“Mom Computer Therapy” for Young and Naive social Media users
The first thing I ask you to do, is watch this short YouTube clip of Amy Schumar called “Mom Computer Therapy.”
Amy Schumar is frustrated with her mum because her mum is absolutely terrible, for a lack of a better word, with technology. She is behind the times and a complete rookie when it comes to her computer. To relate this to my personal experience with social and digital media, I feel as if I was Amy Schumer’s mom just a few months ago. I had little understanding about general media dynamics in a digital world, and have come to learn a lot about virility, the effectiveness of smart posting, different platforms of publishing and how media has evolved. So instead of writing a letter to a young and naive social media user, I am instead going to write a letter to myself that I wish I had two months ago.
There is a so much to know about media dynamics in the digital world that we are living to today. But to make this experience easy and hopefully free of confusion, I am going to give you four highly effective tools so that you can engage, participate and become knowledgeable and resourceful when it comes to digital journalism and digital media.
Number One: If you want to be a member of digital society, you must be an active participant on different media platforms. I would advise you to create a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Wordpress, Meduim and BuzzFeed account. I say these platforms because these show an array of variance, from news to social fulfillment to a combination of both. After you create an account on each, you must identify which platform rains which type of involvement. To help you out:
Twitter: good for gathering news and short opinionated statements.
Instagram: good for posting photographs and short blurbs about the photograph.
Facebook: good for your social identity, but can also be a way to see trending and viral stories on the home feed.
WordPress: good for posting/reading longer stories and articles with a visually stimulating appeal (formatted in a unique way).
Meduim: similar to wordpress, another good way to post/read longer stories and articles with a visually stimulating appeal (formatted in a unique way).
Buzfeed: good for seeing what is viral, what is being read/watched/ listened to. It’s also very good at displaying a combination of news, virility and socially trending topics.
Number Two: Being an active member doesn’t mean just being knowledgeable, it means sharing your knowledge as well. I believe that the people who are highly advanced when it comes to digital media are the ones to can gather information, and put out information of their own. This means that tweeting, posting blogs on Wordpress, and captioning photos on Instrgram is essential. Not only does it give you a voice on platforms, but also it allows you to connect with a broader audience. It gives you credibility in a way that people can look to you, and see you as a provider of information, not just a gatherer. In an article published by the New York Times Insight called “The Psychology of Sharing.” It touched on methodology, motivation, guidelines for getting shared and the consumer categories, all of which are relevant to being a creator of digital media and not just a consumer. The article said it best, receiving information (gathering info from the platforms), combining (what you’ve gathered and building your own ideas), and redistributing (sharing your opinion and putting it out there for others to see).
Number Three: one of the best practices of doing digital journalism in the world of the social Web is making sure the information you’re gathering/ researching/ reading is credible. You need to get an abundance of sources, question and fact check the motives, check off all of the variables that make something worthy of republication and above all, trust your gut- if something seems off, it probably is off. By being a skeptical recipient of information, you are adding to the voluminous scale in which impactful and veridical information travels through mediums. In the world of the Web, this is one of the most important aspects of being a digital journalist. Not only do you need to trust your sources, but you need to be trustworthy yourself. So while you are out being diligent about finding trustworthy sources, someone else is doing this to you- give them no reason to doubt or question your work, motives or ability to produce factual and unique work.
Number Four: Understanding timing, virility and playing the social game: if you want to be successful in the in the world of the social Web, you must identify your audience, know when the perfect time to post is, and find platforms that will allow for virility. As Jay Rosen said in his article, The People Formerly Known as the Audience, he said, “If you want to attract a community around you, you must offer them something original and of a quality that they can react to and incorporate in their creative work.” The identification of your audience means identifying the age demographic, asking yourself “do I want well educated college students or business men reading my work, or do I want everyday people?” Once you’ve selected the audience, you must recognize the timing of a post, be it first thing in the morning so commuters can read it on the way to work, or late at night when kids are scrolling through social media before bed. And then above all, figuring out which platform will get the most attention based on that audience. Kids seem to use Instagram and Facebook more, however businessmen seem to use Meduim, and Twitter for their daily dose of digital media.
So Hayley, while you don’t need to be an expert on every component of digital media, it is important to have a well-rounded understanding of these things as it is this diligent research that will allow for you to best practice digital journalism. I assure you that the more you engage and put yourself out there, the more you will learn about the Web and all that technology has to offer. The more partake in the online world through various platforms, the better you will get at figuring out things like “what makes a story go viral? How do you attract broad audiences? What interests people? How can digital media be used to create or sustain a business?” So be not afraid of what others think, but be mindful that what you read, research, and post is attached to your personal brand. The Web is a powerful tool and if used correctly it can connect you with the rest of the world.
Your once young and naive social media user self.