We’ve started the semester with so much energy and so many things to do that we almost forgot about this space! On the other hand, we are looking towards an exciting semester where you are given the opportunity to act as a digital agency and use the internet for a full-project – from the development of the concept to its implementation online, its monitoring and evaluation.
While the lectures are there to provide you with the theoretical and practical questions you should consider in your work, remember that it is your responsibility to figure out how to create online presences (whether blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages, pinterest boards, widgets…), manage analytics accounts and monitor your online activity in general. After all, the internet is abundant of such resources and you should make full use of them!
We’ve spent the first 3 weeks (and hence 6 lectures) setting the scene and trying to understand the Internet, as a medium, as a paradigmatic shift and as cultural and social phenomenon.
The first lecture – Introduction
During our first lecture we spoke about the set-up of the course, learning outcomes and assessment. All the details are included in the Unit Guide on myBU.
The second lecture – The Digital Media Landscape
We dedicated the second lecture to exploring the digital media landscape. One of the aspects we discussed was the vocabularly asociated with the internet and its development over the years, from web1.0 (the early web, mostly read-web) to web 2.0 (the read-write web) to web 3.0 (portable, personal, semantic). We also indicated that social media is only one aspect, very dynamic and fast changing, of the web. We dedicated particular attention to Fred Cavazza’s visualization of social media as a means of showing the diversity of the online platforms but also as a means of stressing, that although very many, social media sites and platforms share common functions. Finally, we spoke about the different assumptions and perspectives about digital and social media use where users are skeptical and not willing to be associated with brands and where brands and companies are more and more embracing the medium, creating a challenging environment to operate for communication and marketing specialists. To emphasize these challenges we presented the web in terms of owned, paid, earned and highjacked media but also as a place which host fragmented audiences.
The third lecture – A practitioner’s response
The third lecture offered you with a practioner’s response to the brief. Details on how to start planning your work and the research for your project are on myBU.
The fourth lecture – The Web Culture
The fourth lecture focused on thw web culture and theories related to it including the digital divide, the hive mind, the cult of the amateur, technological deteminism, gamification and fungineering. Amber’s lecture, also on myBU has a very good list of videos and links to help you grasp these concepts and theories and help you critically evaluate the nature and phenomenon of the rise of web culture.
The fifth lecture – CISION Guest Talk
During the fifth lecture, we had the pleasure the welcome Mark Reeves from CISION, who gave us a demo of the platform. Of the many things shown, perhaps of most interest to us are the influencer search, media and social media monitoring and analytics.
The Sixth lecture – Privacy, Policy, Guidelines
Finally, during our sixth lecture we paid attention to privacy online and the value of the internet. The idea that we promoted during the lecture was that the individuals’/organizations’ philosophy and view of the internet as a tool for communication shapes both the way in which they use it but also their relationship with their users. To empahise these differences, we spent the rest of the lectures looking into the policies and guidelines for social media put in place by big companies such as Yahoo!, Kodak or Coca-Cola. SocialMediaGovernance has quite a lenghty list of examples in its policy database. A list of social media blunders can be found here.
To start your own policy and discuss about how you would define, plan and implement your digital media work and its effects, try using the Social Policy Generator tool or the Social Media Policy tool.
Some concluding remarks
We’ve dedicated the first three weeks of term to situating your assignment in the wider context of digital media and attempted to emphasize the following:
- Digital media is just a medim
- Digital media, and social media in particular, present a paradigmatic shift in terms of how we think and use media
- Digital media, and social media as its subset, affect both the way users interact as well as the business toolkit
- Digital media is a highly fragmented environment where relationship and trust are more important and more successful than hard-selling techniques
- Digital media thrives on interaction however, interaction does not happen unless the communication is well targeted (remember the fragmented environment, a networked society and the space of bespoke nieches)
- One’s understanding of digital media affects the way it uses the medium
- Chris Anderson’s blog : The Long Tail
- Evgeny Morozov’s book: The Net Delusion (on myBU)
- Neal Postman’s book: Amusing Ourselves to Death (in the library or online excerpts)
- Andrew Keen’s book: The Cult of the Amateur
- Please check the unit guide for a complete list of readings