When it comes to New Media Tools, and social media tools in particular I can’t help but think of the Parks and Recreation character Tom Haverford. Played by real life social networking addict and comedian, Aziz Ansari, Haverford is completely obsessed with his online identity – like most in his generation. Here’s a great quote I thought of about going online each day. I remembered it because of the reddit reference – so I decided to rejoin reddit – but before I get into that. Enjoy this quote:
“Everyday I start by hitting up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Sometimes, I like to throw in LinkedIn, for the professional shawties. Then I like to go on Reddit. Reddit is great because it has all the important links. Wikipedia! Mankind’s greatest invention. You can learn about anything… I love gChat, you can talk to anybody! I hit up brad.pitt. It wasn’t the actor. It was actually a guy named Brad that’s a teacher in Pittsburgh. We don’t have a lot in common, but we chat quite a bit. Emojis are little cartoons you text instead of words. Instead of saying, ‘What up, boo?’ you can type ‘What up’ and then a cute little ghost because that means boo…Podcasts! They’re a million of them and they’re all amazing! Jean Ralphio and I have one called Nacho Average Podcast where we rate different kinds of nachos.” (Episode 5.4, “Sex Education)
Believe it or not, I pared down the quote a bit to keep it on topic. But this diatribe is very indicative of how people use media tools on a daily basis. Since I graduated in 2011 with a degree in digital journalism, I’m no stranger to the majority of media tools that are available for consumers. During courses we created blogs, mashups and websites. We used online collaboration tools, photo sharing and social network sites. Some students even did podcasts for their projects.
Because of this background I feel I had an unfair advantage in discussing three new media tools. So, I did my best to choose the things I had the least experience with and went from there. First off, reddit. As I noted earlier I re-joined reddit because during college I setup an account. Unlike my other media accounts, this one came at the recommendation from my cohort. They did not disappoint; the customization is fantastic and I was well-informed of issues from around the globe. It helped with projects and also served as a nice way to burn some downtime by looking at cute animals or funny gifs. I’ve attached some photos of cleaning up my subscriptions and checking out the Washington DC subreddit and adding a comment.
After college I fell off the site as I was immersed in news all day at work. Now that it’s been a few years, I felt it would be nice to go back and begin using the site again. I forgot how great it was. Being able to post a question on any topic and rely on those across the world on the site to help answer it – or offer advice – is incredible in terms of strategic communication. I’m not sure the average age of a redditor, however I’m guessing usage declines as the age increases, which is too bad because I think there’s a lot of great uses people of all ages can go to reddit for. My mother in law loves to watch plays and musicals; she could fill entire days reading those subreddits. The ability to aggregate news is amazing. I can read an article from a small paper in Arizona and then jump to an Australian newspaper.
Another area I dove back into was RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds. I set these up for stories I was working on in specific classes back in 2010, but never really used them. It was hard to remember to go back to the places I set them up to instead of just turning to Google each day. Again, now that I’m out in the working world in communications I realize the great benefit of these. Like the Pew Research Center Report, cited by Chuang (2010) confirmed Latinos and blacks lead all other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to texting and twitter. This information is very valuable to someone in my position as a health communicator. Knowing this, information I can setup RSS feeds to follow minority health twitter accounts to track the retweets and see if our information is resonating with users. Also, I setup an RSS feed to follow Food Safety News, which is a major publication that covers the department of the FDA I work for.
I also setup an internal RSS feed to keep an eye on alerts and breaking news that otherwise might go unnoticed. The FDA is constantly working with companies to setup recalls and the like, so this will help me be able to catalogue those actions. And, it was very easy to setup within my Microsoft Outlook account. I’m all about letting the information come to me these days, as I’m too busy to use search engines and waste time digging for information.
As you can see in the image below, I’ve got the RSS feed fully functional and since it’s a separate place from my regular emails it won’t get too cluttered.
Finally, I decided to venture into a land I haven’t visited with great regularity since the early 2000’s; video games. I bought a Playstation 4 (PS4) recently and decided it was time to activate the online abilities. I was quite surprised how easy it was to play with people from all over the world. As I played Far Cry 4, I was able to request assistance going into battles and I was able to communicate with them over the microphone. As a combat veteran it was a strange feeling to be in my living room playing a co-op mission with people I’d never met before. Another interesting aspect of going online was that it connected me with friends that also play online. Not only can I see their names, but I also know if they’re online and what they’re playing. My friend told me users can also see trophies the other has earned for game progress. It seemed a bit overwhelming to me, but it was fun nonetheless.
Seeing as how the video gaming is strictly for recreation I don’t have much to say about the media being able to be put to use for work purposes, but with all the other applications the PS4 has, it’s easy to see that video game systems go far beyond what they did back in the early days of the original Playstation.
Chuang, A. (2010). How Social Media Can Help Journalists Reach Ethnically Diverse Groups. Poynter. Retrieved from http://www.poynter.org/news/mediawire/104224/how-social-media-can-help-journalists-reach-ethnically-diverse-groups/