Semester of Social Media

Semester of Social Media Reflection:

For the past several years of my life, I have partaken in social media activities like many of my peers. Admittedly, I became a user of different social media forms, such as Facebook, to follow the trends of my peers. I often found myself spending more time then should be warranted on these sites, I never really thought of it as having any sort of purpose or having any impact on me. Through this semester of social media, I have come to investigate social media usage and form conclusions on my own use and the general use of the social media population.

Before this exploration, I had only a limited view of what fell under the term “social media”. My first understanding of how large the realm of social media was came from reading Dana Boyd’s “It’s Complicated.” While the main part of Boyd’s writing was to express how social media influences the lives of its users, it also highlights how social media can be blogs, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Really, social media could be anything were there is the possibility for interaction online. During this semester of social media, I would interact with several forms of social media in the form of my blog, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

My blog was tailored towards fans of the show Gilmore Girls. In this sense, it was oriented to a specific community of people. Gilmore Girls has been my favorite television show since I was a teenager and had recently got a so-called revival when it was brought to the world of Netflix. This inspired me to do a sort of flashback on the early episodes through going through episode by episode in my blog posts giving the chance for old viewers to get involved again and new viewers to join in the fun. On this note, it is really cool how through the use of media something that could seem culturally irrelevant can be brought back to life.

In writing posts for my blog, I found myself putting careful and critical thought into how to organize the site to be user friendly and easy to follow. After all, I wanted this work to be something enjoyable and entertaining for users to read. Another element of concern was the aesthetics of the site and to make the site look appealing to read. If I have learned anything from this semester, it is that the Internet is a fast paced world and the appearance of the site is the best way to draw attention (other than good publicity). In these thoughts, it made me reflect to “The Multiple Media of Texts” where Anne Frances Wysocki details how there is a rhetorical approach to putting together a piece of work such as a blog. Blog authors have to make conscience decisions about the tone they want their site to portray so that they can gain their desired followers.

On the topic of followers, the largest frustration I had with my social media use was how difficult it is to gain followers. This was for many reasons. One reason was that social media as a whole is overloaded with fan-type sites and accounts, such as Gilmore Girl fan sites. It seemed that for these kinds of sites it was more popular to create a Twitter or a Tumblr site then to create a blog such as mine. While simple quotes may have caught attention a couple years ago, it is all about the Gif’s now. The largest difficulty with my ability to gain followers though came from my lack of publicity and advertisement. Of the followers and viewers that I did I have, there was an interesting correlation between this increase and my posting onto a more popular Gilmore Girl oriented Twitter page of a new Gilmore Girl site to follow. From class discussions, it seemed that many of my classmates shared in my struggle of gaining followers or the followers they did have were friends of theirs that they gained the attention of through word of mouth.

Noting Twitter, this brings up the other forms of social media that I took part in. Aside from the follower issue, I found my other sites to be very personally entertaining. However, I did not feel that these sites could have such an impact in the ways that Boyd discusses in her book or in how Jenkins’s mentions in “Why Heather Can Write”. What some social media sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest can offer is momentary snippets of interest. Twitter has a large limitation in that a very small amount of characters can be shared at a given time. Pinterest is more photo oriented and easily turns into a collection of personal interests. I felt that it could very quickly turn into one of those elementary school “All About Me” boards. Tumblr is also very geared towards personal interest, but of the three sites, it did seem to have the best ability to make an impact on its users. More or less, it was a less personalized version of a WordPress blog. While I did not care much for these other social media sites, many of my classmates felt they were productive means to increase their social media presence and enjoyed taking part in them.

Aside from my personal use, I came to two large conclusions about the general use of social media. My first conclusion is that social media make us personally vulnerable in many ways and brings up the “Big Brother” argument. While the site that I composed did not reveal a lot of personal information about myself, many of my peers did. While sharing personal experience on social media is great for connecting with followers, it also puts the information out there for everyone and anyone to see. This was a concept Boyd highlighted in her book and in how young users perceive the importance of this privacy. More so, the use of social media leaves you with a digital footprint that can be tracked with essentially the click of a button. I found it eerie how Pinterest page changed with each new like or pin, how the suggested Twitter hashtags changed with my Internet search, and more so how my Internet ads became tailored towards Gilmore Girls. The Internet is very permanent and I just don’t find anything that permanent to be a very good thing.

My second conclusion came from copyright use. As Aoki, Boyle, and Jenkins comic describe, there is no clear cut to copyright use. Often through my social media use, I found even what seemed to be the more straightforward parts of copyright law not being followed. It made me wonder if there is a new set of standards for copyright law when it comes to social media use. Is it that the owners of the original work simply do not know or that they do not care? Do they find social media to promote their work and view it as free advertising? How exactly can everything that is posted to YouTube be there? In working with a body of work that is copyrighted, copyright law was a special focus of mine. My work falls under a review sort of sites, as well as an academic site, but it is hard to say if everything is truly kosher with it. If nothing else, it is lovely that copyright law is currently allowing the social media activity that it does.

 

Semester of Social Media Presentation


 

PROGRESS REPORT #2:

In this Semester of Social Media update, I will start by saying that I never realized how difficult/frustrating different forms of social media could be. Likewise, I never realized how time consuming social media could be when a social media interactor is putting true thought into what/how they are interacting.

In terms of my blog, Peace.Love(Coffee).Gilmore Girls, I have been happy with how my blog posts have been going. I have finally settled on a format for the blog that seems to appeal to both new and old Gilmore Girl viewers alike. I have specifically gained compliments on the “Time Warp” portion of the posts that help to put viewers in the time context of when this show was really occurring. In terms of operations it does not seem that my blog is getting any excess viewers apart from the class views despite my efforts to “advertise” through my other social media sites. In looking forward with the blog, I will continue with the week to week episode review. I am also still in the efforts of compiling the list of background information for the “Oy with the Poodles” page before I post it.

I have been putting a great effort into interacting on Twitter, often engaging in the site several times within the week. I have now become accustom with how a user can “Tweet”, “Re-tweet”, become a “follower”, use hash tags, etc. Over the course of my Twitter usage, I have been becoming a follower of many Gilmore Girl related pages. I often “re-tweet” from posts made on this page of comments I like or quotes that spark my interest. I have also been making a few of my own posts of thoughts related to Gilmore Girls or to interesting Gilmore Girl links. My biggest difficulty with using Twitter is gaining followers of my own; I currently have two. In my future Twitter engagements, I would like to gain more followers. My plan to achieve this is by using the direct messaging service to message some popular Gilmore Girls pages to request them to follow me. Whether or not this is the optimal way to go about gaining followers, I guess I will find out.

Another social media site I have been engaging in is Pinterest. In using Pinterest I have learned how to make boards, make pins, and collect material from other “pinners” that I can also pin on my boards. Like Twitter, I have learned how to follow other Gilmore related users. In my first couple of weeks of engagement, I worked on making new boards. I have used this site in an unexpected way in that when I stumble upon something Gilmore related on the web, I can easily “Pin” it onto one of my boards. In the next few weeks, I want to continue to expand my boards, but I would also like to find a way to connect my Pinterest to my blog and my twitter. My hopes in doing this is that if I can bring user traffic to one of the sites, it will increase the user traffic to all of my sites.

In my last semester of social media update I indicated that I was going to use the site Goodreads. I used the site on a private setting for a week or two trying to figure out the different ways in which the site could be used. Ultimately, it does not seem to have many possibilities in expanding its use in the way I wished to. Instead, I found it better to make a “Rory’s Reading List” board on Pinterest. I occasionally look at the site to sort of view my page. Nonetheless, I decided to become engaged with Tumblr at suggestion of one of my classmates. I have started the Tumblr and have worked with the logistics of my page a little. My main goal for this site is to see how I can engage with it in a way that is unique from Pinterest. I am still confused as to how a user goes about making a gif that other users can post, if it is possible at all. This will be my most challenging site to insightfully interact with.

From my uses of social media, I could see how if they were marketed correctly it would be an extremely useful tool. But I do believe that there is a large sense of marketing (or luck) in making or sites or interactions popular among a large number of users.


 

PROGRESS REPORT #1:

While social media was something I participated in before, it was never something I actively thought about or put effort into. For this semester of social media, it has changed my objective of 1) that thought has to go into social media efforts and 2) there are many different types of thought that go into producing a successful body of work.

I have began my semester of social media by creating a blog centered around the television show Gilmore Girls that ran from 1999-2007 and currently runs on syndication. While this falls under a fan blog, I planned for it to be more of a watchers guide and a place for me to share my unending commentary about the show. My first post followed that pilot episode of the show and had a list of my many comments, followed by a quick character guide for those that have never watched.

Over my four weeks of blog posts, I have modified how I use the site to post after obtaining feedback that my format could be confusing for first time users. My original thought was to just list commentary throughout the episode and try to connect back to my life, but it gives no understanding to people who have never watched, and of course I want to share the Gilmore Girl love with the word. The current format I have settled on has the creation of different sections that give structure to the contents. The summary of the episode will be a constant for all post, as will favorite quotes. Each post will include some sort of link to a throwback or a popular culture references. Additionally, some posts will include extra information such as “Kirk of All Trades” in reference to Kirk’s current job, or “Whose Your Daddy” when we examine whether or note Lane Kim has a father.

For the coming weeks, I will continue to blog about the episodes in order. This should allow me to finish to mid-season 1 by the end of the semester of social media. I have added a new page to the blog entitled “Oy with the Poodles” that will include the basic plot line of the series, as well as descriptions of main characters, settings, etc. I also plan on adding in screen captures from each episode to the blogs so that it will be easier to follow what I am discussing, especially in assisting first time viewers.

In keeping up with the “social media” part of the semester of social media, I have joined twitter with the name @PLC_Gilmore Girls (which stands for Peace. Love (coffee). Gilmore Girls.). I have mostly made posts here about me posting new information to the blog. I also follow a couple Gilmore Girl themed accounts. One of the accounts is Gilmore News, which live tweets episodes. If I ever got a following of true fans, it is definitely something I could do. More importantly, this led me to the Gilmore News blog. The site definitely has some good ideas to include.

As for my other two social media sites, I have decided to use Pinterest as one site. While I often look at Pinterest, I have never had an active account. From looking at different Gilmore Girls sites, there seems to be a lot of merchandise out there that would be fun to “pin” for blog readers to see. Likewise, I want to create “boards” for books referenced throughout the show, for travel for all the places they want to go to, as well as to highlight the real towns that inspired Gilmore Girls. This account will be linked through my twitter account, though I still need to make it public.

My second site that I will utilize is Goodreads. From just playing around with the site, it always you to track your reading and to get recommendations on books based on what you have liked/disliked before. Using this site, I can track the books that Rory reads and even post things like “Read like Rory” on my blog from the sites recommendations. This site I will need to investigate some more before I choose how to best utilize it.

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