Social media platforms are fundamental for today’s interconnected global community. One primary component of Social media is the idea of creating a persona a “type of character that a person seems to have and that is often different from their real or private character” (Cambridge dictionary). Both YouTube and Discord are extremely popular social media for the large younger western demographic and are key websites for my presence on the internet and for building my persona. With these two platforms I’m able to connect with communities across social media and create content for myself and the communities I’m a part of. Through these interactions and the ability of media creation I’m able to provide glimpses into my life and the character traits of my personality to the internet.
YouTubes affordance is evident by how the site operates and how it is focused around one sole type of media creation and communication being videos. These videos can take many forms from video gameplay videos to vlogs or even sports montages which allows communities and individuals to grow and build a following. This can be seen through a study conducted by Margaret Holland from the University of Elon “In relation to RQ1, the study found a YouTuber’s authenticity appealed to their viewers.” which will result in more viewers attracting to a Youtuber. The majority of the larger and most impactful Individuals on social media have all come from a similar place that is from the bottom. YouTubers like Felix ‘Pewdiepie’ Kjellberg, and Olajide ‘KSI’ Olatunji both started with zero experience and worked their way up with what they had. This helps create with creating a persona as the audience will often stick with and follow the progression of the individual and will often grow alongside them.
Youtube also has the ability to create a sense of self on its platform. YouTube has a rich and very detailed feature being the analytics which can also be classed as an affordance that not many other sites can provide. The analytic’s pages show in extreme detail every snippet of information you could imagine. From the most obvious are the likes, dislikes, comments, and new subscribers but can break even deeper to where your viewers come from (Traffic), impressions, and engagement. This can help you learn a lot about your audience and combined with reading and engaging with the comments it can really create a bond and sense of self within the community created around your content.
Quickly, I’d just like to look at Discord which has an alternative affordance method as “instant messaging and VoIP application and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities ranging from gamers to education and businesses.” (Discord.com) “Discord emerged as an answer to the need for better tools to facilitate communication between gamers. As an all-in-one voice-video-text chat app, Discord was a welcome replacement to the outdated mishmash of solutions on offer to gamers (D.Foong, 2020)
Discord has been a major part of my social media involvement since 2016. I’ve become extremely fond of many communities ranging from the Escape from Tarkov Discord (170,000 users) that I’m a mod for, and The 100 Thieves Discord (30,000 users), and lastly the Total War Discord (25,000). Depending on the size of the community you join and interact with it’s often common to find more international interaction in the large communities like the Escape from Tarkov, Minecraft, and Call of Duty Discords. While smaller more personal communities like University Groups for example University of Wollongong’s Digital Media Society.