SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND COMMUNICATION
JOUR2722- CONVERGENCE IN THE MEDIA- S02- A02
NAME: LULU HARRISON
LECTURER: SEAN RINTEL
TUTORIAL: JOUR2722 T9
The use of Trendsmap for media professionals:
Trendsmap is an online tool that allows users to access real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world (Trendsmap, 2012). Trendsmap is particularly useful for media professionals, as the tool can identify, analyse and document consumer activity and patterns within selected geographical regions.
Features and Uses:
Summary: Information on Storify
Trendsmap: Geo-Mapping Twitter Trending Service (Appappeal, 2011)
A detailed explanation of how to use Trendsmap and why the tool is useful to modern-day media professionals.
Trendsmap Demonstration on Lockerz (King, 2011):
A Trendsmap demonstration video created by Guy King – the founder of Stateless Systems programs.
Trendsmap: An Interactive World (Stateless Systems, 2011):
Information on what Trendmap is and how media professionals have harnessed the tool as a useful business strategy and mechanism.
Trendsmap Twitter Power Tool (Llama, 2010):
An article discussing Trendsmap’s rising impact on journalism and communications as a reliable and newsworthy source.
Social Media Tools (Rajesh, 2010):
An article discussing the rise of social media in relation to programs such as Trendsmap, and its overall impact on modern-day media and society.
Trendsmap: The Pros and Cons (DuVander, 2009):
This online blog post primarily discuses the pros and cons of the Trendsmap program from an individual journalist perspective.
Track real time, local news using Trendsmap (Teoh, 2012):
This article gives detailed information on the company’s history and instructions on the program’s tools and resource capabilities.
Trendsmap Announces First Geographic Visualization (Klein, 2009):
This online news report discusses Trendsmap’s recent affiliation with Stateless Systems regarding the program’s new innovations of real-time geographic visualization.
Trendsmap London Olympics (Trendsmap, 2012):
A clever use of Trendsmap to project tweet patterns and timelines of the London 2012 Olympic games over a seven-day period.
The Trendsmap program design is user-friendly and allows consumers to easily navigate, and access information across the database. The following instructions and screenshots clearly explain its overall usability, and how a consumer would best activate or function the tool:
- Open the Trendsmap program in your Internet browser. Once greeted, the webpage will request your permission to obtain your current location.
- Once selecting ‘allow’, the map displayed across the page will automatically reveal the online Twitter trends tracked within your region. A drop-down box on the right hand side will provide further prompts, asking you to select a word to begin the search within the database.
Figure two: Introduction message, display of local Twitter trends
- In order to view global Twitter trends within smaller regions, use the zoom tool located in the left hand side to adjust your outlook or area. This display holds similar design elements to Google Maps.
Figure three: Zoom tool located on the left hand corner of the program
- Once adjusted, the program’s interface should resemble that of the screen shot depicted below, displaying a visual representation of global trends and patterns. Trends with larger, darker fonts symbolize greater volumes of tweets within geographic regions.
Figure four: Display of trends in Brisbane
- The program also allows you to search various trends using the search engine located in the top right hand corner of the interface. Alternatively, you can search for a location or topic within the database.
Figure five: Specifying your search in Trendsmap
- Once narrowing your search, information regarding your topic, trend or location will be provided. In addition, a drop-down box will be displayed on the right hand side of the interface providing links to media sources relative to your search. This tool is useful when comparing topics.
Figure six: Refined topic search
- In addition, the program also offers you the option of searching categories listed at the bottom of the interface. These categories display multiple trend searches including trending users, videos and cities.
Figure seven: Screenshot image of various categories
- Through performing these instructions, you can then simply elect a category to examine, and review the relevant information or trends listed within the database.
Figure eight: Refined category search
Exposition: Affordances & Constraints and Pros & Cons
Through thorough examination, the program’s software was analyzed to determine whether Trendsmap is useful for modern-day journalists. The analysis revealed several affordances, constrains, pros and cons of the website that are of overall significance, and will be examined below. The term ‘affordances’ can be defined as visual perception, which determines an individual’s ability to enable and perceive properties amongst objects of design (Soegaard, 2008). This psychological theory has three principles of term including, an affordances action capability, perception and effects on individual objectives (Hutchby, 2001). In contrary, the term ‘constraints’ refers to the limitations that restrict the actual capabilities of a consumer within an object or operational tool (Rintel, 2012). A constraint has the potential to limit both the physical, logical or conventional prospects of a device, which can negatively impact an individual’s overall experience or usefulness of a program (Rintel, 2012).
Secondly, the affordances and constraints identified throughout the report also reflect technical or purposive elements within the program’s software. The ‘technological’ affordances and constraints of a database are best designed as the stable and interdependent design elements that physically enable or restrict consumer capabilities (Rintel, 2012). In turn, these components can be categorized through elements that are of design preferred, design dispreffered, design dependent and design independent of a program (Rintel, 2012). In contrary, purposive affordances and constraints can be defined as the programs social, cultural, interdependent impacts and capabilities in terms of its proposed purpose (Rintel, 2012).
The following analysis will primarily explore the affordances, constrains, pros and cons of the Trendsmap program for contemporary journalists and media professionals. The overall creation of news today is a fundamental aspect of media production, and primarily consists of four key elements including: topic selection, industry competition, target audiences and consumer analysis (Wilcox, 2009). Modern media outlets, such as Trendsmap, can actively assist in this process by extending the resources and abilities of the online consumer. However, Turner (2006) states that modern-day mass media’s rising impact on society has the potential to negatively effect journalism as a reliable and useful newsgathering source. That said, these programs can often arise issues in regards to the credibility and overall relevance of the content accessed within these databases. These factors could affect Trendmap’s future prospects, and create issues for media professionals and consumers. The following information will consider these aspects:
Affordances and constraints:
- Figure one: Layout
The most predominant affordance identified throughout the software’s analysis was relative to the programs overall layout and display. The database was specifically designed to allow online consumers to access real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world (Trendsmap, 2012). Therefore, the program affords for consumers to actively steam live tweets and obtain quick visual analysis on these social patterns, which can also be considered a pro affordance. This is of great benefit to modern-day media professionals as the system provides consumers instant access to multiple sources of information at the touch of a button, which is of great commercial gain (Swanson, Mancini, 1996).
Most importantly, Trendsmap’s layout is user-friendly and allows consumers to easily navigate throughout the website. This technology advanced media platform encourages users to follow multiple trends across selected forums through a series of simple prompts. By following these basic instructions, consumers are able to understand and easily operate the program at an advanced level, which is of great importance (Ricketson, 2004). In addition, the mapping display offers clear visual representations of the online activities and patterns, indicating the volumes of each trend that can be considered a pro affordance of the program (Spencer, 2006). For instance, larger, darker fonts symbolize greater volumes of tweets within geographic regions that can be easily inferred. Modern-day social media programs, such as Trendsmap therefore, afford consumers easy access to logical and well-represented information, reaching the largest and most heterogeneous audience for media professionals (Swanson, Mancini, 1996).
However, with affordances come constraints. The program’s overall layout and display has multiple constraints and limitations that negatively impact the tools operational framework. The most predominant constraint encountered was relative to the programs inconsistency when displaying trends that in fact do not reflect accurate news values within the webpage. For instance, some recent trends displayed in the United Kingdom including have continuously misrepresented current news values that did not contain relevance within modern-day mass media (Trendsmap, 2012). This is also a con constraint of the program as it has the ability to cause confusion among consumers that can furthermore restrict the accuracy of results (Spencer, 2006). In turn, this constraint limits the overall credibility and accuracy of the program as a reliable and useful newsworthy source for media professionals, which is of great concern (Swanson, Mancini, 1996).
The second constraint identified within the layout was in relation to the program’s incapability to clearly access, review or examine data collected from populated regions. For example, when analysing trends or patterns from large cities, it is often hard to distinguish individual topics or news values to the large amount of activity recorded within the district. This is a major constraint as it limits the action of a consumer within the program by restricting the specificity and accuracy of a search due to the cluttered display of trends and data (Swanson, Mancini, 1996). In turn, this aspect is a con constraint of the program as it furthermore restricts the overall useability of the tool, and has the capacity to confuse consumers and media professionals holding negative implications.
- Figure two: Functions
The second affordance identified throughout the software’s analysis was relative to the programs overall structure and functions. In the past decade, the evolution of social media has offered consumers advanced forms of technology and analytics that challenge the way users measure and draw insights from online sources (Asa Berger, 2003). However, these modern databases can often cause usage complications and confuse or limit the capabilities of a consumer (Jacobs, 1999). Trendsmap’s implementation of community-recognised operational tools is therefore, of great benefit to media professionals as they are easily accessible and improve the program’s overall functioning (Lewis, 2012). For instance, the databases display of global trends holds familiar design elements to Google Maps, a well-recognised web mapping service application. In turn, the company’s incorporation of familiar design elements is a pro affordance as it provides a platform in which consumers are able to recognise and identify with, which is of great commercial gain (Lewis, 2012).
In addition, the program functions afford consumers the ability to actively search or select various topics or trends within the company database. This modern-day media platform sources information through a series of simple filters driven by a search engines accessible to all consumers. For example, when researching trends or patterns from specific regions, consumers are able to directly source this information rather than scanning through files or documents (Ricketson, 2004). This if of great benefit to media professionals as it allows them to instantly access specific data, reports and statistics at the touch of a button (Ricketson, 2004). This is also a pro affordance of the program as it assists journalists in the news making process by allowing them to quickly research or define a topic. However, this aspect also presented con-constraints, as the search tool was not always able to obtain credible, accurate or reliable sources of information (Jacobs, 1999).
- Figure three: Features
Lastly, the third affordance identified was relative to the program’s features that enhanced the overall capabilities of a consumer (Rintel, 2012). The most prominent feature sourced within the website was the data’s representation of visual analysis collected over seven day periods (Trendsmap, 2012). These graphs provide valuable information on a topics pattern and length of relevance within a region or district. For example, a trend surrounding a recent affair may only illustrate a short tweet activity through these visual graphs. This feature is therefore of benefit to media professionals as it provides a reliable material frame and resource for meaning surrounding a particular topic or news source (Swanson, Mancini, 1996).
Despite these benefits, this feature also held multiple constraints that limited the consumer’s capabilities when using the tool (Rintel, 2012). Most importantly, the visual analysis chart could not be opened to a large scale, which limited the accuracy and usefulness of the data represented. This actively restricts a journalist’s research abilities, as they are not able to properly review the feature or utilize the information provided. In summary, this constraint also acts as a con property as it ultimately limits the features actions or intended purposes of the tool that were not intended by the designer (Rintel, 2012).
Exposition: Media Analysis
The Trendsmap program is a useful tool for modern-day media professionals to source information, and enhance the overall properties of a news article. The benefits of this program are best displayed through the analysis of a recent article published on Clickz.com, regarding politician Mitt Romney’s recent proposal to promote online Twitter trends within his current electoral campaign. Predominantly, the source details extensive information on Romney’s plans to harness social media as a political tool, and online resource for information (Kaye, 2012). Although the article is well written and informative, it neglects to include vital elements of research, including background data and information surrounding the news story. Therefore, from a journalistic perspective this article could have been improved using Trendsmap as a useful newsworthy source and social media analytic. The information listed below highlight ways as to how this could have been achieved:
- The article could have integrated previous Trendsmap data and statistics to determine how Twitter’s success has to date, impacted Mitt Romney’s political campaign and reputation (refer to figure nine under instructions). In turn, this would have improved the article, as it would have accessed valuable information regarding Romney’s recent global Twitter action that could have heightened the story’s overall depth and impact.
- The Trendsmap data would therefore, have allowed the author to access global and public opinions and surrounding Mitt Romney recent campaign. In turn, the search engines results would reveal whether these trends are often negative that would generate further questions and speculation among society.
- Furthermore, the article could have incorporated screen shots of data and information surrounding these political trends to compare US political candidates overall success in the Twitter sphere acting as a political poll (refer to figure eight and nine under instructions).
- If the article were to have utilized Trendsmap programming, screenshots with the promoted results could have been updated and published. These screenshots would have served as a visual analysis as to how this process impacted Romney’s overall audience reach and campaign.
Summary: Matrix table
SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE POLITICAL ARENA
The exchange of communication to this day remains fundamental in every known human society regardless of its changing form (Simons, 2007). It has become apparent however, that over the past decade the communication channels by which politicians run their political campaigns has transformed dramatically with the discovery of the digital age (Simons, 2007).
The rise of new media has transformed the overall content and context of media production. In recent weeks, contemporary politics has embraced and incorporated new forms of social media within their political campaign (Nesbitt-Larking, 2007). Through these social platforms, politicians are able to interact and stimulate political awareness among their audience, which is of great electoral value (Nesbitt-Larking, 2007).
The role of social networking in Mitt Romney’s 2012 political campaign is the most recent example of this process. In the past fortnight, Romney’s campaign has successfully incorporated the use of Twitter, a micro blogging service as a means of gaining political momentum. This digital resource has undoubtedly fueled political awareness throughout Romney’s campaign, and increased his popularity and power within the political arena. The success of this process is best displayed through statistics and data collected from Trendsmap, a social media analytic program. The following graph represents a real-time global mapping of recent Twitter trends surrounding Mitt Romney:
The Trendsmap data concluded that the politician’s participation in the Twitter sphere was of global significance through the multiple topics, trends and tweets collated throughout the program’s database.
Through thorough analysis, it was noted that this trend was most prevalent within the United States with millions of consumers sharing their opinions solely regarding the recent Romney campaign. This influx was illustrated through Trendsmap’s representation of visual analysis of this data collected over the last seven days:
The campaign’s use of social media therefore, acted as a calculated marketing strategy, which has increased his overall popularity and political recognition within society. However, these trends consist of both positive and negative responses, which provide further answers as to why Romney’s political team are spending additional funds within these social media forums. For example:
This data provides valuable information on the global and public opinions surrounding Mitt Romney recent campaign.
In summary, the inclusion of social media throughout Romney’s presidency election has been of great benefit as it has stimulated political awareness among voters, and somewhat indicated a possible Romney election win (Tumasjan et al, 2010).
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