It is safe to say that entertainment has definitely changed in form in the recent years (Critchley, 2009). So when deciding the preferred entertainment medium, what does one choose? Does the make or brand play an important criteria? Does this decision play a role in how you are perceived in the social arena? Take listening to music for example, it is hard not to be succumbed by the sea of white ear buds and the gleaming portable gigabytes (Levy, 2006).
The iPod is seen as the gadget to own when choosing a portable music player (Wilcox, 2004), McLuhan refers to this as the social influence to one’s psyche (1965). Both McLuhan and Levy concur that owning a medium like an iPod sends out a specific message about its owner (1965 and 2006). In some instances this message is held at a higher value, influencing one’s social capital (Levy, 2006 and Putnam 1995). This idea definitely resonates for the users of Polyvore.
Polyvore is a web-based application that allows members to create ‘sets’ similar to a fashion spread. As an avid user myself, I strongly agree with Lee and McLuhan. The message ‘sets’ portray, is much more important than actually using Polyvore. The message is defined by what clothing is chosen, what quote, background and model you have used to represent in your set. These sets help to build a members identity, reputation and social capital on Polyvore.
In conclusion it can be seen, that new media tools similar to the iPod and websites like Polyvore are not just forms of entertainment, but allow for a socio-cultural exchange which help us build our on- and off-line identities and social capital.
Critchley, C. (2009, April 17). Children dumping dolls for techno gadgets. The Herald Sun.
Retrieved March 05, 2010, from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/tech-tyros-give
McLuhan, M. (1965). The Medium is the Message in Understanding Media: the Extensions
of Man. New York: McGraw Hill, pp. 7-20.
Levy, S. (2006). The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and
Coolness, New York: Simon & Schuster, pp. 21-41.
Putnam, R. (1995). Bowling Alone: America’s Social Declining Capital. Retrieved
March 05, 2010, from http://www.bowlingalone.com/
Wilcox, J. (2004). The iPod-iTunes Phenomenon. Retrieved March 05, 2010, from