week one: expectations, knowledge, and the role of social media

I’ve had the opportunity to study social media from a plethora of interesting perspectives. I have seen (part of) the CS side, having taken the CS 106 series. I have looked at it from a psychological, biological, and political economic side in communications, and most recently from philosophical and evolutionary standpoints, during my time abroad at The University of Sydney where I took a course entitled Web Transformations.


I think COMM 182 will be very different from any of these courses because the co-learning structure will keep it highly relevant to current issues and technologies, provide a wide variety of perspectives from heavy social media users, and will allow us to explore many different forms of social media through our various blogging, wiki, and forum platforms, among others.


Each of us brings a unique angle to this class that will allow any one of us to teach everyone else something new. My own role is unique because I am simultaneously studying the effects of social media while trying to put my knowledge into practice to promote my music. Throughout my musical career, I have used nine different platforms and have found huge problems, amazing benefits, and interesting features in each. Some of these findings come from practical use and others come from things I’ve learned studying the material. I’m really looking forward to sharing my specific insights with the rest of the class and hearing about everyone else’s as I continue to get to know them.


I’ll finish this blog post with the platforms I use most frequently, and the ways in which I use them:



I usually have Facebook open somewhere on my computer but only post something maybe 2-3 times a day, most of which are likes or comments. It’s great for sharing large groups of photos with everyone I know, promoting my music on my artist page, easily chatting with anyone I know, and keeping tabs on all my friends outside of school who I don’t get to see as much as I would like. The downside is that Facebook is a total timesuck. It’s cluttered and filled with information about people and topics I’m not interested in as a result of socially necessitated Facebook friendships.



Probably the most interesting place on the internet. It’s a constantly updating feed of everything I’m interested in and by reading it, usually allows me to be among the first of my friends to see a meme, hear a song, or pick up a trending player in fantasy football. It’s anonymity, while presenting a few downsides also allows it to be a more free-thinking progressive part of the internet (at least the subreddits to which I am subscribed are).



Soundcloud is an invaluable tool for musicians. It provides an aesthetically pleasing, yet customizable platform for all the music I want to share with the world. At the same time, I can also comment on other people’s tracks, find interesting new artists and at the same time, increase my own musical following. Bandcamp is also good, but it is more of a music store than a social network, hence it was not included on my list.



The only social network I ever want more of. I get to see most of the cool stuff my friends are doing and don’t feel the need to follow anyone whose life doesn’t interest me. It’s just a feed of delicious food, cool events and parties, and people’s adorable pets. The only downside to me is its incredible potential for jealousy and depression if you are not happy with your current circumstances. As a fairly happy person, this usually does not bother me, but at times in my life I have almost cut it out entirely.



Twitter is very good for getting up-to-the-second news on anything I am interested in, but is not particularly effective for keeping up with friends or promoting music for me because there are so many people constantly posting that it’s very difficult to keep up with one person without actively seeking out their Tweets.



I do not spend a ton of time on YouTube, or at least not as much as most people I know, but it is clearly an essential resource for any creative person and is full of interesting, funny, or beautiful ideas, songs, demonstrations, and news clips. Interestingly, as large as the site is, most of the promotion of YouTube videos goes on outside of YouTube, which has always felt strange but I don’t know if I can explain why.


Yik Yak

Yik Yak is brand new to me but I really enjoy its localization and anonymity, which serve almost as a real-time feed of my community’s thoughts and jokes. It has the potential to be very hurtful, but at the same time, its voting system seems to even things out relatively nicely.