Point of Participation Assignment
Online participation continues to be widely studied by marketers and businesses. Why do users of social media platforms continue to participate in them; what motivates commitment or loyalty to a specific online community? Understanding how an online community operates is important in developing marketing materials for the your client. Simply “announcing” an event on social media is a form of marketing.
Find someone in class who considers him/herself an “active” or regular user/participant in an online community in which you are also an active user/participant. Online communities can include any social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat) as well as blogs (especially tumblr), message boards, any discussion forums (specific to sports, fan fiction, Reddit, etc). You get the idea.
Once you’ve found a partner that shares the same point of participation online that you do, you can begin your work!
1) What we like: First talk about why you like the platform. Each should take a turn, and you should both note-take during this process. What do you “get” from the platform personally? (If you don’t “get” anything, then why do you use it?) Share some examples of what you like with your partner. Copy and paste urls or screenshots of examples to share with class.
2) How we participate: Next, walk your partner through specifically how you use the platform. For example, if a pair decides to study Reddit both of you would informally show the other a typical Reddit session for yourself, moving to the usual sub-reddits you often visit, how you comment or not, what kind of browsing process you use, etc. What makes you stay on longer; what happens that makes you get off? Take notes on your different processes. Copy and paste urls to demonstrate your movement on the site to the class. (I really intend for this one to be fun, guys. I’m curious about what you’ll show us).
3) What we dislike: How does “failure” happen on the social media platform? Share a specific example of what you think is “failure” on the platform with your partner. What annoys you about the site? Discuss and compare the failures. Copy and paste urls or screenshots to share with the class.
4) How food happens: Together, search your chosen social media for a food-related issue. How do food issues “happen” on your social media site? Be prepared to show the class several examples of food-related posts, hashtags, etc. Include these examples in your blog so that they will be easy to access.
Note: Food may be hard to work with on some forum sites. If so, the pair should choose an issue somewhat related to food. For example: Instagram selfies taken in Starbucks counts as food related. Snapchats taken during dinner counts is food related. Mentions of food or eating on any message board counts as food related.
5) Two awesome examples: Finally, between the two of you, find two strong examples of how a nonprofit or small group (food nonprofits, food growers, food advocacy groups, etc) has used and continues to use your social media platform. Copy and paste in your blog specific examples of posts these groups have made that you think are effective posts. (screen shots would help here). Why did you choose these examples? What makes an “effective” post in your view?
All partnerships will share out their discussions in #1 – #5, including specific examples. After we share #5 examples, as a class we will decide which nonprofits we will study collectively for #6. All pairs will be assigned a nonprofit and a social media site to study the nonprofit’s posts for #6. NEXT DAY (for #6)
6) Assigned nonprofit screen share DUE: ________ Study your assigned nonprofit (or small advocacy group’s) use of a particular social media. Find examples that you think illustrate the groups’ best use of the social media platform, and share them on the screen. Find examples of a weak post, and share this as well.
Pairs will use three screens in class for simultaneous juxtaposition of images and media to generate student talk about how a specific nonprofit or food group uses different social media platforms. For example, students could project a Twitter feed from a nonprofit, a Facebook post and a blog post from the same nonprofit, then tease out the different uses for these social media platforms. In this way, the class can begin to develop our own theories about how nonprofits and small groups use social media to advance their causes.
Groups must only share BEST posts found in their social media platform. The class will be responsible for generating talk about these uses by comparing the three simultaneous posts on the screens and trying to articulate what makes them effective, and how effective posts differ from ineffective ones.
Our goals: Identifying the biggest users of each social media platform may help groups as they begin to try to “push out” their client’s events and needs on social media. Perhaps the expert users can provide ideas or examples for your group.
By beginning with a conversation about how we personally use a social media platform, we can begin to articulate why we value the media, hence understand why others may also value the media.
By examining how food issues are represented in various social media platforms, we can begin to understand how social media functions in a larger sense than the personal. This understanding seems important to establish as you begin to imagine ways in which your clients and your group can use social media to communicate with the larger world.
Identifying the ways that nonprofits use different social media sites will allow us to articulate our own ideas and hypotheses about differences in social media audiences and users. Knowing these differences will help us make better posts
If your client has not expressed the need for social media, you can still post about your client’s events and issues related to your client’s work on your own social media platforms. Increasing social media traffic for your client is at the heart of any work you do for them. Also, posting on other groups’ walls, using their hashtags, etc. is a demonstration of your active involvement in food advocacy for this class.
As a social media user, you may wish to follow some of the food advocacy groups we discuss in class, as these groups will provide interesting links, models, and ideas for your own work with your clients AND in your blog. Since you will be asked at the end of the semester to curate and reflect on your involvement in food advocacy in this class, following specific groups is yet another way to indicate your involvement.