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.
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/