Exegesis (Uni Assignment)

This blog is part of a university course I am currently completing. This exegesis is an explanation of the particular choices I have made for my web presence.

I work for a not for profit organisation in communications. I really love what I do and often my personal online identity crosses over with my professional online identity. As I alluded to in my About Me page, I have always had a strong belief in social justice and social good. With the advent of social media, I became increasingly interested in how not for profit organisations could use social media as an economical means of promoting themselves. I decided on the theme of “Social Media for Social Good” for my web presence in an effort to identify those organisations, using social media effectively in this ever evolving genre. I have created a blog as my central node with the addition of Web 2.0 platforms Twitter, Facebook and Delicious as the required three contributing nodes. I will now outline the reasons for my choices.

The central node for my web presence is a blog, created using the free blogging tool WordPress.com. I am very particular about design and believe that if websites look good and are appealing to the eye, then the content becomes more attractive and easier to read. I researched using other free blogging sites but the design elements of WordPress won me over. I viewed the online tutorial “Using WordPress.com As Your Web Presence Central Node” (Leaver, 2011) and started to design my blog. I initially didn’t understand the difference between using the free blogging domain wordpress.com versus hosting your own at wordpress.org. I conducted further research on the site and felt confident that I had chosen the correct type of blog. WordPress.com has limited customization functionality compared with WordPress.org but for the purpose of the assignment, this was sufficient for my needs. Although I will readily admit that the designer within still wants to customize certain aspects not available in this format.

The better designed the blog, the better it engages its readers. Dr Brent Croker recently acknowledged that “As aesthetically orientated humans, we’re psychologically hardwired to trust beautiful people, and the same goes for websites. Our offline behavior and inclinations translate to our online existence”. After much deliberation I chose the Chunk theme from the many free choices available in the WordPress.com library. I liked its clean style, typography and the footer widget area was somewhat different to other blogs I had viewed, all of which had sidebars for widgets. I felt that if I produced a clean, minimalist looking blog it would then allow the content to be showcased and not be overshadowed by a more intricate design. I’ve also tailored the theme to only one blog post per page to reduce excessive scrolling.

I wanted to have some type of consistent logo or graphic to ensure my web presence was positioned and branded effectively. I used Wordle which is a free online application that creates word clouds from text that the user  manipulates to suit the purpose. I saved the Wordle word cloud as a web friendly graphic and have placed it on all of my web presence elements for a consistent look and feel.

The first Web 2.0 tool that I used as a contributing node was the microblogging site, Twitter. My blog posts are automatically posted to Twitter and I am able to post my own tweets in real time to become a part of the global Twitter conversation. O’Reilly & Milstein write of Twitter “Although Twitter started out as a service for people to post personal updates, it’s become a critical channel for sharing media”. I am also able to have real time conversations with others on Twitter including other students and Curtin staff by using the #WEB101 hashtag. I have followed several of the Twitter accounts of the nodes I have selected for this web presence to stay up to date with new features. I made the background of my Twitter profile the same colour as the colour used on my blog.

Facebook was the second contributing node used for my web presence. This is the most popular social networking platform with over 819 Million users and rising as of June 2013. (newsroom.fb.com). On Facebook I have used a Twitter application which shows my site’s Twitter feed via Facebook. I have also included my blog and Delicious details to aid with cross promotion and engagement. Being so popular I felt Facebook was essential to promoting my central web presence and engaging with users.

Delicious is a collaborative social bookmarking service that I was not familiar with prior to this unit. When I had stumbled across Delicious previously I initially dismissed it as something to do with a food magazine of the same name! I have since discovered it is an interesting way to bookmark your favourite sites, to share these with others and discover what others are bookmarking. The clever use of tags within Delicious serves as a type of categorization for links known as folksonomy. “Tagging allows for the kind of multiple, overlapping associations that the brain itself uses, rather than rigid categories.” (O’Reilly, 2005). Delicious allows users to save online bookmarks and to share them with other users. Delicious claims to hold over a billion links across more than 200 countries. My Delicious bookmarks appear as a widget on my blog.

All three contributing nodes are interlinked with each other. Each time I publish a blog post, it posts links to Facebook and to Twitter. The link to my blog is on my Twitter profile. My Facebook page has links to my Blog, Twitter and Delicious profiles. I have my Delicious feed showing on my blog. Other features include a copyright notice, a blogroll of blogs that I have begun following and a feed showing the tags that my site represents plus links to my recent posts. The three main nodes that I have chosen are those that I believe are the most effective for my blog and its purpose. because they are popular, easy to manage and attract engagement from different social media sources. This web presence has been constructed around the online identity I wish to convey, which as Helmond stated “is always under construction, never finished, networked, user-generated, distributed and persistent.”

Although I already have a small internet footprint due to my work and personal online presence, this new web presence has been carefully planned and executed. I wanted something that would reflect my passions and beliefs in the harnessing of social media for positive socially good messages. The design is simple and consistent, and will showcase the content I intend to review.

References

About us – Delicious. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://delicious.com/about

Feinberg, J Wordle – Beautiful Word Clouds. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wordle.net/

Helmond, A (2010) ‘ Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software.’ Anne Helmond. New Media Research Blog. Retrieved from http://lms.curtin.edu.au

Key Facts – Facebook’s latest news, announcements and media resources. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsroom.fb.com/Key-Facts

Leaver, T (2011) Using WordPress.com As Your Web Presence Central Node. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrVSYdqMRHw

O’Reilly T, (2005) What Is Web 2.0 – O’Reilly Media. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=1

O’Reilly, T., & Milstein, S. (2009). The Twitter Book. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from http://www.curtin.eblib.com.au.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=443184&echo=1&userid=LsafGD2XggDhbiNBqzmZNA%3d%3d&tstamp=1376305467&id=6B8FE65A28A615ED4188356E2DBE89FF82ABF247

Prettier Websites Make for More Trusting Web Surfers , Study Finds – ProQuest. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/876222959?accountid=10382

WordPress.com and WordPress.org | Support on WordPress.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

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