serendipitous flow theory

To gain knowledge on how to solve the wicked problem of how companies can have successful advertising without killing their website, I read a few articles Charles Dietz examines the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and its implications and Unintended Consequences of Targeting:Less Information,Less Serendipity – part 1 & 2 The first article describes flow theory. The second describes the lack of serendipitous when using targeted advertisement. I believe both of these give insight towards solving our wicked problem.

The article Charles Dietz examines the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and its implications talks about Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s Flow theory. Flow Theory is basically the phenomenon in which a person becomes so involved in an activity that nothing else matters. During this event, time typically becomes distorted in a sense that hours feel like minutes or minutes like seconds. The key to an individual experiencing flow depends on many variables and in turn the variables require different levels for every individual. The Individual must be entirely focused and concentrated on the activity involved.Curiosity aids in keeping this focus. The individual must also recognize a positive expectancy in the task and know that it is doable without feeling too anxious or too bored. The individual must also have a clear idea  or intuition of what needs to be done next.This clarity is  left unbroken by good immediate feedback so the individual knows they are on the right track. When all of these factors are combined they tend to give the individual a sense of ecstasy and peacefulness. Time is distorted when engaging in the activity and the activity becomes intrinsic and is a self rewarding experience.

The next article Unintended Consequences of Targeting:Less Information,Less Serendipity – part 1 & 2, touches on the effects of targeted advertising. Over the years companies have made targeted advertising  a very popular way to reach out to potential customers. Individuals subject to targeted advertising will see adds based on things such as browsing history, IP addresses, or “likes”. Some people may find this useful, however it does take away from the potential novelty that the web, or anything else that uses targeted advertising, has to offer. If everything is just showed to you based off the things you’ve already searched and know about, you’re not really discovering anything new from these adds. It takes away the serendipity, or pleasant  surprises, that one would normally come across with just random advertisements. For example, you may be going to buy you’re favorite magazine and stumble across another magazine at the store on a completely different topic that happens to catch your eye. With targeted advertisement only you most likely will miss out on this scenario. The article then even goes into how it can actually be depressing and or annoying for the individuals receiving the ads. One lady thought about purchasing a pair of shoes on-line but in the end decided not to buy them. The shoes then kept appearing in ads. Almost haunting her, and reminding her she couldn’t buy them.

I feel like I have learned some invaluable information about these subjects and am excited to incorporate them into a solution for our wicked problem. A user needs to enjoy the website they’re on and not be distracted by annoying full front in center distracting ads. They should be nice and neat on the sides and be random and spontaneous just like the people being exposed to them.


About i101akarn

Greetings, My name is Andrew Karn and I am a freshman at IUPUI studying informatics. I graduated in 2007 and this is my first time back to school after a 5 year break. Not much of a blogger so looks like we may be in for a little adventure. Originally I was planning to go somewhere into the culinary field , but never actually attended a university. I did however spend the past 6+ years working in 2 of the best restaurants in Indiana. After my years in the kitchen I ultimately decided that it just wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So back to school I go! Now that I'm 24 and married it seems a little awkard and out of the "norm", but technology has always been one of my top interests and I can't wait to get elbow deep in informatics. Also after viewing the WordPress website, I'm starting to feel like this could start to become more than just an assignment.

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