For my first board, I knew I wanted to connect the fashion industry with new media. I’ve always been interested in fashion and I was aware of some of the more basic ways the fashion industry implements new media technology, but I was sure my knowledge only skimmed the surface. What surprised me most was how resistant much of the industry was to using new media technology. This resistance seemed to stem from the fact that the world of new media was seen as vast and intimidating, and many brands weren’t sure where to begin or how consumers would respond. Luxury brands were particularly resistant as they thought it would cheapen their brand. One issue I ran into repeatedly was transparency; some designers embraced the idea of consumers knowing all about the brand while others feared it would open them up to criticism they weren’t ready to handle. I also experienced mixed opinions about the influence of blogs in the fashion industry. Blogs have become immensely popular to the point that some designers have even teamed up with them in a clever marketing move. Bloggers are being invited to Fashion Week and even sitting in the front row alongside the most influential figures in the business. This is obviously fantastic for the bloggers, but there is some criticism that they have deprofessionalized the fashion journalism industry. Finally, I found that brands who chose to embrace new media, particularly social media, have been met with a great deal of success. One example is Burberry, whose site “The Art Of The Trench” has been met with consumer enthusiasm. Overall, it seems that consumers have enjoyed getting a closer, more intimate look at some of their favorite brands. By offering consumers a more personal experience, brands have succeeded in developing a larger following and making their clients feel like part of an exclusive community.
For my next board, I decided to concentrate on the way new media has influenced the feminist movement. I chose this topic mostly because I am currently taking Intro to Women’s Studies in which we often discuss the negative impact the media has on both women and men’s perception of themselves. I wanted to take a broader look at how new media has altered the way feminist activists attempt to promote social change. Overall, I found disagreement between feminists about whether new media has had positive or negative effects on the movement. Some strongly believe that social media, Twitter in particular, has become an essential tool that allows more people to become activists on their own terms. Others claim that new media within the feminist movement leads to greater inequality between those with access to technology and those without it. I found that although there is dispute over new media being good or bad, it is undeniable that it has led to feminists around the world connecting like never before. It also seems that there is an incredibly large feminist community on Twitter that has been effective in promoting awareness about feminist issues, often by using a hashtag. Finally, I attempted to examine the relationship between feminism and video games, a technology I admittedly know very little about. It was clear that there is a large group of feminists unsatisfied with the way female characters are portrayed in video games and there is a movement to change video game characters to make them less stereotyped.
I knew virtually nothing about either of my topics at the start of this assignment. I wasn’t entirely sure how to start so I simply Googled “new media and fashion industry” and “new media’s influence of feminist movement”. The results that came up were overwhelming at first, but upon reading some of the results I realized that many of the articles shared common themes. I attempted to mix informative pins with pins that were more entertaining. Some pins are not as much fun to read, but they provide essential information that gives the reader a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Other pins were current topics in the media I knew most people had heard of. I found it interesting to learn more about pop culture topics from a new media perspective, particularly because we don’t always make the connection between fashion/feminism and new media. I determined if a source was worth pinning based on whether I learned something new and relevant from the source. I wanted to be sure that my sources were legitimate and factual as well. I was also careful to only pin sources I knew were relevant to both new media and the topic I chose.
This assignment was my first experience using Pinterest. Before learning about Pinterest, I thought of it as a social networking tool used almost exclusively for recipes and makeup tips. I now realize there is much more to Pinterest than that, and there are some people who use it to its full potential. I found downloading the “pin it” button very valuable as it enabled me to pin directly from websites rather than alternating between Pinterest and my source. I also appreciated how Pinterest is organized. Creating separate boards based on subject is a valuable organizational tool. One issue I had with Pinterest is that it does not allow you to attach any image you want to your post, instead it limits you to the images on the source you are posting from. I also found the 500 word length to be problematic. I understand that many people who use Pinterest do not need more than 500 words for a description, but I found it challenging to give sufficient explanations of my pins within 500 words. Finally, Pinterest was sometimes incorrect about how many pins I had in my board. For example, my board on the fashion industry has 20 pins but Pinterest says it has 21.
After experiencing Pinterest firsthand, I can certainly understand why it’s become so popular. Pinterest’s layout provides the perfect backdrop for intriguing pictures from any category imaginable. Everyone I know who has a Pinterest account generally uses it for recipes, home decor, fashion, and makeup; however it can be used for far more than just those topics. Because Pinterest has a reputation for attracting female users, I think that men are apprehensive to join. Overall, I think Pinterest demonstrates that users value the ability to organize their hobbies and interests on one site.