Multimedia Enhances Messaging

8-2 Multimedia Blog Posts

How does multimedia enhance our messaging?Multi-Media-512x-1

Multimedia appeals fully to our senses of sight and sound.  Because we live in an age of new media, reading large chunks of plain text is unappealing to the average person.  Sometimes a picture captures what text cannot and video creates an immediacy that only excellent writers can capture through text.  Multimedia is used with all aspects of new media.  I have a Twitter account and I enjoy the many pictures that most users post with their tweets.  At present, it is the Carnival season in Trinidad and one of the soca artistes, Machel Montano, has released new music using audio files on Twitter to which I enjoy listening.   Multimedia has bi-sensory appeal and this aids in grabbing and maintaining the audience’s attention.

Are certain multimedia techniques more effective than others?

According to Sundar (2000), research conducted by scholars using the ‘separate streams’ concept shows that auditory information is more effective than visual information.  Nonetheless, written messages can be reread for clarification and recollection.  On the other hand, research exploring ‘redundancy’ supports the view that information presented in multiple modalities has a greater chance of reaching its intended audience than a message conveyed in a single modality (Sundar, 2000).

Research into the efficiency of multimedia is contradictory, as some believe it aids with the effectiveness of the message, while others believe that it retards recollection and results in sensory overload (Sundar, 2000).  However, I agree with the view that multimedia in messages on the World Wide Web provides users with multiple options to access information and allows them to do so based on their particular learning styles.  Though I enjoy multimedia, when I am learning I welcome text that I can reread and highlight.  However, when using video and audio, I take notes by pausing, rewinding and noting important details.  Some people are auditory, others visual, while some require both.  Multimedia provides choice.

To support your argument, provide examples of at least 2 sites (link to them) that use multimedia elements and explain why they are/aren’t effective.

182px-Time_Magazine_logo.svgSince I began doing this degree I have enjoyed going to the TIME website for research as it employs video, lots of pictures and is well organised. In the lead article on the site today ‘Why the Supreme Court is Set to Make History on Gay Marriage’ by David Von Drehle, there are links to related articles, many pictures and videos.  The reader can choose to read extensively on the topic, watch video or just read the basic story.  The site’s users have a choice on how they access the message.

The local newspaper that I often read online is the Trinidad Express.  In order to access the full newspaper, readers pay a subscripExpress Ltion fee.  Nonetheless, what is accessible to the average reader is basic. Each story has text and a picture but there are no links to related stories in the text, nor is there videos embedded from the TV6 television station, which is part of the One Caribbean Media Corporation with which they are both affiliated.  The lead story on January 17, 2014 ‘COURT MIX-UP: Only AG and his attorney were informed’ by Ria Taitt Political Editor, only has text and a picture of an email.  The picture itself is not very engaging.  In addition, there are advertisements on both side margins and at the top of the page that are very distracting.

While the TIME site employs multimedia much more effectively, by including pictures the Trinidad Express makes some effort at bi-sensory appeal.

References

Sundar, S. 2000. Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, video and audio downloads.  Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly; Autumn 2000; 77, 3; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 480.  Retrieved from http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf

Taitt, R. 2015, January 17.  COURT MIX-UP: Only AG and his attorney were informed. Retrieved from http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/COURT-MIX-UP-288889891.html

Von Drehle, D. 2015, January 17. Why the Supreme Court is set to make history on gay marriage.   http://time.com/3672582/supreme-court-gay-marriage-ruling/

Pictures

Express Logo. Retrieved on January 17, 2015 from http://trinimansblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/10/businessman-robbed-beaten-to-death-in.html

Multimedia icon.  Retrieved on January 17, 2015 from http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin/mboard/graphics/thread.cgi?175,last

TIME logo.  Retrieved on January 17, 2015 from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Time_Magazine_logo.svg

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Blog Best Practices

Having read articles on effective blogging by Daren Rowse, Ilias Chelidonis and DM Best Practices, the following are what I consider some of the best practices:

  • Ensure a title that is catchy and relevant to its content, like a newspaper headline
  • Employ journalistic style writing that answers the questions who, what, when, and where in the introduction and the details of how and why in the body
  • Try to make the content scannable and easily retrievable
  • Use google analytics to track the performance of the web
  • Write short paragraphs and stay away from long sentences, as this style is preferable to web readers
  • The design of the blog is important and should be user friendly, not cluttered
  • Use headlines and headings
  • Avoid verbosity
  • Create content that informs, entertains, inspires and or interacts
  • Blog passionately
  • Be honest and fair

The blog that I have chosen to analyse is Trinidad Carnival Diary, written by an anonymous Trinidadian blogger whose nom de plume is Saucy Trini.  She focuses her content on Trinidad carnival 365 days a year, and 366 in a leap year.  http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/

The content of this blog informs readers about all things carnival from parties, band launches to playing carnival; entertains with witty anecdotes of carnival experiences and inspires readers to join the revelry on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.   The title of the blog is relevant to its content and catchy.  In addition, there are many pictures, short paragraphs and links to other interesting articles, so it is reader friendly.

In one blog post, ‘Drunk Drivers Safe Feters’, the blogger praises and recommends a safe and reliable taxi service for party goers who plan to drink alcohol.  However, she writes, “In full disclosure I would like to say that I have met and know of the Founder of Drunk Drivers prior to the start of this business venture” (Saucy Trini (2), 2015).  This certainly adds to her credibility.  There are also links on the page to Facebook and Instagram, widgets and opportunities for readers to interact.  I find this blog very engaging.  The writer knows her audience, who are fellow carnival lovers, and she caters to their needs.

There are certainly many elements in my own blog that I can enhance.  At present, it is very basic.  The title ‘Trini Voice in a Global Village’ is very broad and does not necessarily target a niche market.  I also need to include more Trini examples and references in my writing so that it is relevant to the title.  The blog comprises of assignments for class.  I need to write shorter paragraphs, include multimedia and provide links to social media. In short, my blog is more like academic short papers posted to a blog, so it is not as engaging as it could be for web readers.  It would also improve greatly if I were to adopt the journalistic inverted pyramid style of writing.

I think the strengths of my blog are that it is grammatically sound and I make every effort to research my topics well.

As a novice blogger, I would certainly read an official Blogger’s Code of Conduct and I would find it useful.  I always find guidelines helpful when embarking on any new undertaking.  Having said that, I think that there are certain life hacks that run true regardless of what you are doing and for me the basis of it all is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The spirit of this is encapsulated in the standards of the Food Blog Code of Ethics (Greenstein & Burton, 2011) and the SPJ Code of Ethics (2014): Do no harm, seek the truth and be accountable.

References

Chelidonis, I.   .  12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog.  Retrieved from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/

D M Best Practices.    Writing for the web. Retrieved from http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/docs/dm_webwriting.pdf

Greenstein, L and Burton, B. 2011, August 28. Food Blog Code of Ethics 2.0. Retrieved from https://foodethics.wordpress.com/

Rowse, D. 2014 March 5. Beginner Week: My 43 DOs and 25 DON’Ts of Blogging.  Retrieved from http://www.problogger.net/archives/2014/03/05/beginner-week-my-43-dos-and-25-donts-of-blogging/

Saucy Trini. 2015. Trinidad Carnival Diary. Retrieved from http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/

Saucy Trini (2). 2015 January 6. Drunk Drivers, Safe Feters. Retrieved from http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/?p=10133

Society of Professional Journalists. 2014, September 6. SPJ Code of Ethics.  Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

The challenges of using new media tools

This exercise has confirmed for me that I have social media phobia.  I am on Twitter but tend to post primarily work related issues sporadically, and inactive on Google+.  I text regularly using WhatsApp and to a lesser degree BBM, but I do not frequently change my profile picture or update my status.  I fear loss of privacy and confidentiality.  I was shocked when I ‘googled’ my name recently and saw every tweet I have ever written available for all to see.  Therefore it is with a great deal of trepidation that I embarked on this exercise.  The three new media tools that I tried are widgets, podcasts and Facebook.

Having created a blog on WordPress.com for the COMM 510 course, I decided that I would try to improve the blog’s content and appearance by adding a widget.  Aside from posting blog entries, I must admit that I am still having difficulty navigating and using the features on the site.  I elected to create an About Me widget which now appears on my page.  I think that it can be very helpful in providing additional information and varied content.  According to Aids.Gov the ‘common content of widgets are photo and video viewers, polls, fundraising, or RSS feeds (e.g. Twitter, news headlines on a particular subject)’.  I took a while writing what I wanted to share about myself on the widget but was happy when it appeared on my page.  Please see my effort on About Me.  It is also at the end of this page on WordPress.

I am not a great fan of creating videos that include me, so I elected to produce an audio podcast as a good alternative to text since an audience can listen to it on the go.  I purchased a Mobile Podcaster App from the app store because it would allow me to record and publish audio recordings and upload them directly to my WordPress site.  Perfect, I thought; so I wrote a brief script on Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, recorded and uploaded it to WordPress.  However, I cannot find the podcast, only the accompanying picture.  I have to upgrade in order to upload it or provide a link to it but at present it is only on my phone.  Having bought the podcaster app I have no desire at present to pay for a WordPress upgrade too.  According to Aids.Gov ‘31% of people [polled] reported to listening to audio’ so there is an audience, especially for people who have long commutes daily.

Lastly, I joined Facebook after resisting for many years.  The decision was a difficult one but the process was easiest.  Immediately a list of potential friends appeared but I have added very few friends, as I have heard so many horror stories about Facebook.  It seems quite user friendly though and is designed to guide users easily through the process of connecting with others.  The audience is certainly extensive.  According to the Facebook Newsroom there were ‘864 million daily active users on average for September 2014’.  Those figures are impressive and certainly reflect a global audience. My Facebook page

I have a lot to learn about new media.  The content in widgets and podcasts would appeal to niche audiences based on their interests, but if they are embedded on an active Facebook page that has many friends or a Twitter account with many followers, the message would reach wider audiences and they would certainly have greater appeal and use.  As the Dragonfly Effect model clearly states users of new media tools must Focus, Grab Attention, Engage and Take Action.  If these guidelines are followed any new media tool can be successful and reach a wide audience.

References

Aids.Gov. 2015. New Media Tools.  Retrieved from https://www.aids.gov/using-new-media/tools/index.html#tool-bookmarkingNew

Facebook.  Facebook Newsroom. 2015. Retrieved from http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/