Over a period of a week, I documented my online media use in order to answer the question, “How do I use online media?”. Throughout this week I have used the internet and social media sources for a variety of reasons, ranging from promotional efforts to personal messaging.
In saying this, I have however found that I used media far less than I would have expected or at least, for far fewer things than I expected. It seemed as if I used it for very specific activities on a regular basis rather than for new things consistently every day. This has lead me to believe that I am very set in my use of media having found some sort of comfort zone. I was not updating or using all of my social media platforms everyday.
I now realise that majority of time spent on media was engaging on Facebook and Youtube, whether it be leaving comments, posting statuses or sharing content.
I have found that there can be a sort of conflicting pressure involved with maintaining an online media presence. Even when updating my social media status or posting a meme I had these moments of thought after having posted, wondering if I should have posted a certain thing or not. This tended to be due quite commonly to me doubting the content I was posting, and it’s quality.
When discussing the topic of memes which I engaged with on a daily basis through Facebook Pages like Surface Reality Memes and Ambient Memes, I stumbled across an understanding. Meme culture whilst starting out as a trend has developed into a form of mainstream humour. This does not decrease its value but instead allows for a greater range of participants and therefore, ideas.
Memes have grown so popular that companies large and small will use meme references in order to advertise. Companies like; Mr Rental for instance, have a large online presence through their ability to use online satire and make create posts that attract attention through tags, shares, retweets and reblogs. Their Facebook page is a hub for these types of posts and can be seen at (https://www.facebook.com/MrRental/).
I used websites online to share my media, such as the album artwork for my bands single, “Sin”. I posted the artwork to Facebook initially to use it as a promotion for the upcoming song. This sort of promotion is quite typical of bands as it is a simple form of advertising. Often it can be seen that bands will post one particular piece of artwork over several social media accounts in order to drum up hype about the release. Additionally, I made the artwork to be displayed on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and Deezer for the album artwork. However, I used YouTube as well. I find great benefit in using YouTube, the user navigation is easy to understand with all your options laid out in front of you. However, it also makes sharing the track easier and more accessible. Not everyone will click on a Spotify, Apple music, iTunes, or other link. Yet, people will gladly press a YouTube link especially because it is familiar and works so well with Facebook as it embeds the video into the site.
What I found rather interesting is that if I were unable to use Facebook for distribution of artwork my reach would be severely impacted. There are of course sites like Pinterest where people are able to share creative inspiration and ideas through an easy to use interface, however the site does not accommodate promotion very well as there is a less personal feeling based around the site.
Facebook has been my outlet for creative inspiration over the last few years. I draw inspiration from statuses, pictures and articles found on Facebook. Whereas with Pinterest I would find a more visual inspiration.
I learned that without Facebook I would be pretty much stranded for option in terms of my online media. Sites such as Myspace used to be extremely popular in the early days of online media however there are very few alternatives that are as powerful as Facebook. They are a company who have dominated the online market with their ability to reel in users and garner attention to themselves as the central hub for social media.
It comes down to the fact that Facebook dominates the market, as well as Google. Facebook bought Instagram and therefore is a product of Facebook. Google owns YouTube and the video market is overpowered by this company. So if I were unable to use these services I would struggle getting any endeavours off the ground.
This assignment enabled me and indeed, encouraged me to learn about alternatives that I could use in the online media landscape.
It got me thinking about how I could use other online media applications to promote myself. This led me to remember that I used sites likes Squarespace as a design portfolio and was able to share this with my friends.
Squarespace offered a wide range of options when customising my portfolio. This is what I find crucial to my online usage. I am always looking to customise my online presence and will often want to be updating this consistently. So when faced with the variety of options on Squarespace I was very impressed with how I could choose to display my content in a personal manner. This is something that Facebook does not offer in an effective way. There is limited customisation on the site in the form of a Profile Picture and a Timeline Cover Photo.
However, what I don’t like is that I am left with very few options in terms of what I can use to publish content. Facebook dominates the market and the other social medias tend to get drowned out. It seems as if smartphones are becoming more popular than television as a way to consume and distribute media, due to ease of use and portability. Due to this there is a multiplicity of different social medias, but none of them quite have the traction or style of Facebook. Having to limit myself to one main platform is uninteresting and does not enable me to express creativity to a wide audience.
After having looked back over my week of media use. I have concluded that if the resources of social media that I currently use were deleted I would struggle to find an alternative. I have dealt with the pressure of contemplating whether or not to post and distribute online media. And I have engaged in aspects such as paid promotion and starting a meme page.
There are pros to media, such as; convenience, accessibility, and creative sharing. Just as there are cons to media such as content limitations, over saturation of content and political correctness. Yet, overall I have found that I can use media in a number of ways to benefit myself and others. Through building my online presence I have been able to aid myself and my friends in garnering online attention for personal projects and content we support.