Monthly Archives: January 2012

I Warrant He Hath A Thousand Of These Letters, Writ With Blank Space For Different Names

In York I received a flyer that was uniquely individualized.  A couple of weeks prior, for Thanksgiving dinner, my partner Emily and I ordered out from Pizza Hut and we bought two “Create Your Own” pizzas.  In the advert we received later, there is a picture which is presumably Pizza Hut’s portrayal of a normal “Create Your Own Pizza” and it states that “Your Create Your Own Pizza was just the beginning . . .”.  We realized that the ad was tailored to our past buying trends but the same ad, with a change in type of pizza on the front, had gone out to our friends’ houses as well.  To me it seemed like a printed form of Google’s personalized web ads based on your browsing history.  In both cases, each visitor receives a unique response but in essence the website applies the same algorithm to every visitor.  On my WordPress blogs, I also receive a lot of spam “comments” in which a stock phrase or statement is pasted into the comment box of blog posts but caught by a program called Askimet.  I usually take time to read them all before deleting them and they seem to follow the same format as the ads for Pizza Hut and Google.  For instance, there is usually a space filled in by information pertinent to the viewer, usually an outgoing link to other things is present (in Pizza Hut’s case it was printed pictures of additional pizzas), and the use of other acquired information within a set framework.  Because the ad was printed like this, I began thinking about fill-in-the-blanks in literature, particularly in terms of genre and mode related to textual features.  Continue reading


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