Tag Archives: Communication in a Global Age

Comm. in a Global Age #2: Apple Tablet?

It has been rumored for some time that Apple is going to announce a new tablet device at the end of the month, and while no one has any official news on its existence, there are still many people enthralled with its perceived existence. With Apple’s rise to dominance within the last couple of years, it is believed by many that the tablet will be a game changer just as Macs and the iPhone have done. There is one problem that I see with this, however. For their Mac products and the iPhone, Apple came into an already established market and made products that were better than the products that were in that market.

The product, which is rumored to be called the iSlate, is supposed to be like a larger version of the iPhone – although it is still unclear if it will run an Operating System similar to the Mac OS or the iPhone OS. Despite not knowing these critical details about the iSlate, developers have already started to think of creative ways to use the new medium,

There have been many other tablets introduced (even by Apple themselves) and there really hasn’t been a demand for them – people actually prefer traditional laptops for the most part. There is a very niche market for tablets because they are only more effective than traditional laptops in certain situations, such as for artists or students. While they could possibly market it to these select people, I don’t believe that it will make enough of a splash to become “the next big thing” like people are hoping. It seems to be, just like most tablets that have been introduced, a gimmick item that will slowly fall out.

In the other markets that Apple has entered (and controlled) in the last 10 years, there has been a high demand for those types of products. There is an established demand for PCs. There is an established demand for mp3 players (although the iPod might be the exception to the rule here). And there is an established demand for cellular phones. By taking the time to make better products in those markets, Apple has been able to be a dominant player in those markets. With the tablet, however, they are entering a market that has had no proven success.

I want to wait until the product is officially announced and I know its full capabilities before I make a final judgment, but I don’t see it becoming as mainstream as iPod or MacBook. I have no doubt that it will be an interesting product with a lot of support from developers, but it is unclear how it will be utilized before the ins and outs of it are officially released. If the demand isn’t there, I don’t see how this can possibly a “breakthrough” product.

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Comm. in a Global Age #1: "It’s an award show, I didn’t kill anybody."

This last Friday, I received my copy of Kanye West’s new live CD/DVD, “Kanye West on VH1 Storytellers”, in the mail. The two disc set contains footage and audio that was filmed in late 2008/early 2009 and aired in February of last year. The concert features new and old songs by the rapper with commentary on the making of and inspiration behind the songs. While he included insight about his love life and his mother’s passing in 2007, there was a particular comment he made that caught me off guard, especially considering the time at which this was filmed. While talking during his song “Amazing,” Kanye says, “You either die a superhero or live to become the villain…so many times they make me out to be the villain…I apologize for acting like a bitch at award shows. It’s an award show, I didn’t kill anyone.” This comment reminded me of what happened at the MTV Music Awards, when Kanye interrupted Taylor Swift while she was accepting her award for Best Female Video. Whether you hate or love the man, the music, or the personality, there is no denying that the media heavily influenced Kanye’s reputation after this event. (Click “Read More” to finish reading this post)

It is no secret that Kanye is a very outspoken individual. Since the beginning of his career, he has spoken his mind in nearly every situation. From the final track on his debut album where he talks for nine minutes about the difficulties he experienced with the industry in his early days, to lengthy posts on his blog, to multiple mic-snatching moments (yes, the Swift incident was not the first incident of this kind). Up until the incident with Swift, however, Kanye was able to use this cocky/confident attitude to help his career instead of hinder it. It is unclear what was different about this incident, but the media completely turned on Kanye after this one.

Even before the end of the show, the clip of Kanye and Taylor had already reached youtube.com and the publicity of the incident was beginning to spread. In the following few days, almost every popular media outlet had some for of the story – everywhere from MSNBC to the Today Show to the View, who had Taylor Swift as a guest. Due to the media’s overall support of Taylor and disapproval of Kanye’s actions, Kanye’s reputation and image was badly damaged by an incident that was not out of the artist’s method of operating. The thing that was different in this incident was that Kanye’s star power was great enough to give him the opportunity and confidence to perform such a stunt at a large award show. The fact that his opinion was expressed in such a public place and that he was interrupting an artist that embodies purity and innocence led to the immense amount of scrutiny that he received.

Since the last time that Kanye had a major outcry at an award show, a lot of things had happened in his life that changed people’s perception of who he was as a person and an artist. Since the 2008 Grammy’s (which his most recent blow up at an awards show) he had one of the biggest and most successful tours in recent memory, he broke up with his long time girlfriend, he made an album (which he sang, not rapped, on) about that break up, and was named (by MTV) the “Hottest MC of 2008.” It is safe to say that just over a year later, Kanye had moved out of his role as just a rapper, and was now a genuine pop star. The antics that he did as a “rapper” could not be brushed aside as easily now that he was a “pop artist.” More people knew who he was, and therefore, more people cared. I am not saying that Kanye is not at fault, but it is definitely interesting to see how the media and the public can change how the react to very similar situations after the perception of someone is altered. The media was able to successfully build up Kanye’s reputation and then just as easily break it down when he did something that was not acceptable to the general public.

While because he was a bigger star this go-round more people cared about his public mess up and therefore damaged his reputation more than ever before. He canceled a tour with Lady Gaga and has almost completely stayed out of the public view since the incident. This is an entirely different reaction than any of his previous incidents and I believe that this shows he is growing as a person and, as a fan, I hope it means that he will continue to grow as an artist. When the media repeatedly attacks some artists, they often turn to drugs or alcohol, Kanye has proven that he goes to his music to get out his frustration and I am greedily anticipating some better music in the near future. But more importantly, it shows that Kanye won’t let anyone get in the way of what he wants, and I can’t wait for him to prove to everyone how great of an artist he truly is. Despite what the media makes him out to be, I hope other people can recognize the talent that he has, forgive him for a small mistake and appreciate his music, because as he said himself, he “didn’t kill anybody.”

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