As a student of English and Business at the University of Georgia, I am fascinated by brands that positively benefit the community through their business and digital presence. My blog content includes marketing strategies, case studies, and reflections on the intersection of English and Marketing, especially in the context of writing for the web.
My blog called Company Kept explores the ways that brands meaningfully engage with consumers through digital media. The name Company Kept refers to the kinds of company (people) and companies (brands) that influence our perceptions of brands through various mediums like websites, video, print, and advertising. It’s commonly held that “we become like the company we keep” in terms of friendships, but I think this applies to online influences as well.
Online interaction impacts us much more deeply than we recognize. If navigating a website frustrates me, it has the power to change my mood and perception of the brand who created it. User experience infiltrates daily life more than we realize. “Swiping right” and “Timeline” have become colloquial terms, even though they reference means of navigating through mere social media sites. In fact, one article says that, “Tinder’s swipe is, in many ways, the textbook example of an intuitive user experience.” The simple act of swiping has changed the way users talk about people in regular life and make snap judgements. Yikes, swipe left on that guy. It continues to say that Tinder has “not only ushered in a new era of apps that would also keep up with the speed of the human psyche, it has become so pervasive that we get frustrated when we’re unable to swipe on something we’ve deemed “swipe-able.” But perhaps most notably, it has helped bridge the gap between the virtual and the real.” This shows that user experience on digital platforms does influence reality. In the case of tinder, most agree that it’s not a positive influence.
Of course, the content we consume on websites also impacts us. Why do some posts become bookmarked and others are bounced off immediately? How could companies influence us in a positive way, through both the content they post and the code with which they post it? What would it look like to seamlessly navigate a website and be better for it? My blog explores ways that companies seek to engage their customer base, including creative solutions to customer issues, compelling storytelling, and customer-centric content.
Linking and Copyright
Writing for the Web requires referencing other works of online writing, both to defend arguments in one’s prose and to gather online resources for the viewer’s reference and online community’s collaboration. My blog posts require research from other online sources like newspapers, YouTube videos, articles, and tweets. My linking to those other sites gives them credit for their ideas and also allows easy navigation to those sources.
I received this feedback from a classmate after our first blog review: “I like the links on the page. They stand out in a way that almost makes you want to click them. You may have already noticed–since Dr. Davis always talks about it–but the links take you away from the page. To return to the article I am interested in, I usually just click out of whatever link I left. I could see readers clicking away and then accidentally forgetting to return.” In response, I made sure to make links open in new tabs. This simple correction impacts the way users will navigate my site, hopefully encouraging them to stay longer.
The links empower users to research for themselves, instead of reading my blog in isolation or as a academic work. I made sure to quote authors and give credit to photographers because they are the foundation for my work. WordPress gives credit to itself by placing “Designed by: Theme Freesia | Powered by: WordPress” in the footer automatically.
My blog is an effective multimodal text because it is uses lots of links, almost making it a kind of collage. While the topics vary, they are all relevant to my theme of marketing+English. As Janet Murray said in Inventing the Medium, “From a humanities perspective, the design of digital objects is a cultural practice like writing a book or making a film.” Creating this blog required planning, iteration, revision, and refining. My process was similar to the writing process as well as design thinking, as I considered the audience and purpose of my work.
Another piece of feedback I received was, “I don’t know exactly how you would categorize the different aspects of marketing, but I think it’d be cool to, once you write enough posts, organize them so that people looking for specific posts are able to find them.” Per my classmate’s suggestion, I categorized my posts by subject. Each one has multiple categories associated with it, but that is because the topics overlap so much. I have a menu in the header that allows users to select a subject and go to a page that includes all posts tagged with that category.