Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weeks #6 and #7: One Mc'torical Analysis with a side of Digital Photos

(hahahaha, pretty clever post title right there...)

Also, sorry that this post is going to be a little long, but I had a huge project due last week and didn't get around to posting until Wednesday, and by then I thought that it would be cooler to include some photos (which I had to do for this week's post) in the post so I thought that I would combine them. (I do understand that I am a week late in posting, but I hope that isn't too much of a problem.)

The first part of this post will be about the Mc'Donalds here in Clemson and also my experiences with Mc'Donalds in Amsterdam, Netherlands and Aswan, Egypt. Mixed in will be some photos from my Mc'D's trips (that demonstrate the basic photography rules) and then I will end it up with a little more rhetorical analysis. So, let's start.

Mc'Donald's American website is very much like the Mc'D's that I am used to and is decked out for the Oylmpics.

There is a big logo for their free wi-fi that they have which seems to be being offered by more and more people right up on the front page (to show that they are keeping up with the times) and a straight forward nav bar at the top of the page.

As far as kairos goes, it is clear that Mc'Donald's made it (while it may have been a commission job it is not as if someone else is advertising on the site - it is all about Mc'Donald's) and as I mentioned above it is definitely reflective of the typical American culture offering free things and keeping up to date with the latest sporting events.

Their website is very logically set up for the most part; the navigation bar at the top of the page with most all the things that one could wonder about their corporation being right there for you to click on. The one thing that I found that was not very logical about their set-up was that when you went to the "About Mc'Donald's" tab it goes to a different website with a different layout and different color scheme. This is upsetting to the eyes (I felt) but the layout of that site is also logically organized under clear and distinct headings.

All of the people portrayed on the website were very happy (such as the people in the managerial positions) and looked like they were greatly benefited from Mc'Donald's involvement in their life.

The ethos appeal is made by making their advertising easy to understand and straight forward. Not being condescending and trying to be intelligible to all age/intelligence ranges.

I found that my experiences with Mc'Donald's seemed to reflect this in Amsterdam and Aswan as well. I have not investigated those sites, but my experience there showed that Mc'Donald's always tries to embrace the host culture so that they can seem very approachable and attract the greatest amount of customers they can.

These photos are from my most resent trip to the Mc'Donald's in our own Clemson.

This is a basic photography of the counter in landscape orientation. I agree with Pat on what he was talking about liking a much tighter crop on things (I think it is probably both of our backgrounds in sports photography that contributes to this preference) so I don't really like this photograph much at all.

This is a tighter crop of the counter, showing one of the workers taking my friend's money.

Here is a similar shot, but in the portrait orientation.
(The face expression is not optimal of course but when you are not working with models you can't ask them to take it again.)

When I was pouring my tea I saw this shot and really liked how the action played off of the image on the cup. I didn't like how the first frame turned out so I decided that I wanted to take another from a slightly higher angle (looking down more).
I like the way that the frame turned out, but I do wish that I had my ultra-wide angle with me as I would like to have been a little closer and got more in the shot. (I was just using the 18-55 kit lens on my XSi, normally I shoot with the 70-200 or 16-35 on the 5D MkII) and I wish that it was a little more to the right of the frame which would better allow for an ad type layout.

Here is another photo where I was just working with composition and arrangement of objects in the frame.
Going back to a final rhetorical analysis before I close out this post, I did not really know what else I could do from the culture that I am studying as far as an artifact with a marketing spin to it as most things in the US aren't targeted to a specific ethnic group (like Jews). So I decided to investigate an ad from GameStop as one of the other cultures that I identify with is that of gamers.

This is an ad for a game that recently came out (and I bought and played through) called Darksiders.

The kairos of this ad is very obvious: in Jan 2010 this game is coming out and if you act now you might get a chance to win something. These things are said in bold print and there are also pictures to show this. The place/audience is also obviously stated in the ad: GameStop, and people who shop there are eligible for this give-away.

The ad is about as logical as most game ads are. It is set up like all others with the game systems that the game is playable on at the bottom and information that is important about the giveaway is in a different color (this particular one is red).

The pathos of this ad is one of the promise of power and fear. (More so the promise of having so much power that you will put fear into all of your enemies.)

The ethos in this ad is one that shows GameStop as the provider of the special give away and an expert of sorts that knows games (and thus gives away special things like this.)


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week #5 - In Google We Trust

Nicholas Carr's article and Michael Wesch's video bring up what I feel are some very real concerns about the internet and highlights what I think are some problems that, while foreseeable by some, will greatly go unnoticed and thus untreated, resulting in a vast and potentially harmful change in the way that humanity thinks, learns, and lives. Though, that may be an over-reaction.

While I don't think that the founders of Google actually harbor any "evil-plot" to diminish humankind's thinking capacity to the point of slavery to technology, it can't be denied that that could be a possible scenario if we are fed these changes without instruction on how to use them. As it is now, most of the sites that many of us frequent every day use and study us to tell their developers how to better make them for use to use them. Now if that statement seems a little circular and confusing to you, you would be right on the dot. While all of the algorithms that sites like facebook and google and yahoo use are very carefully thought out to help their developers better understand how you use their sites, they lack one of the most crucial elements of scientific study - an observer that has the ability to interpret the data (as it is they just report the data). And when you base changes that are aimed to make a site more integrated and aimed to better serve the person using it on data rather than on findings (interpreted data) you will of course change how that site is used. The problem doesn't solely lie in that aspect though. The real problem with this is that it inevitably changes the way that the site is interacted with and how it can be used to achieve the desired result - and because google controls how the majority of the world gets its information, these changes alter the way that the world can access information. If one of these alterings changes things in a way that hinders how we get information and doesn't get fixed, it can leave us at a loss and less capable to do what we need.

Moving away from the gloom and doom type of post and onto the synergies that have poped up all over the web...

I spoke to this point I think the second week of the semester. I have a blog (now two) and a flickr and a twitter and a youtube that every time I update goes to my facebook to tell all the people that care (like five of them) and beyond that if I find something that i like on the web I can just share the link over my facebook. I think that this is a good thing however, and not detrimental like some of the outlooks expressed by our readings this week. I think that there will always be people that don't use the technology to the fullest or in the correct way, but I think that when one knows how to use the internet's resources, they can really make the whole experience very multimodal/multimedial and the result is often more than the sum of its parts.