Culture Jamming

Mediated experiences are not necessarily a bad thing… representations, whether pictures, TV, images, words/stories of others etc..shape the lives of all us today

The social construction of reality could be in relation to the fusion of reality with perceptions and conceptions, i.e shaping reactions/. What we see/the way we understand, so what we see is shaped by the response, is this a better response to the construction of reality?. Personally, I find this very interesting and it’s a fun way to raise awareness about an issue.

Culture Jamming 

All about the media can be used to shape perceptions, people have to be encouraged to change,  I suggest that you ‘google ‘ culture jamming and consider the images on there.

Culture Jamming was inspired by a New York rock band named ‘Negative land’ in 1984. Culture Jamming could be seen as subversive art where images are used to see the subverted. For example, E.g weight gaining (McD) or the ‘Enjoy capitalism’ (Coke)

culture jamming weight gain

Culture jamming could be seen as a parody or a ‘strategy to turn corporate power against itself’ – John Peretti

This could involve 3 factors

Offline movements occurred throughout the 1990’s

  • Culture jamming was used  to send a message against (Racist) Billboards
  • In London,  there were corrections made corrections to billboards

Culture jamming (CJ) extended to the online world, for example, Robbie Conal’s ”Art Attack”

CJ was also used as a subversion of consumerist messages, for example, Adbusters, which is an interesting way of subverting advertisements. Adbusters involved working to subvert media messages by using current representations to change the meaning, e,g ‘Yes Mens’  Campaign/ad“>Pia Savoie conducted a public dialogue between images produced and image users, she talked about the long history behind CJ.

Is CJ a useful technique?.. If you want to ‘Culture Jam’ I advise you to include three things:

  • Edginess
  • Arresting (grabs attention)
  • Don’t take things for granted

When Culture Jamming, ‘Pranksterism’ is at the heart of media as it makes a mockery of conventional society. Governments have taken messages/meanings of young people and sell/send it back to them. For example, The Johan Soderberg (2002) video ‘Read my lips’ involved a voiceover or Cassetteboy- Cameron’s conference rap

You might use Culture Jamming for campaigns to try and catch people’s attention and play on words might make people think. For example, I made a poster on student debt which can be seen here, and instead of education I put ‘eduflation’  suggesting that education is inflated.


How to get your message across

Creative Campaigns to create awarenss- poster campiagns, blog posts, video and films

Use of media in social change

Using ‘gimp’ as a professional image manipulation programme,  for example, mashups- taking one thing and superimposing something onto it.  Campaigns that involve mash-ups commonly used stark lettering, the font used is carefully considered, include  voice-overs (not all the time) stark and uncluttered screen, sombre  music and rhythm  and normally includes a petitionvisual

Visual Persuasion – making campaigns effective

Words can also  be (almost) visual

How do you tell your story effectively?

How do you compete with other stories

Best way to frame a campaign is to think about it in story terms… for example, violent dogs may be used to increase owners sense of being a man,  a short story could pull out these issues.

A visual wrapped up in a video can make a campaign even more powerful. For example, digital splash it media uses words and visual, to create a picture superiority effect- superior for retention of information.

Tell the audience what you are going to tell..

Tell them what you have told…

A campaign needs to be

  • Clear
  • Compelling
  • Convincing

An example of this was the abolition of Slavery Campaign

in 1789, in parliament..forceful words were used, engraving was commissioned, the key element in the campaign against slavery was the first poster to have an effect.

The poster used gave a visualisation of the ‘facts of the story’

Am I not a man and a brother- this represented perseverance of human dignity.

There were 2 functions of images:

  • Presentation of Information i.e objective descriptions of facts


  • Subjective depiction of ideas

Techniques- use of which must be clear, compelling, and convincing

Rational Arguments

E.g, against slavery might look at the economic conditions, the benefits of slavery vs the costs. The inequality faced within the times of slavery too.

Moral Appeal

Telling the target audience that they are good people and the right thing to do was to side with their campaign, the main objective is to appeal to the moral sense of the individual. For example, harming animals, so may target pet owners?

Emotional Appeal.

This is used to exploit emotions, the ‘i’ll make you cry’ approach, or producing a sense of outrage, to convince the audience to support their campaigns

The ‘Be Share aware’ NSPCCC video, where animation was used to make the message more friendly as it applied to youth.

The standing man – Duran Adam

In June 2013, protests took place in Tunisia against the government and activists decided to create different methods in protesting. As the protests widened and the population engaged, every meeting was met with violence, until one day, one individual decided to stand. On June 18th, Erdem Gundiz (Translation in Turkish is ‘standing man’) walked out on Taksim square and literally took a stand. For six hours, he stood motionlessly. He passively ignored  harassment from police and people/protestors  passing by. From Duran’s form of activism, many individuals that were husbands, brothers, wives sisters and fathers of Turkey took onto the streets in silent protests. Subsequently, gaining support from across Europe due to the speed of the internet. The unusual form of activism, inspired many across Europe to protest too. As  the word spread across the world via the internet, a hashtag was created #duranadam or #standing man which many people adopted, not only in Turkey but in the world too via Twitter.  Many citizens took pictures with him and attached the hashtag in a tweet, showing people across the world.

Duran Adam was important as he showed many people in  the world that ‘silence is golden’, previously many protests in Turkey  involved violence and death. However, Duran Adam showed that being silent can also send loud and powerful messages to the world. The phrase ‘silence is golden’ comes to mind. I admire Duran Adam for his patience whilst protesting, it showed how passionate he was for social change, he didn’t scream or shout, it was simple and  quiet but  at the same time sending powerful waves to the world and ended up having his own hashtag. Without social media, Duran Adam’s form of activism could not have gone viral, showing how important social media is when it comes to advocating social change . Duran Adam gave Turkish citizens a voice without saying a word.

Duran A

Participation Media through the use of campaigns

Has Youtube created a new media world in which more and more people participate?

Mechanisms such as video activism are  used  horizontally and vertically and is also used for pressure groups. Online videos are everywhere and commonly used for activism and advocacy. For example, The Ice-bucket Challenge and Channel 4’s cancer day. There is not a charity/campaign that doesn’t use video to raise awareness.  Is there a criteria applied to campaigns.?

There is a typology to videos as a way of classifying them:

Horizontal videos- aim to make a change through the  use of ‘Horizontal video’

Also, the use of vertical videos, which is the top-down approach, commonly used in group videos and to exert power on those making decisions.

An example of the use Horizontal video’s, the ‘it gets better’ campaign. Horizontal videos can be cheap and low budget, which encourages others to campaign horizontally, (On the same levels). The approach is spreadable but is the aim to create change or just to raise awareness?

Vertical Campaigns 

Uses a top-down approach which commonly involve facts and figures given, to put pressure on governments, organisations and individuals in society. Greenpeace does a lot of this! (Green peace campaign).

Pressure Groups

Pressure groups are formed to support lobby groups who work to create change, thereby creating a stronger pressure group.

The three above should be judged differently:

  • Do these videos want to create change?
  • Is change measured by the number of viewers?
  •  The uses of existing campaigns

The internet/media has been critical in bringing about awareness (through empowerment), an example of this is the Arab spring in 2011. Particularly in Tunisia  where an uprising happened due to the dictatorship of the country.  Many protests occurred during the protest due to an individual immolating themselves. The video of the protests appeared on the main news organisation channels.  Videos of the protests appeared on Youtube as well as various other video platforms.  The success of the protests could have been down to the role of the internet, as this can trigger, amplify and co-ordinate campaigns/protests.

Hundreds and thousands of people gathered in Tunis to discuss what they wanted, they refused to go home as they wanted change and not to revert to old ways. Their urban space became a highway for freedom…foreshadowing the movements to come in other countries… (Castells, 2013:22). The hybrid space between the square and mobile phones.

The convergence of active yet unemployed angry  college graduates at the limitations of their freedom, they were connected to other cyber active groups world-wide concerned with how to go from dictatorship to democracy- recommend reading Gene Sharp

It is unclear whether the country got what it wanted, as it is unable to qualify for alleged success. However, the country had active citizenship (which are created by hybrid communication space’, between the public and the square (where people gathered to protest).  In other uprisings (Egypt) Social media was an important factor in the protests. For example, the use of Facebook, in 2011 5 million FB users in Egypt, protests were planned on Facebook, co-ordinated on Twitter, spread by SMS and webcast around the world on Youtube. The use of social media was important, as it kept issues alive, i.e on the agenda so it was not forgotten immediately after the events.

The occupy movement is another example, which used the channels of Facebook, the page has 170.000 fans, and the hashtag created was ‘#occupywallst and ‘ows’, it averaged out hundreds of tweets a minute. The other channel used was a website called occupy together. Also, protestors were able to organise meetings via a mechanism called ‘Meet Up’

Various campaigns /protests are able to use different platforms to get their message across. In the 21st century with the ever-growing use of media, such as Youtube, Snapchat and Facebook, enables many individuals to have a voice, as opposed to protests that occurred in the 19th Century. However, during campaigns you have to be wary of clicktivism, you want to raise awareness but to make sure that the change has actually happened. Rather than individuals just clicking ‘like’ or ‘Favouriting’.

Yik Yak

Yik Yak is an anonymous messaging service that is based on location, other people on YikYak in the within a 1.5 m radius of your location.

In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that a service can remain anonymous, it only needs location. YikYak is banned in schools within the UK, as it can be used as a tool for cyber bullying. The app is banned for Under 17s.

There are many reasons why individuals use YikYak:

Individuals  use YikYak  out of curiosity, something to test and see if they enjoy it. Another reason is to broadcast live events anonymously. For example, what you eat for breakfast, or something that is happening in the area that other individuals may want to know about.

Yik Yak may also be used as it is simply another platform to spread a message. It could be part of one’s identity and persona to post on the internet. Yik Yak is different to twitter as tweets are read by potential employers. Facebook is kind of private as it’s friends and Family only. Instagram is closer to a personal ID, it’s curated more carefully, whereas YikYak is anonymous. All these social platforms can be quite addictive. For example, Silicon Valley and co sit around a table and decide to design a ‘go-to’ app (perhaps) around messaging… how do they make it addictive? Apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook  are  not  anonymous, so is there an important place for anonymity in communication? but the surveillance is easier when users are not anonymised, so should anonymity be so readily dismissed? Why shouldn’t people have the option to be anonymous or not?   Being anonymous could provide Options  that may allow for feedback on opinions, ie. posting on the internet, it gives a ‘temperature reading’ of the opinions given.

Apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook  are  not  anonymous, so is there an important place for anonymity in communication? but the surveillance is easier when users are not anonymised, so should anonymity be so readily dismissed?  Why shouldn’t people have the option to be anonymous or not?   Being anonymous could provide options  that may allow for feedback on opinions, ie. posting on the internet, it gives a ‘temperature reading’ of the opinions given.

Temperature reading is related to the demographics of the area, language use of the area and the problems/sentiments prevalent in the etc…Temperature reading may allow for problem  solving, as a problem shared is a problem halved?…however, it’s important to consider the impact of the negative side of platforms as a problem shared could lead to a problem being doubled. For example, living off ‘likes’ is a potential danger, maybe it’s technology that is the problem, the problem could be the lack of confidence of the individuals behind the screen.  We need to build confidence up as to who we are and what we’re doing. Some people are perhaps confident online but in reality could be the polar opposite.

Erikson– models around the idea of healthy ID’s, the moratorium at a certain point in the life of teenagers, moratorium refers to the space in which individuals are allowed experiment, Facebook no longer allows individuals to experiment etc, opposed to Snapchat where pictures disappear within 5-10 seconds. Snapchat brings the return of the ‘ethemeral’ (Wispy’s here one minute, gone the next’. Ephemeral also refers to the notion that  individuals are on the edge/exploring sense of self, and snapchat enables them to do that. The concepts also link to Dana Boyd’s digital anthropologist.

I tried YikYak out of curiousity and found it quite surprising that it is popular and many people use it. Some of the comments I found useful and funny, like the free burger at The Union and how someone corrected my Yak to student loans* which I must admit I chuckled at. Before you Yak the user is given rules and I found that quite useful as it was a reminder on how to behave on YikYak. I think other Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook should have a set of rules in addition to having the options to reporting tweets or profiles


The Suicide experiment (Fousey Tube video) 

Came across this video on YouTube called ‘The suicide experiment’ by a famous video blogger under the name ‘Fousey’ and he wanted to raise awareness about suicide and show the compassionate side of people. So, him and his friend decided to board a ‘cab/taxi’ and tell their drivers about their day, and when they reached their destination on the bridge they would try pretend to jump  off to see the reactions of their taxi/can drivers. Upon seeing the reactions, I felt quite emotional and it was nice to see the positive side to people. It left me speechless because many people around the world experience this every day, and we should try and help these people and raise awareness, and make a difference to their day.  Rather than driving past or taking pictures of an event. To actually try and actively help people. It’s an interesting video and I recommend watching it.

Note the music and the colouring of the facts that come up in the music

Contagious Connections

In today’s lecture, we looked at techniques on how to help get your campaign message across, and we explored many different ideas and theories.

Books to look at:

Jonah Berger (Prof. of P.R); Why things catch on

Connected by Dr. Nicholas Kristakis and James Fowler

In the lecture, we watched a video on how Nicholas Christakis explains the hidden influence of social networks,

Christikas talks about how an idea spreads and how obesity has become an epidemic, it’s not a ‘patient’ epidemic where it spreads from one to another and another, epidemic in this contexts means that lots of people are doing it at the same time. he used obesity as an example, and further added that  if you’re friends are obese then it is more likely that you will become obese too. As he believed that we are connected in clusters, he  showed an ‘obesity clusters’ social network  Personally, I thought it was a load of rubbish at first and I switched off at this point too, but then it got interesting Christakis then talked about the spread of behaviour in this case ‘obesity’, which is defined as  ’emotional contagion’  he talked about vast interconnections, and what the causes of clustering and how it has a knock-on effects due to induction (‘I gain weight, causes you to gain weight’ ), homophily (Birds flocked together mentality), and confounding (common exposure). An example given was that if  your friend could adopt a behaviour by saying ‘let’s go have a muffin and beer’, and then you adopt that behaviour and then your norms about body shape changes.

When talking about clusters we also covered that:

One with weak ties can reach a cluster of people, however, this depends on how far can you reach?. For example, you could contact one person about your campaign  on Facebook asking them to view it , and the next thing you know, an additional four people could have viewed your campaign, showing how social media can be a ‘connector’

In terms of talking about campaigns, rather than using the word ‘epidemic’ we may use  the word  ‘viral’. In this context the word ‘viral’ which is a metaphor for something good rather than the ‘virus’ which is often associated with an infection. Today we learned that emotions are contagious and it could how there could be two feeds in campaigns, which are negative feeds, which provoke negative emotions and positive feeds which provoke positive emotions. Using the example of laughter on a train, which can be found below or the Facebook and Cornell University study. This video comes under positive emotion and how laughter became contagious.

Christakis and Fowler believed that ties were no longer ‘linear’ using the bucket brigade notion as an example, and how information is more directional  meaning that inbound and outbound ties make the flow of information directional.

The article ‘Connected’ involves the hidden influence of social networks, which includes  the spread of behavior, ’emotional contagion’, which involves the three degrees of separation from social networks which we inhabit today. We are connected in ‘clusters’ but the real factor to consider when conducting a campaign  is that  ‘can we connect to ‘super-connectors’, i.e. Stephen Fry, tweeting him about your campaign

Another aspect we covered was John Berger and why things catch on:

John Berger (Prof. of P.R) believed  that it was the message, not the messenger that makes your message share-able. Berger  believed that ‘social talk’ moments are a big influence when it comes to campaigns, i.e, things that spread from person to person. He introduced 6 principles to make things catch on. The six principles were :

Social currency




Practical Values


The underlying principles that will make your message work, in addition to the principles, we also learned that ‘word of mouth’ could be a science.

In the following paragraphs, I will explain what I think every principle means and how it might apply to my campaign

When connections become conduits for your message you are having an impact, the way to have a real impact could be to have a buzzword. However, your message needs to be simplified yet still correspond to reality. Complex ideas are not contagious, hence, Bergers steps.

When conducting your campaign it’s important that you make people feel ‘special’, and to do this is by social currency, getting people to share ideas to make them look good, raise their self-esteem, make them feel kind, cool in the know and they are more likely to share your message, for example, with my campaign I am looking at loneliness at University, so I would try and raise self-esteem of the students, by telling them that they are not alone, this could be presented in the leaflet or the poster if I was to create one. In addition to making them feel in the know, people may feel like an ambassador for your cause, thus increasing the spread of your message.

Triggers what does your idea trigger- When thinking about triggers, think about what it could actually trigger, thoughts? smell? emotion?

You can think about how mobile phones have become a part of daily life, and how individuals claim that we can’t live without one. When considering the trigger, it’s normally a  strong one and can be more effective than a slogan. It’s important to look at the demographics you are targeting and then use the media they are using. For example, my campaign may target students so I may target Twitter and Facebook, as social media usage is popular among students.

Sharing content that provokes emotions, ‘high arousal’ emotions, for example, making them feel excited, or emotional, it’s also important to be visually public, applying this to myself, if I want to raise awareness about my campaign, I would have to  unprotect my tweets, making it visible to everyone. This brings me to point number four, about being ‘public’  to be visible in  public as opposed to ‘private’ posts. The second to last principle would be practical values, this means to be ‘shareable’, as in your message has to be relevant, i.e have practical value, applying this to my chosen campaign, about loneliness at University, It wouldn’t be practical of myself to spread a message about how ‘University is going to be the best time of your life’, I have to be more practical and give tips or points of contact that would help people practically and to try and reduce loneliness. Lastly, you could think about your story within the campaign, as stories are trusted, make it believable by making it personal, for example, possibly a relative that has experienced the same thing.