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.