First lady Michelle Obama has launched a social media site that aggregates posts from America’s youth highlighting their aspirations through academic success. The initiative is a derivative of the first lady’s Reach Higher program which caters directly to the President’s proposed goal of having the US lead the world in students who go on to college. The social media site is dubbed Better Make Room and has a US alexa rank of 128,482. I think the initiative cleverly injects positivity within a relatable context. Users can post from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through #BetterMakeRoom. michelle-obama-cover-ftrThe site is also used for posting but posts are subjected to an editorial process. There are a few criticisms that I have about the site, the favicon is a Drupal logo, it should be changed to the Better Make Room logo. Secondly, the site conveys an impression that it is a social media feed/waterfall which it might just be, but I’m not entirely sure. I researched the better-make-room hashtag on Twitter and stumbled upon a mountain of posts that correlated in regards to content but were no where to be found on the Better Make Room website. There aren’t any dates associated with the posts so there isn’t a way to gauge relevancy. Which brings me to my next question; does knowing the dates on the posts even matter? Does having a somewhat editorially curated home page hinder the site’s credibility and as a whole the entire initiative, which is being backed up by a multitude of sponsors?BMR_PartnerGraphic_Share_Saying_2 When I put myself in the user’s position I can’t help but want to see my post right after I posted it, exactly like the way the Twitter hashtag feed works. I tweet with a hashtag and then I immediately go to that hashtag’s feed live preview and soon enough, my post appears. I feel validated, refreshed, as though I did my part in contributing to the conversation at hand. Better Make Room doesn’t provide this type of instant gratification. Would I as a student spend the time to make a profile through the site’s ‘Phonebooth’ tab? I’m not sure I would; why would I take an extra step to create an account so that I can post content that initially needs to go through an edit check. The better-make-room-hashtag serves the need for immediate legitimacy, however the content could range and there is always a risk of inappropriate material. The way I see it, is that the better-make-room website is simply a staging ground for the movement itself. I don’t see many users relying on the website as a consistent messaging tool. The site serves as a curated hashtag that spins itself to extend the brand through the promotional use of more widely used social media platforms. The initiative exists as sort of a trans-media universe with multiple channels giving rise to other channels. better-make-room-campaignWithout a doubt the initiative does accentuate a positive public consciousness around the benefits of education. If the central idea is merely to publicize the movement in a way that is relatable to the youth yet safe for them to consume, then, how do you control the content under the better-make-room-hashtag on Twitter? Is the Twitter feed being regulated along with posts made on Facebook? The only control in place seems to exist on the Better Make Room website. I believe it is admirable to create awareness around a positive message. I believe social media will continue to inspire leaders to create important campaigns. Better Make Room as a campaign could continue to develop into a more socially interactive experience. I say this because Better Make Room doesn’t seem to provide an opportunity for engagement or conversation, as the slogan alludes; “saying things out load makes them happen”. A stage for conversation might help in building a less ephemeral community that exercises real conversation and in turn creating shared experience, in turn, adding another dimension to this very important initiative.


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