Advertising and the cyber community

These communities capture the attention of communities and sell it to advertisers.

The idea of what advertisement is in our society has changed; advertisers now resort to more entertaining, and at times, more subtle ways of presenting themselves. It now becomes important to question how truly unaffected people are by ads, and be able to recognize when one is being advertised to.

One can now find entire buildings with an advertisement painted on one side. In some cosmopolitan places, advertisement mimics theater. In cities such as Chicago, people are placed in huge displays where they advertise for a given product. Ads can now be found in bathroom stalls, something previously unseen.

People are constantly bombarded with images that sell a certain brand, product and lifestyle. Ads present themselves in more subtle ways, even “free” online community groups such as Facebook and Myspace advertise to their members. These communities actually are not free since they ultimately capture the attention of an audience and essentially sell this to the advertisers. These groups use information about individuals from various interests and advertise based on the interest of individuals. Making a simple purchase online on a Web site such as amazon.com allows companies to take advantage of people’s interest based on previously purchased items. The site then creates an entire page dedicated to forming a catalog based on the previous information. Anyone who uses Gmail has perhaps noticed the labels on the right side that displays topics related to specific key words. With the Internet, advertisers can now target individuals by personalizing ads according to an individual’s taste.

There is an entire organized force that is focused on soliciting possible consumers. Advertisements are now a huge aspect of the culture of the United States. However, our society should be an intelligent one that is not easily moved by ads. Each time individuals find themselves surrounded with ads, it’s important to consider whether we are disciplined viewers who can enjoy being amused by ads without necessarily feeling the need to buy, or are we addicted to the notion of extreme consumerism that seems to characterize the very fiber of U.S. culture?