I created this blog because I was in a social media class in the School of Media and Public Affairs at GW. Not only was I tasked with producing weekly blog content that incorporated different elements every week but we also were required to Tweet and engage in conversation through Twitter about social media and the latest news and thoughts pertaining to all things social. Here is my review of a semester spent in #SMPAsocial.
Top 5 influential #SMPAsocial tweets of the semester
Over the course of the semester, some tweets from the class and from myself have surprised me more than others. Here are the top 5:
— Melissa Schapiro (@MelissaSchap) September 1, 2016
1.) This tweet from Melissa was written before the midterm and this one enticed more conversation than others. Melissa took a local piece of news at Georgetown University and opened up the conversation to the class about the response to news like this on social media. This helped me think about how people react to news like this on social media and allowed me to hear other thoughts on the subject. I think this Tweet was one of the first to really start a conversation in the #SMPAsocial Twitter feed because it enticed reactions and asked for thoughts. In “Spreadable Media,” Henry Jenkins wrote about spreadability and how online publications look to see which articles “hold people’s attention the longest” (Jenkins, 5) and this tweet/article continued to be talked about for a while after the decision was released.
Melissa was able to get us to engage with this Tweet and even inspired me to look into @Georgetown’s mentions to see how these students were reacting to the news that slave descendants would get priority in admission. I also liked how Melissa retweeted the tweet from CBS News instead of just tweeting out the article, it got the news to us faster and I heard about this decision first from her tweet.
— Lillianna Byington (@lil_byington) September 11, 2016
2.) This was one of my most popular #SMPAsocial tweets and it was before the midterm. It received 8 likes and 7 replies. Some of the early feedback I got from Professor Usher was that the content of our Tweets should say something more than just the headline of the article. With this tweet, I wanted to grab people and essentially give away the punchline for the story because that is what got people to reply to the tweet.
Articles that are studies and research can be boring but this one was a really interesting finding. One of the earliest tasks was to find content to post that was intriguing and added something to what we were learning in the class. Along with the discussion of how social media advances our communication, there are drawbacks. Just like when we had a discussion after our social media fast it was interesting to hear how people felt a sense of loneliness both with and without social media (the fomo effect).
But this study was a nice accompaniment to that conversation because it shows a different aspect of that. Not only can you be depressed after seeing all that you are missing out on or wasn’t invited to on social but then when you are depressed, your followers can tell.
— Hanna Cunningham (@hannalc25) November 13, 2016
3.) Twitter is a source of information. Being a part of #SMPAsocial helped me learn a lot about the newest tech and social media changes. From this tweet by Hanna, I learned about the new features on Instagram, before any of my friends had figured them out. Sharing brand new timely releases and being the first to do so will spread your content faster and to a broader audience. It was also nice to see in this tweet both that there are new features on Instagram and Hanna’s opinion of them.
Twitter has helped me to start more conversations and be way more knowledgable about social media and algorithms in general.
— Belle Strachan (@belle_strachan) November 6, 2016
4.) It was nice to see different content other than just articles brought up on social media. In this Tweet, Belle took a screenshot of a Tinder ad by @NordstromRack and added a quippy thought to the tweet which worked. What made this tweet more interesting than the other tweets that incorporated content other than articles was that @NordstromRack responded to Belle.
@belle_strachan We’ll be sure to share your concerns with our teams, Belle. Thanks for the tweet!
— Nordstrom Rack (@nordstromrack) November 6, 2016
In class we talked about engagement. Engagement is not just a single interaction with one customer, but an open line of communication over a period of time and being there for patrons. Dave Kerpen wrote in “Likeable Social Media” that a company who engages with customers “truly cares about what they say, think and feel” (Kerpen, 66). This Tweet was a perfect example of companies that actually keep up with their mentions and replying to consumers. @NordstromRack replied to Belle! In class we went over how some industries, like airlines, have been more active in reaching out to customers when they have specific questions and using social media to do so. That is what happened here.
We also discussed target advertising and how Belle is seeing content like this because she probably has been on Nordstrom Rack’s website. So remember, the Internet is watching.
— Leena Khayat (@leenakhayat95) November 20, 2016
5.) In a nutshell, this tweet sums up #SMPAsocial. Social media is not as easy as it looks. After being on Twitter constantly all semester long and then lasting a full 24 hours without it at all, I have learned so much about how to navigate social media and how to produce more spreadable content. Despite how much I have learned, I’m still just figuring everything out. This class has taught me a lot about how to make the most effective tweets but I know social media will continue to surprise me and there will constantly be new things I can learn.
This unique Tweet by Leena summed up those feelings for me and produced a NYTimes piece on why quitting social media could be for the best. It is natural instinct for me to open my social media apps on my phone and read all the latest news but what I have learned is that I like being away from it all, even if it is just for a day.
Reflecting on my blog, “The Invisible”
I am proud of the blog I created. I wanted to create a blog that allowed me to make connections and talk to people. When I was writing a post about why this blog and this work matters, I wrote about how when I moved to D.C. I had no idea that the District has an epidemic of homelessness but through this blog I was able to have real conversations with people and learn more about the scope of the problem. But it wasn’t always easy finding a way to talk to someone on the street. At first I was nervous. But I was determined to make this blog happen and what I learned is that talking to people and expanding my perspective on how people get to the point of homelessness and why it is such an issue in D.C. can make a difference.
I learned a lot through this platform this semester. With every week came a new requirement to incorporate a different element into the blog and at first, it was difficult for me to find ways to incorporate all of these features because I just wanted to tell stories about the people living on the streets around me. But then I realized that my blog didn’t only need to tell stories about individuals it could give people information about how to volunteer, what they can do to help and why this matters. However one of the biggest challenges for me was that it got harder for me to find people to talk to in the area with midterms and other assignments I tried to find different ways to blog about homelessness and the GW community. I do wish I had talked to more people and been able to tell more stories since that was my favorite part of having this blog.
Throughout this semester I was able to apply different features and skills to my blogging, like infographics, embedding, gifs, pull quotes, bullet points, memes, slideshows and Youtube videos.
Whether it was an infographic that could tell the scope about homelessness better than I could with words….
Or a pull quote that showed the essence of the story….
Or even a couple bullets that helped move along the blog and showed the important and shocking numbers….
……all of these elements improved the readability of my blog.
As I advanced and learned more about how to make a blog engaging, I went back to my first post about Bill Hassay, a street performer in Georgetown, and added a slideshow and a pull quote. I would say this is my favorite post of the semester because I was able to go back and add in what I was learning to enhance the post. It was nice to go back and see how much progress I had made on better formatting my blog posts and coming up with new ways to incorporate different visual elements. Another one of my favorite posts this semester was a about the top places to volunteer in the District because I got to format it as a listicle and use Youtube videos to tell the stories that I couldn’t do with words.
I know that in the future I can produce much more online readable content after working on this blog and that I can continue to incorporate all of these different elements in the future.
1.) The first post I would nominate for top #SMPAsocial credit goes to Talia Balakirsky’s Chocolate and Patents on her Intellectual Property vs. 2016 blog. Who would have thought that intellectual property and candy would go so well together and be so entertaining? Not me, that’s for sure. But it was. And I mean who knew I could learn so much from a Wonder Ball?
It seemed like Talia was able to use all of the skills we learned in class and incorporate them into this post. The infographic was well done and easy to understand. I also really enjoyed that she used gifs and pictures and even Youtube videos to break up the text. She even referenced previous blog posts and used her own voice to make it more personal. Especially since this was about legal matters, using her own voice made it more digestible but it was still an in-depth analysis and thorough post. It was also nice to see the text broken up using subheads, pull quotes and side notes.
Throughout this whole semester, Talia has taken complicated topics and made them digestible for all readers. Talk about a challenge. Talia decided to chose a blog topic that was not the easiest to convey in 500 words or use creative visuals, but she did just that. I never thought that I would enjoy reading about Intellectual Property law but every week she chose a different case that was relatable for even those least interested in the topic. She was able to incorporate graphics, gifs, memes and youtube videos in ways that made it interesting and engaging. Whether it was about Spongebob, SNL, Harry Potter or Facebook, each post took what could be a complicated case and lawsuit and transformed it into a fun, digestible blog post. After Professor Usher would assign a task to incorporate into the blog for that week, Talia then continued to incorporate those elements throughout the next weeks. She used memes and youtube videos in creative ways in multiple posts which kept humor in what could otherwise be a bland topic. I saw a lot of progress in Talia’s blogs over the semester and especially enjoyed the chocolate one.
Solid work Talia, standing ovation for you.
2.) The second post I would nominate for top #SMPAsocial credit goes Blake Kraus’ post about the lack of District House basement vendors on his DC Pop Ups and Food Trucks blog. The struggles he wrote about in this post were definitely relatable to GW students. I liked how he embedded tweets from Hatchet articles to accompany his anecdotes. The post started off funny before he even mentioned the food which made me want to read on. Then he provided a lot of actually useful reviews of alternative options because of the lack of District food that I enjoyed reading about and trusted his ranking system because it was so entertaining. He incorporated images from the truck he was reviewing then used a number system and a picture and caption (really funny ones) to rank and review the food.
He also put in a cost analysis which was helpful for students on a budget. He embedded tweets and used images and subheads throughout which made it easy to digest.
I had a lot of fun reading Blake’s blog this semester. This was my favorite food blog of the class because it had a distinct personality throughout the entire semester. If I saw one of Blake’s posts on another site I would be able to tell it was his because he has a very distinct voice that makes his posts unique and different from other food blogs, a lot of that is the way he writes with humor. It is not easy to be funny in every post but he is. Usually when I read blogs that are not produced by the #SMPAsocial class it is because they are entertaining and make me laugh. This blog did just that. It was also nice to see that Blake kept up with current food truck news, aka the Falafel truck incident! I thought it was very clever that he tied it into Thanksgiving safety tips. Many people don’t think about these issues, which made his blog unique and relatable to his audience.
Thumbs up Blake, I was impressed.