Miss USA… still?

Pausing to write about this, because I’d rather question than let programming wash over me:

I’m not going to comment on Miss USA Kara McCullough’s statement that healthcare is a privilege or feminism a bad word. I’m just talking big picture here.

We were watching Top of the Lake right before a channel flip landed us on Miss USA. In Top of the Lake, sexual violence against women and girls is a main character in the story, and the next show we saw perpetuates sadly outdated female objectification, a big contributor to rape culture. Unfortunately, many people refuse to acknowledge the connection, but it’s well-documented in sociology and psychology. And it’s obvious. Entertainment and common narratives ranging from Disney princesses to fashion magazines to most advertising typically favor the male gaze. This (heterosexual, masculine) gaze is problematic for women becoming agentic, being respected as leaders, and being unencumbered by self consciousness.

I would certainly support a contest judged purely on how much contestants have made the world a better place, not on their physical appearance. Though doing good should be reward enough. Perhaps beauty should be its own reward too – why the need for comparison? Comparison is a thief.
beauty pageant girls wearing boxing gloves
If we must compare people, isn’t it time we moved past the superficial and looked to character and contribution alone? McCullough has a solid background: she is an educated scientist, she played basketball and now coaches it. Good. She also happens to be beautiful.

I’m not saying Miss USA is directly tied to rape culture. Let’s say they’re unrelated. Even then, a beauty contest puts the focus on the wrong thing – we’re capable of so much more.

I just felt sad when we went from a fictional show featuring a raped, pregnant twelve-year old girl to a live broadcast of fifty “modern” women teetering around a stage in stilettos and little clothing. These women choose to compete, but the competition is a problem.

Beauty contests send such a limiting, divisive message to girls and boys, to women and men. We teach kids, “it’s what’s inside that counts” then televise (very gendered) vanity. I have zero interest in watching something so old hat – frankly, it’s laughable to me in 2017. The only good thing about the three minutes I could stomach was Minnesota’s sporty swimsuit. But a hot body and a fashionable swimsuit does not a great representative of US women make.

Speaking at Georgia Southern University – PR and Comms Class

I spoke to Dr. Michelle Groover’s PR and Communications class at Georgia Southern University in April 2017. I provided an overview of my marketing career for college students interested in pursuing jobs in PR or social media.
 Overly honest (?) moment – for the best:
  • I forgot it was a class for PR majors, not marketing majors. While improvising, I mentioned my firm belief that social should not be left to hashtag-stuffing PR people – marketers are best to handle. And in-house always beats agency.
Focus:
  • What I’ve learned about social media and PR
  • My tips for college graduates starting a career involving social media for brands
A few highlights from my work in social marketing:
  • Launching social for RMS Titanic, Inc. (Expedition Titanic dive, syndicating a live feed from the boat to YouTube and Facebook, managing community ranging from Titanic Fanatics to oceanographers to historians, 2010)
  • Building an ecommerce-focused social presence for global museum quality exhibitions including Dialog in the Dark, BODIES Revealed, and BODIES…The Exhibition
  • Creating a digital strategy and social presence for Avis Budget Group’s largest licensee (local Budget websites and profiles for seven states from Georgia to Utah)
  • Launching content strategy for a B2B Saas startup in telecom
Follow #GrooverPR to see what Dr. Groover’s class is up to.

BeanCast 441: Garanimals for Advertising

I was back on The BeanCast this week. Bob said it was one of the best episodes ever! but he always says that…

  • I played devil’s advocate regarding whether TV is dying (it pretty much is)
  • During the #AdFail5, I got to share my eosteric knowledge of jars from my Etsy baking days (some of you may remember my jar cakery, Adore a Jar Bakery?)
  • David Spark called me out when I complained that we don’t have one dashboard to end all dashboards – he said I should create one – he’s right
    • What Chris Baccus and I really want is simply for all our data to match

Listen: BeanCast 441

March 20, 2017

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Adapted from  original post by Bob Knorpp on thebeancast.com

Antisocial Virtual Reality – Retinas Deep

I’m finally reading Ready Player One, Ernest Cline’s dystopian future sci-fi novel that’s chock full of awesome ’80s culture. It’s a fun read, accurately called a “nerdgasm” by John Scalzi.

Brief synopsis: In 2044, an energy crisis has resulted in widespread economic despair. The OASIS is a virtual reality simulator in which many people escape the depressing world. It functions as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and a virtual society. High school student Wade Watts spends his days seated in an old cargo van in a junkyard wearing his VR visor and haptic gloves, attending school inside the OASIS and hunting for OASIS creator James Halliday’s Easter egg. (Full synopsis here.)

“In the OASIS, you could create your own private planet, build a virtual mansion on it, furnish and decorate it however you liked, and invite a few thousand friends over for a party.” p.57

15% through the book, these were my first two thoughts, one somewhat unique to me and the other not at all:

  1. OASIS users sit for hours or days on end. They probably take about 200 steps per day (bathroom breaks).
  2. The OASIS replaces real life interaction like Facebook on steroids, and it’s a scary but fathomable progression.

pop art woman wearing virtual reality goggles saying OMGPlenty of people have written about whether Facebook could become a sort of OASIS. It’s clearly on Zuckerberg’s radar with the acquisition of Oculus Rift in 2014, and the fact that the company hands every new employee a copy of Ready Player One.  All covered.

What interests me is whether technology will make our future lifestyles even more sedentary and less interpersonally connected than they are today. In a world that enjoys VR more than IRL, we could really lose our ability to interact in a vulnerable, face-to-face manner. That’s already happening with smartphone addiction (social media and checking behaviors). People are more likely to complain on Facebook about daily offenses by neighbors, fellow drivers, or rude cashiers than to confront one another. But furthermore, in an increasingly virtual future, our bodies could either atrophy (if food becomes scarce) or expand even more (if foodstuff replaces real food and we subsist on cheap sugary cereal and microwave dinners). It’s not a pretty thought.

I like technology. I like the idea of free, globally accessible information. It just worries me that we’ll all be sitting on our asses not talking to each other even more. Instead of being thumbs deep, we’ll be retinas deep.

Two girls playing hopscotch on playgroundOn the bright side, quite the opposite of Wade attending virtual school from his van, here’s an elementary school in California where students have standing desks.  Bloodflow improves cognitive function and learning. Add in some VR use with open source global libraries and submersive educational experiences. Maintain real outdoor recess and give them standing desks – that’s promising.

BeanCast 434: Our Dander Is Up

I was a guest on The BeanCast. Listen: BeanCast 434 

January 30, 2017

Click to subscribe

PANEL

Emily Binder, Director of Content Marketing, MagicJack for Business

Mitch Joel, President, Mirum

Hal Thomas, Director of Content and Social Media, Noble Mouse

Tamsen Webster, Consultant, TamsenWebster.com

Bob Knorpp, Host, The BeanCast


TOPICS

Evolving the Hyperlink

Sources: VentureBeat reports

A Reluctant Super Bowl

Sources: Bloomberg on ad sales, NBC on conflicted approaches

The Instant Economy

Sources: Adweek analysis

State of Social Discovery

Sources: VentureBeat on Twitter’s movesMashable on Facebook Stories

Originally posted by Bob Knorpp on thebeancast.com

Marketing, Technology, Society