The 6 Days of GIF(ts) was a series of updates and special events building up to the early release of the Turtleseed App on iTunes. The terms "GIF(ts)" was used to denote the fact that each day was accentuated by Turtleseed staff with a GIF. The goal of many of these events was to increase positive interaction between Turtleseed and their userbase, which would increase the chance of active users sharing links and information about the website on other social media platforms, specifically tumblr. This week saw a brief stint users who posted untagged NSFW, negative, threatening, and spam content. While this led to a heightened sense of insecurity on the website, the staff's responsiveness to the situation and high level of communication with its user-base helped portray the website better equipped than in the past to preserve its image as a "safe space" from online abuse and harassment. The campaign lasted from May 17 through May 22, 2015.
Day 1: Shore Love Rollover! Edit
The feature of a "villageVault" was introduced. From this day on, each time the shore love donations surpassed the daily goal, the leftover shore love would be added to the Vault. When the daily goal is not met, but the daily log-in goal is met, shore love will be drawn from the Vault to meet it. Users can see how much shore love is in the villageVault by clicking on the "vV" button, under Current Village Goals and next to the percentage of the shore love goal that has been met. This update came after daily shore love goal was surpassed by the largest percentage in Turtleseed history (as of May 17). The purpose was to improve transparency, so that users would not feel pressured to contribute to the daily shore love goal when the website had secure funds already set aside.
The option to share seeds with others through email was removed, supposedly due to a lack of use, and replaced with the option to share seeds on tumblr. The primary motive behind this was likely that an overwhelming number of users on Turtleseed learned about the site through tumblr or, since joining, use it most alongside Turtleseed. The value in this feature was seen both from the Great Tumblr Migration in August 2014 and on the May 2015 Maintenance Day, when many users interacted with one another on tumblr. These events may have shown Turtleseed Staff that users well-connected with one another off of the website, were interested in continuing discussion about the website elsewhere, and thus could help advertise the website through word-of-mouth.
Day 3: Shore Love for everybody! Edit
Turtleseed Staff distributed 5% shore love to all users on the website, regardless of their level of activity. On their official account, Staff estimated that they distributed shore love to "roughly 8,000" users. In total, this amounts to roughly SL40,000 (US$39,600/€35,957). Due to the shore love donations coming from Turtleseed themselves, none of these donations counted toward the daily goal, however, it did help users make progress in graduating through the ranks (Seedling->Seedizen->Counselor->Legend). The official release of the Turtleseed app (set to be May 23) was discussed in greater detail.
On this day, Turtleseed Staff also discussed music recommendations with its userbase, most notably Twenty-One Pilots.
Day 4: Mods! Edit
For the first time in roughly a year, Turtleseed Staff opened applications for a new site moderator. From here, it was also announced that a position for a new moderator would open each time 200 users joined the website. The staff's preference for reporting over callouts was also asserted. On May 21, @sayaka, Queen of Turtleseed, was approved as the website's first official moderator.
Staff also sparked shore discussion by asking users what best, completed anime they would recommend for binge watching. Amid many recommendations, most prominently Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Turtleseed Staff revealed themselves to have once been a fan of The Prince of Tennis.
Day 5: Verification! Edit
All users who logged in on this day by 7:00pm PDT were given verification check marks, with the rollover text "This is the real [user name]". As previously mentioned, @sayaka was announced as the first official moderator.
Day 6: Signups unlocked! + EARLY APP LAUNCH! Edit
When Day 6 was first announced, the title was "Signup unlocked + ???". For the first time in many months, individuals could sign up for a Turtleseed account without needing an invitation or to be placed on a waiting list.
Later, to the surprise and joy of many users not involved in the running of the site, an early release of the Turtleseed iPhone app was announced.
It is highly recommended that you download it if you have an iPhone.
In the future, it may be helpful to know whether this campaign had any success in increasing the website's popularity.
On Day 5, user @eva01 blogged a detailed post about Turtleseed, encouraging her followers and fellow seeders to reblog it, in the hopes sparking renewed interest in the social media site. As of 9:00pm EST, May 22, 2015, it has 181 notes. Compare this to 189/137 log-ins on Day 6 of the 6 Days of GIF(ts). The shore love goal on this day had been met by 12/8.
Of the 6 days of GIF(ts), the last 4 saw both daily goals met. From May 20th to May 26th, and then May 28th, the long term goals were met, suggesting an increase in emotional and financial investment (from users) in the website along with a substantial increase in the return visit ratio among users of Turtleseed, directly or indirectly* as a result of the campaign. As of June 8, 2015, the number of daily log-ins have returned to meeting c. 185, with the Daily Shore Love goal being met roughly every other day. That said, the effect of the 6 Days of GIF(ts) on the daily website goals is still noticeable compared to before the campaign's beginning, with the log-in goal standing at 180 and the shore love goal at 11, as of June 8, 2015. By the start of July, 2015, log-in goals had declined back to c. 130 and shore love goals c. 8. Beginning, roughly, the second week of July, Turtleseed Staff permitted "open sign-ups", allowing users to join the website without being placed on a waiting list, in the hopes that it was boost the number of log-ins and increase the frequency of meeting the daily shore love goal. Although this action did increase the number of sign-ups, the burst of new users lasted less than a week with a bounce rate similar to past waves of activity.
This information suggests that the campaign's influence has begun to wane just over 2 weeks following the its end, if we are relying on the daily goals as the sole indicator of the level of activity on the Turtleseed.com. It is possible that many users are considerably active, but log in less than once everyday. According to similarweb.com, the estimated number of visits to Turtleseed.com doubled from April to May, 2015, spiking from 20,000 to 40,000. This is comparable to the website's number of visits in February, 2015. Despite a sharp decline in active, largely new, users toward the end of June, the estimated number of visits to the site rose in June of 2015 to 65,000. This was the highest number since December, 2014 (c. 85,000 visits).
*By "directly or indirectly", we mean that the extent of the Turtleseed user-base in encouraging a wave of new users and donors is uncertain to this editor, as is the extent of updates and events in boosting activity based upon their own merits.