Motivation is a natural driving force. As stated by Psychology Today, it's a desire to do things. You want to enjoy yourself, increase your acclaim, delight others - the list goes on. There are times where people lack motivation to do things. Is it being preoccupied by other things, exhausted from others that drain our energy or maybe it's just not worth the outcome? Motivation just isn't there when we may need it from others and ourselves.
There are a few things that create motivation. Passion or love can be a determining feeling that feeds motivation. The most important aspect is to create motivation for others. But how do you light a burnt match for someone else? You just can't always inspire others or yourself on a whim.
I struggled with this concept because I knew at a time in my life that I could be as passionate as ever about something, but others just fade away in the background leaving me to dry. And it's not always for something very serious - a school project that classmates just don't want to do, a social gathering where others would rather not go to, etc. The main factor in those regards is you can train yourself and you can train others. But not to always be motivated, but to be disciplined. I've tried to chase down a source for the below comment, and forgive the language, but I've found this tumblr with the quote:
It's fickle and unreliable. It can be a burning force of a thousand suns but last only an hour. You may think you will be motivated to do something and then find out you just can't muster the energy, attention and dedication you may need. Something becomes too tough and motivation will soon depart. Motivation is for the things that you want to do, not those that you have to do to be successful.
I've recently discovered this philosophy about discipline and find it highly intriguing and forgive the irony, but it's motivating. Nobody wants to do the laborious chores of cleaning dishes, washing laundry, cutting grass, but we do it anyways because we're disciplined. And that's how people become productive - because we know we should.
Going back through my old blog posts and class discussions had made me realize a few things. One being that I've developed an affinity with visual communications. Another, that I've got a natural inclination for a strength of editing. Everyone starts somewhere and I love refining and drilling down into what makes good content. The first step though, is often the hardest and I struggle with that.
Looking at my first blog post, Exploring Rhetoric, I talk about what Rhetoric is. Here's a quote:
Going back to what I said, this took multiple rewrites for it to come out comprehensible. I believe my first draft was "It's all of language, everything you say and how you say it." But to extrapolate on that point is what people really want to read. People like connections, constructs, ideas and comparisons to really visualize messages.
Looking at a 2017 mid-semester blog post, What Jeep Stands For, made me think of a few things. One, I know my connection to Jeep (I own a Wrangler and love it) but how do I connect others to the brand? And what happens to content over time? I'll leave it as an example, but you'll see that some videos have become unavailable - they were Superbowl ads. This is a constant concern for an ever-changing medium. One must treat content as ever-present and as soon as it seems outdated, it's irrelevant and effects the credibility of the entire author. This may affect my credibility to my peers and readers.
I see myself as a critic more than an author. I'm so much more a refiner than a creator. I'm much better at editing than a producer. But through my natural skills I can critique myself. I've learned that it takes time, patience, and most of all persistence. To truly make content that other people will like, you must first dislike it. You have to reform it, mold it into something new.
So I will continue to remold what I make and try to review, revisit, and resubmit as much as I can. Digital content doesn't stop when you submit "publish." It stops when it is no longer visited and who knows when that may be? So while I continue to persist to push content out, I urge anyone else who wants to create content to do so as well.
Even though I work at Lenox, I never really venture inside. I'm more concerned about making money there instead of spending it. So I decided to walk around and experience that patented Lenox Mall vibe I see others do all the time.
Working at Lenox I see some crazy things. Here's a bit about my place of work.
Here's an infographic about Lenox and some useful information if you're not a seasoned Lenox Mall veteran.
Lenox Square Mall
I work at Lenox Mall as a valet. I never really ventured much into Buckhead besides the bars and picked up a job at the behest of a friend. After a while I met all sorts of people.
Lenox is more interesting than your average mall just by the people who go there and the buildings that surround it. It's like it's own little mini-city. The name Buckhead comes from a man called Henry Irby. He owned the land and put a tavern and general store on what would become today's Buckhead. He mounted a giant buck's head in his tavern and soon enough, people started to cling onto the name.
Lenox is also known for plenty of events it hosts - the Peachtree Road Race, exotic car shows, and the celebrations for 4th of July, Christmas, and New Year's.
I mainly work outside, so for this project I wanted to delve deeper and get other angles.
Some days the mall can be extraordinarily busy, or fairly calm. I would recommend going through google for their hours to know what to expect. There's plenty of offerings in the mall to choose from, but there's also more in the surrounding area. Around Lenox has even more if the mall doesn't have what you need.
Simon Property Group owns both Lenox and Phipps Plaza, a sister mall to Lenox right across the street. A lot of people will valet at Lenox thinking it's got the store they need when it is at Phipps. Be sure to always check and here's a list of Phipps stores!
Driving through Buckhead is a whole other story. It's basically what you would expect out of the city and more. Plenty of shops, one after another for food, clothes, services, accessories, etc. A lot of people take pride in living or working in Buckhead just for the affluent attitude and surroundings it's known for.
Blue Ridge, Georgia, Taken by Monty
So what is a place? Is it a particular position in space? Why are some places more popular than others? What draws people to a single place versus other places? In What is a Sense of Place by Jennifer Cross, she goes over some characteristics between people and places. She states there are "six types of relationships: biographical, spiritual, ideological, narrative, commodified, and dependent." I tend to agree that I can identify easily with places in these categories.
Here's a breakdown of those relationships in her report:
Image Source: Table 1.1, What is a Sense of Place? By Jennifer Cross
The table's a little dry, but stick with me here. Location, location, location. It defines how we're brought up, who we meet, where we go and even what we are taught. You're much more likely to have quite a bit of emphasis on your own country's history because that's the most relevant to your interest. Even with personal relationships with people, removing the convenience of similar location also tends to skew our relation - friends often grow farther apart as their distance between interaction increases for example.
Talking more about the sense of place, it's more than just the location. It's really the intimacy of connection that transforms a physical landmark from immaterial into something meaningful.
How do we use places together? A lot of times, a place has an understood behavioral societal norm. Starbucks, for example, people come and go for coffee but stay for the productive atmosphere. Blast some music or cause some commotion and disturb others would violate the norms of the place. People give these spaces rules that may not always exist but can be understood or taught.
In his article, Seeking Reality: a classification of approaches used to study place, Edward Relph says that you can interpret places "as primarily a way of being attached to or connecting with the world and with others" is a basic interpretation that the world allows us to communicate and establish connections. When you start mixing the idea that communicators can take advantage of places, then you can start communicating more persuasively. But, to really to understand that, you need to understand the stake of people's senses of place.
For an example of this, a professor may have a classroom with enough room for 30 students, yet only 10 people may be registered. The 10 students are scattered and further back from the professor. Would it be a more engaging lesson for the professor to have the students sit closer and more to the front? Of course. The sense of place in the classroom becomes more intimate and a place of engagement rather than just absorption of material.
Here's a good look into senses of place:
Sense of Place By manicmads
Some places that I've grown attached to are pretty self-explanatory: School, Home, Workplaces, and My Parent's apartment. But there's so much to those alone. School involves a classroom, a parking deck to sift through (which alone involves regret, frustration and relief). At home I'm secluded in my room with no care in the world (yeah, a bit introverted). One of my workplaces involves a casual professionalism - it's a web development company but involves casual wear and very flexible hours. Another workplace involves a set uniform, a lot of running and driving very expensive cars for valet. And of course my parents' place, as you can imagine, is a good mix of good feelings and some not-so-great.
Identifying some connection I've associated with the above places:
Frustration (Parking Deck)
Urgency and Politeness (Valet)
Productivity (Library, Starbucks)
Professionalism (Conference Room at Work)
Relaxation (Break Room)
Casual (Internship Desk)
Peace (Living Room)
In her book, Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination, Katherine Harmon says that people have an urge to map - it creates a portal into the mind of the creator. For a fun activity regarding places, I decided to make a map of my own. This is about the third or fourth draft of making one - I had quite a bit to think about what to show and what to map and how to show it. Like Harmon says, the reader has to consider a particular terrain of imagination overlaid with those unique contour lines of experience.
Perhaps you can relate to these places, for one reason or another:
Map of Atlanta - Source: Monty with a map image from maps.stamen.com
I'd love to see what you think of my map. Please comment below!
Let's be real - memes are the bread and butter of the internet native. If you, like me, live on the internet, you thrive off the spicy, the dank, the culturally skeptical and sarcastic memes. Now, if you don't, you still probably have seen memes you can identify with.
But what are memes?
Well, in layman's terms for internet use, it's an image macro with different text that you use with the same context. You'll need to know at least the context to use a meme "correctly." And if you don't, be prepared to be ridiculed. You don't necessarily have to know the history, but you do have to know its use.
If you want the full rundown of what the hell you're looking at, check out this site. Know Your Meme stores all information you could want as to why it started, what it is, how it's used and such. It even described events that spawn more image macros that also include references to the event.
Besides using photoshop or an image editor to create your dank meme, there's quite a few online resources that allow you to easily create one. There's imgflip, memegenerator, and many more found with a simple google search.
A popular meme from the show, Futurama, created with imgflip
Take the above image for example - it's from the television show Futurama. There are quite a few memes that are from that show. This is the “Why not Zoidberg?” meme. Generally, it states a question in the top line and then the answer on the bottom is always “Why not Zoidberg?"
Besides image macros, memes can just be in the form of sentences and activity. Take this reddit thread for instance. It references this Zoidberg image macro without even using one. There’s even a debate whether Zoidberg has ever said “Why not Zoidberg?” Was it just a fan’s creation or was it in the show and a fan used that? Quite a few times people distort a reality to fit a situation for their own use, so a meme could totally be created this way.
Another meme from Futurama, created with imgflip
This other Zoidberg meme is where he states what the audience would feel in the situation. Most people wouldn’t outright say it, but it humorously puts it in simple terms. The context is another character starts playing an instrument terribly, so he says “your music’s bad and you should feel bad.” Here’s the scene:
Futurama clip from YouTube
And here’s one last example of another character from the show, Fry. The KnowYourMeme article actually states it started a bit different than the form you see here. It's quite simple: top line says "Not sure if X," while the bottom line states "or Y."
Futurama Fry meme, created with imgflip
The actual context in the show just has Fry making a contemplating face, which sort of goes along with the text, but the text was never really stated in the show. It’s another example of someone using an image for their own means and everyone catching on.
The original scene where Fry makes the contemplating face, from YouTube.
I created all these memes with imgflip for the purpose of this blog, but you can find so many online already created. The meme creator websites generally allow you to browse through their entire database and chances are you can already find one that suits your post to make it spicier. Even though you've seen the Futurama sources for the memes, you didn't have to. The first Zoidberg image macro doesn't even have an identifiable source. You could even avoid watching Futurama altogether even.
Now go and be dank.
For a project, here's a slideshow of Jeep through the 70s until now:
As I said in this blog post, you can see Jeep going from a logical strength to an emotional one. For a brand to stick out for 75 years, you build up the logos and ethos of your argument over time and can only build those appeals for so long. With an emotional approach though, people are going to listen and watch your brand nowadays.
I think it's pretty interesting to see their trends of going from offroading to family vehicle back to trying to be an offroading brand again. With motor vehicle restrictions and requirements becoming more strict, you have to adapt, and Jeep clearly has. Their intention of creating an offroad and fun vehicle was always there - just their presentation has changed.
Just Empty Every Pocket. This rings true for anyone who's had a car they love though. The oodles of options available for aftermarket upgrades - I just can't stay away from websites with them. But that's the appeal of a Jeep - the outdoors and ruggedness of it.
It's pretty easy to connect the dots from its origin of being a military vehicle to now. Once it broke into the civilian market, it ran away with the ruggedness theme and never looked back. The 70's really caught that stride of civilian vehicles being built for that offroading experience.
A Jeep Ad from 1973
Like the 1973 ad above shows, Jeeps were always about the feeling of going anywhere you really want to. "Go where the crowd can't follow" and "Head out where the real fun begins." The entire five minute video talks about features designed for the ultimate experience for offroading and they do that effectively. The visual rhetoric is pretty straight-forward - the narrator talks about features, they visually show them in action. Finding an advertisement being run over 30 seconds nowadays is fairly hard, especially five minutes.
The Ethos of having a trusted military brand behind a 4x4 vehicle seems pretty convincing. Not to mention that the Logos of stating features like a gas can skid plate, recirculating ball system, suspended brake and suspended clutch pedal meant for offroading is meant to reason with you why this vehicle handles offroading like a champ. The weakest part of the message deals with Pathos - the emotion just isn't there. For a five-minute ad, this video states their argument for their vehicle, but it does not show very much emotion. They use this technique of narration with offroading shots quite a bit but you hear nothing from the man actually driving. Judging by the fact that they do list out the Jeep's features extensively, this ad's purpose is to get you to compare it to the other options available so you can choose this one.
A 1981 Jeep Ad
Now fast-forward a decade later and they've established their brand even more. This video above shows them trying to break out of that offroading niche into another market - the family vehicle. This is interesting because it starts out with what everyone knows about the Jeep CJ: it's a military, government and rally race vehicle. It however changes gears to the core of the message - it's a family vehicle.
Their visual rhetoric is getting fairly stronger - they start with putting it on a plateau to show it better than the rest and then make "the legend" even better. With this one, they use their credibility of a dependable vehicle for use as a family one. Logically, it would make sense to have a reliable vehicle for your family and you can even have adventures and vacations with them. When they talk about going out on the town or vacationing, they show two very different jeeps as well. They're starting to use some more emotion in this one, but it's still not strong in the message. One Jeep is shown as glamorous and the other is speeding along a beach with a mirror off.
The targeted audience seems to be those on the fence about Jeeps. The message of "here's what you already know" but then "here's what you didn't know" message statement tries to persuade the viewer into changing their mind about it.
An ad from the 90's
Since car manufacturers come out with new models of vehicles every so often, Jeep had to make a statement about their new Wrangler. A new design means new people interested now. This commercial above humorously shows a new owner of a Jeep with some older ones relating and poking fun at him. The Ethos and Logos have been established now for the brand - so they rely on their Pathos of the message: "If you haven't tried it yet, it's not too late." The remark about the guy being a rookie is a slight nudge to current owners to establish some connection to them so they know Jeep recognizes its customers. The logos is stunted to just a few lines as they state some features and then go back to a man enjoying nature. This shows the shift of using reasoning and facts to persuade and showing more and more emotion and credibility to appeal to consumers.
2016 Jeep Super Bowl Ad
The Superbowl is just about as much about the football game as it is about the ads. I've said this before, but people watch the game just for the ads and to be on top of what the best ones were. This Jeep commercial should be the best of the best they have to offer then. It's got a strong message with its song, 4x4ever, which just seals everything together. It's interesting to note they show their entire vehicle line-up, not just Wranglers. This is the epitome of using their Ethos as a dependable offroad vehicle company and showing the Pathos for adventurous, fun-loving, rugged people. Don't even get me started on the fact that they showed the Jeep Wave (I squealed a bit inside when I saw the commercial live). The Logos is now subsided in this commercial: there are no mentions of features or specifications. You already know it's capable, so their reasoning lies behind showing you what you could use the jeep for.
Another 2016 Jeep Super Bowl Commercial
This is another commercial from the Superbowl. It's amazing how different it is with its melancholic and sad beginning about war and sadness. The music crescendo with Jeep's history brings forth a hopeful and glad Pathos towards the end. It's spot in history can never be replaced. The narration solidifies its Ethos and Logos - a recognizable icon of history that many adhere to already and so can you.
I believe it's pretty telling of the 1973 ad compared to the 2016 Superbowl Portraits commercial of the growth in rhetoric appeal. What started as a list of features grew into two very different but emotional ads that illicit feelings. one shows power, courage and adventure while the other shows sadness, pride and belonging. It goes from very dry to very palatable in terms of watching. The Jeep wasn't the only thing that changed however. The 70s and the 2000s vary so greatly. Advertisers became skilled in their tools as new studies found 30 second ads to be the sweet spot for attention. Music production skills became more and more advanced as well as more widespread to the masses to use. The evolution of media though hasn't stopped and will continue to develop. It's the job of persuaders of today - whether advertisers or public relations - to use tools and new technology to captivate their audience.