Category Archives: General

Forever 21, Facebook and Brand You

Fantastic essay from N+1, The Accidental Bricoleurs by Rob Horning. Read the whole thing. Discussion of this essay on Metafilter. My favorite quotes:

“Forever 21 was a brilliant name for a fast-fashion retailer. These two words succinctly encapsulate consumerism’s mission statement: to evoke the dream of perpetual youth through constant shopping.”

“The all-purpose excuse for sweatshop practices once was the overriding need to offer bargain prices to Western consumers who have come to regard inexpensive clothes as an entitlement.”

‘Zara “can design, produce, and deliver a new garment and put it on display in its stores worldwide in a mere 15 days.”‘

“Assessing Peters’s article in One Market Under God in 2000, Thomas Frank found it almost self-evident that personal branding was a form of coercive self-surveillance that corporations were anxious to induce. He heralded “The Brand Called You” as “a terrifying glimpse of the coming total-corporate state, a sort of Dress for Success rewritten by Chairman Mao.””

“Just as fast fashion seeks to pressure shoppers with the urgency of now or never, social media hope to convince us that we always have something new and important to say—as long as we say it right away. And they are designed to make us feel anxious and left out if we don’t say it, as their interfaces favor the users who update frequently and tend to make less engaged users disappear.”

“By coating consumer culture detritus with an aesthetic veneer, design ideology helps makes the idea of a self anchored in fonts and Uniqlo tolerable. Armed with the auric criteria of design, we can regard goods and ads and memes on websites as a rich source of inspiration ….not as an inescapable blight.”

“Neoliberalism demands that more and more of the working population tolerate a lack of job security, evince flexibility, and revise customary ways of doing things. Workers must be comfortable living off short-term projects secured through whatever means necessary—ceaseless networking and bootlicking, ruthless leveraging of friends and family contacts, spinning a series of half-truths on a résumé—and they must be more or less self-motivated to produce, to regard themselves as creative forces, to generate economic value in every aspect of how they live, instrumentalizing it all.”

Your Email Can Be Seized Without Warrant After Six Months

Back when everyone downloaded their email to their machine every time they checked email the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act considered email older than 180 days to be ‘abandoned.’

A coalition of internet service providers and other groups, known as Digital Due Process, has lobbied for an update to the law to treat both cloud- and home-stored e-mail the same, and thus require a probable-cause warrant for access. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on that topic Tuesday.

Surely an administration led by a constitutional scholar would welcome adjusting the law to keep the fourth amendment in good faith:

But the Obama administration testified that imposing constitutional safeguards on e-mail stored in the cloud would be an unnecessary burden on the government. Probable-cause warrants would only get in the government’s way.

I’m guessing they’ll claim either terrorism or child porn as the bugaboos:

“In one recent case, for example, law enforcement officers knew that a child exploitation subject had used one account to send and receive child pornography, and officers discovered that he had another email account, but they lacked evidence about his use of the second account.”


“The government’s ability to access, review, analyze and act promptly upon the communications of criminals that we acquire lawfully, as well as data pertaining to such communications, is vital to our mission to protect the public from terrorists, spies, organized criminals, kidnappers and other malicious actors,” (.pdf) Baker testified.


The process of obtaining warrants is supposed to get in the way. That’s the point.

Email Marketing and Paid Search Still Beat Social Media

Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpur interviewed 24 tech vendors on their experiences using Facebook for marketing and engagement:

A social-network presence, she found, was less effective at customer acquisition and retention than e-mail and paid search. The study found that the average Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate and a 2% conversion rate. E-mail marketing, by comparison, has an 11% click-through rate and a 4% average conversion rate. … Though companies theoretically show up on the news feed of their Facebook fans, the analyst said companies are unsure how frequently or prominently their posts do show up on the feeds. When retailers put like buttons on their product-detail pages, are they really thinking?” she said. “Your competitors can see what products are more liked than others. Are you exposing your sales information? So why would expose this information?”

Article from WSJ.

Social Media and the Mom-and-Pop Shop

Get Satisfaction CEO Thor Muller spoke at the Oakland Digital Literacy Center’s social media symposium for small business.

Great excerpt from his blog post about small business and social media:

[M]y father, a long-time restaurateur in San Jose, California, is currently in the process of resurrecting a restaurant called Lou’s Village after several years of early retirement. When his last venue closed there was no such thing as “social media.” A few months ago, when he and my uncle were first breaking ground on the new location, they created a Facebook page for the new Lou’s. What happened next blew them away. Hundreds of people who’d loved the old Lou’s embraced this business that doesn’t exist yet (and won’t for another year). These locals cheered the brothers on, offered feedback about the proposed design of the space, consulted about which dishes to include on the menu (popcorn shrimp!, cioppino!), and reminisced about the old joint. When drama struck–the community demanded hearings about whether to allow the new restaurant a permit for late night entertainment–Lou’s had an army of devotees ready and willing to flood the hearing. The social web is powering my dad’s success before opening day.

Full post and video.

GoDaddy CEO Slaughters Endangered Elephant, Posts Video, Wrecks GoDaddy’s Brand

GoDaddy CEO Bob Parson’s relishes being a polarizing figure with his tits-and-ass fake controversy approach to selling commodity services like domain registration, advocating for torture and now posting a video of him killing an endangered elephant while vacationing in Zimbabwe. PETA and other animal advocacy groups are changing their registrars and NamesCheap is making a mint with a $5 transfer special with 20% going to I pity the marketing/PR department having to deal with this kind of craziness. But then again if you’re PR at this company you have to expect this kind of backlash.

Video: Barbara Ehrenreich Tears into Positive Thinking

Acclaimed journalist, author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich explores the darker side of positive thinking, delusion, amorality, war and optimism as a form of social control. “How could [class and inequality] be a problem if anyone can be rich just by thinking about it?” Her words and concepts are illustrated by RSA Animate.

RSA Animate – Smile or Die « RSA Comment.

Steve C. July 20, 2010 at 5:53 am

Very interesting!

Emmet August 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm

It’s ironic as I write this comment that the Google Ad in the bottom right corner is for “Dr. Joe Vitale on ‘The Missing Secret’”. Good old contextual advertising ;)

I spent the last 3 years or so exploring the whole “law of attraction” cult of self help/motivation and as I watch this video I realize how damaging that school of thought has been to my life.

I know that practitioners of the law of attraction would argue I am doing it wrong, and offer all sorts of rebuttals that seem reminiscent of religious institutions and other controversial organizations like Scientology.

The law of attraction movement is driven by skilled marketers who are more interested in selling their products than they are in actually helping people, kind of like a pyramid scheme where there positive thoughts (especially towards money) are powered by the misery of their customers.

One cannot dig their head into the sand and expect great things to happen for them. Positive thinking is only as powerful as the positive actions that it spurs you to take.

Thanks for posting this video.

Harvey Pekar on Writing

Famed underground comic book writer Harvey Pekar just passed away. His life was featured in the 2003 movie American Splendor based on his autobiographical comics series.

Here’s a little bit into Pekar’s view on his

As a kid, Pekar was almost as obsessive about comic books as he’d been about jazz. (And literature. And boxing.) All the same, he considered them a “second-rate art form.” Then realized something. “They’re words and pictures, and you can do anything with words and pictures. There’s no limit on what order you put ‘em in, or what kind of illustration you use. It’s not the fault of comics. I have access to the same choice of words as Shakespeare.”

The Phoenix

More links:

The Pekar Project

Relevant discussion on Metafilter.

Andrew @ Blogging Guide July 23, 2010 at 4:45 am

Great words from Harvey Pekar. He is a legend.

Rainbow Vistas July 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Very good topic discussed…
Very interesting lines are providers…
This article helped me a lot..
Try to discuss more helping topics…