Blog Dissemination: Successes and Struggles

The semester has come and gone, and with it, our experience creating and sharing this blog among the online winter sports community. There has been a practical and applicable variety of lessons we’ve learned about how to spread information using the internet as a platform. That knowledge has translated into a greater understanding of participatory culture, social movements, and community.

These lessons have not come without struggle: there was a lot to learn about how difficult it can be to create an active dialogue. Similarly, without constant updates and immediate sharing along other complimentary platforms such as Twitter, we found that grasping and maintaining member’s attention was a serious challenge. Perhaps it was due to the lack of personal and direct relevance to our audience of outdoor Coloradoans ages 16-39, who, other than sharing a love for skiing and snowboarding, have little incentive to spread the word outside of the bubble of this blog.

What this blog has done well is the revelation of participatory culture and community as a means of dispersing knowledge. Without a common concern or means for change, we found that people were very unmotivated to go the extra mile and spread awareness via word of mouth, writing to Colorado politicians, and sharing to Facebook. However, the common bond of Colorado mountain snow preservation created a sense of community that allowed people to feel comfortable creating an interactive dialogue.

If our social movement is going improve it will be an increase in actual participation that goes beyond the screen. We discussed in class that people feel a false sense of accomplishment from posting something online. “Likes” and “Retweets” only increase this delusion and false sense of gratification that social media creates. Although social media is extremely beneficial for raising general awareness and reaching a larger audience than otherwise possible, it is not very helpful to our social movement, unless people actually take action.

The biggest strength of our blog was connecting our viewers to to other relevant content and giving them the opportunity to take action. Although not everyone participated, we did have some success, and we are pleased with the fact that we did in fact help make a difference for a large and important issue.

Moving forward, we can take the concepts and lessons learned from this course and apply them in many ways. Now that we have a better understanding of how people communicate online and what aspects help lead to failure or success, we can both use the internet to better promote our personal and professional lives. If this course has taught us anything, it is that technology is ever-changing and evolving and so does the way we communicate. More and more that communication is happening virtually, and we are prepared for it.

 

 

 

 

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Virtual Communication and Participatory Culture

The key to any movement is awareness. The internet offers an incredible world-wide communication tool, connecting humans across the globe like never before. However, unless its users are actively arguing, offering new points of view, and sharing to new audiences, this tool’s full potential cannot be achieved.

Participatory culture plays a huge role in our conservation movement. Without people disseminating information and creating content for the movement, it would be impossible to reach out to our target demographic. Environmental conservation is a movement primarily involved with younger generations. Millennials participate online more than any other generation, so the internet is the best way to connect with them.

Online platforms like YouTube help portray our vision, because video is more effective than words, in showing what we hope to help preserve. Snow sports organizations do an excellent job at filming their works and distributing them through various sites. These videos are a quick and easy way to entertain the viewers of the site. Paired with educational content, we are able to both inform the viewers, and entertain them,making them more likely to stay on the site.

Google is another tool that improves our communication, contrary to what Nicholas Carr believes. Google is so fluid and user-friendly that it makes content easy to find. Using Google is a skill as common with students as writing and using the library used to be. Humans may somewhat of a dependency to technology, but that is the way the world is evolving. It is not making the communication “stupid”, it is just putting the communication in a way that fits the modern world. Google gives users the ability to find nearly endless amounts of content, varying from basic to advanced information. Google also gives users multiple platforms to view the information that they are seeking to learn, with text, video and images.

The modern world is evolving and so is the way humans communicate. In order to keep up with the times, snow conservation groups must continue to have a virtual presence, and communicate globally.

 

Heating up: Raising Awareness

Climate change is an issue that has really gained steam (no pun intended) in the past decade, making it a definitive issue of our generation. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and is only projected to keep rising. Since 1970, the northern hemisphere has lost a million square miles of snowpack, as addressed by Protect Our Winters. 

Awareness, activism, and action are all being made possible through the participatory culture created by social media. This narrative is what makes climate change a decidedly post-modern topic of discussion.

Winter sports in Colorado attract a demographic which is quickly identifiable: typically, your average skier and snowboarder is middle or upper class. We can assume this based on the disposable time, transportation abilities, and most importantly, the money the activity requires. A firm grasp of who we are targeting with our message is crucial in clear communication and a motivating call to action.

Winter tourism is an industry in Colorado that supports nearly 40,000 jobs in Colorado, and nearly one million jobs nationwide according to a 2009-10 census.This is valuable information from an advocacy standpoint, because knowing our audience’s motivations allows us to more efficiently disseminate information to them that they will find important.

Using various media outlets we can share with these people, and others who would be affected, like anyone who enjoys Colorado’s vast Rocky Mountains recreationally or professionally.

Climate change is a landscape entrenched in Transmedia Storytelling. By sharing our narrative of awareness, advocacy, and action through multiple platforms, including Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram. We are creating digital content spread throughout a network of various outlets, creating in turn an experience unique to any of the individual media that compose it. The success of this movement is largely based on participatory culture and people spreading the narrative globally through platforms we all use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro Post: Our Goals

 

Welcome to SaveColoradoSnow, a climate activist blog brought to you by Justin Michael and Jay Plank. We are Communications Studies majors at Colorado State University, and lifelong Colorado residents. We are looking to raise awareness for Colorado’s climate, and how it affects everyone in this beautiful state we call home (and earn a sweet A+ for our Virtual Communication and Culture course).

Our goal is to raise awareness for our state’s fragile Rocky Mountain ecosystem and promote planet-friendly habits to mitigate current climate change. This blog will act as a vehicle to take our message to city and state politicians, residents across the state, and eventually D.C. climate policy makers.

Our audience is Colorado residents that actively communicate through social media, and are a part of the outdoor sports community.  We will reach our primary audience though this blog, and by extension, the sharing of the links on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Through the internet, we have a platform that is limitless. We’ll use the this global network to reach other individuals that care about the climate issues facing Colorado.

We will promote organizations with similar ideals like Protect Our Winters (POW). POW is a grassroots organization, with which we share a common goal- ecological conservation for the enjoyment of all winter athletes.

POW uses winter sports to help communicate the consequences of climate change. Their mission statement from protectourwinters.org refelects their goal, and our common mission.

“ The outdoor community has a disproportionate influence because of its profile, newsworthiness, economic influence and the passion of the participants, athletes and businesses involved. We are uniquely suited to drive a broad movement in support of climate action and our success stems from our ability to effectively mobilize the outdoor community through socially-relevant communications, led by the influencers in our sports. Outdoor sports is a way for the public to understand the consequences of climate change, and what we stand to gain by stopping it, or lose by failing to.

POW’s work is uniquely influential and important because climate activism has been missing a strong social movement, like what helped pass civil rights legislation, labor protections, women’s voting rights, or most recently, marriage equality. POW is one of only a few groups focused on building this social movement. POW works creatively and opportunistically and focuses on three main areas: youth education, advocacy and community-based activism.”