InstaHeaven

I”ve been an Instagram user since 2012. As such, I guess this is not an appropriate medium to use for an assignment that instructed us to use a new tool and one not discussed in class. ¬†I’m pretty sure we didn’t take up Instagram officially in class, so maybe it qualifies at least on that front. ¬†But how I feel it IS appropriate to select ths platform for this assignment is because I have suddenly gained insight on how to use the application right. ¬†So it’s like it’s all new to me.

What caused me to realize some things about my Instragram use was a link shared by Nitzana that offered analytics for Instagram use. ¬†It’s called Iconosquare. And it’s very easy to use. But reading those results were not easy. Let me explain.

Because for once in my life I was a fairly early adopter with Instagram (within my circle of friends in Chattanooga, at least), I’ve had an opinion that my IG account was pretty darn active. ¬†I like to take photos, and I also like to archive them. IG has been a great outlet and resource on this front, beyond being terribly fun to see the ways all my fellow users employed the app. ¬†It has felt like that my IG has been pretty popular–highly frequented even.

photoiconosquare
Not so much. The metrics don’t lie. ¬†I was somehow deluded about what kind of activity I had been putting into my IG.

For example: My most liked potos have some miserable rankings in the scheme of things.15? Seriously? That’s might highest number of likes? I was¬†convinced¬†I had higher numbers than that.

And what about my frequent buddies showing me IG love? I know that certainly there are a few on my friends list that like EVERYTHING I post. Deluded again. ¬†So many posts, and even Renay–my¬†best friend of over 20 years–has only liked me 27 times. Really? ¬†This has all made me do something thinking. And it occurred to me. “Maybe it’s because you don’t have enough IG¬†friends.”igersiconosquare

Simple enough realization, I guess, but it hadn’t happened because I was too busy focusing on quality and content posted instead of the size of my audience. Well I fixed that. I revamped my friends list to include as many people in my contacts list I could thing to add. I’ve seen an increase on my friends list of over 45 people in the last week.

So yeah. IG is new. For me. I’ve been SHOCKED at how much new activity has been prompted. ¬†And i’m excited to see how this platform can help me grow my engagement within the social media realm.

 

 

 

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Farewell Post

This Social Media Theory journey has been enjoyable, but much more difficult than I even imagined. I knew what my challenges would be at the beginning. Hurdles like lack of experience, being a digital immigrant and¬†the whole ‘behind the curve’ identity I have yoked myself with perennially plague me. ¬†And most of those realities played a part.

But nothing was as difficult for me during this course as was overcoming my innate tendency to be a late adopter. ¬†Repeatedly when assignments came around, a general, life-long habit to wait/psych myself up to trying new ways of social media interaction caused dread and anxiety and often caused me to wait too long. ¬†Indeed, I got very far behind in this course–more so than I might’ve ever in any other college course. I’m not proud of that.

Miraculously and as it turns out, my tendency to be a late adopter is not from incapability (or from fear of it, at least). I can happily report at the end that, more often than I expected, navigating and wrangling new forms of social media endeavor was far easier than I guessed and was always enjoyable. ¬†It was good to learn as a sidebar to the course that I’m not a total idiot, whether I might’ve felt that way a few times in the last few months or not. Indeed, I’ve made myself proud, where the ‘how to’ aspect of the course comes into play.

But on the notion of the use and practice aspect of social media, I can honestly say that a comprehensive retrospective provides me with a somewhat decent handle on the scope of how social media works for creating an online presence. Managing and maintaining the sites is constant work. But it’s more than just creating content and making sure everything is current. It’s about doing so with a cohesive mentality and with an appropriate message for a targeted ¬†audience in mind. It’s about branding. And it’s about making the most of the respective social media’s functionality as it most appropriately benefits the brand.

I’ll admit, my own brand has been all over the map this semester. ¬†What I intended to create with the GayGaze blog was/is just too uncomfortable for me. So, in light of that, I changed courses midstream to promote my creative writing on the journal blog. ¬†And I’ll have to confess that I didn’t live up to my self-challenges on that front either.

In effect, all of these observations lead to a perspective that I did not expect to gain by the end of this course: social media management is a tough job. It’s a busy job. And now more significantly than ever, I see that it is an important job. And I feel incredibly more equipped to tackle it if a professional opportunity ever comes my way.

 

Facebook Frenzy

Assignment: In your journal blog, describe what your Facebook strategy and goals might be. 

I’ve repeatedly established that I’m a good bit behind the curve when it comes to social media adoption and use. ¬†I typically have only co-opted to use social media because everyone else was. That was the case initially, for sure. It was incumbent to create a MySpace and then, even though I had a healthy presence there, I felt pretty much forced to go over to FaceBook because everyone else did.

Naturally, I was slow to be active on FaceBook. At once I learned it was a different animal than MySpace–not nearly as blog friendly and it lacked alot of the visual appeal and personalization aspects I had grown to enjoy on MySpace. ¬†But because I had learned the value of using MySpace as a “stage” where I “performed” for my willing fans (through blogging or posting videos of myself performing on stage at that time or through the ease of archiving pictures on that site), I did my best to adapt to FaceBook’s “stage.” ¬†This was an altogether different performance, though–much more succinct and far less personal.

Over the years, I’ve learned that being succinct and less personal is a good thing for me though. ¬†We know that general privacy rapidly becomes a larger concern, as discussed in this week’s reading. It’s on the note of personal privacy where FaceBook and social media in general are growing concerns for me.

I’ve said it before–my sexuality is not something I typically broadcast when I can’t control the audience. And that’s largely out of respect for the audience. Not everyone I know either wants to or needs to know that I’m same-sex attracted. ¬†(Indeed, when I was MySpace active, an anonymous person printed out a photo of myself with my boyfriend at the time from that site, taped it to a post card and mailed the photo to my mother. Luckily she never saw that because my sister-in-law scooped it out of my parents’ mailbox just in time. ¬†You can’t make this stuff up.)

And recently and to divulge another sensitive story in my personal life, I was messaged on FaceBook by a friend of my daughter’s family (yes, I said daughter) disparaging me about how I hadn’t been involved in that little girl’s life (long story). I made some major changes to my privacy settings after that incident by limiting my visibility to friends only. And by blocking not a few people. ¬†Social media makes the world smaller. And indeed, my social media presence and participation is precarious.

Because of the various and sundry issues, my FaceBook strategy has always been a sort of “what they don’t know won’t hurt ’em” mentality–and further, “be very careful about what you DO let ’em know.” ¬†I’ve let my hair down since I moved to Memphis, and because I value the “stage” aspect of social media more than ever before because most of my friends live over six hours away and because they’ve grown accustomed to my “performances.”

But the performance has had to be altered.

I used a FaceBook analytics program called Wolframalpha to actually get a handle on what is really going on with my FaceBook activity so I can be more sensible about how to best use it for my personal brand going forward.

The results were, to be conversational about it, very cool.

For example, it’s good genderto know my friends are largely female. They’re usually more comfortable with gay guys. And the ladies on my friends list have evidenced they’re by far bigger fans of #Bones. This knowledge will help me in going forward to know that I’m working with an audience that is almost 2/3 female.

I learned about my typical FaceBook activity from this metric analysis.  We read  more frequently all the time about what time of day is best to post on social minterfaceedia.
I clearly have trends in my personal use. And I believe my habits largely reflect what sources like The Huffington Post indicate are best practices according to time of day to post. This graphic also demonstrates that I largely use my iPhone to post–good information to know regarding purchasing/upgrading mobile phone service.

In considering how I will employ what I’m learning about social media best practices where FaceBook is concerned, I believe it’s also significant for me to consider the content that I post. ¬†I’ve seen recently that by linking to my blog on FaceBook creates exponential susagepikes on my blog activity. ¬†Clearly, I can utilize this technique to drive more traffic to my blog,
considering that I have 768 sets of eyes potentially looking at my FaceBook activity. ¬†This makes it all the more important to think more seriously about the wording and writing that I use on FaceBook. My “audience” knows me as a writer. Many of my friends are FaceBook immigrants from back in the day when I blogged heavily on MySpace. They pay attention to my words. ¬†And after looking at this word cloud from the analytics, I should pay more attention, too. Evidently I spend alot of time talking about “time” on FaceBook (not altogetwordcloudher in a positive sense most of the time now that I think about it). “Memphis” and” Chattanooga” are prominent words, as well as “new.” It’s easy to discern from just a glance at this that my FaceBook musings have been largely focused on my recent move to Memphis for grad school. ¬†This is a compelling glance at word usage/content.

Further and regarding content, it’s clear I need to focus more on posting photos. ¬†Studies continue to show that posting pictures is a very effective way to prompt engagement–especially the type of photos that are compelling enough not to warrant captions. As a sometime professional photographer, I understand this and I believe myself capcontentable in creating content of this nature that can be compelling. ¬†These results prompt
me to be more enthusiastic about posting more photos in the future. Because curation is an important new trend (and because, considering the graphic to the right I hardly every do it), linking to my creative writing blog and other sites of interest is a needful area in my FaceBook usage. It’s a tendencyI’ve largely avoided in the past, but it is inevitable that I must improve in that arena so I can increase engagement with my FaceBook activity.

bar

It’s amazing how infographics and data analytics can create an entirely different perception of one’s activity online. ¬†As with many other instances I’m encountering in this course and in graduate school at large, I’m new to alot of this. ¬†It actually kinda strikes fear inside me when every week rolls around and some other new social media concept has been mine to tackle. ¬†I feel like I’ve been largely successful and functionality in the online realm has increased significantly for my personal brand, for my online recreation and for promotion of my blog.

But when it comes to FaceBook, I’ve been very comfortable in that realm for a long time and have considered myself fairly savvy. But maybe not so much. ¬†With increased privacy concerns and with a glance at the figures I’ve included herein, I see several easy activities I can increase on my FaceBook wall that will further my engagement with others. And armed with these new illustrations of that Facebook reality, I can do so with less concern and more wisdom about how to compose content that won’t create further drama where my personal life is concerned.

The goal is increased engagement–especially when I can feel lonely in a new city and when I want to drive people to my blog. ¬†But the wisdom is not in simply more content, but the right kind of content–so that increased engagement is achieved but in the most positive way for everyone involved.

 

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Data-Driven Blogging

In our recent readings and exercise dealing with the rapid emergence of data and statistics as a driving new force for journalism, it emerged for me how the use of available data and the visualization of this information could be a significant component for the development of the GayGaze blog.

Considering that the very nature of GayGaze is pertaining to television and how gay men are typically incorrectly or inappropriately respresented therein, it’s significant to consider how inportant visualization and statistics are¬†specifically¬†when it comes to visual media and television in particualr. ¬†Words and opinions are important when it comes to a sensitive subject such as stereotypes for any branch of society that might be affected by stereotypical portrayal in the media. ¬†This is one important need that the blog provides–a place for me to write about what I see (and especially feel personally) about what strikes me as errant where gay men on television are concerned and for others to respond and participate in the discourse.

But inevitably, it’s not all about words and feelings.

Numbers and visuals must be used to portray the actual premise for the blog. And that is where the quickly emerging field of data-driven journalism comes into play.nielsen

The television industry has long been one driven by numbers. With such companies as Nielsen¬†¬†providing a long history of ratings and demographic information to the television industry for television consumption and viewing habits, it’s clear that for this particular arm of the media, numbers are pivotal. (It’s no small coincidence on that note that I was just again selected as a Nielsen “tv research home.” ¬†Their work and their numbers are real–I’m living proof!)

But how can these numbers and data play a role on GayGaze? It’s simple. One of the most effective ways to demonstrate the evolution of the portrayal of gay men on television is through compiling this statistical data provided by Nielsen and, more specifically, by GLAAD.

This is where data use and visualization concerning an electronic medium should be fairly easy and very beneficial. ¬†GLAAD is an advocacy organization that has specifically monitored the portrayal and inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders in the media. According to its website, the organization “amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality.”

Fortunately for those who are concerned with portrayal of the gay community on television (such as on my beat blog) and as a function of GLAAD’s above quoted mission, the organization annually releases reports of findings about gay representation in this setting.¬†¬†Its publications such as the “Network Responsibility Index,” “Where We Are on TV” specifically monitors and compiles data to represent representation. These publications are exhaustive and replete with percentages of portrayal by network and break down all the statistics pertaining to gay coverage in television entertainment programming and are available for free download from the organization’s website. This will be a major source of and component of data for the GayGaze blog. While potential blog users could likewise access this information themselves, the GayGaze blog will pare down the information and making it simpler and more visual to the specific topic of gay MEN on television.

Also and as a result of our recent mapping assignment in class, I envision how mapping could also play a role on the blog. While the central topic of the blog is focused on the furtherance of the presentation of heteronormative gay men on television, I’ve included a cultural section on it as well where I provide information for other men like myself to know about cultural aspects that are more to their tastes and comfort levels than perhaps typical gay bars. ¬†By doing hands on research, much like I have already documented on the blog, a developing map of whatever city I may live in or drawn from the experiences of others in other cities can provide men who might be same-sex-oriented but who want to know that hard-to-find information about whether to either meet other men like themselves in a social setting or even religious institutions or service providers who may cater to them more appropriately.

Essentially, then, it’s clear how data management from television studies and possibly even mapping services can provide prerogatives for my beat blog in ways that I might never have considered at the blog’s inception.

 

 

Professional Athletes and Twitter: More Uses and Grats

Assignment: Find an additional academic journal article on social media (you can choose a particular network or site) uses and gratifications to briefly summarize in your journal blog.

Understanding Professional Athletes’ Use of Twitter

This weeks’ reading highlighted age, social class, gender-related and cultural implications of uses and gratifications pertaining to social media. ¬†I found an academic article that added another fold to the layers–professional athletes’ use of Twitter.

Not surprisingly, I’m not much of a sports fan. But finding myself suddenly intrigued to such an extent by uses and gratifications pertaining to social media, this 2010 article by Hambrick, Simmons, Greenhalgh and Greenwell showcasing a content analysis of Twitter use by professional athletes was compelling reading.

The authors conducted a study to see how sports communication in general and particularly that of athletes themselves might be evolving via Twitter, when professional athletics has traditionally been a hearty user of media to communicate with its publics.  Essentially, the authors found that Twitter use has veritably changed the nature of this communication and demonstrates itself in six specific topic areas:

  • Diversion: pertaining to non-sports-related information provided by the athletes themselves on topics such as family, movies and restaurants
  • Interaction: involving direct communication between fellow athletes and with their fans
  • Information sharing: providing insight into the teams or sport in general and often pertaining to practice/training
  • Content: provided pictures, videos or blogging
  • Fanship: divulging opinions or observations on the athletes’ own sports likes
  • Promotional: involving discussion or perpetration of sponsorships, games, events and giveaways

The Tweets for the content analysis were drawn from sportsin140.com, a website devoted to identifying verified athlete Twitter accounts. The authors wrote, “rather than sanitized, impersonal communications about the latest game filtered through a team’s public relations department, professional athletes tweets tend to be more direct and address topics beyond sport.” This humanizes the athletes and, to some extent, allows fans to enjoy a more accessible and interpersonal relationship with them. ¬†Much like what others have discussed about Twitter use in the black community, the authors found that ¬†professional athletes likewise largely use Twitter to communicate directly, whether it was from athlete-to-athlete or from athlete-to-fan in an unfiltered and personalized manner rather than in the more publicly communicative sense typically associated¬†with general Twitter use.

 

 

LinkedIn: I’m BAAAAAACK…

Assignment: Establish a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one. Enhance your profile if you do have one; join groups and interact with others. Please describe what you did to enhance your profile in the journal blog. Also discuss in journal blog: What are you doing to establish your personal brand online? What could you be doing better? What do you plan to do in the future? What strategies will you employ?

I can hear the collective gasp in the audience when I reveal that I already had a LinkedIn profile before this class. I know! I’m sure it has appeared that I have evaded and avoided all things Internet and social media for the last decade of my life, made so obvious by the routine of this class. ¬†And to some extent, that was true of my life before grad school.

But in contemporary society and regardless how much we ‘late-adopt’ or maybe even try to avoid social endeavor online, these days the Internet is a required resource when you’re looking for a job. ¬†And unfortunately, I found myself doing just that on a recurring basis over the last decade. ¬†I found myself in the restaurant business in 2003, after financial struggles led me away from the news business. ¬†It was the allure of singing that made me go that path when I found a gig singing in a restaurant. ¬†But as it appears things typically go in my life, good things come to an end.

That singing gig eventually ran away from me, and I found myself squeezing out a living by waiting tables.  And I was miserable. Enter months of job searching and my eventual creation of a LinkedIn profile.

I had basically forgotten I had that profile until this topic came up in class. ¬†I’m not really sure my LinkedIn account¬†ever actually led me to a new job.¬†After revisiting that profile right now for the first time in as many years as I can recall, I can see why that might have been. ¬†I did a terrible job creating it. ¬†Looking over it right now, I see that the ONLY experience I included on it was restaurant-oriented–when at the time I created it, all I wanted was to get out of the restaurant business!! ¬†And the profile picture‚Ķall I can say is THAT was a bad call. ¬†On further examination, I noticed that out of 16 listed skills and endorsements, only half of them pertained to any of my skills that I needed to highlight to get me back to a professional career setting. The rest of these indications of skill were simply distracting (such as “entertainment” and “versatile writer”–both so ambiguous they could be wildly misconstrued). Amazing.

Meanwhile I had 13 requests and several emails requesting endorsements that I had basically ignored during the time I left this profile sitting idle. Who knows how many of those were lost connections I could’ve used when I have previously needed a career change. ¬†And further, who knows how much longer I would’ve let this stale and inaccurate professional profile dangle in the ether had I not been challenged to update it for this class. ¬†I’m thankful for the opportunity to be in graduate school (which happened without a LinkedIn presence to speak of..lol), but if this door hadn’t opened I can only project that I would still be idle in Chattanooga and ignoring some awesome resources I had at my fingertips all the while. ¬†I won’t neglect my LinkedIn profile any longer!

Here’s the link to my new and WAY IMPROVED profile:

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=205515535&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

In revamping myself on LinkedIn, I linked to the academic journal in which I was published at Georgia State University, I joined three groups (one of which is directly related to media studies, which is the focus of my professional project), I sought out and invited some old colleagues from prior professional settings, and I linked to several people whom I’ve met here in Memphis and who will undoubtedly be helpful as my education and eventual career search evolves forward.

Personal branding is paramount in today’s professional society. I have been pretty slack in this endeavor, although careful to consider my respective audiences on the various social media platforms I use. ¬†As discussed elsewhere on this blog, I reserve Twitter for the primary outlet for discussion of gay stereotypes and establishing contents within the gay community to further my research and actual social contacts in general. In turn, Facebook has been my primary means of contact with friends and family from back home in north Georgia. My brand in that setting is a far less personal representation. This is a necessity considering my alternative lifestyle and the narrow-mindedness of many people whom I still value in that audience. ¬†I had intended to brand myself within my ongoing media studies of gay stereotypes on television with my topic blog, but as discussed in another post, that endeavor has proved to be too vulnerable and personally challenging. ¬†I’m strongly reconsidering my prior consideration to forge ahead with that blog under a pseudonym because I’m just not comfortable being that ‘out and proud’ in the online setting.

As to how I could manage all of this branding better, it would be ideal if I could streamline all these various identities into one cohesive identity that I could exert across all platforms. I believe consistency and accountability are significant human attributes. Those who exhibit these attributes have my utmost respect. And when my urge is to exemplify these traits as well (and I do my best in my private life), I’m just not in¬†a life position¬†where I can be consistent with my brand platform-wide.

I have re-oriented my thinking, however, and in that light I intend to focus more attention on my blog that has thus far been used for journal and reading insights. ¬†I gave that blog a new theme and established some further metrics tools with it so that I can maybe re-illuminate a creative writing outlet like I once had with my Myspace blog in the late 2000’s that reached over 34,000 hits. ¬†With my energies devoted to this blog in specific, I believe I can streamline my online presence to more consistency and accountability.

My engagement strategy will be a simple one. It worked extraordinarily by the very nature of Myspace, wherein each new time I posted a new creative writing blog an alert was inserted on my profile so that all my friends could see it. ¬†In the current setting (and because I have been working on a ‘blog-a-day project for this new creative writing momentum), I will simply link each new post to my Facebook status and to my Twitter account. ¬†The bulk of my prior readership is still contained in contacts lists between these two platforms. I’m confident that consistently posting links to each new blog update will draw healthy traffic to this creative writing blog in short order.

 

 

 

My Social Media Goals–and Shortcomings

Assigment: Create a list of specific goals you have for your social media presence, tailored to your needs and what you have learned so far about what works and doesn’t work with your topic area. Decide what metrics you will be collecting about your blog/social media presence that will measure progress toward those views, using the readings for guidance. Make a specific list or spreadsheet.

And here’s the one part of this course I’ve been dreading. ¬†Something about this metrics business scares me a little. Maybe it’s because it’s foreign, or maybe because I still have recurring nightmares about my attempt to compose my first-ever and only-ever public relations dashboard last semester whilst flying almost totally blind about all the concepts and procedures involved. ¬†But I did successfully create¬†that dashboard, with numbers I either sought or devised myself and through learning to manipulate Powerpoint¬†for the second time I’ve ever even used it. I’ve been a brave man for the grad school endeavor. Very brave, indeed. ūüėČ Nonetheless and for whatever reason, I still feel ill-equipped to really wrangle any sort of metrics with any kind of accurate sensibility.

Actually, I should re-phrase.

I can interpret and synthesize metrics information as derived from any number of analytics sources. ¬†I’m smart enough to evaluate results.

Where I feel a bit challenged is in how to achieve those results.

Take, for example, my prior blogging experience on Myspace back in the day when that was the main social media platform. ¬†I gained my first exposure to metrics therein, as the blogging component of that platform had what amounted to a ‘counter’ for hits. I watched that closely, and found trends in those numbers that pertained to content. ¬†For example, any time I wrote about politics, I saw major spikes in readership. ¬†And on those nights when I might’ve had a few too many beers and might’ve tossed out a general ‘woe is me and my life sucks’ type of blog, well, the hits plummeted. ¬†But throughout my whole blogging endeavor on Myspace, all I did was create content. ¬†It was a personal blog (sometimes too personal). While I was edified by the 34,000+ hits I had by the time Myspace gave way to Facebook, I didn’t have a desire or perhaps even the capability to consider how I could further promote it or amplify my statistics. ¬†Many¬†people encouraged me to do so, and to even consider bigger writing projects like a book. ¬†Some of my readers even did some research on how to publish my blog into a book. ¬†I truly had some devoted and appreciative fans.

But I was not a fan enough of my own blog (or of myself, even) at that point to even try to understand how much more significant it could’ve been. ¬†That’s too bad.

But now, armed with new educational spirit and insight and with a multitude of tools at my fingers to do precisely what I once couldn’t be bothered with where metrics are concerned, I find myself in a newly challenging situation. ¬†Now I’m up to speed on willingness and know-how on the metrics end, even when sometimes it can seem like the blogger in me is apparently asleep. But I fear that I have made a mistake where my topic is concerned.

I have speculated and articulated concerns about this previously, considering that my tendency for the bulk of my life has been not to make my sexuality an issue. Unfortunately, that has become an issue. ¬†I’ve found it too overbearing to heartily promote or even composing content for my topic blog for fear of the personal ramifications in doing so. ¬†It’s a subject I’m passionate about. And I perceive the value in what might be accomplished by developing this blog on the topic of gay male stereotyping on television. ¬†But to make it a noticeable endeavor has just been a personal hurdle I haven’t been able to surmount.

I have been able to make some strides. ¬†Fortunately, I had a very limited audience on Twitter when this semester and all of our challenges started. I have been able to control that audience, and even keep that audience limited. Therefore, I’ve been freer about what gay-oriented content and activity I have tweeted. ¬†But even in that setting, there has been fallout. ¬†A long-time friend who was on the ground floor of my Twitter activity actually commented to me the other day, in a concerned and almost shocked observation, that my Twitter was ‘really gay.’ ¬†She spoke to me about it from a stance of “why” and “it’s really ‘in your face'” and are you sure you want to do that.” She’s been accustomed to me keeping my sexuality largely quiet. ¬†And she didn’t hesitate to acknowledge how jarring it was to see me doing something different in the online realm in that aspect. ¬†And that just felt really familiar and discouraging, even in an arena where I had created what I thought was a safe haven for being open.

Sigh. I guess I just needed to air all that out. It doesn’t change the fact that I have assignments and expectations for this course that pertain to that blog where goals and accomplishing numbers are concerned. ¬†And I am working to meet the assignments. I will do my best to work through what is expected. ¬†But I can honestly say that the results will probably be minor because I should’ve probably chosen a different topic for these kinds of exercises–one that I could more enthusiastically and boldly promote.

As to that promotion and in the reality of this precarious situation, I can say that I DID have some goals for this blog. Indeed I still do. ¬†And in fact, the whole idea of peeling my face and name off of it and assuming a pseudonym might actually still be the best route. But because I haven’t done that at this point, it’s all a bit late for the purposes of this class.

For all these obvious reasons and because, for some reason, I have achieved a bit of a following on my class blog, I’ll primarily turn my attentions to its existence and the related metrics for the duration. Indeed, #Bones is becoming a bit of a celebrity on there and on Facebook as a result of the #photoaday challenge. A piece I posted a while back for the entrepreneurial journalism course was actually re-blogged by a tech blogger. ¬†And I have constantly seen a decent amount of traffic to that blog. ¬†So it makes sense to consider it for these exercises–to some extent as a means of personal branding–as opposed to what I intended to do with the “beat blog.”

So. Concerning thevoiceofbarry.wordpress.com. What would I ideally like to see happen with my blogging and/or my social media presence in general? ¬†I can easily say that to increase page views and comments on any of my outlets is a number one priority. ¬†I’ve previously discussed how I view Facebook as a sort of ‘stage’ and all the folks on my friends list are my virtual audience. ¬†I feel similarly with our class blog and with my accounts on Instagram and Twitter. ¬†In this perception and as I post content and pictures, etc., in the form of “performance,” pageviews and comments are like the applause. And as Lady Gaga sings, I live for the applause. ūüôā

Specifically and beyond increased pageviews and engagement in the form of increased commenting, I perceive that with the momentum I have established through various forms of posting on this class bog that I might could almost re-create the reality of my former blog presence on Myspace–just for general writing posts. ¬†I still maintain relationships with 90% of my readers from my old blog on Facebook. (Although there is gay content on this blog, it is fairly buried. ¬†I could effectively probably even remove most of it and have no damning hard evidence about which to worry. I’m also changing the entire design of the blog so it will even take on a new identity visually.) Through cross-promotion on Facebook and a firmer branding of this blog as a place where I post the type of musings that were wildly popular in my past, I see that I could likely ramp up my visits on this blog in pretty short order. Cross promotion on Twitter is also an easy and needful opportunity here. I already have 28 followers and 408 views without even promoting this blog at all and with only random posting so far. ¬†Now that I have redefined a direction and can more actively draw attention to content on this blog, I will definitely be paying attention to page views and comments.

As to specific metrics, ¬†Wordpress provides some decent basic numbers as to general activity. ¬†For the purposes of my personal, observational writing and whom has typically been a fan, I will find it compelling to learn geographical locality of visitors to determine if they’re largely people from my native southeastern area or if my writing can appeal to folks from other geographical or cultural regions. ¬†I’ve plugged my URL into Google’s Webmaster Tools to start generating some analytics results. ¬†Also, average viewers per day or per post will be pivotal to this personal writing blog. ¬†Because I have seen previously that my readership spikes with certain topics like political blogging and wanes with too much personal melodrama, I will need to pay attention to what specific blog post content engages the most readers.

Lastly, as a personal challenge related to this blog, I’ve committed to myself to write a blog post per day for 30 days. ¬†Content production is the primary key to engagement. And since the particular content is my own writing, I have to require myself to post plenty of it. ¬†This is not an easy challenge while enrolled in graduate school, considering the amount of writing already required for classes. ¬†And I have seen this discipline of this daily writing endeavor already to be a challenge in times past when I wasn’t in school and was merely holding down jobs waiting tables. ¬†This will indeed be a challenge under the circumstances, but a personally worthwhile one if what I experienced with my prior personal writing blog was any indication.

And who knows, maybe my readers will start championing for ¬†book again and the right person will engage with me to make that happen…