Just somewhere to put down my thoughts on Interactive Media Strategies (IMS) and occasionally some other stuff that pops into my mind...

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Chappie Dog Food

We were given a fictional brief in our Creative Analysis unit a while ago for Chappie dog food. It's a dog food that's high in fibre and recommended by vets for it's health benefits. Over 60s were given as the target audience. Here's what we came up with...

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Great Levelling

There was a tv programme on BBC 2 the other day called “The Virtual Revolution” (see here). The title of the first episode was “The Great Levelling”, as the internet was supposed to empower everyone and enable anyone with access to the internet to publish. The programme cited blogs and wikis as great examples of this phenomenon. Is this really the case?

Wikipedia is seen by many as a great example of the power of the internet to collate human knowledge. In reality, the number of editors is tiny in relation to the number of people who use it, so it’s still not very level at all. It’s also got other flaws. Vipul Naik talks of the many articles that are caught in a situation where two or more groups of editors battle to get their view published, one eventually winning as the other becomes bored. This isn’t what was meant to happen. We were meant to collaborate and reach an absolute truth. Anyway, it’s much more fun just to type something rude isn’t it?

Blogs do allow anyone to publish yes, but just because it’s out there on the web doesn’t mean anyone will read it. If you’re a moron, people still won’t listen to you just because you have a blog. Saying that, even popular blogs aren’t necessarily any good. Crowds aren’t wise after all. But if you do want to follow the crowd, many blog search engines and other social media employ a rating system as a means to generate participation. You can even earn badges for your blog or profile so others can see how good a contributor you are. Nice and level eh?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Online Community

Does community exist online? To answer this, it’s probably sensible to define what we mean by community. In the offline world, most communities are defined by location, but online, proximity is not an essential for communication. A definition of community relating to a group of people living in a particular place therefore doesn’t cover online community. Unless of course, people living in a particular place offline, choose to communicate online. Other definitions of community suggest a common religion, occupation or lifestyle may bring people together. This has more relevance online where specialist interest social networks, forums and chat rooms appear. But what about the diversity of community? Some communities comprise a wide variety of interests, cultures, ages etc, but still they interact with each other. In niche online environments, is diversity present? I think these aspects of community highlight the key differences of online community. As location is no longer an issue, people with different interests are no longer brought together. Common interest is what generates online community, so the diversity you see offline is lost. Instead online community has the diversity that comes from spanning the globe. A 14 year old in California can be in an online community with a 35 year old in Delhi. That sounds pretty diverse to me.

There are also other differences with online community. In the offline world, being part of a community is more of a commitment. Online though, you can join and leave as you please, and you can even just watch and never participate. Jakob Nielsen suggests that most people have no desire to build communities online. For real diversity, the views of these lurkers need to be captured. Sites that host online communities therefore need to encourage the building of relationships and identities. The functionality and ease of use of a site is therefore important for greater participation and avatars, nicknames, reputation scores and post counts all create identities for members and encourage interaction through the notion of play.