Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Compete Pro

Interested in website traffic and engagement metrics? Then you will want to truck over to the Lippincott Library for access to Compete Pro. This Kantar Media product provides specific insight into how the top 1 million websites are performing. Simply type in a domain to see two years of site  metrics such as number of unique visitors, paid views, time on site, and visitor demographics. Compete Pro's key word traffic tool can provide semantic insight into how one stumbles upon a site (and we know a lot of stumbling goes on).  There is also a referral traffic tool to easily track which websites are sending visitors where. While Compete Pro was build for marketers internet and new media researchers have a gold mine of data here for the taking.

Remember, this database is available on-site only at Lippincott.  No appointment necessary.  

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Monday, February 20, 2012

February CommQuote

Our February quote comes from David Foster Wallace's masterpiece, Infinite Jest. This passage (pp 834-836) calls on the TV series Cheers as a vehicle to express the intriguing concept of the figurant.  Don Gately, former thief and Demerol addict turned AA counselor, is in the hospital with serious injuries which fuel the feverish wraith-visited dream below: 
The wraith hefts the can absently and says age twenty-eight seems old enough for Gately to remember U.S. broadcast television's old network situation comedies of the B.S. '80s and '90s, probably. Gately has to smile at the wraith's cluelessness: Gately's after all a fucking drug addict, and a drug addict's second most meaningful relationship is always with his domestic entertainment unit, TV/VCR or HDTP. A drug addict's maybe the only human species whose own personal vision has a Vertical Hold, for Christ's sake, he thinks. And Gately, even in recovery, can still summon great verbatim chunks not only of drug-addicted adolescence's 'Seinfeld' and 'Ren and Stimpy' and 'Oo Is 'E When 'E's at 'Ome' and 'Exposed Northerners' but also the syndicated 'Bewitched' and 'Hazel' and ubiquitous 'M*A*S*H' he grew to monstrous childhood size in front of, and especially the hometown ensemble-casted 'Cheers!,' both the late-network version with the stacked brunette and the syndicated older ones with the titless blond, which Gately even after the switch over to InterLace and HDTP dissemination felt like he had a special personal relationship with 'Cheers!,' not only because everybody on the show always had a cold foamer in hand, just like in real life, but because Gately's big childhood claim to recognition had been his eerie resemblance to the huge neckless simian-browed accountant Nom who more or less seemed to live at the bar, and was unkind but not cruel, and drank foamer after foamer without once hitting anybody's Mom or pitching over sideways and passing out in vomit somebody else had to clean up, and who'd looked — right down to the massive square head and Neanderthal brow and paddle-sized thumbs — eerily like the child D. W. ('Bim') Gately, hulking and neckless and shy, riding his broom handle, Sir Osis of Thuliver. And the wraith on the heart monitor looks pensively down at Gately from upside-down and asks does Gately remember the myriad thespian extras on for example his beloved 'Cheers!,' not the center-stage Sam and Carla and Nom, but the nameless patrons always at tables, filling out the bar's crowd, concessions to realism, always relegated to back- and foreground; and always having utterly silent conversations: their faces would animate and mouths move realistically, but without sound; only the name-stars at the bar itself could audibilize. The wraith says these fractional actors, human scenery, could be seen (but not heard) in most pieces of filmed entertainment. And Gately remembers them, the extras in all public scenes, especially like bar and restaurant scenes, or rather remembers how he doesn't quite remember them, how it never struck his addled mind as in fact surreal that their mouths moved but nothing emerged, and what a miserable fucking bottom-rung job that must be for an actor, to be sort of human furniture, figurants the wraith says they're called, these surreally mute background presences whose presence really revealed that the camera, like any eye, has a perceptual corner, a triage of who's important enough to be seen and heard v. just seen. A term from ballet, originally, figurant, the wraith explains. The wraith pushes his glasses up in the vaguely snivelling way of a kid that's just got slapped around on the playground and says he personally spent the vast bulk of his own former animate life as pretty much a figurant, furniture at the periphery of the very eyes closest to him, it turned out, and that it's one heck of a crummy way to try to live. Gately, whose increasing self-pity leaves little room or patience for anybody else's self-pity, tries to lift his left hand and wiggle his pinkie to indicate the world's smallest viola playing the theme from The Sorrow and the Pity, but even moving his left arm makes him almost faint. And either the wraith is saying or Gately is realizing that you can't appreciate the dramatic pathos of a figurant until you realize how completely trapped and encaged he is in his mute peripheral status, because like say for example if one of 'Cheers!' 's bar's figurants suddenly decided he couldn't take it any more and stood up and started shouting and gesturing around wildly in a bid for attention and nonperipheral status on the show, Gately realizes, all that would happen is that one of the audibilizing 'name' stars of the show would bolt over from stage-center and apply restraints or the Heineken Maneuver or CPR, figuring the silent gesturing figurant was choking on a beer-nut or something, and that then the whole rest of that episode of 'Cheers!' would be about jokes about the name star's life-saving heroics, or else his fuck-up in applying the Heineken Maneuver to somebody who wasn't choking on a nut. No way for a figurant to win. No possible voice or focus for the encaged figurant. Gately speculates briefly about the suicide statistics for bottom-rung actors. The wraith disappears and then reappears in the chair by the bed's railing, leaning forward with its chin on its hands on the railing in what Gately's coming to regard as the classic tell-your-troubles-to-the-trauma-patient-that-can't-interrupt-or-get-away position. The wraith says that he himself, the wraith, when animate, had dabbled in filmed entertainments, as in making them, cartridges, for Gately's info to either believe or not, and but in the entertainments the wraith himself made, he says he goddamn bloody well made sure that either the whole entertainment was silent or else if it wasn't silent that you could bloody well hear every single performer's voice, no matter how far out on the cinematographic or narrative periphery they were; and that it wasn't just the self-conscious overlapping dialogue of a poseur like Schwulst or Altman, i.e. it wasn't just the crafted imitation of aural chaos: it was real life's real egalitarian babble of figurantless crowds, of the animate world's real agora, the babble of crowds every member of which was the central and articulate protagonist of his own entertainment. It occurs to Gately he's never had any sort of dream where somebody says anything like vast bulk, much less agora, which Gately interprets as a kind of expensive sweater. Which was why, the wraith is continuing, the complete unfiguranted egalitarian aural realism was why party-line entertainment-critics always complained that the wraith's entertainments' public-area scenes were always incredibly dull and self-conscious and irritating, that they could never hear the really meaningful central narrative conversations for all the unaltered babble of the peripheral crowd, which they assumed the babble(babel) was some self-conscious viewer-hostile heavy-art directorial pose, instead of radical realism.

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

New Reference Titles

Five new reference books from SAGE are now available in ASC Reference:

SAGE HANDBOOK OF SOCIAL MARKETING, edited by Gerald Hastings, Kathryn Angus and Carol Bryant (2011). "...brings together a systematic framework and state of the art thinking to provide complete coverage of the social marketing discipline...presents a major retrospective and prospective overview of social marketing, helping to define and shape its current and future developments.." --Publisher's description 

SAGE HANDBOOK OF VISUAL RESEARCH METHODS, edited by Eric Margolis and Luc Pauwels (2011). 42 chapters representing the state of the art in visual research, is organized into seven main sections: I Framing the Field of Visual Research / II Producing Visual Data and Insight / III Participatory and Subject-Centered Approaches / IV Analytical Frameworks and Approaches / V Visualization Technologies and Practices / VI  Moving Beyond the Visual / VII Options and Issues for Using and Presenting Visual Research.

SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION, (4th edition), edited by Mark L. Knapp and John A. Daly (2011).  Revised overview of the field of interpersonal communication, including personal relationships, computer-mediated communication, language, personality, skills, nonverbal communication, and communication across a person’s life span and emerging topics involving biological and physiological processes, family, intercultural and health environments and social networks.

HANDBOOK OF MULTICULTURAL MEASURES, edited by Glenn C. Gamst, Cristopher T. H. Liang, and Aghop Der-Karabetian (2011). "Organizes and summarizes the growing body of measures for use in research, clinical practice, training, and service delivery to a multicultural population..About 250 tests are described in two-to-three page summaries including purpose, description, scoring, reliability, and validity measures."--CHOICE

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMUNICATION, edited by Susanna Hornig Priest (SAGE, 2010)  Interdisciplinary 2-volulme resource of more than 300 entries on a wide range of topics related to science and technology communication as both a profession and a research specialization. "Entries range from those illustrating the application of media theory and research to problems in science, technology, environment, and health; to case studies of controversial issues in science and technology and biographies of well-known science communicators; to studies of how science journalism is actually done and the problems it faces; and to guidance on using scientific sources." --Publisher's description

Friday, February 10, 2012

Assignment: China -- USCI series on American reporting on China

US-China Today, a non-profit student-driven magazine of the USC US-China Institute focusing on the multidimensional and evolving US-China relationship and on significant trends in contemporary China, features a special documentary project on American reporting in China called Assignment China.

Interviews with [the] journalists who covered China are the core of Assignment: China which is illustrated by archival news footage and other images... In addition to interviews with those whose work was featured on American front pages and broadcasts, the series includes interviews with Chinese and American officials who sought to manage coverage of China or of specific events, such as Nixon’s historic 1972 trip.

Mike Chinoy, the distinguished former CNN Asia correspondent and USC U.S.-China Institute Senior Fellow, is the writer and reporter for the series. He is assisted by  USCI staff and students.
Assignment: China has recently published two short documentaries – “The Week That Changed The World” and "Opening Up."
The Week that Changed the World – President Richard Nixon’s 1972 trip ended more than two decades of Cold War hostility. American and Chinese forces had fought each other in Korea and the United States had refused to formally recognize Beijing’s government and did recognize Taipei’s. From the founding of the People’s Republic until the Nixon trip, American news organizations had virtually no access to the world’s largest and most rapidly changing country. America’s most famous journalists clamored to go with the president, though most had no idea what they might find, telling us “it was like going to the moon.”
USCI website | Chinese subtitled version 中文字幕版
USCI YouTube Channel | Chinese subtitled YouTube version 中文字幕版

Opening Up – With the restoration of U.S.-China diplomatic relations in 1979, American news organizations were finally able to base reporters in China, something that even the Nixon trip hadn’t made possible. By this time, of course, China was embarking on stunning economic and social reforms. Private enterprise was being permitted, foreign investment pursued, and controlling births was made a government priority. There were also stirrings of dissent, which the party-state moved to stifle. Though influential, the reporting corps was small. Delighted to be covering such sweeping changes, reporters sometimes chafed at the restrictions imposed on them by the Chinese government and their own editors and by the technological challenges of reporting from a developing country.
USCI website | Chinese subtitled version 中文字幕版
USCI YouTube Channel | Chinese subtitled YouTube version 中文字幕版

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Center for Social Media (American University)

There are a lot of places to go to keep up on  fair use practice but American University's Center for Social Media is one  of the best. However, the Center has a wider purpose:

The site prides itself on being a resource to teachers and media/content makers/creators. One can find and download codes of best practices for Academic and Research Libraries, OpenCourseWare, Media Literacy Education, and Online Video; there's even a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry. They also have a collection of Fair Use videos (ex. Did These Mashups Use 'Fair Use'? You Decide!; Fair Use in Documentary Film Discussion Clips; and Remix Culture).
The Center for Social Media showcases and analyzes media for public knowledge and action—media made by, for, and  with publics to address the problems that they share. We pay particular attention to the evolution of documentary film and video in a digital era. With research, public events, and convenings, we explore the fast-changing environment for public media. The Center was founded in 2001 by Patricia Aufderheide, University Professor in the School of Communication at American University.
If you are interested in making media that matters (i.e. propels viewers into action), documentary production and promotion, or media literacy/education in general this is a bookmark-worthy site.

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Featuring EMarketer

Looking for detailed digital media usage data?  Think outside the Nieslsen box (that is usually closed and taped up at the seams, at least to academics).  EMarketer is a great source that aggregates, filters, and organizes data on e-commerce, digital marketing and media from over 4,000 global sources. Its reports cover all aspects of the market with overviews, insights and analysis. Besides going to eMarketer for specific data or that perfect report on Social Media Measurement, you might want to beome a daily reader of The eMarketer Blog. If you think about it, no one is more interested in media usage trends than advertisers so even if the advertising angle is not what you're after, this is fertile ground for digital use data in the United States and around the world. 

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