A Change of Plan

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In my first blog post I laid out a grand plan of multimedia posting and cohesive digital presence creation.

Well, we didn’t quite make it.

I decided for my final post rather than cobble together a video that wouldn’t be my best work I would stick with what I knew best, text. Despite my attempts to change the types of media,  I find that the message is the most important.

So let’s get to it!

I found that this process of blogging has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve forced myself to have some sort of presence on platforms I would have never contributed to before (Twitter and Anchor). I found that for me the biggest hurdle to social media participation was not my concerns over voice and authenticity, but rather my commitment to the space in general.

In the model from Sun that I referenced in my first post, I indicated that the focus of my blog series would be on the bottom quadrant, the Individual.

Sun Image 2

Through my process of blogging and attempting new methods for communication I feel that I have made significant progress on the self-efficacy front. I’ve literally put my voice out there. I’ve found my new, and significantly more daunting challenge now is on the Commitment side of the model.

In particular, I am concerned about the Normative Commitment aspect of the model and further how that ties into the affordances of Association as described by Leonardi and Treem.

Sun describes normative commitment as a “reflection of an individual’s sense of obligation to continue as a member of a community” (Sun, Rau, & Ma, 2014). Since beginning my blogging journey I have found that while signing up for new social networks was certainly a hurdle, actually staying active on them is even harder. I noticed that I only tend to respond to others or read articles, but I rarely contribute. When I do contribute it is usually a flurry of activity punctuated by even longer gaps between the next post.

I think this lack of commitment ties back to the affordance of Association described by Leonardi and Treem. Association not only facilitates increased connections and relationships but it also make one’s social network and interactions with content various platforms explicit (Treem & Leonardi, 2012). In my exploration of digital spaces, I have found that what makes a social network sticky and engaging for me is the information that the platform can provide. It’s pretty logical that as a lurker the information I can consume from online media is the most important aspect for my involvement. This issue with this view of social platforms is that one’s digital presence and authenticity is determined by what is contributed not just what you passively like or read on a website.
So here we are. Possibly better off than before, but not quite at cohesive and engaging online presence yet.

Reference

Sun, N., Rau, P. P.-L., & Ma, L. (2014). Understanding lurkers in online communities: A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 38, 110–117. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.05.022
Treem, J. W., & Leonardi, P. M. (2012). Social media use in organizations: Exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association. Communication Yearbook, 36, 143–189.

One thought on “A Change of Plan

  1. Jeff Merrell

    Re: commitment. One of the things I have found, in my experience, is that if you build good network relationships, then people in your network tend to forgive “gaps” of participation. But it takes time to build that network of relationships first before people say “oh look, she’s back! You must have been busy…how’ve you been?”

    But that dynamic is definitely there. I’ve experienced it. Others I know also talk about it.

    And I can tell you that – jumping back in when you are away, because of other commitments or just exhaustion – is driven a bit by the value you know you get in these relationships as well as by feeling guilty for “being away.” Not sure which is the bigger motivator. Might be the topic of another blog post. 🙂

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