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Archive for the ‘Stereotypes and the Internet’ Category

   In nowadays to many people, Internet seems to be part of our life. We used it to do lots of  things more than we can imagine, sometimes we even don’t notice that how much we rely on the Internet. For example, we use Internet to communicate with our friends, to search medical informations, to read the international news, and so on. However, the most interesting part that I want to discuss about is that “Internet will also influence customer behavior”.

which one is better

    Let us think about several queations first. Before buying a camera, will you search on the Internet first to see which brand is better? Before going to see a movie, will you go online and read each new movie reviews?  I believe for many people, the answer will be absolutely confirmative. When we want to buy certain product or consume something that we has less knowledge about, we are used to search the Internet first in order to gain more informations

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about the product and then decide which one is better. Because we have little knowledge about the product we want to purchase, we can easily trsust those informations provided online. Especially, the online comment plays the most important key on it! Customer might change thier mind from brand A to brand B because they saw some bad comments about that company. 

How to choose

Or people might believe one movie is aweful simply because somepeople leave a comment says like “Don’t watch that movie! it is the worst movie that I have ever seen in my life!!!!”

movie review

     Those comments on the Internet might not be true, but the interesting thing is that people will still be influenced by them, and even worse, some people will have the bad stereotype or negative image towards that product or comany forever. Although we know that there are many false informations on the web, and those bad comments might be created on purpose and might not be true,we are rather to choose a product that has good comments or no comment than a product that has some bad comments.     

        We can’t say that the customers are too simple-minded, I would rather said that the Internet will indeed change our thoughts. There are too much informations on the Internet, we should learn how to select the correct and objective one, instead of absorbing all of the them.

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It is an undeniable fact that the Internet is the most powerful media in the whole world. Like Marshall McLuhan said in his famous comment, “The medium is the message”,  rather than the contents in it, the Internet itself has a great impact on human being. While I was doing my research for the project – especially, positive impacts of the Internet on dealing with stereotypes in people’s mind – I found the wonderful example of it; A Candlelight Rally in S.Korea. The following is the artile about it that I got from Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/05/117_23569.html).

Public anger has erupted on concerns over the planned import of American beef this month.

Numerous government Web sites including that of Cheong Wa Dae are being bombarded with Internet users’ messages denouncing the decision, even calling it “humiliating and miserable diplomacy.”

The government is afraid that the online boycott campaign might trigger anti-American sentiment it experienced in 2002 when two Korean girls were killed by a U.S. armored vehicle.

Several Web sites working to impeach President Lee Myung-bak were recently established for his role of spearheading the imports. The controversial deal has brought down President Lee’s approval rating to a record low of 35.1 percent since he took the top job in February, according to CBS.

Several street rallies opposing the U.S. beef import are scheduled for the weekend.

One such rally ― by candlelight ― was held at the plaza of Cheonggye stream in central Seoul Friday night. More than 10,000 protesters including numerous school uniform-clad youngsters and office workers held candles, chanting “Lee Myung-bak!! Eat the mad cow yourself first,” and “Impeach the President.” An Internet community (cafe.daum.net/antimb) organized the protest. As of 10 p.m. on Friday, more than 500,000 angry Internet users joined a signature-collection campaign that has run since April 6 to impeach Lee.

“Under the changed regulations, nothing guarantees students’ health. That’s why we has come here to protect our health as well as our juniors,” said Han Joo-eun, a third grader at Sunrin Internet High School, who joined the rally with four friends.

An office worker in his 40s who wanted to remain anonymous said, “As a father with two children and an individual who would consume the questionable meat, I cannot help being angered. We should go to all the lengths to halt the scheduled import.” Rep. Kang Ki-kab of the progressive minority Democratic Labor Party, who made an unexpected visit to the scene, also denounced the government, saying “I can’t accept the result of the negotiations. The government should re-negotiate with the U.S.”

“It’s an unequal treaty, significantly threatening Koreans’ health,” Kim Eun-joo, the Internet community’s operator, told The Korea Times. “It’s not just a matter of us avoiding marked American beef (if we are concerned about its safety) since a wide range of foods we consume are made with ingredients from cows. That means all Koreans will be exposed to the risk of mad cow disease.”

“The U.S. beef would definitely be served to students. I am afraid to let my children go to school. If the import plan goes unchanged, I would persuade parents to boycott schooling,” Kim said.

An investigative TV program reporting on the risk of U.S. beef aired by MBC Tuesday sparked the public anger.

According to the program, Koreans are genetically more susceptible to the human variant of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, compared to Western people who have consumed the controversial meat for the past decades. It also showed a slaughterhouse in the U.S. where apparently mad cow disease-infected cows passed quarantine inspection after electric shock treatment to see if they could stand up.

Korean celebrities also joined in the protest.

TV personality Kim Ga-yeon, 36, urged President Lee and his secretaries to eat American beef first before importing it. Another female actress Kim Min-seon, 29, also blamed the government for importing alleged “germ-filled” U.S. beef.

“I would gulp poison rather than eat U.S. beef,” she said on her homepage.

In 2008, it was a really big issue in South Korea. So many people including middle school students, housewives, and salary men came out to the street. (As you can see in the above picture, there were incredibly many people!) One of the biggest motivation that make people attend the rally was the Internet.

First of all, people could know that the danger of import American beef through the personal blogs. They understood why it could be very dangerous while reading their posts. Second, they realized that other people – sometimes much younger than them – attended the rally to express their opinions by watching video files that took the actual scenes of it. The initial participator taped the scene and uploaded to let other people know the rally. Since the technology in the field of the Internet and computer in S.Korea was very devolped a lot, it was possible to make the video files and uploaded on the Internet very quickly.

By this example in S.Korea, we can see that the Internet is a very powerful medium, which could change not only people’s thought but also the whole society. Concerning our project, it implies that the Internet might contribute to deal with some bad stereotypes. As a Korean, and the perosn who experienced the issue at the actual spot, I can say the Internet changed many Korean people’s thought.

Express your opinion against the government whenever it comes to you improperly! You’re the one of the owner of our country!

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We have been talking about the relationship between stereotypes and the Internet.  Since the Interent is the media which deliver the information very fast and widely, it might make the stereotypes in people’s mind worse and worse. There are so many ways to carry some stupid ideas to others on the Internet, such as pictures, texts, and video files. While they are laughing and chuckling with watching those contents that contain some biased ideas, people’s stereotypes about gender, religion, and race are getting higher.

Obviously, it seems like the Internet is very harmful to deal with steroetypes. However, now I want to say that it might have a positive impact on dealing with biased thoughts of the people. In fact, the nature of the Internet – the biggest library in the whole world – can help people to think out of the stereotypes. Throught the Internet, they can experience a lot of differences. They can be an Asian, an opposite gender, or a Muslim. I believe that stereotypes come from people’s misunderstanding. In means that if you understand something ‘properly’, the stereotypes are going to disappear for sure.

Let me give you one example for this. As I mentioned before, I’m an exchange student from South Korea. I bet the fact that my country is in the ‘special’ situation is a quite famous news in the world. Yes. We are separated; North Korea and South Korea. When I was young – maybe in elementary school, the teacher asked us to draw the North Korean people. You know what? My friends didn’t draw the ‘human being’. The thing on the drawing paper was something like a reddish devil or a monster with big horns.

What do you think? I didn’t realize that it was weird at that time, but whenever I thought about that now, it’s very scary. They were all the children. Why, and how they thought the North Korean people who lived in the same peninsula as the monster, not a friend? I’m pretty sure they were influenced by circumstances surrounded them. Actually, the animation and the cartoon depict the North Korean as very bad people were very popual in Korea at that time. Those kinds of things might make the sterotypes about the North Korean in their mind.

Now, it’s hard to find the kid drawing the North Korean as the monster because they know it’s not so true. Korea is the one of the most powerful country with the IT industry. Over 70 percent of whole population in Korea is using the Internet. In the Internet, they can find the pictures of North Korean, which is drawing the North as a human exactly like us. As they get to know the North Korea as it is, the stereotypes they’ve had is fading away.

To sum up, it’s depend on how people use the Internet. If people use the Internet to stereotype other’s thought, they can. If people use the Internet to deal with stereotypes, they can as well. As a conclusion, it sounds like quite boring, but it’s obvious!!

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family-dinnerPeople have their own stereotypes about gender, race, and religion. These stereotypes come from a lot of sources, such as family, school education and media. In the past, the family or school circumstances had the greatest impact on making certain stereotypes in people’s mind. For example, children get to learn a lot of things when their parents (or grand parents) say something at the dinner table. They understand the society and the world in the way their parents describe them even though some of their statements could be wrong. In other words, the stereotypes of the parents can be the stereotypes of their children possibly.

safe_internetHowever, in this modern society, media – especially the Internet – become the most powerful source that influence the people’s stereotypes. People don’t get information from their family or school any more. They have the Internet which gives them a vast amount of information needed in the every field of their lives. All they have to do is just type some word and wait for the results on the Internet. It’s much easier and faster.

Of course, it’s depend on the generation – we can’t say all the people use the Internet to get the information because other media such as TV and newpapers are still useful and important sources of getting the information, but it’s true that the young people spend much more time on using the internet than the people in the past. It is obvious that the children of this generation will be the huger fans of the Internet.

The one of the biggest difference between the old media and the Internet is the speed and the extent of spreading  the information. Let’s say one newspaper published the cartoon that depict the certain race as harmful and dangerous group of people to the world. Some readers of that newspaper might think like that and make certain stereotypes about that race in their mind. In this case, the numbers of the readers of the newspaper is comparatively small, , and people get to know that idea very slowly. Then, think about the users of the Internet. If some information wrong start to spread thorough the Internet, no one can stop it because it’s so fast and wide-spreaded.

Here is the point why me and Grace are interested in the steretypes by the Internet; it could be very CRITICAL. Harold Innis, Canadian media theorist, also have talked about this danger of the new media like the Internet. I believe there will be a chance to think about his theory related our topic next time. In next posting, I’m going to talk about the positive aspect of the Internet in reducing people’s bad stereotypes with a very interesting example.

Thanks 🙂

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