Integrated Media 2
One consistent topic of interest that was present each week throughout the semester when working with the group collaboration project Being Indecisive was the on-going learning of the behaviour of social media users. There has been a guide posted on IM2 On The Road regarding ‘Building a successful social media project’ which features a general understanding of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as well as advices from past IM2 students whom have completed such a project that gave me a brief overview of the current behaviour of Social Media users. In this reflection, I will be discussing these behaviour more in detail based on my personal experience. From managing and observing Being Indecisive for 3 months, I dare conclude that…
1. Social Media users are Lazy
We had to make things as simplistic and easily digested as it can be in order across our various platforms (Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter) to encourage participation from these users. A good example to justify the statement above would be the ‘What is your most reliable decision-making device?’ an 8-worded question that Being Indecisive posted on its Facebook wall which prompts a one-click participation (image below). Gaining responses are surprisingly easy to achieve and the question has gathered as many as 56 responds over a span of only a few days. In Facebook, all we had to do is each send out invites to our respective friends to notify them of a question that is awaiting their reply, all with just a few clicks.
snapshot taken from Being Indecisive
To further illustrate how actually true that social media users are lazy, take the Being Indecisive video submission competition on Tumblr which only managed to gain 5 video response from the public and even that were friends of our own which we needed to pressure and constantly persuade them participate. And mind you, this competition went on for weeks and the deadline had to be pushed forward repeatedly with hopes that we’ll gain a hopeful few more submissions. The reason to this poor response rate is that the video submission competition requires a higher degree of involvement from participants in terms of time and effort. In order to submit a video our Tumblr ‘submit’ page, participants would firstly need to upload their video either on a video hosting website such as Vimeo, YouTube or BlipTV, or to upload it directly to their respective Tumblr accounts (which I must say that not everyone have one, I’ve personally only created my Tumblr account for the purpose of the Being Indecisive project), and then embed the link to our ‘submit’ page. We would definitely prefer that participants have their individual Tumblr account as that would be more interactive because we would then be able to browse through their Tumblr accounts (not scarily stalking them) and learn more about about participants in terms of the types of posts they publish on their dashboards.
Twitter is a great Social Media site for lazy people, or I must say, perfect. To start with, Twitter only allows you to post up to 140 characters in one Tweet, hence discouraging you to be long-winded and pleading you to get straight to the point. Now why did I say Twitter is perfect for lazy people? Ah, yes. Tweet = lazy people micro-blog = lazy people read. Because there is a need for Twitter users to only micro-blog, the frequency of updates on your dashboard (depending on the number of people you follow) is tremendously too. But you can be assure that they are all short texts, or sometimes conversations between users, an external website link or an image uploaded directly to Twitter, hence it is perfect if you are feeling lazy but want to do something less strenuous on the brain, Tweet. Mobile phone companies such as Apple, is also understanding the lazy behaviour of their users and have since in-built the Twitter app into their latest iPhone release.
2. Social Media users use social media sites for other purposes
Social Media sites have evolved to more than just a platform for socialising. They use them to be informed and entertained, whether it is about the latest viral video or about a tragic news of a young man commenting suicide over a break-up, or simply to play games and publish about their life stories.
I have to admit that I as a social media user, predominantly a Facebook user, am also very lazy. I would be Facebook-ing whenever I need to procrastinate from assignments, or have nothing better to do on a lazy Saturday (or any other day). Most of the time I’d be looking at the latest news on the ‘news feed’ to see what my friends/virtual friends have been up to. Another regular thing that I always do is to log into Facebook on my mobile phone I’m already in bed but just can’t seem to fall asleep.
“hate it when I really want to sleep but my brain wants to go on FB”
And surprise surprise, a few of my friends do that too! At 2.30am on one of the mornings last month, I posted a ‘hate it when I really want to sleep but my brain wants to go FB instead’ Facebook status and gained responses from 3 different people whom are also awake at that time and is on Facebook. Please firstly disregard the Manglish (Malaysian English). I’d like to point out that my friend Ivan and Nelson is experiencing the exact same situation as I am.
This highlights the fact that Social Media users do not use social media sites solely for socialising but also a platform for them to spend time (or waste time). These days, there are plenty to do on social platforms such as like Facebook, which layout is constantly revamped to better attract their users to spend more time. This is due to the fact that the users are the source of income for the Facebook, <a href=”http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-makes-money-2010-01″>All Facebook</a> reports that the social media site makes about half a billion in revenue a year (O’Neil 2010). Now, that’s A LOT of money. No wonder there are now an increasing number of apps within Facebook, some are developed by companies to promote their respective brands, and some are games which would include ads. It is in turn safe to infer that Facebook users themselves use Facebook to advertise their products, this is done so either through the proper ad banners (example image below) or simply by informing their friends through walls, status messages, event invites or personal messages.
a snapshot of the ad banners along the right hand side in Facebook site
notifications regarding events hosted by friends
Take for example the third notification (image above) that I’ve received today. It is an event that John Roebuck sent me regarding a ‘Room for Rent This Summer’, which is not exactly an event to attend to but is actually him advertising about his room for rent this Summer as he is going overseas. Included in the detailed description in the event is the condition of the room – cheap and good price, as well as the actual address of his home. This is an excellent free-of-charge yet effective way to advertise small scale businesses (will work for larger businesses too) yet highly effective as he has invited his friends (more than 750 invites sent) to this ‘event’ and they can choose to have a one-click respond, either ‘attending’, ‘maybe’ or ‘not attending’, or choose to enquire further or drop a personalised respond via ‘comments’. John may only have received 16 responses along with 4 comments but those replies were received within the half hour since the ‘event’ was posted up. The 7 people whom rsvp to ‘attending’ don’t actually quite make sense here judging that it isn’t actually an event to attend to. But then again, you don’t have to be too serious on Facebook, it is after all a social media sites for fun and games.
A game that is highly popular Facebook game at the moment is Tetris Battle which players can play the classical Tetris game at real time with other Facebook user globally. This game is so highly addictive as it allows players to compare their rankings and skills with their friends’. My friend Wai Kit is a huge fan of this game, having spent many hours playing the game between assignments, when at out at a cafe, or when not having anything else better to do at home. He has even gone to the extend of wanting to log into my personal Facebook account (because I’m still at a beginner’s level) to play against lower level players (yes, some people find the thrill in beating the weaker player in games), as well as to send ‘energy’ gifts (elements to boost his ‘skills’ in Tetris Battle) to his own account. This just goes the show how hooked Facebook can get their users to be to their Social Media site. Games in Facebook have a notification banner on the right hand side of the screen to let users know what games their friends are playing at the moment, which actually facilitates users to interact with their friends when they share common interests, i.e. to play the same game.
Tumblr is another great Social Media site to be informed and entertained. I must say that the scope of interaction on Tumblr is different from that in Facebook. Tumblr is somewhat like Twitter, but still not quite like it (otherwise, why would we bother to incorporate all three Social Media sites if they were similar), that dominantly expresses users opinions, interests, etc through blogging. However, it doesn’t have to be a chunk of text (like I said in the first point, Social Media users are lazy), it can be a series of text, for example what eightypercentwater posts – “A lot of people tell me I’m indecisive”, or just an image with or without a short caption, for example what kevin-gnapoor posted – a comic about making decisions with a chatterbox. Take a look at Being Indecisive’s Tumblr and you will find that we have reblogged plenty of media from other Tumblr users. These media in the form of text, image or/and video were scouted through the ‘search tag’ option on the right side banner in Tumblr, which brings result from other Tumblr users over the world who have blogged about similar topics. Unlike Facebook where there are games to play, people generally spend time on Tumblr specifically to look up on what their friends or other users have blogged about, whether about their personal lives, their interest, or something quirky that they found worth sharing.
Users on Twitter have also cleverly made use of the services for other purposes. VenturaBus, a Melbourne-based bus company has been utilising Twitter to provide real-time updates on their services i.e. notification of bus services disruptions. One example of Tweet that was published was “200 Ex Melbourne Central at 1345 to Bulleen at 1428 has been cancelled. Ventura apologises for any inconvenience caused”. I must say providing live updates via Twitter is mutually beneficial for both Twitter users and Ventura themselves. Ventura gains a platform to reach out to their customers with their urgent messages whereas the customers/Twitter users will be notified and not be waiting at the bus stop for a bus that was not coming. Many other companies are also making use of Twitter to be constantly in the minds of their customers as well as to widen their customer base. OzBargain is another good example for non-socialising purpose Twitting. OzBargain gains information from their users regarding bargains available all over Australia, whether at the stores or online, and then Tweets them so that their other users will be informed about them. Users can choose to ‘follow’ OzBargain to be in-the-know whenever OzBargain informs of a new bargain. An example of a Tweet from OzBargain is “Quiexo: SHOPPING SQUARE FLASH MEMORY SALE, $1 shipping with discounts for combined shipping http://ozb.me/7JG“. The bargain information done under 140 character includes all the information needed, and even includes the link to the actual website offering the bargain. No wonder OzBargain has 4,294 loyal followers.
From my observations, it is evident that Social Media sites are constantly evolving the way we Social Media users use their sites. They no longer only provide us a platform to keep in touch with other users but also interact with them via games, common interests and so forth. So regardless if we users are lazy or not, it is prominent that Social Media sites are gradually taking up a bigger part in (some) of our lives – we engage it even for leisure and at times of doubt. it is thus vital to understand the behaviour of Social Media users, and what Social Media sites can do for us to further enrich our lives.
O’Neil, Nick 2010, ‘The Secret To How Facebook Makes Money’, All Facebook, viewed 19 October 2011, <http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-makes-money-2010-01>
It’s actually been quite an interesting journey since working on our Being indecisiveonline magazine. I’ve come across many other tumblr users whom, like my group and I, are excellent at being indecisive. These people talk about their daily lives and rant about how has indecision affect their lives. Some negative; due to frustration, and some positive; an enjoyable experience in deciding. These experiences are often expressed in the form of image or text, rarely in video. Hence, we organised a video competition weeks ago in order to obtain more varied range of media in this particular subject matter.
Interesting enough, we have had a small number of interaction from our like-minded audience. And to think that they had to get their mind straight and decide in clicking that ‘submit’ button when contributing their videos to us, I must say, we are Being Indecisive are very honoured. Honestly, we had no idea what to expect out of the competition. We haven’t got big prizes to offer but a small token of appreciation deep from our indecisive souls.
Along the way, I’ve picked up new knowledge in managing an online magazine. Specifically to Tumblr, we realised that there isn’t a ‘upload video’ function when in the ‘submit’ page our Being Indecisive and that could be one of the reasons to the small number of respondents. I must say that it is a little of a hassle to upload videos elsewhere before being able to embed in URL to our ‘submit’ page. However, if these people could upload directly to their respective Tumblr pages, they can easily just provide us their Tumblr URL for submission. Besides that, I’ve also learnt that it’s more effective when you post up simple chunks of messages and preferably accompanied with an image to foster audience interaction. Take for example, the simple questionnaire that Being Indecisive posted on Facebook to ask friends of their opinion on the most reliable decision-making device. And ‘writing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on a rubber’ topped the list followed by tossing a coin. We had a total of 56 responds to this question and it is one of our most successful element of the online magazine.
The life of Being Indecisive is about to come to an end as we approach Week 12 of Integrated Media where we at Being Indecisive will be pitching our progress and learnings to the students and lecturers of Integrated Media, and after Week 12, it is unlikely that Being Indecisive will remain being active. It is a waste to let it go but we will be leaving it inactive without taking it off the internet as part of future references for work portfolio and such.
I had a very good response, a genuinely good (first) response to the chatterbox on wednesday. I had the chatterbox template printed out and had plan to have it folded to film my friends make decisions with it (whether they like it or not). I hope you are excited as I am on what I’m about to tell you..
As I took out the template and told my friends that it was a chatterbox, one of those paper decision makers which we as kids like to play with in school, my friend Kit immediately responded “Oh, I want to fold it!!” and “It’s been awhile since I last folded one!” and he did fold it.
And to start the game rolling, my Don holds on to the Chatterbox and asks Kit what he would like answers on. He wonders whether he’ll have a good night out on Friday and chooses to go with Red and his lucky number 8 on the Chatterbox. The Chatterbox tells him to “Call Mum” which, he was initially isn’t too impressed with as he still hasn’t got his answer. But not giving up yet, he decides to actually call his mum (hahaha!!) When his mum picks up the phone, she was to answer either yes or no without even being told what she was answering to. And her answer was ‘yes’ which made Kit really HAPPY!
(quickly!) moving on as my other friend Sandra cannot wait to have a go at the Chatterbox too! To poke fun at Don who holding on to the Chatterbox, she asks if he’ll shout her for a coffee (as we were seated at 1000 Pound Bend). This time she picks Yellow and number three which gave her the answer “Flip a Coin”. You could have imagined her sad puppy dog expression as she like Kit, did not get immediate answers. But she wasn’t reluctant at all and immediately reaches for her purse to find a coin. She had fixed ‘heads’ for ‘yes’ and ‘tails’ for ‘no’ on the coins and proceeds to flip the coin. And… the coin with ‘heads’ UP! HAHAHAHA, and poor Don has to reluctantly buy her that coffee!
and that was that! my friends actually did enjoy the Chatterbox as it was a reminiscent of their childhood days.
In preparation for an informal presentation for IM2 tute this coming week, I’ve decided to surf the web and learn more about the idea of co-creation, which led me to read up on Co-Creation and Fashion Brands. The author Susan talks about the idea of co-creation from the perspective of the world of branding and fashion, which I can quickly apply the same mechanism for co-creation of media on the internet.
She says “Co-creation is about bringing consumers into a closer relationship with the brand by inviting them to take part in the creative process.” We can then assume that co-creation in the internet world brings contributors closer to the media hosts (or other contributors) for example, participants in ABC Pool create a form of relationship as these individual discuss about a common interest.
Susan also mentions co-creation “could involve giving customers tools to customize and personalize their purchase” and an example that she provides is Mini Cooper (pay attention to the same car model with three different looks), which allows their car owners to customise their cars to their liking: personalised car detailing, body kit, outer appearance of side mirror and rear view mirror, etc. but “experiment within the brand’s boundaries”. We can relate this to Wikipedia where anyone can create and edit the contents but is still bound to set of rules, or modulated by a modulator that oversees the overall content and makes sure that inappropriate content is published.
Susan also discusses about the importance of co-creation between participant and company in order to produce products that people want. An example that she gives is “a fashion organization that is conducting creative design workshops with their target customer on a regular basis.” The participants that are really engaged in this process have a say in determining how the product will look, but is still subject to the designers. I can’t think of a good example for the same situation in the internet world but somehow Twitter pops into my head which for example, a radio deejay asking his/her audience what they’d like to listen to and respond to their loyal audience, playing the music they want, and go on to define the image and association of the radio station with these audience.
As we haven’t had much actual interaction from audience with the chatterbox, I’ve thought of an idea to develop a chatterbox template which audience can just print and fold, minus the need to follow instructions to inserting the ‘decisions’ into the chatterbox. Hopefully by making the chatterbox folding a less cumbersome one, we would be able to gain some response. Another idea that’d help to improve the interaction with our being indecisive site is to print the template, give them out to audience (let them fold so it’s more interactive) or even fold it and ask for response.
The image above was taken during the lecture. We were having a live Skype conversation with Jonathan who’s working with ABC Pool in Sydney, telling us about the things he does there, which have plenty to do with interacting with media content and their authors as well as his colleagues at ABC Pool. What fascinates me the most about this lecture is that it is the first time having to listen to a lecturer over a live virtual conversation, which in my opinion totally lives up to the course name – integrated media.
a few good pointers that Jonathan raised:
- don’t overtag or be seen as commercial
- update twice a day, once in the day, one more at night (think of posting something fun for the evening for those who are waiting for the bus home)
- don’t over promote, instead talk about what’s going on
In groups at the workshop, we were to talk in details of our respective online magazine in terms of the theme, functions, progress, method of interaction and so on. I reckon that my group members and I did a good job in terms of what has been said above. Our theme in respect to the other groups, is considered as the light-hearted as we are going for a fun activity that people would interact with when they have nothing better to do, say on a lazy Saturday afternoon while waiting for the train. The other groups were mainly dealing with current issues or matters that are rather academic.
This makes me think of how versatile the Internet and the social networking sites can be to accommodate for subject matters of all sorts. However, I do think that light-hearted matters such as ours, would interact more optimum with social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook as I would say the majority of its users are after less serious subject matters as I would relate the word ‘social’ in ‘social networking sites’ to being more light-hearted than serious. This is so because I know the reason most people join Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the lives of their loved ones, friends or even people they idolize and communicate with them. But then again, we have professional who participate in social networking sites to sell themselves in prospects of either gain more audience, raise awareness of what they do and their beliefs, or even to be headhunted for a better work prospect. In reference to professionals who participate in social networking sites, we’ve had (other groups too) an interaction with Julia Gillard, having her as one of our followers on our Being Indecisive Twitter account. It is comforting to find that the Prime Minister is supporting our little uni project and also reveals that this might not be such a little uni project after all. This could actually turn into something BIG! If this little uni project sparks the possibility of actually making it big, I can’t imagine if I for example, were to pour out my heart and soul in developing another online magazine with a theme of my personal interest. This is no wonder people have been using social networking sites for business purposes.
My group members and I are gathered to get ready for the final bits to launching our ‘Being Indecisive’ online magazine.
In the nick of time, we have managed to publish some blog posts, upload videos and images and did a little brainstorm.
I’m actually pretty relieved that we won’t be working on building a narrative out of a RPG like Second Life in this semester’s IM2. Instead, we will collaborating the usage of various social networking sites and producing an online magazine, which I think is far more useful for future works.
Through this course, I’ve been forced to sign up for Tumblr, a social networking site which I’m very unfamiliar with. Despite that, I must say that nothing is too complicated for us tech-savvy generation. Still, I’ve not come to a point that I want to use Tumblr for my personal publication.
We also need to incorporate the usage of Twitter in this online magazine. I do have a personal Twitter account but have ceased interaction with it for at least half a year. The only networking site that I’m, like most of us, extremely involved with is Facebook. To add to that, my group members and I preferred mode of interaction is actually Facebook. We’ve set up our very own Facebook group to allow us to communicate.
I’m actually still very unclear as to how our online magazine will turn out. We have yet to go into a further brainstorming mode to determine how we will actually be promoting our Facebook page and to actually get people to be willingly involved.
Speaking of which, we’ve actually had an actual interaction with an individual whom asked “Should I [attend] radio2 today?” which we helped him determined that he should “Ask [his] mum” with our very own chatterbox. See here
Don’t get confused with the ‘Being Indecisive’ website and ‘Being Indecisive’ person that we’ve created on Facebook. It is on the ‘Being Indecisive’ person’s page where most of the events take place. In order to boost this ‘person’s’ presence, we started adding our own friends which didn’t end to well as someone made a report to Facebook and ‘Being Indecisive’ has been banned from adding people for two days with suspicion of spamming. We could only make progress by getting people to add ‘Being Indecisive’ as friend instead.
Yes! We finally gotten our Facebook ‘Being Indecisive‘ page URL for our IM2 collaborative project.
After going through the initial stages of adding each other on Facebook and making each other admins of the group, we were on fire to make our Facebook page presence felt!
In order to obtain a personalized URL, we had to have at least 25 ‘likes’ on our Facebook page. So the four of us each ‘liked’ the page and went on to ask for favours from our friends who happened to be online at that point in time to contribute in ‘liking’ our somewhat-anonymous page. Amazingly, within an hour, we have our personalised URL. And in the next two hours, the number of likes shot up to 35. Not bad for close-to-empty page! If this continues, I’d say we’d be the next top Facebook page by next month (so we wish!).
At this point, there isn’t much up on our ‘Being Indecisive’ page yet but a simple profile photo, an image taken off Google images. However, we’ve generated ideas, some bizarre i.e. to get Paddy to put on his ‘indecisive’ expression, have his shirt off as we were targeting 15-year old adolescent girls. The discussion even went a little far more creative whereby Paddy will be photographed in the desert to further emphasize the idea of being ‘indecisive’.
Moving on to more serious matters, plans to upload a template of the ‘chatterbox paper’ for people to print and ‘be indecisive’ have also been discussed. We do have worries that such a method would not be encouraging enough to our projected audience to participate in our experiment and have even did a search on the possibility of using iPhone ‘chatterbox paper’ apps, or in this case, known as the ‘cootie catcher’ on the App Store. However, the free app is somewhat not suitable and it would be not feasible to get our projected audience to purchase a $0.99 paid ‘chatterbox a paper fortune teller’ App