As the years pass, we as a society continue to advance with innovative technology in computers with software. This example of E-lit is a little different than some of the others that we’ve gone over in class. Unlike the E-poetry and some of the novellas that we’ve read, myBALL by Shawn Rider isn’t filled with a lot of text that’s connected by hypertext. It is however a piece that doesn’t follow a linear layout or have a real plot. It describes and advertises an advanced robotic toy that can essentially do almost anything for its user and can simulate human interaction (Now, how they think a robotic ball is going to simulate human interaction or in a way that could replace actual human interaction is beyond me). The advertising is directed towards adults who don’t have time for their kids and instead can use myBALL to simulate parental interaction. While the idea of a robotic ball replacing parenting is ridiculous, this piece of E-lit satirizes the current consumer society, specifically advertisements that push to sell their new electronic technologies.
When opening up myBALL, the viewer is immediately greeted with a blue professional formatted online brochure accompanied by futuristic sounding music (the music is just on a constant loop; it’s cool the first few minutes but it gets old fast and there’s no way to turn it off). At first it seems as though this is just an online brochure from the not-so-far future, attempting to sell this myBALL (Bioreactive, Artificial, Learning, Lifeform). The brochure starts off by saying that myBALL can become “your child’s new best friend” and can mimic everything that a parent or friend can do. This is similar to how current technologies are being advertised, such as new phones and tablets, that have the capabilities of doing pretty much anything the consumer can think of. The overall form of the literature is like a commercial website with sections labeled “for kids” and “for adults” to capture the attention of the primary and secondary audiences. There are pictures and animations of the product and even additional accessories for myBALL. It even has a “testimonials” section where fake reviews were left on how well the product works for parents and their children.
The brochure addresses the growing trend of parents working too much and how the myBALL could help aleviate any problems that might occur because of it. The brochure states that myBALL, “can love your young ones in ways you can’t make time to.” Under the section “for kids” it’s explained that myBALL can perform many of the responsibilities of a parent, such as answering difficult questions (Why is the sky blue?) as well as helping their children with homework. All the features of myBALL are presented in a appealing way and are accompanied with images of a children playing with the myBALL or telling secrets to it. All of this makes it seem as though these are things that parents would want an electronic ball to do for them. The myBALL brochure takes a final jab at family values when it states that buying it will make your children love you more.
The myBALL brochure is able to satirize commercials through all the claims it makes. It’s kind of like infomercials. There are infomercials on T.V. that claim products can provide incredible weight loss or reverse the loss of hair etc. Of course, most of the products don’t work, but it’s how the products are presented that make the viewers believe they do. It’s the same with the myBALL ad; the claims are presented in a natural, logical fashion so that the reader will believe them. They are also things that everyone (a parent mostly) wants; everyone wants their children to love them, and everyone wants their children to do well in school and get along with other kids (and I guess if they can do it with a little less effort on their part, then that’s even better).
Honestly, it’s kind of weird to read. At first I thought it was a real product (before I actually started to read what it was saying). It’s very professionally made. It also brings up the question if in the not-so-distant- future could we become so busy with our own selves or I guess lazy that we look to technology to basically raise our children.