Consumer Personalization through Media Work

In Media Work Mark Deuze discusses media work as it relates the wide variety of different areas within Media.

According to Deuze “Life has come to mean: work . . . Work dominates our thinking about life” (1).

Our lives encapsulate the concept of work so much so that work basically runs our lives whether we realize this or not.

“Work comes in many different shapes and sizes—paid and non-paid, voluntary and employed, professional and amateuristic and we seem to be engulfed in it all the time” (20).

Last week my post discussed how the creative industries are changing the way that we as a culture watch television.

This week I was thinking about the concept of work and how the creative industries impact the notion we have around work and how these different industries are able to use work to personalize consumer experiences.

I was wondering all of this when I approached the part of Deuze’s book where he talks about culture as a concept within media work.

“Culture is both manufactured and managed: it is produced and experienced by people, in specific social and organizational contexts, with certain purposes (which in this case of commercial media organizations are also economical in nature.) Culture is increasingly important to do business in the contemporary world, as more and more goods become cultural commodities—containing information that people use for identification, representation, belonging and difference.” (45)

So basically anyone as a consumer can relate to this notion. We all buy mass manufactured products and many of us have similar if not the same products as others, but it’s what we do with these products that make them our own. Bumper stickers on cars, stickers on laptops, the way we dress are all ways that we make manufactured products ours’.

“We wear clothing with all kinds of logos, customize the appearance of our digital toys such as cell phones and portable music players, and in doing so engage in the “mass personalization” of every device we use to organize and experience our everyday life.” (45).

It is literally by incorporating ourselves into these not so original products that we make them original. We personalize them to make them our own and when each person does this it essentially becomes a mass personalization of our everyday products.

“In today’s economy the buying and selling of products and services has become culturalized, for example through branding and design, as well as through practices of customizability, user co-creation, and mass personalization. (46).

Even our shopping experiences have become so personalized that through data mining retailers are able to tailor advertisements to specific customers. Every time you go shopping, you share details with those retailers about the products you are consuming, and by analyzing the data retailers are able to figure out what you like to better advertise specifically to you.

Target at one point was able predict their customers’ pregnancies just from looking at a consumer’s shopping history in order to advertise to parents at that crucial stage before they had a child.

However  Target has since changed the way they address pregnant consumers. After predicting a teenagers pregnancy and sending  her a baby catalog Target discovered that her family was unaware of her pregnancy after the girl’s unaware father complained to his local Target manager then apologized later after realizing that Target knew more about his daughter than he did.

Now instead of sending a catalog of just baby related items Target now adds other products to their catologs so it seems less creepy and the consumer no longer feels like Target knows their secrets.

“Media in the broadest sense can be seen as the key drivers and accelerators of a global culturalization of economies. Our engagement with media is a broad social and collaborative process of making meaning, as media connect each and every individual  to ideas and events experienced by other individuals—who have become just like us” (49).

Our online experiences are revolutionizing the way the creative industries work with media in order to personal experiences, but also connect us to new ideas and new concepts all at the tips of our fingers.

New York Times Article on Target’s Data Mining:

Forbes Target Article about Predicting Customer’s Pregnancies

Deuze, Mark. Media Work. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. Print.


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