Monday, January 25, 2010

International Media Wall in Alderman Library Is Wasteful Signaling

At UVA, Alderman Library has an international media wall. It's a couple of years old. Its stated purpose is to bring an international perspective to the University community. Four prominently located monitors display different non-English news stations.

Of course, this is completely wasteful signaling. The administration responsible for the wall wanted to signal that the University community is cosmopolitan and cares about international issues. It doesn't matter to the administration that no one really pays any attention to these monitors; actively watching requires checking out a headset from the circulation desk, and this doesn't really happen. Everything about this is a complete waste. The wall illustrates clearly the drive for pretentious signaling.