When realizing that we would need to come up with an activist project for our GWST 200 class, our friend Debbie brought up how she would really like to do a project that rose people’s awareness on flats. The overall idea was that women did not have to wear heels to always feel sexy but that flats could do the same thing. Women can wear flats and still feel sexy, confident, and beautiful – deals typically believed as only being true when wearing heels. We wanted to give the world a different opinion on the power of flats. With that, Cherray and I jumped in and we all began our media based project. We all took different social media outlets (Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr) and got to work on our project to be known as “Flats Need Love Too”. With that, I began working on my chosen media – Facebook.
Being a daily user of Facebook, I did not think I was going to have much of a problem. I created a page called “Flats Need Love Too” and began looking up many different articles, blog posts, and pictures featuring information on flats. I also created a wordpress account for our project which allowed us all to have a base to upload things to our respective media sites. All that was left to do was to wait for people to like the page and hopefully (fingers crossed) leave insightful feedback and opinions on the posts. The plan and set-up seemed perfect! I was beyond excited and simply waited for the results.
However, that was easier said than done. No matter how many posts I made, invites I sent to like my page, or even general awareness of the site, progress continued to move slowly. Therefore, I began to realize that no matter how popular your platform is or how interesting your posts are, if you do not have a lot of followers or a solid audience to be actively aware of your page, your total number of likes will be very low. I also realized that time is key, you will not get 100 followers overnight. It all simply takes time, and in my case, a lot more time than I had thought was necessary. Another important thing to mention is that while the project was meant to be more of a fashion column, I took to like writing/discovering more activist-like posts. While I really liked this, I realized that flats were not a big topic in the news world, therefore making it sometimes difficult to find meaningful topics worthy of posting on the Facebook page.
With that being said, if I were to redo this project, I would completely change the way I would like to deliver the message by doing something like a video or even a photo essay. I say this because I feel like this would have delivered the message about flats in a much more effective way. I myself would have been more interested in seeing the topic presented in that way rather than receiving it through a social media site. However, this is not to say that I did not enjoy this project or find it slightly successful. While I may not have had 3000 likes, or a bunch of people comment on my posts, I still have a record breaking 19 page likes (woohoo!). Furthermore, while people may not have liked my posts, they have at least viewed them, and in my book, some success is greater than none.
While this was my experience, Debbie’s was a little different, yet similar at the same time. Here is what Debbie had to say:
The Pinterest board “Flats Need Love Too” is an attempt to show the world that flat shoes can be just as sexy, stylish, and more comfortable than the high heeled shoes presented by the advertising world. It is a way to use images to display flat shoes, their locations, pricing, and information if available. The mere creation of boards, pins, and post on this subject is accomplishment enough. I have always wanted to be an information vessel to people who cannot wear heels or choose not to wear them. It took this class and my understanding of activism to undertake such a project.
“Flats Need Love Too” is a catchy title that clearly states what our project was all about. The research I did in finding a good title and if this was something people would be interested in, were part of the things that worked for my activist project. Another thing that worked was although we were a group, we still had such an individual part that we learned from each other. The list of things that did not work seems to be a little longer. I picked a social media that I had never used before. Not only did this create a problem with the understanding of the site but because I did not already have a following, it caused additional problems with directing traffic to the site. Another thing that did not work was time management. I picked a project that required a “pin” just about every day for people to stay interested. I was not able to post every day and I believe that hurt more than helped me.
I enjoyed this process because it helped me understand activism and it encouraged me to become involved. It taught me that with everything, I should have limitations because I may have “bit off just a little more than I could chem”.
Our third group member Cherray also had similarities and differences in her part of the activist project on Tumblr. Here is what she had to say:
If I were to do this project again, I would consider using a social media platform that I am more proficient with. I was in charge of the Tumblr account. I think using Tumblr was a good idea, but it would have worked a lot better if I was more familiar with Tumblr before the start of the project. I struggled with basic setup, such as creating an attractive layout and using hashtags efficiently. I also found it more difficult to create posts linking to other shoe websites. Many of the websites had quick and easy button options for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest blogging but most lacked a blogging button option for Tumblr. This was where I underestimated the time needed for the project because in most cases I had to manually (copy, format and cite the photo and url onto Tumblr) create a blog post.
Despite my initial difficulties with Tumblr, I think it still managed to be successful and contribute to the overall goal of the larger project. My personal goal for the Tumblr portion of the project was to determine success based on how functional and attractive I could make the site. As of writing this post, the Tumblr site attracted three followers, follows ten blogs, and has 96 posts.
In the end, while we all have focused on a different form of social media, we all had many of the same results. It gives us a good understanding of just what we need to do to ensure that if we were to ever do this project again, we would be successful.