As discussed in one of my first posts, I’ve never been a fan of commenting or contributing to communities or other posts. However, in an attempt to change my attitudes on the subject and become more network literate, I decided to find a community that was based my love of dogs. I had already been avidly blogging with Felix, writing as a dog for fellow dog owners, as well as contributing to the Cool Dog Group Facebook community, and was interested in building Felix’s online presence on a different platform.
Oatway (2012), discusses the importance of “establishing a presence” online, by getting your name out there, connecting with the ‘famous’ individuals within your online community/space and ensuring that you regularly engage in the community. With these elements in mind, I chose Pack to be my online community platform.
Pack, as explained in my post, employs various aspects of other social media sites in order to connect users from around the world, which can be considered to be relative to the ‘Global Village’ (Murphie, A & Potts, J 2003) concept. As I learnt, a global village is considered to be “one world connected by an electronic nervous system, making it part of popular culture”. However, in the case of both the internet and Pack, not all beings on this planet have access to such technologies or sites. Whilst Pack seemed like a facilitative community that allows for communication and togetherness of dogs and owners from all over the world, creating such a ‘village’- this was not the case.
Example. 1- Asking questions in the Pack Talk forum… 0 comments in 2 weeks.
When comparing Pack to other social media sites (eg. Facebook), its exposure, members and activity seems to be significantly lower than its human established counterparts. The audience that I had been communicating to on Pack was small and therefore, did not allow for the significant increase in our social presence as an owner/dog team. Despite the fact that I liked the photos posted from other dogs, posted my own photos, asked questions in forums and followed other profiles in order to immerse myself in Pack community, Pack’s lack of exposure and active users impacted my contributions and involvement. Not even the hypertextual capabilities given by linking my Facebook and Instagram improved my attempts to build this online presence for Felix.
Upon reflecting on my engagement with Pack, I decided that in order to build my online presence with Felix successfully and be a part of a thriving community, I should engage in one of the major dog-based communities in the online space- Instagram. It has been a few days now since this Instagram page began, and already I have 23 followers and counting, a significantly larger amount of followers than I had on Pack. This may be due to the fact that Instagram has more of an audience who welcome those who post and write on behalf of their dogs for a dog loving audience, as the idea of dogs having their own instagram is a trend.
Whilst it has been challenging to write and engage on behalf of Felix, I hope that my decision to change the platform within the online dog community on which I can build this presence is successful.
Murphie, A & Potts, J 2003. Culture and Technology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, Print. pp. 11-38
Oatway, J 2012. Mastering Story, Community and Influence : How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader Wiley, Hoboken. pp. 97-109