The Framing of Microcomputers
in Magazine Advertisements, 1974-1997
In 1994, this was a scene of domestic bliss: For their bedtime story, two
young girls tell their father: "Forget Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Tell
us about Sarte and Existentialism and his belief in the inescapable
responsibility of all individuals for their own decisions." To which the
doting father replies "Oh, all right" as he fires up the family home
computer and multimedia encyclopedia. He chuckles when the girls quote
Sarte's "Man is condemned to be free," in order to plead that Dad is free
to keep them up as long as he wants in order to tell more stories about
This Microsoft advertisement in Parent's magazine is laden with
tongue-in-cheek hyperbole as an attention-getting device, but it
encapsulates many of the meanings, values and attitudes that have come to
be ascribed to computers in the home. A mechanical device is portrayed as
helping Dad feel confident that he is a successful parent. The computer
makes his children intelligent and inquisitive. And best of all, the
technology puts every member of the family in control of their own
decisions and destiny; it makes them "free."
In 1995, 35 million U.S. households contained at least one personal
computer compared to just a few hundred homes twenty years earlier. More
than half of those households, 20 million, included children, and no less
than 96.5 percent of those families had bought educational software.2 By
1998 42 percent of households owned a PC and one-quarter had access to the
Internet.3 The purpose of this study is to begin to understand and explain
the process by which the microcomputer, a once-threatening war-time
technology with little or no practical domestic application, became such a
common and trusted appliance, one that middle- and upper middle class
families at the turn of the new millennium consider essential for daily
life and invested with their hopes for success and happiness. Using
content analysis of advertisements in consumer magazines, the role of
marketing as a "frame builder" defining uses and values of computers will
Research Questions and Potential Significance
The diffusion of microcomputing into almost all aspects of social life in
the late 20th century has been called "revolutionary" by many and merely
"evolutionary" by others. 4 But there is wide agreement that despite the
pervasiveness of the technology, the impact of computers, particularly in
the home, is not yet well-understood.5 Advocates of media literacy and
citizen involvement in media policy have called for a better understanding
of the influence of information technology, noting that the increasing
naturalization and transparency (the tendency for origins of content and
functionality to be hidden behind simulated interfaces) of computers
requires a more sophisticated form of media and social criticism.6
Diffusion theory is one approach that attempts to explain how innovations
such as the computer are incorporated into daily life. It assumes that
the attributes of an innovation as perceived by adopters, not as defined by
inventors, is what affects its adoption. 7 Brian Winston and Roger Fidler
have added that technology is rarely adopted on its merits alone; social
forces both constrain and encourage adoption.8 Mass media is a significant
influence, along with other social forces, in all stages of
adoption.9 However, while the adoption of microcomputers followed some of
the patterns predicted and explained by diffusion theory, the rate of
acceptance did not. Instead of ascending rapidly from a take-off point at
which a critical mass of early adopters fed rapid adoption by others, seven
years after their introduction the total number of home computers in the
United States leveled off, with just 15 percent of U.S. homes containing
the device. 10 This might be in part explained by the fact that the
devices were "peculiar innovations" for which there was no obvious social
need.11 They were introduced without a fixed or predefined function and
were in a constant state of evolution. There is evidence that this
peculiarity allowed symbolic importance to become a driving force in
adoption. For example, a group of computer buyers studied in 1983 foresaw
no specific application for their new purchase, prompting the researchers
to conclude that "more than a response to social change, the process of
integrating this technology is visibly driven by the discourse surrounding
its emergence."12 Therefore, an alternative to diffusion theory is needed
in order to capture the complexities of the computer's adoption and to
understand the role of the discourse surrounding the process.
Much of the public discourse about computers first took place in
magazines. Several authors have asserted, for example, that magazines
played a significant role in both identifying and creating a consumer
market for microcomputers by defining the characteristics of the innovation
that aided its diffusion soon after the new technology's introduction in
the late 1960s.13 But few have analyzed magazine texts and advertisements
to understand their role in constructing a culture that accepted computers.
That is, this research argues that magazine advertisements in particular
used specific thematic and rhetorical structures to promote, ascribe
meaning and instruct the American consumer about computers; an approach to
studying these structures is provided by framing theory.
The time period selected for this study, 1974-1997, brackets several events
that potentially influenced discourse surrounding use of computers. In 1974
hobby magazines introduced microcomputers for home use as kits available by
mail order; these were enthusiastically constructed by a community of
engineers and tinkerers, many of whom became known as "computer hackers."
The Apple II, the first preassembled, self-contained "appliance" computer
entered the market in 1977, billed as the "The Home/Personal
Computer."14 In 1980, the National Science Foundation launched a computer
literacy campaign by sponsoring a national conference and making the
improvement of computer skills among Americans a national priority.15 By
1981, the microcomputer industry had reached the billion dollar mark
and IBM introduced its "PC." Big Blue's entry into the market meant the
diffusion entered a new phase, one influenced by realignment in the
industry, bankruptcies by some of the pioneering companies, and eventually
the growth of a mass consumer market.16 In 1984 computers with the
graphical user interface (GUI) of icons, menus and the desktop metaphor
were introduced by Apple Computer; for the first time computers were
mass-marketed as "friendly" "information appliances."17 But after a steady
climb over seven years, the adoption rates for home computers leveled off
in 1985. 18 This prompted a broad-based marketing effort by manufacturers
and retailers that included targeting women and families as computer
buyers.19 By 1990 adoption rates began to rise again, likely due to
introduction of the World Wide Web graphical interface for the Internet and
increased mass media coverage of the Information Superhighway.20 By
mid-decade millions of new users had come online to an increasingly
commercial medium and with them they brought extremes of both enthusiasm
and fear, especially on behalf of children.21 In 1995, Congress debated
the "Protection of Children Act" that would eventually become the federal
government's first attempt to regulate content on the Internet, the
Communications Decency Act of 1996. In the 1997 decision Reno v. ACLU,
portions of the CDA were declared unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court
recognized the Internet for the first time as a mass medium, one guaranteed
the same protections under the First Amendment as magazines and newspapers.
Specifically, the content analysis was guided by the following research
1. What were the characteristics, frequency and meaning of dominant frames
apparent in magazine advertising texts during this time period?
2. What, if any, similarities and differences among frames correlate to
differences in other variables such as product type and setting?
3. How did frequencies change across time, notably after the National
Science Foundation's computer literacy campaign, the mid-1980 slump in
computer sales, and increased popularity of the World Wide Web?
Review of the Literature
One approach to investigating imbedded and shared meanings in media texts
such as advertisements is framing theory. It is one way to investigate what
Gamson and Modigliani called an "issue culture," the "ongoing discourse
that evolves and changes over time, providing interpretations and meanings
for relevant events."22 It is primarily a media theory derived from agenda
setting work in public opinion research, which was built on a classic
remark by Cohen that media "may not be successful much of the time in
telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling
its readers what to think about."23 But results have been mixed regarding
the agenda-setting effect and the existence of a clear link between media
and public agendas. 24 McCombs, Shaw, and Weaver later suggested that media
might influence not only salience in general, but also of specific
attributes of issues; they call this "second level agenda-setting," and see
it as the foundation for the phenomenon of framing.
From this foundation, framing theory is still being clarified and
organized. Sociologist Erving Goffman is credited with introducing the
approach and defining frames as cognitive devices used to classify,
organize and interpret life experiences in order to make sense of them. In
his view, frames are "schemata of interpretation" that help individuals
"locate, perceive, identify and label." 25 Since Goffman, framing theory
has crossed disciplinary lines to become popular in related fields such as
communication, sociology and political science. As a result, a variety of
approaches has emerged, causing some to lament that the theory is a
"fractured paradigm" and others to rejoice that the conceptual openness of
"frames" is allowing for "some of the most creative analysis of media in
current scholarship."26 There is little doubt that framing struggles with
semantic and definitional imprecision. So as applied to media research, the
following working definition has been recently proposed by Stephen Reese:
"Frames are organizing principles that are socially shared and persistent
over time, that work symbolically to meaningfully structure the social
The principles, "frames," have been found to "organize" in many ways, both
cognitively and culturally. Cognitive frames often appeal to basic
psychological biases such as seeing an issue as either positive or
negative, involving action that is individual or collective. Hertog and
McLeod argue that as cultural phenomena, however, frames are "more than"
principles. They approach frames as cultural rather than cognitive
phenomena, as "relatively comprehensive structures of meaning made up of a
number of concepts and the relations among those concepts....Frames have
their own content, as well as a set of rules for the processing of new
content." The most powerful concepts central to the frame are myths,
narratives, and metaphors that resonate with those of a culture.28 As
cultural artifacts, frames tend to organize a "broad swath of events and
issues" that transcend a specific issue, with elaborate underpinnings of
assumptions, evidence and world view.29 Reese acknowledges that frames are
not equal in their ability to make sense of the world, and these cultural
frames might be the "most interesting" because they organize and explain a
wide scope of social reality.30 It is the cultural frames involved in the
adoption of computers that are of concern in this research.
The definition of frames as shared and persistent suggests the question of
what makes a frame readily embraced by many over time. It also assumes
that audiences share in negotiating frame meaning. That is, frames can be
both schemes for both presenting and comprehending news and can be studied
as both dependent and independent variable.31 Early framing research,
coming as it did from the effects tradition, concerned the latter. In
their review of agenda-setting research, Rogers and Dearing noted that
studies focusing on the influences on media content were quite rare;
Dunwoody and Griffin lamented the lack of understanding of macrosocial
influences on news construction.32 Recent framing research has to begun to
remedy these deficiencies, identifying sources of frames and the relative
influence of social and cultural institutions in addition to media on
frames as a dependent variables.33
Some of this research involves identification and understanding of interest
groups that are alternately called issue sponsors and stakeholders.34 This
work seeks to understand the interplay of media and audiences with
particular organizations promoting definitions or policy prescriptions
favorable to their interests. Originating as framing theory does from
public opinion research, many of these studies consider contentious issues
being publicly debated. Although computer adoption does not at first appear
as a public policy issue and stakeholders are not directly confrontational,
computer marketers, for example, did seek to influence public deliberation
by influencing the media, policymakers and public opinion. Pan and Kosicki
refer to frame sponsors figuratively as "entrepreneurs" because they often
use public relations techniques and terms meant to appeal to both
journalists and media audiences. 35 Computer marketers were in fact
entrepreneurs. They used paid advertisements and public relations
techniques, including availability as "expert" sources for reporters, to
influence how their products would be defined, used and valued.
To this point in time, however, advertisements have not been a subject of
framing research; typically, sociological analyses of advertising texts are
based at least in part on critical seminology theory.36 The recent work of
Miller and Riechert, did, however consider the role of promotion in frame
building. They compared frames from press releases of different
stakeholders and tracked their occurrence in media accounts about wetlands
conservation. They found patterns of frame dominance in news stories that
accounted for changes in influence of these groups.37 Also, when members of
both conservation and property owner advocates in the wetlands issue were
quoted as news sources, whether directly or indirectly, their group's frame
appeared more frequently than that of the opposing group and was therefore
Marketing and Advertising Studies
Because after World War II computers were produced for commercial as well
as military ends, analyses of computer advertising, marketing and public
relations texts provide insight into strategies of computer producers and
evidence of how the devices became part of everyday life.39 Lynn Spigel,
for example, analyzed popular magazine stories and advertisements to learn
how television was domesticated. "By looking at women's magazines as a
viable source of historical evidence, we find another story, one that tells
us something (however partial and mediated itself) about the way women
might have experienced the arrival of television in their homes....They
addressed female readers not simply as passive consumers of promotional
rhetoric, but also as producers within the household."40 Other "domestic
technology" studies specifically considered computers, often informed by
feminist theory; they documented how consumption of computers and judgments
about their value and usage reproduced traditional gender and generational
patterns. Martha Cassidy's analysis of magazine texts and ads aimed at
encouraging use by women found they promoted the post-feminism ideal of
"women's work" as centered at home raising children while at the same time
earning outside income."41 Lori Reed found similar texts from the 1960s to
1990s to be "normalizing discourses" that attempted to domesticate personal
computers by relying "heavily on very particular ideas and fears about
appropriate gender and family relations."42
Other studies of computer marketing inform the present research. An
analysis of gender genres in advertisements from home computer magazines
found, for example, men portrayed as "children in the promised land" and
women as "lobotomized," prompting the author to conclude that "the industry
is also advocating the use of the computer as a tool to maintain male
hegemony and to manipulate women."43 Thomas Mickey's study of the computer
industry-sponsored "Net Days" in 1996-1997, an effort to hook up local
schools to the Internet in several states, found it was directed by the
interests of the corporate sector. Educators were relegated to a minor
role, and market-driven uses of the technology were given priority over
community-building and educational ones. The promotional materials did no
less than attempt to redefine successful public education by saying
"education is dependent on the use of high tech, especially the Internet." 44
Framing studies typically begin with an attempt to identify and
characterize frames, focusing on the central concepts that distinguish one
frame from another; often this core involves a conflict of some sort, with
certain actors, ideas and positions being highlighted.45 These concepts
are conveyed both in and through symbols, so frames are assumed to have
their own vocabularies, as well as certain thematic and rhetorical
structures.46 Therefore, most studies involve some quantitative content
analysis that counts the occurrence of key words, catchphrases and symbols
that in certain patterns and frequency seem to signify certain frames.47
The initial identification and characterization of possible frames can be
by "researcher fiat," but as alternative, framing scholars now look to
other methods as a way to improve reliability of measurement and to "take
out" the researcher's subjectivity in the identification of frames because
the activity of coming up with names for frames involves a kind of framing,
too.48 Gamson and Modigliani used a "media package approach" where the
researcher derived short, cohesive essays incorporating all the arguments
for a particular point of view, using particular framing devices such as
metaphors, exemplars (historical examples from which lessons are drawn),
catchphrases, depictions and visual images.49 Another approach is Tankard's
"list of frames" in which an inventory of possible frames is first
identified and then used as coding categories. The list can be derived
from a number of possible sources, including the content of a particular
discourse itself, theoretical or research literature about the topic, or
press releases by particular issue sponsors.50 Coders can then identify
individual stories as falling into one frame on the list, with a list of
definitions, frame indicators (keywords, catchphrases and images), and
framing mechanisms to guide them. "Framing mechanisms" or "framing devices"
are standard elements of a newspaper or magazine text, such as headlines,
subheads, photographs, etc., which tend to signal the appearance of a frame
in a newspaper or magazine article.51
Results of intercoder reliability tests using the list of frames as coding
categories have been mixed, prompting the researchers to conclude that the
degree to which newspapers and magazines articles could be assigned to
frames varied widely.52 They suggested that this might not merely a
characteristic of the coding scheme, but rather a characteristic of the
story itself: that some stories are difficult to categorize because they
are presented through more than one frame. This prompted Hendrickson to
devise a means for considering framing as a continuous rather than
dichotomous variable, using a microcoding approach. However, she, too,
achieved mixed reliability results.53 In an attempt to resolve some of
these issues this study sought not to identify all frames present but
rather to define and identify a "dominant frame."
Several framing theorists have suggested the existence of a dominant frame
in media stories. Iyengar, in his study of varying effects of episodic and
thematic frames, observed that even when multiple frames are present, "for
most stories, one frame or the other clearly predominates."54 In their
theoretical definition of framing, Tankard et. al, suggest that one frame
is a single "centralizing idea for news content." Hendrickson coded (but
failed to define) something she called "an overall frame" and it achieved
acceptable reliability (83%).55
The protocol for identifying this dominant frame was based on Tankard's
definitions of framing mechanisms. Of the 11 possible mechanisms, he
established the importance of the lead, "the beginning of news stories," as
both an "organizing structure" and source of "emphasis" for a story. He
also found that, among other mechanisms, headlines and "kickers" (the small
headlines that in a newspaper stories appear over the headline that are
equivalent to lead subheads in a magazine story) show emphasis.56 As
additional evidence that leads and kickers reflect the dominant frame,
Hendrickson's found they were at least 80% likely to coincide with a
story's "overall frame." Based on this literature, then, the current study
employed a definition of "dominant frame," as that which was conveyed by
the headline, lead subhead (where one appears) and "lead," the first three
paragraphs of an advertisement.
Deriving the List of Frames
Hertog and McLeod advocate preparing preliminary models of as many frames
and subframes as possible, developing "a list of symbols, languages, usage,
narratives, categories and concepts" related to particular
frames.57 Likewise, Tankard's list of frames approach begins with making
the range of possible frames explicit, putting the frames in a manifest
list, and developing "frame indicators"-keywords, catchphrases and
symbols-to help detect each frame.58
Several possible sources might be used for conceptualizing this list of
frames, including the content itself. In one study Tankard et. al
identified frames for the abortion issues directly from newspaper and
magazine stories about the topic and then applied the categories to a wider
sample. 59 Using both framing and diffusion theory, a pilot study by this
author considered all possible frames used to describe the characteristics
of microcomputers soon after their introduction, from 1969 to 1981.60
Dominant themes in each of the 46 articles were identified, as well as any
pattern in the use of metaphors and other rhetorical structures used to
describe the importance and usefulness of the microcomputer in domestic
application. More specifically, themes that portrayed certain adoption
characteristics as defined by diffusion theory literature were categorized.
This study also exploited as source for a list of frames what Tankard calls
"theoretical literature dealing with a particular topic of discourse." He
notes that frame lists developed this way "gain validity and coherence from
the previous theoretical work."61 Such was the method of Laura Hendrickson
in her study of media portrayals of child maltreatment.62 She found that
media coverage used both psychological and sociological frames found in
theoretical literature, with some intermedia differences in frequency of
each frame. She argued that it is likely that these frameworks influenced
media content producers because they represented the thoughts of "experts"
on the topic.63
Therefore, a combination of findings from literature about computer use,
most of it is contemporary with the time period under study and those of a
pilot study of consumer magazine content by this researcher were used to
create a list of seven (plus other) possible frames for coding purposes.
They're definitions and indicators are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1: Frame Definitions and Indicators for Coding Advertisements
Primary reason/goal to own and use a computer device is to learn how
electronic devices "work," how to repair them, or how to program
them. Little emphasis on tasks. NOT "easy" to understand/use.
tinker, explore, troubleshoot on own, learn more about information
technology (IT), do it yourself.
Tools used/that used to make business functions and/or household chores,
more efficient and cost-effective, controlled, productive, fast, and
easy. Includes both present and future capabilities of computer devices.
easy to understand; plug-it in "out of the box"; anyone can use it; has
many uses, does the "job" better; technical specifications are highlighted;
"smart house" automation; emphasizes speed, power, versatility,
upgradeability; justifies cost of technology because of multifunctionality.
Human-like, both extensions and enhancements of one's personality,
creativity, and idea generation. Using them will make one a better individual.
"personal computer"; what is on device same as person who owns it; devices
are same as humans: can think, be friendly, talk; devices are smart and/or
smarter than humans; devices take out human intervention/judgment from
decisions; you can be all/anything with a computer; interactive; "computer
Networks potentially "limitless" in ability to access and unify humans and
information. Subframe: Computers bring people together from both close and
far physical distance.
emphasis on email application; online community; "getting connected";
access to more information; information = knowledge; too much data =
information overload; "cyberspace" (Internet) = frontier; information
superhighway; promotes family harmony and togetherness.
Computer mastery is fundamental skill, so children should use them. Skills
needed for academic and career success and will become smarter. Subframe:
Computers are also inherently "educational"; they make learning easier.
Subframe: Computers can teach and supervise children without
educational use by children; computers make learning fun; children and
adults will learn quicker, without boredom; better than human teachers;
children better with computers than adults; parents need to be literate in
order to stay close to children
Computers will dominate future life.
don't be left out/behind; information revolution= excitement, new
opportunities; computers will eradicate future social problems; references
to new millennium;
Computers are a pleasant diversion, fun.
join friends in games, trade tips; reason to buy computer is to play games;
even multi-purpose computers work best as games machines; games make
computers approachable, "user-friendly"
Deriving the Sample
To locate advertisements aimed at potential users of microcomputers,
especially home computers, consumer magazines from the categories general
editorial, home, parenthood, news-oriented newsweeklies (eliminating TV
Guide), and women were considered.64 In these categories, the highest
circulation titles from the mid-point year of the time period
studied-1985-were selected.65 The titles were Reader's Digest, National
Geographic, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, Time, and Family Circle. Using
a constructed year approach, a random sample was devised, with all
advertisements in a particular issue being selected. Based on Riffe et. al,
weeklies were sampled by first randomly selecting one week to represent
each month.66 Only paid advertisements that were a full-page or larger were
considered, those that promoted any type of computer hardware, software,
electronic toys, services and company image advertisements. Special
advertising sections, which usually included extended "advertorial" copy,
were included in the sample. The random year generated for Family Circle
yielded no advertisements. This resulted in a sample of 233 unique ads.
Variables coded for advertisements included general characteristics such as
magazine title, issue date (month/year) and starting page. Coders, two
former magazine editors, were also instructed to choose the dominant
product type advertised from a list of ten. They determined which one of
five possible settings for using the advertised product were shown in the
ad copy and visual. Relying on the framing mechanisms of headline and lead
text (first five sentences of body copy), they determined which one frame
from a list of seven possible frames (plus "other) dominated the ad.
Intercoder Reliability Tests
For the purposes of determining the reliability of the coding measures and
protocol for describing content of computer advertisements, a random sample
of 23 advertisements was drawn from the total sample of 233. Coders
consisted of three magazine professionals (two editors and a designer).
Each coder was given a brief training session to explain the coding
instructions, product categories, possible frames, and use settings. They
received a list of frame definitions, a list of frame indicators,
hypothetical examples of frames and a coding sheet for each advertisement.
Intercoder reliability figures for both coding tests were obtained by using
pair-wise comparison of interval level data in the case of partial
agreement. For the advertisement sample the most reliable measures were the
four variables of magazine title, issue date, and starting page, resulting
in 100 % agreement across all ads coded. The three other
variables-product, setting and dominant frame, each achieved 95. 6%
agreement. Overall agreement, for 6 variables, was 97.8 %.
A total of 233 ads were sampled from the five magazines, the most (168,
72%) coming from Time and the least (3, 1.3%) from Readers' Digest (see
Table 2). The number of ads in any given year ranged from zero in 1973,
1974, 1980 and 1981 to 48 in 1997; the mean number of ads per year was 11.1
(see frequency distribution of all years in Figure 1). Before an almost
steady increase in ad frequency in the 1990s, the sample shows a decline in
the late 1980s. From 1983-1986, the mean number of ads was 11.8; from
1987-1991, the mean was 6.
Table 2: Frequencies of Frames, Product and Use Setting
in Advertisements by Magazine
(% of total
Figure 1: Frequency Analysis of Ad Cases in Sample by Year
Data on product type and uses
The most common product type was computer hardware (90 ads, 38.6%) and
least common was non-Internet service, such as network management (3
ads,1.3%). (See Table 3). The most common use setting was the office (94
ads, 40.3%), followed by "indeterminate"-either a combination of home and
office or showing no setting, which was common in corporate image ads (83
ads, 35.6%). The third most frequent was the home setting (53 ads, 22.7%)
and least common, school (3 ads, 1.3%). The product most commonly
advertised for both the home setting (20 ads, 8.5%) and office setting (40
ads, 17.2%) was computer hardware; the only product advertised for a school
setting was also hardware (3 ads,1.3%).
Data on frames
In answer to RQ1, it was found that the most frequently appearing frame in
the sample was that of tool, found to dominate 166 ads (71.2%). In every
year represented in the sample, the tool frame was the most frequently
found in the advertisements. The least common of all frames was
self-referential, which was employed in only one ad (.4%). The personal
frame did not achieve the frequency expected, only evident in eight (3.4%)
ads; it was tied with the entertainment frame as the fourth most frequent
frame. It is apparent that sponsors of paid advertisements sought to
distance themselves from computer use as "entertainment"; only eight (3.4%)
ads used this frame. However infrequent, the entertainment frame stayed in
use in advertisements long after the popularity of computer games was
overtaken by other applications, evident in the sample throughout the
Before further analyses were performed, categories of some variables were
collapsed so that expected frequencies would allow use of the chi-square
statistic. For frames, all but the most frequent four frames (not
including other) (in descending rank order)-tool, literacy, boundless and
personal (which was tied with entertainment)-were collapsed into an
"other2" category, including (in descending rank order) other,
entertainment, future, self-referential. For product, peripherals, toys,
games, both service categories, and processor categories were grouped as
In answer to RQs 2 and 3, it was found that correlations between dominant
frame and product, dominant frame and use setting, and use setting and
product did result in significant chi-squares, though not all in the manner
expected (see Table 3). When the use settings (home, office, school,
indeterminate) were cross-tabulated with frequencies of dominant frames,
the distribution was significant (chi-square=72.10, p < .001). Ads using
the tool frame and showing office use (77, 33.0%) were three times as
frequent as tool frame ads showing home use (26, 11.2%). The literacy frame
was used exclusively in home (18, 7.7%) or school (1, .4%)
settings. However, the boundless frame was not more likely to be
associated with home compared to office use: ten office ads (11%) used the
frame compared to one in the home (.4%). For the product to use
cross-tabulation, chi-square=37.24 (p < .001). Hardware ads showed office
use (40 ads,17.2%) twice as often as home use (20 ads, 8.6%), software ads
were almost evenly distributed between settings (5.2% and & 7.3%,
respectively) and no image ads showed home settings.
There was also a significant chi-square when product type and frame were
cross-tabulated (chi-square=64.67, p , .001). Almost 90 % of ads for
computer hardware relied on a tool frame, while only 63% of image ads did.
Table 3: Cross-tabulation of Frame and Product Frequencies
with Use Setting Frequencies
(% of all ads)
Note: "Other2" represents collapsing of all remaining variable categories.
aChi-square = 72.10 (d.f.=12), p < .001
bChi-square=37.24 (d.f.= 9), p < .001
Table 4: Cross-tabulation of Frequencies of
Frame to Product
Note: "Other2" represents collapsing of all remaining variable categories.
aChi-square = 64.67 (d.f.=12), p < .001
Correlations with Time Periods
In answer to RQ 4, it seems that changes in sponsor agendas (government
promotion of literacy), end user habits (slump in adoption), and
technological capabilities(World Wide Web interface) did influence in a
tangible way particular characteristics and definitions of computers. (See
Table 5.) For example, when comparing frequencies of dominant frames before
and after the 1980 NSF literacy conference (1975-80 versus 1981-97),
occurrences of the computer literacy frame did increase, from 0 to
20. However, the variable did not appear to precipitate shifts in frames
overall; the chi-square was not significant. Cross-tabulating the product
to the same time variable was also not significant. There was a significant
shift in use setting (chi-square= 12.97, p < .01), with home (1 to 52) and
indeterminate setting (3 to 80) frequencies increasing almost 100%,
indeterminate settings becoming as common as office setting (both 37.1 % of
Table 5: Cross-tabulation of Time Periods with Frames, Use,
and Product in Advertisements
(% of subsample)
(% of subsample)
(% of subsample)
a Chi-square for correlation with time periods, respectively (d.f.=4) 3.61,
n.s.; 15.48 p < .01; 17.36, p < .01.
b Chi-square for correlation with time periods, respectively (d.f.=3)
12.97, p < .01; 14.42 p < .01; 18.24, p< .001.
c Chi-square for correlation with time periods, respectively (d.f.=3) 8.46,
p < .05.;15.14, p < .01; 19.62, p< .001.
When cross-tabulating time periods before and after 1985, a year when
adoption of computers leveled off, the correlations with all three
variables were significant. After the adoption slump, ads demonstrated
almost three-times the relative frequency of literacy frames (3.6% to 10%
of the subsample), and the proportion of ads using the tool frame also
increased (from 61.8% to 72.4%). The advertisements after 1985 more
frequently showed home (almost doubling as a proportion of all) and
indeterminate settings, while office use settings declined by half.
Reflecting the technological advancements in areas other than hardware,
advertisements featured a greater variety of products: fewer ads showed
hardware (50.9% to 34.8%), and more pitched software (1.8% to 18.5%) and
other products (18.2% to 28.7%), including peripherals, toys, and
processors. Also, image ads as a proportion decreased (from 29.0% to 18.0%).
When dominant frames, uses and products in pre- and post-Internet time
periods were compared, all were significant, but not always in the manner
hypothesized. For example, use of the boundless frame, which was expected
to become more frequent because the networked nature of the Internet
allowed for easier access across distances to information and
communication, actually decreased, from 14.1% to just 2.2% of the ads in
the time period. The frequency of the tool frame increased markedly (59.6%
to 79.9%) and the personal frame slightly (3.0% to 3.7%), but use of all
other frames as a proportion of ads decreased post-1991 (chi-square= 17.36,
p < .01).
Correlations of use settings in the pre- and postweb periods were also
significant (chi-square=18.24, p < .001): the proportion of office use ads
declined by almost half (55.6% to 29.1%) and the number of "indeterminate"
settings almost doubled (25.2% to 43.3%). When product types were
correlated with these web time periods (chi-square=19.62, significant at
.001), computer hardware ads remained the most common in proportion to the
others, but software ads came in second, increasing from 3% to 23.1% of the
Dominance of Tool Frame in Office Setting
According to Paul Edwards, all tools have both practical and symbolic
dimensions. The symbolic dimension associated with the computer as a tool
from its earliest development by the military was the importance of
"control." Entirely automated command was a "pervasive military
fascination" that was really a utopian dream of "speed approaching the
instantaneous and certainty in decision making."67 The dominance of the
tool frame in the advertising sample suggests that advertisers felt
nonmilitary consumers would also find speed and certainty appealing.
Although cross-tabulations of frame to use setting and time variables were
significant, one frame, "tool," maintained its frequency in all use
settings and across the entire time period. Not surprising, those seeking
to establish a consumer market for a technical device did not actively
exploit the idea that it was primarily self-referential, a frame that had
as prerequisite the technical skill and interest in tinkering typical of
only a small group of consumers-electronics hobbyists. Although a pilot
study of editorial stories and theoretical literature suggested that at
some point in time there was a significant shift in public discourse toward
the personal frame, it is not apparent in these advertisements.68 The tool
frame ruled, especially in ads featuring office settings and, according to
the significant correlation of frame to product, as a way to sell computer
hardware ( 87.8% of all hardware ads). Although it has been argued that
microcomputers arose from a technical and cultural tradition apart and
different from that of the office and mainframes, the dominance of the
office use setting in this sample suggests that marketers nonetheless
defined them predominantly as office machines.69
Advertisements using the tool frame in an office setting sometimes promised
so much automation of decision making as to imply next to no input from the
operator. An advertisement for an IBM voice recognition system asked "Why
don't you just talk to your computer while you get on with the zillion
other things that need your attention?"70
The only other frame that made a showing in the office setting was
boundless. Although not anticipated, this result suggests that the frame
had utilitarian characteristics that could be made to appeal to office
decision makers. With the networking of multiple computers, managers were
given new control capabilities-control through communication like that
allowed by standardized filing systems, duplication and other earlier
office technologies.71 They could convey information and give orders to
individuals at lower levels via email and even anonymously check workers'
communications with others. Networking improved surveillance of work
progress because sales, inventories, etc. were logged on centralized
databases that could be quickly and easily accessed and assessed by
higher-ups. A 1984 advertisement for IBM's "Smart Desk" (any desk equipped
with an XT Personal Computer) told "successful executives" that, without
leaving their desks, the advertised computer would allow them to access
data files "to keep abreast of things like sales, inventories and
receivables" and "connect...with managers, secretaries and other
professionals ...[to] exchange timely information." 72
Home Use: Tool and Literacy Frames
Although not anticipated, the tool frame was the top frame of home use
settings, as well. Some ads using this frame emphasized the computer's
ability to manage inventory of possessions for insurance purposes or
balance a checkbook, seeming to suggest that the same standards of
productivity and efficiency in the office could and should be applied at
home. Others married characteristics of the tool frame with those of
literacy and entertainment, frames that typically embody conflicting goals:
work and diversion. An Atari home computer promised to "develop your
skills and give you thrills."73 A 1988 Tandy ad pitched a home computer as
"for personal productivity, education and family fun."74 In the home
setting, the tool frame demonstrated a conflicting discourse: was the
computer a fun machine (as it had been in the home for computer games) that
could be made a serious tool or the other way around? A Tandy PC was "The
Home Computer that Means Business!" while Apple's Performa was called a
"serious business computer" and "a serious fun computer" in the same
advertisement.75 Other studies have concluded that conflicting discourse
such as this is evidence that computers were not yet fully assimilated in
The next most frequently appearing frame for home use was the literacy
frame. Much of the National Science Foundation's computer literacy
campaign was focused on improving computer instruction in schools, but the
larger goal that put it on the national agenda was to increase worker
productivity, including that of adults.77 When the frame was used by
marketers, it was aimed at adults-parents-but on behalf of children; the
setting was not "work," but home and school. It was a frame used to sell
"other" products, such as toys (24.6% of other product ads) more frequently
than computer hardware (2.2% of hardware ads).
Although most of the ads portrayed the benefits of computer literacy as
realized directly children, parents were also promised the devices could,
for example, help America compete with Asia, help them connect with distant
and defiant teenagers, find a babysitter and improve their social currency
by giving them smarter kids. Similar to findings in Ellen Seiter's study
of toy advertisements in parenting magazines, the computer literacy frame
in these advertisements encouraged the indulgence of children by parents,
assumed children had "democratic rights" in the family and presented
computers as ways to defer open conflict between parents and
children.78 For example, a classical music CD-Rom from IBM was pitched as
a hedge against a sulky-looking girl's eventual interest in rap music; an
IBM ad for a multimedia encyclopedia featured eye-rolling teens appearing
above the headline "At least now they have a reason to think they know
everything." Other ads portrayed children amusing themselves quietly and
safely-without direct parental involvement, appealing to one of the
motivations for toy-buying identified by Seiter-babysitting.79 A V-Tech
advertisement for several "kid computers" cited statistics about the
increase in the number of working mothers and how computers could fill the
void at home: "Today's parents have much less time to spend with their
Almost all these computer literacy advertisements contained the theme
"learning can be fun," which had a well-established track record as a
winning marketing strategy in toy advertising. According to Seiter, it was
and continues to be effective because it appeals to the hedonism of the
child along with the social aspirations of parents seeking to make their
offspring superior competitors in school and the workplace. In this sample
of advertisements, Playschool, the makers of the computer toy "Alphie"
neatly merged learning and entertainment in the headline "We've Got a
Genius for Making Learning Fun."81
Making computers seem easy enough to be fun also calmed parents who feared
that because children knew more about the technology than they did, their
parental control would be eroded.82 In this way the literacy frame
successfully transformed a potential risk of the technology-wayward
tech-savvy children, as a benefit-smarter children able to perform better
in school and later on the job.
Indeterminate Use Setting
Not until after introduction of the World Wide Web did the number of office
setting ads decline, outranked not by home use but by the indeterminate
setting. Typical advertisements in this indeterminate category portrayed
the product in an empty white space with copy that emphasized
specifications such as speed that could be important in any
setting. Others used highly conceptual illustrations, such as a 1996 pitch
for an AST personal computer that featured a collage of computer parts and
documents making the face of a man.83 The increase in frequency of this
composite setting category seemed to suggest that as computers increased in
technical complexity and were networked, they blurred the physical
boundaries of place.
Time Variables and the Staying Power of Conservative Definitions
Three potentially influential landmarks in the history of
microcomputers-the 1980 NSF computer literacy campaign, a 1985 slump in
computer product sales followed by renewed marketing efforts, and the 1990
introduction of the World Wide Web as a user-friendly way to access the
Internet-showed a range of correlation effects on the other
variables. These three are necessarily arbitrary choices, so it is
possible the results could reflect the influence of intervening time
variables not yet identified here. However, some interesting patterns are
evident across the results of all three sets of cross-tabulations.
Dominant frame frequencies were impervious to the computer literacy
campaign. Post-1980, the computer literacy frame frequency increased, but
others were unchanged; also, the literacy frame increase applied only to
the home use setting. Frame, product and use settings demonstrated
significant shifts post-1985, as marketers' attempted to reenergize the
consumer computer market with increasingly "friendly" devices and direct
appeals to women. 84 Evidence here shows they relied on tool and literacy
frames in increased proportions, suggesting that these frames "worked" even
to convince skeptical consumers because they incorporated traditional
values, such as utilitarianism, and roles and practices, such as women
(mothers) as responsible for the educational development of their children.
As highly conventionalized definitions, these frames helped "normalize" the
new technology.85 Settings for use in this period also shifted away from
the office and toward home and indeterminate uses.
One historical event, touted as revolutionary in its technological and
cultural ramifications, did indeed precipitate a significant changes in all
the variable frequencies. However, it is revealing to find that the
introduction of the World Wide Web moved the framing of computer technology
as seen in advertisements not toward new concepts such as boundlessness,
but rather in the more conservative direction of the tool frame; for
example, personal, boundless frames decreased or stayed the same in
frequency. Perhaps marketers anticipated consumers were skeptical about
the Utopian gloss of such definitions because they were so hyped in other
media discourse. More likely utilitarian definitions were favored because
they reinforced existing social and cultural values and strengthened power
relationships that favored producers over consumers.
Introduction of the World Wide Web also precipitated significant change in
settings for computer use shown in advertisements. Frequency of home and
"indeterminate" settings doubled in the post-web period, while frequency of
office settings declined. That is, as defined in advertisements at least,
the web was the technological innovation that ultimately domesticated the
That the product variable showed significant results when cross-tabulated
with all three of these time variables likely reflects the influence of
technological innovation over the years, which allowed marketers to offer
increasing variety of products for sale. Although computer hardware
remained the most common product advertised in all the later time periods,
by 1991-97, at 26.1% of ads, the "other2" category was a close second to
hardware (32.8%). Software ads occupied third place in frequency by the
post-web period as competition in this market heated up. For example,
Microsoft spent some $10 million in hopes of achieving operating system
dominance with Windows 95.86
This research begins to investigate the social and cultural meanings of
microcomputers and how those meanings both influenced and were influenced
by variables such as technological development and consumer behavior. It
attempts to expose the role of marketing agendas and priorities as part of
a frame building process, revealing, for example, that marketers favored
the most conservative, instrumental uses of computers as a way to associate
the technology with existing values and power structure. These definitions,
which promised better and easier control over workers and children,
therefore were more likely to reinforce rather than challenge social
relationships such as the authority of managers over workers, parents over
children. Middle-class aspirations for career success were also exploited
by dominant frames such as literacy that assumed enhanced competitiveness
in school and the workplace was a desirable goal. Together the most common
dominant frames were aimed at improving national economic productivity and
creating a consumer market for high-end merchandise. That is, by calling
on shared values and goals such as these, advertising frames succeeded in
making a once-threatening war-time technology with little or not practical
application for most individuals seem not only "normal" but also trusted,
valued and essential for modern life.
Further framing studies, including some in process by this researcher,
might further investigate occurrences of these same frames in other media
texts, public relations materials and government documents to reveal how
the network of computer sponsors collectively determined use of and
discussion about computers.
1 "Forget Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Tell Us About Sarte,"
advertisement for Microsoft Encarta '95, Parents 69 (September 1994):
2 Brian Winston. Media Technology and Society: A History from the Telegraph
to the Internet. (New York: Routledge, 1998), 237.
3 National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Studies. "The
Application and Implications of Information Technologies in the Home: Where
are the Data and What Do They Say? By Maria C. Papadakis and Eileen L.
Collins, NSF 01-131 (2001), vii.
4 In the "revolutionary" camp: Douglas Robertson, The New Renaissance:
Computers and the Next Level of Civilization. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1998; Paul Gilster, Digital Literacy (New York: Wiley Computer
Publishing,1997). Those favoring "evolutionary" include Roger Fidler,
Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media (Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge, 1997);
Winston. Media Technology.
5 National Science Foundation, The Application and Implications of
Information Technologies," vii.
6 Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet.
(New York: Touchstone, 1995), 71; Barbara Warnick, Critical Literacy in a
Digital Era. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Ealbaum, 2002), 10.
7 Everett Rogers, Diffusions of Innovations. (New York: Free Press, 1983).
8 Fidler, Mediamorphosis, 18, cites Winston, Media Technology as a more
complete theory of diffusion than Rogers's approach because it
recognizes that social necessity must come before adoption of a new technology.
9 Everett Rogers, Hugh M. Daley and Thomas D. Wu, "The Diffusion of Home
Computers: An Exploratory Study." Educational Resources Information Center,
Eric Document ED 235786 (1982), 52.
10 Rogers et. al., "The Diffusion of Home Computers," 6, 63; Everett M.
Rogers, Communication Technology: The New Media in Society (New York: Free
Press, 1986), 126-27.
11 Rogers, et. al, "The Diffusion of Home Computers," 52. Subsequent work
by Rogers concludes that compatibility and relative advantage arguments
were not borne out in practical application. See Everett M. Rogers,
Communication Technology: The New Media in Society (New York: Free Press,
12 Andre Caron, Luc Giroux, and Sylvie Douzou, "Uses and Impacts of Home
Computers in Canada: A Process of Reappropriation," in Media Use in the
Information Age: Emerging Patterns of Adoption and Consumer Use, Jerry L.
Salvaggio and Jennings Bryant, eds. (New Jersey: Hillsdale, 1989), 161. For
a discussion of the role of perceived needs in adoption, see Winston, Media
13 Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine, Fire in the Valley: The Making of
the Personal Computer (Berkeley, Calif: Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984).;
Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations and "The Diffusion of Home Computers";
Winston, Media Technologies.
14 Freiberger and Swaine, Fire, 223-25.
15 Robert J. Seidel, Ronald E. Anderson, and Beverly Hunter, eds. Computer
Literacy: Issues and Directions for 1985 (New York: Academic Press, 1982).
16 Carlton, Jim. Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and
Business Blunders, (New York: Times Books, 1997), 11.
17 M. Campbell-Kelly and William Aspray, Computer: A History of the
Information Machine. (New York: Basic Books, 1996), 271.
18 Rogers et. al., "The Diffusion of Home Computers," 6, 63; Rogers,
Communication Technology, 126-27.
19 Martha F. Cassidy, "Cyberspace Meets Domestic Space: Personal Computers,
Women's Work and the Gendered Territories of the Family Home, "Critical
Studies in Media Communication 18 (2001), 44-63. Also, B. Johnson. "Yule
cheer lacking for PCs." Advertising Age (November 12, 1990), S-1-2; P.E.
Petre. "Mass-marketing the computer." Fortune (October 31, 1983) 61-67.
20 Robert Hobbes Zakon,. "Hobbes Internet Timeline" [online and
continuously updated]. Available at:
21 In 1994, AOL opened access to one million users, "the largest single
block of new users the Net had ever been asked to absorb." Wendy M.
Grossman, Net.Wars. (New York: New York University, 1997), 11.
22 William A. Gamson and Andre Modigliani, "Media Discourse and Public
Opinion on Nuclear Power: A Constructionist Approach," American Journal of
Sociology 95 (1989), 1-2.
23 Bernard C. Cohen. The Press and Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1963).
24 This work concludes that a direct public agenda influence on the policy
agenda is "weak and unreliable." David Protess, D.R, Leff, S.C, Brooks,
M.T. Gordon, "Uncovering Rape: The Watchdog Press and the Limits of
Agenda-setting," Public Opinion Quarterly 49 (1985), 19-37.
25 Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), 21.
26 Robert M. Entman, "Framing: Towards Clarification of a Fractured
Paradigm," Journal of Communication 43 (1993), 53; James K. Hertog and
Douglas M. McLeod, "A Multiperspectival Approach to Framing Analysis: A
Field Guide," in Framing Public Life, 140.
27 Stephen D. Reese,, "Prologue-Framing Public Life: A Bridging Model for
Media Research," in in Framing Public Life, eds. Stephen D. Reese, Oscar H.
Gandy, Jr. and August E. Grant. (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001),11.
28 James K. Hertog and Douglas M. McLeod, "A Multiperspectival Approach to
Framing Analysis: A Field Guide," in Framing Public Life, 140-41.
29 Gadi Wolfsfeld, Media and Political Conflict: News from the Middle
East. New York: Cambridge University Press (1997); William A. Gamson. "The
1987 Distinguished Lecture: A Constructionist Approach to Mass Media and
Public Opinion," Symbolic Interaction 11 (1988), 161-174.
30 Reese, "Prologue," 13.
31 Dietram A. Scheufele, "Framing as a Theory of Media Effects." Journal of
Communication 49 (1999), 103-22.
32 Everett Rogers and James Dearing, "Agenda-setting Research: Where Has it
Been, Where Is It Going" In J. Anderson, ed., Communication Yearbook 11.
(Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1988); Sharon Dunwoody and Robert Griffin.
"Structural Pluralism and Media Accounts of Risk," in Mass Media, Social
Control and Social Change: A Macrosocial Perspective, David Demers and K.
Viswawanath, eds., (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University, 1999).
33 Hertog and McLeod, "A Multiperspectival Approach"; Gamson and
Modigliani, "Media Discourse."
34 "Sponsors" is the term first suggested by Entman, "Framing: Towards
Clarification..." and enhanced by Zhongdang Pan and Gerald M. Kosicki,
"Framing as a Strategic Action in Public Deliberation," in Framing Public
Life; Both "stakeholder" and "claimsmaker" is applied to groups actively
competing for support of an idea by M. Mark Miller and Bonnie Parnell
Riechert, "The Spiral of Opportunity and Frame Resonance: Mapping the Issue
Cycle in News and Public Discourse," Framing Public Life, 107-121.
35 Pan and Kosicki, "Framing as Strategic Action," 46.
36 Such as Judith Williamson. Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning
in Advertising (London: Marion Boyars, 1978); Erving Goffman, Gender
Advertisements (London: Methuen, 1979). A combination of theoretical
approaches-semiology and content analysis-is suggested by William Leiss,
Stephen Kline, Sut Jhally. Social Communication in Advertising: Persons,
Products, and Images of Well-Being (New York: Routledge, 1990).
37 Miller and Riechert, "The Spiral."
38 Miller and Riechert, "The Spiral," 119.
39 A study of the telephone uses advertisements of evidence of everyday
use. Claude S. Fischer, America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone
to 1940 (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1992), 32.
40 Lynn Spigel, Make Room for TV: Television and the Family Ideal in
Postwar America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 5.
41 Cassidy, "Cyberspace Meets Domestic Space".
42 Lori Reed, "Domesticating the Personal Computer: The Mainstreaming of a
New Technology and the Cultural Management of a Widespread Technophobia,
1964-." Critical Studies in Media Communication 17 170. See also Jane
Wheelock, "Personal Computers, Gender, and an Institutional Model of the
Household," in Consuming Technologies: Media and Information in Domestic
Spaces. (New York: Routledge, 1992), 97-112.
43 Matthew Weinstein, "Computer Advertising and the Construction of
Gender," in Education/Technology/Power: Educational Computing as Social
Practice, Hank Bromley and Michael W. Apple, eds. (New York: SUNY, 1998), 100.
44 Thomas J. Mickey, "Selling the Internet: A Cultural Studies Approach to
Public Relations," Public Relations Review 24:344.
45 Hertog and McLeod, "A Multiperspectival Approach," 148.
46 Zhongdang Pan and Gerald M. Kosicki, "Framing Analysis: An Approach to
News Discourse," Political Communications 10 (1993), 59.
47 Zhongdang Pan and Gerald M. Kosicki, "Framing Analysis," 59; James W.
Tankard Jr., "The Empirical Approach to the Study of Media Framing,"
Framing Public Life, 96-106; Miller and Riechert, "The Spiral."
48 Tankard, "The Empirical Approach," 98.
49 Gamson and Modigliani, "Media Discourse."
50 James W. Tankard and B. Israel. "PR Goes to War: The Effects of Public
Relations Campaigns on Media Framing of the Kuwaiti and Bosnian Crises."
Paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass
Communication, Chicago (1997).
51 James W. Tankard, Laura Henrickson, Jackie. Silberman, Kris Bliss and
Salma Ghanem. "Media Frames: Approaches to Conceptualization and
Measurement." Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass communication, Boston, MA (1991).
52 Tankard, et. al., "Media Frames."
53 Henrickson, "Media Framing of Child Maltreatment," 53.
54 Shanto, Iyengar, Is Anyone Responsible? How Television Frames Political
Issues (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 14
55 Hendrickson, "Media Framing of Child Maltreatment," 56.
56 Tankard et. al. "Media Frames."
57 Hertzog and McLeod, "A Multiperspectival Approach," 151.
58 Tankard, "The Empirical Approach," 95.
60 Tankard, et al. "Media Frames."
60 Jean P. Kelly, "Getting Personal: A Framing Analysis of Microcomputers
in Magazines, 1969-1981" Paper presented at the Association for Education
in Journalism and Mass Communication's Southeast Regional Meeting,
Columbia, S.C., 2001.
61 Tankard, "The Empirical Approach," 105.
62 Hendrickson, "Media Framing of Child Maltreatment."
63 Hendrickson, "Media Framing of Child Maltreatment." 28.
64 Standard Rate and Data Service, SRDS Consumer Magazine Advertising
Source (Des Plaines, IL : SRDS, 2002).
65 "Circulation of Leading U.S. Magazines," The World Almanac and Book of
Facts: 1987. (New York: Newspaper Enterprise Association Inc, 1987), 368.
66 Daniel Riffe, Stephen Lacy and M. Drager, "Sample Size in Content
Analysis of Weekly News Magazines," Journalism and Mass Communication
Quarterly 73 (1996): 635-644.
67 Paul N. Edwards, The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of
Discourse in Cold War America (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996), 29.
68 This pilot study, Kelly, "Getting Personal," noted increased frequency
of a personal frame in magazine stories after 1978.
Galvin likewise noted a move away from the utilitarian frame in marketing
messages toward more personal ones when portable notebook computers were
introduced in 1983. Michael Galvin, "Themes and Variations in the Discourse
of Technoculture," Australian Journal of Communication 22 (1995): 73.
69 Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer: A History, 207.
70 "Introducing Desktop Computing without the Desktop," IBM advertisement,
Time 148 (October 7, 1996): 86.
71 JoAnne Yates. Control through Communication: The Rise of System in
American Management. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), xvii.
72 "How to Find Out Where You Stand from Where You Sit," IBM advertisement,
Time 121 (May 7, 1984): 78-79.
73 "Only Atari," Atari advertisement, Parents 57 (April 1983): 12-13.
74 "A Powerful Computer for Personal Productivity, Education and Family
Fun-Now Just $129.95," Tandy advertisement, Parents 62 (November 1988): 274.
75 "The Home Computer that Means Business," Tandy advertisement, Better
Homes and Gardens, November 1991, 198; "Can a Serious Business Computer be
Fun to Use," Apple Computer advertisement, Better Homes & Gardens 71
(August 8, 1993): 7.
76 Cassidy, "Cyberspace Meets Domestic Space."
77 Andrew R. Molnar, "The Computer and the Fourth Revolution." Paper
presented at the Association for Educational Data Systems Annual Convention
(April 1973), ERIC Number ED087417, 18.
78 Ellen Seiter, Sold Separately: Parents and Children in Consumer Culture.
(New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 26.
79 Seiter, Sold Separately, 54.
80 "Turn on a Mind," Video Technology advertisement, Better Homes &
Gardens, September 1987, 64-65.
81 "We've Got a Genius for Making Learning Fun," Playschool advertisement,
Parents 64 (November 1989): 12.
82 Introduction of new media technologies into domestic spaces has been
documented to cause moral panics because parents worry children will have
access to influences run counter to parental values. Such was the case of
the "Cyberporn Panic" studied by Joseph R. Panepinto. "Policing the Web:
Cyberporn, Moral Panics and the Social Construction of Social Problems"
(Ph.D. diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1998), 6-7.
83 "Every Day, your Lust for Cutting Edge Technology Wages War Against Your
Unbridled Passion to Save a Buck," AST Computer advertisement, Time 148
(June 3, 1996): 18-19.
84 Cassidy, "Cyberspace Meets Domestic Space" 18, 44; Petre, P. E.
"Mass-marketing the computer." Fortune(1983): 61-67. Mark Lewyn, "PC
Makers, Palms Sweating, Try Talking to Women," Business Week (1990): 48.
85 Reed, "Domesticating the Personal Computer," 170. Reed's study of
computer phobia found ads associated computers with "middle class family
ideals" and therefore "normalized" the devices.
86 Campbell-Kelly and Aspray, Computer, 281.