Write a brief summary for each domain and field embodied in your project. As part of this summary, explain how and why it is important for your thesis project.
THE INTERSECTIONS OF POLITICS AND BUSINESS: Within this domain, I have researched the concept of SuperPACs and lobbying.
SuperPACS are independent political committees that support a candidate with unlimited, often anonymous, donations from COMPANIES, unions, or individuals. The groups cannot contribute directly to a candidate, but they can run favorable ads about a candidate, or negative ones about their favored candidate's opponent. They arose following the July 2010 federal court decision in a case known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The reasoning was that political spending is protected under the First Amendment, so corporations and unions are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities as long as they don't contribute directly to a political party or candidate.
In a nutshell, this gives companies the power to give as much money as they like anonymously to the candidate of their choosing. I consider this a problem that we should fight back against and I want to inform my target audience about this issue through my website.
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in a government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. My website shows the bills lobbied by each brand in 2014 as a way to illuminate what these companies are trying to control within the US government.
THE INFLUENCE OF MILLENNIALS: Within this domain I researched how companies have attempted to market to Millennial users, how we try to get them to vote, and the statistics of how much buying power Millennials have in this country. My research led me to understand that the main way to target millennials is through digital means, often mobile but also web. I found that Millennials truly care about where they are spending their money for the following reasons: they want to see empathy and social responsibility from companies, they get most of their suggestions for where to shop from friends not ads, and they are very active on social media about expressing both negative or positive opinions about companies they've tried out. I also found that in terms of influence, they are most important in the US because they make up 1/4 of the US population (approximately 77 million), and wield $1.3 trillion in annual buying power.
THE IMPACT OF BOYCOTTING: Boycotting is defined as withdrawing from commercial or social relations as a punishment or protest. While research shows some boycotts come up short in forcing their targets to give in to the demands of protest organizers, they can have real impact in terms of lost sales and a damaged reputation. However, if you combine the influence of the Millennial generation with the possible impact of boycotting, you can achieve real change.
Prepare an annotated works cited document that includes all important books, papers, articles, projects, artworks, films, games, etc. that relate to your thesis project. For each entry, provide a short explanation of the item, and how it informs your thesis project.
1. BuyPartisan. in Spend Consiously [database online]. 2015 Available from http://buypartisan.com/.
Precedent: BuyPartisan is a mobile application available on the iPhone which allows you to scan the label of any item and see the political leanings of it's parent company. While this is a great and convenient user experience, the app unfortunately crashes often.
2. Citizens United. Washington, DC, 2015Available from www.citizensunited.org.
Precedent: Citizens United is dedicated to restoring the government into the citizens' control through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization. I am also trying to restore control of the government to the people, and specifically showing millennials how powerful their actions can truly be.
3. A LABOR OF LIKE millennials 2015 favorite brands ranking report. in Moosylvania [database online]. 2015Available from http://moosylvania.com/millennials/Moosylvania_Millennial_Study_2015.pdf.
Research: This is a presentation created by the independent ad agency Moosylvania. It presents informations about the top 50 brands millennials shop at, as well as statistics for what millennials expect from brands they are loyal to.
4. Youth demographics. in CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) [database online]. 2010Available from http://www.civicyouth.org/quick-facts/youth-demographics/.
Research: This website provides information about the percentage of millennials that voted in the last election.
5. Littlesis. in Public Accountability Initiative [database online]. Available from www.littlesis.org.
Precedent: They are a website that keep tabs on different media sources to connect the dots about the connections between the world's most powerful people and organizations.
6. Opensecrets. in Center for Responsive Politics [database online]. Available from www.opensecrets.org.
Precedent and Process: This is the source of my data. CRP is a research group that tracks money in US politics and its effect on elections and public policy. They advocate for a more transparent and responsive government. OpenSecrets is their website.
7. Egan, John. 18 statistics that marketers need to know about millennials. in LeadsCon [database online]. 2015 Available from http://www.leadscon.com/18-statistics-that-marketers-need-to-know-about-millennials/.
Research: This article was useful in helping me find statistics from Nielson, the US Census Bureau, and Boston Consulting group about the median salary of millennials in the US, our population, and how much time we spend on our phones.
8. Gordon, Jesse. On the issues. Cambridge, MA, 1999 Available from www.ontheissues.org.
Process: On the Issues is a website that has compiled information about the stances of all the candidates on all the issues. I am embedding much of their information into my candidate profile pages using a tool called Graphiq and their website, InsideGov.com which created embeddable versions of the information found on On the Issues.
9. Raine, George. Farm workers union kicks off boycott of gallo wines. in SFGate [database online]. 2005 Available from http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Farm-workers-union-kicks-off-boycott-of-Gallo-2628092.php.
Precedent and Research: I'm using the Gallo boycott as a precedent for an event showing the power of boycotting. Farm workers boycotted Gallo wines in 2005 and in the past as well saying that the company exploits and mistreats their workers.
10. Rubin, Nicholas. Greenhouse. Available from http://allaregreen.us/.
Precedent: Greenhouse is a free browser extension that uses information from OpenSecrets to give you information on legislators and the role money plays in Congress. It displays information on any browser when you click on a legislator's name.
11. Schawbel, Dan. 10 new findings about the millennial consumer. in Forbes [database online]. 2015 Available from http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/01/20/10-new-findings-about-the-millennial-consumer/.
Research: This Forbes article provided me with some more information about how millennials think about brands and proved my idea that we care about where our money is going.
12. "Sunlight Foundation," accessed December 13, 2015, http://www.sunlightfoundation.com.
Process: I used the Sunlight Foundation's API for finding your representatives to make put change at my user's fingertips on the about page. Sunlight foundation works to make government and politics more accountable and transparent.
13. Swartz, Aaron. Aaron Swartz's The Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work. Morgan and Claypool Publishers 2013 ebook pg.6
Research and Process: In this book, Swartz talks about the fact that the OpenSecrets API specifically, has data that is difficult to manipulate, and that if you really want true access to it, you need access to the bulk data. This information is what helped my come to the decisions that I needed to pivot my project to using only the top 50 millennial brands according to Moosylvania.