Human Behavior

21 04 2008

It’s been a while, almost two weeks since I’ve actually blogged. Life has been next to hectic, and still is. However, today is my birthday, so I am actually taking the time to do things I enjoy. Before my study marathon tonight….because finals are this week. So, there was an article in the NYT last week that sparked my interest. Human behavior has always been fascinating to me, and it was because of that that I chose to study marketing as an undergraduate. Why not psychology? Well, because I am interested in the parts of human behavior that drive consumer choices. So, who buys what and for what reasons. Marketers study these behaviors in order to know who to market products to and how best to approach them. The idea is called targeting. Well, with all the advances that have been made in research methods, we can take it a step farther and start microtargeting. Microtargeting takes it to a whole new level, beyond demographic, geographic, and psyhographic information. This article was all about microtargeting used by pollsters for political campaigns. *as a side note, political science and business are very separate in college, which I think only harms the spread of new and inventive marketing tactics* Like minded people are targeted not based on age and gender, but instead based on what television shows they watch, the magazines or newspapers they subscribe to, and even the purchases they make at the grocery store. The article points to several specific food stuffs and can pinpoint which candidate you are likely to vote for based on your purchase of any of these items. “For example, Dr Pepper is a Republican soda. Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic. So are most clear liquors, like gin and vodka, along with white wine and Evian water. Republicans skew toward brown liquors like bourbon or scotch, red wine and Fiji water.” This is a tiny excerpt from the article by Kim Severson. Can you categorize your friends (politically) based on their likes and dislikes?
How does any of this help in a political campaign? Well, there is some debate about how much help this level of microtargeting does help. It won’t help you convince someone that your healthcare plan is better than the other guy’s, but it can definitely help you know where to advertise. Microtargeting is business tool that has just recently been noticed in the world of political marketing, something I choose to think of as social marketing. It’s on the rise, and we are going to see more and more in the coming election. Read the full article here.

Advertisements




Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner

14 04 2008

Explaining online politics through classic rock « Alex Kellner
This was an interesting post by my good buddy Alex, and I just thought I would share it.
 





Stop-Loss

30 03 2008

I saw the movie Stop-Loss this weekend. I haven’t heard great reviews about the movie so far, but I’ll have to say the movie was horrifying, but an excellent example of free speech. It’s about the stop-loss in the US military, which is an involuntary extension of a service member’s enlistment contract in order to retain them beyond the normal end of service term. It was created by the US Congress after the Vietnam War as a part of title 10 of the US Code. It is included in (fine print) in an enlistment contract signed by service members, stating that “in the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless the enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States.” I agree with Senator Kerry when he says this is a “backdoor draft.” First of all, this movie just served to remind me that how much we need to get out of Iraq. As we were exiting the theatre, I heard a conversation between a few people discussing whether the movie was “anti-American” or not. My personal opinion is that it is the exact opposite of anti-American. The movie, which was produced by MTV Films, is supposed to be informative about stop-loss, but it has underlying tones of resistance. Ok, more than underlying tones. The movie follows the journey of one staff Sergeant who was stop-lossed and his struggle to avoid going back into combat. There are alot of people in the country who are against the war in Iraq (myself included) and are ready to bring our soldiers home. This movie is an expression against the war, specifically against the stop-loss that is being imposed on soldiers who’ve already done their tour. And as for the anti-American comments, the movie is an example of free speech. One of the reasons we’ve been dragged into this battle is because in this country we can get away with expressing differing opinions without punishment opinions that differ than that of our government without fear of retribution. An organization that I strongly support has done alot of work in opposing the stop-loss, and I would suggest to anyone who is curious to visit their site and learn more about the work that they are doing. Sign up to receive their emails, because Iraq Vets Against the War really is a great organization.





This is how we do it!

27 03 2008

Oh, I couldn’t resist with my title today. Today, there was an article in the NYT called Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On. I love it! Granted, I am studying political management, and I work online, so maybe I am a little bias. But ok, here goes. This article talks about how young voters get the news. Online. Not only do we get our news online, but we pass it along online. I (sample of one, yes, I know) watch local news in the morning before I go to work, mostly for weather and traffic updates, but I pick up a few pieces of national news. Then, during the day, I read the NYTimes, the Washington Post, and I peruse Perez Hilton (which is a guilty pleasure). If If I have time during lunch or something, I will check out the Ft. Worth Star Telegram to see what is going on where my family lives, and once a week I try to read The Stranger. Most of my blog postings come from something in one of these publications. Anyway, the point is, these are the places I get my news. That and from friends. I probably get at least 10 urls from friends via instant messenger or email a day. That doesn’t even count blog postings that I read along the way. According to the article, there was a study done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press with a “broad look at how media was consumed for this campaign cycle.” Not surprisingly, the results were that more than 50% of the respondents over the age of 50 reported watching local news regularly for campaign news. 39% of 30 to 49 year olds report watching local news for campaign news, but less than 25% of people under the age of 30 report that they do. 66% of web users under the age of 30 report that they use social networking sites, and less than 20% of older users do. 40% of young people have watched a candidate speech, interview, commercial, or debate online. Presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary R. Clinton, and John McCain all have profiles on Facebook where they have numerous friends, friends who translate into young supporters. It isn’t even a new concept if you think about it. It goes back to the old school idea of “word-of-mouth” marketing, or buzz marketing. When we see something interesting online, we share it. In the online world, we call that “going viral.” I am glad that someone is figuring out that online is the place to go to reach young voters. I think we are going to see a big(ger) turnout of young voters in November, and it is because the use of the net for campaigning has expanded immensely in the past few years. I can go to Youtube right now and find a video of Chelsea Clinton’s appearance at Butler University if I wanted to. And share it with a few friends. I’m glad to see young people getting excited about it. Let’s just hope that translates into votes.





Dr. Death in Congress

25 03 2008

As if we don’t have enough characters in the United States Congress already…Dr. Jack Kevorkian has announced that he is running for a congressional seat in Michigan as an independent. We’ve all heard of Dr. Kevorkian, otherwise known as Dr. Death. He was convicted in 1998 for assisting in the suicide of a patient in the final stages of ALS. This was not the first time Kevorkian had been on trial for assisting suicide. His medical license was revoked in 1991 by the state of Michigan. According to Kevorkian’s lawyer, he assisted in the deaths of over 100 terminally ill patients between 1990 and 1998. Then in 1998 he was convicted of second-degree homicide of patient Thomas Youk. Youk was in the final stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often times called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Kevorkian was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison for second degree homicide, charged so because Youk was physically inable to kill himself. Terminally ill from a strain of hepatitis C which he contracted while researching in Vietnam, Kevorkian was not expected to live much after May of 2006. But he has and is, and was paroled in June of 2007 for good behavior. He wasn’t running around helping people die in prison, I suppose. On March 12th, he announced that he will seek a seat in Congress, running against long-term Michigan congressman Joe Knollenberg (R). One of his main goals is to decriminalize doctor-assisted suicide. Does it sound like Congress is becoming more and more like the setting for a cartoon?





Obama in Philly: Is-Wright, or Fore-Wright?

18 03 2008

About an hour ago, at 11:00am (EST), Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech in Philadelphia. Pieces of information released by the campaign prior to the speech revealed that Obama was going to reiterate his denunciations of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s comments. But a broader discussion of race in general is what Obama’s campaign was seeking. Reverend J. Wright is a longterm pastor and mentor of the presidential hopeful. A 2 minute video was recently released with snippets of over 4,000 sermons that he has given through out his career. This video, which many have construed as racist, is what the Wall Street Journal is calling the first real test of his campaign. And very quickly, Senator Obama criticised the Reverend’s remarks. But it gave the Obama campaign the opening it needed in order to open up the race discussion. Here is the video clip of his speech.

I’m not sure he helped himself in this case, though. It had potential, but he just didn’t hit the mark. This has been a popular topic recently, so I thought I’d say something. My opinion is that cosmetic issues shouldn’t exist. The color of a person’s skin, hair, eyes, or fingernails have nothing to do with what kind of leader they are going to be. And as Obama says in speech, we’ve all heard ideas on occasion that we do not agree with from influential people in our lives. I agreed with very few of my professors in college, and fewer in grad school. In fact, I had a semester long battle with an ethics professor whom I still think lacks any semblance of ethics. They do not represent the ideas and ideals that I hold. Very few things get my blood boiling as quickly as racism, in any form. I am glad Obama took the chance to say something. At the very least, it portrayed his leadership.





AshK Dupre movie?

14 03 2008

An article this morning in the LA Times is implying that Miz Dupre’s MySpace profile may be less than reputable. One of AshK’s close childhood friends was interviewed for the article, and she claims that she never heard or saw any evidence of the drug use, abuse, or poverty that was on AshK’s MySpace page. While she saw Ashley infrequently after she left their idyllic hometown, she believes that they were close enough that Ashley would have clued her in on something if there was trouble. A peek into Ashley’s past life reveals that she grew up as a normal teen who enjoyed cheerleading and singing kareoke. Several of the homes in the neighborhood where she grew up retail for $1.5 million. AshK has led people to believe that she grew up in a rough and tumble neighborhood spotted with shady characters and poverty-stricken inhabitants. Far from that, this neighborhood is an upscale development with manicured shrubs and long, winding driveways. Unfortunately, the spotty past makes for a better screenplay. Is this was little Miz AshK has in mind? (She hasn’t done a very good job of hiding it, if it was supposed to be a secret.) Granted, I suppose we could just blame Eliot Spitzer. He’s the one who got caught, anyway. Read the full article here.