New Media New Audiences: How to work the Pyramid of Engagement


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A lecture breaking down the pyramid of engagement and explaining online behaviour in terms of Power Law distribution. This lecture is intended for 3rd media student and serves as an introduction to anyone interested in behavior of new media audiences.

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New Media New Audiences: How to work the Pyramid of Engagement

  1. 1. New Media: New Audiences New Modes of Participation in the Post Digital Age Digital Media Production Dr Lance Dann
  2. 2. One Way Media
  3. 3. Media Gatekeepers • Media production expensive • Hard to transmit • Easy to receive • Controlled by a limited number of people. It was received by many • This made the gatekeepers powerful.
  4. 4. New Media Revolution Cheap to produce. Easy to transmit. Easy to reach you audience. Easy to consume. Easy to find. Hard to be noticed.
  5. 5. Utopian View of the Net Everyone can create as an equal. Everyone can contribute as an equal. Everyone can access everyone else’s work. The gatekeepers have lost their power.
  6. 6. People though are the problem • People don’t behave online as you might want them to. • Old behaviour is not unlearnt fast. • New opportunities are not always grasped.
  7. 7. Pyramid of EngagementPyramid of Engagement
  8. 8. LEVEL 1 - Observing • Sporadic, indirect communications. • Basic web traffic. • Do not actively or consistently contribute. • Lurkers…
  9. 9. LEVEL 2 - Followers • Regular, direct communications. • Twitter followers, Facebook fans. • Will track down events online. • Still mostly one way communication.
  10. 10. LEVEL 3/4 Endorses/Contributors • Either single or multi- step participation. • V. important. • Public endorsers. • Pay for content. • Actively engage in conversation. • Post to forums and sites.
  11. 11. LEVEL 5: Owners • Will start conversations. • Will set up fan pages. • Will instigate events. • Will contribute very actively.
  12. 12. LEVEL 6: Leaders • These people set up sites. • They instigate projects. • They will run events. • They are the drivers of online activity.
  13. 13. Engage the audience • Take into account all tiers. • Make sure projects will capture the attention of the people at the top. • Let the leaders and owners do the work for you. • Make sure your call to action is strong.
  14. 14. Call to Action What draws the audience in. What makes them get off the ass and do something. What makes them bothered.
  15. 15. People just won’t do what you want!! Online audiences don’t act in predictable ways. They hack. They infiltrate. They abuse. The turns things on their head. They won’t do what they are told!
  16. 16. “Give your telly that YouTube feel by sellotaping some semi-literate racial abuse on the bottom of your screen.” Viz Top Tips (2012)
  17. 17. Godwin’s Law "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.” In other words Godwin said that given enough time, in any online discussion – regardless of topic or scope – someone will inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis wdgHOGgTc
  18. 18. Adam Buxton - Bug Adam Buxton reads YouTube comments
  19. 19. How do people really interact? • The pyramid of engagement suggests a clear and even hierarchy. • The people at the top have more influence than those lower down. • Those lower down are in the majority but there are still sizeable numbers above.
  20. 20. Welcome to the Mermaid Parade • Clay Shirky took a single event and looked at how many people uploaded photos of it to Flickr. • 2007 Mermaid Parade in New York • Free to upload. • No demand that people did so. • Very even ground for data • He charted number of photo uploaded by each user
  21. 21. According to the pyramid you’d expect this… Photos Uploaded Flickr User
  22. 22. What he found was this… 1st= 238, 2nd = 158 Average= 26 Median= 10
  23. 23. This is an example of Power Law Distribution The most active people are FAR FAR more active than the majority. They are also in the minority. They are responsible for a vast amount of traffic. They are you power users. Top 10% contribute 75% of content Top 5% contribute 60% of content Top 1% contribute 24% of content
  24. 24. Most users of the Internet are below average • The average level of use is more than the mean. • Most people are below average. • Example: What is the average wealth of everyone in this room? Then imagine Bill Gates walk in. On average we are all million airs. All of us other than Bill become below average.
  25. 25. • The any interactive project has to be aimed at Power Users. • They drive activity. • They are your fans. • They are a minority. • You have to include people further down the pyramid.