Aids.gov presents an extensive list of media tools one can use in promoting AIDS awareness. The great thing about social media tools is that anyone with any message or content they wish to promote can use them. The most popular on the list are social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (Duggan et al., 2015). Including the social media platforms, many of the other tools on the on the list I’ve either tried or am using. However, I found three that have fallen under my radar; Real Simple Syndication or RSS Feed, Reddit and Polldaddy. I chose to test these three on this blog to find which one would be most effective in extending my reach. I will share my thoughts about the tools I chose and their results. And I will share my thoughts about what types of audiences might be interested in each type of tool and which might reach audiences most effectively.
The first tool I decided to use was RSS Feed. The RSS Feed I used can be found in the customize tool in the WordPress Admin. An RSS Feed is a tool that allows websites to deliver their most recent content to their audience and it allows users to subscribe to web sources such as blogs or news sites. After subscribing, users then receive the latest content in one place, without having to revisit the sites they subscribed to (Govdelivery 2013). RSS Feeds increases the capabilities for websites to capture new visitors, turn them into returning visitors, and to increase their online ranking and awareness (Govdelivery 2013). Using an RSS Feed could benefit anyone who is looking to increase readership of their website such a blogs and news websites or any website that consistently updates their content.
The second tool I chose to test was the social booking marking tool Reddit. The process was pretty simple. I signed up for an account, subscribed to the 8,000 plus member “Media Criticism” group and posted two of my blogs to the group. Then I added the Reddit button to my blog site. Social bookmarking sites allow users to share their webpages, articles, blog post, images and videos (Eagen 2015). Users looking for posts that interest them can search, save links and share them, which helps to drive traffic to a site (Network Solutions n.d). Reddit allows users to vote posts up or down, which can also work to bring attention to a site if its’ posts are being voted up (Eagen 2015). Moderators can also help bring attention to a site by labeling a post “Quality Post.” To add to the excitement, search engines often list the results of bookmarking ratings, providing an extra opportunity for a site to show up in search results (Network Solutions n.d). Furthermore, adding a social bookmarking button to a site helps to increase targeted traffic as it encourages users to bookmark that website (Network Solutions n.d). There are however, some restrictions when adding posts to social booking marking sites. For example, moderators of the “Media Criticism” group do not allow content that is not educational. Posts that encourage bias, provoke outrage, or take cheap shots are not allowed (Moderators n.d). So I would not suggest Reddit to someone whose content falls in one of those categories.
The widget Polldaddy was the last tool I implemented. Widgets are small applications that can be embed into a website. Polls are defined as “a single-question, multiple choice response” (Vitale 2013). They are used to test assumptions, gauge reactions and obtain information for content creation (Vitale 2013). An audience who would use a poll could be marketers who are looking to find topics that connect with their audience (Vitale 2013). It can also be used by someone like myself who is interested in finding out readers’ thoughts about my blog content. A musician can poll their fans to find out what new song they like best and use the results to guide a campaign. Polls also have social media share buttons which can encourage voters to spread the word. I chose to embed a poll in one of the post I bookmarked on Reddit.
Thursday night, November 5th, I placed an RSS Feed on my website and posted “Oconee County Observations and Citizen Journalism” and “Examining Media Use and Influence,” in Reddit. Friday afternoon the 6th, I embedded the poll widget in the “Oconee” post. According to my WordPress stats, as of Saturday night the 7th, the results reveal that no one subscribed to my blog via the RSS Feed and I got one view on Reddit. However, when checking my post directly on Reddit’s site I saw that my posts were voted up.
When checking my polls’ stats directly from the Polldaddy widget, I saw that it had received one vote and no social media shares.
However, my viewers and visitors dramatically increased from November 4th to November 6th and 7th. From November 4th to November 6th my views jumped from 4 to 32 and visitors jumped from 2 to 24. November 7th views and visitors were around the same numbers, give or take a few less. So what happened here? I am going to assume that even though my stats say that I had one view on Reddit, there is a strong possibility that my posts were shared. WordPress stats do not provide this additional information so the next time I test a media tool I’ll be sure to set up Google Analytics so I can see exactly where views are coming from and how my posts are being shared.
As a final point, after going through the process of testing each tool, the tool that would initially reach an audience most effectively is Reddit. It’s great for someone who is just starting out and wants to build an audience or someone who has a large following and wants to target an audience. I would also suggest implementing an RSS Feed. Once users become aware of a site they like, they may be inclined to subscribe. Lastly, a poll would work best once a site has built a strong readership. If there’s no audience to poll then what’s the use?
Duggan, M., Ellison, N.B., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A., Madden, M (2015, January 9) Social media
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Eagen, S. (2015, February 7)10 most popular social bookmarking websites of 2015.
Brandwatch.com. Retrieved from https://www.brandwatch.com/2015/02/10-popular-social-bookmarking-websites-2015/
GovDelivery (2013, March 2) Do RSS Feeds still matter? Govdelivery.com. Retrieved from
Moderators (n.d) Media Criticism. Reddit.com Retrieved from
New Media Tools (n.d) Retrieved from
https://www.aids.gov/using-new-media/tools/index.html#tool-bookmarkingNew on November 4, 2015
Network Solutions (n.d) Social Bookmarking – what is it and how can it help promote my site?
Vitale, L (2013, February 2) When to use a social media poll vs. a survey. [Web log]