Friday, September 13, 2019

Week Four: Post 2 and Comments.

In the second part of this look into the aesthetics of website design, I will be submitting two sites that I visit regularly. The first is the site https://cvltnation.com/. Cvlt Nation is a music and "dark underground culture" review site and generally a good place to read album reviews. They are especially useful to me as they include reviews of bands in multiple genres that typically would not be covered elsewhere. At first glance, the site does have a bold logo and color pallet but a lot of its good choices tend to get buried in their poor choices. Right off the bat, there are 12 different banner ads (some of conflicting color pallets) crowding the page, it even becomes hard to tell the difference between banner ads and genuine site links.  The site does have some menu buttons that generate a drop-down that goes on top of a banner ad which is frustrating. The site also uses scrolling which I genuinely do not like yet even though I find many aspects of this site to leave much to be desired the content is what keeps me coming back. This site could definitely cut down on the number of advertisements as well as a simpler main page that uses button links to drive traffic where they are looking to go.

The next site that I visit somewhat often and admittedly more often lately is https://www.starwars.com/. With the next film in the saga gearing up for release, I find myself checking this site weekly or so in search of new information. Though there have been some missteps with the series since the Disney aquisition I am still excited to see where this is all going. I've always been a huge fan of the innovation of George Lucas in particular, adobe photoshop, digital sound and film recording and editing, Pixar, and many more are all inventions/creations under Lucasfilm. The website as you would assume is top tier. The color pallet is striking and clear, black with tints of blue which goes well with the theming, the top of the site has four high-resolution images leading you to the four biggest things going on with the Star Wars universe right now. The layout is simple and easy with a clear menu that will take you anywhere you maybe be looking for. And finally one of its greatest aspects is there are no advertisements of any sort. This is a very clear and purposeful site my only possible suggestion would be to remove the scroll and refocus the home page though im no authority over such things.

In reviewing these sites as well as the four previous sites I believe the true threaded theme is content. Content is what will keep you coming back to a site regardless of how cluttered it may be. You can have the best-looking website but with poor content, it will inevitably fail yet you could have incredible content and a poor looking website and possibly scrape by. The truth it a balance of content with good design and aesthetics is truly the way to stand out among the billions of websites in existence.

This week I left comments on the pages of Isabel Figueroa, Anthony Pagatpatan, and Katalin Solymosi.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Week Four: Post 1

So for this assignment, we are looking at the aesthetics of a couple websites. First I opened up Penny Juice and its bright pastel colors immediately burn my retinas. First I must say that though the site reaks of 2002 I do in fact instantly understand what the business is and what they are trying to achieve. I must admit that I am surprised that there is a demand for such a service in the first place, I know people in this industry and I am positive they have never heard of this nor would they feel that this is necessary. This site really could use some direction and organization. The header bar floats which gets jarring while scrolling and looking at their ordering information was confusing. Overall this actually isn't the worst site I have ever seen but nevertheless, it's clearly made by someone who doesn't know very much about web design.

Next, I looked at Jami Lins page and instantly regretted even opening it in the browser. This is what a lot of websites looked like in the early 2000s, the heyday of Angelfire and Geocities pages. Another good example of one of these relic sites is http://www.heavensgate.com/ , yeah that's right, the original Heavens Gate suicide cults website is somehow still in its original form, im guessing back then you could pay out a domain for 50 years at a very low cost. In looking at this page some I really have no idea what is being sold or what is going on, I guess something to do with skincare. There is an abundance of information, photos, colors, broken links, broken videos. This is an absolute disaster. Both pages so far could really use a menu page that links to subsequent pages and some major cleanliness. Really though all of these mentioned sites seem to be a product of their times and harken back to a much less streamlined time in web design.

Both of these websites really have poor color pallet as well. Jami Lin's page is the worst offender of the two, the disgusting brown on brown on brown has no visual appeal or use of contrast. The Juice site has a pallet that could work for the content but it's used in a way that just looks cheap. If the site had a menu function linking to individual pages each page could have one of those colors instead of them all being spread all over each page.

Now to talk about some things done well I went over and checked out Headhunter Hairstylists and was transported back to the modern-day. This website is full of the simple yet bold web design we have all grown accustomed to. Each link works correctly and gives you every bit of info you could need but in a very appealing and neat package. Ironically I used to live in Pensacola, FL and I do in fact need a haircut right now.

Next, I go to the real cream of the crop, Apple. Here is a bit of crazy information but through musical association, I am acquainted with the lead designer of Apple. He was an incredible punk photographer back in the early 80s and has run every Apple campaign since the late 90s. The Apple page looks incredible, sleek and as clean as possible. The new iPhone Pro in midnight green against a black background is the main image and it looks fantastic. I hate upgrading my phone yet somehow seeing these new products always brings the itch and that's the true genius of the Apple marketing team.

The design definitely makes an impact. Generally, if I find myself even slightly frustrated by a page I will just close the window. This happened recently where I was buying a couple Blu Reys and the specialized horror movie site that I was looking at was terribly convoluted and confusing so even though I had managed to get items into my cart I just closed the window and found them on Amazon.  Poor site design can ruin any chance of a business being successful online.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Week Three: Part 2, Five Amusement Parks and Comments

First I will explain that this is me taking a look into the job that I want and am working towards. That job is to work behind the scenes at one of the many great amusement parks in Southern California. More specifically something like marketing which my degree is in but any level of management, operations of HR would be a good place to start. Now, of course, there's one of these that I actually have a lot of pull with and know many contacts in, which is also the one of the five that I intend on working at the most but this will be a good look into all of them. For the purpose of doing this I am ONLY looking at the California locations.

Lets start with the biggest of the bunch Disneyland. https://disneyland.disney.go.com/
Looking at the bottom of the Disneyland website they have direct icon links to and in the following order, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and then also Youtube and a Disneyland Blog. The Disneyland Facebook page has 17.7 million likes and their two most recent posts were September 3rd and August 26th, from then on you can see that they post every few days, perhaps twice a week. In scrolling through comments not once did I see any instance of Disneyland reaching out to anybody through social media, this could be problematic. Events seem regularly updated but the hands-off approach with social media could mean that Disneyland is not listening to their customers. On Twitter Disneyland has 1.3 million followers and follows the same trends as Facebook, no Disney responses were found anywhere in comments. Instagram has 7.7 million followers and follows the same trends.

Next is Universal Studios Hollywood. https://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/
Universal has 2.6 million likes on FB and their most recent posts were yesterday and then on September 1st, they also have a lot of events posted. It appears their post frequency is more often than Disneyland yet I also could find no interaction from Universal themselves. They also list in the same order Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube, the same as Disneyland did. On Twitter they have 350K followers and tend to post twice a day. I still did not find any instance of Universal joining in on the conversation. Instagram has 1.9 million followers which seems to clone the Facebook posts.

Now we look at the Southern California underdog, Knotts Berry Farm. https://www.knotts.com/
Knotts has the same links in the same order, this is beginning to seem suspect that they all have the exact same order, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and finally Youtube. On Facebook Knotts has 600K followers with this most recent post being today and yesterday. By checking the timeline Knotts seems to post on average once a day. On Twitter they have 48K followers with clones of the FB posts which I noticed had a very small level of interaction, many posts get fewer likes than my bands SM accounts, that's strange. Knotts has 212K followers on Instagram and also has clones of the same posts, and in all instances, there is no evidence of Knotts interacting in the comments.

Now we see how the Dutch do things with Legoland which is also our closest amusement park. https://www.legoland.com/california/
They have links from their home page to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Youtube, Tripadvisor, RSS (Ive never heard of this), Linkedin and finally to download their App. Clearly, they have the most links of the bunch so far and a link to getting their app is a very smart idea. On Facebook they have 600K followers and post daily. They also have no evidence of interacting with people on social media. On Twitter they have 55K followers, and on Instagram they have  180K followers both with clones of the same posts. There was no evidence of Legoland reaching out or interacting in the comments and I saw numerous instances of customers asking questions or attempting to reach out to Legoland.

Finally for our last look we will go to the San Diego original SeaWorld. https://seaworld.com/san-diego/tickets/fun-card/?&mkwid=s-dc_pcrid_379998626101_pkw_seaworld%20san%20diego_pmt_e_slid_&pgrid=68855329839&ptaid=kwd-33455880&gclid=Cj0KCQjw5MLrBRClARIsAPG0WGwMt2PbThc_dj7yR2ngmaROnmYqB-DBkka4_QGVYx-6zR0PRUE3qx0aAh6-EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
What a URL, they really should have that shortened for the main page. That's another instant issue is that the main page goes direct to ticket sales and does not have very much information. They have the same social media but in a different order, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube. Also, there was a link to an email subscriber. On Facebook, Seaworld has 63K followers and on average post once a day. In scrolling the posts I found no evidence of SeaWorld interacting with commenters or anything of the sort. In fact, I saw someone comment "Shame on you for charging $27 to park" I went ahead and liked that. On IG they have 93K followers with the same situation as the others, cloned posts and no interaction. The twitter link was interesting as it linked you to the private twitter of one of the sea lions, im guessing thats a mistake.

In conclusion to all of this research one thing is clear, amusement parks in Southern California are not listening nor are they actively participating in smart social media use. Each platform should have unique posts, interaction and reason to make you want to follow them across all platforms. I will note each page in opening up messenger said "Responds Instantly" but as I found this is just an automated response informing you that you'll get a follow-up response within a couple days. People spend a great deal of money at these places and I feel competition and change are fierce in this industry. Every one of these companies could benefit from better social media use.

For this week I left a comment on the blogs of Stephanie DeSouza, Isabel Figueroa, and Anthony Pagatpatan.

Week Three: Part 1

I'll have to admit in the past I have definitely had issues with a number of companies over the years. Just recently I really had some big problems with ATT. We have everything through ATT, cell, tv, internet, all of it and we have both also been ATT users since they were Cingular Wireless back in the glorious flip phone days of the early 2000s. Recently we have seen a major increase in our bill as well as have had spotty intermittent tv service for 3 weeks at this time and with each dreaded phone call, we were wasting hours of time to get nowhere. 

The real annoyance is that they wanted to charge us $100 to come out and look at what is causing the problem or get us to commit to a 12-month protection plan at $8 a month which would effectively extend our contract which just expired and we definitely do not want to do that.  After the 3rd phone call I had given up and just began trashing them on their social media pages and to my surprise, it got their attention. It seems so hard lately to get transferred to someone who actually has the authority to help you on the phone now yet posting about it on their social media got one of those people to reach out and call me. From there I was able to get them to fix the issues and lower the bill. Now the truth is this is only a band-aid as the moment Disney+ launches I am going to dump ATT and switch to much faster internet and streaming only. 

This isn't my only positive experience in dealing with businesses online, actually most of my experiences with businesses through social media are generally positive. Especially record stores but thats perhaps superficial as I'm in a band that produces records, we sell them to record stores at wholesale (or the distributor does) and then we both make money off of the final sale. Some businesses online are actually pretty funny with their social media like Wendys for example.

If it were my company or business the first rule is I would never respond with generic responses directing you elsewhere. I really get annoyed when you see that in the comments, a load of the same exact response. Every time I see that I will generally make a mental note of those companies and avoid them. The key is you have to have a natural and genuine response to every comment. Social media is entirely human-driven and anything that feels unnatural will stick out.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Week Two: Comment

For week 2 I added comments to the blogs of Lindsey Walsh, Zach Sai, Katlin Solymosi, and finally Chantal Lewis.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Week One: Comment

For week one I decided to start things off with a bang and commented on everyone within my groups blogs, this includes Luciano, Samantha, Andrea, Stephen, Michael and Katalins blogs. This is a repost as originally I had only posted this as a comment on my initial blog.

Week Two: Introduction to Likable Social Media

So I just finished reading the introduction section of "Likeable Social Media" by Dave Kerpen and I have to say I really enjoyed what I read. Right from the beginning, I liked the story about the Aria in Las Vegas (which personally I do not like very much) and the Rio (which I like much more than the Aria before reading this article). It's very resonating that the Rio did not attempt to make any sort of sale in their first contact but to only empathize with Dave. I am in agreement with Dave that had their message been one of an offer or potential sale I too would have been less enthusiastic about the message and likely ignored it.

My experience with social media has been interesting as I have been here since the very beginning. When I was in highschool AIM and Yahoo chat rooms were the beginnings of what became the social media from what I had encountered. Those were the first instances I remember of younger people having any interest in the computer and the internet in general. From there Myspace launched around my senior year and it was an instant hit with everyone I went to high school with. I had a facebook account back when you had to have a .edu email in order to register if you can believe that ever was a thing!

Currently, I use Facebook, Instagram and I do have a Twitter that I never post on and check every few months. Initially, I was very private and selective over who I added as friends and intentionally kept my list rather short. It was when forming the band that I am currently in as well as its immediate success that I became more open to adding people who I do not know well and created an Instagram.
I would say of them Facebook is the most business-oriented of the social media, though they do own Instagram and all platforms are close in their ability to use for business. Through the band even with Facebook being more business-oriented and ideally better for advertising and pushing your music I have noticed that Instagram tends to get a larger amount of reach as well as interaction. I would imagine that has something to do with the algorithm as well as other factors.

Facebook seems has a level of professionalism that I feel makes them a bit of a cut above the others, this is especially because of the less restrictive posting in character count, image sizes and video length. I know for music purposes this becomes really problematic when all video posts must be under a minute in length. Facebook is also especially good for events, by clicking interested in events you can then receive updates and reminders that are incredibly valuable to a busy person. Another observation of mine is that more people tend to keep an open Instagram or Twitter but generally have a more personal and private Facebook account with fewer friends. This could give Facebook an edge in actually reaching people as there's less competition for screen space. Facebook also tends to do better in sponsored posts from the handful of times I have run them versus Instagram, though I have never run a paid post on Twitter and am not even sure if you can do that.
Each of the social media platforms have something to offer that the other does not but overall I do believe Facebook to be the superior advertising site.