Switch headers Switch to TIGweb.org

Are you an TIG Member?
Click here to switch to TIGweb.org

HomeHomeExpress YourselfPanoramaAvoiding the Hype - Learn How from Liam O
a TakingITGlobal online publication

(Advanced Search)

Panorama Home
Issue Archive
Current Issue
Next Issue
Featured Writer
TIG Magazine
Short Story
My Content

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Avoiding the Hype - Learn How from Liam O Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Heather Girling, Canada Feb 1, 2008
Education , Technology , Globalization , Popular Culture   Interviews
 1 2   Next page »


Avoiding the Hype - Learn How from Liam O Avoid.net, a unique idea evolved during a party one night in New Brunswick, Canada. Liam O’Doherty, the founder of the Avoid.net project had an idea: advertising could be used to counteract the effects of advertising and consumerism. His thoughts led to what is now called Avoid.net: a site which assesses products, people, organizations, activities or anything that walks and talks, and advertises or promotes a product or service.

With the development of Avoid.net Liam wishes to promote a more conscious and informed society. Providing easily accessible, ethical consumer information linked from the Avoid.net wiki, he believes individuals within a conscious society can inform one another of the dangers and/or the affects of products or services; thus, making a safe, informed, conscious community of consumers. Exposure is power and Liam wanted to create the platform which was not only multi-faceted but acts as an evolving tool where the content is developed by online communities wishing to share truths of media and a collection of ethical consumer information.

Through his current studies in Semiotics at the University of Toronto , Liam continues to expand upon his knowledge of the advertising world. If you are wondering, as I did, what Semiotics is; it’s the study of symbols and signs as a form of communication. Analyzing various systems of communication such as language, gestures, or clothing can all be categorized as Semiotic studies. Obviously the connection between symbols and advertising has been a topic of debate for some time now, however let’s imagine a site that allows you to share and investigate truths in media; this is Avoid.net.

This concept created quite a stir among the panelists of lead advertisers during the McLuhan Festival of the Future; where Liam first showcased his ideas for information awareness. The McLuhan Festival of the Future MIFF, VORTEX program enabled youth finalist an opportunity to meet an advisory board of panelists consisting of major representatives currently working within the media industry in Toronto. These innovative minds in media culture would provide further developmental insight to the finalist, expanding their prototype to an innovative new media business venture. Throughout the four day program at the Drake Hotel Underground in Toronto, finalists engaged in 15-minute meetings with industry leaders. With the help of two close friends, Liam chose to participate in this opportunity and through the creation of a mock site, the panelists provided feedback. These advertising/media leaders believed that the idea wouldn’t work legally. Liam was happy to hear their opposition because this led him to believe he was on the right track, considering the panel consisted of advertisers and media affiliated agencies, who would lose their clout with their clients if they were to concede to such an idea.
Now, balancing four University courses, his own enterprise and other various initiatives; Liam recently won an award and recognition for his work as a leader in Global Youth Social Entrepreneurship at the GK3 conference this past December.

“Winning GK3 was a major defining moment for me”, says Liam, “travelling to Malaysia, getting to experience the reach of this project first hand and speaking with other winners from around the world. A woman from Africa sharing with me stories of infant mortality, is just one example. It really opened my eyes to how far this project has taken me.”

Liam also participated in an interesting educational personal development program called Katimavik. The Katamavik program, created by the Canadian government allows students to be in charge of their own studies by allowing the student to build their own ideal learning program. Students budget the costs of each course they wish to partake in, allowing the student to have control of their own personal overall learning outcomes. The students have the options and financial support to travel across Canada and learn from a variety of prestigious Canadian schools. The acquired experience Liam received from this unique program in combination with the seven years of drama and recent exploration of improv; has made Liam very well spoken and articulate. He suggests that his biggest asset is his voice.

“Talking to people, anyone who will listen, really makes a difference.” However, Liam adds “you should make sure you have the essence of what your mission is, clearly defined in your own mind so you don’t detract from the point and lose the interest of your listeners.” Affirming his strong beliefs in giving and receiving advice and experiences, Liam hopes the site can act as a tool to promote and nurture open dialogue when thinking about media, advertising and customer and global consumption policies.

 1 2   Next page »   


You must be logged in to add tags.

Writer Profile
Heather Girling

I have been fortunate to have experienced a variety of excellent opportunities such as, working at EMI Music Canada, a recording studio, djing in night clubs in Toronto and Tokyo and participating in photography festivals in Tokyo; but, nothing has been as rewarding as working with youth.
You must be a TakingITGlobal member to post a comment. Sign up for free or login.