Sunday, December 6, 2009
Get craft-chic with Kate Ference
Though this project introduced me to the process of creating on-line content in the blogosphere, the distribution aspects of such on-line content really fascinated me. After creating my blog, craft-chic, I did not know exactly how to get people to view it. Even if people viewed my blog, how and why would people become loyal viewers and return to the blog? Questions like these made me think about the content distribution of my product, specifically how social capital is relevant to content distribution.
According to the online collaboration tool, Wikipedia, social capital “refers to connections within and between social networks.” The more socially involved an individual is in particular social networks, the more social capital one can claim to have. Wellman investigates social capital through studying social networks in his project “Connected Lives.” Here, he discusses super-connectors, or “people linked to large numbers of others in multiple social milieus – and these connectors rapidly diffused information” (Wellman 4). Though I am not claiming to be a super-connector, certain privileges within the digital participation divide allowed me to reach out to online internet users.
For example, to spread the word about craft-chic, I put a lot of effort into publishing the blog link with the online tools that I already had as a middle-class college student. To advertise my blog, I posted status updates and notes with the link to my blog on Facebook. As a college educated young adult, I have been lucky enough to have access to Facebook and other social networking sites for almost four years. In contrast, individuals from older generations may not be as familiar with social networking sites like Facebook, therefore not having as many “friends.” This may seem amusing, that I am simply bragging about the number of Facebook “friends” I have, but by using this example I am attempting to explain that through the years I have been active on Facebook, I have been able to build up the number of contacts I have, therefore increasing visibility for my status updates containing the links to my blog. The digital divide undoubtedly influences the amount of social capital an individual attains regarding the internet. Elderly individuals may not have the knowledge to access and maneuver throughout the blogosphere, while low-income or uneducated people may not have the physical access to the social capital found through the internet social networking. In turn, this makes a social capital divide in relation to content distribution.
In addition to Facebook, I posted the link to my blog as my Google-chat status. Contacts are added to Google-chat after there is an e-mail exchange, so each person I exchanged email with most likely had access to my blog link. I emailed the link to some of the email list-serves I have access to, including family members and university clubs. As soon as I started my project, I created an account on twitter.com. Twitter allowed me to follow Etsy.com, a website similar to Ebay.com, for “a place to buy and sell all things handmade” (Etsy.com). By following Etsy on twitter, I was able to follow some the individuals that Etsy followed. In return, some chose to follow craft-chic on twitter.
With all of this social capital, according to Google Analytics, craft-chic has had a total of 652 page views at a total of 340 visits. I was quite pleased with this outcome, especially because it is a great illustration for the power that the internet has on the distribution of knowledge. Much of the traffic for craft-chic was accessed through Facebook (190) and twitter (47). For craft-chic, the social capital obtained by the knowledge and access of social networking sites really allowed the blog to thrive in its crafty and college-aged niche audience.