Cultural Differences

Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts

Wright, A. (2009). “Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts.” The New York Times.  Retrieved on 30 June, 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/technology/internet/24emotion.html Online presence is a valuable commodity in today’s digital market.  As companies seek to track exactly how their brand is discussed via the web and where these discussions appear, it becomes apparent that even a team of employees devoted to such research cannot tackle the shear size of the medium.  Thus, algorithms are being employed by marketing research firms as well as companies themselves to handle not only the amount of information present on the Internet, but also in what context it amasses. These algorithmic tools are applied all over the web, but are concentrated on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as sites that allow large amounts of user-generated content. Theoretically, in this way a computer can track not only when a company is mentioned but also in what connotative context it appears. Differing from previous brand tracking, these new programs seek to determine subjective opinion as well as objective knowledge. By programming computers to scan the Internet for words that hold certain connotative meanings, marketers and brands can preemptively address user satisfaction issues as well as…

Response to ‘Young More Lonely Than the Old’

Murphy, C. (2010). “Young More Lonely Than The Old,” BBC News. Retrieved on 2010/05/25. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8701763.stm Summary: Clare Murphy suggests the young tend to feel lonelier than the old in the UK. What does the article mean by ‘lonely,’ and what are the factors that contribute to Britain’s youth to feel such an emotion? England’s elderly and youth feel two different types of loneliness. Elderly loneliness derives from the isolation caused by the decomposition of the nuclear family, as well as long life expectancy. Youth loneliness is caused by modern day living. Today, more focus is placed on careers rather than on the public community. Thus, individuals exert more energy into their work than into building community ties. Social network sites, a technology invention of the youth’s era, incredibly connect hundreds and thousands of people across the globe. Communication through these sites, however, does not produce the same satisfaction of face to face interaction. Thus, one may find they have a plethora of friends on their social network site, but very few that they can have a person to person contact with. Lastly, urban planning greatly affects how social is a community. The urban planning of London encourages a far lesser…

A Curiously French Complaint

Kirby, E. (2008). “ A Curiously French Complaint,” BBC News.  Retrieved on 2008/12/13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7779126.stm Summary: This article focuses on the cultural differences between the French and British populations in regards to their medical care. Each culture has their own script of understanding, which people rely to set their expectations during a medical crisis. The author Emma experienced a cultural ‘shock’ during her first encounter with a French doctor due to her vastly different set of expectations. She visits a doctor in France due to the severity of a sore throat, where she is “diagnosed with a severe lung infection, mild asthma and had in my hand a prescription for six different types of medicine, an appointment at the local hospital’s radiology department and an emergency referral to a specialist in pulmonary disease (article).” Upon her return to Britain a few days later, she visits her family physician, who within a few minutes diagnoses her with only a ‘common cold.’ Her article then explains how the French expect a much more sever diagnosis to support their physical suffering. France is also the leading country of consumers who take prescription medications. While in England, there’s a more ‘keep a stiff upper lip’…

On “‘Ringtone Therapy’ Sweeping Mobile Phone-Mad Japan” by Buerk

Buerk, R. (2010). “Ringtone Therapy Sweeping Mobile Phone-Mad Japan.” Retrieved 23. August, 2010: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8591845.stmhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8591845.stm Summary: Buerk lets the world in on a new craze sweeping across Japan—a country known for being on the frontier of technological innovation. What’s the craze? Ring-tone therapy! The Japan Ring Tone Laboratory run by Matsumi Suzuki is producing ring-tones which they claim have therapeutic uses. One such tone touts the ability to dislodge pollen from a user’s nose by holding the handset to the nose while the ring-tone plays, another can help one lose weight, and another helps insomniacs fall asleep. Index, Japan’s mobile phone content provider acknowledges there is no proof that these therapeutic ring-tones actually work, but they note that people must believe in their effectiveness due to the large amount of downloads. The therapeutic ring-tone works by playing a tone emitted from the handset of the cell-phone. Depending on the ring-tone the therapeutic effect is different. If one has allergy problems, they can download and play a ring tone, place it up to their nose and it will in principle dislodge the pollen from the nose, reducing allergy symptoms. If one is having sleeping problems, another ring-tone once downloaded onto the cell…

Can Design Change the World?

Tanneeru, M. (2009). “Can Design Change the World?” CNN online. Retrieved June 23, 2010. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/06/berger.qanda/index.html Summary: CNN talks to Warren Berger, who wrote the book “Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Life and Maybe Even the World” about how greater communication through design can change the world. He shies away from speaking of this change in grandiose terms, seeking to differentiate his idea as one that stems from design’s problem-solving capabilities on a case-by-case basis. Berger asserts that design, at its core, is more than making products or spaces look good, but rather, it seeks to identify a problem or an unaddressed need and solve it through a trial-and-error process.  It involves studying people and the way that they live to pinpoint ways in which their lives could be made better.  This is done through much brainstorming, prototyping, and audience testing. The Internet has drastically changed the ways in which designers work, collaborate, and even identify themselves as designers.  Widespread access to information has meant that knowledge can be passed on from one person to another at a quicker rate—meaning that one person’s mistakes can be learned from and not repeated.  Social networking groups allow designers to connect to share…

Globalization and Cultural Errors

Jew's Ear Juice

There was a time when a product designed for a specific geopolitical region would have stayed there for the duration of its existence. With few exceptions, products didn’t travel the world to areas where they would be considered a fopaux. These products were cultural curiosities displayed by adventurous tourists for the pleasure and laughs of their friends and family. But things change. Product design and usability protocols now have to include culture experts. What works well in one place, for one group of users, at a particular time won’t do so under other circumstances.

Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

Article: Tabuchi, H. (2009). “Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global” The New York Times Company. Retrieved 20 July, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/technology/20cell.html?_r=1&hp As the title suggests the article talks about how the Japanese-made cell phones have not made themselves into a global market. The article refers this to as Galapagos Syndrome, where the Japanese develop a product that evolves isolated from world markets. Despite the fact that Japan has been introducing new innovations almost every year since 1999, with new features such as email capabilities, camera phone, and digital TV, many of these innovations however turned out to be too advanced for most markets overseas. The second generation network standard introduced in the 90s was rejected everywhere else in the world and has contributed to the isolation from the global markets. In addition, many analyze that the issue is in the Japanese phone makers focusing more on hardware design rather than on software, and as a result, the development of handset models becomes time-consuming and expensive. The emphasis on hardware also makes the design to be more bulky and not something that is appealing to the overseas market. The introduction of the iPhone to the Japanese market has not yet proven to…