Assignment One

Critical Reflexive Analysis: ShakeItUp

ShakeItUp is a social media platform, created by Katie Furness, Sophie Antunes and Stephanie Watson (myself) who form KSS Productions. Our idea was to create a social media platform, geared towards cultural diversity, to be used by university students where a cultural barricade is most evident.

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Originally, ShakeItUp was designed as a mobile application however; I was worried about producing a working prototype which included the features Sophie envisioned. Upon further research, an Entrepreneur article stated that we should find a technological expert to create the application. No-one in the group had a technological background or knew someone so, I suggested we develop the product into a social media platform enabling us to use Ryan, Katie’s experienced, technologically minded friend.

We met weekly, enabling us to choose tasks to complete for the next meeting while keeping updated on the progress of our prototype. But, I forgot to complete all the content in the first week, which led to issues on pitch day. Although, I did enjoy researching cocktails/mocktails and their histories, giving me ideas for next time I fancy making drinks in our student house. Watch out housemates, you’ll be my testers. Sophie forgot to research into the legal issues leading to myself, taking the responsibility on while creating our pitch presentation and script which led me to feel that I had contributed more than the others to our presentation. I did enjoy the research aspect despite my feelings, as I found some rather interesting journals and it allowed me to visit my own little happy-research world- I enjoy researching immensely. A key decision within our group was to film ourselves making cocktails/mocktails to demonstrate the products interactivity and enabled the group to bond as we could not stop laughing every time something was spilled or did not taste quite right. Just so you know, red grape fruit juice is not an okay substitution for white grape fruit juice…

Communication is an issue within KSS because we only saw the finished prototype on presentation day, despite asking to see it beforehand. Also, the prototype was not what I had envisioned or how it had been described. Since then, we have discovered the platform does not have a registration option which, we were assured would be created plus drinking games not incorporated onto the platform, or a profile page. If I had known that these issues had developed, I would have tried to learn the technological side, instead of developing my research skills or insisted we use an expert in the Sheffield area permitting us to have more power over development. We were left scrambling for content, due to my mistake however, I had asked the previous night whether we needed to retrieve the recipes from Cocktails of the World and received no answer. Myself and Sophie spent the morning, with bed heads as we messaged each other about finding content, making jokes about sitting in pjs, in the comfort of our own homes whilst Katie sat in the library.

Developing the prototype, pitching it to an audience with no previous technological skills has taught me to have more confidence in my presentation/development abilities. Furthermore, my task was to develop research for content, legality and privacy issues, which taught me how social media platforms function without law-breaking as well as, how to narrow down research to key texts.

One key text that I found useful is The Facebook Case; you’ll find a breakdown of the article by clicking here. It helped me gain an understanding of the ethical issues you may encounter while developing a social media platform and demonstrated the openness of individuals on their own social media profiles, including myself, when it comes to privacy. I was excited about discovering this text, as it raised a few questions I have since been   considering; why are people so open to strangers? How long did the research take? How big of an issue is social media? The article stirred my interest and made developing the prototype an enjoyable, yet slightly stressful learning experience for an assignment I feared but also, opened my eyes to possibly answering assignment two about social media, which will enable me to delve further into the world of research surrounding social media, especially as this is an older article. There is a wonderment, about discovering what scholars are now saying, with more platforms being developed and I get to dive head first into it.

 

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Assignment One

SHAKEITUP: Product Breakdown

 

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Product Logo

Its 1am; intoxicated, cheering women with no previous friendship stand sipping their drinks in the Ladies at Groove Nightclub. The product utilises this alcohol-induced friendship to encourage the interaction of different cultures through the development of a social media platform inspired by Twitter and Facebook. Click here to visit ShakeItUp.

To sign up to the product, you will need an existing WordPress login which will allow you to view the content and begin using ShakeItUp. It has its own domain, which means the product has a specific, catchy URL: http://www.shake-it-up.co.uk/. You’ll simply have to type in the above URL and the product will appear. The product used WordPress.Org which allowed us to create plugins, and add an exterior service to prevent spam, giving you a better experience. When you sign up, you have two options; using the products free version which limits your access to recipes of cocktails/mocktails from seven countries and playing classic drinking games. However, you will still gain full access to the forums where you are encouraged to share tips, cultural knowledge and exchange recipes. Instead you must opt for access to the cheap £2 per year premium option gaining access to 21 countries cocktail/mocktail recipes, and attaining the ability to create your own drinking games to play. You can access the forums, engaging with free and premium members.

You’ll find the product easy to interface with, its set out in a simple layout with bright colours to attract you and fit in with the theme; multiculturality. There is a navigation bar that allows you to flit from one feature to another, which you perceive when you gain access to the product. To gain access to cocktail/mocktail recipes, click the flag of the country you want to experience, it’s interactive, educational and considered a hidden affordance, if you are not aware that clicking the flag, will take you to the countries recipes. The product invites you to share the resulting cocktail/mocktail, an image, impressions and any changes to the recipe in the forums or create a forum, if you cannot find a suitable topic that invites people to join your discussion. It offers drinking games, with access to different levels dependent upon your membership status with classic games such as ‘ring of fire’ available in the unpaid membership, and the option to play classic games alongside creating your own as a premium member. Also, you can share and play your new drinking games across the products with individuals across the world.

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The Product

The purpose of this product is to enhance communication across the world, breaking cultural barriers and educate others about the different cultures. However, it does not have a social media posts page that you can use to update your friends, which you would assume a social media platform contains, also referred to as a false affordance. It should eliminate the need for multiple applications on your phone to; play drinking games and concoct cocktails/mocktails. It will retrieve cultural traditions and lost knowledge allowing you to understand why individuals may act in a certain way and become more accepting of them. It could be problematic and harmful to you if underage drinking occurs, getting ‘irresponsibly’ drunk affecting your careers and life and could attract racist individuals who target others.

There is a void in the market for this type of social media platform. Click here to view the market research. Aside from the premium membership money, the site relies on advertisers paying us, to reach you. Adverts can vary dependent upon the products members, and the country in which they originate. For example, if most members are American students, advertisements that appear will be aimed at them. There are multiple opportunities to grow the product that will make it more successful which has been taken from feedback given to improve your user experience. A private chat bar can be installed for you to be able to have private conversations with new friends. An Instagram inspired development will grant you the ability to view, post and comment on cocktail/mocktail images using #ShakeItUp(nameofdrink). Finally, the site will become a mobile application so; you can chat and play remotely.

Please Find The Video Below Of The Developers Trying Their Own Product Out: