Short videos to call attention to a story, compelling headlines, text in the opening page summarizing the story, condensed information, and content relevant to younger audiences. These are some ways news organizations, like CNN, is customizing content using Snapchat’s Discover tool to reach a younger crowd. The Discover section was launched earlier this year. Stories in this section of Snapchat remain visible for 24 hours. In an effort to speak to the community of the third social media platform teens prefer and use most, according to Pew Research Center’s Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015, CNN has taken a step forward by delivering news using a different format, which makes it a priority for content to be more visually appealing. CNN publishes a total of 5 stories per day.
In Read the news right away or it’s gone: CNN, ESPN push for Snapchat users, Cecilia Kang discusses how Snapchat has become a way for big media organizations to connect with an audience that is less interested in news. About embracing this opportunity, Meredith Artley, editor in Chief of CNN Digital says, “It’s not about getting everyone to come to you. It’s about getting young audiences where they already are.”
Here is a closer look at these 5 main components of a CNN Discover news story about a young teenager, Hannah, diagnosed with scoliosis since she was 9:
1. Short video to call attention to the story at the beginning playing continuously: The first screen of the news story consists of a video that’s 75% graphics or visuals. According to Pew Research, 41% of US teens use Snapchat to share images and videos, meaning this is a very effective strategy to begin a story by capitalizing on that fact and attract the audience’s attention by giving them what they appreciate. Here is the video that appeared on the first screen of this CNN story:
2. Compelling headlines featuring friendly fonts and colors not usually associated with news. The headline is: Teenage Years Trapped in a Shell.
3. Text in the opening page summarizes the story: In Hannah’s story, there is a two-sentence news briefing that remains on the screen as the images change. This summary tells who, what, when, and how.
4. Main story format features a condensed version and organizes it in sections, which integrate text with photos: There are two ways to find out what the whole story is about, from beginning to end. Either one follows the chronological sequence of the story by only taking a look at the photos and the caption each one has or one reads all the text of the story to discover more detail. In other words, the narrative here is given in two different forms, taking into consideration that teens respond better to visuals.
This is part of catering to an individual audience that Ekaterina Walter discusses in 5 Ways to Use Pictures to Tell Visual Stories With Social Media. She says: “Sometimes, when you try to reach everyone, you end up reaching no one. In those cases, it helps to setup channels for specific niche audiences and just tell the story that’s relevant to them.” Here is a snapshot of the second and third pages of the main story, in which there is a story told in chronological order:
5. Content is relevant to a younger audience: It’s no secret that this story appeals to teens because it’s a story about someone in their age group. It’s a powerful and emotional story about a young girl, who is also relatable to the majority of Snapchat users. Also, according to 10 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Teen’s Brain, “the decision to take a look at the story may be due to “their decision making can be influenced by emotions, because their brains rely more on the emotional seat of the brain.”
In CNN and other media brands come to Snapchat, Samantha Barry, head of social news for CNN says: “You’ll be surprised by the amount of context we can include in the snaps,” said Samantha Barry, head of social news for CNN. “They are visually-led with great images and videos, but when you swipe up, you will get great CNN context with more images, text and background.” While this tool is relatively new and analytics are limited, this strategy is working for CNN, as they say that they get seven-digit figures representing people who read these stories. What are other ways publishers are using Snapchat’s Discover Tool to get younger audiences attention regarding news?
When we look at a newscast on the TV set we immediately feel there is some type of mediation. There is an anchorman or anchorwoman sitting in front of a teleprompter reading the news and presenting stories that have already been produced. We don’t see the cameraman and have no idea who he is. Almost everything is completely planned in terms of how the show will run. As members of the audience, we listen to the story from our side (the television set). I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to feel any sense of presence there, neither from the reporters, nor from us as active members.
The opposite happens with social media. When reporters use social media both them and us are present at the location they report from. There is almost no mediation, or at least we don’t feel it. We feel we’re part of the story; that we’re right there with them, like when we play video games. The difference is in fact that physical presence which allows journalists to show us different angles, unedited scenes, and to portray stories from their own perspectives. Thus, social media give newsrooms a chance to morph traditional storytelling into an innovative and creative form. Also, social media give news correspondents, cameraman, and beat editors the opportunity to work collaboratively to distribute content outside the television screen in a way that makes audiences feel that presence. This is what I will immediacy illusion.
Even though the following roles are different, what they have in common is that presence. This is why they should social media:
Cameraman at TV News:
This is our chance to meet them because we never do with TV news. We only see their names on the credits at the end.
Their technical knowledge about filming, video and audio can drive them to produce excellent material for platforms like Vine, Twitter, and Periscope.
They can present a different perspective while they are on the go. What we see through their eyes on a TV newscast usually follows someone else’s instructions or direction. If they use social media, they can step away from that role and even do their own directing.
They can develop relationships with audiences who are only used to see the reporter or news correspondent as the “face” of the news organization they represent. Thus, they can present their human side on social media because we can meet them, their families and what they do when they are not on the go.
Because they are the eyes of what we see, they may see potential in some stories that can potentially represent new material for reporters.
It’s possible to give a voice to someone who doesn’t have one (usually). The example below is about a cameraman who went further, even made a silent movie about himself and posted it on YouTube!
He is a freelance cameraman (news, sport, and documentary) to news and broadcasters in the UK, including BBC and CNN. He uses Twitter, Google+, email list, and has a blog. He is basically building his own brand.
He shows his face (which we normally don’t see) so that the audience knows who is talking to us. Also, he gets to set a tone and voice (funny sometimes), so we can meet him at a more personal level. Finally, he shares part of the normal life he lives:
He gives the audience teasers about what type of live coverage he is doing on a particular day.
He gives us access to behind the scenes production shots and shows audiences editing equipment and personnel they usually don’t see:
He presents a series of stories about things that happen to cameramen, giving us access to how their day it’s like.
Blog: (The Amazing and Unbelievable Adventures of a TV News Cameraman and Underwater Rat Throttling Champion
Blog posts are a compilation about cameramen related news and views, but also about life on the road, like standing in the rain and cold for long periods of time. Some of these include:
How to Annoy a TV News Cameraman:
Ask “Is that thing heavy..?” “I will go for a soft one to start… This usually only gets a raised eyebrow from the cameraman involved, so is not too serious.”
The result is a blog, not only about technical stuff, but also about a day in the life of a cameraman. Honestly, it’s the first time I see something like this, and now that I think about it, cameramen have a lot to talk about. He speaks casually, straight to the point, no holds barred.
Paul Martin is a great example of how we can feel the presence of people we usually ignore. I think he found a perfect angle and he is one of the few I was able to find who does it well. He gives us that presence illusion instantly through social media.
Foreign news correspondent:
Foreign news correspondents are in charge of presenting audiences with stories about what happens in other countries, including war and politics. This means they present us with reports from places usually nowhere near us; completely unfamiliar. Because they may represent the only way audiences can learn about these matters, their use of social media becomes more important.
Social media provide for different ways in which these correspondents can distribute content in different forms, written, audio or video. Because there are so many platforms available, this means there are more options to present different parts of a story. For example, most of us haven’t been to Syria or Ukraine. Our concept of these places is constructed with what we see on traditional media. But we can construct better images about these places if foreign correspondents take the time to portray them on social media. This can be done with hard news, as well as soft news like below. There is no time for this on a newscast, right? Max Seddon is a foreign news correspondent in Russia.
Social media is timeless. When Nick Robertson is reporting from the Vatican, where there is a time difference, we don’t have to wait for the newscast to see what’s going on. If he uses Instagram at 3:40am, my time, to post a photo or video, I’m able see it when I wake up the next day. I will always have access, even though I have to look for it (in Twitter’s case, like the example below).
They usually interview government officials. With social media, there is no time constraint regarding how much you can say in an established amount of time. In a newscast, there’s a limited amount of time. This is not the case with social. On Twitter, you can present stories divided in more than 1 or 2 posts, even with the 140-character limit.
A 30-second story on a newscast can morph into a 4-day event on social media with much more detail. When the Pope visited Sarajevo, Nick Robertson created a sequence of posts on different days narrating what was going on. This is very effective in order to build expectation and keep the audience alert.
Social media give these correspondents the ability to use pictures they take, which may resonate more with the audience because they look like pictures we can all take, thus we can relate. Someone like us is making it possible for us to be at that place with him or her.
I would like to conclude by saying that news beat editors should also use social media. I spent quite some time searching for social media accounts of local beat editors. Sadly, only a few have presence on social and the content is in the form of general headlines about breaking news. They have both the small and big picture about a particular area; they have access to a lot of information. However, I found that they prefer to keep their role in traditional media, rather than capitalizing on social to distribute a form of content that may be valuable to audiences. They are losing the opportunity to capitalize on the immediacy factor and their presence to make people like me feel part of their role as journalists.
This week I will evaluate three brands from the perspective of the way their social networks are structured: Starbucks, Virgin Atlantic, and Miami Heat. The social networks I have selected are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and Pinterest. We will discuss whether or not they take an integrated marketing communications approach (IMC), if they are consistent in messaging and imagery, content is up to date, how do they drive users to other social channels, and if they use hashtags regularly. The idea about integrated marketing communications is that the message, in this case the online message, is consistent with the image of the brand across all channels.
In terms of brand image, like cover photo, colors, profile picture and other images, there is consistency across all channels. Right now, Starbucks social networks main pages feature images of the #WhiteCupContest, in which customers were encouraged to decorate a Starbucks cup with customized art, take a photo and submit it through social media using the hashtag. Starbucks will print the winning design on a reusable special edition plastic cup. There are photos of these cups in Facebook (37 million likes), Instagram (3 million followers), Twitter (6.3 million followers), Google Plus (2.7 million followers, and Pinterest (153k followers)
In terms of the message, Starbucks is also consistent. Most content of the past months consists of photos and videos of new/existing products, stores, and public relations programs, like the College Achievement Plan and the Oprah Chai Tea Project, in which Starbucks will donate a money portion of each product sold to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. I have to emphasize that the content is not identical on each channel all the time, for example photos, but one can tell that the brand is the same across all networks. This is an essential part of integrated marketing communications. The fact that some content is different does not mean they are doing it wrong. It means that Starbucks capitalizes on the strengths of each channel for specific content. For example, only Twitter and Google Plus feature special offers sometimes, like the Free Via Latte pack with the purchase of Via Coffee. We know Twitter is an excellent channel to post offers. Another offer they promote only on Twitter is the free song download cards. Also, since Pinterest and Instagram are optimal channels for photos, we see there are more photos of products on these two, compared to Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter. Finally, because Pinterest provides for creating boards about different themes, we see they cover the same topics on those boards (#WhiteCupContest, store photos, product photos). The difference is that they emphasize more on product shots they have categorized more in detail, like Latte, Espresso and Tea. Below are some examples of content:
Is content up to date? Content is up to date in term of the fact that it’s recent on all Starbucks social networks. This does not mean they post everyday, which I think they should. According to How Often Should You Post Social Media Updates, the answer to the question about how many times to posts per day on social networks is that there is no definitive answer; as often as you have something useful to say. The caveat is to keep in mind that people in different networks have expectations and standards and marketers should identify these. The most recent posts of Starbucks per channel are as follows: Facebook (3 days ago), Twitter (22 minutes ago), Instagram (2 days ago), and Google+ (2 days ago). Honestly, I would think Starbucks has something useful to say everyday. It was strange to find that they posted more recently on Google+ than on Facebook. It is also strange to see they don’t post everyday.
Do they use hashtags regularly? In Facebook and Google Plus, Starbucks is not capitalizing as much on hashtags as they do on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. On Twitter, almost each post has a hashtag. Some of the hashtags they use most in Twitter are: #CollegeAchivementPlan, #PicoftheWeek, #CaramelMacchiato. On Instagram, Starbucks uses more hashtags. For example, #iced #caramel #macchiato, instead of one. Also, they use hashtags of more general themes like #love #reuse #recycle to be part of these conversations too! I like the #whereintheworld tag for the pictures of some stores around the world. Finally, on Pinterest, every photo pinned by Starbucks relates to their products has a hashtag. The ones about their gifts and stores do not have hashtags. It is strange to see that in post about the Caramel Machiatto on both Facebook and Twitter only one has the hashtag. There is an area of opportunity for consistency with these hashtags across all channels.
Do they drive users to other social channels: All channels have links to the Starbucks website. Only Facebook has a tab for the Pinterest account. Google Plus has a tab with YouTube videos, as well as links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Finally, Pinterest only has a link to Twitter. This represents an opportunity for Starbucks to direct people from different channels to others. On the website, there is a link to Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. This means they are missing Instagram and Pinterest, as well as YouTube.
Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): I think Starbucks does an exceptional job in terms of integrated marketing communications. The format and content of the website leans more towards the corporate side, yet we can also see company products featured on the home page. It was strange not to see anything about the white cup contest, but the winners were announced three days ago, so I would think that is the reason. In terms of message, content and imagery, there is consistency across all channels. Frequency of posts should be one thing they can consider evaluating, but overall I can tell the same company is posting in all channels. Also, always using hashtags will help them monitor conversations about the brand in a more effective way.
The color that I associate with Virgin Atlantic is red. In Virgin Atlantic’s social network channels, this is the color that predominates in terms of the visual image of the brand. After taking a look at the main page of the company’s Facebook (332k followers), Twitter (269k followers), Instagram (16k followers), Google Plus (1k followers), and Pinterest (1,228 followers), I have to say that the imagery is not consistent across all channels in terms of the brand. For example, they do not use the same Virgin Atlantic logo on all networks. They use one on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and a different one on the other two. Also, the cover photos do not have any similarities. For example, the one on Facebook features one of their airplanes, while Instagram features a collage of the photos they have posted in the last months. There is no particular theme. It mixes photos of Virgin Atlantic personnel with photos of a photo shoot of one of their campaigns. Finally, the Google Plus page features a slogan we do not see on other channels, “Flying in the Face of the Ordinary.”
In terms of the consistency of the message, there is no consistency across all channels. If I take a look at Facebook and Twitter, I find there is some correlation between the messages on both social networks. I can tell that the airline is celebrating its 30th anniversary because of some posts about #NextStopNYC contest and the 30-year journey, which features the profiles of employees that have been working for Virgin Atlantic since 1984. These profiles are links from Virgin Atlantic’s blog. However, the promotion of the contest is more evident on Twitter, while it’s only mentioned on Facebook once, none on Instagram, Google Plus or Pinterest. On Twitter, they published one photo of each winner of the contest who won a trip to New York. Also, the mechanics of the promotion and the countdown are part of the strategy for Twitter. The only Instagram posts this month are photos of the airline employees which have been with them for 30 years. Other content on Facebook is related to general information, including new items on board and London travel tips. There is no board on Pinterest related to #NextStopNYC or the 30-year journey. The boards on Pinterest focus more on elements important to the brand, like fashion and beauty, including crew uniforms designed by Vivienne Westwood and travel in style featuring Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class red lipstick. This is not part of the content on the other social networks. It’s true that Pinterest is the best one for photos of fashion and beauty, but I would have included the photos of the airline employees and photos of the contest winners enjoying New York! I think there is an opportunity for improvement related to content in terms of consistency. As I mentioned before, content does not have to be identical on all platforms, but it should be cohesive and I don’t think it is here. Finally, there is no consistency in the content of the website and the social networks. The content on the website is more corporate and focused on booking trips and airline offers. I have to repeat, offers must be on Twitter, at least.
Is the content up to date? Virgin Atlantic has not posted anything since October, 2013 on Google Plus. There is also no consistency with the posts on Facebook. They posted one thing on June 4 and the next on the 18th. On Twitter, they post once every 2 days, even though there are most posts recently because of the contest. During the month of June, there are only 6 posts, all related to the 30-year journey. All these photos were posted during the last two days. Before this posts, the last one was on May 29th. My conclusion about this is that thanks to the anniversary they have been posting relatively more in terms of content. This means that they should consider a strategy for posting more often, specially in Google Plus. The content on Pinterest is not up to date since it ignores the 30-year anniversary
Do they use hashtags regularly? In most posts, there are hashtags, even more on Twitter. The most used hashtag in the last months are: #NextStopNYC, #Onesie (because they are promoting a onesie for business class travelers), #Futureofflying and #TravelTips. In Facebook, there is no consistency with the hashtags or repeats. In the last two months, for example, the hashtags are: #NextStopNYC and #BrilliantMinds. They seem to put new content each month, not necessarily related to a program implemented the month before. Virgin Atlantic uses hashtags on every Instagram post. The most used ones in the last two months were #30YearJourney and #BrilliantMinds. The pins on Pinterest do not have hashtags, as well as the posts on Google Plus.
Do they drive users to other social channels: All channels only have links to the Virgin Atlantic website. There is no strategy to drive users to other social channels. On the website, there are links to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Thus, there is also an opportunity here to share information about other channels.
Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): In my opinion, there is space for improvement, specifically in terms of consistency in terms of visuals and content, timing and frequency of posts, as well as directing users to other channels. I would begin with the cover photos and images, so they are cohesive across platforms. That will give users a unique idea about the brand in terms of first impression. I would establish a calendar with content ideas, including which channels will be used for what. For example, it would have been a great idea to include more information about #NextStopNYC contest on Facebook, which is where they have the most followers. Also, Pinterest would have been a great vehicle to see photos in New York of the winners of the contest.
When I first visited the Miami HeatFacebook (14.5 million likes), Twitter (2.6 followers), Instagram (1.4 followers), Google Plus (48k followers) and Pinterest (3k followers), I immediately noticed consistency in some imagery. All of the pages featured the Miami Heat logo. The colors red, black and white are predominant in terms of the visual image. I would capitalize more on the space given for the cover photo on all networks and would include a photo of the team. In this case, that was only done on Google Plus. Also, in Twitter, there is only a black background, meaning they are not using that space usually saved for appealing and bold images (just like they did on Instagram). I can tell the pages of the different social networks belong to the same team, but creatively they can do better.
In terms of content, I would say the message of the Miami Heat is consistent across all platforms, except Google Plus where there are no posts since 2011. Now that the NBA season is over, we still can see posts primarily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These posts are related to press conferences held this past week, merchandise on sale, Heat summer basketball camps, and giveaways. They do a great job keeping consistency on all channels related to this information. For example, just today, Chris Andersen visited the Miami Heat camp to speak to campers and sign autographs. There was a video posted about this on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Another example is Pat Riley’s press conference on June 20th, which was mentioned on one Facebook post and one Instagram post. However, Twitter was used to narrate the press conference in real time, which is something we often see with Twitter. During the regular season, we see posts everything related to the games, including countdown, game scores, behind the scenes, and ticket information. The Pinterest account focuses more on game fashion (jerseys, women’s apparel, and gear). This is understandable due to the nature of Pinterest, but I would put more game photos on the Game Photos board. After all, Pinterest is a channel that focuses on photos and I’m sure there are great photos.
Is the content up to date? Even with the season over by now, the contest on most social networks is current, specifically on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We see at least one post per day on Facebook. Posts are more frequent on Instagram and Twitter, specially this past week with all the press conferences. During those days, there was an average of 5 posts per day, both on Instagram and Twitter. I would suggest using Google Plus the same way. Evidently, there is material to share and they are not capitalizing on this.
Do they use hashtags regularly? There is no use of hashtags at all. This represents a great area of opportunity in order to establish categories which followers can also use to find conversations and engage more. Some of the could be #heat #miamiheat #heatnation and #whitehot.
Do they drive users to other social channels: In all channels, there is a link to the Miami Heat website. In Facebook, there are links to Instagram and Twitter accounts. There are no other links on Instagram and Twitter. Finally, there is a link to the YouTube channel on Google Plus.
Conclusion (in terms of integrated marketing communications): I would have to say that in terms of content and imagery, there is integration across most channels. The recommendation here is to use more Google Plus, as well as Pinterest to extend the conversation going on at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Also, posting on Google Plus increases SEO. In general, there is consistency also with the content on the website and this is a very important part of integrated marketing communications.
Scheduling and direction of communication are two marketing aspects worth selecting to compare between two areas: classic marketing and social media marketing. Both types of marketing are used to communicate with consumers, including informing them about a new product or service or promoting an event. Classic marketing refers to companies using a more traditional approach, such as advertising campaigns in television or radio. In social media marketing the intent is the same, but the communication channels are different.
In classic marketing, scheduling of advertising campaigns occurs in a longer time frame and involves planning ahead. This includes having enough time for an advertising agency to negotiate with different media, securing those spots on television and radio, production and launching of the campaign. Companies are not the ones owning airtime in these media channels, so it must be purchased beforehand. If a company wants to say something to its customers, it cannot be done instantly; it must be planned in advance. This means that an ad campaign cannot be developed, executed and launched during the same day!
In social media marketing, this approach is spontaneous; it does not require so much planning. Ad campaigns, for example in Facebook, can be either scheduled in advance or instantly. You can either run an ad continuously or set a start and end date. There is not time to purchase in advance. If a company decides right now that it wants to run an ad, it can do so. This type of scheduling also offers companies the opportunity to decide what they want to achieve with the ad (more page likes or website conversions, among others), as well as targeting according to age and interests. If a brand like Betty Crocker wants to get more page likes today, they can create an ad for that and run it starting today. The create an ad button is on the Facebook homepage. As simple as that!
If, for example, Betty Crocker decides today that it wants to give its customers a recipe of how to make brownie ice cream sandwiches for a picnic, they just post it in the product’s social networks (instead of an ad):
With classic marketing, they would have had to schedule a newspaper ad with plenty of time in advance. Also, this scheduling, does not provide with an opportunity to choose a specific time to run the ad, as in newspapers we can only choose date, size of ad and sometimes the position. In social media marketing, there is more space for improvisation because ad campaigns and page posts can be done almost instantly. Since everything comes with a prize and social media marketing gives the public space to comment, react or request something, companies should be conscious about this and must be able to respond.
In classic marketing, the direction of communication is unidirectional, whereas in social media marketing is bidirectional. This means that a company selects the content of the ad and the audience just receives the information and processes it privately. In social media they receive the information and may process it publicly. For example, Clorox decides to run this newspaper ad to promote Clorox Wipes. They send the message to consumers and expect them to receive this message and purchase the product. There is no space in the ad for consumers to comment about what they see in the ad.
However, if they publish this ad in their social media networks, I’m sure people would react and respond to this controversial message because it stereotypes men are less concerned with cleanliness than women. Marketers should consider this when using one marketing approach versus the other since there is space in social media for people to react, when in classic marketing they can’t. They have to consider that while social networks provide space for conversation and are probably more effective in getting feedback/answers from consumers, they should select them only when they want to engage.
Which one is better? Neither, at least by itself. I think the challenge is to combine both. In relation to the marketing aspects discussed above, scheduling and direction of communication, companies should have their objectives very clear prior to deciding which strategy to choose. Traditional media are not dead; they have not disappeared and it is essential (when budget allows it) to have presence in some of them, while having also presence in social media networks. In my opinion, I think social media have taught us to be spontaneous, letting us tailor our messages better by targeting specific groups and deciding whether or not we want to engage with customers. This is the aspect that makes me prefer social media, but if we want to be on television, then we have to learn to plan better, in advance, without losing perspective that we can also run the tv ad in social media. I don’t think these days, companies are free from comments or criticism so maybe the conversation in classic marketing is not 100% unidirectional after all!
Betty Crocker. [2014. May 23]. In Facebook [Fan Page]. Retrieved on May 23, 2014 from https://www.facebook.com/bettycrocker
Tozer01. (2013. April 23). Clorox. Retrieved on May 23, 2014 from http://tozer01.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/clorox/
The first thing I loved about Kickstarter was the menu for finding projects, specifically its language. Where do you want to look? Earth sounds good. Sort by magic? Sounds reasonable. The category I chose was food and there are currently 5,389 projects available. I identified one project I would love to get funded. Actually, I posted information about it on Facebook to see if some of my friends would do it.
The project is SOSU Barrel-Aged Sriracha, a version of the well-known chili hot sauce. The different thing about this one is that it is aged for 1-3 months in whiskey barrels with no preservatives, additives, and made in small batches. Can you imagine a hot sauce with the smokiness flavor brought by the barrels? Because of my obsession with this hot sauce, I decided to take a look at the project. I use hot and chili sauces in soups, sandwiches, ketchup, rice, beans, meats, tacos, among others. However, most hot and chili sauces do not have any flavor. Sriracha is an alternative with flavor, but I would imagine the flavor would be bolder with a product like this one!
The first and second parts have already been funded. First one was $20,000 to make the first two batches and the second one raised $60,000 for bigger equipment and offering more products. These products, Barrel-Aged Hot Sauce and Sriracha salt, are the result of their philosophy not to waste leftover ingredients. So, from the production of Barrel-Aged Sriracha they were able to yield two new products.
Currently, they are looking to reach a new goal of $100,000 for a permanent production location and personnel. So, now that they have been able to secure production they need a plant; now that people are “backing” them and their products, they need more help to get going. The $100,000 goal is accompanied by a stretch goal reward, in which anyone buying one jar of their product will receive a 4oz jar of Sambal Oelek, a thicker version of Sriracha. The interesting thing is that in some instances, they already have the number of backers they need. For example, in order to receive early release and limited editions of the product, they were asking for a $25, $100 or $250 pledge. These are gone! Also, in order to own a share in the barrel of Sriracha, they are looking for $750 or more and they already got 7 out of 10! This is a project I would love to see completely funded, because the product is an alternative to the original version of Sriracha. For people like me, who put hot sauce and chili sauce to lots of food, this means a lot! By the time I am finishing this post, I decided to pledge $25.00 to this project.
Even though I consider myself computer literate, this task made me feel like a complete incapable person of doing something in a computer! I downloaded the program, which was the easiest part. I had to choose an avatar to create an account and username. There were not so many options to choose from so I decided to go with the most similar one to myself hoping to change it when I got to the first screen. That is where I found that there were some other avatars, including vehicles and robots, which I did not want to be.
I started to navigate the top left menu and was happy to find the part of editing my appearance. I was so excited that I started selecting everything, up to the point in which I ended up wearing like 15 pieces of cloth and accessories at the same time (see picture). I was wearing jeans, jacket and skirt at the same time and could not figure out how to remove those. After I found where to edit my look, finally, I got so excited that I ended up with no hair and there was no way back! After adjusting my nose, body, face, makeup, and shoes (see photo #2), I tried finding my hair and never found it. So I gave up!
After accepting that I was going to have no hair, I decided to walk around, run and fly to different places. Suddenly, for some reason I moved from Welcome Island to Temple of Iris, where there were a couple of screens I tried to touch for video tutorials and the links did not work. Then, I decided to go to Spain, under International Destinations, but I had no access. So I decided to visit Turkey (Turkiye), but I do not speak the language so I had to leave. I can say I appreciate the powerful graphics and understand that there are no limits in this virtual world, but I just couldn’t find something useful or meaningful to me. I tried using the chat feature and no one nearby answered.
When I was about to give up because my imagination and creativity skills felt short and I couldn’t understand what could be done in Second Life, I decided to go to NCI Kula-New Citizens Incorporated, under the newcomer friendly category to try something easier. As soon as I got there, I started to receive objects, began to walk around and found tutorials and finally, I was able to build and enjoy a hot air balloon flight! I also tried to play Simon and was told that people in the chat that I had the wrong sequence. Finally, I decided to sit at the main plaza and I met some people who finally talked to me. I asked them why there were some people dancing, which I love to do, and they taught me how to do it. I had to touch a white dance ball and select the type of dance. I ended at some dance party with really cool music dancing with people and animals! Funny thing is that I did not know how to stop dancing so I kept on moving around with some dance moves.
I now understand how an average person spends 20 hours using Second Life. I achieved very little in 3 hours, so I guess the possibilities are endless. I do have to say that people need to like virtual worlds in order to spend more time. Honestly, I never heard about Second Life before so this has given me an opportunity to learn something new. My conclusion is that virtual worlds offer researchers a lot of potential material to study. It would be very worthwhile to just sit in any of the destinations and observe what people do, what they say, how they speak and how they interact with others. Another interesting area would be analyzing avatars, how they differ, what conceptions people have about themselves or their alter ego. It is definitely a different world; I rather stay in this world!
I have to begin by expressing my deepest frustration regarding the low amount of participants in my survey about social media in Puerto Rico. Out of my combined Facebook friends and Twitter followers of 600+, I just received 51 completed surveys. In order to distribute this survey, I posted it in my Facebook and Twitter accounts multiple times and at different days of the week and time. Also, when I posted it, I invited people to share it with their friends and followers. One of my friends, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, shared it with her students on her Facebook page and even offered extra credit (results for that: 4 surveys). However, I was able to see some trends and obtained some interesting results, some expected and some unexpected. I also noticed that one of the questions was not formulated in a clear way; this affected the results of that particular question (I will get to that in my discussion about the results below). Out of the total respondents, 82% are female, which is totally understandable since most of my friends are female. As far as age group, 73% of respondents are between the ages of 35-54 (that gives you more information about my age) and 92% have at least 2 social network accounts. It was no surprise that Facebook was the top social network (96% mentioned in the question: With which of these social networks do you have an active account? The next two were Instagram and the third place was tied with Twitter and LinkedIn, which was a shocker since I thought Twitter would be second or third, but by a highest percentage. Maybe this was due to the fact that the question had the option of checking “all that apply”
Out of all respondents, 78% indicated they actively participate when they login to their accounts by comment, sharing, or posting status. That leaves 22% who live as I say “in the bushes,” just checking out stuff right? In ranking social networks by preference, Facebook is at the top of the list (82% of participants ranked it #1), followed by Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. LinkedIn, which was mentioned more as an active account, occupies the 6th position in the preference list out of 8. I guess people associate it with business related stuff, maybe not so much fun. Another shocker was YouTube, ranking a little bit above Pinterest, which I thought would be higher due to the high number of women who participated. A potential next question would have been why they access each one and their expectations about each of the social networks, specifically in terms of content. How often participants check their favorite social network? 80% of the respondents say more than once a day; combined, 98% of respondents at least once a day. Now I want to know how many times and day and when! The next question is the one with the error since it read: How often do you check other social media accounts? Facebook was mentioned at the top under the “more than once a day,” which is not possible because it was mentioned before as the favorite social network, which people check more than once a day. When I checked, I put no option in the survey that would omit Facebook from the possible results. This affected the ranking of the other social networks. However, it was surprising to see that 35% of the respondents never check their Twitter account, which is almost the same percentage of the ones that check it at least once a week. Other accounts never checked are Vine and Google+. Other than Facebook and Instagram, the total amount of respondents checking their accounts adding up daily+weekly, monthly or never is almost distributed equally. A majority of respondents, 92% access their social network accounts from their smartphones and the top three reasons for why they use them are social interaction, entertainment, and information seeking. Here, a potential question to follow would have been a list of specific answers under each category to have a deeper understanding. Some results were expected, such as Facebook ranking higher, but some were unexpected, such as Instagram ranking above Twitter. Also, I honestly thought that more people checked the social network accounts once a day, not more than once a day. The increasing trend of more smartphone usage is also evidenced here. In the future, I might put together another survey to get more insight about each social network usage.