As the writer, editor and curator of Captain Keyboard, I am concerned with providing content that engages readers whilst providing information through a strong online presence. But with peoples attention spans lower than ever, the task proved to be difficult. Due to the growth of the blogosphere, it has become harder than ever to stand out from the crowd and gain an audiences attention. In fact, even holding a readers attention is becoming increasingly difficult these days. Recent results from a Microsoft study have even revealed that human attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish, Leon Watson from the Daily Telegraph outlines. With this in mind I decided to implement a variety of techniques to gain my audiences attention.
An attractive blog layout was vital in gaining readership traffic. I started by contacting a professional photographer and friend of mine; Jake Pascoe from jake.pascoe.com, and asked permission to use a photograph. I believe that the image encapsulates the theme of my blog as it is based upon online media and technology. I also created a more user-friendly category menu and re-named my university subjects to sound more appealing to a general online audience, rather than just media & communications students.
Secondly, I recognised the influence of social media and created a stronger Twitter presence. I believe that feedback is one of the best ways to improve my writing, so I wanted to gain as many readers as I could. Of course, this is best achieved through sharing my work. I learned the importance of this by reading a step-by-step guide by CASA co-founder Kate Bowles. I also felt this was appropriate so people would feel a connection with me as a writer, rather than a generic university student blogger. This Twitter profile was also embedded into my blog so that my comments and discussion of the media were accessible to my readers. Using Lauren Dugan’s ’10 Habits of Great Tweeters’, I tried to consistently share my blog posts each week and implemented sparse hash-tagging by “only using a hashtag when it’s relevant,” to my content. I did this only when it could “add additional meaning” to my tweets. Below is an example of the use of this sparse hash-tagging method.
o begin, I changed my online Twitter Image by creating a better biography which included a short, succinct summary of my interests and talents which was recommended by
Next I went back through previous blogs that I had written and tightly edited my work. It then had me thinking how I could make my blogs more appealing. With this I realised that my titles were a little basic and didn’t provoke the reader to think. In
“No matter how great your content is, it won’t matter unless you have an amazing headline. People have a split second to decide if they should click on your post, and your headline will make them decide. The headline is also essential in making it easy and desirable for people to share your post. Keep your headlines SPUB: simple, powerful, useful and bold.”
After a few changes, I was definitely able to write simple, powerful, useful and bold headlines that were relevant to my work.
I believe that my work is engaging and well-written. My incorporation of research materials other than my own allowed me to analyse and provide my own insights into the topic whilst having academic grounding. This is also essential in providing my audience with quality information in which they are hopefully able to gain new knowledge in regards to media, audience and place. Providing links to research papers and theories has allowed my audience to conduct further study of topics for themselves which I think is effective.
Reflecting back, I now recognise that I should have incorporated more academic style blogs in my blogroll, rather than a list of mostly university counterparts. This being said, the research and theories that I have discussed are clearly explored differently by other students who are also studying media, audience and place. Because of this, the blogroll still plays a large role in my audiences’ access to media research other than my own. I also attempted to increase the professional look of the blogroll by eliminating certain blogs that I follow which are not in the field of the media. This meant that the blogs that were showcased follow the same focus on the themes explored in my own blog. Further I included polls in my work to allow my audience to be actively involved in the discussion of topics that I investigated. This also proved to be an engaging exercise for my readers.
Above: An example of a poll that was used to engage the readers of Captain Keyboard.
My ‘About‘ page has also been drastically changed. In the attempt to create a stronger image for myself and my blog; Captain Keyboard, I added a more personal tone of writing so that I can establish a greater connection with my audience. To continue this connection, I have been actively commenting on my fellow Media & Communication students’ blogs as well as connecting with my audience on Twitter to create a larger following which I think has been quite successful. From this, I have gained Twitter followers through my follow and subscription link on my blog. This essentially highlights the effectiveness of the strong image that I have attempted to showcase.
Through the use of a strong theme including an appropriate header image, blogroll of people I follow, an ‘About’ page, accessible category menus, links to a strong Twitter account; including a succinct biography, consistent tweets and shares as well as engaging blog posts which include links to grounding research, thought provoking headlines and polls with the ability to spark discussion, I firmly believe that I have improved Captain Keyboard’s online presence. I have provided a public media space where my audience can be engaged with informative material that will not only gain, but also hold their attention.
Cooper, B. Beth 2013, ’16 Top Tips from Blogging Experts for Beginners’, buffersocial, Viewed 2nd October 2015, <https://blog.bufferapp.com/blogging-advice-for-beginners-from-16-experts>
Dugan, L 2013, ’10 Habits of Great Tweeters’, Social Times, Viewed 2nd October 2015, <http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/10-habits-of-great-tweeters/488437?red=at>
Malamed, C 2013, ’10 Ways to Learn From Twitter’, The eLearning Coach, Viewed 2nd October 2015, <http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning2-0/10-ways-to-learn-from-twitter/>
Watson, L 2015, ‘Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones’, Daily Telegraph, Viewed 2nd October 2015, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html>