POP Blogilates

The rise of social media has allowed the existence of communities such as POP Blogilates. The community functions around Cassey Ho, however the interconnected nature of digital presence allows members to exist on multiple platforms in multiple ways. Different platforms allow different affordances, defined by the “relationship between the materiality of technological artifacts and the lived practices of communication.” (Baym & McVeigh-Schultz 2015) These affordances allow a diverse practice of communication within the community and evaluating them allows an understanding of the POPster communicative ecology.

Sophie Finckh

Facebook

When Facebook users participate online there actions are often derived from real world origins. Facebook “provides various communication channels (wall post, person-to-person chat etc) and different metaphors in the real world (group, event etc.)” (Carroll et al. p. 577) In this way, the POPsters function most similarly to real life on Facebook. There is pilates events users can attend, different sub-groups users can join, direct and instant discussions. Once a user ‘likes’ the page, the member is able to fully engage within the community, receiving updates in their own newsfeeds.

Sophie Finckh

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Website & Blog

http://www.blogilates.com/

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The POP Blogilates community website acts as the neutral centre of all digital presence, representing a large information space enabling Cassey and her executives to “distribute knowledge beyond those with prior understanding of the community.” (Majcharzak et al. 2013) Web 2.0 technology has enabled easy-to-navigate interfaces, friendly to site visitors, further empowering the distribution of community behavior and information. Unlike other platforms, the nature of the website is strongly controlled by Ho and content creators rather then public community particpants. Hyperlinks to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with corresponding outreach statistics are in the top right corner, which creates the linked ecology between all media platforms. By creating one centralized page, community member involvement is facilitated, encouraging participation. ‘Cloud Computing’ allows site visitors to engage with the community without compulsory download, allowing potential members to browse and participate organically (Bianco 2009).

Sophie Finckh

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YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates/videos

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Cassey Ho’s fame, and therefore the POPster community, was generated through YouTube with videos she posted on her workouts. The channel now boasts over three million subscribers (YOUTUBE) and over 300,000,000 views. The channel provides step-by-step workouts, clean eating recipes and informative video logs. Youtube lets content creators to upload videos in which users can view, comment and reply too. Burgess and Green (2009) argue that content creation is less significant than the uses of that content within social network settings. The ‘reply’ format allows members comments to be directly answered by community mediators or Ho herself, who can be identified as a lead-user. (Burgess & Green 2009) This creates a personal engagement between Ho and community members.

Sophie Finckh

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Instagram

@blogilates

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The POPster community has multiple Instagram bodies. @Blogilates follows Cassey Ho herself, where as @poppilatesofficial represents the POP army (INSTAGRAM). Faber’s (2002) idea of image-power suggests that image-intensive applications such as Instragram, allow communities to maintain power through the shaping of internal and external identities. This is particularly important to the POPster community as the ideologies that formed it are aesthetically based. Images consist of ‘before and afters’ motivational quotes, photos of Ho in bikinis and activewear, videos of classes displaying physical audience participation. The constructed identity forms the

community character. Although characteristically an affordance of Twitter (Chen 2016) the POPster community benefits strongly from the hashtag function. Associated hashtags include #POParmy #POPster #POPlove #POPlife. Members of the community are able communicate with other members through the hashtags. (Chang 2010) The #POPFlex hashtag for example, specifically links members with product-related content. Adding a hashtag to a post allows members to engage with the community, as it is a “conscious personal choice, made individually for each message.” (Bruns & Burgess 2011, p. 28)

Sophie Finckh

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Twitter

@blogilates

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Sport trends and the industry itself has been attributed to the growth and success of Twitter. (Hambrick & Mahoney 2011) Twitters 140 character limit enables a different experience to other platforms that although conduct themselves through other mediums are not actually limited in how they do so, such as YouTube videos have no time limit. Twitter has the least amount of followers compared to the other platforms possibly because of this restriction. The word limit does establish an appropriate forum for quick reminders and motivational quotes to POPsters. Ho uses the platform in aggregation with other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube with equivalent images and video hyperlinks.

Sophie Finckh

Offline

As the community surrounds itself around a physical occurrence it is understandable that a large part of the community is offline. In a sense, “technology … can be seen as a technical representation of the real world” (Zhang et al. 2011, p. 577) replicating the POPster communities substantial existence. Although the community was constructed online through Ho’s videos classes and meet ups between POPsters now exist. The ‘Blogilates’ APP encourages these meet ups.

Sophie Finckh