Blog Feedback

As my group gets ready to unveil our Nerd News Network site, I went to my friend Chad for some feedback. As a devout nerdist, I trust him to scrutinize our product in an honest, sometimes brutal, way.

Q. So what did you think? Is it a necessary product?

A. Impressive, it’s really an impressive idea. Not entirely new and creative because there are other sites that are similar to this one… but I think with a lot of effort from you all that you could rise to the challenge. I think that although there are a ridiculous amount of nerd news sites out there, a majority are niche. This is quite quirky because of the fact that you all are attempting to parody the anchorman news style combined with a lot of really interesting information. Well, interesting to us at least (he loled here).

Q. Is it aesthetically pleasing?

A. I’m not going to say I love it, but I don’t really dislike it. I think that you need some more neutral colors, there is a lot going on in your header and logo. Simple and sweet.

Q. What are the best parts about the site?

A. I’m a fan of the organized blogging section. Because I’m a fan of so many different things, many of which have similar fan bases, it’s really great to see everything combined into one site in different forums. I’m a lazy person so this just makes my life easier.

Q. What are the parts that you would deem unnecessary or irrelevant?

A. Irrelevant is a strong word… I might look at the calendar that you are proposing to have on there, mostly because that’s a heck of a lot of information to put into one place. It would definitely get overcrowded and confusing.

Q. Would you add anything?

A. How about a sexy nerd girl photo album? Kidding, Lauren, I know who I’m talking to. Not off the top of my head, but I’ll keep it in mind if anything comes to me.

Q. Speaking of nerd girl, do you think I’m going to get any bullying for being involved in this?

A. You mean will the trolls come out to play? Yes, of course. If you decide to do this then there will always be those guys that are sad little men behind their computer screen and feel safe being ass holes. Just don’t let them bother you, it’s not worth it.

Q. Last question, how about a rating?

A. 1- it was horrendous. Ha, no, how about a…. 6. As of right now you have a lot of work to do organization wise, make sure this site is going to be easy to use and explore or don’t do it at all. Also, you need lot’s more content. Get some stuff out there to start drawing in readers and I guess we’ll just have to see what they think.

 

I got some good feedback from Chad, he really doesn’t sugar coat his ideas- which is good for us because we need the critique. I want to be able to make this site really attractive and full of content before we publish it  because you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Week 7 Readings

When I was thinking of what to do for my video, I decided on stop motion because it allows the video to convey a message as well as retaining artistry. I wrote a blog post about my video and my reasons for creating it. I think that video is a really strong addition to any site because your audience is more likely to pay attention to a variety of media as opposed to just written or photographic. Not only that, but by using video as an addition you can gain viewers from sites like YouTube.

Public Relations professionals can use video to enhance public announcements, apologies, or as a means to put out relevant information. If a company has to make lay-offs, go in a new direction, or make a big change, they can create a video that shows their audience the reasoning behind such things and the human elements of decisions. When Fedex had a major PR issue after a delivery man threw a package over a fence and was caught on tape, they put out a public apology via youtube video. This apology went a long way in helping to maintain their image and credibility. Perhaps a company just wants to inform their publics of some important details or changes, a youtube video is a great way to explain something to an audience in a personable way.

Mindy McAdams has a great list of resources for budding videographers to check out. She also created a clearly-written list of directions for using iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, neither of which I am particularly fond of but they are great tools nonetheless. My personal preference when it comes to video editing is Pinnacle Studio, which can be a little more pricey but is definitely worth it. It gives you so many more options when it comes to transitions and overlays, not to mention the ability to embed certain actions.

Week 13 Readings

The way that Brian Solis described social sharing and the way that information has become a commercial object based on the kind of information you share and who you share it with, was almost poetic. “These interactions essentially change how we communicate and connect with one another. They also change how we find and share information. And herein lies both the significance of social media and its opportunity.” 

The world has evolved from the gatekeeper-audience setup to each individual person being their own gatekeeper depending on what they want to see and how much they want to search for it. Because of changes like this, the audience now has a much more active role and the possibility of being a creator and content curator. The audiences of traditional media are connecting and creating content in order to become part of the discussion, and creating things (such as a Storify) will enable them to feel more in control of their knowledge. It’s a very empowering role for the one static audience.

The conversation between Ethan Zuckerman and Andy Carvin was really interesting, mostly because Carvin seems to have been at the helm for a lot of social media trends like live tweeting and Storify, especially because he doesn’t consider himself to be a journalist. I really liked what he said about Twitter not being a static timeline, “Twitter can echo in the sense that it’s loud at first then reverberates for a while.” A different way of looking at it but makes complete sense. But Carvin is definitely right about the fact that it’s all just storytelling, trying to tell an audience what is happening somewhere in a way that will keep their attention and make sense. 

And I like how Mindy McAdams spelled out exactly how to organize and make decisions when curating online material. Probably one of the hardest choices when someone is bringing all of that content together is when to stop, which pieces are not important enough.

Jeff Jarvis was brilliantly blunt with his opinion of what ‘oversharing’ on the internet really is. Society is changing because of social media, and some people are not accepting the ways that our lives are different because of it. As I have written before, my family has commented many a time that I use social media too much, that I don’t need to tell people what I think about sexual assault on college campuses because that’s very intense… We use social media as a means of communication, and sharing is one of those means, whether a person feels like posting about their penis cancer or about the weather- that is their business.

Not only do these tools allow the audience to become more active in the content, but it also allows for aggregation of content that makes a much clearer picture of certain events. For instance, reading a Storify that collected all of the most important stories and tweets about Coachella. Anyone who is interested in following what happened at the Coachella music festival would benefit from a collection of photos, stories, and social media content, in one space.

Link Love:

Connecting people and knowledge through linkage.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/03/oscars-women-2014-twitter-reactions_n_4886718.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046

HuffPost gathered a collection of the most noteworthy moments of the Oscars for women and by women, as well as some noteworthy tweets by women during the ceremony. Including one of my favorite parts, Cate Blanchett using her acceptance speech to bring light to the lack of women’s roles. “Films with women at the center are not niche movies.” As per usual, the piece was written with snark and humor, which I find makes for a much more interesting read.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2014/02/11/boy-toys-girl-toys-and-other-cuckoopants-gender-assumptions/

BRILLIANT post about how we push gender roles onto our children, and most of the time it is completely subconscious. From the time children are born, we are constantly deciding things for them. You’re a boy, you like blue, trucks, and super heroes. You’re a girl, you like pink, dolls, and cooking. None of this is written in stone, society has been brainwashed by constant gender role advertising that tells not only the children, but also the parents, what they should look and act like.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/80447/this-young-artist-is-turning-the-bullying-women-face-online-into-empowering-art

A 21-year-old artist turned the internet bullying back onto her audience. She was being shamed almost daily because of the amount of selfies that she posted and decided to make her attackers face her and their own words. She posted photos of herself with some comments and rape threats that she had been sent. She made the very valid point that people feel that they have the right to comment and pass judgement on women’s bodies and looks, but that we need to own our image and not fall victim to bullying.

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/29/4_reasons_americas_afraid_of_women_with_friends/

An article that discusses the fact that when women band together and stand up for each other, we are a force to be reckoned with. Wendy Davis is attacked from every angle because of her liberal ideals for women and gender equity. She was labeled “abortion barbie” by Erick Erickson and criticized for being a single mother who worked hard. This leads to the fact that she has support and they showed their female solidarity during her filibuster. Most feature films, books, and television shows highlight the fact that fraternity and brotherhood are strong and wonderful bonds. But women are constantly portrayed as ‘catty’ towards one another, pitted against each other over the attention of a man, and isolated from the true sisterhood that so many women enjoy.

http://www.policymic.com/articles/82209/see-what-happens-to-movie-and-tv-profits-when-you-have-a-more-diverse-cast

The U.S. population is 51% female, but in broadcast television women make up on 27% of the creators, 22% of the creators in cable television. Research also shows that a more diverse cast, racially and gender-wise, brings in more money.

Week 12 Readings

I had a great time learning how to use google maps to actually create something! I had no idea that you could use it in that function, so for that I definitely thank you because this is going to be something useful I will really be able to utilize. I decided to work on something that I have just recently gotten into- biking. I created a fairly simple map that showed what Memphis offers currently in the way of bike lanes, and what has been proposed to be added in the next few years. I added photos of some of the green lines that have not only a purpose, but visual appeal as well, and some description of the planning process.

Bike map of Memphis

The author made a great point in this piece on data driven journalism, that data is great, but only when used to enhance a story so that the reader will understand it more easily.

But journalists have so many new resources at their fingertips when it comes to finding data or visualizing data for their audience. With the ability to literally paint a picture of the issue or story, readers can be brought even further into the story than ever before.

I think that I will be able to make a very in depth, interesting map by bringing together all of the information on Memphis start-up businesses. It is not necessarily my blog topic, but one I am very passionate about, so I want to put quite a bit of time into it. Hopefully that will draw some local interest to my blog.

Week 11 Readings

Part A:

I absolutely LOVED the article about class divisions between MySpace and Facebook users. As someone who has always been interested in class divisions in this country, I was very intrigued by her analysis of society’s social media usage. I saw , much of this happen, because my time at high school was from 2004-2008, meaning that I saw this war between the top dog social networks. I was actually not on either until 2008 (mostly because I rejected the “cool” aspect of joining just because everyone else was) and I went straight for Facebook. I saw these very clear lines of distinction between MS and FB, the hegemonic group and the alternative group. She hit the nail on the head, because that’s exactly what I saw happening- the cool kids were on FB and other sub groups were on MS. And the points that Danah Boyd brings up about the military are making me curious as well. The idea that the military banned MS to keep future soldiers from being dissuaded sounds pretty accurate. There was so much confusion for a long time about why we were over there and what we were doing, one of the best ways to stifle that sort of thing would be to shut up the soldiers who were putting out first hand knowledge. “Given the state of what I see in all sorts of neighborhoods, I’m amazed at how well teens are coping and I think that technology has a lot to do with that. Teens are using social network sites to build community and connect with their peers. They are creating publics for socialization. And through it, they are showcasing all of the good, bad, and ugly of today’s teen life. Much of it isn’t pretty, but it ain’t pretty offline either. Still, it makes my heart warm when I see something creative or engaged or reflective. There is good out there too.”  I felt that this quote describes very well how youth are using social media in a way that adults might not understand. I am criticized often about my social media usage by family members. Many make the comment that I post too much on facebook, that they don’t want to see all of the news stories about rape culture and gender parity. I use Facebook as a means of communicating with people in my community that have similar interests when it comes to feminism, but older family members don’t seem to understand why I am putting all of these negative things on their feeds instead of baby pictures and inspirational bible verses…. And Boyd’s follow up post several years after her first blog was interesting as well, however, I found myself to be more drawn to the comments section. Several people who had commented brought some really interesting ideas to the table about how racism and classism are innate leftovers of past tribal societies. It might not be grounded with any research but it is always neat to see how people explain behavioral attitudes. Manjoo wrote a few interesting things about the way African American’s use twitter as subgroups. I have not seen this firsthand so I will simply take his word for it, but I do feel that this is one specific grouping of people that use twitter and that social media use cannot be stereotyped based on race. And discussing the ways that Twitter can be used to reach a larger, younger audience for traditional news media is a constant discussion for many journalists. I believe most journalists see the writing on the wall and want to evolve before the news media are too outdated to matter. From some of the interviews that they conducted, it’s obvious that young people are not especially preoccupied with keeping up with news organizations on social media. But to be honest, I don’t know how they can get the younger segment to become interested. I follow the news organizations, but I’m interested already. So how do you make people interested? That’s a question for a very big room full of extremely intelligent people…. My article for uses and gratifications of social media is titled:

MySpace and Facebook: Identifying Dimensions of Uses and Gratifications for Friend Networking Sites

By Jennifer Bonds-Raacke & John Raacke The authors did a study on how people used social media, specifically friend networking sites, divided into three different categories of information, friendship, and connection. The categories were also examined by sex of the user, determining that men use social media more for dating purposes and women are more likely to keep their information private. It was also found that men had more friends on a constant basis than did women. People used social networks to gather and share information, for example to learn about events or share personal feelings about someone or something. The gratification of this category came from the fact that users had the ability to find out a large amount of information about their friends. Sites are also used in a friendship oriented behavior by getting in touch with old friends, keeping tabs on current friends, and connecting with new ones. This allows the user to get a a lot of gratification out of the social aspect and to maintain a large network. Lastly the authors found that sites were used to make connections with others that would have otherwise not been made. For example online dating sites that allow romantic connections that would probably not have happened otherwise. Part B: The amount of data out there about me honestly terrifies me, and most of it is due to Facebook. I have recently been dealing with the very serious issue of my identity having been stolen and someone named James Turner using my social security number to open up multiple credit cards- not good. I attribute this to me probably having been too lax with online shopping… maybe.

Part B:

Kirkpatrick’s article was not at all surprising, but definitely had a collection of strong statistics that make the reader stop and think b**** say whaaaat? The quote from Silent listener’s, “The amount and scope of personal information that Facebook users revealed privately to other connected profiles actually increased over time and because of that, so did disclosures to ‘silent listeners’ on the network: Facebook itself, third-party apps, and (indirectly) advertisers.” When you think you are protecting yourself you are actually not able to shield yourself from the information you spread by liking and sharing on Facebook.

The demographics that will find my blog interesting are pretty specific. A majority of my posts are about feminist topics and gender parity, as well as a few tidbits on Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and maybe some Jane Austen here and there. Because of this I will definitely need to focus on a female demographic, not entirely, but women are more likely to be interested in gender equality. I will also hopefully be able to draw some nerdtastic groups, a lot of nerd groups are interrelated and if you can get a few people interested in your blog, then they can spread the word to their friend groups who would also be interested. The best way to utilize the fandom nerds is to get into the forum discussions and link to your blog. Also, tweeting at some of the more popular podcasters and bloggers who write about nerdy topics will get some good attention as well. The best thing about feminists and fandoms is that they are usually spread out geographically and communicate using social media, making the sharing of your own blog relatively easy if you know the right people.

As it happens, a group of my friends and myself are starting our own Nerd News Network, N3 for short. We plan on creating a weekly video series that will be in Anchorman style comedy where each anchor will share information on their specific area of interest (mine obviously will be TV shows). In order to spread our channel, which will be both youtube and a private website, we are going to reach out on social media (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Reddit, and several other nerdom sites) to our individual networks for coverage. Once we can get a small following, we can begin to contact more popular nerds on social media in order to get some retweets and shares to the correct niches.

I spoke to several friends who are very big fans of Doctor Who and are also very into MineCraft and other games. They told me that social media was definitely going to be the best way to contact them because whenever they were going to any events they were usually posted on Facebook which made it possible to keep all the information organized. Two of them said that what they are missing in their nerd news needs right now is a collection of all nerdy goings on in one place. So we have decided to create a calendar of events that includes video game launches, cons, and TV premiers etc. When I discussed what we had planned, they were very excited about the possibilities of one centralized nerd news site. I think we will really be able to reach a large community when we can get our content together that we have been working on all semester.

 

Week 10 Readings

As I have noted before, Twitter is not my main social media- mostly due to the fact that I thought only younger people used it. However, since I have been shown the light by Dr. Brown, I understand that in order to truly grow a strong social network that includes social and professional contacts I need to become more engaged.

Last week I wrote that my goal was to take a good photograph every few days, and I will still be doing that in order to grow as a photographer. My new goal though, is to tweet at least five times per day. I’ve decided that I need to give myself a purpose to tweet because otherwise I won’t do it on a consistent basis.

As to LinkedIn, I have had a profile on that site for the past four or five years. Linked In is actually extremely useful to me because I am able to keep in contact with people that I worked with or interned with, without them seeing all of my person postings and photos from my other social media.

In order to grow my profile and enhance what I had already, I added more of my published material and also found several more old contacts to add.

Linked In is just one site that is a part of my complete brand. I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Meetup, and a personal portfolio website that I created to apply to jobs and internships.

In order to create a more professional online brand, therefore more appealing to future employers, I have worked to make my Facebook and Twitter postings more pointed and less personal. I try hard to think about what message something will send across before I post it. I post a lot of news stories about things like female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, gender inequity- you get the point. That is my interest, and that is the brand that I am trying to build.

In order to continue on this path I need to become more involved in posting these stories to Twitter, and with my new goal, hopefully that will happen!

Boyd, Golder, and Lotan did an interesting study on tweets and retweets, which I had never really seen as much power in before. Retweeting looks to have a lot more usage than I had previously imagined, to amplify, to entertain, to comment, to be visible, to agree, etc. If I can begin to retweet more things of interest to my topic, perhaps I will get myself a little more on the map in terms of engagement.

Dan, at Xark, has a very productive way of looking at comments. I tend to be one of those people that reads a few bad comments under a post that I find interesting, and immediately lose faith in humanity… because people are generally idiotic assholes (you tend to get the worst out of people when you write things about feminism and gender parity, sadly). So his message to be proactive and engage in building a community is a great way to look at things.

The steps that Mayer and Stern list out for engagement and community building are spot on. I can see exactly what they are trying to get their reader to understand about have a detailed plan and working on a directed focus of your resources.

Week 9 Readings

Luke Chitwood put together a tool here for new social media analysts. It gives the breakdown of most of the commonly used vocabulary terms when it comes to measuring influence, impact, and effects on sales. He did an excellent job of stringing everything together for me because sometimes it can get a tad bit confusing as to what effects what because of what….

I am in agreement with him on his critical feelings towards the influence these numbers truly have on a persons online presence and popularity. Just because someone has a huge Klout score, does not mean that they are actually as knowledgeable about a social media and connected as their number claims.

The research that was necessary for this article and the metrics that he was able to devise must have been extremely labor intensive and Brian Ableson unlocked one key to the social media analytic world. The only drawback is that this equation is very specific for popular sites that already have large followings. There is a huge amount of startup news organizations that are trying to break into the scene, but they can’t rely on current popularity or social media followings. One of the most surprising aspects of importance to me was if the article was in the paper. You would think that with the focus readers have on the computer screen as opposed to the pages would imply that the physical paper did not play a big role, but apparently it does. It is the third most important factor in determining whether an article will succeed online.

Leo Widrich offered some very actionable tips on how to write headlines, tweets, facebook posts, etc. I find myself sometimes thinking twice about whether I should post one particular thing on facebook or if I should just tweet it because more people there would find it interesting. However, I will usually put it on both because I like to post quotes with articles that really strengthen and define what it is saying, and tweets will not hold that much information. He talked about when posting less is more, but I wish he had gone into a possible difference between personal posting and article sharing. He has really great insights into how to utilize social media for your own purposes and how to be successful with it.

I created a Friend or Follow account and was able to see very clearly which people weren’t following me, who I wasn’t following, and mutual follows on Instagram, which I thought was a very neat visual. I used several other tips from Gerry Morgan’s blog to view my social media relationships separated by sex and to see what accounts were still active. It was a great way to clean up my feeds- which I try to do regularly because there is just so much STUFF out there!

Social Media Goals:

1. Grow a following on Twitter and Instagram

I have very clear ideas in my head as to what kind of image I want to project on each social medium. For Twitter I have been building more of a relationship with feminist sites because that is majority what I tweet about. For Instagram I am attempting to only post pictures that are interesting, very good, or have something of great importance in them. I want to work on the composition of my pictures and gain more followers through good photography.

2. Post less on Facebook and more on Twitter

As I have mentioned, I know that my followers on Twitter are much more interested in the many, many articles that I like to share. I have received several complaints from family members who wish not to see these articles (and are not tech savvy enough to figure out how to hide me from their feed even though I’ve told them 15 times…) because they think I am a raging feminist who burns my bras and I’m sure they assume I will soon be a lesbian. I’m a little bitter about the things my family says if you couldn’t tell…

3. Do more tweeting at people that I share views with to create some conversations and possible relationships

My Challenge:

I love my city. Memphis is beautiful in so many ways that are undervalued by many and I want to help change that, so my challenge to myself is a photo campaign that focuses on the beauty of Memphis. I doubt I will be able to find one every single day, but I hope to get three truly beautiful images of Memphis every week. A goal is also to get some of my pictures shared by Accounts like ILoveMemphis and Liveable Memphis.