Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking back, and looking forward to participation

I recently had one of those experiences of looking back with fresh eyes on some work that I did more than two years ago...and thinking it was OK! ;-)

In this case, I re-read parts of a mini-thesis I wrote for my masters study in virtual communication at RMIT University in 2006. Back then, I found the emerging landscape of Web 2.0 and user generated content fascinating (and I still do).

During my research scoping, I found that ‘participatory media’ was becoming increasingly influential on the web. As I needed to make the paper have a business focus, I chose to research the impact of participatory media on brands. What’s happened now is that this term has been overshadowed by its alternative ‘social media’. (I think because it’s easier to spell and say!)

Apart from a few people at work and some friends, I’ve never really shared my research paper, so I thought I’d do so now. Feel free to take a look, tell me what you think.

It's called 'Brand engagement through participatory media'. Some of the examples might be old, however I think they're still useful and relevant. Here’s a few bits from the abstract:

  • "This research paper examines the influence that participatory media such as blogs, online social networks and virtual worlds can have on the effectiveness of an organisation’s branding strategies. It considers the history and suitability of the web for participation and the relevance of participatory media for branding, particularly in a highly competitive and media-fragmented environment. It explores the shifts in consumer behaviour, technology and the growth of online communities that are driving the changes to a ‘participatory culture’. "

  • "The research shows that through using participatory media, opportunities can be created to engage and build relationships and a deeper connection with an organisation’s brand. The analysis culminates in a set of starting points to guide an organisation in formulating participatory media strategies to develop positive relationships with consumers, therefore contributing to engagement with the brand."

Research paper - Brand engagement through participatory media

NB: One of the examples I used in my paper was Weird Al Yankovic’s video clip White and Nerdy, which landed on YouTube in August 06.

Apart from being completely hilarious (especially for Gen X I think), at the time of research the video was tracking at around 10 million views - a lot by any measure. Looking at it today, White and Nerdy has well over 41 million views – that has to be a record somewhere!