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20 things PR clients should know

20 things PR clients should know

By Elizabeth Friedland

Refill the cup of coffee, take a deep breath, and know youre not alone.

1. No, we don’t know every journalist everywhere across the universe—not that it matters. Even journalists whose weddings we were in will turn down our pitches occasionally.

2. A good publicist doesn’t have to be based in New York or Los Angeles to be effective. Ever heard of this crazy thing called email?

3. Few things actually warrant a press release …

4. … And a creative PR professional can still brainstorm ways to achieve your goals without one.


Continue reading after the jump  20 things PR clients should know | Articles | Home.

Fotolia TEN COLLECTION to introduce its 5th digital artist + Free PSD for 24 hours

Fotolia is set to introduce their latest addition to their TEN COLLECTION, it will introduce the work of digital artist, Joolz. The series is set to bring together “the best of digital art, graphic resources and education.”

With the collection, Fotolia aims to let image enthusiasts fine-tune their knowledge and skills by giving away free access to the source files of the world’s top digital artist.

Their “making up” video is up and an interesting piece to watch for some insight on the artist and this addition.

TEN Collection by FOTOLIA – Joolz (US) from Teaser Fotolia TEN Collection on Vimeo.

Lastly, be sure not to miss the opportunity to discover Fotolia’s TEN COLLECTION and download your Joolz PSD for free for 24 hours on the 10th of April.

And just incase you miss the 24-hour window, you’ll still be able to grab the file for £6 -win-win, right?


Cultural and social misunderstanding, how stereotypes have there way, pt 2

Module 3 w1 1In the context of intercultural interaction and communication stereotypes, ethnocentrism and prejudices are the contributing factors of intercultural conflicts and misunderstandings. Misunderstanding occurs when we project cognitive similarities, our assumptions that others hold the same meaning about objects, symbols or icons. The assumption that you and that other person or group holds the same meanings to be true does not promote understanding. Cultural norms are often believed to be universal by many and when they encounter others that are deviating from expected behavior the person can be insulted and altercations can occur. In order to counter misunderstandings that extend from these projections a communicator should take a step back and acknowledge that although we share many similarities our communication is contextual and situational. Because we are entering a new situation or different context we should not make implicit assumptions about meanings and should observe, question and ask for clarification so that we are not lead into misunderstanding or conflict.

Over-generalizing about a particular group has a long historical background in which many people have been abused, segregated, chastened or marginalized because of those generalizations turning into negative stereotypes that become common held beliefs about those groups. These stereotypes often begin as what may appear as a benign comment like saying that all Asians are great at math, but that stereotype may in itself place an undue burden on an Asian that does not excel in math. Or also in turn create the expectation that if you are not Asian you are not qualified for a job that requires advanced mathematical skills. Stereotypes can cause a wide array of damages. In an effort to reduce intercultural misunderstanding Hall (2005) posits that we engage in avoiding, accommodating, competing, compromising and collaborative styles as our way of dealing and managing conflict in intercultural communications.

How different groups are portrayed in the media

The portrayal of certain groups (i.e. older people, Asians and women) in the media influence other’s perceptions by the use of stereotypes, which lead to cultural misunderstandings. Earlier on we touched on the female and male portrayals in the media and how the conflicting picture created by those portrayals creates dissonance due to the unrealistic examples that individuals have to try and reach. The more we continue to propagate the stereotypes and depict certain groups in particular frames the more we propagate that image and create a reference frame for the public to use when they encounter such individuals. The normative view of Hispanics and Latinos is that they work as laborers, housekeepers and gardeners and do not speak English and are uneducated. This is a typecast or stereotypical representation that is not truly representative of all Hispanics and Latinos, however when many people encounter a person in that group they may approach them with hesitance because they expect them not to speak the same language. Also, often times people will speak to them under the assumption that they lack education and have to speak to them at a different level so that they can understand. The use of stereotypes in the media is done to connect to schemas that people already have in their minds, however the continued propagation and reinforcement of those stereotypes continues to solidify them as a reality and attitude of the culture in general. When an American born Hispanic child goes to school and is being educated but every media reference point or example tells them that thy best they can achieve is being a laborer the child can then turn into the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Developing a campaign

  1.                I.     Situation Analysis (SWOT): This step is assessed for both internal and external areas as needed.
  2. Strengths – Define the advantages, strengths, resources, and the unique selling point the organizations has.
    1.                                                         i.     Provides the organization with a realistic view of what is positive about them and that are occurring with competitors.
    2. Weakness – Identify areas that need improvement, should be avoided and what leads to losses.
      1.                                                         i.     Isolates areas that require attention and are a threat to the organization and also identifies the weakness of the competition.
      2.                                                       ii.     This provides a point of reference to guide the creation of objectives later on.
      3. Opportunities – Identify opportunities for your organization such as markets, products, locations, placement, technology, population, social patterns…etc.
        1.                                                         i.     Enumerating areas of opportunity allows the planners to recognize things that can be used to the advantage of the campaign or that should be highlighted as successes and areas of potential development for the organization.
        2. Threats – Classify obstacles faced, what competition is doing, changes in the market or standards of quality or service or financial problems.
          1.                                                         i.     Listing threats creates a point of reference for problems that are real and that need to be addressed through the campaign or management in order to assist with the success of the campaign efforts.
            1.              II.     Campaign Goals and Objectives
            2. Goals are long-term and broad, while objectives are measureable and allow for a gauge of campaign progress. Typically, both goals and objectives are delineated at the early stages of the campaign as they set the actual campaign in motion. They are what the campaign end results should be and set the tone of the campaign.
              1.            III.     Research – This serves to outline the information that has been learned and will contribute to marketing the brand/product/service. Research supplements the affirmations made through the SWOT (what you already know) and assists in understanding what you do not know. The three areas listed below are devised during the research phase.
              2. Strategies
              3. Methodology
              4. Summary of Findings
                1.            IV.     Target Audience – During the research phase a target audience or population segment should have been identified. At this step of the process the audience is refined and a primary audience should be identified. You may also identity influencers and gatekeepers as they correspond to your situation. The audience must be profiled and include the items listed below so that an understanding of the consumer and how to reach them can be clarified.
                2. Demographics
                3. Psychographics
                  1.              V.     Budget – How much money is available for your campaign and what is the projected cost of the campaign.
                  2.            VI.     Marketing/Message Strategy – This is the operationalizing of how you will achieve or deliver your marketing objectives. How will you sell x amount of things so that your goals can be met. This part of the process includes the items listed below in detail, with specifications, advertisement, press and media communication…etc.
                  3. Communication Plan
                  4. Creative: Advertising, media, promotions and marketing communication
                    1.          VII.     Timeline – This is a timeline that provides dates for when the various campaign components are being worked on, due and go into effect. The timeline will reflect the amount of time that the campaign is being given to run (from start to end).
                    2.        VIII.     Evaluation – The evaluation process is key to the campaign and organization. It provides a check on the efforts and ensures that the campaign is working, if it is not this provides an opportunity to make corrections or to modify marketing plans so that goals and objectives can be positively impacted. The evaluation process will also tell the organization if the choices made for marketing were beneficial and can show things to avoid in the future.

Perspective of intercultural communication

Intercultural communication is divided into three perspectives: interpretive, critical and cultural. To better understand what it all means a we need to understand what culture is, culture is various aspects that come together to form shared cultural identity; e.g. race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and class. As we attempt to understand intercultural communication the three aforementioned perspectives are vital as interpreters of our observations.
Interpretive Perspective
The interpretive perspective wants to explain behavior. The guiding assumption in the interpretive approach is that people socially interpret what is meaningful in how they interact (Hall, 2005). In intercultural communication the interpretive perspective makes most sense when thinking about the sense making process that we all undergo when we are entering situation that are foreign or new to us. The perspective also takes a stand on culture being a system of sense making, we evaluate how certain acts make sense, how they go together and how actions are coordinated, the framework for our understanding and knowledge is laid out within this sense making process. The interpretive approach is typically represented by the research practice of ethnography.

Critical Perspective
The critical perspective to intercultural communication takes the role of using knowledge to show the reality of injustices that are taking place in life. Knowledge is used to take a serious or critical evaluation at how power imbalances in cultures, society and other groups have come to be and more importantly how they continue to exist. The critical standpoint provides a criticism of society In hopes of leading to a physical, emotional or psychological liberation (Hall, 2005).

Cultural (Traditional) Perspective
The traditional perspective often focuses on improving the overall effectiveness of people. By evaluating predictability, researchers take a look at groups that fit into certain categories and by using quantitative measures predict the likeliness of certain events or behaviors occurring. Knowing the likeliness that a certain behavior will occur empowers people to be able to produce the effects that they desire and we are able to conceptualize theoretical frameworks to explain these behaviors.

The three intercultural perspectives are different approaches to understanding and research and serve a unique end goal. Simply put the interpretive approach seeks to make sense of the interactions that are taking place, the critical perspective seeks to find and resolve the disparages in cultures and the traditional perspective not only looks at society but also makes sense of the patterns and actions taken to provide theoretical frameworks and be able to predict behavior through those observations.

Theories of Intercultural Communication
Cultural Convergence
The theory of cultural convergence says that in a closed social system different cultures will tend to converge (unite) over time and integrate and at the same time retain some of their own uniqueness, a greater cultural uniformity. However, if communication is restricted the trend is opposite and will diverge further. Cultural convergence is especially significant to the study of communication and culture as it provides an area of focus for the hybridization of cultures, languages and the way that regions shape. Take for example the South Texas region where the dominant culture is of Hispanic origin and has merged into a cultural uniformity with the American culture which is on its own a fusing of many other cultures and ethnicities. Through the understanding of the integration of the cultures we are able to pick up on distinguishing characteristics from the originating influences and also use that to contextualize our understanding.

Communication Accommodation Theory
This theory focuses on language approaches to decrease or increase communicative distances. Communication accommodation theory explains the process that we undergo when communicating with others who do not share the same cultural or language background that we do. If a person is not a native tongue speaker we made the necessary adjustment to our speech to promote understanding and to be better able to serve.

Longitudinal Approach
The framework suggests that there are stages that individuals go through when they are adjusting to another culture. However, the theory does not imply that upon exposure to a different culture a person begins to adjust their behavior but rather that an individual experiences stress or difficulty based on their exposure and that over time the person learns and becomes accustomed to such new changes. The adaptation and change is evaluated on a whole and in lengthy terms. This is especially significant to the study of communication and culture as we are able to create a frame of reference for the long term changes that occur within people an their exposure to new cultures. An index is created in which we can more closely scrutinize and understand the process and its components.

The use of Novelas in Latin American countries

In Latin American countries the use of novella or tele-novellas (soap operas) can be appreciated as a pro-social use of media due to the topics and social issues raised in the storylines. The end of many of these programs is to provide social, political, economic and human rights information to a wise scale audience. The novellas are typically targeting women and young adults who make up the audience segment that is perceived to be at higher risk and propensity for unjust or unfair treatment in those countries. The audience is perceived to be more vulnerable and also to require more informative and educational programming to assist them with the plight.

Novellas take advantage of theoretical frameworks such as cultivation theory, uses and gratification, and agenda setting so to reach out that population. The story lines typically involve characters in situation and life’s that the audience can directly identify with because they represent them. Be it a young heroine facing the adversity of finding a way to become educated and making while she is discriminated against or ostracized due to her social-political place in society or even the homemaker and caring mother who works her hands to the bones to take care of her children and she is being violently physically and verbally abused by an estranged husband. Those stories are real to the population and through the use of Novellas the audience are introduced to changes in laws, social policies, political reform and options that they have at their disposal through social and welfare programs.

The overall effect of the media is positive in those cases as through the media information and education can be provided to a larger audience. The public is made aware that they are no longer invisible or bound to their situations as they can leave them and speak out to find assistance. A woman who is being beat will now know that she can reach out to the authorities and programs designed to assist in the removal of the threat or the removal of themselves from those situations. Woman are made aware that they will not necessarily loose their children and still be empowered to be productive and find a fulfilling place for themselves within society. Social programs will go after these cases to not only assist but to create a culture of continued assistance and communal reliance on each other to beat their odds.

Factors that influence how media impacts individuals are access to the media, re-enforcement, outreach, message clarity and message construction that is not at odds with the social reality that those individuals live in. Creating a character that is overly iconic or a heroine that comes across as above human would yield limited results, as her accomplishments would be taken as almost godlike and not feasible for the average person. Following the framework of social learning theory we know that people can learn through observation of behaviors and behavior consequences and they not necessarily need to take an action to accomplish the learning. So viewing and individual go through the motions and face challenges in a rational and methodical way provides a simulated and reflective environment for the audience to use as a tool to learn from and eventually mimic should they have the need to do so. The behaviors are learned, as the individuals become cognant of the information, choices and how-to deal with the consequences their actions may lead to.

Cultural and social misunderstanding, how stereotypes have there way, pt 3

Avoiding is the deferring or discounting of the conflict in the expectation that over time the conflict situation will dissipate or resolve itself through the progression of communication or development of information. By avoiding we are able to allow communication to proceed and other unknown factors to be exposed that allow us to better understand or come to a consensus. The use of competition allows for those involved to create close group affiliations, come to understanding over the shared experience and also to work together towards that end result.


Conflict Competing can be useful to release stress or to introduce an element of fun into a situation that does it is at an impasse. In situations where groups or individuals are working towards a goal and the opinions or suggested courses of actions are at opposing ends creating a friendly competition to build, work-out or find a resolution Using competition in situations where a misunderstanding has occurred or is occurring allows for the interaction and unification of the competition to foster understanding and the development of resolutions.

In situations where both parties have equal power and goals that are mutually independent using compromise as a tactic can be very advantageous. Finding a middle route or ground allows for the conflict resolution to occur by taking into account personal goals and relationships of the parties involved. The end result is a solution in which both sides will have gains and losses.

When using collaborations as a technique to resolve a cultural misunderstanding the goals is to find a resolution that is mutually satisfactory. Both parties are expected to commit to high collaboration and low confrontation so that a mid-way solution of compromise can be found. The collaborative style functions on the premise that a solution can be arrived at that is acceptable by all involved and the process demands that the problem be defined, alternatives are sought out and that the alternatives are evaluated for their practical applications and that ultimately a decision is made by consensus of the involved parties.

Different cultures and groups communicate differently and that communication is highly contextual-it changes from situation to situation and being mindful of these differences allows us to minimize misunderstanding. Our interactions should be mindful and considerate of the needs of others. Our actions should not be guided or pushed on by assumptions regardless of how implicit they may appear as an understanding between you and another culture. Avoiding stereotyping can be assisted by avoiding the creation of resistance or arguments and by being respectful and learning about others.

Men and women in the media

Men and women are portrayed in very specific and re-occurring ways in the media. First we can look at how men are presented to understand the consequences and challenges raised by such portrayals.

Media Portrayal of Males
In the media a male is represented as stoic, strong, emotionless, leader, physically youthful and muscular and as an authoritative figure that exhumes high levels of influence. Males are also depicted as over women and in the role of protectors of women who are unable to protect themselves. The image presented sounds pretty good, heck its attractive and alluring to other males and females however, the results of engendering these stereotypes leads to conflicts in the viewing public.

Other males are expected to act in the same manner that males are depicted in the media and the resurgence of the typecast behaviors reinforces the desire for such traits. In real life men are led to believe that being cold, emotionless and controlling of women is the accepted behavior when in fact it may not be. The effects of the portrayal of males on television leads to real life problems such as arguments, violence, misunderstanding and emotional conflict within the person and their relationships, these effects cause a dis-connect between reality and the models that males see in the media.

Also, the friendship relationship between males on television is limited to the sidekick role in which there is humorous relief but no real emotional or inter-personal involvement. The relationships lack a facet of reality and are one-dimensional as they focus is primarily on the superficial. In the real world male-to-male friendships have the tendency to be disingenuous and because of the reflection in the media. Males are not expected to share their thoughts or innermost feelings because the socially constructed reality as shaped by the media does not provide a reference point for such behaviors. Males are given the excuse to be cold and dis-connected because society accepts the social reality presented by the media and adopts those as characteristics and expectations from males. A man opening up or showing emotions violates the expected behavior and is seen as weak and often ridiculed.

Media Portrayal of Females
Women are depicted very differently from men in the media. In reality women are less often represented in the media. The media is pre-dominantly focused on male characters. Think of voice-overs, the voices are typically male because the media presents them as more trustworthy, definitive and knowledgeable. Even in media aimed at youth and children the appearance of female characters is miniscule and when used they are depicted in roles that are very one-dimensional or hysterical. Female characters in youth television are maintained as homemakers, weak or the person in distress needing to be saved.

The female representation in the media is focused on the woman being a subservient character to male roles, weak, a homemaker, a caregiver, a mother, and hysterical. The representation takes on negative stereotypical behaviors that are re-enforced through society and their involvement with the media. There are cases where a woman is given a position of power but she is typecast as being mean, vile, dominating and having slept her way to the top. The merits of her accomplishments are robbed by the negative character portrayal. Take note that even when women are used in roles that give them power it is given to them by their sexuality an object of desire by a male. Thus the woman is objectified and de-humanized. The power that is granted to the female character is almost sinister and villainous she is able to exhumer power and control through the use of her feminine wiles; she can seduce people with her charm, sexuality and underhanded use of emotions and fragility. Females are more often represented as being young, thin, and tall and having hips an overall physical image that is not realistic. The woman is expected to stay young even in the years of maturity passing the 40’s. The woman is expected to bend, pull, tie and twist any part of her body to grasp on to the youth and attractiveness to stay relevant and to be able to be meaningful. When a woman is depicted as old she then turns into the punch line or object of ridicule in most media accounts. She must frantically find a way to cover up her age.

The representation of females creates a false reality for women who are socially expected to reflect what they see in the media. Women are not able to fit into the characters modeled for them and in their real life’s are continually in search of the fix for their deficiencies. The added negative effects of the stereotyped and hyped up media portrayals of females has been linked to a rise in young girls having eating disorders, emotional and other psychology maladies because of the stress of being like the right woman on the screen.

Metamorphosis of the media

The news was once a part of the media that provide information, hard news and education to the public. It is how people find out what is going on around them socially, politically and economically. If there are threats or dangers to a community the media would inform them however, all of this has started to change as news outlets turn to entertainment and filling the demand for advertisement and ratings as opposed to covering hard news. The news are turning into something called info-tainment in which a small amount of time is spent on hard news and important information and the rest of the time is given to lifestyle information, Hollywood rumors, gossip and a review of the shows that were on the air the night before. The need for news stations and television stations to attract more audience and keep them longer has required that the news industry change its format and focus on soft news in order to attract viewers and have the selling power to make a profit.

Shows like the Today Show, Regis and Kelly, The Kelly and host show, E-news, The Soup, the Onion Report and the Joy Beyhar Show are all examples of how to the shift has occurred and the focus of the news is no longer on facts and hard news information but on more trivial material that creates an audience appeal. The news is now turning out information to attract viewers to sell more ad space. The effects of this phenomenon for society is a negative one because the outlets that people once turned to for relevant and factual information are slowly disappearing and the information that is available has shifted from political, economic and community news to focusing on who is dating who in Hollywood. People are less informed on issues and policies that directly affect how they live and the rights that they have.

A discussion on the Truth campaign

  1. Then, discuss The Truth ( campaign in terms of what should have been done at each step in the campaign planning process (situation analysis, research, etc.—all the steps that you had to do for your Campaigns proposal for Dr. Guerra).
  1.                I.         Situation Analysis (SWOT): The American Legacy Foundation who runs the campaign was founded under the terms of the Master settlement agreement between the US tobacco companies and 46 states and 5 territories. Their position is rather unique as funding directly came from the tobacco companies. Furthermore, key areas as their position legally; legal obligations and requirements should be detailed in this part of the analysis. The campaign organizers should have undergone an SWOT analysis of the situation taking into account the four key areas as they apply internally and externally with regards to the tobacco industry. In the SWOT any directives like time frames, length of funding or areas of threat to funding loss should be identified.

Consideration to have been made under the SWOT also include; potential litigation due to advertising, biases introduced through marketing, budget allocations for additional areas of focus, position in market, non-profit standing, legal protections, statutory limitations and relationship with general public. There is also a need to evaluate the long-term commitment to the campaign and whether the target audience would be followed with supportive or supplemental outreach to ensure that attitude changes continued or were adopted for long terms. The campaign should include supplemental advertisement to reinforce the message to the audience once outside the initial target phase.

  1.              II.         Campaign Goals and Objectives – The organization here should have looked at the long terms goals as established through the settlement and the reasons for the creation of the fund, organization and need to do outreach. The goals as set by the initial campaign are:
    1. To change beliefs and attitudes towards tobacco companies i.e. they lie, cigarettes cause disease, and that Not smoking is a way to express independence
    2. Influence the intention to smoke
    3. Reduce smoking commonness

Note that there is no specific objectives listed which is a limitation of the ability to measure success during evaluation. The goals presented have been reviewed and evaluated; however as the campaign is on going and open-ended these goals are ultimately never met as tobacco still sells and is turning profits. Also, goals should ha

  1.            III.         Research – The research phase for the truth campaign is rather tricky as its primary goals outside of the campaign and more strictly aligned with the settlement are to counter the advertisement and propagation of incorrect information by the tobacco industry so the area to investigate was to be related to the demographics targeted by the industry as well as the part of the population that was most at risk.

Persuasive tactics, prevalent and successful advertisement for the focus population should have been consulted, experts in marketing information and attitude change messages should have been consulted to identity the best framework for message creation and visual stimulation. Research should have also focused on the type of information that needed to be addressed and corrected as disseminated by the tobacco industry. The campaign structure in its existence today is about telling the truth behind the industry, myth busting, shocking statistics and identifying the unethical practices used to market tobacco to minorities, children and segments of the population who are at a higher risk for addiction and health related complication to the products. A methodology for the research and survey of publics should be thoroughly documented as part of the process to ensure that the data collected is accurate and be available as reference. As part of the campaign preparation all finding should be collected and reported so that they can be integrated into the marketing of the campaign.

  1. Strategies – As identified in the truth campaign are:
    1.                                                         i.     Expose lies of tobacco companies/industry
    2.                                                       ii.     Direct teens to rebel at tobacco industry
    3.                                                      iii.     Do not condemn smokers
    4.                                                      iv.     Relate to impressionable teens
  2.            IV.         Target Audience – Created as a teen brand, a tool of self-expression. Ages targeted are 12-17 and as a secondary audience young adults. The audience segment that is targeted is identified and profiled during the campaign research phase and in this step a profile is put together to ensure that material created is specific to the target population. The demographic and psychographic profile would provide details on the types of people, attitudes and the lifestyles that messages have to connect with.
  3.              V.         Budget – When establishing the budget the American Legacy Foundation needed to have established if the available budget is for the life of the campaign, per year, quarter or for a specific time. Also, if the campaign lifeline is unknown contingencies to budget planning should have been established. Other areas to have paid attention to are if the settlement stipulated a specific amount to be directed at the campaign/advertisement. Also, if campaign budget should have been allocated for supplemental areas of message reinforcement should have been factored into the campaign budget. The budget should account for all cost, time, in-kind donations, manpower, supplies, media buys and campaign related expenses.
  4.            VI.         Marketing/Message Strategy – This step of the process in the truth campaign would have reflected on the research and audience profiling in order to create a marketing and message strategy that was reflective of the findings. If the research indicated that the population being targeted were teens that have a need to rebel and are sensation-seeking then the advertisement and messages should not only be experiential but also address their sensation seeking needs. The campaign so far has used shocking statistics, sarcasm, dark humor, controversy and satirical approaches to relay information, which are congruent with what the target population identify and are impacted by. The communication plans for the overall campaign should also align with the objectives and marketing, creative strategy enacted. All information that is being released to the media and events planned should be on par with what the target audiences are being reach with. The campaign development should have addressed the need to provide supplemental and reinforcing advertisement to adults who were part of the first targeted base in the early 2000’s. The campaign unfortunately has not made an effort to re-enforce its message or to reach out to people who already smoke.

All creative material such as television ads, radio spots, website, print advertisement, events and camps would be identified and created during this portion of the campaign preparation process.

  1.          VII.         Timeline – The ALF would have looked at the requirements by the settlement and the goals and objectives set earlier to determine the length of the campaign and the lifeline. Currently the campaign has been on going since 2000 and is still running. Over the period of ten years it has been re-invigorated and refreshed to keep up with the times and the target audience’s psychographics. All material corresponding to the campaign should be outlined with dates and times references in this portion. For example the summer and winter camps would be listed with the start and end dates. Corresponding to those entries there would also be times for preparation, planning and evaluation of those specific items.
  2.        VIII.         Evaluation – The evaluation process would be done at the agreed interval or timeframe. The truth campaign should have made plans to test and evaluate the campaign at the 6-month and 12-month marks to determine changes in the response to the message by the population. Studies due to evaluate message reach, effectiveness, recognition and attitude change have been done at 2-5 year intervals providing only a glimpse of actual changes in the message interaction. The evaluation process serves to gauge if the campaign is working or if it needs to be re-addressed to be successful. The below are finding of some of the evaluations of the campaign:
    1. After the campaign launch an increase in the decline of smoking was reflected from 3.2%, between 1997-1998, to 6.8%, between 2000-2002.
    2. 75% of youth (ages 12-17) in the United States could accurately describe at least on truth ad.
    3. A positive effect was shows in the targeted beliefs and attitudes in the first year of the campaign.
    4. 66% of youth confirmed they were more likely to say they would not smoke in the coming year.


3. Analyze the positive and negative aspects of this particular campaign using examples of ads/PR/communications that are available on the web—how could it have been improved?

It is my opinion that the overall campaign needs to be refocused to address other age ranges or segmented for various populations. The short-term effects have been reported and message recognition is important but there are no numbers to indicate if there is a long-term effect. However, due to the amount of advertisement and message pulsing there are statistics that show that the effects of the campaign are curvilinear and do hit a threshold where the effects start going in the opposite of the desired effect.

Furthermore, the campaign should do more to reinforce messages and persuasion as opposed to starting with the same age groups every 5 years. The campaign has been refreshed to be aligned with the new set of 12-17 year olds. Also, the campaign does not attempt to stop individuals whom are already smoking and hinges on simply making people realize that the tobacco company has lied and may still be lying, this is not sufficient to stop individuals from smoking. We can better appreciate this if we consider campaigns such as the DARE campaign against drugs and its large failure to meet goals.

Advertisement samples:

Strap Line:  In 1993, the Supreme Court decided that an inmate could sue a prison claiming that exposure to his cellmate’s second hand smoke could constitute cruel and unusual punishment.


This advertisement aside from providing a truth associated with tobacco falls out of line of the initial goals of the campaign. The tagline does not touch on lies of the industry, does not align with the demographic and the visual imagery is more confusing than shocking.



Strap Line: Tobacco kills more Americans than auto accidents, homicide, AIDS, drugs and fires combined.


The advertisement tagline fits the model used in the campaign and the goals set. However, visually although strong and impacting can actually create psycho-emotional dissonance leading viewers to turn away or ignore. Also, this type of imagery typically does not work on younger audiences because they believe that these types of accidents or situation do not happen to them. Most youth are not accepting or cognant of potential threats or dangers to them. The advertisement fails to fulfill its intent.


Strap Line: In 1995 a major tobacco company planned to boost cigarette sales by targeting homeless people. They called their plan “Project SCUM: Sub Culture Urban Marketing.


This ad serves all the intended strategies and goals as set by the campaign. However, it opens the questions of how many individuals in the primary demo of 12-17 are socially aware and socially responsible. Does a teenager care about the homeless? Does a teen care of social injustices?

The advertisement fails to connect in my opinion on the emotional and personal level, as the majority within the demo is not concerned with this. The change in the campaign message and visuals can later be seen by the campaign focusing on how smoking causes bad breath, stained teeth, smell, skin discoloring, wrinkles and other effects to how a young person will look. By focusing on the image and attractiveness of the audience later ads have been more able to connect with the age group targeted.

Cultural and social misunderstanding, how stereotypes have there way, pt 1

Quad ConflictResolution  1
Stereotypes are created by our need to lump information together to assist in our understanding and sense making of the world and the people around us. Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2010) posit that the manner in which we perceive those around us has a direct impact on the way that we communicate with them and vise-versa. The communication between us changes based on those perceptions, the language we use, the topics, the manner of speaking and the way that we adapt to the new interactions.

A stereotype is a generality applied to people perceived to have characteristics shared to a particular group. Stereotypes work in both directions occurring simultaneously, a projected cognitive similarity and out-group homogeneity effect.

A projected cognitive similarity is presented by P.W. (2010) citing Varner & Beary (2005) is when “you know someone else’s perceptions, judgments, attitudes, and values because you assume they are like your own.” While out-group homogeneity effect is the inclination for people to see members of an out-group as less diverse and more stereotypic than the members of that group see themselves. In both instances we see stereotypes forming and being used to both assess and process information.

The cognitive process that is stereotyping is an essential part of our sense-making progression, the generalizations assist in our chunking of information and group attributes so that we are able to process complex knowledge in fragments that are broader and are simpler to recall. Hall (2005) elaborates, as humans we have a need to categorize everything in order to deal with the world that surrounds us (p. 221). Stereotypes have developed a negative connotation but they are not by definition bad. A stereotype serves a purpose for persons to be able to understand general ideas, concepts and then be able to learn from them.

The downside of stereotypes is exposed when the generalized memory packets are used to create negative frames or negative stereotypes about particular groups. Hall indicates that stereotypes, “Are a natural part of the social world,” but how we use them in our interaction is what leads to people being treated poorly or unfairly. Our ethnocentric mentality keeps us from removing the “we are right” perspective and bolsters our prejudicial actions.

A Presentation on Digital marketing for startups

For those of you who are interested in some tips for start-ups, go get-etters, or entrepreneurs Dave Knox put together a nice presentation with some basic and interesting material. Look it over and share your thoughts.


Public relations and social media: Is this a relationship made to last?: PRSA

{Frankly, SEO’s high ranking surprised me, while the consistency with which Twitter, Facebook and blogs were given a 10, 9 or 8 makes it clear that right now they are the big three for PR.

A “connected media ecosystem”]

The vast growth that social media has enjoyed over the last three years has been immense and within the shadow of its growth we have seen an ecosystem of services and servicers develop as well. Those whom understand that the social media took kits are an important aspect to incorporate into the offerings of public relations practitioners are wise because what social media has grown into is a powerful beast that is highly immediate and provides brands the ability to hold a conversation with their publics but to also have a finger on the pulse of their brands.

Public relations and social media: Is this a relationship made to last?: PRSA.

Proactive public relations via purpose-built publishing: PRSA

“Purpose-built publishing isn’t limited to the written word. It includes audio and video broadcasts as well. Creativity, regardless of format, best distinguishes success.”

As a communicator the purpose we are venturing on is to provide a message to our audience. Their purpose to the actions we are undertaking, but what we see in a lot of the modern messages is the only creation or creativity without reason. Now I am not one to say stop and do not be creative but I also do not want you to waste my time on your creative whims. I want there to be substance.

And this is how must craft our messages. Purpose-built messages are key to being a proactive public relations practitioner.

via Proactive public relations via purpose-built publishing: PRSA.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory The American Work Place, A Modern Day Indenturement

One hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch.

“Just the thing to quench my thirst,” said he.

Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a ne, two, three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.  -Aesop

The current day American worker is enslaved to their debt, sustenance and economic frailty—unable to or unwilling too leave from abusive, poor, underpaid, exploitative or demoralizing working conditions in large part due to the overall American socio-economic situation left in the wake of the banking, corporate and government’s inability to continue staging and cloaking of their failures, thus poising Americans for an economy crashing under its own weight and crushing the individuals whose faith had helped to build it.

As Americans bellowed for reform and the end to a war that felt so far removed from their own life’s the political culture singed as the weakened threads that created comfort and feelings of confidence, support and economic foundation in their country snapped bringing their America closer to rock bottom. Snapping threads dangling over economic depression dropped too quick for any anticipation from a chaotic political culture and economic shift from what was the livelihood, sustenance, and jobs that Americans so proudly prospered from at the doors of posh mansions and over priced and ill-appraised real estate were to in the period of 12-months cease to exist. In September 2008 the America they saw as strong, superior, and economically sound and savvy was unable to conceal the breaking strands and thinning threads, which suspended Americans above what they saw as the rest of the world. The differences were about to be diffused, the world markets toppling and Americans living as countless others, in countries beyond their borders—no food, depleting resources and no way of generating income. This is the world Americans were introduced to after the election of 2008 and with it other problems arose.  Let’s look at the Americans who were able to keep their jobs in a corporate culture looking to trim any appendages, which would still allow them to live on. Unemployment soared and few and scattered part-time entry-level jobs were scavenged by former Directors, chiefs, managers and individuals with higher education degrees.

Waddell and McKeena (2008) found an increase in cognitive dissonance for working managers of whom extra working hours were expected and their work-life-balance resulting in an alteration of states of compromise, avoidance, self-justification, and confusion as they negotiate their claims of choice and control in their own lives. This dissonance exists for the working person in America today as can be inferred from a November 2010 national telephone survey of Employed Adults by Rasmussen Reports, which found that 72% of working adults say they have been working at their current employer more than five years and 51% believe that they will have a better opportunity for advancement within their current organization and according to data from a Gallup’s April 2010 survey one in five Americans fear losing their job in the next 12 months.

The April 2010 Gallup’s survey also indicates that only 42% of American workers believe that they are “Very, somewhat or likely” to find another job as good as the one they have and 44% indicate that if they lost their jobs they would only be able to go for about a month before encountering hardship.  The high job insecurity and feelings of uncertainty about finding a new job place American workers in destitute working situations from which they are only able to realign their feelings and attitudes about to continue in working conditions that are stressful, uncertain and often negative detrimental to their well being.

The negative sentiments and economic uncertainty is not only limited to the American worker under a company but also to the entrepreneurs and small business owners who according to survey data from July 2010 collected by Gallup place 47% of those owners as indicating they “now plan to never retire until forced to do so for health reasons.” Like-it-or-not many Americans feel bound to their jobs and many try very hard to have success with their business, visit for more information.

The like-it-or-not feelings and attitudes of Americans in regards to their job situations is not reflective of complacency or the lack of desire but it is linked to their large economic stress, job insecurity and the doubts of being able to find a better job. The hours and days pass behind office walls, drive through windows, cashier stations and lines of public insisting on service and these workers look to justify their situation and find the need to compromise and self-justify their behaviors and continued subservience to their employers. The thoughts of adjustment, compromises and self-justification are the collateral efforts of the mind and body’s attempt to reduce the dissonance or friction experienced between the attitude and the actual behavior of the individual. The American worker changes their tune from “I don’t like my job,” “this job is below me,” and “I hate it here” to “I’m here by choice” or “It’s not a bad place – it has it’s ups and downs like all places” in order to satisfy a psychological need. This attitude adjustment or reducing of friction is formally recognized as cognitive dissonance theory as mentioned, in Communication Theories: Perspectives, Processes and Contexts, by Miller is the 1957 work of Leon Festinger.

Cognitive dissonance theory as observed by Festinger describes the decisions people make and the actions to minimize the amount of contradictory beliefs they have in their head. Miller states, “When a person is forced to believe two things that don’t match up, they experience extreme emotional discomfort unit they can fix their belief system – they experience dissonance.”

Furthermore, it is noted that the need of the individuals for consistency between their attitudes and behaviors is key in understanding the implications of Festinger’s theory and that individuals typically keep consistency by exposing themselves to messages consistent with their attitude.

In A First Look at Communication Theory Em Griffin describes that Festinger considered the human need to avoid dissonance as basic as the need for safety or the need to satisfy hunger. The magnitude of dissonance felt by individual’s increases the more importance the issue has and the greater the discrepancy between behavior and belief are (Griffin 2008).

According to Griffin, Festinger’s third hypothesis is “Minimal justification for action induces a shift in attitude” which can describe what is occurring in the American workplace with employees.  Applying cognitive dissonance theory and Festinger’s third hypothesis to the current American workers situation the public can understand that the best way to stimulate employees to work longer and harder is to get them to work. Festinger elaborates that the following condition must exist: With reduced wages and benefits already in place to compensate for the employees hard work the employer and the economy only need to highlight the high unemployment numbers, layoffs, downsizing and surplus of job applicants for the employee to work harder. Just enough reward will elicit overt compliance (Griffin 2008).

The Rasmussen’s Employment Index for November 2010 indicates that twenty-eight percent of working Americans say they are worried about losing their jobs and seventy-six percent of workers now say they are happy with their current jobs. While the percentage of workers worried about a job loss remains high and even higher number of workers feels happy we can infer from Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory that the reason for this higher percentage is related to the psychological need to lessen the amount of dissonance between their actual feelings and the behavior they are tied to continue with. The need for self-justification and compromise limits the real feelings of the American worker and indexes the adjustment occurring as explained by cognitive dissonance theory. Consider Gallup‘s findings for September 2010, which say that 88% of Americans the present time is a bad time for find a quality job.  With these staggering statistics it is not hard to accept the theoretical implications to explain why even in negative and tough working conditions Americans bind themselves to their jobs and attempt to provide justification for their continued employment and shift to their “like-it-or-not” but I am here making the best of it attitude.

In 1972 Daryl Bem criticized Festinger’s theory and proposed self-perception theory as an alternative explanation to the results found by Festinger. Bem contends that people do not take their attitudes into consideration and let alone if they are in conflict and attributed the behavioral response as inferring their attitudes from their behaviors and that others respond because of a salient or external behavior.

Cognition of the theoretical implications of cognitive dissonance to the American worker allows them to be aware of the potential downfalls of their reasoning and emotional responses to the situations they must endure. Being able to fully distinguish real satisfaction from a modified compromising attitude is part of the process in self-educating, denial is a step that must first be acknowledged and the truth of the matter accepted so that growth, understanding and evolution take place. Understanding of the theoretical progression also allows the employee to be discerning to workplace propaganda that may be used to thwart request for pay increase, workload reduction, work time requirements or benefit increases. The fear created by the economy and the risk of being on unemployment can be debilitating leading to worker submission.


  1. Waddell, N., & McKenna, B. (2008). Manager’s extended working hours: The cognitive dissonance of institutional expectation and individual obligation. International Communication Association, 1-29.
  2. Bem DJ (1972). Self-Perception Theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 6, pp.1-62). New York: Academic Press.
  3. Miller, K. (2005). Communication theories: Perspectives, processes and contexts (Second ed., pp. 124-127). New York: McGraw Hill.
  4. Jones, J. M. (2010). Americans Say Jobs Top Problem Now, Deficit in Future Economy, healthcare remain prominent concerns. Gallup. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from
  5. Rasmussen Inc. (2010). Rasmussen Employment Index Moves to Another Recent High. Asbury Park, NJ: Rasmussen Reports. Retrieved November 7, 2010, from A
  6. Rasmussen Inc. (2010). Most Workers Say Current Company Offers Best Opportunity for Advancement. Author. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from B
  7. Jacobe, D. (2010). Recession or Not, U.S. Job Market Woes Persist Unemployment rate as measured by Gallup is increasing. Gallup. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from
  8. Jacobe, D. (2010). One in Five Americans Fear Job Loss in Next 12 Months. Gallup. Retrieved November 7, 2010, from
  9. Griffin, E. (2008). A First Look at Communication Theory (Sixth ed., pp. 206-508). New York: McGraw Hill.
  10. Festinger, L. & Carlsmith, J.M. (1959). Cognitive Consequences of Forced Compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203-210.

Gidden’s structuration theory vs. Taylor’s theory of text and conversation.

Structuration theory as developed by Gidden’s distinguishes between systems such as small groups and structures the practices rules, norms and other resources the system makes use of to work and continue existing.  Small groups are viewed as the products of structures and also produce structures themselves.

Members of the small group must follow rules that lead to the production of some sort of outcome and that outcome will eventually influence the group’s future interactions. Structuration refers to the very processes the group member’s employ. The focus goes beyond the group as a whole and places emphasis on the structuration process itself in which group members negotiate group structures and procedures based on their efficacy.

However, to date structuration theory has not provided a way of predicting what structures will be the result of what circumstances. Also, as group structures continue evolving it is difficult to identify which structural changes occurred and when they occurred when observing day-to-day interactions.

Taylor’s theory of text and conversation is not focused on the small group that come from structures or the structures developed by small groups it takes aim at explaining organizational communication within itself and stemming from the organization to the outside. The organization is seen as not being objective and is not less real but not real in the material sense. Text is defined, as the content of interaction or what is being said in interaction and conversation is the communicative interaction itself. The process takes place in progressive stages of translation from text to conversation, from conversation to text and from text and conversation to organizational communication. While this process of communication may take place within the structuration of small groups it is not a process or phenomena that defines the same observations.

Both theories reveal an internal process within a group and the internal development of communication and the recursive relationship between interaction and structure and the tension between enablement and constraint.

The interview process is typically one that has resulted from the structuration of a small group created within the organizational structure. (i.e. recruiting team or HR department). The specific process job opening, job requirements, application screening, candidate interviews and candidate selection has developed and changed as the small group overseeing it has evolved and found more efficient or beneficial ways of conducting this process. The actual interview itself will be guided by a series of questions that have been agreed upon by the structuration process and will yield answers and information from the candidate that best allows the person interviewing to ascertain if that candidate is the most appropriate for them.

As the interview process itself is underway the conversation being held is representative of the text and conversation theory as the content being shared in the conversation is the text. The questions asked are translated from text to conversation and the interviewee responses are then translated from conversation to text and so forth. While the processes involved not directly linked they are complimentary to the continued communication and development of the small group and the organization as whole.

My professor, a normal person and what of expectancy violation theory.

Burgoon (1988) developed expectancy violation theory as a theory of non-verbal behavior centering on the behavioral expectations we have about others and what interactions with others should be like. The theory holds that if our expected behavior is violated outside of acceptable threshold levels our attention is diverted to that individual (arousal occurs) and the impact of the violation is evaluated by two factors. One of the factors is the assessment of the person commuting the violation and if it is an individual whom has a high communicator reward valence then the violation is seen as less or acceptable. If the violation is within the range of tolerability the behavior is assimilated into expected behavior patterns.

In the proposed scenario encountering my professor at the local undergraduate bar would be noteworthy because it is not behavior that is stereotypically associated with a professor. Professors are often seen to only inhabit that professional, serious and academic personality and coming upon them in this scene would be outside of the expectations set for them. If the professor’s behavior was to be wild, reckless or inline with undergraduates binge drinking my behavioral expectations would be severely violated and my reaction may include a change in perception from respected to irresponsible and could impact the classroom interaction by removing the initial professional description and attribution. However, if the professor was highly liked by me and I assigned a high CRV value to them and their behavior in the bar would not be extreme the behavior violation would be excused.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Purchases

Festinger’s Cognitive dissonance theory places emphasis on the ways in which behavior influences attitude. Individuals have a need for consistency between their attitude and behavior. In the context of the scenario of having purchased a car and after the fact coming across another which I like better, because I have already purchased a vehicle and am tied to that purchase cognitive dissonance theory predicts that I would adjust my attitude to be in line with my action or behavior of having purchased the car I like less. I would begin to create reason to justify my purchase and emphasize why the other vehicle would have not been the right decision. The level of dissonance between my purchase and feelings must be lessened so that I can feel consistency between them. I may make arguments about how the color of my purchase is more me, or how the cost factor is more economical with my purchase or how too many people have that other car.