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Now your smile goes everywhere: Community, family sentiment and the desire for telepresence

Ensor, J.D. (2012) Now your smile goes everywhere: Community, family sentiment and the desire for telepresence. In: Framing Lives: 8th Biennial Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association (IABA), 17 - 20 July 2012, Australian National University, Canberra.


The recent marketing campaigns by Apple and Microsoft suggest some of the ways that desire, emotion and narratives of familial life can be exploited to help embed new technologies. Undoubtedly, Apple and Microsoft are major stakeholders in – and makers of – technology and software. As separate businesses, both actively promote competing visions of interface ‐ based culture (or, at the very least, competing visual styles of interface ‐ based culture) yet both plug into similar affective states as ways of putting forward their brand of product and services. While Microsoft has recently attempted to position photographic manipulation in consumer consciousness as an entirely benevolent proposition, and while Apple works to foster the perception of immediate obsolescence for its previous iPhone product releases (as part of an ongoing program to overcome customer inertia which might reasonably see no need to keep upgrading), each company sculpts their messages around autobiography, self ‐ esteem, self ‐ realisation, enduring anxieties about appearance and conservative nuclear ‐ family / gendered identity categories. In this way, these companies offer (and profitably locate) the means for consumers to re ‐ imagine their place in the world while conveying conservative, hetero ‐ sexualised assumptions about the actual place of Apple’s and Microsoft’s target markets. With reference to commercials by Apple and Microsoft, this paper will explore the Janus ‐ faced personality of information ‐ cum ‐ internet technology advertising, a practice which simultaneously seeks to mediate and disarticulate pre ‐ technological forms of communication between people in favour of social relations grounded in digital forms of exchange.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Media, Communication and Culture
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