Thursday, February 21, 2013

Peripheral Pressure - Blog Banter 45

Blog Banter 45: Propaganda - Freebooted
In a socially-driven game environment such as EVE Online's, everyone has an agenda. CCP promotes its products and has an army of volunteers to do the same; corporations and alliances deliver entertaining recruitment drives, CSM election candidates solicit for voter favour, bloggers and podcasters opine to their audiences.
In this intricate web of communication, influence and control, what part does propaganda play in your game?

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"Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed towards influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position by presenting only one side of an argument. Propaganda is usually repeated and dispersed over a wide variety of media in order to create the chosen result in audience attitudes."
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It is the overt attempt to subvertly manipulate that I can't stand about most Propaganda.  It has no appeal to me.

 I am an advertiser's nightmare.  I am the person that they wake up about at night with cold sweats and deep, soul shaking sobs due to my impervious attitude. If I am looking for something I will find it. If I am not looking for it the chances are high that I do not want it.  I also tend to research what I want before I go looking for it.  This means any attempt to gain my attention is filtered if it does not fall into the scope of my search.

It has always amazed me that people fall for propaganda in Eve without seeming to realize they are falling for it.  I understand those who are part of the group or wish to join the group embracing the groups mindset and opinions.  I do not understand when people who are not part of the group allow the group to influence their opinion with the use of items made to manipulate that opinion. I may be a bit to much the skeptic but if it does not taste like honey you will not convince me that it really is, just believe in you.

I separate this from falling for your own propaganda or if not falling for it supporting it.  At some point I have said that I will support piracy and I will be a pirate even if actions and goals and agendas do not belong to me personally. I will promote them for the greater good of the whole.  I do not think that I made that decision because I was blinded by the propaganda of piracy.  It was a choice and a decision that I made and I was far from blind as I made it.

In Eve, I often see the propaganda as an interesting window into the group.  The goal is to influence and create an image.  The popular content is molded to create an exterior impression.  Sometimes it supports a popular opinion that already exists and other times it attempts to manipulate that opinion into a new form with a series of soft attacks that slow reconstruct the opinions.

The first few times I saw propaganda pictures, so many of them styled after World War II, I was puzzled as to what they were fore.  They were creative and attractive but oddly pointless.  I wondered, did people read their forums and stare at pictures made by their corporation or alliance and feel inspired?  Did that actually work for anyone?  Propaganda images rate around the same place on my list that the advertisements do in my internet browser.  Something to be ignored.

And as for the group?  The harder the push it the greater the profitability that I will find nothing they say believable.  Or, if not running off full tilt in the other direction I will at least measure every bit of information for its source and probable spin.  A simple person such as myself without the sense to create propaganda needs to be wary of these complex, pretty traps.

Sometimes I see propaganda and it tells me that a group may not be for me.  Razor Alliance has a flow chart that is rather amusing.  There is a lot of wit present in the flow chat.  However, at the same time, inside of that wit there is an undercurrent of opinion and behavior that I would I wish to be a part of.  That extends into any social group in Eve. From the Elite PvP groups with their particular and specific requirements for recruitment to those that just accept everyone and hope for the best.  Each entity has its own personal persona and inside of its propaganda that nature comes to view.

Is my own blog propaganda?  I'd not think of it as such.  I hope it is not. While I run around and state my opinion and the whys of my opinion it is not because I have an underlying agenda to change other people's minds.  The topics interest me and I enjoy going over them.  If someone were to read what I say and walk away without their opinions affected I would not feel as if I had failed.

Is propaganda different from discussions and attempting to persuade others?  Yes and no.  The two are both methods to communicate.

Propaganda as a thing, once created and posted, is passive. It wants to catch the eye and engage the mind without the owner being in full control of the interaction.  It is created to be persuasive and subtle even when obvious.  It is a person alone with the propaganda and the propaganda speaking to them.

Propaganda as a tool is active. Each person's resists will be based upon their training.  A person may wield it in their discussion and use it as their base.  But a discussion can be had without propaganda.  It is an attempt to show an opinion, thought or side.  But it is easy to fall into it in Eve.  Notice me.  See me.  Hear me.  I am here amidst others.  The single world  has called for its creation. 

How often do we hear things and not know who or what something is?  "What alliance?" "Who is he?" and "Why do I care" litter discussions.  For those in the know, those who play Eve's meta game these questions are puzzling.  But we know and we forget that not everyone may know.

As for the propaganda I have intentionally selected?  The sum total is in the button for Marc Scaurus.  It is pretty, it is simple, and it just says his name.  If there where cheesy buzz lines and catch phrases I'd not find it as appealing. As it is, its a visual indicator as part of my personal goal to help raise awareness about the CSM election.  So in that, I am as guilty as any other in using devices in an attempt to sway opinion.  Not so much to vote for Marc but to for people to remember vote at all.

But, all of this is why I am so bad at sales of any type. I expect a consumer to walk into a purchase informed.  I'm not able to sell anything to anyone because it is so hard to sell things to me in the first place. I don't understand the process.

However, I do understand information dissemination   Ask a random person about major names and events in the game.  You will see propaganda digested and returned.  What the return is will be the judge of who gathered and effected the audience's attention.

5 comments:

  1. Hey, at least you like the button! As with anything, propaganda can elevate a topic beyond the mundane and into a higher form of creativity and purpose. At least in my humble opinion. I'd like to think the propaganda I've created for the Ring of Fire Project would be among those, as well as others. But I certainly also have created my fair share of pointless drivel as well. Sometimes those are just too much fun to resist.

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    1. I like the button very much and made sure to mention it. :)

      It fit with a goal and that is a side effect. I am not very oriented on large group projects to change view points. I live a very take it or leave it existence.

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    2. I respect that. And appreciate it. For me it is mostly about enjoyment and keeping things interesting for me personally. I get bored easily. But different strokes and all.

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  2. Nice post. I feel very much like you about the subject. Only my own post ended up being so much more peevish. I guess you are that cat lying next to the oven, quirking an ear and looking vaguely interested with half-closed eyes while I am the one arching her back hissing :D

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  3. Interesting separation between passive and active propaganda. Something in me disagrees with it but I can not put my finger on it (yet) ;-)

    I think though there is a difference between marketing / advertising and propaganda. They are close but not quite the same although there clearly is a zone of overlap. You are advertising / marketing Marc Scaurus run for CSM. You are not advocating the annihilation of high sec miners (for example, that would be propaganda).

    Interesting points - thank you

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