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BCM325

Hey You Should Read This: The Return

My DA

When first ideating my DA, I had to consider the implications it may have for the future and how it could develop overtime to stay relevant for future generations to come. My Digital Artefact is a Bookstagram purely focusing on the beauty and aesthetic of literature ‘for the 21st century woman’. Within my Instagram, I have focused on women aged 18-30 and have interspersed my personal taste and passion for styling into my other largest passion, books! Within my DA, I am addressing the book community and hoping to create a piece of technology that will last the leaps and bounds of the social media community. In order to do this, I have attempted to create a niche (which I will further expand on within this report) and have interacted with followers in order to create several feedback loops throughout the process.

My DA relates directly back to the Future Cultures subject in that I am addressing the short-term future in respect to my own career within the book industry. In doing this, I have utilised my DA to create amazing career opportunities which I am excited to share within this contextual report.

What Is ‘Hey You Should Read This’?

To begin, I believe it’s vital to discuss my pitch and the original plan for this project. Since my second year of university and studying BCM subjects, I have been slowly ideating the idea of a bookstagram or book blog, however, my drive was not there as it had no real clear utility for the future or myself. Instead, I decided to simplify things back to basics and focus on a clear community which was 18-30 year old female media consumers. I chose this audience as it is who I relate to the most and feelI could form the strongest connection with for my chosen output. I say ‘media consumers’ instead of book readers as although my community is primarily literature focused, I have interspersed vinyls, fashions and aesthetically pleasing stylised objects to appeal to the modern-day young woman as a whole. While this saturates my market further, I have found it lucrative as it has drawn more of an audience and it is more relatable. I had created a basis of initial research as a guide for how I wanted my research to pan out.

I conducted research based on what was already within the market and found some really good points that I summarised within my pitch. I focused on similar content and observed what others where doing within the community and how I could adjust to suit what I wanted for my community. Here’s a brief summary of research that I believe was most valuable to me:

  1. The Uncorked Librarian’ (2021) suggests finding a niche. I channeled this advice to narrow down my account.
  2. Novotna (2021) states “bookstagrammers are a new asset in promotion repertoire which help publisher spread a good word about books”
  3. Wendell Bell (Moore, 2021) and a quote I have used as inspiration for my DA is “people seek the knowledge and wisdom to speak for the well-being of future generations”.
  4. Moore (2022) states “It is through movies, books, and even our Instagram posts, that we imagine what life could be like”.

I channeled this research and adapted it to my project in different ways. Although I felt that some research suited my project over other sources, I believe they all helped in various ways. I will touch further on this in my continual progression and refinement.

Lectures

The lecture material proved to be really useful in the development of my DA. I find the task of predicting the future of work and media highly valuable. According to Wendell Bell (Moore, 2021) and a quote I have used as inspiration for my DA is “people seek the knowledge and wisdom to speak for the well-being of future generations”. This is what I was attempting to do through social media and finding a niche that will be long lasting and different to what is already out there. “It is through movies, books, and even our Instagram posts, that we imagine what life could be like” (Moore, 2021). I want to combine the use of the 21st centuries most popular app with the pasts most utilised source of knowledge, reading, to enhance online communities and connect us in different ways into the coming years. I developed the concept of futures personally as my career now lies in the book community. I have utilised this space to secure a job at HarperCollins, one of the worlds foremost publishing companies. Having seen the development of personal self through media proves how valuable the future of technology is, no matter what industry we are discussing.

Engagement and social utility

Within any community on Instagram but especially the traditional ‘Bookstagram’ community social engagement is incredibly vital for growth and development. Having a clearly defined social utility is also vital as without it, my DA would have just floated into the abyss that can be lost Instagram accounts. Engaging with followers and the Instagram community is essential for growth and to communicate who you are and what your brand is. I did this by initially ‘following’ a group of accounts that matched my vibe and what I was also trying to communicate. I gained inspiration from them and learnt so much including how to effectively use hashtags, how to talk to followers and how to use the bookstagram lingo. Once I gained 50 followers I started to comment on posts and follow back those who had followed me. After doing this, I started to see a vast increase in my likes, shares and comments. After this I found engagement to be an ever flowing loop and spiral effect as the more likes and comments I received, the more followers I gained and interacted with.

I am still gaining followers but have gone from 0 to 150 followers in the space of 2 weeks. This also links to the social utility of my blog. I wanted my space to be a comforting, aesthetically pleasing but still accessible online community for like-minded young women. I expressed this explicitly in my bio and through my use of styling. I want people to see my photos and perhaps feel inspired to read the book that I’m showing or feel that my style matches theirs. This is vital over time and for the future also as the book industry is truly booming with the revolution of new young authors so the relevance of books, especially now with the rise of Booktok and Booktokers, is at an all time high. The use of this through Instagram and technology keeps the conversation flowing.

My Progress!

My DA shifted considerably from the first stages of ideating to the stage it is in now. I started to design my research by sending out a survey to my BCM peers. This has kept my sample group manageable and roughly around the same age as my target group. I have taken on board the responses and interspersed this with my research so that I can post to suit exactly what bookstagrammers want and need out of their experience. I have also paid attention to my interactions. I believe likes and comments are the biggest indication of what we are doing right and what might not be working. Now that I am getting regular likes and comments (around 50 approx) I can see what people like form my comment based on their comments or my like-number average. I find that people seem to feel more drawn towards books styled into a room rather than just books placed randomly around. Because of this, I have started to do this more and have seen a great response!

Peers

Having peer feedback was really useful, especially as one comment I received was also studying the book community online.

A comment that I really resonated with was Pia’s. She was friendly, engaging and gave some really useful tips that I absolutely used throughout my production process. The main comment that I engaged with was the challenge to look into the future to see how my niche would survive. I thought about this and planned which led to the narrowing of my niche and style of Instagram as a whole. Before this comment, I was leaning towards contributing book reviews, however, studying and working full-time just does not allow a ton of leisurely reading time let alone a book a week for posting! By incorporating styling, I have ensured that I won’t disappoint by not uploading as it is more accessible and lasting.

The End is the Future

Although my DA changed and developed drastically from the first ideation stages, it will continue to grow and develop in the future also. This is what I am most excited for! I have started to plan for the future as I have now mixed this project into my resume and have received a job working at HarperCollins book publishers as a result of my passion for books and highlighting this within my life. I plan to continue ideating and using this Instagram as a place for people to interact and talk about books. I feel as though when there is passion behind something interspersed with a large fan base that is ever growing, there is potential for this DA to grow in the next 1,3 or 5 years. I want the future to be a place where the concept of “books being a dying format” is non-existent. We have so much to gain from reading and I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.

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BCM325

The Final Showdown

For the remainder of our BCM325 tweeting journey, my main focus was to correlate what I was viewing with the course content. I found that throughout the first film viewings and whilst I was getting a handle on the live-tweeting experience, I wasn’t drawing strong conclusions to what I had learnt within BCM325’s material. Having now viewed the remainder of our films for the semester, I have tried to provide evidence through quotes and reflection on ideas about what we have learnt in order to explain my feelings and thoughts on each film! In order to reflect my learnings, a select few tweets have been showcased from each week’s viewing to display my knowledge and interactions! Take a look!

Robot and Frank

Robot and Frank was one of the viewings that I enjoyed most. A completely different cinematic experience that left me thinking about it for days- just my cup of tea. Within my tweets, I tried to intersperse fun facts with facts from the course content in order to keep things fresh and exciting. I also used a collection of photos from the movie and GIFS to ensure I was including a range of media sources.

What did I learn?

This week’s topic regarding Artificial Intelligence was one that challenged me and taught me a lot regarding my initial misconceptions about what A.I. is. As reinforced within the lecture, artificial intelligence have made developments in machine learning, algorithmic analysis and other artificial intelligence applications for things like speech and facial recognition. While Ex Machina showed us a robot that is machiavellian by design, Robot and Frank shows us one that is “machiavellian by omission.” As its developers only teach the robot the definitions of terms like “stealing”, versus what these concepts actually entail, it can’t apply that knowledge in a meaningful way. However, I have also learnt through the lecture that this line in continuously blurring and today’s A.I. is working towards the human experience and truly understanding emotion.

Arrival

(L-R) Amy Adams as Louise Banks and Jeremy Renner as Ian Donnelly in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was a film that I hadn’t previously heard of and the week’s content regarding Futurists was one that I found myself drawn to so I was excited to get tweeting! I gave my followers a brief overview of the film before interacting with my peers a bit on the content. I also made sure to include facts about the films genre though I absolutely could have linked more to what I had learnt and how the film reflected that here. I feel as though I presented facts about the film more-so than actually linking it to content.

What did I learn?

Arrival as a film displayed notions of this week’s topic ‘Futurists and Decisions’ extremely well and resulted in me really connecting with this week’s topic. Within this week’s topic, I was particularly interested in Wendell Bells definitions regarding different types of futurists. He states “futurists hope to inform people’s expectations of the future and to help make their efforts shape the future”. It’s interesting to compare this to the films scientists and ‘futurists’ seen in Agent Halpern and Ian Donnelly whose curiosity sparks in a way that wants answers and solutions regarding the future. We can see deep juxtaposition in the chaos that ensues from a lack of understanding about the future e’g. Looting and suicides, and the social responsibility that comes with being a futurist. The quote “undertake a project, in which you persuade the world to move towards a more pluralistic future through creative and imaginative analysis and productive action” truly resonates here as this is exactly what our main characters are attempting to achieve.

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel was a film that I was most excited to unpack and watch as it is so vastly spoken about in the twittersphere and TikTok community. Whilst live-tweeting, I made sure to really engage in what I had learnt for the week. I took on board feedback from Assessment 1 and ensured I had a good understanding of the weeks content so as to ensure I was linking the film in the correct way. Although I still engaged in fun facts and chat with my peers, I made sure that i was starting discussion about what I had learnt as well.

What did I learn?

Alita: Battle Angel represented just one depiction of a cyborg but did so in a way that left me understanding the topic on a deeper level. Marshall McLuhan is paramount when discussing cyborgs and the humanistic aspects they bring forward.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One was a viewing that excited me mainly because it was a bit more modern and the soundtrack is A+. Although I thought the film left a bit to be desired in terms of scripting, I made sure to discuss how well I thought it encapsulated ideas about cyberspace and how cyber culture is defined. I did this though quotes from lectures and the weeks content and by starting discussion around what defines ‘cyberspace’. I really engaged with my peers this week also!

What did I learn?

As a modern film, ‘Ready Player One’ shows cyberspace and cyberculture as a genuine place and not just an illusion.

Don’t Look Up

This week’s topic was incredibly interesting or me. I really felt that I connected with the ‘paradigm shift’ topic and I wanted my interest in the different media types to come through my tweets! I still attempted to interact with peers, however, there were no other tweets on the film at the time of publishing. I also continued to include small fun facts about the film to make interaction easier and a bit more fun!

What did i learn?

As stated within my summary, Don’t look up taught me so much when aligned with this weeks topic regarding the paradigm shift and differing media types

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BCM325

Live tweeting!

Throughout the course of BCM325, our class was expected to I participate in active discussion revolving around Futures Culture and its relation to several films in popular culture. I found the whole process different, new and exciting and you’re able to check out all of my live tweets here!

Engagement with peers
Throughout this process I thought it was extremely valuable to interact with my peers in order to touch base on our content and ensure we are bouncing off of each other and learning. This helped me to join in the conversation and ensure everyone felt included as a team. I interacted with me peers through a mixture of liking tweets to show my support, commenting my opinions and retweeting. Tweets and interactions like the ones displayed below were extremely helpful as it made me think about ideas that I normally never would have before.

Further research

While tweeting, I thought it would also be valuable to bring some information that I had previously researched about our topics to the table. I thought adding fun facts about the films and weekly content would provide interesting material for my peers while also teaching em and expanding my knowledge about films and topics that I normally wouldn’t gravitate towards. I found some of these tweets really successful in gaining traction amongst my peers like this one below.

This tweet gained traction within the first few minutes of being posted.

I also sourced some of my information from Mental Floss as they provided facts that related to the course content and provided a unique view of the content we were studying. This allowed me to tweet facts that I knew I found interesting and that I knew my peers might not know yet.

Lecture material

While further research and interacting with my peers is important, interacting with lecture material and showing an understanding of the weekly content was also pivotal. Each week I tried to link what we were watching to our lecture material and I believe I did a pretty good job of this.

I feel as though i could have improved this by going a step further and intorducing some new reserarch and showing that I went above and beyond to really connect witht eh material. I could have done this by sourcing my own links and recommending further reading to my peers through my tweets.

In the coming weeks I hope to remain active on twitter and start even more conversations with my peers. It’s amazing how much we can learn from these interactions from just chatting to each other and actually talking about the content!

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BCM325

Peering In

This semester the BCM325 cohort took on the challenge of commentating on individual pitches in order to provide helpful feedback and to reflect on our own personal work. Below are exhibits of my comments and what I learnt throughout the process.

Peer 1- Pia

Summary-

Within my comment, I noted that I thoroughly enjoyed Pia’s presentation and her aims of exploring how fashions trends have been affected by shifts in global events. While I believed this topic was great, I thought that Pia could be really specific in engaging her audience by noting exact events that are currently affecting fashions trends with this website. I also suggested the growing knowledge surround fast fashion due to COVID and the increased use of social media.

Reflection

On reflection of my comment, I believe I learnt a lot from Pia’s DA and her approach to ideation and the FIST method. I hadn’t really considered what this had meant but her incorporation of the course material with her own interests flowed really seamlessly and have me insight on how to improve this for myself. I believe I tried to engage with her by finding topics that she could relate to. I thought she could relate more towards specific course content to make her points stand out more which I suggested here.

Peer 2- Samantha

Summary-

Within my comment, I noted that I really enjoyed Samantha’s idea and how she approached it. I liked that she had done her research and had clearly stated that she was interested in investigating her niche within the bookstagram community. I stated that as there was no real link to the course content, it could be valuable to investigate that further.

Reflection-On reflection, I believe I gave Samantha the best advice possible with the information given. I believe this taught me a lot about my own bookstagram niche and how it could be difficult to narrow that down also. I believe whilst giving me advice, it was quite difficult to provide specific tips on how to improve as it was quite unclear of what Santana was trying to achieve in terms fo the course content. I suggested a few links that may help her narrowing that down and how she could focus in on a specific topic.

Peer 3- Amelia

Summary

On reflection, I initially noted that Amelia’s graphics and design were excellent. I noted that she was doing great work in breaking down the stigma of ADHD. I suggested that she could go further with this research by suggesting this journal article that spoke a little built about how past predictions of ADHD have differed to its current depiction in society. I thought this would be helpful in connecting to the course material.

Reflection

I believe that I approached Amelia’s comment in a constructive and helpful manner. I wanted her to know that I noticed the things she has tried really hard to incorporate as I know that graphics are a main contributor in attracting an audience. I tried to find the gaps in the DA that Amelia may not have considered as I know that viewing things from a fresh eye can sometimes help. I tried to link to course material while also finding links and articles that Amelia would find interesting and related to her DA e.g. trends in ADHD research overtime.
I think I possibly could have improved my comment by providing more sources and approaches for Amelia to tackle with her DA but as I was unsure of what exact approach she will take further down the ideation line, I thought I would stick with one that was a fit for the course material as well as her interests.

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BCM325

Hey, You Should Be Reading This!

What I Intend to Create

I will be designing an Instagram based around books and recommending through the web space what people should read and why. I want to create a space that people find comfortable to visit and start conversations. The intention for this space is to venture into a bookselling website in which I send members books each month based on a personality quiz. I then want to take my business into the retail space, creating a blind date with a book business, pitching this to outlets around the South Coast and Highlands. People will find a wrapped book with hints at a local café, purchase this and find a read without judging the book by its cover!

Consider the DA methodology

I have started the process of making by creating my Instagram account, logo and name. I’m promoting this on my Instagram account through the use of hashtags such as #bookstagram to attract the specific audience of 16-30 year old female readers. I have also implemented my style and will continue to do so throughout my posts. I will utilise my background in social media to take aesthetic pictures of my books and I’ll conduct a questionnaire amongst my peers to gain feedback on specifically what they would like to see, targeting this questionnaire to my users so that valuable feedback is gained.

I have ideated completely from my initial DA and have pinpointed key differences in why I was not invested or couldn’t see a clear future with it below.

Background Research and Lecture References

The biggest thing any online creator can take is advice from people who have an established place. ‘The Uncorked Librarian’ (2021) suggests finding a niche. I channeled this advice to narrow down my account to adult fiction and #memoirmondays as this is where my knowledge lies. According to Novotna (2021) “bookstagrammers are a new asset in promotion repertoire which help publisher spread a good word about books”. I want to incorporate marketing into my bookstagram account to hopefully in the future work with brands to promote their stories and products.

I find the task of predicting the future of work and media highly valuable. According to Wendell Bell (Moore, 2021) and a quote I have used as inspiration for my DA is “people seek the knowledge and wisdom to speak for the well-being of future generations”. This is what I am attempting to do through social media and finding a niche that will be long lasting. “It is through movies, books, and even our Instagram posts, that we imagine what life could be like” (Moore, 2021). I want to combine the use of the 21st centuries most popular app with the pasts most utilised source of knowledge, reading, to enhance online communities and connect us in different ways into the next 50 years.

Public Utility and DA Challenge

The book space continues to grow with the evolution of Bookstagram. People are seeking out likeminded people who love to read to find connections. My account will provide people who weren’t confident talking about their passions, a space to unload and talk about what they love. I wish to take the present reality of Bookstagram and create an imagined reality through my own lens. I intend to utilise feedback loops regularly throughout this process as the audience knows what they want to see and communication is key. I must evolve with the times to acknowledge the futures role in my project. I have also provided diagrams of what my iteration ideology looks like.

References:

Moore, C 2021, ‘Trajectories and Planning ’, YouTube, BCM325, University of Wollongong, viewed 15 March 2021

Novotna, A 2021, ‘Lessons Learned from Bookstagrammers for Library Promotion and Promotion of Readership: Qualitative Study’, University of Nebraska Journal, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 157-178

Uncorked Librarian 2021, How To Start A Bookstagram For Beginners That Shines, viewed 15 March 2022, https://www.theuncorkedlibrarian.com/how-to-start-a-bookstagram/