Final Project Proposal

Throughout this semester we have covered a variety of new media trends and how they change how we use the affordances of social media. For my project I would like to focus on virility and how stories, ideas and even current fads spread.

My focus or main tool will be twitter as that is my favorite social media platform, it is also the one that changes the fastest and is the most fluid in its trends. I propose following two verified (twitter’s label for reputable users) sources, one being entertainment or trends and one being news and current events. At this moment I have two main twitter feeds I would like to track the first being Cosmopolitan and the other being CNN.

My goal is to sit down daily and track both accounts daily activity and then record their virility. I will ask the following questions,

  1. Which account posted more, was it frequent throughout the day or grouped together?
  2. Which account got more retweets or shares, mentions and overall response?
  3. Were there any similarities in the stories, if so how were the reporting of the events different?
  4. Which account saw a more positive user engagement? Why might that be?

My goal is to see what type of information a twitter user notices and gives reaction to. For example does a political story about Syria or a “Top 5” blog from Cosmo rake in more web-traffic?

We as a society do most of our day to day activities online but how much of that information do we actually process and are we jaded or indifferent to the current events of the world and more interested in what’s keeping us entertained. By following both these twitter feeds over a month’s time I hope to see overall which twitter account garnishes more regular recognition and engagement. Both accounts are big names in their respective worlds and are widely recognized names.

At the end of the project I plan to answer the following in my final product,

  1. Which account consistently had more user engagement? Was it positive, negative or neutral?
  2. Which account posted more regularly and was that a factor?
  3. Formulate a hypothesis with the collected data as to why one was more favored over the other.
  4. Does this data suggest a change in the type of information we prefer to see online?

Viral posts are a norm online and often we will see the same story told through multiple channels and we all have a favorite source. However is that source a cookie cutter news outlet like CNN or FOX or is it a blog like the gothamist or Cosmo. I hope to gage whether or not there is a preference among twitter users and if so what it is.

The only variation to my project that i am on the fence about is potentially following two types of each account for example CNN and FOX and Cosmo and US weekly to better back up any results i may find. Overall though the general idea is news vs. entertainment.

3 thoughts on “Final Project Proposal

  1. Sam, thanks for this proposal. I really like the ideas behind it, and I think that tracking virality, user engagement, posting / sharing habits (etc.) is a potentially productive direction. However, what you propose here is based mostly on observation of other producers’ content, rather than focusing on generating your content yourself and using analytics to analyze this data.

    Is there a way that you can re-think the project, to still keep the core ideas, but to have yourself be the primary new media composer? What if you started posting regularly on a topic that was of interest to you (maybe even covering events, live tweeting, etc.), and then you explored your own analytics, impressions, etc.? You could certainly study / observe / research other twitter streams (especially to get a sense of what practices drive good engagement), but the goal is eventually move beyond others’ content and produce your own.

    Also, aside from looking at these primary sources (these two Twitter streams), what research you will conduct, what new media composing you will experiment with, what deliverables (multimodal compositions) you will produce, how you will present this project on your ePortfolio, and how you will engage in reflection throughout?

  2. I don’t think following my own engagement on twitter would be worth studying, while i am an active user my following is less than 100 people and the study would run cold very quickly. I’m so confused as to what we’re supposed to be doing with this am I supposed to be making things and posting them online to see what attention they garnish or am I supposed to be studying new media and how things go viral? Can I follow a certain genre or person? This is frustrating because its too open ended and I can’t get a grasp on the direction of the project. What would you recommend I do and track because it would be a lot less frustrating if I had a clean set of directions to follow or a topic to choose from.
    Thanks a Bunch – Sam

    • Sam, thanks for this response. I understand that it is difficult to develop your own research question / project (that is why we talked a lot already about some level of confusion / frustration / uncertainty being an integral part of the process, that one must learn to embrace), but that is to be expected, and you are receiving feedback along the way about your proposal and together we will revise / shape it. That being said, there are a very clear set of directions to follow, discussed in class and posted online.

      We will be discussing the proposals and next steps in class, but why don’t you stop by my office hours today (Tu 11/10), around 1:20pm (I have someone coming at 1pm), so we have a chance to discuss your individual proposal / ideas more fully together before then?

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