Social Media Review
At the beginning of the semester I committed to using Instagram and snapchat as part of the social media review. I had already made accounts prior to this assignment, but I have never invested much into social media before. Something I realized early on is that advertisers are really taking advantage of these platforms. The way you encounter ads on Instagram is simple: just as you would scroll to view your feed’s newest post, you scroll to find a sponsored ad. These ads were typically not annoying and infrequent enough to not be much of a bother. I didn’t actually take the time to interact with any of the ads, which makes me think that some ingenuity would go a long way; this technique just does not seem effective. My use of Instagram averaged about a view per day, as in, opening and looking at a refreshed feed (typically around 30 to 50 new posts) and then closing the app. I contributed about one post per week myself. I saw an increase in followers just from using the account more. There are quite a few spam accounts floating around the Instagram universe though. These are much more annoying than the native ads, and not as easy to ignore. Setting your profile to private means that you can approve and deny follow requests, but you will typically not gain as many followers with a private account. The inverse of that is dealing with the spam comments that show up on posts stating that they can gain you new followers or that there is some new miracle workout you need to try. I think so far the potential use of Instagram far outweighs its actual use to this point. A couple of creative ideas could go a long way towards reaching that potential.
Snapchat was a bit more of a struggle for me. I also had an account before the semester started, but I was not actively using or participating in the app. This gave me a chance to have a bit more of a ground up approach. I was learning to use the app from scratch, since there was a big interface overhaul late last year. The way advertisers are using snapchat is really well done. The ads will be placed in live stories, basically stories that snapchat-ers only in the area or participating in the event can post to. While living vicariously through other people, you can also catch a relevant ad about well, anything. This is another native advertising form that works well and is generally not a bother. You can skip the ads just like any other snap, but I found myself watching the majority of them. The ads tended to be more light hearted and fun, which is a lot more appealing in that medium. There are also channel specific stories ranging from MTV to National Geographic to Cosmopolitan. These channels allow the owners full authority to publish stories and other engaging content. This gives the entertainers yet another way to grab your attention in an attention deprived climate. As I used snapchat more, I gained more followers (just like Instagram). My participation also averaged to checking updated stories once a day. I found that unlike Instagram, I would binge use snapchat. If I was doing something fun or interesting I may update a story with ten snaps, then go another week or two without posting anything. In general I found that girls used snapchat far more often than the guys I was following.