Aihearkisto: Kurssijulkaisut

Why advertising companies should care about media education

“What information consumes is the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” – Herbert Simon, Nobel winner, Economics (1978)

According to the research conducted by Microsoft Canada, three types of human attention exist: sustained, selective and alternating attention. Among them, human’s sustained attention span has been dwindled due to the increased usage of digital devices such as laptop, smartphone or PDA (Microsoft, 2015). Reduced sustained attention span posed challenges to advertisers because they should maintain the message simple and easy to understand corresponding to consumers with weak concentration. Also, companies try to produce more advertisements to receive enough attention from consumers and the messages become inappropriate and provocative to achieve that. The problem is that if more advertising messages are produced because of the fierce competition among companies, consumers’ attention span becomes weaker responding to that. The vicious cycle would not stop unless companies cooperate each other to send less and more effective messages.

In order to reduce the quantity of ads and mitigate this tragedy of vicious cycle, online behavior advertising(OBA) strategy was developed. By analyzing big data of people’s Internet usage pattern and location information, companies can figure out people who would be interested in their products. Then, they can send personalized ads tailored to each consumer by utilizing mobile applications or online banner on the Internet. One male subject in the Microsoft Canada research mentioned that “Offering an ad I don’t like is SPAM. An ad that I can use and like is a service (Microsoft, 2015)”. It shows the positive effect of reducing the intentional ignorance from customers.

However, this OBA strategy created another issue regarding misuse of personal information without consent because producing tailored ads starts from gathering personal information of each user. According to the PageFair and Adobe’s 2015 Ad blocking report, among subjects using an ad blocking plug-in, 50 percent of them started because they felt that “their personal data is being misused to personalize ads”. Moreover, “Globally, usage of ad blockers grew 41% YoY (Q2 2014 – Q2 2015)” and “As of June 2015, there were 198 million monthly active users for the major browser extensions that block ads.” (PageFair & Adobe, 2015) It indicates that people’s concern for the misuse of personal profile and information has been increasing rapidly and severely.

In response to this issue, online ads blocking programs were invented by several companies and industry groups: DAA (Digital Advertising Alliance), Evidon (a company which help advertisers to comply the advertising regulations), PrivacyMark. These programs help consumers opt out advertising companies which track their internet use tendency or location information. Ad blocking tools not only assure that users can protect themselves from collection of information without consents, but also provide the personal freedom to select the companies from which they want to receive information by opting in and out.

However, companies providing ad blocking programs need to improve its limitation from many aspects. According to the usability evaluation report conducted by Leon et al, users experience many difficulties in utilizing the opt-out tools.

First, users are not capable of distinguishing the online advertising companies. Even though the main service of these tools is setting opt-out or blocking preferences, users not having information of advertisers cannot set up the settings as they want to.

Second, tools provide the inappropriate default settings. Most users expect that they would not be tracked or receive fewer ads when they install this software, and they also expect the effect of blocking will start as soon as they finish installing. However, trackers were not blocked in the default setting of many tools: Ghostery, TACO, DAA and Evidon.

Third, communicating the goals and instruction of configuration was ineffective to educate the users. Tools used either too simple words which do not convey the information properly or too technical words which users cannot understand. Furthermore, participants had misconception that they are safe against tracking, when in the truth, they just see no more personalized ads and continue to be tracked.

Fourth, tools provided insufficient feedback to users. Participants were uncertain of what the function of opt-out means and whether it is working or not. However, Ghostery and TACO provided users with the feedback on all websites they visited and they could understand the actual role of tools.

Fifth, tools sometimes break the parts of websites, and participants thought the internet connection is the main problem of that.

In the conclusion, the researchers explained that “There are significant challenges in providing easy-to-use tools that give users meaningful control without interfering with their use of the web”. (Leon et al, 2011) If we failed to overcome this challenge, users will notice that they actually could not set up the mode to stop trackers and they will continue receiving the personalize ads from the companies they thought they blocked. Since people will feel unsafe of being tracked and losing their personal right, the vicious cycle of weaker concentration span and more advertisements will continue.

The main problem of ad blocking software is not able to communicate its purposes and functions properly. Giving proper feedback to help users to check their own decision was insufficient, and the usage instruction was full of technical jargons which normal people do not use in their daily lives. In order to solve this problem, media educator can cooperate with the software developer to adopt the understandable terms when they produce the tools. Media education emphasizes the lifelong learning and the understanding of ad blocking software and the tragedy of advertising commons can become an important subject for adults.

The system of providing proper feedback to each movement of users can be advised by media educators as well. In the education discipline, providing students with proper feedback to reinforce their right decision or behavior was researched throughout the history. It is nearly impossible to figure out the problem which the future users will face, but software providers still manage to provide the right feedback at the right time with the help of media educators and teachers.

The author, Woojung Park, is a student of the Master’s Degree Program in Media Education

 

Reference

  • Microsoft Canada (2015) “Attention spans”
  • PageFair & Adobe (2015) “The cost of ad blocking”
  • Leon & Ur & Balebako & Cranor & Shay & Wang (2011) “Why Johnny Can’t Opt Out: A Usability Evaluation of Tools to Limit Online Behavioral Advertising”

 

Two way education needed

This time is marked by growing number of immigrants and asylum seekers, coming mostly from Middle East, but also from other unstable places, such as African countries and even European. Most of the time, cultures from which people come and that to which they come differ dramatically. Such experience might be shocking especially for young people: kids and teenagers, who being put in another culture might lose the ability to communicate with others and socialize. Media play crucial role in our lives, and it almost became invisible, some people do not pay attention for their use of media. In contrast, for immigrants the many faces of surrounding media in new culture should be obvious, for the reason that it would seem new and unknown. This problem is already acknowledged, immigrants need media literacy classes, they should be taught about media landscape of culture they are in. However, is there something that immigrants might teach media educators; can the process of learning be two-sided?

Wan Shun Eva Lam, an associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Evanston, in her recent studies about media usage of immigrants focused on how immigrant youth incorporate media landscape from culture where they come from with landscape of culture they are in. She discovered that on-line behavior of some youngsters differ, while they use various social networks and sites. She comes to the statement “that we need a broadened understanding of how immigrant youth may tap into diverse linguistic and cultural communities across national borders for learning. Understanding how these young people access resources could lead us to reconsider how our educational practices could enhance their language and literacy development” (Eva Lam, 2013). The way students create a multilingual space around themselves within media breaks geographical boundaries and help students develop their language skills.

In a way this immigrant experience is connected with a concept of global society. Immigrant youth by using media create a space, where global society become more that a myth. This should not go unrecognizable by media educators. There is one possible teaching approach which might involve a transnational framing of relevant curriculum topics (e.g., the global economy, immigration, environmental health) that would provide a chance for students to use multilingual skills to learn more about various issues on national and transnational levels. Students may gather information from different media on different languages, ask their peers from homelands and overall portray specific issue from various perspectives. Wan Shun Eva Lam concludes that “in so doing, we may foster students’ ability to move across different media platforms, social networks, and languages” (Eva Lam, 2013).

 

The author Sergei Glotov is a master student in media education

 

Reference:

  • Eva Lam, S. W. (2013). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. The Phi Delta Kappan, 94(4), 62-65. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41763739

 

Mediakasvatus pitäisi olla osa media-alan ammattilaisuutta

Kenelle mediakasvatus kuuluu? Onko se jotain joka tapahtuu kouluissa vai onko se myös media-alan ammattilaisen velvollisuus?

Mediakasvatus on paikannettu perinteisesti usein kouluun. Toimittajat ja muut media-alan ammattilaiset on nähty lähinnä yhteistyökumppaneina, ei niinkään mediakasvatuksen toimijoina. Näin ajatellaan valitettavasti usein myös mediatalojen sisällä. Huomattavan harvoin toimittajat kuitenkaan katsovat mediakasvatuksen heidän roolikseen. (ks. Maasilta 2010, 159) Kuitenkin katson, että myös media-alan toimijoilla on mediakasvatuksessa tärkeä roolinsa.

Suurin osa lasten ja nuorten mediankäytöstä tapahtuu vapaa-ajalla kouluajan ulkopuolella. Lapset ja nuoret kuluttavat sekä käyttävät mediaa. Siten myös media-ammattilaisen tekemillä valinnoilla on aina suoria tai epäsuoria vaikutuksia sekä yhteyksiä lapsiin ja nuoriin. Ammattilaisuuteen kuuluukin se, että ymmärtää oman ammatillisen vastuunsa ja ottaa huomioon lapset ja nuoret mediaosallistujina, median kuluttajina ja  tuottajina.

Velvollisuuden ei tarvitse tarkoittaa pakkopullaa tai tiettyyn muottiin ahtautumista. Media ei ole yhtenäinen. Siten ei myöskään ole vain yhtä tapaa toteuttaa mediakasvatusta. Malleja ja keinoja on monenlaisia. Jokainen  media-alan ammattilainen voi siten löytää juuri itselle sopivat tavat.

Olen itse työskennellyt muun muassa uutistoimittajana Helsingin Sanomissa sekä tehnyt vastannut mediakasvatuksellisista hankkeista Sanomilla. Näen mediakasvattajan ja toimittajan työssä paljon yhteneväisyyksiä: uteliaisuus, kriittinen lähentymistapa tietoon, tutkiva ote. (Ks. Mediakasvattajan kompetenssista mm. Kotilainen 2002, 37; Herkman 2007, 36).

Mielestäni kaikkien toimittajien ei tarvitse olla mediakasvattajia, mutta on selvää, että mediakasvattajissa tarvitaan myös toimittajia. Kriittiseen medialukutaitoon liittyy käsitys siitä, miten mediatekstit syntyvät ja millaisia valintoja esimerkiksi uutistekstejä tehdessä voi tehdä. Yksi keino ymmärtää mediamaailma on tehdä mediasisältöjä itse. Itse tekeminen tuo näkyväksi piilossa olevia käytäntöä ja vie tekijän osalliseksi tuotannollisista taustoista. (Herkman 2007, 20) Tässä voi toimittaja tuoda mediakasvatukseen oman ammattitaitonsa.

Jotta voidaan puhua media-alan ammattilaisista mediakasvattajina, on päästävä eroon käsityksestä, jonka mukaan kasvatus on jotain, mikä tapahtuu vain koulussa tai opettajan johdossa. Myös media-alan toimijoita tarvitaan. Kasvattajat eivät välttämättä esimerkiksi ymmärrä journalismin konventioita tai tunne toimituskäytäntöjä, kuten media-alan ammattilaiset. (Puro 2014)

Ehkä vaikein pala nieltäväksi  toimittajilla on ollut kysymys median vastuusta. Mediasuojelua eivät toimittajat haluaisi millään ottaa kontolleen, sillä se koettaisiin journalistisen vapauden rajoittamiseksi. Itse en näe tässä ristiriitaa journalistisen vapauden kanssa. Etiikka on nykyiselläänkin tärkeä osa toimittajan työtä.

Näkisin ennemminkin, että mediakasvatuksellisen näkökulman ymmärtämisessä on kyse ammatillisesta kehittymisestä. Mediakasvatus on osa media-ammattilaisen ammattitaitoa.

 

Pauliina Grönholm

Kirjoittaja on työskennellyt yli 10 vuotta toimittajana. Hän on parhaillaan opintovapaalla ja suorittaa kansainvälistä mediakasvatuksen maisteritutkintoa Tampereen yliopistossa.

 

Lähteet:

  • Herkman, Juha (2007): Kriittinen mediakasvatus. Vastapaino.
  • Kotilainen, Sirkku: ”Kasvattaja lapsen tulkkina mediaympäristössä”. Teoksessa Sintonen, Sara: Median sylissä. Kirjoituksia lasten mediakasvatuksesta. Finnlectura.
  • Maasilta, Mari (2010): ”Crossing Borders”. Teoksessa Kotilainen, Sirkku & Arnolds-Grandlund, Sol-Britt: Media Literacy Education: Nordic Perspectives. Nordicom& Finnish Society on Media Education.
  • Puro, Pirjo-Riitta (2014): Sanomalehdet koulutiellä. 50 vuotta  Sanomalehtien ja koulujen yhteistyötä. BOD