Wk 6: A New Media Audience

Readings

Cover, R. (2006). Audience inter/active: Interactive Media, Narrative Control and Reconceiving Audience History. New Media & Society, (8)1.

Cover here goes over some ground we have already touched upon in discussing the way in which interactive media change the relationship between author and audience, with the latter increasingly playing a larger role in the realisation of texts.
Shirky, C. (2003). Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality. Retrieved October 14th, 2009, from http://www.shirky.com/writings/powerlaw_weblog.html.

Shirky here applies laws of power-distribution to the blogosphere, pointing out the ways in which an A-list of writers is a natural outcome of freedom of choice. An interesting point to take away here is that Shirky believes successful bloggers will drift towards being a part of the traditional media.

Rheingold, H. (1998). The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online. Retrieved October 5th, 2009, from http://www.rheingold.com/texts/artonlinehost.html.

Although this early piece from Rheingold is aimed at older-style virtual communities, as a series of guidelines for fostering conversation and community these idea are clearly applicable to those whose online presence attracts commentary.

Activities

Are you actively involved in any online interest groups or communities? What elements do you think define engaging writing in this context?

Well I have a non-profit community page about the area I live in, on Facebook that I manage. It started out just as a bit of a puff piece but now has over 650 members so I guess they like it too.

That’s about all I do in relation to regular communities online. Is that bad that I’m so inactive?

Are there approaches to, or styles of writing that actively encourage conversation and dialogue from an audience?

With my Peninsula page I’ve found there are three main ways to actively engage the reader. Firstly and foremost, ask questions. Instead of framing your post or status as a statement, word it as a question…

eg, It’s a glorious day today – the sun is shining and I am really enjoying Autumn.

can easily become

It’s a glorious day today – the sun is shining and I am really enjoying Autumn, aren’t you? What’s your favourite season on the Peninsula?

By posing the same phrases in different ways, I receive different responses. On the FB page, the first status would gain me ‘likes’ but the second phrasing will give me responses (and often accompanying photos).

Other ways to engage is to post links to stories or events happening that affect them directly. eg, there’s some road closures coming up due to a fun run. While I’ll post a note to give everyone a heads up, i would expect them to comment on this about what it was like last year and how it’s been put back due to the floods and the beach closures etc etc.

Finally, the other thing I’ll do, when wanting a response is offer a prize – whether it’s a pat on the back or a genuine mailed in prize, you can get people talking easily enough by targeting their egos. Tell them it will make them special to respond and they often will. Tell them that if they do something good/cool/funky that you want them to share with you, and often they will.

Really this is all just Psych 101. There’s very little difference in my opinion, from offline interaction and online interaction.

What sorts of impact can the audience have on online media texts such as blogs? What difference does this make to the media landscape in general?

I think the question is worded in a way that separates audience from blogger when in actuality the audience is the blogger and the blogger is the audience. Because we have the ability to create, produce and interact with blogs there is no line now that differentiates blogger from audience anymore (not like there was with home pages). And it means the media landscape is far more accessible and available than ever before.

Write a considered and informed response to a post of your choosing. This response should be no longer than 200 words.

Here’s a link to my response: Advert pulled over photo manipulation

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