SM Aftermath

Since taking CAP 105 my view on social media has changed in a negative way. I used to think that it was primarily about normal people making connections and keeping in contact with those who may not be near anymore. However, I have come to realize that social media has expanded far beyond just personal communications and is now more about orchestrating a presence online in order to improve one’s brand or self-image. In fact most companies have even implemented tactics that aid users to make their platforms into integral points of their business plans. Twitter, for instance, made sure that advertisements are among the first to appear when someone searches anything when using their search engine. (Bernoff, 2010) Because of these additions Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become prime sources of advertising right underneath people’s noses. It has made something personal into a business.

Social media is not the personal communication sources that people like it believe. It is almost all pre-orchestrated, pre-planned, and analyzed in order to create shares, likes, and retweets. Almost nothing is truly genuine on social media. It is all analyzed on a scale and made into data in order to make the next post better and more efficient. This in itself is a problem because there is no definite way to measure if a post is successful or not. There are simply too many metrics and factors to consider (Baer, 2014).  These metrics are what our social media lives are based on whether we realize it or not. It is not creativity or passion that determines what is in our social media feeds. It is numbers.

The other major impact that social media has many had is the way in which it has changed how people get news. They do not check a newspaper, television, or websites anymore; they look at what is trending on Twitter. They don’t look in a magazine for articles, they share them on Facebook. Not only this, but it has changed who is writing the news and how stories are told, “Regardless of the outlet, the rise of technology in our society has allowed for voices of regular people to be heard by millions of people within seconds.” (Rong Lim, 2015). Because of this, news stories now have more human faces, and actual dialogue from those who experience them. But, it also means that stories are sometimes told before all the facts are in, leading to chaos.

Overall, social media has become something in which professionals have used to make themselves seem more personal to clients and people use to make themselves feel more important. It is systems in which people throw their genuine selves out the window and make a better version appear on the screen. It is something our generation originated, but older ones have adapted, making us seem superficial while they are business savvy for using the same technique.

References

Baer, J. (2014) The truth about social media metrics .Convince&convert Retrieved from http://www.convinceandconvert.com/podcasts/episodes/the-real-truth-about-social-media-metrics/

Bernoff, J. (2010).Why you should embrace advertising on Twitter. Advertising Age, 81(16), 9. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/193313206?accountid=39473

Rong, L. (2015) Everyone is a journalist: The truth about social media. The Wellesley News. Retrieved from http://thewellesleynews.com/2015/11/18/everyone-is-a-journalist-the-truth-of-social-media/

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Infographic

Infographics are pictures used to inform, map out instructions, or compare easily. They are often used to teach new skills.This project was created using http://piktochart.com/ The content is shared via my this blog post, but could be placed onto any social media platform such as Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Outlets are posting it to the internet,emails, prints, or newsletters. The following is an example.Untitled Infographic

Social Media…What’s the Deal?

The hardest thing about talking about social media is defining what it means, and how it changes the meaning of what it associates with.  Does the work “like” actually mean that someone enjoys something, or is it now just a verb used when talking on Facebook? When people say retweet aloud in everyday conversation to something they agree with, does that count as being a part of the Twitter community? People my age have taken social media to the next level, incorporating it in “real life.” While most affiliate social media with the millennial age exposing themselves willingly online, networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, have all expanded their reach and made the networks a viable part of modern day business, and it’s sinking into everyday life. To really define what the term social media means, the ways in which people use the platforms along with if they are successful or not is critical.

I personally use social media to make keep in contact with friends and family. Being two states away from my hometown, it’s the easiest way to stay in the know.The occasional post or Tweet makes users feel as though they are keeping others update on their lives. However, it has been shown that those who check and use social media sites on a regular basis tend to feel more down about themselves, saying that they are underachieving much more than those who claim to not be active on social media. This is claimed to be because social media makes people see others success, with favorites and likes, highlighting their own failures, and making themselves attempt to appear more successful on social media. (Fowler, 2015). This means that while many people only intend to use social media to keep in touch with one another, the statistics show that people actually use it in order to make themselves look better online than they are in person.

However, social media is now evolving into even more than fake personas, “catfishing”, and being completely about people. Marketing on popular media sites is now a common part of any marketing plan. Whether it be through promoted posts or a verified account for a brand talking about themselves, companies are taking advantage of the social media revolution and making it into money. But, this is not an easy task. While saying something on Twitter or Facebook can be good because of the immediate views and feedback, when the feedback is negative it can be hard to control. For example, On October, 18 2015 IHOP tweeted an offensive comment about women’s breasts that received negative attention and became a national news story. (Valinsky, 2015). This controversy shows that while promotion on social media is very important, it is still something that is an entirely new process that changes every time a site or service changes its own features. However, it is the way in which the services get revenue and many “Instagram Famous” or verifies Twitter accounts have learned how to make having a presence on social media into a full blown career.

There have been attempts to fully define what social media means with no luck at one true definition. The Web Analytics Association attempted to compile responses on what social media was in order to find what it meant. They ended up with four definitions. (Web Analytics Association, 2010). Social media is something that changes so much that it is hard to define. Because everyone uses it for different reasons, and with corresponding different success rates, it meaning changes based on the user. I personally think that it is at its core, the 21st century way of staying in contact with one another and expressing ourselves. It’s handwritten letters, public service announcements, news, and community all rolled into several different feeds. Social media is basically a digitized (and fantasized) version of life.

Image by Jason Howie
Image by Jason Howie

References

Fowler, Ryan, (2015) Tech city news: Social media use leaves millennials feeling like ‘generation #fail’ Chatham: Newstex. Retrieved on Novenmber 10, 2015, from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1702635048?accountid=39473

Web Analytics Association offers social media definitions for comment. (2010). Direct : Magazine of Direct Marketing, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/233659911?accountid=39473

Valinsky, Jordan, (2015, Oct. 19) IHOP’s suggestive tweet about women’s breasts falls flat. Digiday. Retrieved November 11, 2015 from http://digiday.com/brands/ihops-suggestive-tweet-womens-breasts-falls-flat/

What Technology Should Be

Imagine this: You are in a room full of people. There is a table in the room with dishes and silverware on top of it. People talk at a regular volume, but when someone whispers into a microphone, there is a huge roar, causing the plates and dishes to crash to the ground. This is what Emily Kennerk’s piece “Whisper” does. (Stryker, 2015). It is a submission for ArtPrize Seven, and is just once example of how the art competition uses technology. While it is clear that those who organize ArtPrize are trying to keep up to date, with apps and contemporary pieces, the competition seems to be missing the mark on a huge part of technology: social media.

It is not that they do not try. In the last few years technology has played a huge role. Last year year the competition had extensive updates to both its website and app. It also included an interactive map, which told visitors about the Grand Rapids in general instead of just the art. (Woods,2014). While impressive, these improvements are for the people who already go to ArtPrize. To become better known and expand, ArtPrize must entice people who may not know about the competition. In today’s world, this would be done through social media, and it sort of seems like the ArtPrize tweets, posts, and pictures are failing.

ArtPrize does generate posts about itself. Every year there are hundreds of hashtags, tweets, and posts about the event. ArtPrize has even organized photo competitions in order to gain a large social media gathering. In 2011 viewers could win a camera if they took a picture of a piece and captioned it. They then would have to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag ArtPrize. (Burch, 2011) While this may have increased their following on these networks, does not mean that people would then favorite, retweet, or like ArtPrize’s posts. For example, ArtPrize has 36,010 followers on Twitter, at https://twitter.com/ArtPrize,  as of today. They tweet multiple times a day but usually do not get more than a few favorites or an occasional retweet. With that many followers, that number should be a lot bigger. How will they expand if the people who follow them do not like their content enough to share it with their own followers? They have an arsenal of pictures and art that they could be Tweeting about, but instead use quotes from articles about the event. While they may be trying to promote those writing about them, it does not seem to be working in promoting themselves. For reference the Grand Valley State University Twitter , which can be found at https://twitter.com/GVSU has 32,249 followers, which is almost 4,000 less, as of today. However, scrolling through their tweets shows that they average many more retweets and favorites because they make their account interactive and image based.

ArtPrize is gearing itself towards technology, but using the latest technology is not the same as successfully using the latest technology. Their social media accounts need to improve if they want to become the Coachella of art. Below are some pictures that I would personally enjoy if I saw on social media. While simple, these images show some of the art being buit and an example of a non-official piece. They will help followers and friends alike not just see the atmosphere of ArtPrize, but help take their social media from a messy scream to a quiet but erupting whisper.

structure

Artist’s work on a structure.

20150926_170927

A stop sign is modified for a piece

References:

Burch, Brian (Sep.18 2014) Sharing is Caring. ArtPrize Blog. Retrieved from http://www.artprize.org/blog/sharing-is-caring

Stryker, Mark (Sep. 30 2015) Quality is Up at ArtPrize 7; Don’t Miss These Works. Detroit Free Press Retrieved from http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/mark-stryker/2015/09/30/quality-consistency-continue-rise-artprize-7/72977152/

Woods, Jaenell (Sep. 4 2011) ArtPrize Launches 2014 Technology Suite. Art Prize Blog. Retrieved from https://www.artprize.org/blog/2014-technology-suite

Technology & ArtPrize

Last year the ArtPrize item I fell in love with was a line of chocolate bars. They had goofy names and weird ingredients, but where above all delightful. They weren’t an actual submission, but they won in my heart. I guess that’s what I thought of ArtPrize: simple but unique art pieces that ended up being delightful. The annual competition is having its seventh running year, with a $200,000 grand prize, multiple night events, and two rounds of voting to find the best.  (Associate Press, 2015)

Technology is huge in how ArtPrize is run. Each submission piece is given a code which viewers can text to a number or use online in order to vote. However, this year’s ArtPrize started with a hiccup. For six hours the mobile app and http://www.artprize.org/ were shut down, which made it impossible for viewers to vote unless they were already registered on the app. This was fixed, but took away from some of the new features which were added to the app in order to enhance the viewer’s experience. This year the new improved version of the app gave uses the ability to not only vote for a mobile devices, but get directions, see and make lists of what one is seeing, find venues, and get the latest news.  (Kaczmarczyk, 2015). While technology is important to voting, it seems to not be as important to the actual art.

When I visited ArtPrize.I couldn’t see technology anywhere. While I liked the paintings and crowds of people, I couldn’t find anything in the art that was technological. I knew the event used technology, but I wanted to go further than that. . For example, the map I followed at ArtPrize was on my phone. The way to vote for submissions was also from my phone .The votes already cast were on a huge electronic projector on a stage where people were decorating cars in order to win one.  I thought that was it. The technology at ArtPrize wasn’t in the art, but in the way that ArtPrize itself was presented. But then I entered the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art for a mysterious event.

The exhibit was called Sense. The UIC  had six artists create contemporary pieces based on hearing, touch, taste, and smell. (Becherer,  2015).The work took up the entire building, each level holding several pieces.  Only a few made me think of technology. The ground level of the building was a huge, 1970’s looking computer. It was titled Technician 3 and was by Charles Jevremovic. One could simply turn the nobs and put on head phones at any given turn. The whole room was filled with people, listening to the recordings all about the Cold War. The basement held an art piece that titled (extra)ordinary by Jihyun Hong. It was an entire room, but also had a movie screening next door about the artist’s ideas and how she brought the piece to life.  This exhibit made me realize that while the way ArtPrize is run may be reliant on technology, but so are some of the more modern pieces. The technology in ArtPrize is growing. Not only in how people vote and navigate, but as the world becomes more reliant on technology, so does art. It won’t be long before a chocolate bar is seen as just a chocolate bar and mediums like computers and screens flood the art world, from ArtPrize Seven and beyond.

Here are some of the pictures I captured during my visit.

Kate_CrowdArea

A group is gathered around a car decorating contest near the center of ArtPrize.

Kate_Flyers

A paper map, info sheet for Sense and voting info for  (extra)ordinary by Jihyun Hong.

Kate_Megan

Megan Dunn votes on her phone after visiting UICA.

References:

Associated Press. (Sep. 23 2015). 7th Annual ArtPrize Competition Opens in Grand Rapids. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/2015/09/23/7th-annual-artprize-competition-opens-grand-rapids/72669522/.

Becherer, Joe. (Sep. 25 2015) ArtPrize 2015 Venue Reveiw: UICA MLive Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/09/artprize_2015_venue_review_uica.html

Kaczmarczyk, Jeffery. (Sep. 21 2015) 8 things you can do with ArtPrize 2015 App. MLive Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index.ssf/2015/09/artprize_2015_has_an_app_for_navigating_the_exhibition_500000_competition.html