What Pandora Taught Me This Week: Caffeine, Work, and the American Way

November 19, 2009

Move over Oprah, I now have an electronic computer program to teach me life-lessons. Well, at least I did this morning.

Earlier today, I was listing to Pandora Radio and working on homework when this song, “Stress” by Jim’s Big Ego, came up on my playlist (not with the Disney men, of course, but this was a best version I could find on youtube–plus, it’s mashed up pretty well):

I enjoyed the song a lot (thanks Pandora), because I thought (along with a super-catchy melody) that it was a really well put together parody of how capitalism encourages people to live their lives.

The first half of the song talks about our cultural dependency on caffeine.

I’m tryin’ to cut down on my caffeine,
So when I get up
I just have one cup of coffee
And I’d like to have another cup of coffee with my breakfast.
And on the way to work, I like to get a cup of coffee.
And I like the kind of coffee you get with a doughnut
So when I get a doughnut, I get a cup of coffee.
And when I get to work I like to have a cup of coffee
Cuz I like to have coffee when I’m talkin’ on the phone.
And when it get’s a little cold I like to have another cup of coffee.
And when it’s lunch, I have an expresso.

As a student approaching looming final deadlines and completing graduate school applications, I identified with this part of the song heavily. The amount of caffeine consumed in America is a huge amount, I think we can look to the success of Starbucks as proof of that. We have a cultural dependency on caffeine, one we are socialized into. Coffee shops are appropriate hot spots for dates, wifi, and meetings–and most college campuses are equipped with more than one in the surrounding area.

How have YOU been socialized into caffeine? How many of your parents drink coffee? Do you watch Friends (coffee shop = vital part of the show)? Do you go to coffee shops? How about soda? Do you agree with me that we have a cultural dependency on caffeine? Why or why not?

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Cultural Object of the Week: Goodbye Makeup, Hello LED Eyelashes

October 28, 2009

I am so excited about this cultural object.¬†¬†Japanese designer Soomi Park has created the weirdest thing I’ve seen in awhile–LED eyelashes. They were created in order create the illusion of bigger eyes, a trait many Asian women would like to have, according to Park.

There is some speculation that they LED eyelashes were created to spark social commentary on marketing towards very specific demographics.

What do you think they say about our cultural fascination with certain traits? Do you think they are a realistic fashion trend? Do you think you can see while you’re wearing them?

I expect to see Lady Gaga wearing them sometime soon.

Sources: Gizmodo, FashionTechnology


“It’s all about Sociology, Not Technology”

October 12, 2009

Last Spring, Bruce Nussbaum, a blogger for Business Week, wrote that what technology companies needed to start using sociology for innovating new ideas and marketing strategies for their products, instead of technology.

View the Article Here

He specifically states that Apple is a company that has done this, while Google has not. While I’m not going to choose sides on that debate, I found his argument that in order to successfully understand what consumers want, you must have a firm understanding of social systems and culture. This has become particularly important in our globalized economy. Perhaps more importantly (especially to me, as I’m a senior unsure about my future), this post made me think about how I can use my sociological education beyond the classroom, and perhaps how I can market myself as someone a company would want to hire.

What do you think? Do you think technology needs sociology?