Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Do Adverts make you Gullible?





















Alice in Blogland has raised a really fascinating topic.

I suppose the common thread through many of my posts is the call to action for 'critical thinking' in order to defend your ability to make choices on your own terms and not those who wish to take advantage of you, and I totally recognise the concerns that Alice has regarding the detrimental effects advertising might have on people's health and by implication perception of 'blog quality'

I also sense an implied assumption, that there are those of us who feel that 'blogs' are social dialogue vehicles and not commercial vehicles and 'ner the twain shall meet'. I think forcing a polarity here is worth thinking about maybe...My friend likes gardening and she sells surplus tomatoes.

Of course, advertisers deploy the techniques of applied psychology in the hope of creating a competitive and commercial advantage, and you only have to browse through any of Kevin Hogan's books to glimpse how we can be influenced and persuaded when our guard is down. After all advertisers are tapping into our basic needs for food, safety, advantage and pro-creation. Surely however there is the potential (and personal responsibility?) to become more aware of the influence others can have on us. Blindly accepting, for instance, that a person in a white coat is 'authority' and 'scientific' when in actual fact they are an actor is exactly what toothpaste manufacturers want us to believe.

I have some sympathy with argument that adverts might be bad for your health. (although this is quite a generalisation as some adverts provide un-biased information, choice and have altrusitic motives) I nevertheless agree with those who point out that the continuous drip -feeding of messages into our sub-conscious can affect us (why else would they do it?) What the reinforcing impacts must be on 'day -time' TV addicts of images of people in financial difficulty I don't know. Consumerism is founded upon creating a dissonance between your present 'state' and a desired 'state' and implying through advertising that you are 'unattractive - unless..', and 'poor parent - unless..' etc etc. In some cases this must be detrimental to mental well-being as living in a permanent state of 'believed' inadequacy must surely lead to depression?

So should blogs be 'ad free' and 'why'? What are the fundamental assumptions we are making upon which our position is based? What are the qualities of a 'good' blog in this regard?

Are Social Networking sites the 21st Century equivalent of TV's ersthwhile role as the 'Idiots Lantern'or might we able to develop our critical faculties to such an extent that we can actually 'choose' to click on a link or not.

If you are interested in exploring more on the where the 'blame' might lie for determining the quality of a good or bad blog why not check out Blogging To Blame...oops that was an advert :)

6 comments:

  1. Surely, whether to advertise or not is a personal choice on a blog? Those of us who enjoy writing blogs (and sweat blood and tears!) for nothing, might as well chance their arm and see if there is a possibility of some revenue.

    I use Google content advertising; pay per click ads on our blog. I am familiar with this type of advertising, as it is part of my online marketing job. I don't feel our blog is deluged with them, and if anything, they are an endless source of amusement, as they seem to hone in on some of the most irrelevant keywords in the posts.

    Aren't there an awful lot of opinionated people in the blogging world (myself included!)?

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  2. Thanks Agnes, I think you have made the fundmental point that Blogging IS about opinion and the more the merrier in my view. What I think is helful in every case is a clearer declaration of the thinking behind the 'opinion' becasue I feel that is where the real debate is to be had :)...because that's where the philosophical basis of any opinion has its source...because etc etc

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  3. Hmmm... I hesitate to call what those irritating little blog boxes advertising. Advertising, at least where I come from, requires creative mental effort for which the results - in terms of the actual advertisement rather than the revenue it earns - can be outstandingly enjoyable. Where's the creativity in a computer programme that, as Agnes rightly points out, simply connects to the keywords on your blog?
    By the way, my own short of experience of blogvertising resulted in not a single English penny of income, why? because nobody who read my blog had the slightest inclination to click on the product boxes, they were all too free thinking to rely on my blog for product hints; and quite right too.

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  4. P.S. Thanks for dropping by, Robinson, I'm only sorry I've not been here sooner: I like it!

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  5. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    Sarah
    http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
    Sarah
    http://www.thetreadmillguide.com

    ReplyDelete