Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hard Times


What's the connection between the new commercial of shiksha.com and Rebecca Black? While the first one portrays herd mentality in the commercial, second one rose to fame because of herd mentality.Confused? consider this IM convesation:

X: I hate Rebecca Black.
Y: Me toooooo... Btw, Rebecca who?

The undertone is when everybody is hating something, even if I've no idea what is it, why shouldn't I hate it too? Nothing substantial happened in the e-sphere on the week following the release of 'Friday' on youtube. Only when Michael J. Nelson tweeted 'Friday' as the worst video ever made, the phenomenon of disliking this video started. No matter how much you love to hate this video, most of you have watched this more than once and the 'success' of this video is probably one of the best examples of viral marketing.Now, time to go back to books(or even google would do!). I've already mentioned three key words of this black (and no! none of them is Rebecca) and let's spend some time pondering upon their definitions.


Viral Marketing: Marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message : In Rebecca's case you did that. You showed the video to your friends, you mailed and tweeted the video link and put it as your status message. And apart from all these , you also spent some of your precious time on earth making parody of this song and/or listening to the parodies made by others.

Trend: A general direction in which something is developing or changing. A vanity video made my a 13 year old girl became the most watched video in youtube. The girl is a child celebrity and she's 'trending' on twitter. But is this trend but a fad? Well, probably it is but it completely altered the lifestyle, career and bank balance of a lot of stakeholders: Rebecca, her family, all the most viewed parody makers, youtube or even i-tunes.

Herd Mentality: Herd mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items : We did all of it: we disliked the video even though we've seen worse videos than this one and didn't bother to dislike them, we kept track of the new parodies on Friday and we even bought them on i-tune.

So, can we say that it's our herd mentality that promoted the viral marketing of this video which in turn, made it a trend? 'Friday' is no doubt hilarious and outright  stupid to say the least and it's auto tuned. But is it worthy of the title 'worst video ever' ? Or are we committing a type One error here by rejecting her side of the story straightaway? Even I laughed over Friday and enjoyed the parodies more than the video so, I am not trying to defend or eulogize Rebecca Black. But while listening to these Black-parodies , somehow I remembered '12 angry men': the immortal 1957 film staring Henry Fonda. People like Jury#8 were always minority in this world: few people have the rare courage of voicing out their true opinions, unless they are super-achievers in some field ( and even then, they probably try and maintain savoir faire). But, is internet shoving these people towards the blink of extinction? Forget about voicing out our opinion. In this era of all pervasiveness of media, do we even have 'our' opinion ? While technology has provided us with numerous ways of making ourselves heard, it has also induced us to forget to think. Thus what we express and how we behave mostly depend on what we heard in the numerous herds around us! 

The irony of the shisha.com ad is while no-matter how much it tries to appear to be anti-herd mentality, this same trait can actually be a breadwinner for them if the student community follows this trait while logging into this website! 

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