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I’ve hit something of a road bump. Given the fact that the success of this initiative is largely dependent on how it’s received I’ve been wanting to get the ‘name’ sorted soon. The name isn’t totally restricted to but should really hint at the aim of the project or somehow atleast be related to the commodification of peoples bodies, the sex industry, responding to, talking about whats going on (in Bournemouth though hopefully not too specific so the brand could be used elsewhere perhaps). Aswell as issues like trafficking, concepts of worth etc.

And it’s been a few days and I’ve had a list and knocked it down to a few and I’ve been reminded of the fact that everyone has an opinion on what works and what doesn’t as far as the name goes, unfortunately you can never get people (myself included) to agree on what name could work best.

I’ve been looking at some of the things I did some rather brief case studies on last week and I came across an article from the founder of ‘TWOLHA’ talking about the power of story and the increasing importance of narrative. The thing which got me interested in this whole project was my journalist friend telling me of some of the things she’s heard going on in Bournemouth and Poole. So maybe this could be something to explore something touching on narrative or story? Part of my looking into viral suggests that if I could somehow bring it home to people this would be more likely to engage people.. and though I probably realised this quite early on I think this has definately helped me developed my thinking on the whole topic. People tend to respond a lot more to stories which impact them or have implications for them.. even if it’s just in the delivery and so.. this entire project really is some sort of initiative concerning the questions raised by prosititution and people trafficking.. the commodification of our bodies.. and saying how does this effect the human story being told in Bournemouth?

Ultimately I want to break the taboo on the topic, get people talking about the issue and commenting on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, how does it affect us?.. and off that.. what can we do about it?

When I think like this I just go off on one now thinking about organisms, mitosis, biology, plant life (Grassroots!).. and wonder if I get anywhere..

Potential titles which seem initially popular so far.. are..

(Hello) My name is John..* (Most popular I think.. but it isn’t really what I’m looking for as a brand name i think..)

Red Light

Soulution (Not that popular)

Bed is for Sleeping (This has got a mixed response)

*John i heard is slang for a guy who visits prostitutes because when asked they’ll often say “John” something

But I’ve quite gotten into this idea of storytelling as it is in it’s essence viral.. and story’s have been told as long as humanity has had language so it is really part of who we are.. just like our flesh. If people are reading this it’d be really good to hear if you have any ideas or comments on the topic.. I’m still trying to think up a name really. It won’t take much just reply with your view..

I was thinking something like the Seed Collective/Initiative.. going on something along with grassroots.. viral.. but I’m sitting on that before saying anything definate tho.. I’m sort of stuck on the whole issue, is it too generic? Part of me likes it.. maybe the fact that it isn’t explict allows for a space to be created where you could talk about a potentially sensitive or hotly debated topic in a lighter more friendly atmosphere?

What do you think?

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.”

“In fact,” said Mustapha Mond, “you’re claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“All right, then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to… be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”

There was a long silence.

“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.

I’m currently reading up on a book called “Dystopian Fiction East and West: Universe of terror and trial” which I’m really enjoying at the moment to be honest. The chapter I’m on starts by detailing the contents of Plato’s “Republic” and the vision of a perfect society where “law and reason” reign and the poets who live by “pleasure and pain” are exiled from the fabled land, it likewise mentions a similiar work by Thomas More written in the 1500’s detailing the island of “Utopia” in which similiar things happen. The author then goes on to mention how just as Plato attempted to dispel the concept of tragic from the Republic so did the Soviet Union in it’s conception and indeed the removal of such things from it’s future.

The author then goes on to comment on how Marxism simply tried to simply suppress the tragic as there was no room for it amongst the pride of scientific principles and that Christianity (she mentions the book of Job and his plea for justice) puts it’s hope amongst the greater narrative of the divine comedy. The Christian scheme of resurrection and redemption which Marx critiqued for enabling religion to function as the “Opiate of the Masses”. Marxism saw itself as a mechanism, a means to fulfill the gradual (‘evolutionary’ even) enlightenment of all people into a leisurely, classless and just society, Christianity on other hand follows the line of entropy as it dances along the arm of a clock and the process of time.. the indication that things get worse as time goes on, not better. However both have this eschatalogical or view of how things will end despite Marxisms apparent secularism. However they show the massive divergence in their view of things.. in this instance Marxism is utopian in looking towards what is required for a brighter future, dystopia offers a tragic warning of how things will become in the current situation, however both utopian and dystopian literature ‘attempt’ to point to something better or an awareness which tries to comment on the current time with a view which is echatalogical in nature.

The reason I’m reading this is because I’m hopefully going to be examining life under Burmese oppression for my dissertation. Burma is the worlds second most heavily censored country in the world and boasts one of the largest armies in Eastern Asia.. and yet has no enemies, the army is at war with the civilian population of the country. The Generals in charge of the military junta are politically unschooled and fear any challenge to their power or more expressly their ideology.. so any divergence or hint of anything going in the direction of a pluralistic or democratic way of life between the components of society is fiercly oppressed. I’ve already been looking at the U.S.S.R and it’s approach to things.. and how that could be compared to Burma’s ‘modus operandi’ but I’m also now examining dystopian literature to see what that has to say on the topic..

But to be honest I’m really fascinated by the whole concept of the tragic and this referral to the Christian worldview. Even the crucifixion of the Christ is an element in the tragic worldview of Christians, it really is at the core of what we believe. Pilate asked “What is truth?” and didn’t bother to stick around, he instead trusted or if anything relented to the justice of Rome and I guess that is compliant with the Soviet’s view as it was with the tower of Babel. The Christian concept of joy is intrinsically linked with that of hope.. I think it was in some movie because I don’t remember hearing this when I read the original myth but in the tale of Pandora, after she opened the box and unleashed evil and suffering on the world at the bottom of the box was hope. It isn’t something immediate and it’s out of our hands but we hope that God will rescue and redeem this existence.

This book then goes on to talk about the divergence of purely tragic literature like Oedipus and King Lear (or much of Shakespeares work) with dystopian literature.. in the tragic.. the individual becomes aware of his place in ‘existence’ and the absurd nature of that existence and yet by his sacrifice or often just his or her awareness we see a divergence from the way of the world… an elusive ‘another world’ just beyond the horizon, in dystopia the main character is often purely a victim. I think this touches on something I read by a guy called G.K  Chesterton, he said something like “there are two types of death.. the martyr and the suicide.. one dies to this world.. the other is crushed by the world” (or something like that).

I remember watching an interview with a Journalist and a Burmese dissident, the old guy was on a breathalator or something but wanted to meet the journalist to tell him about what was going on he then said something like “This time when they come to pick me up after you leave I won’t come back, not this time I know that.” and even though he knew that and for all we know was taken away he believed in something, what happened to that guy was tragic no doubt.. but he was witness at the same time to the hope of a deliverance.. admittedly a literal deliverance of Burma.. but I think this struggle is written into us as human beings it’s right there at our core. Deliver us from this absurd existence, this way of the world, this way of ourselves. I think that is starkly different to something like.. I dunno the message given in something like Taxi Driver.. however I think that film says a lot of interesting things about human nature.

I really like this book..

Some stuff I’ve found on the web relating to my final major in a round about sort of way..

The Youth Friendly Guide

Links Between Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

Melissa Farley Article

The Word of Mouth

Video debate on ‘sex for sale’

Guardian Article on legalised brothels in Las Vegas

Prostitution, Trafficking, and Cultural Amnesia

Attitudes towards Prostitution acceptance of Rape Myths

Renting an Organ for 10 minutes

Just for reference you know!

Dylan

DYLAN

DYLAN

The way I was exposed to this product was a simple flash video. They had taken the iconic video for ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and with a little editing on Dylan’s placards advertising this new album got across quite a simple but quite an infectious message. They linked the Dylan brand with the chance to get back in touch with that, to reconnect with that. The album itself is just referred to as ‘Dylan’ because of the power of the brand.

When you click through onto the site you get given the chance to add your own words to Dylan’s placards and can watch the Homesick Blues video with your words featuring within it. You then have the opportunity to send this on to other people you might think would enjoy the message. The creators have then taken this further by creating a facebook application you can add to your profile which has at the time of checking something like 1,538 uses on a monthly basis all of those people in their own networks advertising the new album. I think this is a really novel idea which I can see being quite popular especially since Bob Dylan and the video in question are such iconic features to us in their own right it does a lot to tie in the product with the brand as well as the personal touch added by the consumer.

Youtube

Youtube

Youtube

It’s hard to think who hasn’t heard of Youtube amongst regular web users. Youtube is a platform which many people flood with videos of all sorts in nature, viral videos are commonly found and Youtube exists purely to facilitate the spread of all it’s videos in a viral fashion with the use of embed codes and its hosting and compressing abilities. It’s an incredibly powerful brand which if properly realised uses the videos it hosts to spread itself virally to users at quite a successful rate. The watermark in the corner of the video’s and the characteristic player define youtube and the fact that the play can be placed nearly anywhere on the web means that youtube’s brand can be accessed to exposed to an audience anywhere on the web. It has a incredibly large target audience which makes it easier to market, but in reality no marketing is required because the site largely sells itself in a purely viral fashion.

The problem with this is Youtube is then automatically associated with the content of the videos and whilst for the most part this is fine, when some people upload videos which could be political, racist, explicitly sexual etc. etc. there’s a chance you could offend not only individuals but institutions which could damage the brand and it’s hard moderate viral content. However because it’s all in house Youtube can moderate the content which is displayed on the site or via the site ensuring the desired brand identity is maintained.

Blendtec

Blendtec

Blendtec

Blendtec have a campaign advertising their new Blender, it’s hard not to be exposed to this and not be left thinking or talking about the Blender or the brand Blendtec which implies Blending. They have a video library under the name “Will it blend?” statistically this is much more likely to appeal and to be passed on to others by men. However this proves highly successful and a lot of the videos find their way onto youtube, after all if theres a blender out there which has the capability to blend the likes of iPhone and golfballs that’s obviously something some people need to hear about.

All the videos can be embedded into websites so the potential for videos to find their way into blogs is definitely there and after one video it’s hard to ignore it and you’ll perhaps find yourself spending a good bit of time looking at the videos which all clock in at about a minute or a minute and a half. So this is a good way to keep people exposed to advertising or in getting them to remain on your website which is often a hard task concerning viral media.

The truth isn’t sexy

The truth isnt sexy

The truth isn't sexy

The truth isn’t sexy is a purely viral campaign set up to raise awareness, combat sex trafficking and to challenge preconceptions about the sex trade. The campaign operates by primarily placing beermats in clubs and pubs ‘advertising’ a sex worker where as underneath is information about the industry and the phone number supplies information on the reality of working in such a place. This has done a lot to raise the profile of the initiative which has made it possible for the group to organise benefit gigs hosted by the likes of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as well as getting recognition from MP’s in parliament and collaboration with existing initiatives.

The Beermats are often found in groups or are distributed by groups of volunteers or people who come across them which means the campaign at it’s root contains a viral aspect. The material is supplied by the initiative but distribution for the sake of awareness is almost entirely generated by consumers.

Nine Inch Nails- Year Zero

NIN- Year Zero

NIN- Year Zero

Year Zero is two things a) an Alternative Reality Game about “the end of the world” with repeated references to “the future of things” and the United States Military and b) it’s a new Album released by the band Nine Inch Nails. The frontman Trent Reznor insists the ARG wasn’t a gimmick to boost CD sails but it’s undeniable that this went some way to boosting the sails of their most recent release.

The ARG employed a whole range of tactics including band t-shirts with links to a site kicking off the ARG, the ‘leaking’ of flash drives containing songs off the new album and with various images placed somehow within the track only viewable via the spectrogram of the track, phone numbers placed within the spectrogram of later leaked tracks which further involve the user in game. Throughout this the term “Art is resistence!” emerged which links to a site where you can access stickers/posters/flyers/desktop backgrounds/avatars to promote Year Zero. Apart from direct exposure via stuff like posters/t-shirts/flyers etc. this caused an enormous hub via the internet and a key part of the ARG was done via the internet which did a lot to promote the concept as well as the band and the most recent album. The aim was to blur the boundaries between the ARG and reality to get people to react but the idea is novel and something like this hasn’t been done to quite this extent before which has done a lot to make a name for Year Zero, being viral was key to its success.

SIGG

SIGG

SIGG

SIGG is a Swiss company that manufacturers eco-friendly reusable water bottles. The high end aluminum bottles cost around $20 and come in a wide range of designs. They’re quite popular with the eco-friendly crowd, but SIGG was looking for a viral campaign that would engage users and drive interest in their Lifestlye line of water bottles. The Lifestyle line features eye catching designs and had already generated quite a bit of interest from customers.

They manufactured and spread the word about a viral contest which allowed the consumer to submit their own designs for the water bottles. This meant they attracted a niche audience admittedly but this is something customers had been wanting to do for ages and proved to be hugely successful. The campaign drew more than 12,000 visits from roughly 8,000 consumers. The average visit length was 17 minutes which smashes the U.S. average of 49 seconds. Before the contest ended, more than 170 bottle designs had been submitted by consumers so in this sense it was immensely successful!

Subservient Chicken

Subservient Chicken

Subservient Chicken

Was a campaign by Burger King to advertise a new product, the TenderCrisp chicken sandwich. The tagline is “Chicken the way you want it” or “Have it your way” and the result is a programme where you can effectively get a man in a chicken suit to do what you want which is exactly the tagline Burger King wanted developed by this campaign. This plays on humour and the idea “is it a programme or really a guy in a chicken suit?” which generates discussion and the conveyance of the idea amongst it’s target audience whilst subconsciously implanting the brand in the mind of the consumer.

That was the intention at least, whilst is was a very clever concept it’s questionable as to how successful the campaign really was. Their was not much to keep a consumer on the page for long and after a few commands the experience quickly wears thin and can seem quite transparent. People did send the link on and it did cause conversation, but about the chicken.. not Burger King. It wasn’t obvious and to be honest I couldn’t remember what it was advertising at first all I could put together was “fast food+chicken=KFC”. Since I don’t eat fast food in the first place this advert provided a few cheap thrills but didn’t really win me over to be honest.

Simpsonize Me

Simpsonize Me

Simpsonize Me

Simpsonize Me is an instance of two different ‘products’ coming together to promote themselves with particular success. Burger King and the Simpson’s collaborated to create a flash site where someone could upload a photo of themselves and magically be transformed into a Simpson’s style character. It was a relatively simple idea aimed at plugging burger king and the new Simpson movie back when it was still new. The yellow skin of a Simpson is a unique feature which is instantly recognisable for most people and it proved infectious as a number of people started replacing their profile picture on various social networking sites with their simpsonized version of themselves which in turn got people scouring the net for ways to turn themselves into a Simpson character too which brought back to Burger King advertisements.

This was effective as the Simpson’s are already a famous part of western TV culture and I think a lot of people have always secretly wondered what the Simpsons would look like if you saw them for real or what you would look like as a Simpson, so this played on a sense of curiosity and peoples exposure to a already very successful brand and then gave people the chance to directly expose themselves or adopt that brand onto themselves which they could then go about and show everybody else, which of course is viral marketing.

Deadly Viper Character Assassins

Deadly Viper

Deadly Viper

The Deadly Viper Character Assassins is an infectious brand created by the non-profit organisation ethur to promote their most recent initiative targeted at people in leadership positions aiming at talking and raising awareness of the reality’s of things like grace and integrity. It was promoted heavily through networking and has relied heavily on the effort of it’s own initial release and the combined blogging of three individuals on various topics aimed at breaking taboo’s and getting people to share experiences.

Deadly Viper after finishing it’s branding compiled a book looking at the themes of grace and integrity which they then published in house and gave away free at a leadership conference. They encouraged people to talk about it with other people who read the book and to just be open and honest about the struggles of people in position of responsibility, so rather than a defined product the aim was to create discussion on integrity and grace and the pitfalls people can stumble into which thanks to the extensive and successful branding could be talked about in relatively easy terms by addressing them as various “character assassins”. The creator Mike Foster simply felt that he loved the idea of Ninja’s and worked this into the branding and Ninja’s are a fairly safe and for some reason popular notion to talk about, it’s a lot easier to say “Hey, want to talk about Ninja’s?” rather than “Hey, want to talk about your integrity as a leader?”. They’ve since released a free audio-book of the original Deadly Viper book and have generated massive traffic to the Deadly Viper blog/website purely off the back of the brand, initial release and word of mouth. This has since been sustained by giving the brand a presence on various social networks and other websites such as twitter and flickr which suggests a look at trying to reach people increasingly where they are rather than simply trying to draw people directly to the site.

To write love on her arms/ TWLOHA

TWOLHA

TWOLHA

TWLOHA started out on myspace as a way raising funds for a friend of the creators’ treatment to help get out addiction and self-harming, they did this by selling T-shirts with the phrase “to write love on her arms” which very quickly became a brand. The creators were friends with a couple of bands and got the bands to endorse the T-shirts to raise awareness, the fans of the bands then got into the product because of the endorsement which started getting other people talking or sharing their experiences over the issues of depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. All the while TWLOHA continued to make sales and increase brand awareness which they then turned into an initiative in encouraging and getting people to seek help and be open about they’re struggles and feelings.

TWOLHA you could say exploited a niche by appealing to a particular subculture within music which seemed to resonate with various issues common amongst young people found within that subculture. However many people’s first experience with the brand will be a T-shirt worn by a friend or someone in a band and eventually this will cause someone to ask what that’s all about which is an effective example of viral media. TWOLHA found it’s base in utilising existing networks of new media for a low cost means of starting up their campaign, they’ve since taken to new media to better communicate their intentions to people who might of heard of the brand but not met anyone directly involved as much of the brand awareness is done by people who buy into the brand with a t-shirt.

Junky Car Club

Junky Car Club

Junky Car Club

Junky Car Club was another initiative set up by the non-profit group ethur. The basic idea was to challenge peoples understanding of the big car culture in the US and to instead teach to “live with less so we can give more.” As a movement it was quite exclusive as you could only join the Junky Car Club effectively if you were driving what they classified as a ‘Junker’. The whole aim behind this was to raise money for Compassion International a children’s charity for kids living in poverty around the world, Junky Car Club used social networks but also the cars themselves, extensive print branding in the form of stickers and calendars, membership schemes, membership cards and junky car conventions to raise awareness. They also then got special deals for people involved in other ethur initiatives like exclusive VIP parking at a leadership conference the deadly viper character assassins were featuring at.

In an interview with Mike Foster (the creator) he said they invested $1,000 dollars into Junky Car Club which has in turn raised over $20,000 dollars for Compassion International. Junky Car Club perhaps has the least web presence of all ethur initiatives yet is perhaps one of the best examples of getting the most out of ‘audience participation’ especially since a concept of the Car in America is so tightly wound up with issues like; consumerism, materialism and social identity it helps not only the drivers but their passengers think more about the alternatives to such a culture.

Social Vibe

Social Vibe

Social Vibe

Is a brand new social networking site with a difference. Social Vibe is free to join and upon joining users are asked to pick a ‘sponsor’ which is mandatory to membership, they are then asked likewise to pick a ‘cause’ (which is mandatory) to support. They can then ‘advertise’ themselves by placing social vibe applications on other existing social networks where a user has membership or just by getting people to see their advertisements raises money for the cause of their choice. This not only virally promotes the brand and charity selected but also Social Vibe as a network in of itself which carries a feel good factor of not only online narcissism but an undercurrent of the fact that you too can change the world just by being part of the website.

Social Vibe as a social network has taken a different approach to exploiting an increasingly crowded market of social networks by making it possible to integrate itself within and alongside existing social networks. Social Vibe is all about getting brands into networks of friends and by using the idea of raising money for charity in return for opening people up to the steady constant advertisement or brand presence of a well to do corporation, the network plays on individuals who want to be seen to be socially conscious or aware to their friends and likewise people who see their friends with a social vibe application on their profile will want to get in on that too to show that they and their friends are similar in an increasingly number of ways.

What do I want to engage people in?

I want to engage people in learning to rethink how we approach our relationships with people, especially sexual relationships with issues like prostitution and people trafficking and their implications in mind. I want us to rethink what are the conditions which create prostitution and people trafficking and can we come up with a response? What might this look like?

At the same time I want us to be pushing to get people opinionated and looking at ways that people can communicate this to others on their own terms, getting people to get other people to see something like prostitution or people trafficking as a symptom of something deeper rather than an isolated issue in itself.

Potential problems

This project takes a moral and ideological standpoint which might not be shared by very many people initially. Society as it stands preaches a relativism which internalises a ‘moral vacuum’ which likewise leads to a vested interest in self which is pretty hard to avoid and creates one of three potential outcomes in people

a) A hedonistic and impulsive pattern of behaviour ‘thinking with our feelings’

b) General apathy or lack of moral perspective/opinion  (no coherent worldview means no defined view on various topics)

c) Commodification and objectification of the world beyond the self. (the worlds your oyster)

(This is a massive generalisation! But I think there is some truth in this)

Similar projects in the past have looked at addressing issues which concern individuals who have a voice or the potential to express themselves. They find this behaviour therapeutic and comforting to know others suffer with similar issues or are sympathetic to their plight. This gives gratification.

The difference with sex traffic (and prostitution in a number of cases) is it is a modern form of slavery (either directly ie; owned by someone or indirectly to a distorted perspective of themselves or to an addiction). A person has become a commodity and ceases to have individual liberty (commodification has a big feature in prostitution).

So the vast majority of people not directly involved in this will see it as something which does not concern them..

Method of engagement

A lot of people won’t engage a problem in short unless it is their problem, or they get something out of it. People have inherited some sort of skeletal moral framework likewise so there are three potential approaches which could be utilised..

a) Make it an individual’s problem; put an individual in the shoes of a victim. Bring the reality of prostitution and people trafficking into a persons life, show the outward ramifications beyond the individual, to a persons family.. this is your mum, your sister, your daughter your girlfriend, your friend etc. what kind of society.. etc. shock someone, make them uncomfortable with the truth.. bring it into their bedroom. Shock can be a big motivator to wake people up.

b) Utilise moral leverage after exposing people to the reality of it all, make it public and get people to engage publically.. people might not care deep down but they might care how they appear to other people.

c) Give an individual something out of it, a chance to be seen doing some good.. the chance to put their name on something.. a chance to walk in the footsteps of people who stood for something.. the chance to connect with something bigger than themselves.. a chance to show off their work or express themselves in front of other people. By getting them to express themselves and get involved this increases the likelihood of people want communicate the idea or initiative to others around them. By getting people to own the idea and make it there own I think this would really go a step further too.

d) Regularly contact your audience, getting people informed and really just hammering it into people to keep up the pressure.

Desired Results

I want people to really think about what prostitution and people trafficking really says about our world, our views of other people and ourselves. I want people to realise that we have a social identity and that prostitution and people trafficking is very real and the people involved in it are just like you or me at its core. You can pretend it isn’t there but you’ve got to be living with your eyes closed if you do. I want people to realise that people aren’t commodities and even our own bodies aren’t commodities to exploited and that people deserve the right to be treated as equals, the existence of stuff like prostitution and the sex trade says a lot about us and how we respond to this says just as much about us likewise.

I then want people to talk about it, I want to change people and go somewhere towards giving people hearts that feel and think. I want to get those hearts with legs and mouths spreading the world and challenging people. (How idealistic and soppy does that sound?)

Target Audience

I think will be two-fold and potentially quite wide.

a) People with existing moral convictions with an opinion of right and wrong to either get involved and active or to stimulate a debate which might get a few people off the sidelines. Artists? Faith groups? Members of non-profits? These might prove good grounds from which to draw support and help develop contacts who could supply information or people power.

b) ‘Youth’..Teens, Students, Young Professionals.. it could go a lot further but to keep this tight I want to engage people involved in the same culture and generation as I am. This is because it’s easier for me and my networks to engage them and that the material I produce can be more specifically tailored to reaching this audience.. however I don’t want to limit it and I want to reach younger kids, older folks.. because I just want to break the taboo on the topic to enable people to think and talk about the whole issue simply.

My Role

In short I think primarily I’ll be looking at a role as project manager, strategy development and all of this will be in addition to a role in the design and development of the various forms of media which will be employed to reach out to and engage people. This will fulfil the criteria hopefully for my final major at university.

I’ve also got to look for and get other people involved and collaborating. Chase up potential links and get networking with people already involved in these sorts of scenes…

Is a website I heard of.. forgot about and kinda stumbled on again. It’s a canadian website which looks at trying to get young canadians involved in voting (non-partisan) it states that most Canadian youth feel disempowered and distanced from what is going on in politics.

Apathy is boring

Whatever you feel about it, I’ve been looking at some of the ways they try to engage people..

It’s ‘cool’ to be concerned

Apathy is boring tries to address a new way of viewing politics.. ie; it’s cool and sexy. However, it can only be cool and sexy once you know about it, and if you don’t know about it you’re apathetic and that’s boring.. hence thats not cool.. its not sexy either.

Obviously for young people identity is a big thing, being sexy and cool tends to be somewhere high on the list for most youth. The desire to be accepted and wanted by other people.. i guess? The site tries to patch into this with it’s branding alongside the clothing sold on the site (which is also a means of advertising). It’ also makes a habit of getting canadian musicians involved in apathy is boring, trying to reach into subcultures and the lives of other youth to further the ‘cool’ concept that music, politics and sexy can mix.

Making it easy

Apathy is boring has masses of information on the political scene, political issues, political parties aswell as ways for visitors to the site can get involved not only in apathy is boring but also various political groups. Alot of people might be pulled onto the site but it could be questionable how many would actually take upon themselves to look up information but apathy is boring has done it for everyone already and makes a point of saying “We’ve done this all for you, you just have to pick it up.” almost suggesting after a quick look around the website you really have no excuse for not getting involved in something or some sort of opinion on the political scene. Apathy is boring also publish regular news and articles relating to the political scene so they make it very easy to say clued in with this all.

Why not join in?

The website also holds the capability to foster some sort of community where people can publish their own news and get involved with other Canadian youth who live locally and/or share similiar views. Likewise you can also get to a place where you can represent apathy is boring itself and get involved in raising awareness about the project.. put on gigs or if your a musician you can get quite a bit of publicity for getting involved in apathy is boring. All of these methods go somewhere towards empowering those who choose to get involved with apathy is boring, they also make a point of taking on interns which goes some way to say that the direct involvement of people who visit their website is something important. One of the root causes of apathy largely (the site suggests) is disempowerment.. that fact that youth are’t represented in politics, so this is what apathy is boring tries to address really.

So.. what does this mean.. how does apathy is boring engage the apathetic?

Apathy is boring looks at getting people, young people interested in something they have no interest in. They’ve done this by looking at what young people already ‘are’ interested in and then doing what they can to take their message and get it associated with those things the youth are interested/involved in to get those youth likewise involved in the political scene. This is done mostly via music and art which are a strong part of the identity of youth culture.

Apathy is boring have then taken on branding which reinforces this and in a subtle fashion stated that this is cool & sexy and this asserts that to not be interested means you’re missing out on the possibility to be cool and sexy.. which plays on image and identity of people which is quite important to them when young.

It’s hard to measure how successful this campaign is in reality. It covers a wide area (the entire of canada) so in some regions it can be quite successful, in others it might not..

Apathy is boring seem’s like a top-down approach… here is something, plug in.. meet people, do stuff.

However I want to instead go from a ground-up, grassroots approach.. apathy is still an issue but i want to say.. here’s an issue… what do you think?… what should we do? Most of what I’m trying to do is relationally driven I think this is something important.. if I care.. my friends might care more because I care. I want to then empower ‘carriers’ of this ‘memetic virus’ to spread the viral/virus onto others.. i want to infect them with an ideological stand-point which says this whole people traffick/prostitution etc. in bomo/poole is messed up.. in a BIG way!

Joe one of my lecturers, and my dissertation tutor actually put the idea out that perhaps we should try using a blog to put our dissertation ideas out there to help us formulate them.. and i guess see what other people comment on if they do too.. so here goes some rambling i’d made earlier..

Burma according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is the world’s second most heavily censored country next to North Korea. I would like to then analyse or formulate a breakdown of the military junta’s oppression of its civilian population and to examine which groups seem to be expressly targeted by these various methods. I’d do this with primary and secondary research if possible with a mention to how the population has responded in various ways with a focus towards ethnic minorities.

I would then like to compare the findings to the stories of oppressed people around the world (ie; Stalinist Russia) as well referring to fictitious accounts of oppressive regimes in dystopian literature to better understand my own assumptions of life under such regimes and then relate this back to what’s going on in Burma to see how this might inform our understanding of life in this country for these people.

Topics…?

Methodology

Desired outcome and resources available on the topic

Qualitative and Quantitative approaches to research

Phenomenology and the use of sources.

Ethnography

A recent history of Burma

– 1962 Coup d’etat

– ‘The Burmese Way to Socialism’ The ideology of the military Junta

– Dissent and the history of the pro-democracy movement

– The National League for Democracy

– The last few years/ internet in 2000/cyclone nargis/ 2007 protests/ new constitution vote 2008

Government Behaviour and the country as it is..

The Military

Censorship and the Media

Religion and Ethnicity

Economy

Human Rights

Oppression

A comparative study on the USSR 1937-1949

A comparative study with Dystopian Literature (Western/Eastern literature.. brave new world, 1984, We, Farenheit 451 etc.)

Westernised views of authoritarian government

Burmese Voices on life in Myanmar

Forms of dissent amongst the Burmese people

It’s not so much to go on.. i guess. What I will say is Athens is flippin’ amazing.. if you haven’t got an Athens account.. then get it, or get onto Googlebooks or something like that because there’s so many resources to be found in a site like that I’ve found..

I’ve got a contact who’s linked with a group called the Free Burma Rangers who I occasionally get through to.. the contact is actually in Thailand but the organisation equips and sends teams who support and work with ethnic minoritys across the country.. so theres the chance of some first hand experience, i don’t want to hedge my bets too much though.. who knows?

Obviously I better get back into the habit or writing in my third person again..