From Unfamiliar to Familiar

By: Konstantin Daniel Haensch  

This paper situates the processes of familiarization, normalization, and domestication of new technology through different forms of media such as YouTube videos or TV Commercials. On the example of the smart speaker/virtual assistant Amazon Echo/Alexa, it presents findings of a three-year qualitative study that gathers examples of (emergent) strategies of producers to establish the new technology in the markets and therefore everyday culture of their clients through marketing and advertisement. It dissects how a highly aligned content mix in mass and niche media is used to address the customer’s skepticism about new datafied media objects and other forces of customer opposition (based on the discourse of data surveillance, platform autocracy; the novelty of technology etc.). Furthermore, it shows how popular culture is utilized to gather the audience’s interest. By examining video clips from 2015 to 2018, it unfolds strategies of (1) education, (2) fascination, (3) cultivation and (4) de-/re-mystification that aim for the acceptance and normalization of objects which enable the integration of data services, AI, and machine learning in the private sphere of customers.

Media, Advertisement, Smart Speaker, Normalization, Domestication, Cultivation, Customer Education, Technology
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Konstantin Daniel Haensch

Research Assistant, Institute for Theory and Praxis of Communication, University of the Arts Berlin, Germany