Using the Internet to engage online communities through social media is a great way to collect quantitative information about topics, develop new angles, and even find new audiences.
Feedback over the Internet is often times negative but if you give an individual a voice with a guise, the truth can become apparent. Many may say this is quite the contrary and that the Internet is full of dishonesty. People become more honest over the Internet and according to Jeff Hancock dishonesty is in human nature, especially in relationships with others. For instance in this TED Talk, The Future of Lying, Hancock references studies based on online resumes, Facebook personalities, online dating, and compared them with the day-to-day lies of an individual. Hancock states that in much more instances online communication is more honest than face-to-face.
This is why it is important to use the Internet to engage and collect feedback from individuals based upon their knowledge or opinions. Throughout this last week, surveys and stories were conducted on transgender awareness. These stories and surveys were shared on the Internet and gained responses.
A story with a video to the intro of a documentary was shared along with an article about the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico or TGRCNM. This story received eight shares from the site posted and 23 likes, with one reader expressing excitement for the actual story after viewing the intro clip.
The next week a post to Reddit along with a survey, that was also posted to Twitter and Facebook, requested users to answer three questions about transgender awareness. The first assumption was to post directly to transgender subReddits but this generated one response, that posting in a transgender subReddit would generate bias responses. This led the post to be created under a subReddit for politics and it gained much more responses. Reponses came from transgender individuals and some who might have been unsure about what being transgender means. One such responder asking, “What are transgender rights?”
With the initial posts the target audience was the community directly affected, but without engagement other audiences became the focus. Understanding an audience through engagement helps develop a new angle and answers the question, whom should the story really be affecting? In the case of transgender awareness much of the transgender community is already aware of its struggles, it is the other social communities that are unaware.