Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jill Walker

Hey you...Yeah, I'm talking to you, Watch out-You're being played

Jill Walker's article "Do You Think You're Part Of This? Digital Texts And The Second Person Adress" discusses the role of identification many people have with digital media. While other forms of print media have a less direct connection to the person, a book may draw in the reader, but it remains tied to a physical relationship. You can open and close it, but you cannot change the story. Digital media has the ability to create a world where the "you" is difficult to separate from a text or a game. Not only are you the player, but also the creator, the writer, and the producer (Jill Walker pictured above left).

Walker questions, "why we play games? Do you enjoy submitting to the code?" People like to be drawn into games for many different reasons. For me it is a method of escape. I may not be able to kill dragons in real life, but I certainly can on a computer game. The graphics allow me to feel like I am part of this magical world. But why is it so possible to be drawn into a game or into another form of digital media? Many are repetitive, but the quest to dominate and win becomes all consuming.

Walker postulates that the reason that people are so pulled into the world of digital text is that they are specifically marketed at creating this bond between the user and the "game". The direct line of separation between user and what is being used is lessened by the use of a simple word, "you". This method of using the second person address catches the attention of the user and creates an illusion of a relationship.

Instead of you playing the game, the game is really playing you. Companies know the way to market their products is through the consumer. As Walker says, it is all about maintaining that sense of connectedness, the routine that everyone knows that they are part of that is hard to break. Walker sets out to make people uncomfortable in her essay. Instead of following the usual formula of an academic essay, she writes in a less formal manner. She directly addresses the reader and pulls into question the authority of her own writing. She is attempting to show how easy it is to manipulate the emotions and ideas of the reader.

In my opinion, Walker was successful in her attempts to illustrate how easily we are manipulated by different medias. Her own use of the word "you" and the constant address to the reader bothered my sense of self as a reader. We do not like to consider ourselves stupid, but this is really how the corporate world sees us. Obviously we must be told which bottle of shampoo is really the best and which conditioner works the hardest. How do we know anything when we are constantly bombarded by information? What do you think?


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