AltBritain Update: Need More Engagement on Facebook

Facebook

Our Facebook likes have actually decreased this week, so we’ll have to work harder to find new likers (and keep them). Over 60% of our website clicks are from Facebook so I think it’s important to grow our likes and engagement on our Facebook page.

Twitter and Instagram

Our Twitter and Instagram likes are up. Though, it does seem to be a lot easier to grow a following on Twitter and Instagram.

On average, just over 30% of our clicks to the website come from Twitter, so we need to keep up the good work on that platform.

The problem is that Instagram may be popular, and we are getting a lot of likes, but we aren’t getting any clicks to the website. This is mainly because you can’t post links in posts on Instagram. Followers have to go to the actual profile page.

Encouraging Engagement

Last week we had a guest speaker, Laura Hogan from Rice Media, who spoke to us about SEO optimisation and encouraging engagement. She told us about creating sharable content using canva.com. Below is an example of how she used it for one of her clients.

laura-hogan-sharable-content-experiment-med7018

One of my fellow Social Media MA students did her own experiment using two Facebook pages she is managing. You can read more about that here. From her results, it seems that using this kind of sharable content is a very successful way to grow engagement on Facebook.

My Own Experiment

I created this using Canva.com. As Walking Dead is popular at the moment, I am hoping that it will create some engagement on the Facebook page. Then, if it is beneficial to the page I may experiment with boosting the post. I have never paid to boost a post on Facebook so it will be interesting to see how well targeted promotion works.

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An Afterthought…

I have been trying to connect with ‘alternative fashion’ pages on Facebook. Our website is lacking in fashion posts, which isn’t exactly encouraging for them. So this week I am going to write a couple of fashion posts to try to encourage new likers.

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I Get My News From Facebook

Imagine a world where the only way you could find out what’s going on in the world is by watching the news. What a horrible thought.

Even before the internet there were spoofs and comedies making fun of celebrities, politicians and others seen to be in a position of power. But since the creation of the internet it has been easier for these spoofs to reach larger audiences and ‘go viral’.

“As the internet has prospered, an important change has to be recorded in the representative status of popular media. Throughout the twentieth century, the press, cinema, radio and television operated as if their audiences were coterminous with ‘the nation’. The ‘mass’ media felt they could speak both to and for the entire citizenry, and media theory followed suit. However, that long-assumed status can no longer be claimed. […] Thus ‘media citizenship’ is changing from representative status to the more modest but active status of productivity, where much smaller groups can self-organise and self-represent, and act both culturally and politically, without bearing the weight of ‘standing for’ the whole society.” (Hartley, 2010, p.240)

As someone who was born around the same time as the internet, ‘DIY/DIWO citizenship’ is something I’ve grown up with. When I was younger, Jackass was very popular. We loved the silly, craziness and chaos they caused.

My sisters, my friends and I used to recreate our own tamer versions of these videos at home. Then we’d look online at others who were making spoof music videos and TV shows. Our parents saw it as us ‘being silly’. But it was our way of getting a look into the popular culture we were too young to be properly involved in.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen these kinds of videos evolve from amateur-looking videos to more professional podcasts and vlogs. There are still the seemingly pointless crazy videos. But now we also have the ‘silly’ videos making fun of politicains, dubsmash videos and, of course, cat videos.

“… it is important to recognise the extent to which childhood infects adulthood; play infects citizenship, and thus to investigate how both childhood and play are constitutive of citizenship and especially of changes in self-organising, bottom-up associative relations among strangers in mediated societies, where play may model new civic possibilities.” (Hartley, 2010, p.244)

As an adult I get most of my news from links I see on Facebook. If I am watching news programmes, ones like Russell Howard’s Good News and Mock the Week are so much more appealing than BBC News, which is pretty morbid.

Yet while I’m scrolling through Twitter, the older generation still look to the TV for news. They may enjoy spoof and comedy shows. But they still watch the serious news bulletins. Do they see ‘silly citizenship’ as another part of our society, or a separate world?

“Recognition of what’s needed for ‘healthy democratic functioning’ requires renewed attention to these demotic aspects of citizenship. Concealed beneath teenage mischief and YouTube antics is a classical ‘right to dance’. Here is a new model of citizenship based on self-representation of, by and for ‘ordinary’ people, using ‘new’ media to produce discursive associative relations, superseding the modernist ‘man with a gun’. Now, we need to change our bumper-stickers.” (Hartley, 2010, p.245)

I don’t want ‘silly citizenship’ to take over the news completely. I already cringe enough when newscasters and politicians try to act ‘cool’. But without shows like The Last Leg helping us figure out the confusion they call the elections, where would the future of politics be? DIY/DIWO has been around longer than many care to admit so it deserves the same acknowledgement as those serious news programmes.

On that note I’m going to leave you with one of my favourite videos from Boyinaband. I don’t really know how to describe him so I stole this from his YouTube, “I make vlogs and songs and I like music and science and psychology and run on sentences.”

John Hartley (2010) Silly citizenship, Critical Discourse Studies, 7:4, 233-248, DOI: 10.1080/17405904.2010.511826
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2010.511826

The Imagined Audience: Who Am I Writing For?

When I write this blog, who am I writing for? I’d say it’s mainly for myself, and maybe the odd passerby. But there’s always the thought that some of my followers may be reading, a friend may have a quick look or a stranger may accidentally come across it. This is my imagined audience.

Marwick and boyd (2010) state that “participants have a sense of audience in every mediated conversation, whether on instant messenger or through blog comments. This audience is often imagined and constructed by an individual in order to present themselves appropriately, based on technological affordances and immediate social context.”

The imagined audience may be completely different to the actual audience but it still influences how people present themselves online. To put it into simple terms, if you’re going to a job interview you will dress smartly, speak more clearly and maybe try to smile more. Your imagined audience is the interviewer. But how many people do you meet on the way to that job interview? That is your actual audience.

When Twitter users with a small following were asked who they are writing for they said they are just writing for themselves, like an online diary, or to update friends. Whereas those with a larger following they treat their imagines audience like fans.

“Part of the difficulty is that ‘friends’ is an overloaded term in social media (boyd, 2008). One user described her friends as people she followed, while another talked about writing to her ‘IRL friends’ to signal people she knew outside of Twitter.”(Marwick and boyd, 2010)

So actually when the users referred to friends they actually meant potential friends as well as real-life friends. Similarly, celebrities writing to their fans are actually reaching fans, potential fans and everyone else.

“We may understand that the Twitter or Facebook audience is potentially limitless, but we often act as if it were bounded.”(Marwick and boyd, 2010). We write for our imagined audience when our possible audience is everyone. Once you put something online it has the potential to reach anyone.

But how does this affect what people write? Or is it too easy to forget that there’s a wider world out there?

The Twitter users writing for ‘just me’ know that they have an audience but it’s easier for them to ignore it, while they’re writing at least. “What emerges here is not that these individuals lack an audience, but that they are uncomfortable labeling interlocutors and witnesses as an ‘audience’ […] In other words, consciously speaking to an audience is perceived as inauthentic.” (Marwick and boyd, 2010)

It’s not that these Twitter users don’t want to be seen or followed. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. This sense of authenticity is all part of how they want to be seen by their imagined audience. They are ‘branding’ themselves as an authentic person, as larger companies do when trying to attract customers.

Although I feel like I may have fallen into the trap of writing for my imagined audience it’s a flawed concept. I see that companies can gain more followers by marketing themselves as ‘authentic’ because no one likes talking to an automated robot man. But why are so many normal people going to that trouble when behind all that blogging, tweeting and emailing we are all real people? We’re faking our own authenticity.

(This is my first reading summary so any feedback will be appreciated)

Marwick, A. E. & boyd, d. (2010) I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience. New Media & Society.

The online version of this article can be found at:
http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/06/22/1461444810365313

Feminism vs Lads Mags

I’m not sure whether I consider myself to be a feminist. I believe that women should be equal to men of course. But I’m not ready to stand there proudly with the feminism crowd just yet.

There has been a campaign against Facebook’s policy on indecent/just-plain-horrific pictures and videos for a while now. From what I’ve seen on Twitter, Facebook has finally caved in. For that I applaud (woop woop!) anyone who was involved. These images should never have been allowed on Facebook (or anywhere) in the first place.

But now the so-called feminists have moved on to lad’s mags. Am I the only one who doesn’t have a problem with them? Women drool over half-naked men just as much as men do over women. It’s not ok for them to objectify us, but it’s fine the other way round? I could understand if these women were being forced to pose nude. But they’re being paid for it, some even say it makes them feel empowered. Look at Katie Price, does she look like a victim to you?

If it’s about body image then some of you may want to look a little closer to home.

First of all, the ones promoting this ‘thinspo’ and ‘fitspo’ crap seem to be women. The women’s lifestyle magazines (yes I love them too) are still filled with tiny models and airbrushed celebrities. Also, the way these people sit and judge celebrities because they’ve put on a few pounds is horrible. Kim Kardashian is a pregnant woman, yet someone still feels the need to zoom in on her swollen ankles. Where’s the girl power there?

Kim 3

I’m not a big fan of the Kardashian brand. But I think she looks beautiful.

Also, any time I have had a quick glance up at the top shelf, I’ve seen every kind of woman (and some men) you can think of. In fact I’d say that the lads mags are more diverse than the women’s lifestyle ones.

But I do believe that there’s a time and place for these images. I remember going to a glass museum as a child and being surprised at seeing a calendar of naked women. It put a kind of ‘men at work’ stamp on the place, which brings up the problem of male-dominated jobs. How are women supposed to feel equal with pictures like this on the walls at work? Why do you need to be looking at naked women at work anyway? But this isn’t the magazine publishers’ fault. Things like this should be regulated by employers.

I do wonder how many of these protesters have picked up one of the magazines they object to so much. It may not be to their taste, but it isn’t exactly dangerous. I believe that what you do in your own time is your business, within reason of course. We should be keeping this side of the magazine industry alive so it can be regulated, rather than leaving it up to some dodgy website with no rules or regulations.

It’s true that children shouldn’t be exposed to these magazines. But part of that is up to parents and teachers. It is their job to educate and protect. It’s a sad fact that a lot of kids have seen worse online than the what’s in the magazines.

Rather than overreacting (I am seriously waiting for the torches and pitchforks), we should  just keep these lad mags on the top shelves, out of reach, and maybe have some sort of censoring on the covers. Sometimes if you find something offensive, you should just not look at it. I find the leggings/thong combo sickening. But I’ve just learned to turn away.

Are we forgetting that feminism is about EQUAL rights for women? That means men have to be equal too (sorry ladies). This does not mean that we should try to overthrow men every chance we get. So can we focus on something more important please?

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