Fake social media accounts have been used to influence a specific audience to make them believe about a certain desired truth. The intents of the user can range malicious to inconsequential in nature. Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter have been the most known culprits to feature fake accounts but they have attempted to crackdown on users who are not masquerading as someone or something other than their real, actual identity. Some users may want to use fake accounts for predatory means such as child luring and “cat-fishing” (pretending to be someone you are not) dating sites. Others may crave attention and just want to feel engaged with their peers through comments, likes, favourites, and retweets all while paying their way to social media fandom. I will look to address each fake social media account incident with a website article that is both relevant to each intent and that is relatively current.
An interesting article by MediaKix, an influencer marketing agency, wanted to see how easy it was to fake the amount of Instagram followers and engagement in order to secure brand sponsorship deals. With a budget of just $300 USD, they created two fake Instagram accounts, 1) a fashion/lifestyle Instagram model and 2) a travel/adventure photographer. The first step MediaKix did was to generate content for either account. For the first account, they used a local model and used content from a one-day photo shoot to amass the entire account’s content. For the second account, they generated content using exclusively free stock photos from the internet in relevance to popular scenic/tourist areas. The next step was to purchase followers from a website follower provider with prices ranging from $3 to $8 per 1000 followers. Ultimately, the more expensive service was more reliable in that they delivered the followers without delay. Within two months time, the fashion/lifestyle account had 50 thousand followers and the travel/adventure account had 30 thousand followers. The last step was to purchase engagement with prices ranging from 12 ¢ per comment and $4 to $9 per 1000 likes. The cheaper service providers would deliver the engagement within 24 hours time while the pricier ones delivered the engagement almost instantly. Lastly, as a result of their supposed influencer status with a substantial follower count, they managed to secure two brand sponsorship deals for each account. Both accounts were sponsored by the same national food and beverage company while the fashion/lifestyle account got a sponsorship with a swimsuit company and the travel/adventure account got a sponsorship with an alcohol brand. Each campaign were eligible to receive either monetary compensation or free product or even both. This social experiment gained traction as UK news outlet The Independent and popular streetwear/lifestyle website Hypebeast both picked up on the significance of fake accounts amassing fake followers and engagement in the hopes of acquiring brand sponsorship deals.
Something of more malicious intent, UK news outlet, The Mirror, posted an article about how pedophiles are using fake social media accounts to pose as chicken nuggets and ice-cream to lure school children. One sex offender even went so far as to pretend to be a “road” outside a girl’s secondary school so that they could accept his friend request and over 400 girls accepted it. Fortunately, he did not contact those students but collected photos, pictures, and selfies of them. As said by Dr. Maureen Griffin, a social media safety expert and forensic psychologist, “despite the success of the ‘stranger-danger’ initiatives, warped offenders have come up with new and novel ways of gaining access to children’s information”. Children’s access to the social media sites has no watchful, real-time moderators regularly monitoring the sites and the safety of its users. These sex offenders are preying on vulnerable, naive kids who are more willing to trust anonymous inanimate object pages rather than a physical human being when in fact they are threatened with the same amount of harm. The veil of an electronic screen provides a sense of anonymity to its users especially if you are posing as someone or something you are not. In contrast, police officers pose as young girls online in order to lure pedophiles and sex offenders out of the safety of an electronic barrier so that they can arrest them. It seems kind of hypocritical because The Telegraph reported on how faking social media accounts could lead to criminal charges. I guess it depends on the purpose and intent of their fake account usage. However, this article is talking about those who enact revenge on others while using a fake online account and would subsequently be charged for harassment.
Another incident of the usage of fake accounts is related to Golden State Warriors basketball star, Kevin Durant. He was suspected of using a fake account to defend himself on Twitter for leaving his former team, Oklahoma City Thunder for eventual champions, Golden State Warriors. As reported by sports news outlet, SB Nation and San-Fransisco news outlet, SF Gate, he accidentally addressed himself in third person while using his personal account to defend himself against criticism from critics. I feel it is more embarrassing for Kevin Durant because he could not deal with the insecurities of criticism head on like any professional would and sought to comfort himself by using a fake account to defend himself. Now there is a lack of trust for what Kevin Durant says because he is trying to sway opinion and stir up conversation to get attention for himself.
The three main social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are subject to fake account users but the intentions are ultimately used to trick people into believing something that is not true. The truth is seemingly up to the recipient and how they want to take that information. The first article talked about how easy it is to fake an Instagram following and engagement to attract brand sponsorship. The second article addressed the scary nature of fake accounts that are run by sex offenders and pedophiles to lure in school-aged children. The last article was about how even professional athletes can use fake accounts to defend themselves on social media from harsh critics. Internet users should be weary of accounts that they do not directly know as they may be run by unsuspecting people with ulterior motives.
Barrett, D. (2016, Mar. 3). Faking social media accounts could lead to criminal charges. The Telegraph. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12180782/Faking-social-media-accounts-could-lead-to-criminal-charges.html
Dator, J. (2017, Sept. 19). Kevin Durant apologizes for fighting with critics on social media using fake accounts. SB Nation. Retrieved from: https://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2017/9/19/16334794/kevin-durant-apologizes-for-fighting-with-critics-on-social-media-using-fake-accounts
hDeggan, G. (2017, Sept. 15). Fake social media accounts pretending to be chicken nuggets and ice-cream are being set up by sick paedos to lure school kids. The Mirror. Retrieved from: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fake-social-media-accounts-pretending-11175055
Dike, J. (2017, Aug. 7). This is how easy it is to fake a social media following and get paid for it. Hypebeast. Retrieved from: https://hypebeast.com/2017/8/paid-fake-social-media-following-how-to
Dowd, K. (2017, Sept. 18). The internet thinks Kevin Durant has been defending himself via fake social media accounts. SF Gate. Retrieved from: http://www.sfgate.com/warriors/article/internet-thinks-Kevin-Durant-fake-social-accounts-12206411.php
MediaKix. (2017). Are Fake Instagram Influencers Deceiving Brands?. Retrieved from: http://mediakix.com/2017/08/fake-instagram-influencers-followers-bots-study/#gs.hK_gxHg
Zatat, N. (2017, Aug 11). Social media experiment reveals how easy it is to create fake Instagram accounts and make money from them. The Independent. Retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/social-media-experiment-fake-instagram-accounts-make-money-influencer-star-blogger-mediakix-a7887836.html
So So So SORRY, My Peer!!
Before going into the peer review, I must first apologize to my peer, Kimberly Wong who unfortunately got paired up with an irresponsible peer, for keeping her waiting. I hope this review can really help her fine-tune some elements of her blog to make it even better. And, of course, many thanks to Kimberly’s in-depth review on my blog which contains suggestions on each tab as well as many details.
Entry to Kimberly’s Blog: First Impression
Once I entered Kimberly’s blog, the header image was so eye-catching that for a second I thought ‘Activity Fuels Activity’ printed right at the centre of the image was the blog name. The top menu really matches with the simplicity of the theme, categorizing blog content into simply ‘personal posts’ and ‘school posts’. In Kimberly’s review of my blog, she mentioned the little mess of my top menu which can be better managed by more thoughtful categorization.
Feature Image for Each Post
I really like this idea of having a feature image for each post. The post’s feature image can visualize and summarize the post content so that readers feel more comfortable looking for what they want to read in a sea of posts. For instance, Kimberly uses a close-up of a dog for her first peer review which immediately tells readers she’s reviewing a blog about dogs. Here I must point out that one of the feature photos is especially outstanding in terms of photographic aesthetics but I’m not sure if it’s taken by Kimberly herself (I’m assuming it was, given that there’s no credits).
I have a little suggestion though regarding images within her posts. I realize that only the feature photo is in full size but all other subsequent photos are thumbnails. I tried clicking on those photos, like photos she took during a trip to Squamish, and noticed those are actually in high definition!
I have some suggestions regarding the text layout throughout her blog:
- Content Structure
From the above screen capture of one of Kimberly’s blog posts, it looks a little bit weird that the text in such a small font goes all the way to the edge of the screen. A larger font plus paragraphing would make it look nicer. More importantly, it’d be a lot more reader-friendly especially for those who view the blog with a 16:9 screen. Also, adding subheadings to long posts is a good idea to structure the text layout.
- Play With Typography!
There are a lot more Kimberly can do in term of typography to make the text look alive and reflect her emotions! It doesn’t have to be fancy but working with the bold, italic, underline, and many other simple typographic elements like selecting font family and size, can help effectively communicate with the target audience. The bulid-in text writer only allows the author to simply type in chunks of words without any typographic functions, but there are numerous plugins that are free for users to try.
Overall, Kimberly has a wonderful blog sharing her hobbies and daily activities with lots of nice photos as well as texts that are written casually like conversations between friends. I’m just wondering if it’d be a good idea to have social media links so that visitors can get to know more about her as well as share her posts on other platforms. Keep up the good work!
Upon first impressions, the front page invites the viewer to wonder what the large “F” stands for, which gives off a strong visual impact as the whitespace around the letter focuses your attention to the center. The type “fashion catalog” is near the edge of the bottom which is a good way to generate curiosity from the reader.
I looked into one of the posts that you made on sept.18th and I really enjoy how the palleted colors separate the topics you talk about. I like how you add insight to which colors complement each other and how some can even pair with skin tone. You have a very informative blog and the picture placements were great and easy to follow with my reading speed.
Currently, a key issue with the site is the lack of content and posts on the page. So far there is only one topic post which is related to the website but there is no content for anything else since Sept.18. Since there is only one post, after one scroll down, the highlighted post is positioned off center as if there are two supposedly missing posts. As well as on the home page, there is no actual home button or link. I must physically re-enter the website name in the type bar or click back multiple times. Perhaps adding a home link to the menu could help users retrace to where they originally came from.
After clicking both the “about” and “contact” section, there is no content whatsoever… It is the wordpress default filler type. It should have more content.
Some more constructive tips I would recommend is perhaps, when mentioning links or other references, provide a clickable link. This allows the reader to navigate and explore more on their own to find what interested you so much as to have followed the link as well. You could also include an archives section at the top so you could categorize your posts by date. This would make your website much more organized and it would it be easier to navigate older material.
Since your blog is specifically a fashion blog, rather than limiting to only a recent posts section for your content, I would like to suggest including a “popular” section or page as well to better allow readers to find what they are looking for.
Overall, I feel that adding more content and applying some minor adjustments, you could have a great fashion blog that is clear, dynamic, and inspirational.
Check out Vincent’s blog at:
For starters, you guys should check out my classmate Simbarahshe’s site – (http://simbarasheraphaelmtetwa.com/). The theme he chose is interesting in that the title “2017 – My year of humility” is repeated twice. Once in the top right corner and another on the main page on the foreground of the banner image. In my opinion, it is somewhat redundant to have the same thing appear twice but I assume it is just the format of the theme and by removing the main title from the banner image, it would render the other title unnoticeable. With that being said, the banner image is a well selected image in that it essentially encapsulates what his blog is about. The image is of a person looking into the distance through layers of pillared structures which in itself is seemingly a metaphor for looking ahead as well as seeking further personal meaning/understanding in yourself.
The typography in his site is also well chosen because of the purely white background hidden layered behind dark grey text. The font size is also easy to read and with a read more option, it gives the reader a taste of the post in anticipation for what’s to come. I also like how when your cursor goes over a linked menu it is an expanding underline rather than just a bold highlight of the menu. Overall, the site is very user-friendly in that a lot of the posts are large enough for people to see without having to click the actual post to get a sense for what it is about.
Some critiques that I have noticed are that the entire menu bar at the top of the page is not divided up into any droop-down (sub) menus. I think the “who is Simba” menu should be combined with the “About” because not only does the audience want to know what the blog is about but they also want to know who runs the site. People do not need/want to click on another page just to see who runs the site or what it is about. It should be amalgamated to provide the audience with a convenient one-stop view of the all encompassing “About” section. Similarly, the “Blog” and “Humility Blog” sections are redundant so I suggest to eliminate one of them to avoid the clutter on the top menu bar. Also, I am pretty sure the “Blog” menu does not work as there is either an incorrect link or there is no content in it. As for the “Vision Board”, “Weekly Class Reflections”, and “Process Posts” sections, they should be put under a parent menu of “PUB101” instead to, like I said before, avoid the clutter on the top menu bar. Last thing of note, there is no integration of any social media platform whatsoever. I believe it is because he wants to keep his social media profile and self separate from his blog site as the posts do not correspond to what he does on social media.
I suggest everyone check out what my classmate is posting because everyone should follow his year-long journey and also strive to be humble human-beings who are appreciative of others. Good luck on your journey and I hope to see more blog posts about your year in humility.
A review of Ran Bi’s wonderful blog, My Hobo Life, found at http://raebbb.com/.
A first look at this simplistic blog has already gotten me interested via the title. It’s already relatable; I too, feel like a hobo most days out of my Uni life. The title is a wonderful font, and I definitely dig it. There are a couple things Mauve mentioned in class I would edit though; for example, a simple code to fix the text in all of the posts to make it black instead of grey might help with reading the posts and the overall contrast. As well with the colour, it might be better to use a different colour than the yellow/gold. Even though it’s more of a gold, it is still a little faded or difficult to contrast with the rest of the page as it is white. When I scroll down to the Vision board and process piece, the only post I see so far with a picture, the colouring makes sense. If you had this at the top of the page as a featured picture, it would make more sense to have the colour theme that you do! Or even if you used the green or brown in the picture instead of the gold. That is just my opinion though, based off of what we learned in class about design.
When you scroll to the bottom of the page, there is an uncategorized post that WordPress automatically posts for us; “Hello world!”. I would delete it, as it kind of clutters your page. Same with the “Uncategorized” category — just delete it and have the “Posiel” one. Regarding categories, I’d put your “Recent Posts” at the top just because that’s the first thing I’ll look for when I’m first on the website.
I like the Instagram and messenger icons on your main screen, however there’s another Instagram icon in the top right of the website. I’d actually put your search bar up where the smaller Instagram icon is!
I would suggest adding more pictures and try out some more interactive ways to promote your social media and posts; include links and maybe previews of the pictures. Honestly, these little things just come with spending time with it and messing around with all the code. It’s been confusing I know! But these are all suggestions and I am sure you have more planned for this.
“A public is the social space created by the reflexive circulation of discourse”
— Warner, 2002, p. 120
I think this blog has a lot of potential, particularly in humour. What does it mean to be a “hobo”? Is it the clothing I wear, or perhaps is there a new term for uni students who dress/act like hobos? Many students, especially those who live in res, have felt that they are basically hobos. I’ve literally walked around in my onesie. Am I your “public”, as Michael Warner defined in Publics and Counterpublics (2002) (http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf)? Do we veer away from modern capitalism? I would think so, with the term ‘hobo’. We are always prioritizing food and sleep. Either way, I am excited to see where this goes. As you post more, you’ll create your own voice and your own public. Keep it up!
The website that I frequently visit is SoccerBible (https://www.soccerbible.com/). It is essentially a site dedicated to soccer/football culture and ranges from boots/kits to lifestyle fashion and video games.
At first glance, the site is jam-packed with images and links to articles. Basically, the solution to taking up white space is to leave no room for it at all. There are no gaps between articles with non-existent borders to visually separate them from one another. The benefit to this design is that the site inundated the viewer with eye-catching visuals associated with each article. The font is consistently white in colour. The font typography is consistent throughout the site except for the title of the site. I think the site designer made a creative solution to white font on white backgrounds by dimming the light exposure of the picture giving each image a grey-ish tinge whenever the article headline is present. The navigation bar is also hidden on the left side of the screen meaning it is not seen at first glance on the top of the main site page. At the bottom of the page, you cannot escape the bar that demands the viewer to type in your email address to be subscribed to updates, notifications, and weekly newsletters in order for their audience to not miss a single post. I think the site is trying to achieve a minimalist navigation bar while also maximizing the space allocated to them by filling it up with articles from edge to edge. Subjectively, to some people the website might seem crowded and unorganized while others might see it as simple and orderly.
“The medium is the message.” — Marshell McLuhan
With the fall of traditional media like newspaper, thanks to the rise and prevalence of mobile devices which allow access to media content and information regardless of time and space, the transition of dominant medium comes with the revolution of publishing which highlights the importance of being strategic for content on mobile devices. Instead of reading content from a newspaper which is of half our body length, people nowadays do that on smartphones that its screen size is smaller than our hand. When the same or even larger amount of information is displayed on a much smaller medium, it takes “editorial, architectural, and technical knowledge” to make strategic publishing decisions for mobile media content.
For years, this website has been merely functioning as my tool for looking up words without paying any attention to the page layout and design. And once I do, I immediately notice the prioritization of widgets and functions on its homepage reflected in forms of layout and size. Once users enter the website, the search bar appears in the centre of the page in white, contrasting with other busy colours around it. Users do not need to click on the search bar to start typing. All these echo with what Sara Wachter-Boettcher has suggested as “get purposeful” which involves deep consideration of site goals.
Do NOT delete any of the original code that came with the theme package. I made that mistake when I first tried to remove the footer bar at the bottom where it says “wordpress.” I tried different ways to remove the footer at the bottom but nothing was working, I figured “what’s the harm in just removing all of it?” so I deleted the original code and to my expectations, successfully removed the footer! But now I don’t have any footer at all… I couldn’t include links or icons as I would before and it frustrated me. I tried to CTRL+Z the function to bring the footer back, but after I updated the code without the footer, it saved it and would not let me go back. Then I started stressing out asking how the heck was I going to fix this. I later tried to search online for the original footer code but I only found code for the older versions of the same theme I was using, and those were not compatible with what I had. Eventually I figured out that I could just remove and reinstall the entire theme and bring back the code. Thankfully, when I reinstalled wordpress, all my original content was still there so I did not have to do any re-adjusting or modifications again. Two things I learned from this experience is that one, learning how to code is so important when you are dealing with websites. And two, always have a backup plan in case things don’t go your way when you are editing something. I am still trying to familiarize myself with the code so hopefully I can soon start applying changes that can personalize my theme even further.
As of late, there has been a debate as to whether sports or athletes in particular can be able/allowed to voice their opinion on matters outside of the sporting realm. I believe athletes should not be put into a category as strictly a competitive sport for the entertainment of spectators. Everyone is entitled to speak up about what they are passionate about and to say that athletes “shouldn’t make sport political or side with a particular belief/idea”. For example, African-American athletes took a knee in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter protests during the US national anthem for football games and yet they were frowned upon for turning their back on their country. However, there are many veteran-related pregame events that are essentially a glorified recruitment and appreciation toward the military. Both examples are bringing in aspects of the world that are outside of the sporting realm and yet one is praised and fully supported while the other is a representation of conflict and decay in the United States. Ultimately, no one wants to admit that the racial undertones are the reason that they are for or against the demonstrations during sporting events.
Also, some people believe that athletes are only playing competitive sport as an occupation because they are unintelligent and are not good at school. That belief cannot be more wrong as some athletes possess degrees or graduated from colleges after playing professionally for a little while. Some even concurrently play and study during their professional career. As a result, people should not overlook the opinions of athletes as they may have a well-educated background.
All these years I had just heard of “speed dating” but never really understood or tried to find out what it meant. Until last week when Suzanne was kind enough to give us a taste of it, except that we would be introducing ourselves to our classmates instead of looking for dates! My experience of it was highly positive and fun, as I love communicating with people I don’t know. Some people might have thought it was a little too loud for them but I love being in noisy environments where I can speak loudly to communicate with the person opposite to me. (Not always, as I do prefer the quiet from time to time, but this wasn’t one of those times!). All in all, it was a great experience trying something new, going out of the classroom and doing this activity. I did have to introduce myself to about 40 different people and say the same thing 40 times, but in the end it was fun so it was more than worth it!
BEEP BOOP .
I am pleased to be able to say that the initial set up of my online space has been going well thus far! Achieving the appearance of my site ended up taking longer than I had anticipated. And even now, I know that this is not the final aesthetic — but then, I’m not even entirely sure of what I want that aesthetic to be. As this site will (in future) play host to my portfolio, I know it will evolve as I learn more about web coding and move away from WordPress completely — but for now, I am quite pleased. I feel that my site reflects the clean, simple look of my vision board.
I decided to do some digging online at sites such as https://www.lyrathemes.com/documentation/kale/ to figure out what exactly the Kale WordPress theme that I chose would allow me to do. One thing that I struggled with was choosing to link categories or pages to the main menu. For the About section, I chose to make it a static page (and the front page at that!) because the information displayed there would be more or less unchanging.
For the Blog sections as well as the Projects section, after much back and forth-ing, I settled to make them categories due to the fact that I wanted a visual, scrollable archive of my posts apparent. The reason I even attempted to have these sections as Pages is due to the fact that the default categories settings do not allow for there to be a description at above the recent posts (below the header). Default Pages allow me to write and display blurbs, but are static, and therefore would not serve to show my postings.
To solve my little problem, I found http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-display-category-descriptions-in-wordpress/, which gave a little snippet of HTML that I copied and pasted into the source code. Similarly, I didn’t completely love the default way that the recent posts were being displayed. Despite the grid layout, having floating images/word excerpts looked a little too “messy” for me, so I added in some CSS of my own (referenced from https://www.w3schools.com/css/css_border.asp) to add borders around each recent post. This adjustment plays into the very orderly, compartmentalized fashion of my vision board — and it was great to see that I haven’t completely forgotten everything that I’ve learned about web coding yet!
I’ve realized that I’m spending more and more time on building this personal website – my own little cyber space – playing with awesome plugins to make it richer with different kinds of content. Unlike on my Facebook and Instagram where I share content with mainly friends back in Hong Kong, my audience here is only all those in my PUB101 class who are my new friends and only read English. It makes a difference of what to share on my social media and in here.
I started with the ‘Twenty Seventeen’ theme and uploaded my header image as my very first action of the website development. The photo is taken on the top of Mountain Whistler in summer 2016, and its composition makes it the best header image, also showing a little bit of my character as an outgoing and energetic young adult who loves looking at the sky and is eager for adventure. I had tried changing to a few other themes but none can give me a sense of simplicity and an emphasis on the header image like this one which maximizes its size. I want the image to fully occupy visitors’ monitor and their eyes when they enter my website!
There are only a sidebar and two footers at the bottom of the website to contain widgets. I’ve added icons to other social media at the top of the sidebar for visitors to share my posts/website as well as to let them learn more about me on other platforms. Especially for Facebook and Instagram, which I’ve placed them as the first two icons, they are the social media platforms I use the most and therefore contain a lot more info about me. In addition, I have added audio widget to share some of my favourite Cantonese pop music, like a weekly selection, with text widget as its caption for a brief introduction to the song.
I have opened two categories so far – ‘posiel’ for required course work from pub101 and ‘daily life’ for sharing my trivial things in my daily life as well as my experiences here in Vancouver as an international student. The development of the two pages ‘About Me’ and ‘Canton Pop Music’ is still in progess.