Last week (27 Feb – 3 March), Leeds Trinity University’s Media Fest took place, in which a variety of speakers appeared across themed days in order to educate us about different aspects of the media. Me and Sophie formed a team in order to tackle (or at the very least, look into) our big question: how can we make technology work for us?  There were many other interesting-looking events but these were the only ones we were able to attend along with our lecturers that still took place during the week, sadly.

The sessions we went to were very informative and I believe our blogs and social media will benefit massively from this.

The sessions we attended are listed below:

  • IRIS Interactive Showcase
  • Introduction to 360 and VR
  • Dan Taylor – The Mysterious World of SEO
  • Liz Cable – Social Searching and Listening
  • Bob Walmsley – YouTube and the Rise of the Self-Taught Professional
  • Social Media Strategy and Tactics

To view a handy summary of our experience in Tweets, click over here!

 

Below is a short photo compilation video of just a few of the photos taken by me and Sophie during Media Fest.

 

 

Preparation Stage

 

To prepare for the sessions in media week, we devised a plan of the events that we thought would help answer our question. There was many other useful events but these were the only ones we were able to attend along with our lecturers that still took place during the week.

Also to prepare for the event, I dug out my old Nikon D3100 camera. While I have had this camera since 2012, the camera quality is still really good and I thought it would be good to get a few snaps on the day! I also purchased a cheap phone tripod for my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone.

 

VR and 360 Video

We got to have a go with the equipment you see below as well as well as a few others not seen in the photo.

360 Photos and Video

Due to personal circumstances, Sophie didn’t get to go to many sessions, but this was quite interesting to her as an idea.

VR and its extended ‘family’ are becoming quite popular recently, with many games (as well as other properties) utilising its capabilities to create a more immersive experience. Of course, any tech on display at a short-term event like this wouldn’t be huge, but nevertheless the intrinsically basic yet ever popular Google Street View was shown off to students that came along. As the app is free, anyone can make 3D and 360-degree landscapes to gawp at and show their mates.
      

If you feel like purchasing the camera below then click here to go to Amazon’s site where you can get one for £214.51 (subject to change). Do remember this this camera will only work with Samsung devices. However when we had a look at this in action, it seems really useful for 360 photos; I’d say it’s worth the money!

Below is a link to my Tweet where you can find my attempt at using Street View to create a 360 image of the common room at my university campus. While this is far from perfect, I believe if I continue to practice this then It is something I will be able to use at events I go to such as conventions.

The google street view app is a very handy tool as I do not think I will be able to afford a 360 camera and get its money worth. It would be something I would only use at events I go to once a year such as conventions and I think that for what I would use it for, that the street view app is enough for me.

IRIS Interactive Project Showcase

Joe Strummer Slept Here

Closures: A Video Thesis about Workers and their Factories

 

The most recent project Kelly has been working on is a short video on the “One Day Without Us” Campaign in Leeds City Centre.

Take One Valley View on Tour

To view the disscusions around these 3 very different yet all wonderful interactive documentaries and website, check out the recordings on my YouTube channel below.

Part One 

Part Two 

Search Engine Optimisation

Thursday began with a very enlightening talk on the inner workings of the search engines we now use everyday, given by former LTU student Dan Taylor.

As you can see on the above Thinglink, much was discussed on the topic of search engine optimisation; adapting to its quirks and algorithms to get results. I, despite using them without thinking by this point, did not realise the true impact that search engines have on us; 900 million queries go through Bing alone in a year, and Ask Jeeves is still one of the top search tools in the country! But despite the power of these tools, they can’t do all the work for you. Dan stressed that for success, you must be active on all the social channels you possibly can, and always create engaging and original content. It is however possible to adapt the algorithms I mentioned earlier in order to propel yourself or a client to maximum visibility. There are about 500 and counting on Google alone, from ‘Rank Brain’, their own in-progress algorithm bot, to ‘Thanksgiving’, which filters out unwanted holiday spam. Dan said that these can change from day-to-day, making it slightly frustrating to walk into work and see your efforts undone!

Sophie said that she:  “very much enjoyed this talk. It gave us new insight into how we can manipulate technology for our own personal profit. I had no idea how deep the science is behind a simple search term!”

Social Searching and Listening

Liz Cable, a lecturer at Leeds Trinity University showcased some of the useful tools and websites that she uses in order to get the best out of social media outlets. She spilt up her presentation into these 4 different sections to cover the necessary tools and ideals when dealing with social media.

1. Listen
2. Identify
3. Focus
4.Engage & Repeat

Liz showcased an array of different websites that would help us improve our blogs and social media. A list below of a few she recommenced can be found below:

  • TalkWalker Alert
  • Social Mention
  • Hashtagify.me
  • Klout

Upon looking further into these, they seem really helpful for my blog and social media to find out what people are talking about and what they want to find out more about. This can help me plan out my content to suit what my audience would be interested in.

Sophie’s Comments:

“I am very much inclined to agree here! It looks like all of these might help immensely to promote you as a “brand”, or your own actual brand if you have one (even mediapickles is an example of this). Hashtagify looks very comprehensive!

And so, we can clearly see, as in the case of SEO, knowing exactly how to use the tools we are given makes all the difference in terms of how we can make technology work for us.”

Social Media Strategy and Tactics

This talk was spilt between talks from guest speakers along with a workshop. In the workshop we were given many sheets (two are displayed below) to evaluate our own blogs or brands and to decide what we need to do to improve them for the future.

Days of the Year website was recommenced during this session. It is a website which has ‘holidays’ of sorts or days that are known by some for specific things. The website can come in handy for content when you are unsure of what to create. It will provide you with a day which you could relate to your blog or social media in a fun and interactive way.  I might create my own calendar .  lt is always good to plan content ahead as well as having spontaneous content after all.

Twitter Hours and Chats were recommended to look into as well as it shows us – as users of Twitter – what times of the day people are talking about specific topics and when would be the best time to post your own content relating to that content.

YouTube – The Rise of the Self-Taught Professional

While the camera and audio quality might not be amazing, here is my recording of Bob Walmsley’s talk  for you to see for yourself all the useful advice from the talk.

After Liz’s talk came Bob Walmsley, who talked about how anyone willing to work at what they do could become a ‘self-taught professional’. He creates tutorials on how to create video effects and the like, easily. Anyone can get the hang of it!

Bob’s talk was very interesting. From the start, he was honest about this mistakes he has made throughout his career and how he is far from being ‘ a Master of YouTube’. Despite his mistakes however, he has been able to gain many opportunities on Broadway with his special effects skills. This just goes to show that you dont have to perfect something in order to be succesfful at what you do!

 

So, what did we learn?

As you can no doubt see by the wide range of experiences we had this week, technology is constantly evolving. Due to this, people and companies have to constantly adapt in order to stay on top of things. The hard graft is worth it though: strike it lucky and you can show yourself and your work off to the world.

Overall, Leeds Trinity University’s Media Festival was a very informative experience that we are glad to have been able to partake in. I believe that we learnt a lot about different and innovate ways to improve out blogs and social media experience.

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Abigail Carlton

Twitter: @AbigailsAnime

Instagram: abigails_anime

Facebook: Abigail’s Anime Page

Click Here to access a YouTube Playlist of all the videos I took during Media Fest.

 

Sophie Pickles

Blog: http://mediapickles.co.uk/

Twitter: @mediapickles