; People PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS We are a society of images
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People PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS We are a society of images



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We are a society of images. Our standards and expectations are often shaped by the way we
visualize things. Our primary sources for the way we see our world (or at least would like to see it)
are found in commercial advertising. For good or bad, much of what many people know about
personal computers is based entirely on what they see in 60-second television spots or in the
product displays found in newspapers or magazines. Advertising is designed to catch one’s attention
and spark the public’s imagination. Manufacturers want people to know that personal computers
are more than toys, so they tend to picture them doing some fairly sophisticated things. More than
that, they tend to show them as the tools of successful people. It wasn’t always that way, of
course. Many people had their first taste of the technology through home systems that did little
more than play Pong or other arcade games. Those early systems were quick to evolve, however,
into more powerful tools and the advertising shifted away from entertainment towards business.
This became increasingly true as more personal computer corn- panics entered the marketplace and
competition quickly turned into battles for survival. A company’s success required the type of
vohinw i1hS that can only come from business, industry, and govet iimt’iil AN advertising changed to
reflect the needs of these ii uit It i’ii in, It ako began to 1itled the expectations people had

in I it rsand what they can do.

What aetvei tlitig how k end results. The commercials pic— turn young (‘wriltiveN siiiing down at
their desks, turning on tlu’ir sysleills and getting instant information. Advertisements pictiiie screens
with tulIcolor graphs and charts, or leave the impression that the heroes of today’s offices are the
ones who can produce instant analysis. The tramp skates through to success simply by putting a
personal computer on his desk.

What the advertising doesn’t show is all the time and effort it can take to get a personal computer to
do everything shown. Audiences are often left with the impression that personal computers are not
only easy to figure out, but that they will arrive ready to do whatever is asked of them. Many
companies expect

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