Tackling Multimedia Communication

I’m back for the summer semester and looking forward to blogging about my Introduction to Multimedia Communication class. In it, I’ll be introduced to the themes, issues and how to’s of an integrated approach to new multimedia communication. I’ll be exploring such topics as social media/multimedia writing and management and utilizing several mediums for integrated communication campaigns. I’m excited to learn how to utilize various communication methods to achieve the greatest possible benefit for businesses and customers alike.

I hope you’ll once again join me on this social media ride. Stay tuned for some awesome posts!

 

 

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Second Life: It’s even more complicated than the first

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For this week’s lecture on digital ethnography, we were asked to create a free account in Second Life (SL), a virtual community with almost 37 million residents. “Second Life offers a totally new experience for humans,” said SL’s creator, Philip Rosedale, in PBS’ Digital Nation documentary. And that’s exactly what SL was like for me — a totally new experience.

My Initial Reaction

I’m as far from a video gamer as they come. The closest I’ve come to regularly playing a video game was when I used to play the puzzle video game Chip’s Challenge on my first PC back in elementary school. But let me assure you that that did little to prepare me for SL.

Signing up for SL was pretty straightforward. I went to secondlife.com and signed up for a free account. I was asked to create a unique username for my avatar, so I chose “linnyz” because I didn’t feel comfortable using my actual name. It seems most people pick something other than their real name, so I wasn’t alone.

My Avatar

Once I was signed in to SL, I began creating my avatar. I had trouble deciding on an avatar because I wanted to present an integrated self, but none of the girls looked like me. Ultimately, I decided based off of which one’s outfit I liked best (such a girl thing to do, I know). I initially chose the avatar pictured left, but when I started the game and discovered that she was the “goth” one, I changed my avatar to the one pictured right because I felt it reflected my overall look/personality a bit more.

Goth Avatar Second Life                         Girly Avatar Second Life

When the game started, I was dropped off on an island surrounded by pirate ships. There were about four to five other people on there with me, but I couldn’t figure out what to do or how to interact with them. Before I was able to really orient myself with this new environment, I received my first chat from the residents on the island. In it, they were introducing themselves. One spoke Spanish and the other Portuguese, so I jumped in and said “Hello,” but the conversation ended there. Maybe it was because they didn’t speak English? I then tried flying over the ocean, and I have to admit, it was pretty cool because it gave me a sense of freedom. But after seeing minimal activity on the island, I chose another destination.

Chat Conversation 1 Second Life

My next destination was called “Hesperia Templemore”. It was dark, and there was weird rock music blaring in the background, so I tested out my avatar’s running skills and tried to find out where the music was coming from. I came across a deserted motel and a nearby bar. The bar was closed, but I was still able to enter through the side.

Motel and Second Life

I descended down the bar’s staircase, and at the bottom of it, I came across instruments and a notice that asked me to give a donation to “support live music in SL.” I opted not to donate and moved on to another destination.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 7.34.08 PM                                  Support Live Music Second Life

My third destination was “Prehistorica: The Dawn Kingdom”. I was so confused by all the rules here, but fortunately, received help from a fellow resident named Eric who’s been playing the game for four years. He gave me a landmark called “Help Island Public”. I wasn’t quite sure what a landmark was, but it seemed like it was a tutorial, so I accepted it.

Helpful Resident 1 Second Life

Eager to find a destination with more people, I ended up selecting from among the editor’s picks because I figured they’d be more entertaining. I decided to check out “Rez Nightclub and Mall”. There was a live DJ playing original dance songs for a packed house, but, unfortunately, no one seemed friendly and I didn’t receive any welcoming chat messages.

Free Dance Club Second Life

Later, I ended up at Luskwood Lusk, another dance-type party. Here, the DJ was playing songs like “Material Girl” by Madonna and “Lovesong” by the Cure. Someone in the chat was looking for a fitted ladies top for her avatar, so one of the other residents sent her a suggestion. I’m still baffled by the fact that you can buy virtual clothes for your avatar.

Clothes and Second Life

I then chose to go to New Citizens Incorporated. Here, I tried to change my avatar’s appearance because I wanted it to look more like me. One of the female residents saw how much I was struggling and actually sent me a notecard containing instructions on how to change my avatar’s outfit.

Helpful Resident 2 Second Life Changing Appearance and Clothes and Second Life

 I tried following what she said, but ended up bald and without pants (eek!). So I undid my changes and tried changing her outfit again. Somehow, I managed to put her in a sexy school girl outfit. At this point, the avatar didn’t resemble me in the least. Well, at least, I tried.

Sexy Avatar and Second Life

For my final destination, I wanted to try Miami Beach since I’m from Miami, but, sadly, it was too full. Who knew virtual destinations could be at maximum capacity?! I have to admit, it felt kind of like not being on the VIP list for an exclusive party. Bummer!

Full Region and Second Life

My Take on SL

I found SL to be extremely confusing and wanted nothing more than to get out of this world. On the plus side, its residents were very friendly. Even still, I’ll take the real world and my real friends any day over SL.

The survey results are in: Facebook is still alive…for most!

At the end of last year, a study came out saying that Facebook was ‘dead and buried’ for teens in the U.K. Curious to find out whether Facebook was ‘dead and buried’ in the U.S., I created an electronic survey on SurveyMonkey to find out more about Facebook use among Americans of various ages. I used a snowball sample to arrive at my results and spread the word about it via social media. In total, 115 people responded to my survey; however, because I was using the free version of SurveyMonkey, I was only allowed to document 100 responses.

My Results

Gender and Age

Of those who responded to my survey, 73% were female and 27% were male. The majority of the people, 32%, fell into the 18-24 range. Those in the 25-34 were a close second, coming in at 28%, and the third highest group was the 45-54 range, coming in at 26%. Unfortunately, I did not receive responses from anyone under 17, which is likely because this group has deemed Facebook to be uncool, but also because I don’t interact with many teens. I also didn’t receive any responses from the 75 and up crowd, so it seems most grandparents don’t use Facebook.

What do you primarily use Facebook for?

As I suspected, the majority of people, 84%, use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Five percent said they use it to keep up with current events and 4% for professional or networking reasons. No one selected the “to share articles” option. While I think many people use Facebook to share interesting articles they find, it’s not their primary reason for using the site.

Facebook Use Survey Question 3

About how often do you view or access Facebook?

Despite a drop in teen use, it seems that most Americans above 18 are still addicted to Facebook in some manner.  The majority, 81.82%, of my respondents admitted to logging on to Facebook multiple times a day. About 10% said that they log on once a day and about 4% a few times a week. Only three of the respondents said that they log on to Facebook less than a few times a week.

Facebook Use Survey Question 4

Have you ever deleted your Facebook account?

Seventy-eight percent said that they had never deleted their Facebook account, and 22% claimed to have deleted it at one point but later chose to reactivate it. No one ended up selecting the “yes, and I do not plan to reactivate it” or “I’ve never had a Facebook” responses, so it seems that the majority of Americans are still attached to their Facebook account.

Facebook Use Survey Question 5

Why did you delete your Facebook account?

I wanted to include this question to find out more about those people who have, at some point, deactivated their Facebook account. The majority of respondents who fell into this category said that Facebook took up too much of their time. This was followed by those who felt Facebook was boring/that they didn’t use it as much. Only one person claimed to have left Facebook because their parents/relatives joined, which has been cited as a top reason for the decline in teen use.

Facebook Use Survey Question 6

What do you like most/least about Facebook?

This was my only free-response question. While it was the hardest to quantify, I felt it was necessary to include it.

What people tend to like most

  • It’s not just pictures; it’s articles, videos, peoples’ opinions all in one.
  • Being able to see what friends and family are up to without having to pick up the phone and call every week.
  • It keeps them up to date on current events.
  • It’s innovative and changes with the times.
  • Posting pictures

What people tend to like least

  • Lack of privacy
  • Facebook ads cluttering their newsfeed
  • Constant updates to the platform
  • When people post obnoxious things or complain

Please rank the following social media networks in order of preference: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+

The results in order of most to least popular are: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+. My prediction is that, in the coming years, Google+ will make top three.

Facebook Use Survey Question 8

Since last year, how has your Facebook activity changed?

Fifty-one percent said that they access Facebook about the same as they did last year, 25% more than they did last year and 23% less than they did last year. The fact that most people are accessing it about the same as they did last year means that the social media network may have already reached its peak. The fact that 1/4 of the respondents access it more than they did last year may be a result of the fact that many of those who took my survey are social media masters students and likely access Facebook for work.

Facebook Use Survey Question 8

How strongly do you agree or disagree with the statement ‘Facebook is dead and buried’?

Most still consider Facebook to be going strong, as 49% strongly disagree with this statement. Twenty-nine percent somewhat disagree, 15% are neutral about this statement, 6% somewhat agree and only 1% strongly disagree.

Facebook Use Survey Question 9

What I could’ve done differently

  • While my survey was able to show Facebook use among Americans overall, the free version of SurveyMonkey made it difficult for me to look specifically at which age groups were more active than others. Perhaps I could’ve found a way around this by selecting a purposive sample instead of opening up my survey to the general population.
  • If time had permitted, I would’ve found a way to seek out teens to take my survey.
  • By posting my survey on Facebook, I was automatically attracting regular Facebook users. Those who have a Facebook but rarely log on likely didn’t see my survey, and therefore did not take it.
  •  I would’ve added the following four answer choices to the question that asked why people deleted their Facebook: “I deleted it while applying for jobs/school”, “Too much drama,” “I had privacy concerns,” “I kept comparing my life to my Facebook friends’ lives.” I think having these answer choices would’ve provided me with more accurate results.
  • While I enjoyed having a free-response question, it was difficult to quantify the results for this. Instead of answering what they like most and least about Facebook, many people only answered part of the question. Next time, I’d ask it as two separate questions.
Facebook and social media survey

Social Media Survey: Who’s using Facebook?

Facebook Use Among Different Age Groups

Facebook and social media survey

This week’s lecture and readings focused on how to use surveys and questionnaires. For our assignment, we were asked to familiarize ourselves with OpinionLabQualtrics, and SurveyMonkey, and then pick one of these services to help answer a research question we may be considering. After researching the three services, I concluded that SurveyMonkey would work best for what I was trying to achieve. OpinionLab seemed to be more for customer feedback, and Qualtrics was more academic-research based. Because I had never created a survey before, I wanted to make sure I chose a service that was straightforward and extremely user friendly.

I have decided to survey different age groups about their Facebook use. I first became curious about this topic at the end of last year when a study declared that Facebook was ‘dead and buried’ among UK teens. While I don’t know that many teens, this claim got me thinking…is Facebook use and enthusiasm waning among the youth in America as well? And how does it compare to Facebook use and enthusiasm among those 35 and up?

It’s safe to say that 99% of my friends, those ranging in age from about 21-34, have a Facebook and continue to use it weekly. This social media network continues to be a popular way for Millennials to connect with each other after meeting at an event or in class. In fact, almost everyone in my social media masters program has a Facebook. While these students do have other social media accounts, it seems that the majority use Facebook more often than they use their other social media networks. The same holds true for me. I have accounts with Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn but still log on to Facebook more than any of the others. If Facebook use really is waning, then why does the network continue to be No. 1 among my friends?

While Facebook use among Millenials continues to be up for debate, in the last few years, it seems that the 35 and up demographic has steadily increased its Facebook use. I would venture to say that about half of the parents I know, my dad included, are on Facebook. Just to give you an idea of how much Facebook use among this generation is increasing – I solicited my dad’s help in spreading the word about my survey to his Facebook friends. He posted a status about it at 7 a.m., and by the time he left the house at 7:20 a.m., he had already received five comments from people saying they had completed the survey. Why is this demographic so interested in having a presence on Facebook?

My survey consists of the following questions.

  1. What is your gender?
  2. What is your age?
  3. What do you primarily use Facebook for?
  4. About how often do you view or access Facebook?
  5. Have you ever deleted your Facebook account?
  6. Why did you delete your Facebook account?
  7. What do you like most/least about Facebook?
  8. Please rank the following social media networks in order of preference: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+
  9. Since last year, how has your Facebook activity changed?
  10. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Facebook is dead and buried.

With this survey, I’m hoping to find out who’s on Facebook and why and ultimately determine what Facebook can do to keep its current users engaged. As the SEO specialist and social media manager at my company, it is my job to figure out how to gain more followers on Facebook and what kind of posts will be most engaging. It would be interesting to learn how to better attract the 35 and up demographic because that is who makes up my company’s target customer base.

Stay tuned for the results in next week’s post! In the meantime, if you’d like to help me in my quest for knowledge, please feel free to take my survey.