Evaluation of ShareAmerica

ShareAmerica

 ShareAmerica is the U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories and images that spark discussion and debate on important topics like democracy, freedom of expression, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, and the role of civil society.

The ShareAmerica team is part of the Bureau of International Information Programs, which works with U.S. embassies and consulates in more than 140 countries to engage with people around the globe on U.S. foreign policy and American society.

The idea behind ShareAmerica has good points as well as bad. The simplicity of the website creates a nice user-ability. The images on the website are bright and compelling. The idea to create a platform were people from all over the world can connect with Americans is a good idea.

However, The website has many flaws. The first flaw is, who are they connecting too? And how can they interact with the website? The website is fundamentally a good idea but I believe it will lack traction unless there is a response from the other side or a way to interact through this website with Americans other than reading articles they could find on their own by searching the web. There is no way to see what is trending, or make comment or connect with others. I don’t believe there will be much of a return rate.

The only way it will be somewhat successful is through Facebook. However, I don’t think the stories are catchy enough like Buzz Feed. The Facebook page was started on July 14th, 2014 and they have 9,616 likes. On each story on Facebook there are no more than 60 likes on each story and very few comments. I do not think that this is setting out to do what it is suppose to do. Structurally, They only offer 6 languages, which excludes many parts of the world including Russia, India and parts of Africa.

Overall, while there is an attempt to reach people worldwide through a modern platform. I believe that there needs to be more connectivity to Americans via commenting and discussion platforms on the website itself and not rely so heavily on Twitter and Facebook.

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5 thoughts on “Evaluation of ShareAmerica

  1. Yuyang says:

    Yes, I feel the same for this website as you did. It is good at first sight but then I realize that there is very few posts. The page is so clean—no link, no information about the website, no purpose of the website, and no connection to any other organization/nation at all. It is very unclear about WHO is the targeted audience and there is no sign for trying to attract people to read. The lack of trending and comment is a big problem since ShareAmerican, despite being an online platform, does not function as a platform which host discussion and exchange of ideas for people. Overall, I agree that it need to have more connections and function more as a place for discussion and communication in order to be truly effective.

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  2. I think ShareAmerica is very late to the party and it shows through their user interface, lack of engagement and attractive, interesting content. Buzzfeed is a good contrast model as the way they are designed makes it easier to share content and appeal to a vast audience. ShareAmerica operates in same way if someone were to place a cake in a public area, say “here’s some cake, eat it!” and walk away, with a few people picking at it, some just staring and others who walk by oblivious to the cake’s existence at all. Whoever thought of this probably had good intentions but didn’t think it through or even attempt to be distinct considering it’s many prominent (and better) competitors.

    -Laurel B.

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  3. AC says:

    I agree as well. The website is very strange – with limited graphics, information, and areas for visitor involvement. The Issue I have with the website is that it doesn’t flow the way I think it was intended to. The entire website reads like a native advertising blog from Buzzfeed but without the appeal and with a lot more blatantly biased content. I understand the website was created to promote the United States but this website has a very weird way of attempting to rile up American patriotism. The articles are extremely simplistic and frankly, rather boring. They are not engaging in the way that Buzzfeed articles are and do not have any features that would likely lead to someone sharing a link via social media to drive traffic. For example, a Buzzfeed quiz which engages the viewer and encourages the person to share via social media, therefore creating a network of people who will visit the website. The ShareAmerica website is without these tools that would encourage repeat visitors to the site. A tip for the ShareAmerica team could be to do some native advertising on a website like Buzzfeed to drive visitors and revamp the site to have more engaging content.

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  4. MS says:

    I hate to say this, but once again I think the US Government is jumping on a bandwagon that has almost fully left the arena. Although this style of presentation is pretty, attention-grabbing, and appeals to website skimmers, it’s been done repeatedly. Why spend so much time and money recreating a format that works well elsewhere? As mentioned in earlier comments, when there are only 60 worldwide likes of an article that has been posted for months, what kind of reach does the article actually have?

    While I do appreciate that the website is trying to keep up with the times, something that strict government policies have notoriously made difficult, I think the people behind Share America need to step back and reevaluate. Look at sites that have been working, and see if you can sponsor articles on them. There are many cost effective ways to make the same type of content available to masses, where they will have a much better chance at actually seeing it.

    ~MS

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  5. Megan says:

    I think it’s interesting that the US is leaning so heavily on websites like these. I wrote my own blog post on a similar website where the goal was to connect people globally and spark conversations across geographical borders. However, my objections to sites like this is that I feel like it’s just missing most of the world as an audience.
    As long as the purpose of the website is to connect those that are already connected to the web, it makes sense. And on top of that, to draw traffic there definitely needs to be a well-designed, boundary-pushing web page. I don’t think anyone wants to be caught browsing a bland and behind-the-times website.
    The military is known for having cutting edge technology, and I think the same needs to apply to any digital outreach the US government attempts to do. This is the generation of the digital age and any digital platform should reflect that to keep it relevant.

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