Usually a product is promoted to the people with ads. An advertisement explains the product and give hints what the concept behind is. So, how does a campaign look for a very new website, called Academia.edu? It is very hard to say, even after some thinking about it, I don’t know. But what is interesting, that it is possible to make an anti-campaign for Academia.edu. That means, not to sell the website of Richard Price but make some bit applause for the opposite. Perhaps, this will help to understand the general idea.
At first, I found a printing museum in Germany. They have some kind of old printing press available which can be used by the audiance. For example, a hand driven press which was invented in 1750, but also some modern devices which a driven by steam, like the Koenig&bauer like model from 1811. Here is a short video which introduces some of the revolutionary machines.
In reality, the situation with the machines was not so easy as it shown in the clip. But a museum is a place in which the past is a bit better explained. This can be seen as some kind of advertisement for a printing process which is 200 years old. In the last section of the video, also a linotype machine is shown, which is very new in printing history. The idea was, that the user only types in characters on a keyboard, and the machine prints them like in a typewriter.
Overall, that was the physical anti- Academia.edu campaign which explains former printing devices. Now we are coming to the social aspect of education.
Here is a promotional clip for the Miami University. The idea is to recruit new students with a tv ads in under 60 seconds. The clip was made great and sells the university to the public. Here is another promotional clip which focus entirely on the exam test:
All of these advertisement have something in common. They are campaigns for some kind of past educational resources. For example, an outdated printing machine, a university which is nobody aware of it and a SAT test which can be seen as outdated. Nevertheless it seems to be very easy to promote something which doesn’t work in the past. That means, a paper based printing machine will not only get huge audience in a museum but million of people who want to try out in real, for example for printing their phd thesis. The same is true for the sat test, which is done every year by thousands of people, not because they want to get an experience about the past, but they belief in the sat test. In contrast, the Academia.edu website is hated by the mainstream, everybody knows why this doesn’t work. It seems, that the campaigns for the outdated technologies are very strong, and it is impossible to guide the people to a new idea.
The reason why it is so easy to make promotion for outdated educational systems and less productive technology has to do how modern society is organized. It consists of neoluddism groups. For example the group of printing press fans are very huge. They like everything which has to do with mechanical driven printing invented 200 years ago. So it is easy to promote this social behavior, because there is a group in which somebody can be part of it. The same is true for a group called SAT fans. These types of neoluddist are preferring SAT test which is known as a very bad choice because it is unfair to 90% of the people, but nevertheless, the number of fans is huge. In contrast, Academia.edu has no fangroup which contains of neoluddist, because Academia.edu is brandnew, it is modern educational technology and that means, it is hated by the neoluddist. It is hard or even impossible to make promotion for it, because there is no neoluddist like group in which the user can be a part of.
What I want to express, is that it is very easy and common to make commercial advertaisment for technology used by neoluddist, which is equal to mainstream behavior, and very hard to promote something which has to do with modernity. Most people are prefering to stay in the shadow of a group, they get respect because of a certain behavior, and this has to do with rejecting technology. For example, steampunk fans of classical printing press gets reward by rejecting modern DTP like alternatives like laser printers or digital publishing. And the steampunk community is rewarding such rejection, that people who can express well that a steam driven printing machine is superior will get a bonus in the social game.