Okay, so ‘Crap Shacks of the Gong’ is live and running. Let’s look at our ‘Digital Artefact’ process so far. Making Media, or BCM114, is a subject mandatory for Bachelor of Communications and Media students, myself and my good pal Hunter included. The subject isn’t too tricky to unpack – as my tutor Travis likes to state at the beginning of each class, ‘This is Making Media, so make media.’
The main assignment throughout the Making Media course is to create a digital artefact. A Digital Artefact can be pretty much anything, as long as there’s an online component and an audience interaction. Deliberating ideas for my Digital Artefact was tough, but I think the key was just to stick with something and go for it. This is something drawn from two principles we learnt of early in the semester: FEFO and FIST.
FEFO- fail early, fail often
Fefo is a concept that makes a lot of sense. It’s all about releasing lots of content and releasing this content early in order to get feedback from audiences in order to improve. Following this is critical if you want to achieve a good relationship with your audience, and create an environment where they have a role in curating the content that you create.
FIST – fast, inexpensive, simple, tiny
A successful DA will ideally utilise concepts of #fist. Overall, your DA shouldn’t be beating around the bush and contrived. Fist is a good model for producing content, dealing with ideas, spreading content, and heaps of other operations that can be undergone throughout the DA process.
Basically, it’s more about the execution than the idea in the end. To begin, we wanted to create a digital artefact that would interest and excite us. Hunter, my partner for this project is majoring in Digital Media Marketing, and I am majoring in Screen Media. Having a deluded idea of our own senses of humour, we wanted to create a satirical social media platform to create some sort of funny content – a type of content we both enjoy and follow on Facebook ourselves.
Main inspiration was drawn from two main businesses – ‘The Betoota Advocate,’ a satirical online newspaper producer, and ‘Shit Towns of Australia,’ a page that gives weekly rankings of the shittest towns in Australia based on events that have occurred throughout the week (something of note is that both of these pages have gone on to create and sell merchandise, which is definitely something that could be a source of revenue in future.)
So here we introduce ‘Crap Shacks of the Gong’ – a facebook page that uploads weekly videos which review various spots and locations within the Wollongong region. We decided around week two that we needed to pick this idea and stick to it, with aim to get content out there as soon as we could. Sadly we both got a little busy around week three, so our first upload wasn’t until week four.
Being a week or so behind when getting into the creation process, we have only had one video out at the time of this blog. In a 24hr period, the post has definitely caused an increase in traffic on the page. Initially, we invited large amounts of our friends to like our facebook page, but there’s only so many friends one can have. So in order to expand now, we need to start producing more content and just create more material to be viewed in general.
One of the main things we need is an interactive audience. We need to create through our persona an atmosphere where people are happily sharing their thoughts and ideas. Persona is important when you have an online media presence. You have to be approachable, interactive, friendly, and funny. Well we do in this case anyway. In order to create this atmosphere with our followers, we need to be consistent with the language in our posts, reviewing them prior to posting. We also need it to be known that we are happy with any direct feedback and will take it all on board. Observation of other pages is important here, and we spent time looking at some of the stats for other successful facebook pages, such as the ones mentioned earlier. I did this in order to see if there are any trends in turning points where small pages develop into bigger ones. These were actually pretty hard to pinpoint, and as written by Hannah Williams, “There’s not a magic formula to social media success.” The article as a whole has a bunch of tips for creating media yourself, and staying in peoples feeds’ without being pesky. It’s definitely worth checking out.
A few things to conclude on, there is definitely a lot of room for this project to grow, but also a lot of room for failure. Hunter and I are going to have to work hard to keep on releasing consistent content, at a constant rate (try saying that ten times quickly!) The iteration phase for us has been one of learning, trying to grab onto ropes, sliding down those ropes, but holding on tight as we can. Hopefully the prototyping stage will start showing us some more user feedback, help us gather analytics for the facebook page, and maybe someone other than our mum’s will be telling us that we are funny.