Personification is one of the great tools of communication. To quote Webster, personification is the attribution of human characteristics to something nonhuman. Using personification, we are able to look at the image of some thing and provide an admittedly over-simplified metaphor that others can readily understand. This week, I will be extending this tool to look at several of the internet’s most popular websites and my celebrity look-alike that tells the story of this online experience.
Celebrity Spokesperson: Fergie
Tagline: “Journalism: Meet Me Halfway”
MSN.com is one of the most widely read websites in the world. With articles on money, sports, finance, and many other topics, you might think it was a news site, but then again, you would be wrong. MSN long ago found its niche in the online world wasn’t to uphold stuffy, outdated standards of journalism, but to focus on the really important stuff. You know, like Librarians Go Gaga – which features University of Washington librarians lip syncing to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. Excuse me while I run home to burn my college degree. Or how about John McCain meets Snookie, where Jersey Shore star “Snookie” complains about Barack Obama placing a 10% tax on tanning beds and McCain (or one of his political minions) responds to Snookie’s Twitter account. Fascinating!
Like MSN, Fergie doesn’t have to worry about creating unique or insightful content to be one of the most followed celebrities in the world. To quote:
“I like that boom boom pow, Them chicken jackin’ my style. They try copy my swagger, I’m on that next shit now”
– Excerpt from “Boom Boom Pow” (no relation to the Panda Express #4 combo meal)
Why aspire to write meaningful content when you can be famous instead?
Celebrity Spokesperson: Vladimir Putin
Tagline: “In Communist Russia, file shares you”
First, you may object to my characterization of Putin as a pop star. However, I think at this juncture of human civilization, entertainment and government have sufficiently merged to make this characterization accurate. If you still don’t agree, just wait for another election cycle.
Putin and Rapidshare are both legit franchises on the surface, but just below is a murky treasure-trove of secret and deception. When I download a file from Rapid share, I have no idea where it comes from, who provided it, and whether it’s even legal to download in the first place. Like Rapidshare, Putin also cares a great deal about sharing with his fellow man. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, his fellow man includes folks like Iran and North Korea, and his wares include long range missiles and parts for nuclear reactors. Splendid. Would I invite Putin to my fictional 2 year old daughter’s birthday party? Maybe, but only if he brought the yellow cake. (buh-dum-tschhh)
Celebrity Spokesperson: Kanye (“Ye”) West
Tagline: “Imma let you finish, but…”
Facebook is a place for friends. Friends that won’t stop telling me about their Farmville harvest or the endangered baby otter they rescued in Roller Coaster Kingdom. Social media at its core is all about conversations – dialogues and knowledge sharing between trusted peer networks. But can you really qualify the majority of social media posts as communication? When there is only one person involved, it’s no longer a conversation – it’s an interruption. Facebook is founded on a beautiful ideal, but the reality is more sober than a Guns & Roses reunion tour.