The beginning of this article goes pretty in depth with a prime example of iCulture related to Nike shoes. Andrejevic describes the fascinating dichotomy involved in one of the company's major ad campaigns which involved an investment in twenty, 3 story tall billboards in the heart of Times square that allowed people passing by the opportunity to call in to a toll free number and customize every aspect of the giant billboard-sized shoes from their colors to their laces to the graphics on the side, and all of this in real time. While at first glance, this seemed as though a major corporation was finally putting some power into the hands of their consumers. The idea was that the shoes were individualized, you could make a shoe that represented "you" more than it represented the brand. But what sorts of hidden agendas are involved in a campaign like this? All kinds of them! Customized shoes are more expensive to make, first of all. Once consumers design their ideal shoe, they have the option to actually create this shoe and own it in real life with the Nike iD program. Also, hundreds of thousands of consumers are directly telling Nike the tiniest details of their preferences making it easier to create a more profitable shoe in the future.
Television shows like Big Brother and American Idol, where the power to decide who stays on the show and who is sent home is primarily determined by the viewers is another example of this emerging culture where power is supposedly transferred to the people. This article reminds us, "the government cannot assist you at this micro-managerial level, but the technology can: it can help you screen potential employees, lovers, nannies, colleagues-- for a price" (38). There's always a flip-side to these seemingly revolutionary forms of power which is that somebody who occupies even more power than you or I do is directly benefitting.
The individualization of our media through television, advertising, Internet social networking platforms etc. is always being surveilled. It's interesting that we as consumers and people who are interacting with this media are not constantly aware of the fact that our interactions are being watched.
Discussion question: The customization of our preferences for specific colors and styles of Nike shoes and our "likes" on Facebook are two examples of how we can supposedly connect to our media in ways that are unique and individualized to us. But how does a surveillance of our desires by people in positions of power change this process?