Thalassophile 2.0 // DA Module 3 – Making

Throughout this semester I have focused on each stage of developing my digital artefact. Ideating and prototyping my DA enabled me to build a solid foundation for the continuous development of my digital artefact. Whilst the aim still incorporates promoting womens bodyboarding, throughout the making stage I have attempted to monetise many aspects of my content. 

“As you take multiple cycles through the design process your scope narrows and you move from working on the broad concept to the nuanced details, but the process still supports this development.”Plattner, H 

Instagram

Instagram was the first platform where I began my DA. Building a following, connecting with brands, rapid prototyping and responding to feedback, initially began through simply posting content to my account. The analytics enabled me to have an understanding of my audience before expanding to other platforms. I have continued the aesthetic from Instagram across the other platforms. It is based around blues, greens and earthy tones. Inspiration for this sparks from people like Brinkley Davies and Josie Prendergast.

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The post which received the most engagement was a photo of me bodyboarding. It is a decent sized wave and as a women bodyboarder I can identify that my audience sees the value in this content as they were surprised and supportive within the comments.

 

 

Images like this are definitely not easily produced, therefore do not include the FIST principles. The challenge of chasing these waves, lining up a good one and getting a photographer all have to fall in line. Furthermore, this is a cliff hanger image, as it’s not clear as to whether or not I made the drop on the wave. However I am not put off by this, as this is a part of getting quality bodyboarding content. Also, my love for bodyboarding comes from the excitement and anticipation of scoring waves like this. The photo, is ultimately just a bonus!

I have continued to make short clips of bodyboarding, which are spread out on my feed amongst photos. This encourages my audience to spend more time viewing my post, which favours the Instagram algorithm.  I have also recognised through prototyping, that I have a high standard for bodyboarding content. I have recognised that when comparing two videos of me bodyboarding, that the one I thought had better quality surfing received less engagement, compared the other one. I have taken this into account and will now produce clips which also include scenery, close ups of myself, my board and other items I am promoting. 

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I have taken notice of Brinkley’s short clips that she includes a range of angles, scenery and close ups of the products she is advertising. She also makes all of her videos appear very authentic and simply what she is framing as a “normal day” for her.

“People are seeking to embrace ‘reality’ while simultaneously benefiting from technological ‘progress’.”Bunnell, K

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Moreover, I have identified that making longer captions also works in this favour. A it takes more time for people to read the caption. Also, tagging less people in the caption and instead tagging them in the photo is useful. I also have ensured to reply to comments on each of my posts. 

Podcasts

Within the prototyping stage I was able to identify that there was an audience for bodyboarding podcasts.

Inspiration originally came from Riptide CORE podcasts and Manny V’s Patreon podcasts. I recognised that hardly any women have been featured in these bodyboarding podcasts and therefore this sparked the idea to make one for the chicks! I have continued to make podcasts and recently began monetising this element of my DA. I now create Patreon only podcasts which cost $1 per creation. Although getting patreons may be slow to begin with, it will enable people to recognise the value within the podcasts. I have also planned to set up a variety of tiers to also give back to my patreons, further enabling them to recognise the value in becoming a paying patron.

“a bias toward optimism is obviously bad, since it generates false beliefs — like the belief that we are in control, and not the playthings of luck. But without this “illusion of control,” would we even be able to get out of bed in the morning? Optimists are more psychologically resilient, have stronger immune systems, and live longer on average than their more reality-based counterparts.” – Holt, J

I promote the podcasts through a variety of platforms. By posting to the Riptide Community Facebook group, adding the link to my IG bio and stories, sharing to Riptide Magazine online and also in the live comments of the World Tour competition.

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I have also spread the podcasts across Tipee, SubscribeStar, Soundcloud and Youtube. I have found that most viewers are still only from Patreton. Therefore, I will need continue working on exposing these other platforms, using tags and engaging more with their algorithms.

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My most recent podcast features Sari Ohhara, a Japanese bodyboarder. When I was interviewing Sari, I attempted to focus on how Japanese culture embraces bodyboarding. I feel that this market would be beneficial when aiming to monetise my content. With all the gear and no idea, I am hoping to make more content which will interest the Japanese market.

I have also begun to plug my Instagram, Twitter, Redbubble and Tipee account at the beginning of my podcast. 

Riptide Magazine

Things have been slow on the side of posting to Riptide Magazine. I have noticed that there is not a massive amount of engagement with the content I post. It will continue to take trial and error FEFO attempts until I can find a stable audience. I can then choose which content to upload to Riptide Magazine online. The analytics are also not very in depth, so I will have to rely on view count for the time being. 

“Complexity is often essential. Certain topics, issues, and missions are inherently complex” – Ward, D. 

I have also recently been contacted by another magazine to send some pitches for story ideas. Hush hush though! More on this space soon…

Sponsorship and collaboration 

I have continued to engage with my sponsors and use this to my advantage. I have noticed that I need to ensure I provide valuable content for each sponsor. This includes posting specifically for one brand at a time. Usually, I can tag all my sponsors within each post. Yet this is not always beneficial for them because if they share the post, they would also in some way be advertising the other products. 

Moreover, I have recently been assisting another female bodyboarder from Western Australia, to develop an account she has created. The aim of “Women Of the Waves” is to provide a safe and welcoming space for women bodyboarders to be involved and comfortable online. Due to the sexualisation of many athletes, “Women of the Waves” is aiming to counter act this issue with a different aesthetic and frame, whilst also promoting women in bodyboarding.

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Designs

To monetise my DA and further create another component, I have begun to sell bodyboarding related apparel. It took a few attempts and I also gained feedback from Instagram.

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I bought a shirt myself and have promoted it on Instagram. I have also contacted the new womens bodyboard champion, Japanese bodyboarder Ayaka Suzuki, to see if she would like a free shirt. If she were to promote the shirt I could slowly break in to the Japanese market. I have also made a picture of the shirt the featured image for my last podcast and have included the link in the description. I am determined to continue this element of my DA, as it is a simple way to monetise my project.  I have continued to create more designs, which I will also gradually upload to RedBubble. I am aiming to discover what style of designs are more popular and use this knowledge in the future when creating wetsuit designs. 

“The prototyping activates the idea, giving it a few material features and some density, and forcing the refinement that comes from making something.” –  Julian Bleecker 

I feel as though I can also use women empowerment to my advantage. I feel like I can stand out in this male dominated sport and provide a new aesthetic and frame around womens bodyboarding. I also feel that I can use my designs to promote this, which will also add more value to my content. Overall, I am continuing to build a movement to promote women in bodyboarding, as it has shaped the person I am, my future and the way I want to live. 

 

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