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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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

So Many Writing Ideas..

I’ve been reading so much advice about writing – creative and journalistic, and blogging over the past few months. I’ve come to the conclusion that my writing needs direction, starting with this blog. With so much whirling around in my head I feel like I have to write about everything. But it’s just not possible, and I’ve found out that others have this problem.

The blog was created to show my enthusiasm for writing, and the direction I want my writing career to go.

So from now on I Hope You’re Taking Notes will stick to these four sections.

a- Voicing my thoughts on the world around me – This part of my blog will be staying the same, but I’m going to try to make it more journalistic. Also I want to get rid of the name ‘thoughts of the day.’ But it’ll have to stay for the moment as I can’t think of anything better. Ideas anyone?

b- Books, books and more books – Book reviews (at least two a month), talking about authors, and anything about books in general. (I’ll also keep reviewing any films or interesting things on TV I see as it ties in well).

c- My creative writing – I’m a big chicken when it comes to my creative writing, which is a shame because I love writing. I loved writing little stories and poems when I was young, and if I want to get my novel started I need all the practice I can get.

d- Travel writing – Working as a business journalist, talking to people from so many different countries, has made me realise how much I want to travel. With work and lack of funds I’m going to have to start small. But as it is an area of journalism that I have no experience in, but really want to get into, I have to start somewhere.

Also, a message to my followers!

I found 50 Cheap And Easy Things To Do This Summer That Will Make You A Better Writer on Twitter, and decided to do number 5:

-Tweet this: Every new follower I get today will receive a personalized haiku. Then be prepared to write them.

I’m going to go one step further – every follower I have will receive a Haiku within the next month or so. I’m starting from the first followers (who may have gotten sick of me by now). So if you’re a new follower be patient. 🙂

The Guardian: Write a story with Neil Gaiman

Today Neil Gaiman, took over @guardianbooks (Twitter), asking people to finish his story.

Here’s the opening line he gave us:

It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

If you don’t know who he is, (I did a bit of googling) he’s an award-winning English author. He writes short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. So I’m guessing he’s some kind of super-writer!

Books you may have heard of are: Stardust, Coraline and The Graveyard Book. I felt like a bit of an idiot when I figured out he’d written Stardust as it’s a favourite film of mine.

Anyway, I decided to practice my creative writing and have a go myself. But I was put to shame by loads of other amazing replies. Some were stories, others just extracts. There’s way too many to read through.

But this one was my complete favourite! – by Lewis2901

It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

The cat that had seemed so faithful, so loving, so attentive to his every need. The cat that had sat there, not even so much as judging him in the slightest, as he bludgeoned his poor wife to death. Although after all it was the cat’s idea. A strange and peculiar idea it had been as well, as the cat had politely whispered it into his ear that very morning.

“She” the cat had scornfully ushered “She, the one you call Cynthia”, it paused to lick its paws, “She has left the milk out again, and would you believe it, it’s been sat out all night”. The cat began licking Gregg’s ear, just gently, just enough to stir him from those dreams he had in the morning, the really vivid ones, the ones where the strangest things can happen, the ones where he was convinced that they were real. As Gregg began to stir, the cat continued to purr the plan into his ears “I think it’s high time we ended this whole farce isn’t it Gregg? I mean let’s face it, I have no milk to drink now, and of course your cereal is going to be awfully dry without the beautifully creamy full fat delight you save just for Saturday mornings, that’s no way to start your day is it?”

Then it struck Gregg, that actually the Cat had a point, maybe it was time to end the whole thing. He shot up in his bed, a man determined, eager to fix this sorry state of affairs. The cat had been right. The cat was always there for him. The cat cared.

Calmly Gregg took to walking down the stairs, the cat weaving in and out of his steps, not so much talking now as it was meowing. The sort of meow that came just before any meal, the longing, shrill persistent meow that screamed “feed me”. As Gregg made his way down the stairs, and turned towards the kitchen, he began to feel a twang of apprehension, “is this the right thing to do?” he asked himself. The cat meowed onwards and made a run for the kitchen. “He’s right” said Gregg, “I should follow his lead, and tell Cynthia what for!” All doubt gone Gregg confidently began to stride towards the kitchen. To put an end to it, and avenge the now soured milk.

“Morning love” Cynthia said to him softly, as she poured the now more mozzarella than milk substance down the drain. “Looks like I left it out last night. We’ll have to have toast for breakfast.” Gregg, silently stood there, watching as the last of his beloved Saturday morning treat, and his Saturday morning composure washed away. He twitched. “I bet you did this on purpose didn’t you?” he snapped, as the cat began calling loudly, joining in on the chorus of confrontation. “I have to drink that watered down rubbish all week, and now, this morning I can’t even have my full fat because you left it out!” Cynthia looked shocked, “Gregg come on love it’s only milk.” That was it, she’d all but confirmed it. She didn’t care. Just like she didn’t care when she hogged all the duvet this morning, just like she didn’t care when she declared “What a lovely day!” as she threw open the curtains to plunge Gregg’s weekend lie in to a world too bright to get back to the darkness induced land of deep dreaming. Just like she didn’t care when she left the extractor fan on in the en suite, just to make sure that there was constant irritating buzz hovering in and out of his ears as he tried to get back to sleep, and just like she didn’t care that all week Gregg had pined for a sweet drop of full fat milk.

“Enough!” bellowed Gregg as he picked up the kettle from the side. The rest seemed like a bit of a blur, all that was certain was that, Cynthia had screamed, the cat had cried, and Gregg had gotten blood all over his nice new slippers, as If his day hadn’t been ruined enough already. At least the cat was there for him though, the cat that had given him the good idea, the cat that cared, the cat that had just strutted through the cat flap, the cat that had just left him. Alone, confused and utterly bewildered, Gregg decided that it wasn’t just the murder. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.

To see the other stories go to –http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2013/jun/14/neil-gaiman-write-a-story?CMP=twt_fd

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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Failed Fledglings

This new label, ‘Failed Fledglings,’ has been all over Twitter today. If you haven’t heard it, it basically means adults still living with their parents. A survey by Saga said that there are over 3 million of us (I refuse to use that silly alliteration again) ‘imposing’ on our parents.

First, I’d like to say that the article in Cosmopolitan hasn’t done us any favours. I can’t judge a 30-year-old for still living with her parents because I can’t truly say what I’ll be doing in eight years. But the sentence “Yes, my parents might still be footing the bill for stocking the fridge” completely kills any argument you may have. For god’s sake buy your own shopping! Even I go out and get the essentials sometimes.

So I’d like to tell it from my point of view.

I moved away to Uni when I was 18. I always assumed I’d find somewhere to live when I graduated. But in my third year it became obvious that I would have to move home. I applied for so many jobs and internships, but now I see that I should have got more experience while I was still at Uni.

I got a job in March this year, and put my name down on a couple of housing lists, which is a lot harder than I thought. My local housing group wont let you put your name down for a house unless you are actually homeless!

Anyway, it has been a hard transition for me, and my parents I guess. There have been arguments (mainly about washing up), tears, and slammed doors. But now I have a job, and can pay rent, I feel like I am really contributing to the house.

I sleep in a box room. There’s enough room for a single bed, a wardrobe, and a chest of drawers, with not much floor space. I’ve managed to fit my TV on a table under the window so I can watch Frasier before I go to sleep. My boyfriend isn’t allowed to sleep round, and I can’t stay at his. But we get around that by staying in a hotel room every month or so (see there are upsides of living at home).

My parents cook my tea. But sometimes I do cook for them. It’s nice to sit and watch TV in the evening with my mom and the cat. I usually get my mornings to myself because I have to be up for work. Also, we have massive garden, which houses don’t really get anymore (and I certainly wouldn’t have one if I had a flat).

I plan to go travelling next year, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I had my own place to look after. Any extra money I have can go into savings, so maybe, eventually, I’ll be able to put a deposit down on a house.

So don’t feel sorry for us ‘failed fledglings,’ or our parents. We’re not all dossers who sleep all day (although I did have my moments), and maybe some parents enjoy having their children around a little longer than usual.

World Book Night 2013

Just a quick post for anyone who’s interested in reading. Today is World Book Night.

To celebrate, Penguin Books are giving away different books on Twitter from 4pm (only open to UK and Ireland). So look out for the links.

Also, in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Liverpool, thousands of volunteers, and publishers, are giving out free books to members of the community who don’t, or are unable to, read regularly. There’s more information about that on The Penguin Blog.

If you’re in the UK follow:  @WorldBookNight – USA: @wbnamerica 

It’s a bit of a last-minute post as I didn’t even know World Book Night existed until about an hour ago. But I love anything that encourages people to read.

So tonight I’m going to curl up with my iPad and finally buy that ebook… or maybe I’ll just find an old favourite off my bookshelf.

Happy Reading!