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My Contribution to the Conversation- Reflecting on My Live Tweeting

This blog post containing tweets and analysis is in regards to Live-tweeting exercises I have been participating in for the last 4 weeks for my Future Cultures class (BCM325).

The following tweets are a curation of some of my most significant contributions and interactions during the live tweeting of a weekly screening that explores the concept of the future. During the past 4 weeks, we have watched, ‘Metropolis‘ (1927), ‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘ (1968), ‘Westworld‘ (1973), and ‘Blade Runner‘ (1982) .


WEEK 1: ‘METROPOLIS’ (1927)

Unsurprisingly I found my first week of live-tweeting to be the most difficult. Having never done it before, I felt like I was struggling to watch the film, think critically and tweet my own ideas, and engage with others all at the same time. Despite this I think I was on the right track.


In my first tweet, I discussed the similarities between the class dynamics in seen in Metropolis to those seen in the Hunger Games series. This power dynamic was also identified by other students of which I engaged with.

Looking back, it is clear I lacked some confidence in expressing my ideas, and I remember feeling reluctant to share my thoughts in case I was wrong.


The next significant idea I identified was how important the body language was in ‘Metropolis’. By interacting with others I gained a better understanding of what the body language was symbolising.


The other prominent conversation I participated in during this screening was about deep fakes and how the film seemingly foreshadowed the development of this technology.


Throughout the screening I also shared a variety of sources I thought others would find interesting. However, these tweets didn’t receive much engagement.

In hindsight, I should have focused on material that engaged more with the film and lecture content then random information.


WEEK 2: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)

In week 2 I had a better understanding of how the live-tweeting during the film screenings worked, as such I was able to make more contributions to the conversation.

During the screening, I interacted more with the lecture content and other students, as seen in the following retweet.

I also continued to share articles and research I thought was interesting, such as the interview with the director; Stanley Kubrick, where he explains his reasoning behind using the French styled bedroom.

Another conversation I participated in was about the iconic ‘Daisy Bell’ scene. As a collective, we discussed the director’s thinking behind that scene and also the symbolism it had in revealing how human-like HAL was.


WEEK 3: ‘Westworld’ (1973)

Entering week 3, I tried a new strategy in regards to the live-tweeting. This time I conducted research about the film, and read lots of articles and analysis so I understood the main themes prior to watching it. This allowed me to generate and share my ideas and insights more quickly and in real time. I think by doing this I received more engagement, as my tweets were relevant to the section of the film everyone was currently watching, rather then a scheduled tweet that might not have been relevant to the scene being viewed.


A major theme throughout this film (as well as the following film; Blade Runner) was that human and the androids were almost indistinguishable from one another. This was a reoccurring discussion throughout the screening.


To me, human greed was another major theme explored throughout the film.

Once again, I shared content I thought had value during the live-tweeting, in particular my tweet featuring an article about the possibility of Westworld becoming a reality received quite a bit of engagement compared to my other tweets about articles/news in previous weeks.


WEEK 4: ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

Week 4, was an interesting week in regards to the live tweeting. Again, I conducted as much preliminary research as possible before the start of the screening. By doing this I also found that I thinking more critically about the different aspects of the film, ie. the costuming, the set design and the sound used.

A prominent discussion in this week’s screening was techno-orientalism, which many people (myself included) identified at various points throughout the film.


I also shared interesting sources that were relevant to the scene/s we were watching.


Perhaps the most interesting conversation I contributed to was a discussion/ about the various interpretations of Deckard and Rachel’s love scene.

I found my peer’s perspectives to be really interesting, especially the ideas about neurodiverse behaviour and the prominence of the male gaze within the science-fiction genre.


SELF REFLECTION

Overall, I think I have made a lot of progress on my live-tweeting skills. By using the process of researching the film thoroughly before the screening, I was able to identify and share specific and relevant ideas quickly (which seems to be more effective when compared to scheduling pre-written tweets throughout the screening time).

I’ve also noticed that I am feeling more comfortable and confident when tweeting during the screenings, as I have more knowledge about the film then I would have just watching it for the first time (like I did in Week 1).

Ultimately, I think I have made interesting contributions to the various conversations taking place during the screenings, and have effectively engaged with my peers and their ideas as well. Whilst there is room to improve, especially regarding my integration of lecture content and concepts, I am optimistic towards the future weeks of live tweeting.

Check out my other tweets here.

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#BCM325 Peer Comments: A Reflection

As a part of my studies in Future Cultures (BCM325) we are required to analyse and comment on our peers’ pitches for the major project. (You can see my own pitch here.)

This was an interesting task as giving feedback to other students is not something I am used to. However, I really enjoyed learning about the other project’s people have come up with and found the process of critically thinking about their projects interesting.

The following three peer comments, summarise what their pitch was about, reveal what I commented and include my reflection on my own feedback.

Peer Comment #1: (Emma’s Pitch)

THE FUTURE OF CHàE MEDIA

For this project Emma is planning to create a podcast series alongside the rest of the Chàe Media team. The focus of this podcast will be discussing: the future of Chàe Media, the BCM325 screenings, BCM325 lecture content, student insights and other miscellaneous topics.

My comment:

Reflection:

I found it difficult to provide advice on Emma’s pitch as the podcast she is planning for Chàe Media includes such a wide range of content that is not limited to discussing only the future of a specific topic. However, I believe that providing the source on how to make an effective podcast series will be of great benefit. I also think suggesting a production timeline (as mentioned in the lecture) was helpful advice. In hindsight, I should have asked further questions about the future of Chàe Media and provided further ideas about how they could grow.


Peer Comment #2- (Taylah’s Pitch)

THE FUTURE OF FILM

Taylah is planning to create a video essay that explores the future of film. Specifically she plans to discuss where the film industry is going in terms of remaking movies and tv series and which companies are likely to participate or continue to participate in the remake trend.

My comment:

Reflection:

Looking back, I believe I provided some substantial ideas that Taylah could potentially explore further. These ideas include: the capitalisation of nostalgia, what makes a old film remakable and if a remake needs to change (and if so, by how much) to provide the audience value? However, I could have discussed how remakes are influenced by social norms and understandings. I also realise now that I missed an opportunity in my feedback to discuss future narratives (as explored in the readings).


Peer Comment #3– (Alana’s Pitch)

THE FUTURE OF ART

Alana is planning to create a three part blog-series that discusses the future of art. More specifically she plans to explore: key technologies, how these technologies are being used, how can art be 100% digital, how digital art can be ‘owned’, as well as speculating what the next 5-10 years will look like for the art world.


My comment:

Reflection:

I struggled the most with Alana’s blog as it was the subject I knew the least about, especially in regards to the technologies she discussed. However I tried by best to make sure I understood her topic before offering my advice. I also believe that suggesting sharing her content on Reddit was a useful idea, as I often see Reddit users discussing future technologies.



FINAL THOUGHTS

At the time of viewing the pitches and writing the comments I found it really difficult to include insights from the lectures. In hindsight, I should have tried to relate their ideas to things we had discussed in class rather than analysing the actual presentation of the pitches (in regards to visuals and information).

However I do believe I provided a range of useful and relevant sources for each comment, that would aid their project’s development.

Whilst I’m not a professional, I also believe that my advice is helpful as it provides an outside perspective. I also asked a lot of questions in an attempt to prompt ideas or open up avenues they could further explore throughout their respective project.

Project Pitch: The Future of Marketing!


The following video explains the concept I am pitching for BCM325- The Future of Marketing (a blog series).


Methodology:

For my Digital Artefact (BCM325) I intend to create 7 mini blogs on WordPress (specifically, this site) as a part of mini-series all about the future of marketing. Marketing is my passion and is the industry I aspire to work in. Furthermore, I enjoy blogging and I believe this project will allow me to further my knowledge, as well as provide value to my audience.

Is it F.I.S.T?

  • FAST- After thoroughly researching the topic, creating the blog post should be a quick process.
  • INEXPENSIVE- The only costs are my time & effort!
  • SIMPLE- I’ll be sharing this mini blog series on WordPress with a specific target audience in mind.
  • TINY- Each blog will be fairly short and to the point (200-300 words), and will focus on one topic.

Production Timeline:

The following visual is a structured timeline that I can follow for this project. By having weekly deadlines for specific tasks I believe I will be able to stay on track with my content production and the overall progression of the Digital Artefact. I have left a break in both Weeks 9 & 12 to allow me time to work on my Project Beta presentation and finalising my Digital Artefact (respectively). Additionally, I am aiming to finish this mini-series by Week 11 and finalise everything in Week 12 as I have 3 other assessments due in Week 13 and I want to relieve as much pressure on myself as possible.

References:

Reflecting on BCM313- The Future of Work

Overall BCM313 (The Future of Work) was one of my most enjoyable subjects I have undertaken to date.

Colleagues working together on project Free Vector
People vector created by pch.vector – www.freepik.com

I found the content to be really interesting and engaging. As a person who has always loved storytelling I really enjoyed learning about narrative thinking and how I can use it to better understand what is important to myself and others.

I think one thing that will really stay with me from this subject is Michael White’sabsent but implicit‘ principle. After learning about this theory it was like a lightbulb went off in my head. Now when I am listening to people stories I can’t help but think about this theory and how their words reflect the values that are important to them.

The teaching team that delivered this subject was also incredibly understanding of the stress and workload students were facing and made every effort to help and accommodate students.

What did I learn about myself?

During the course of this subject, I learnt that I place significant value on working hard, respect, and fairness. I also realised that the reason I am sometimes overcritical on my work is because doing my best is really important to me.

I was also able to identify some areas were I can improve, in particular my confidence in my ability could be better. However thanks to BCM313, I feel like I am now equipped with the skills to work on myself and take those small steps…

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth: TikTok Field Notes (Pt.2)

This is part 2/3 of my TikTok field notes for my ethnographic research project about online skincare communities. I am looking to better understand how audiences’ reactions to Electronic Word of Mouth (EWoM) content differs across different social media channels, by analysing a variety of skincare influencers (or skinfluencers if you will) on Instagram and TikTok.

After looking at @skincarebyhyram‘s content in part one, I decided to look at another prominent creator in the TikTok skincare community, @yayayayoung.

The Process:

To help me better organise my fieldnotes I came up with some set questions I would ask myself after viewing each piece of content. They include:

  • Who created the content?
  • What is the content message? (The video/Image as well as the caption and/or hashtags used).
  • What is my response to the message?
  • Is this message sponsored?
  • How effective was their persuasion? (Using a my own scale of persuasion)
  • What is the time & date I am viewing the content?
  • Where am I viewing this content?
  • How did other users respond to the message?
  • What was the purpose of this piece of content and how did the audience behave in reaction?
My Scale of Persuasion

So, who is @yayayayoung?

@Yayayayoung, aka Young (or Egg King), is a prominent skincare content creator on TikTok. He currently he has 1.3 million followers and his humour consists of funny skincare recommendations.

Image credit: @yayayayoung via TikTok

I have analysed the following five pieces of Young’s content in an effort to better understand this part of the TikTok skincare community.

FIELD NOTES #1

The content:

@yayayayoung

#sponsored Whether you’re here or there, @kiehls is waiting for you. Shop Now At @sephora #KiehlsPartner #UltraFacialCream

♬ original sound – yayayayoung

What? – This TikTok video features Young promoting the skincare product through a voiceover with footage of him throughout a normal day. The caption includes the #ad hashtag.

Sponsored? – Yes. The #ad and #kiehlspartner hashtags indicate that this is a paid promotion.

Persuasive? – A little. I give this a 4/10 on my persuasion scale. It seems to much like a traditional advertisement to me.

When & where? –  I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 1pm.

My reaction – I do like that Young was clear about his sponsorship and kept the #kiehlpartner hashtag on the screen for the entire video. However I felt like I was watching an advertisement when was viewing this content, especially with the tagline at the end. To me it felt scripted and lacked passion.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 16,400 likes, 26 shares and 183 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments are focused on asking Young personal questions, other skincare questions or Young replying to users. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #1)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – This TikTok was seemingly designed by Young (in collaboration with the product brand) to explain how and why this product would be of benefit to consumers. The audience behaviour in response to this sponsored TikTok is interesting as there were more users praising/congratulating Young for being sponsored than those who were criticising him. Also the audience seemed to be more interested in Young personally than the product he was recommending.

FIELD NOTES #2

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young using and discussing the skincare product, he explains what the ingredients are and why he likes it.

Sponsored? – Somewhat… Whilst Young explains that this recommendation wasn’t sponsored in the video, in the comment section he discloses that the product was sent to him in a PR package. However, he also explains in his comment that he is very strict in reviewing free products and tries to be as unbiased as possible.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give this a 9/10 on my persuasion scale.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 2pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be engaging and persuasive! I liked how we explained what he looked for in a cleanser and that he explained in detail why he recommends this product. I also feel like his passion in the video made me more interested.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 25,000 likes, 113 shares and 228 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were either skincare questions, Young replying to users, or users complimenting Young. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comment (Content #2)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – This TikTok was seemingly designed with the purpose of introducing this skincare product to the TikTok skincare community. The audience’s behaviour reflects that they trust his opinions and advice and like Young as a creator.

FIELD NOTES #3

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young using the skincare products and discussing them in a voice over. He explains what they are, what they do and how to use them.

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give it a 9/10 on my persuasion scale.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 3pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be entertaining, informative and overall, effective! I was definitely considering going straight to the product website after watching it. I felt like Young’s recommendation was genuine. I also enjoyed his passionate and humorous persona.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 245,400 likes, 4562 shares and 1300 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were questions about skincare or about the product/brand. There was also a quite a few comments with negative feedback about the products. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #3)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Young seemingly designed this content with the purpose of sharing his recommendation with users in the TikTok skincare community. The audience’s behaviour reflects that they trust his opinions and advice. Audience members also shared their own experiences with and opinions about the product/s.

FIELD NOTES #4

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young explaining how to treat a skincare concern using the product.

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes, I give it a 7/10 on my persuasion scale. I like that he explained why he thought the product was effective.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 4pm.

My reaction – I felt like Young recommendation was honest and genuine. I like how he talked about what he and did not like. I also felt like he was more relatable to me when he admitted he didn’t use the product as often as he should.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 53,900 likes, 707 shares and 316 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were conversations between Young and his audience asking and answering skincare questions. A number of users also revealed they had purchased this product or were planning to after watching this video. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #4)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Young’s main purpose in designing this TikTok seems to be wanting to share his knowledge and experience with others in the TikTok skincare community. Users reacted by asking questions and sharing their own experiences.

FIELD NOTES #5

The content:

What? –

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give this an 8/10 on my persuasion scale. I like how funny and passionate Young was in this video.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 5pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be informative and entertaining, I definitely laughed out loud when he called everyone one for popping pimples. I feel like Young was being honest about his recommendation, especially as he disclosed that the product doesn’t endorse his method of using it.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 64,600 likes, 763 shares and 332 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were either about skincare, skincare questions or Young replying to other comments. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Once again, it seeems that Young’s main purpose in designing this TikTok was wanting to share his knowledge and experience with others in the TikTok skincare community. Users reacted by asking questions and sharing their own experiences.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON @YAYAYAYOUNG

Ultimately, I found Young’s skincare (particularly EWoM) content felt persuasive and authentic. I really liked his funny and passionate persona and I felt like his was genuinely trying to help people achieve their skin goals. My observations about his content include:

  • Young often replied to the most liked skincare or product questions.
  • There seemed to be a roughly equal amount of sponsored and non-sponsored EWoM content.
  • When the content was sponsored, Young usually indicated that is was by a saying a disclosure at the start of the video and/or the #ad or #sponsored hashtag.
  • On average I rated Young’s content 7.4/10 on my persuasion scale.
  • On average 24% of comments on these five TikToks were skincare questions.
  • Generally the audience behaved in correspondence with the content’s designed purpose, i.e. users asked more questions about brand and/or the product or asked more general skincare questions.
  • It appeared as though, almost every comment in Young’s feedback loop was directly skincare related.
Image credit: @yayayayoung via TikTok

If you’re interested in my research into the skincare community across social media platforms make sure you hit follow!

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth Part 5 – Final Thoughts and Findings!

This is part 5 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.

In this blog post I conclude the Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series and discuss my final thoughts and findings…

person writing on white paper
(Image credit: Iven, 2015).

EXPECTATIONS:

In effort of being transparent my preconceived ideas about my question before undertaking any research was that TikTok creators form more authentic personas whereas Instagram is a harder platform for creators to persuade audiences on.

FINDINGS:

Using ethnographic research methods; including autoethnography and netnographic research, the following observations were made:

General:

  • Based upon my own experience and what I observed during my research it seems that skincare communities are increasingly looking for knowledge, research, and science-based expertise.
  • I perceived trustworthiness and expertise to be more important than attractiveness in regards to credibilty.

Instagram:

TikTok:

Similarities and Differences (respectively):

  1. Content creators used the #ad or #sponsored hashtags to indicate paid promotions.
  2. Users asked content creators further skincare related questions.
  3. Users asked content creators science based skincare questions.
  1. Humour was used more often within the TikTok skincare community then Instagram.
  2. Generally the TikTok skincare content felt more authentic then the Instagram content.
  3. There were more male skincare content creators with over a million followers on TikTok then on Instagram.
(Gif credit: Caine, 2020)

FINAL THOUGHTS

The goal of this research project was to better understand how audiences respond to skincare EWoM content and how those responses differ across Instagram and TikTok.

I believe I have further my understanding of the online skincare community both as a member and as an observer. However I recognise that this project has it’s limitations. Some of my recommendations for future research include: exploring a wider variety of skincare content creators, comparing other social media platforms such as YouTube skincare content, and using participatory methods to collect data.

I believe this research has the potential to help inform digital marketing professionals, particularly companies that are interested in engaging in native advertisements, ie. sponsorships. These findings also aid understandings about EWoM content and how online communities respond and interact with it. Based upon my own experience, I think that the perception of ‘authenticity’ is going to continue to be one of the most significant aspects of successful EWoM content and that audiences will be increasingly sceptical of native advertising efforts in the future.

References:

Caine, J, 2020, ‘Illustration Brainstorming’, gif, Giphy, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://giphy.com/gifs/creative-thinking-thinker-VbEuHLBUPQm55MyqJg&gt;

Iven, W, 2015, ‘Scrabble tiles and smartphone’, image, Unsplash, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://unsplash.com/photos/gcsNOsPEXfs&gt;

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth Part 4 – Changing Behaviours; The Rise of Science Based Skincare

This is part 2 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.

In this blog post I elaborate on how I think the way audiences talk about skincare online is changing towards more scientific conversations…

(Image credit: Pikisuperstar, 2020)

According to Fani Mari, “Now more than ever, consumers want to be thoroughly informed about what they’re putting on their skin and in their bodies.” (Mari, 2020).

I found that when I was consuming skincare content I was more drawn to content that had detailed information about the product and ingredients.

(Image credit: Dooley, 2017)

From my own experience it seems users within the online skincare community are interested in not only what the product does but what is in the product as well. Whilst I was conducting Netnographic research on my field site’s feedback loops I couldn’t help but notice how many questions users were asking about skincare product ingredients. (I can’t provide direct quotes from users due to ethical reasons but you can find more information about this finding within my field notes.)

This science-based skincare communication reflects a new era of intelligence, transparency and information (Murray, 2018).

Georgia Murray names this fundamental shift, ‘skintellectualism’, “whereby consumers are adopting a much more investigative approach to their routines, and educating themselves about the best ingredients for every stage.” (Murray, 2018). Georgia Murray also suggests that the reason for this change could be because, “the internet has turned skin care from recommended-by-friends or passed-down-from-grandma into a playground of inquisitive exploration run by consumers with high, industry-level standards.” (Murray, 2018).

Based upon my own experience and what I observed during my research it seems that skincare communities are increasingly looking for knowledge, research, and science-based expertise.

References:

Dooley, I, 2017, ‘Milking it’, image, Unsplash, viewed 31st October 2020, <https://unsplash.com/photos/y_CSTKJ0bEs&gt;

Georgia Murray, 2018, ‘Meet The Brains Behind The Future Of Beauty’, Refinary29, weblog post, 28 February 2018, viewed 31st October,<https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/02/191870/science-based-skin-care&gt;

Mari, F, 2020, ‘Scientific Beauty Bloggers Are on The Rise—Here’s Who to Follow Now’, Byrdie, weblog post, 09 March 2020, viewed 31st October, <https://www.byrdie.com/best-scientific-beauty-bloggers-4690151&gt;

Pikisuperstar, 2020, ‘Scientists female and male working together Free Vector’, image, viewed 31st October 2020, <https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/scientists-female-male-working-together_7333735.htm#page=1&query=science%20research%20&position=7&gt;

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth Part 3- Questions of Authenticity; Can We Trust #Sponsored Content?

This is part 3 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.

In this blog post I explain some of the key ideas and issues surrounding sponsored EWoM content and how disclosures affect audience reactions…

Influencer concept illustration concept Free Vector
(Image credit: Freepik, 2020).
Followers concept illustration Free Vector
(Image credit: Stories, 2020)

Generally, Electronic Word of Mouth content can be categorised as either, “sponsored brand mentioning (a.k.a., paid media) and the non-sponsored brand mentioning (a.k.a., earned media)” (Yang et al. 2019).

The Legalities of EWoM:

The legalities of online sponsorship disclosures can be complex and vary per country. In their recent guideline update, The American Federal Trade Commission emphasises that:

“Influencers have to disclose any time they are endorsing a product because of a paid partnership or personal affiliation with the brand. That includes family relationships and free products, as well as paid sponsorships.”

Anna Gotter, 2020

This article provides a great explanation of cosmetic regulations in Australia.

Electronic Word of Mouth and Disclosure Issues:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-44.png
(Image credit: The Creative Exchange, 2020)

Sponsorship disclosures are difficult to regulate as there are many different guidelines about how to disclosure paid promotions. Oftentimes it is the content creator who decides how much and what to disclose to their audience. For some the #ad hashtag is enough, for others it is not.

Siobhan Hegarty reveals that, “Beauty bloggers aren’t bound by the legalities of evidence-based medicine…They often can say things that are not necessarily accurate because they don’t have the medical knowledge to know what they’re saying is wrong” (Hegarty, 2020).

Soontae An, Hannah Kang and Sra Koo’s persuasion knowledge model, facilitates identification of the method, timing, and reasons underlying persuasive attempts by individuals” (An et al. 2018, p.999). Through their report they explain that critical evaluation often leads to audiences having a less favourable response to the content and can reduce the credibility of the message (An et al. 2018). However, persuasion knowledge helps consumers cope with persuasion, by letting them draw conclusions about the content creator’s motivations and goals. The persuasion knowledge model has three main components, proximity and placement, prominence and clarity of meaning (An et al. 2018).

To ensure transparency and provide audiences with persuasion knowledge, content creators should, ensure they place disclosures in plain sight where consumers can easily notice. This article provides detailed information on how to effectively disclosure sponsored content.

“Sponsorship disclosure results in the inference of a greater calculative motive and enhanced advertising recognition, followed by a negative impact on product attitude.”

Kim and Kim, 2020, p.10

In a study by Wen-Chin Tsao and Tz-Chi Mau, they found that when the sponsorship, “involves money, influence in the online community does not have any positive effects.” (Tsao and Tz-Chi, 2019 p.209). They also found that recommendations made by reviewers that had experienced using the product; regardless of whether the product was gifted to them, were better received by audiences then paid sponsorship content (Tsao and Tz-Chi, 2019).

A 2020 research report revealed that if consumers feel that a product endorsement inappropriate, they deem an advertising message is manipulative, which leads to reactance (Weismueller et al. 2020). Similar to my own experience, it was also found that only including ‘#ad’ doesn’t provide enough information about the nature of the sponsorship and was likely to affect consumer attitudes negatively (Weismueller et al. 2020). Weismueller et al. (2020) propose the Source Credibility Model to understand the perceived credibility of influencers. The Source Credibility Model suggests that the perceived level of an endorser’s attractiveness, trustworthiness and expertise all impact on the effectiveness of an endorsement.

Using the Source Credibility Model on my Field Site:

By using the Source Credibility Model I believe I was able to better understand my response to the various skinfluencers/ skinthusiast I analysed in my field site. The following images (Figure 1-6.) illustrate my perceptions about their attractiveness, trustworthiness and expertise.

Figure. 1 @Jadewadey180

Figure 1. depicts my perceptions about @jadeywadey180’s credibility. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Jade’s content not very persuasive, this seems to be due to the fact I didn’t find her to be very trustworthy. Which I think was due to the fact that there was a lack of information about the nature of her sponsorships as well as a lack of personality and relatability within the captions.

Figure. 2 @Sortofobsessed

Figure 2. depicts my perceptions about @Sortofobessed’s credibility. Attractiveness didn’t come into play as Adri’s content consisted of only images of the product/s. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Adri’s to be very persuasive, this seems to be due to the fact I perceived her to be trustworthy and knowledgeable. I think this was because she provided such long and detailed reviews, including criticism of the product/s.

Figure. 3 @Gothamista

Figure 3. depicts my perceptions about @Gothamista’s credibility. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Gothamista to be Adri’s to be very somewhat persuasive, this seems to be due to the fact I perceived her attractiveness and trustworthiness to be not particularly high. I think this was mostly because of the lack of information about the nature of her sponsorships.

Figure 4. @Skicarebyhyram

Figure 4. depicts my perceptions about @Skincarebyhyram’s credibility. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Hyram to be really authentic, this seems to be due to the fact I perceived his attractiveness, trustworthiness and expertise to be high. I think the main things that shaped my perception of Hyram was the consistency of his friendly and informative persona.

Figure 5. @Dermdoctor

Figure 5. depicts my perceptions about @Dermdoctor’s credibility. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Dr. Shah to be mostly authentic, this seems to be due to the fact I perceived his expertise to be very high, due to his qualifications.

@Figure 6. @Yayayayoung

Figure 6. depicts my perceptions about @Yayayoung’s credibility. As discussed in my fieldnotes, I found Young to be really authentic, this seems to be due to the fact I perceived his trustworthiness to be very high; which I think comes from the fact he uses humour and is clear about sponsorships.

References:

An, S, Kang, H, Koo, S, 2018 ‘Sponsorship Disclosures of Native Advertising: Clarity and Prominence’, The Journal of Consumer Affairs, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp. 998-1024

Freepik, 2020, ‘Influencer concept illustration concept Free Vector’, image, Freepik, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/influencer-concept-illustration-concept_9926607.htm#page=1&query=influencer&position=5&gt;

Gotter, A, 2020, ‘Influencer Marketing in 2020: 5 Guidelines for Maximizing the Results of Working With Influencers’, AdEspresso, weblog post, 06
February 2020, viewed 12 November, <https://adespresso.com/blog/influencer-marketing-guidelines/&gt;

Hegarty, S, 2019, ‘Beauty bloggers and influencers make skincare information accessible, but when should you trust them?’, ABC Life, weblog post, 22 November 2019, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://www.abc.net.au/life/should-we-trust-online-skincare-influencers/11722670&gt;

Kim, D,Y, Kim, H,-Y, 2020, ‘Influencer advertising on social media: The multiple inference model on influencer-product congruence and sponsorship disclosure’, Journal of Business Research, pp.1-11

The Creative Exchange, 2019, ‘Woman in Bed Posing With Skincare Products’, image, Unsplash, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://unsplash.com/photos/J_shueNor80/info&gt;

Tsao, W-C, Mau, T-C, 2019, ‘Ethics in Social Media Marketing’, Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 71, No. 2, pp. 195-216.

Weismueller, J, Harrigan, P, Wang, S and Soutar, G, N, 2020, ‘Influencer endorsements: How advertising disclosure and source credibility affect consumer purchase intention on social media’, Australasian Marketing Journal, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp. 190-170.

Yang, X, Kim, S, Sun, Y, 2019, ‘How Do Influencers Mention Brands in Social Media? Sponsorship Prediction of Instagram Posts’, IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, pp.101-104.

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth Part 1- The Online World of Skinfluencers and Skinthusiasts!

This is part 1 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within TikTok and Instagram skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.

In this blog post I explain the context of my research and introduce you to the online world of skinfluencers and skinthusiasts…

Woman skincare routine illustration collection Free Vector
(Image credit: Pikisuperstar, 2020)

I have always loved learning about skincare and all the different products you can use, it has sort of become my media niche over the last couple years. (Read more about my media niche here.)

What prompted me to start this project was the realisation that I was buying and wanting to buy products; that I had never even heard of, just because I had seen a TikTok video about it.

This led to the question, why do I find the TikTok skincare community more engaging and persuasive then on Instagram? Ultimately the goal of my research project evolved to be,

How do the audiences respond to EWoM content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities and how do these responses differ?

My Field Site:

The nature of the intent and social media often means that everything is interconnected. So, when studying a media niche online Jenna Burell explains that a field site has transformed from, “a bounded space that the
researcher dwells within to something that more closely tracks the social
phenomenon under study.” (Burrell, 20009, p.195). Furthermore by defining my field site I was able to better understand the objects and subjects of my research (Burrell, 2009, p.1).

“To learn how an online community operates is to find out about key members who have the potential to influence tone, topic, or policy for the whole community.”

ANATOLIY GRUZD & CAROLINE HAYTHORNTHWAITE (2013)

(Click here for more information on my initial field site).

My field site for this project consisted of three prominent skincare content creators, three from Instagram and three from TikTok. View Figure. 1 to see my main field site for this project.

Figure 1.’Field Site’

I then consumed and analysed five pieces of content from each creator. Click here to view my detailed field notes on each content creator.

So, what is Electronic Word of Mouth?

According to Wen-Chin Tsao and Tz-Chi Mau, “Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) is the sharing of relevant knowledge and opinions (positive or negative) about the products and/or services of a firm among potential or actual customers” (Tsao and Mau, 2019, p.195).

Influencer woman on social media landing page Free Vector
(Image credit: Pikisuperstar, 2019)

In regards to this project, Electronic Word of Mouth took the form of skincare product reviews, recommendations, tutorials and explainers. Basically any form of content that promoted a skincare product/s.

So what is a skinfluencer and/or a skinthusiast?

After looking into a variety of prominent content creators in Instagram and TikTok skincare communities I have identified two different types of creators: skinfluencers and skinthusiasts.

brown labeled box lot
(Image credit: Curology, 2019)

To me, a skinfluencer (skincare influencer) is a creator whose channel/account features personal content about them and their life as well as skincare content. @Jadeywadey180 was an example of this. I found that I didn’t perceive skinfluencer content to be very authentic. I felt like the purpose of skinfluencer content was to designed to persuade the audience to buy the skincare product.

Whereas, a skinthusiast (skincare enthusiast) in my opinion, was a creator I perceived to have a genuine passion or interest in skincare and whose content in almost all skincare related. @Sortofobsessed was an example of this. I felt like skinthusiast’s content was designed with the purpose of sharing advice and opinions about skincare products with other users.

References:

Burrell, J 2009, ‘The Field Site as a Network: A Strategy for Locating Ethnographic Research’Field Methods, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 181-199

Curology, 2019, Girl with Products, image, Unsplash, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://unsplash.com/photos/2z47pLrDBMI/info&gt;

Gruzd, A, Haythornwaite, C 2013, ‘Enabling Community Through Social Media’Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 15. No. 10.

Pikisuperstar, 2019, Influencer woman on social media landing page Free Vector, image, Freepik, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/influencer-woman-social-media-landing-page_5481523.htm#page=1&query=influencer&position=2&gt;

Pikisuperstar, 2020, Woman skincare routine illustration collection Free Vector, image, Freepik, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/woman-skincare-routine-illustration-collection_9366910.htm#page=1&query=skincare&position=0&gt;

Tsao, W-C, Mau, T-C, 2019, ‘Ethics in Social Media Marketing’, Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 71, No. 2, pp. 195-216.

Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth Part 2- Online Skincare Communities; The Differences Between TikTok and Instagram!

This is part 2 of my Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth blog series. This series is about understanding how audiences respond to Electronic Word of Mouth content within Instagram and TikTok skincare communities, and how these responses differ. Through these blog posts I aim to explore some of the key finding and topics of interest I have encountered.

In this blog post I explain some of the similarities and differences I have discovered about the Instagram and TikTok skincare communities…

Image made with Canva.

What are people saying about Instagram and TikTok?

This article explains in detail the different features and demographics of Instagram and TikTok.

TikTok is a social media platform that has rapidly risen in popularity since 2019. Due to the nature of the app, Sarah Perez explains, “users will often post and share unapologetically wholesome content, and receive less mocking than elsewhere on the web — largely because everyone else on TikTok posts similar “cringey” content, too.” (Perez, 2020).

TikTok is, “…a place where you can be your own weird self and still get complimented and go viral for that, whereas on other platforms you’re trying to be as perfect as possible…”

Ting, 2020.
Image made with Canva.

The NYU Dispatch explain that, “Instagram is more tailored towards sharing snapshots of your life..” (Dispatch, 2020).

In regards to online skincare communities, Natasha Gillezeau explains that, “Skincare is one of those things where you really want honest and authentic advice and reviews on something. And TikTok itself is known as a really genuine, authentic platform. It’s not overly produced,” (Gillezeau, 2020).

A lot of Instagrammers put a lot of effort into the presentation of their content, they have perfect lighting, props, backgrounds, full glam makeup, all of which can reduce the perceived authenticty of the post (Gillezeau, 2020).

“On TikTok, you’ve only got a minute, so you have to get out key ideas and key benefits of products very, very quickly in a realistic and genuine manner.”

Gillzeau, 2020.

In this article about how TikTok is influencing beauty standards, user Mouse Rodriguez describes his experience of the TikTok beauty community as finding, “a safe haven of expression” (Lanigan, 2019.

This article by C Net discusses some interesting ideas about how TikTok is creating a shift in the content we see on social media to be more authentic.

SIMILARITIES (IN MY EXPERIENCE)

I found that the main similarities between EWoM content on Instagram and TikTok and audience responses included:

  • Content creators used the #ad or #sponsored hashtags to indicate paid promotions.
  • Users asked content creators further skincare related questions.
  • Users asked content creators science based skincare questions.

DIFFERENCES (IN MY EXPERIENCE)

I found that the main differences between EWoM content on Instagram and TikTok and audience responses included:

  • Humour was used more often within the TikTok skincare community then Instagram.
  • Generally the TikTok skincare content felt more authentic then the Instagram content.
  • There were more male skincare content creators with over a million followers on TikTok then on Instagram.

References:

Dispatch, 2020, ‘Instagram vs TikTok: The Battle Between Social Media Platforms’, The NYU Dispatch, Weblog post, 20 February 2020, viewed 12 November 2020, <https://wp.nyu.edu/dispatch/2020/02/20/instagram-vs-tiktok-the-battle-between-social-media-platforms/>

Gillzeau, N, 2020, ‘TikTok ‘skinfluencers’ are changing the skincare marketing game’, Financial Review, weblog post, 26 October 2020, viewed 01 November 2020, <https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/tiktok-skinfluencers-are-changing-the-skincare-marketing-game-20201021-p567co&gt;

Lanigan, R, 2019, ‘How TikTok is Changing Beauty Standards For Gen Z’, I-D Vice, weblog post, 23 July 2-19, viewed 01 November 2020, <https://i-d.vice.com/en_au/article/vb99em/tik-tok-beauty-standards-e-girl-make-up&gt;

Perez, S 2020, ‘It’s Time To Start Paying Attention to TikTok’, TechCrunch, weblog post, 30 January 2019, viewed 07 August 2020, <https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/29/its-time-to-pay-serious-attention-to-tiktok/&gt;

Ting, D 2020, ‘‘Every kid wants to be an influencer’: Why TikTok is taking off with Gen Z’, Digiday, 07 February 2020, viewed 01 August 2020, <https://digiday.com/marketing/every-kid-wants-influencer-tiktok-taking-off-gen-z/&gt;

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