For my Interactive Digital Media Project, I had the opportunity to work with one of the most widely used forms of Web 2.0, a personal blog titled “Phat Green Pig.” The purpose of this blog is to give tips and ideas for people that do not or cannot spend afford to spend too much green but at the same time do not want to sacrifice their “phat-ness.” What set Web 2.0 apart from Web 1.0 are its two distinct characteristics of interactivity and openness. Whether one is a consumer or a producer, one has to face the issues dealing with interactive and open nature of Web 2.0 at one time or another.
As I was creating the content in ways such as creating the blog and developing the ideas that would contribute to the blog, the issues of privacy dawned on me. I’m rather a private person and the fact that my written words would be read by random strangers that accidently “stumbled upon” my blog was a bit intimidating. I did not want the blog to be too personal where it would infringe on my privacy but not too impersonal as well that my audience would not be comfortable enough to participate in this collaborative media. After wrestling with the idea of openness of being in the public forum yet desiring for a bit of personality from my private sphere, I decided to create an advice blog where I would have the chance to give my personal input but did not feel as if my privacy was being invaded.
After the topic of the blog was decided, my target audience had to be determined. Because I sought after a personal element to the blog, I decided that I would gather viewers/consumers from my pre-existing social networks. When the blog was first launched, I only incurred 3 visitors, consisting of my two roommates and me. By using the word of mouth, there participation level was not high. On the following day, I introduced the blog to the “social world” by linking the blog to my status update or adding it to my profile on both gchat and AIM. There was a great increase of viewership that day with 67 new visitors to the site. It was very interesting to see the participatory divide based on the methods I used to advertise the blog.
One interesting finding that I found by observing that statistics through Google Analytics was that I incurred many visitors on the first few days of the blog's inception to cyber space but as I had help from other friends to advertise the blog the number of visitors decreased. The decrease in number would be supported by the overlapping of social circles and the fact that the content of the blog did not change. Most recently, I had asked four friends with expansive networks where I do not have as many mutual friends to advertise it on their Facebook but it did not incur as much visitors as I had first incurred on the first day I had launched it.
Another thing I had not noticed earlier was how involved people are into other people’s lives, even if they do not share close off-line social ties, through social networking sites such as Facebook. Social networking sites create a sense of community. Community is not just a structure that embodies us people as a society but community is what we as human beings create by interacting. If we decide to get involved in our social circles, then we need to make an effort to be more involved through our social networking. By interacting with others, we personally feel as though we belong to something.