With over 400 episodes like “I’m a Sex Offender,” “I’m Allergic to Everything,” and “I’m Addicted to Food,” MTV’s True Life series has been luring in viewers for 20 years. For first-year Annenberg doctoral student Roopa Vasudevan, who spent four years as a producer for these and other True Life episodes, the show helped her learn to avoid making snap judgements about people. It also taught her to think about whose stories are being told and who is being left out.
Apple or Android? Nearly everyone prefers one over the other, and companies spend millions of dollars to construct appealing brands that aim to resonate with how their target users may see themselves or aspire to be seen.
A fourth year graduate student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, Danny Kim studies the branding of media products, and he says that this principle is also relevant to media preferences. We like movies, TV shows, music, and other media products that represent or reflect who we are or who we want to be.
We know that “sex sells,” but can a dating app be manipulated to influence votes? It almost sounds too silly to be true, but leading up to last year’s general election in the United Kingdom, a network of bots used Tinder to influence the outcome.
When best friends and then-high school sophomores Bevan Cohen and Sabrina Epstein started snapping photos of their lunches around New York City, it just seemed like fun to post them to Instagram. They had no idea that they were on the road to becoming full-fledged Instagram influencers. But 3,700 photos and 313,000 followers later, @eastcoastfoodies has become a trademarked brand.
Hanna E. Morris, a second year doctoral student at the Annenberg School, researches climate change imagery, building on her life-long history of environmental activism.
Today, 7.5 billion people live on planet Earth, and 1.9 billion — one-quarter of them — are children and teenagers. Approximately half of those young people have internet access, giving them exposure to distant parts of the world and the ability to interact with people from other cultures.
Seventy thousand tweets. That’s how many messages the 27 presidential candidates tweeted during the 2016 campaign. Annenberg alumna Jenny Stromer-Galley (Ph.D. ‘02) collected every single one of them.
“Washington update: he’s more weird than @NicolasSarkozy but less weird than Silvio Berlusconi,” tweeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Funny? Yes. Written by Angela Merkel? No.
Some of the most popular accounts on Twitter are parody accounts that poke fun at celebrities, professional athletes, politicians, and other notable figures. Parody accounts aren’t bots. They’re run by humans — just not by the humans they parody.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Except when it isn’t.
For example, images in a bookshelf assembly manual are only beneficial if they make it easier to understand how to follow the instructions for putting the piece of furniture together. Otherwise, those images are pointless.
Jazmyne Sutton, a second year doctoral student at the Annenberg School, says that visuals are eye-catching and cause people to pay attention, but sometimes those same visuals can distract the viewer from the important accompanying text.