Succulents & Cacti: What’s The Big Deal?

Five years ago, one would rarely have seen a house filled with succulents or landscapers suggesting to their clients to use xeriscaping, a form of drought resistant gardening, in their front yards. Yet today, succulents have become an international hit amongst millennials due to their low level of maintenance and vibrant colors that make them easy to cultivate indoors. It is possible to find shirts, pants, coffee mugs, shopping bags, blankets, wedding cakes, and myriad of other products that have succulents and cacti printed on them. Even live succulent nails hit the market in 2017 as part of the succulent craze.

Photo courtesy of @arozona on Instagram

With the increase in the market for succulent and cacti cultivation, I can admit that I have taken advantage of their new availability to begin cultivating my own indoor garden. Now I will also be embarking on creating an Instagram account solely dedicated to these funny little plants. To do so, I began by researching some popular pages on Instagram that feature succulents as their main selling point. These accounts include @sucstu , @pups.and.succs, and @succulentcity , each with their own style and approach to cornering the succulent market.

Succulent Studios is an account focused on the marketing of their new products, the succulent box, which is a monthly subscription to their site that gives you two new succulent species a month. Their pictures, as with all of these accounts, are definitely geared towards the aesthetic of the succulents. They include a wide variety of multimodal content including videos, boomerangs, photos, reviews from customers, and inspirational quotes. One of my favorite aspects of their account is the personal stories, where a user can go to find health tips, succulent first aid, close-up pictures, and quick tips about succulent care.

This is an interesting mix compared to other pages because it not only uses visual modality to attract the attention of the audience, but it also uses the linguistic modality, which can create meaning or understanding of information, to educate the audiences about caring for indoor plants in a visual and interactive way (Arola et al. 2014). Additionally, they have features on their page like: #wallpaperwednesday and #succulentsunday where they post pictures pertaining to that day to create a sense of consistency on their page amongst other posts about their subscription services. I hope to do a similar strategy with my page and have consistent content that is posted on certain days to keep the audience interested in engaging on a weekly basis.

Next is pups.and.succs which is an account that is less focused on mass marketing and seems to be a personal account. It is run by a girl named Jess and it is very obvious from her page that she is focused on creating aesthetic and visual content. There is little to no other modalities other than visual, but I think that it is an effective rhetorical strategy for this type of theme. What I really like about her account and want to make sure I include in some of my posts is that she identifies the plant by species so that the audience knows what they are looking at. She also uses a copious amount of hashtags, which I think helps market her page since she doesn’t necessarily have a product to sell like @sucstu. I think that using hashtags will also be important as I move forward in my posting.

Lastly we have Succulent City, which is an account that is dedicated to posting pictures that highlight the best of succulents on instagram. They also promote their website that sells succulents and other merchandise as well as posts articles about succulent care (visit the site here). Their content is also solely pictures, but they are posted from other accounts on Instagram. This gives the page an edge in terms of community engagement because it is taking the larger succulent community and compiling their accounts and pictures into one place for others to explore and follow if they so choose. I would like to do this with my Succulent Spotlight feature on my page to have the succulent Instagrammer community be involved in the creation of new content on my page. As explained by Jenkins et al. in their chapter on spreadable media, content is more likely to succeed if the publisher “”gets” the mentality and is a meaningful participant in the dialogue of particular audience members” (2013). Including people in the conversation will open up my page to more opportunities for community participation, which is something I want to try and execute in my account.

After contrasting these three Instagram accounts for their use of different rhetorical strategies, it is also apparent that all three market their content using spreadability tactics and have a good understanding of what their audience wants to see. One of the most notable techniques that I have noticed in all three pages is that they target towards creating popular culture versus mass culture. The difference between the two is that mass culture is produced and distributed in large numbers whereas popular culture is media that has been integrated in meaningful ways into the lives of the audience (Jenkins et al. 2013). Succulent cultivation is not only something that is pleasing to look at, but many social media sites have made it possible for average people to integrate this hobby into their own lives at varying degrees. I have found this to be something very effective and I hope to mirror some of that success in my own page through the next 8 weeks.

Photo credit: @sucstu on Instagram

References

Arola, K., Sheppard, J. & Ball, C. (2014). “Chapter 1: What are Multimodal Projects?” In Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects.Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 1-19. 

Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J., (2013). “Designing for Spreadable Media.” In Spreadable media:Creating value and meaning in a networked culture. New York: New York University Press. 195-229. 

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Blog Post 1: Game reviews on social media

For my social media project, I am creating an Instagram account that reviews video games. After searching on Instagram for profiles similar to the one I intent on creating, I realized how little my idea has been put to work. There are several profiles that had nearly the same idea as me, but it seems as though they all posted no more than about three times possibly due to lack of motivation. There are other profiles, however, that loosely resemble what I am aiming for from Instagram and YouTube. They are: IGN, @bocksgames, and @ninja. The profiles listed are very different, but relate to games and reviews in some manner.

First there is IGN, which is a Youtube channel that is run by several people and posts all sorts of video game content. Although they posts tips-and-tricks and general video game news, they are mostly well known for their video game reviews. Running about five to ten minutes long, the videos begin with an overview of what the game is about and where it takes place, moves on to each component of the game (single player, multiplayer, etc.) and ends with a rating of the game. The review goes very in depth on graphics and gameplay, generally keeping a serious tone to inform an audience that genuinely wants to learn about what a game has to offer. To keep content lively, however, humorous comments and gameplay clips are added. At the very end of the video, a list of pros and cons are listed as a summary to what was said throughout the video and a rating out of 10 is given. Although a rating seems unnecessary and biased, it is a fun and interesting element that keeps viewers watching until the end.

This is a profile that I will borrow from the most for my own content, even though it exists on a different social media platform. I enjoy the depth of IGN’s content while also remaining to-the-point and never pounding too hard on one aspect of a game. I hope to emulate this as I write reviews short enough to fit in an Instagram caption. Also, the pros and cons list is a great aspect to use in my concise posts, even though my pros and cons list will be formed in to sentences.

ign

@bocksgames is an Instagram board game reviewer with just over 2000 followers. It is not well known, but it seems that it is intent on consistently providing content for its page. First impressions of games are posted on Mondays and Fridays, and reviews are posted on Wednesdays. It appears that the intent of @bocksgames is to inform viewers of the many board games he comes across in a light-hearted manner. The word choice is very personal and sometimes explicit language is even used; this provides appeal in the sense that the reviewers feel more like a friend than a commonly heard monotone narrator. I would assume that board games are a hobby for whoever runs the page, and it is entertaining for them to write reviews and familiarize an audience with the vast array of games available. The reviews focus mostly on the box containing the game, but then moves in to quickly describing how the game is played and concludes with how much the writer(s) likes the game or not. As far as media goes, there is always a picture showing the game fully set up, which helps the audience get an understanding of what the review is talking about. For those who wants a more in-depth reviews, the Instagram page has a website link in the bio leading to more thoroughly written opinions on the game.

I plan on imitating this profile’s method of posting very closely, since I plan on writing equally long reviews that more or less gives my opinion. However, my text will be much more developed and serious in tone to add an extra sense of credibility to the page.

game reviews

Finally, there is the Instagram page of @ninja, a profile owned by Tyler Blevins who is currently a video game icon due to his performance in the wildly popular game Fortnite. At 12.4 million followers currently, Tyler must provide a healthy amount of content to keep his audience interested. There are mainly three types of posts he creates, which are Fortnite gameplay, updates on his professional gaming career, and personal life. I intend on taking some tips from the Fortnite gameplay. He sometimes will talk about new content that has been added within an Instagram video while showing gameplay; the summary-like method of reviewing game updates is more or less what I aspire to achieve in my posts, even though mine will be written out. These types of posts on the @ninja page are certainly more informative, but most gameplay clips shown are simply his best moments within Fortnite which serve as entertainment to his audience. Tyler’s other two types of posts are pictures of his professional career or personal life. By being such an icon, Tyler must post such things to appeal to his audience’s emotions and make them feel more connected to him while also mixing up the content from just Fortnite gameplay. In the bio of the @ninja page, there are links to a YouTube channel, Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook so his audience can feel even more connected and up to date.

ninja

 

Cosmic Unity and Social Media

@healingcrystals on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/healingcrystals/)

The author of this account is the company Healing Crystals, which sells various crystals and guides on their use. The audience of this account is mainly people with an interest in crystals and their metaphysical properties/meanings. This account is about holistic healing, and specifically works to educate people about the use of crystals to support healing. Healing Crystals is also a company, and they promote their products on this account as well. Because it is on Instagram, @healingcrystals is able to employ the use of images, videos, text, links, and tags. I think the use of logos and pathos appears throughout the page, as there are multiple posts dedicated to customer reviews/testimonies (logos) and others that outline problems that the audience may identify with in order to provide a (crystal) clear solution (pathos). The Ede piece resonated with me most in terms of thinking about the rhetorical situation of the Healing Crystals account on Instagram. Ede emphasized that, “…you are writing in the context of a specific situation with its own unique demands and opportunities” (Ede 42), and this IG page serves as one big tool to help give people a solution to their problems—whether they be stress, communication, love, introspection, or anything else that is part of the human experience. For my own social media account, I will use Instagram because it is the most multimodal and will therefore allow me to be as creative as I can with my posts; this will make my account more attractive and more likely to gain traction.

 

@crystalsoils2019 on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/crystalsoils2019/)

The author of this account is a crystal and essential oil enthusiast, and their audience is the same. This account, like that of Healing Crystals, is meant to provide information on the meanings of various crystals. Additionally, they promote spirituality and living your best life as the best person you can be. @crystalsoils2019 can also be found on Instagram, and they mostly use text, images, and tags in their posts. The author relies on pathos throughout the page, as they post images with inspirational texts and each post is essentially about different ways you can better yourself. On page 32 of our reading, Carroll referenced how the modern reader/web user appreciates the use of concise paragraphs, links, subheadings, and color and graphics. I can attest to this as an internet user, and thus critique the lack of multimodal exploration from this account. For my own social media account, I will post various forms of media in order to make the page more fun and interesting to be on.

 

@spiritualmovement on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/spiritualmovement/)

The author of this page is a person who has an Etsy for crystals and enthusiasm for spirituality. The audience consists of people who want to better themselves, protect their energy, and be reminded that everything will work out. The purpose of this page is to promote love and awareness through cute graphics and quotes on Instagram. Again, I find that pathos is the major rhetorical appeal being applied here because each post essentially encourages you to feel your emotions, take care of yourself, and nurture the positive relationships in your life. Sullivan described blogging as providing, “…more freeform, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive.” This is exactly how I view this page because it is almost like having a wise friend motivate you everyday—but this friend is still human, and sometimes you have to take what they say with a grain of salt. I want my own social media account to be a place of solace for people who need to hear that they will be okay, be encouraged that they can take life by the horns and do what they want, and most importantly, be reminded that their relationship with themselves is what is going to matter most in the long run. I also appreciate that this account credits where they get their photos from.

Blog Post 1: ​Health and Wellness Influencers On Instagram

For the past two years, I have developed a fascination for Health and Wellness Influencers on Instagram. I have always toyed around with the idea of starting my own health and wellness account, but have not had enough motivation until this class to do so. Since the day I followed Taylor McKellop, better known as @cleaneatsbytay via Instagram, I became hooked on her posts. The first aspect of Taylor’s account that I was initially attracted to was the aesthetic and the general theme of her photos. Taylor uses all four basic principles of design, contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity within her work (Williams 2008).

As you can see through this screenshot of Taylor’s account, all of her posts have a similar look which is pleasing to the eye.  Aside from the interesting content, I need to keep in mind what initially attracts followers. By imitating Taylor’s pleasing aesthetic, I hope to give an impressionable first glance to those who are considering following my account. 

Taylor’s front page of her account initially pulls followers to follow her, but the content of her post is what kept me hooked. Taylor is a college student living in Los Angelos, California whose Instagram page is filled with healthy recipes, self-care tips, and honesty that is relatable to an audience who share similar passions as her. Taylor and I share a passion for healthy food. Her account has an abundance of posts that share recipes which are easy, healthy, and cheap; everything a college student could ask for. Taylor leaves step-by-step instructions on how to prep and makes the recipes that she posts. She appeals to average college student by relating to the stressful days and nights that may make eating right difficulty and therefore provides a bit of relief with a delicious recipe right at their fingertips.

This post is a perfect example of Taylor’s structure for her instructions on her amazing recipes.

When thinking of my own account, I will realize that many of my followers will also be college students, and I want to be able to appeal to pathos by expressing my experience with the busy lifestyle students deal with, and making it easy for my followers to utilize my account. When I post about recipes, I will use the hashtag #EatsByWhit. By implementing a hashtag, my followers will be able to access all my recipes by simply typing in #EatsByWhit into the search bar.  On the other hand, I will be able to interact with them to see if they are making the recipes I have posted, and then posting it on Instagram and using the same hashtag. 

Taylor uses the hashtag #bakedoatsbytay specifically for her baked oatmeal dishes. Her hashtag makes it easy for her followers to interact with her.

Lee Tilghman, or @leefromamerica, is another health and wellness influencer who I have followed for quite some time now. She is an advocate for mental health and healthy living.

Lee also embodies an aesthetically pleasing theme to her homepage.

Lee’s account is similar to Taylor’s but seems to have a larger and broader audience. Since Lee has a more diverse community of followers, when she is writing her Instagram posts, she needs to keep in mind who her intended audience will be, and how she wants to convey herself to her followers. What I love about Lee is that she is able to give tips and advice surrounding mental health, but also reminds her followers that she is not a medical professional, so what may work for her, may not work for another person. 

An excerpt from one of Lees’ Instagram posts.

Transparency will be a vital tool for me to use with my followers when I am writing posts about tips that have worked for me throughout my wellness journey. I want to appeal to my audience using ethos by establishing a common ground of trust by being honest about who I am and where I have received the information I am posting about. 

Lee becomes creative with the story feature on Instagram. Once a week she goes on IGTV, which is an app on Instagram that allows only “verified” users to upload vertical, edited videos that are ten to sixty minutes long. Below is a link of a post that Instagram shared describing the new feature.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkf53CvD49P/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

For example, the other month Lee traveled to San Francisco and shortly after her trip uploaded an IGTV called “Exploring San Francisco.”

A screenshot of Lee’s IGTV video. Her followers were able to make comments all throughout the video which created a more personal feel to the post.

Throughout this five minute video, Lee took her followers through a day of her trip, bringing them to different restaurants, coffee shops, and landmarks where she gave real and honest reviews. She appealed to her followers by creating content that would be helpful for those traveling to San Francisco and may need a tool to use throughout their trip by voicing her opinion to her followers. Similarly, I am planning on utilizing Instagram’s story feature by using it to interact with my followers mainly in the first and second week. I am going to introduce myself in a real and honest way by going on Instagram “live” and offering a space for my followers to ask questions about me with no editing or time to plan for a response. 

The final Health Enthusiast that I will introduce is @shutthekaleup, or more formally, Jeannette Ogden.

Another account that has bright and beautiful pictures. Jeannette’s account is thoughtfully crafted which truly shows from the home page.

Many of her posts relate more to those who have children, but I have found her useful in other aspects regarding fitness, food, and wellness. An element I admire from her account is her relatability with general aspects of life. Even though she is a mom, and posts a lot about pregnancy and dealing with children, she is able to capture the attention of just about anyone who has daily experiences with life.

@shutthekaleup becomes very real in this post. She is vulnerable and honest which appeals to many emotions, especailly around the holiday season.

For example, in the post above about the holidays, her intended audience is broad. She makes it clear that some people do not have the means to celebrate the holidays like others may.  To connect with a wide range of readers, especially college students, I will make sure to share tips, recipes, and my thoughts that all groups of people can enjoy. I want to be inclusive to all to make my account as useful as it can be. 

I have learned many of my day-to-day habits and lifestyle tools from a majority of health and wellness accounts that I follow on Instagram. I have noticed that many of them have the same experience as me in learning from others. These accounts make it clear that they have received recipes, tips, and ideas from others by tagging that account in their posts. I want to appeal to ethos by establishing credibility and providing back up for the information I post. As I said before, I want to build a strong and trusted relationship between my followers and me so that I can hopefully gain traction on my account. I do not plan on painting myself as the perfect image for wellness and health, I only plan on sharing my true self and the stories that have guided me to where I am today.

The one aspect that all these account shares are Paid ADs. Since Taylor, Lee, and Jeannette are all considered influencers different companies reach out to see if they would be interested in promoting their products. Those who choose to participate, are obligated to persuade their followers to buy or consider using different products. I find these ADs to have a language that sounds forced. Readers can have a hard time distinguishing if the influencers are just posting about these products because they are being paid or if they genuinely use the products. When thinking about my own Instagram account, I will maintain my honesty throughout my writing to appeal to my readers in a way that will encourage them to follow and understand my beliefs.

This is an example of an AD posted by Taylor encouraging her followers to try @bobsredmill products.

I am hopeful that by the help from some of my favorite accounts, that my Instagram account can be eye-catching at first, but also interactive and useful for those who share a passion for healthy living as much as I do. 

Works Cited

Williams, R. (2008). The Joshua Trees Epiphany. In The Non-Designer’s Design Book (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press.

Blog Post 1: Music and Instagram

Instagram Profiles

@superindiekid

The author of this Instagram page is Samuel J Ramsey, a 24-year-old young man who is passionate about his love for music, specifically within the indie genre. His purpose is to share the things that are important and valuable to him. Jenkins et al. (2015) explain the value of an author belonging to the community which they are creating for (p. 204). I personally think that he appeals heavily to ethos because he cares about the things that he is sharing, and seems like he has kept up with following some of these bands for a while so he has the knowledge about them as well as the instruments he plays.

 meme

He posts a mixture of things about his personal life, including photos with his friends/girlfriend, funny posts, comic books, and political opinion. His other posts involve music in many ways, including videos of him playing the bass guitar/acoustic guitar/singing, photos of his instruments and records, photos with bands/band members, videos from concerts, and posts about albums he likes. At the end of 2018 he posted his top 10 albums of the year in individual posts, each post contained the image of the album cover and text about why he chose the album to be on his list. He uses hashtags throughout all of his posts, which I want to utilize in my social media campaign to connect people interested in the music I’m discussing to the discussion.

Since his posts are both personal and music related his audience ranges from his friends and family to other music lovers who may have found his account through following a hashtag or the location feature after a concert. Jenkins et al. (2015) describe the importance placed on shared experience within social media campaigns and sharing a video of a concert that other fans may have attended, or seen the same artist before is an excellent way to relate (p. 203). On my account there won’t be any personal life type posts, because I think in this case it would bog down my purpose.

@music_reviews13

Image result for mac miller yawn

There is little to no much information given about the author of this Instagram page. There are inferences that could be made based on their taste in music, but overall the only knowledge of the author is the music they favor or do not. They post about a variety of genres being discussed: from Rap/R&B to indie to classic rock. They most heavily appeal to pathos due to audience interest in music. From the viewer perspective, as you scroll through their posts you’re more likely to click on the album artwork for albums that you care about and are familiar with.

Aspects of the page I don’t enjoy and will try to avoid:

  • Arola et al. (2014) highlights many modes and there is only the inclusion of linguistic and visual modes within their posts (p. 5-6). . I feel like the most important mode of communication in the context of discussion about music is the aural mode (p. 8), which is completely missing from the conversation.
  • I find the rating of an album out of 1-10 to create more of an objective opinion rather than a subjective opinion within an album review.
  • Some of their posts are very brief, while others are much more extensive. I think that even when reviewing something that one might personally rate lower there should be just as detailed a description for reasoning.

Aspects of the page I enjoy and would like to utilize:

  • Each album review post is formatted the same way, they begin with favorite tracks and include least favorite tracks and a written review of the album as a whole, each ends with the “overall rating” based on a scale of 1-10. I like the consistency of formatting and would like to emulate a consistent layout within my posts.
  • I enjoy that within the album reviews specific songs are highlighted as being either outstanding positively or negatively. This gives a more complete view of the album’s ins and outs and may highlight songs that the reader should check out/
  • The profile contains highlighted stories that include favorite artists, favorite albums, polls, and top albums of different years. The use of highlighted stories and polls about comparing songs/albums is something that I want to use to help engage my audience.

Podcast (spread via Twitter account):

@friendly_sounds

friendly sounds podcast

The friendly sounds podcast authors are a duo of young men (Jonny and Nathan) who love music. Their purpose is to discuss and share music that they love, without passing direct judgment on it. This differs from how music criticism/discussion often takes in that the host(s) of the podcast do not rate the music, or quantify it in any way, but simply just discuss it. This formula makes their love for music very clear, which is something I’d like to come across in my posts as well. However, the lay out of their episodes sometimes end up being more of a track by track discussion of an album, which is rather long winded and for my format of Instagram I will try to avoid doing the same with my posts.

Though the actual platform they use for sharing their opinions about music in a podcast, they share the links to their biweekly podcast via twitter. With each post on their twitter account they include a brief text blurb that allows them to tag the artists they are discussing and connects another mode to their campaign besides the aural mode that Arola et al. (2014) refer to as including music and spoken language (p. 8). I plan to incorporate the use of the aural mode in through music  clips similar to those included in the podcast. 

“If nothing else: listen to music, share music, love music, and for those artists who have passed, remember them through their music”

Nathan, Friendly Sounds Podcast Episode 9 (1:00:00)

The hosts are also very clearly friends with one another, which adds to their discussions and helps to promote their appeal to pathos. Although I will not have a co host, I’d like to make myself personable and allow for open discussion with my followers. Another thing I like about the podcast is a segment they do occasionally which they call “Nate’s jam corner”. In this segment they break from their focus for the episode to discuss and recommend what they’ve personally been listening to at the time of recording. This segment partially inspired my choice for “song of the week” posts. I also like their tendency to share new and different music with one another, which allows for them to discuss things that are new to them rather than music they both already know and like. This wide range of music genres inspired me to go outside of my usual comfort zone when I was selecting music to review for my posts.

Works Cited:

Arola, K., Sheppard, J. & Ball, C. (2014). “Chapter 1: What are Multimodal Projects?” In Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multinmodal Projects. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 1-19.

Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J., (2013). “Designing for Spreadable Media.” In Spreadable media: Creating value and meaning in a networked culture. New York: New York University Press. 195-229.

My Daily Happenings

Speaking as a ‘normal’ college student, I do not see many accounts that recount the oddities and daily happenings of living life at a university. With my Instagram account, I am hoping to gain more traffic toward my blog, where I can be a voice for other college students. I want to write about a variety of things including book reviews, Netflix recommendations, daily thoughts, mental health, doodles, and pictures. I have a lot of hobbies that I am pretty average at, so hopefully I can combine these things into a successful blog/instagram. 

Three accounts that I will be analyzing and modeling my instagram after are @emmawlker, @somekindofalibrary, and @basicallyreese. None of these accounts completely satisfy what I want to accomplish with my Instagram, but I am attempting to have a healthy mix of them all. 

All three authors range in age from 20 to mid-thirties, which is the demographic that I am attempting to reach.

Renee, the creator of @somekindofalibrary, is a book lover who posts reviews and recommendations about the novels she is reading. Her audience is geared specifically for book-lovers but ranges throughout all ages. She uses hashtags on her instagram to attract a larger audience of book readers. I am hoping to mimic her use of hashtags, as it seems to work when attempting to gain a larger audience.

This is a post from Renee. As you can see on the right hand side, she utilizes many hashtags in order to reach her desired audience.

Emma, the owner of @emmawlker, uses her Instagram as a space to advertise her blog. She talks about fashion, makeup, mental health, and her daily life. I see her utilizing Instagram stories to engage with her audience and hopefully, I can do the same ( a picture of these stories are below).

Reese, the creator of @basicallyreese, is a sophomore in college who uses her Instagram to promote her blog and her youtube channel, which both discuss things like organization, healthy eating habits, and artistic outlets (journaling, painting, etc…). Her audience is geared toward college students, so I find her Instagram inspiring. I have added two pictures of Reese’s Instagram account as well. I think her use of bright colors and high-quality images throughout her feed help attract the reader’s interest. 

All three of these accounts typically use pictures, hashtags, and instagram stories. Due to media being very multimodal these days, I think it’s important to translate this into my own Instagram in order to maximize the followers I can receive. Smart phones have drastically impaired our ability to focus on one thing at a time, therefore I believe my instagram should reflect this by using videos, pictures, hashtags, and links so that I can keep my audience inntrigued. I am a fairly shy person, so I am not sure I will be talking directly to the camera during my instagram stories, but I am hoping to break out of my shell a little more during this project. 

I also find it important to reference Ede’s article related to this project. In Lisa Ede’s guidebook called The Academic Writer, she describes how to assess your rhetorical situation and write in the appropriate context. Given that Instagram is generally known for short captions and interesting pictures, I must implement this style into my own account and assess what I should put on my instagram and what I should leave for my blog post. 

Food for Thought

When I began this search, I looked back to the original content that made me want to do something similar in nature. Pick Up The Fork (@pickupthefork on Instagram), the food blog turned food guide, is a similar concept to what I would like to create. For a more Denver-centric account, I chose @milehighandhungry, a food blog dedicated to all things tasty in Colorado. For my last account, I chose @bonappetitmag, my personal bible of cooking and food related magazines.

Bon Appetit on Instagram

All of these accounts serve wildly different purposes, from cooking how-tos, to specific restaurant recommendations and critiques, to photos of aesthetically appealing meals. However, all these accounts have one focal point, food. Rarely are photos or videos posted of individuals (not including chefs). These posts range from iPhone shots to professionally photographed food images, yet they attract similar fan followings.

These accounts gain traction by posting about good food. Pick Up The Fork, focuses on Buenos Aires specifically, highlighting certain barrios -neighborhoods, going from restaurant to restaurant highlighting “The Great, The Good, The Decent, and The Ugly” as they are fondly called. Pick Up The Fork caters specifically to people within the specific geographic region in Argentina. But, the account is not just limited to locals, as posts are frequently in English as well. Part of why I love this account, is that the owner @allielazz, is not afraid to interject her own opinions and sentiments about restaurants. She leaves no opinion unheard and continually interjects her personal experiences and ideas into her posts. She has created an identity behind the Pick Up The Fork account.

Excerpt from “About” section of pickupthefork.com

Conversely, Bon Appétit, one of the largest food and beverage magazines in the world, uses different methods to attract followers. It highlights restaurants and food recipes from around the world, carefully curated by the Bon Appétit staff. This account is a stark contrast from Pick Up the Fork.

All three of these accounts exist on platforms other than Instagram. Yet, all three also use photos, videos, and Instagram Stories to highlight new posts. Videos are used to emphasize details in the food or in restaurants or even to heighten the experience of dining. All of these are catered to “foodies”, self-proclaimed food connoisseurs or the average college student (like me) who just wants some old fashioned inspiration.

After viewing and heavily examining these accounts, there are a few things I have taken away. Maximizing the amount of food-related photos and limiting the number of photos of people eating said food will create a more streamlined account, drawing attention to the food, rather than the owner of the account. The quality of the photos also is crucial to the content of the post. My photos should be clear and high quality. Paired with these photos, the captions must also be reflective of the post, but also create a clear and persuasive blurb about the food. Descriptions of the food is necessary, along with location, prices, and my overall rating of the eatery.

All three accounts have created a specific persona dedicated to the account, combining humor, wit, and hunger to create the perfect food blog. I will need to utilize all the features of Instagram to fully master the food side of social media.

Lazz, A. (2016). About. Retrieved from http://pickupthefork.com/about/

Trophy Fish of Instagram

My social media project will consist of an instagram that is dedicated to fly fishing with an emphasis on travel to the world’s premier fishing areas. Most accounts that I encountered are either dedicated to fishing or traveling, but not both. I believe this unique combination of the two is what will make my account successful.  

I have analyzed three instagram accounts with a similar purpose: @laferriere.photography, @christiaanpretorius, @theflyfishingjournal

@laferriere.photography is an instagram account run by photographer Kyle La Ferriere. The account’s primary purpose is not fly fishing, but that is precisely why I have chosen it. Rather the account is focused on world travel, and about ⅓ of the posts are fly fishing related. Subsequently, this account records travel and fishing truly around the globe, whereas most fly fishing accounts are run by guides that really only focus on one region. The author of this account is primarily a photographer, with a passion for travel and fishing. His passion for fishing and travel shines through his work and lends the author credibility. Like Sullivan states, this account is reliable because the passion for the hobby is so omnipresent, and his open line of communication with followers holds him accountable to consistent and reliable postings. His medium is almost entirely photography with short captions, such as the following:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bm69Yx7hl_k/

The captions often explain the location or the situation, but allow the photos to do most of the story telling. Included in the bio is a link to his professional website which is very similarly organized to his instagram. Kyle’s audience includes 6,000 followers. These followers include other fishing / photography / travel accounts as well as individuals with passions for these things. The audience is broad, which is both an advantage and disadvantage. While the account can appeal to a wider range of people, it also doesn’t truly fascinated an someone passionate about just one of these things. For example, a person with a passion for fly fishing may be put off by the volume of photos that are unrelated to travel. I think keeping this aspect of audience in mind while creating my own account will be essential. I have to find a balance of both travel and fishing. If my account is too vague, it may not interest anyone. To deal with this I will need to make sure that the primary goal of every post is truly fishing, with travel being the secondary aspect.

@christiaanpretorius is a personal instagram account by Christiaan Pretorius, who is a guide that has used his instagram fame to cultivate sponsorships promoting both products and lodges around the world. Like most fishing accounts, this author gains credibility with his photos. While one could attempt to articulate a knowledge of fishing via writing, nothing proves mastey of the skill like countless photos of near record sized fish like these.

/https://www.instagram.com/p/BrRUmwqnumt/

The account features both photos and videos of fly fishing around the world, but primarily in South Africa, Florida, and Bolivia. His bio includes a link to each of his sponsors instagram’s which are all outdoor’s companies, such as @makoreels and @cortlandline. Additionally, his bio has a link to his vimeo which includes mini-documentaries of his fly fishing. The audience of this account is primarily people with a general fly fishing interest. This account does not have one common thread of fishing. For example, while some accounts focus on one region, river, or type of fish this account covers a wide variety of each. Again, this can strongly attract a wider audience, but deter people with more specific interests.

The final account that I have analyzed is @theflyfishingjournal. @theflyfishingjournal is most similar to what I plan to do in the sense that it is a collection of photos from a wide range of fisherman, rather than a personal account. The fly fishing journal is a catalog that releases 4 issues per year, but regularly updates their instagram. Their instagram features photos and videos from fisherman from practically every part of the world, again this is a feature which I will be emulating. This account with 41.9k followers has one of the largest audiences as far as fly fishing instagram account go. Their bio includes a link to their website where they sell their catalog as well as merch. In this aspect, the instagam acts almost as a marketing wing to the catalogue rather than a stand alone account. This account truly appeals to emotion, with beautiful photos from all parts of the world that will have any fisherman dreaming of their next big trip. This appeal to emotion will be the main attraction of my account as well. While I plan to provide factual information about various places to fish around the world, the main purpose will be to display beautiful fisheries and inspire fishing adventures. Unlike this account however, I will not be bound to trying to market a product, this will give me more freedom to create an account out of passion which I think will in turn lend credibility.

To conclude, there is a lot that I can draw from existing accounts, but on the other hand feel my account will have a unique perspective which I was unable to find in any currently existing accounts. One common thread I have found is how these accounts have gained credibility, and it is just about as simple as can be: pictures of big fish. Sure, a technical explanation of the equipment used to catch these fish could appeal to logic, but fishing is an inherently emotional thing, and catering to this is essential. These photos capture the emotion that only a fisherman can know, and I have to aim to evoke this feeling with my photos. One common misstep that I feel many of these accounts make is to have too wide of a target audience. When there seems to be no common thread (ie: location, type of fishing, etc) the accounts come off as too vague. After analysis of these accounts I have decided to take one important step to keep my audience narrow and that is my account will focus purely on trout fishing. This niche among the fishing community is certainly large enough to build a strong following, but narrow enough to keep the purpose of the account understandable and simple. Additionally, trout are found in almost every part of the world, so this will not limit me as far as location is concerned. One final aspect that I think will both make my account unique as well as grant credibility is the fact that I am motivated only by the parameters of the class, not by trying to sell something. Almost every fishing centered instagram account I found was in one way or another trying to sell something such as fishing equipment, guiding services, or lodging. My account on the other hand will exist purely to meet the goals of the class and inspire fishers around the world to dream of their next fishing vacation.

Instagram Inspiration

There are many fitness and wellness accounts all over twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. There are more than I could ever count or follow, so I chose three of the accounts that I follow and find very inspirational and helpful on Instagram. The three accounts I have chosen and reflected upon for my project include @kelseywells, @healthmagazine, and @health. Each one of these accounts embodies what I want my account to provide for my followers. Each account provides a variety of posts including workout videos, inspirational pictures, progress pictures, relaxation posts, and food and diet options. Each one provides a sense of power to their followers. They motivate, inspire, and challenge.

Image result for kelsey wells
Kelsey Wells

Kelsey Wells is a fitness guru who posts a lot of her own workouts through pictures and videos. She interacts with her fan base by including them in various long-term challenges using a fitness program that she created. Kelsey persuades her followers to be more active and be the best selves they can be. She isn’t afraid to share her personal journey, struggles, and accomplishments. She does an outstanding job making her fans feel like they can do anything they set their minds to.

These accounts are similar yet so different because instagram does allow for different interactions including stories, pictures, videos, and captions that go along with all of them. Instagram also allows for messaging that provides a better connection with others and to be able to have active conversations. The three accounts use all the amenities that instagram provides. The stories appear to be more personal, while the pictures, videos, and captions seem to be more inspirational and powerful while maintaining a sense of ease, excitement, and ableness to take part in the challenges and exercises.

Based on my analysis, the main practice that I hope to best maintain throughout the next 8 weeks is to open up and be more personal through my instagram stories. It is hard to put myself out there, but I believe if I do I will be able to connect with my followers in a more real and practical way. I plan to imitate other practices as well, including a variety of content and creating challenges on a smaller scale for myself and my followers to take part in.

These accounts set perfect examples for me and really focus on topics I am passionate about and believe in. I will continue to keep up with these three accounts and gain ideas from their upcoming content along with old content too.

Photo: Henderson, A. (2018, October 24). This Is How Kelsey Wells’ Food Differs On A Training Day Vs Rest Day. Retrieved January 14, 2019, from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/a708509/kelsey-wells-food/


Welcome to WRIT 2701: Writing and Digital Media

We will use this WordPress site for your three blog posts throughout the quarter. These posts should be multimodal in nature—combining text with visual, audio, and video content. This content can be your own original content, found and remixed content, or some combination thereof. Blog posts will also serve as invention for your social media project. Be sure to also read and comment on your classmates’ blog posts. For each blog post, you should leave at three comments for a combined minimum of nine comments throughout the quarter. You are of course encouraged to go beyond this minimum requirement and read and comment on every post. More detailed prompts for each of the blog posts are listed below.

Blog Post 1: Choose three to four social media accounts with similar purposes to the one you are creating for your social media project. Conduct a rhetorical analysis of these four social media accounts. What kinds of posts appear on these accounts? What are the major rhetorical features of these posts? How do textual, visual, audio, and video modes interact on these accounts? Based on your analysis, what best practices will you imitate or take up on your own social media account?

Blog Post 2: Now that you have been managing your social media account for three to four weeks, how would you describe your progress so far? Have you gained followers, likes, shares, comments? If yes, how have you made this progress? If not, what do think is keeping you from gaining traction? Essentially, what is going well that you will continue doing and what challenges have you faced? How will you adjust or adapt your social media account based on these challenges? Feel free to refer to your plan for best practices in Post 1 as you reflect on your progress thus far.

Blog Post 3: Reflect on what you’ve learned from one of the guest speakers who’ve visited the course so far this quarter. Based on their presentation and our conversations in class, how might you approach your social media project differently going forward? What lingering questions or concerns do you have following the guest speaker’s presentation?

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