Category Archives: Week2

Social media motivations

“Think/write about your own motivations for using social media and joining online communities. How are your motivations and goals similar to the early Wellites and virtual community members. How and why are they different?”
The first social media I used online was AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Although I didn’t think much about it at first, I realize I engaged heavily with it, especially with friends I had at school who I didn’t really see throughout the school day.
Later came Myspace and eventually Facebook, which I always seemed to join just to keep up with what my friends were using. It wasn’t that each form strengthened the bond of virtual communities, but rather it meant keeping up with what was “cool” (and I think it can be argued that each upgrade meant an increase in functionality).
As I use social media now, my primary aim is to learn about certain information that I wouldn’t otherwise have access to. That may include: what old friends from high school are doing, what a potential employer’s LinkedIn page contains, video from protests in France, and articles that Facebook friends share. My goal is to use social media to become better informed and entertained, all the while being discipline. As in, not getting lost on the infinite scroll of Facebook for an hour.
Based on the readings, it seems to be that early virtual community members were more focused on meeting friends who share similar interests, harnessing the new technology to overcome geographic limitations. In contrast, much of my social media use is with people I have met in the physical world. That being said, it’s always interesting to watch video or read material posted from a stranger across the world (video from the France protests, for example).
Looking forward to sharpening my social media strategy this quarter!
(p.s. sorry if the hyphens are annoying – I figured it made everything a little easier to read; for some reason, this new layout doesn’t format the paragraphs the way my draft does (clearly, I need more WordPress practice.).)

Whole Earth Catalog – marketing a lifestyle, not goods

I found this passage in the Turner reading pretty interesting:

“When Brand began publishing a quarterly supplement to the Catalog in
1969 he also developed a correspondence section, in which readers wrote to
one another. In both the Catalog and the supplement, Brand marketed not
so much goods as a way of looking at how life ought to be lived.” (p. 8 of the pdf)

Does anyone know if something like this exists today? I hate to sound cynical, but I feel the pressure to sell goods is too high for any catalog to emphasize the community over consumers. The first thing that came to mind for me was Reddit, particularly the subreddits that encourage others to live a certain way (e.g. GetMotivated, Fitness, or PersonalFitness). I’m sure there are corners of the internet that operate in a similar way, but I can’t think of anything in the mainstream that puts people ahead of the products (bold statement haha but I’ll revise as I research).