and what causes to raise money for.)

8. Power comes from sharing information, not hoarding it.

9. Opinions compound and decisions are peer-reviewed.
(GH means user-generated content, where information is tweaked until it is perfect.)

10. Users can veto most policy decisions.
(This is kind of like democracy. Workers can overturn decisions because of sheer majority, not rank.)

11. Intrinsic rewards matter most.
(It’s not the pay that matters most to employees, it’s the motivation and recognition they get from their positive and helpful efforts.)

12. Hackers are heroes.
(Activists are thought of as an example of democratic rights and an example of the underdog winning.)

Some of the points he gives are good suggestions to give all employers an equal opportunity; some are very radical, proposing that employees would get to choose with whom they interact with and on what projects they work on. To me, work is not always fun or your choice of activities. Someone is always going to have to do the boring jobs, and there will always be people at work that others will just want to avoid but have to interact with anyway.

Hamel states that these 12 features are also how Generation Y functions socially nowadays, but how that these characteristics are also void in today’s Fortune 500 companies. If companies were to adopt some of these ideals I think that their would be a lot more progress in areas like fund raising and employee morale.

If a company were to adopt all of these characteristics, it would have to make sure all of its employees wanted to do that specific type of work while also finding employees who enjoyed mundane tasks, because they would be the only ones doing them.

The Drs. website

I believe that the Drs website is a great example of cross production in mass media today. They have several of the TV-aired clips online, as well as online-exclusive clips for web users. The advertisements that you see in the commercials also appear online, which is a package deal for users of indirect payment. Putting the show online also allows for globalization to countries that might not be able to see the show when it airs on television.

The website’s two top uses as media are for information and self understanding because its main goal is to provide medical advice. I read the disclaimer, which states the site is “ published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice…”.

Yet, I believe the information on the site can be trusted because the doctors featured on the show represent all aspects of the field, all are accredited, and all are just sharing their opinions right there on the show. So it’s like instantly getting four opinions as you watch the show.  Some media consumers will use this site as a decision making tool, even if unadvised.

The website also aims to entertain its visitors by keeping content interesting, sometimes touching on personal subjects. There are videos pertaining to everyone on the site, making visitors (…me) stop and watch, for their health’s sake.  All of this information coincides with the top uses as media for the TV show also.

There is also an online community on the website through message boards and online contact with the featured doctors. There are blogs that I felt were somewhat unproductive. I saw them more as advertisements and people blogging about personal doctors visits which I don’t care to hear.

Even if the information on the website has a disclaimer to be opinion only, it would be nice if there was a database of simple medical terms and conditions. It could be complied by experts and people with exposure to the listed conditions. It could become something like Wikipedia, but focused around health. This would be a big job for one person to put on the website, so making it a UGC makes the task more do-able.