MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Lifestreams: Digital Diaries

A Lifestream is an aggregation of social media feeds, to create a custom stream of information. In essence, it is a summary of your social media activity created by you, in which you choose what tools you’d like to include in your streams (flicker, youtube, facebook, twitter). Lifestreams help to “filter out noise” and focus specifically on different outlets. For example you could have one lifestrem dedicated to blogs, and another to photos or videos. Lifestreams can help facilitate relationships because they combine all activity into a easy-to-follow stream, rather then wasting time going to each individual site. Think of a Lifestream as your facebook homepage, but including all updates from other social networks.

Reasons to Use Lifestreams:

–         It helps others understand what’s going on in your life in a simple way (the digital equivalent of talking to friends about the photos/videos you’ve seen, music, what you’ve been up to, etc)

–         They helps build, control and promote an online identity

–         They create a “digital diary” of your life.

Friend Feed is a social aggregator, where users create customized feeds with updates from various social media tools such as blog entries, photo uploads, links and videos. These feeds are then shared with your friends you ass on FriendFeed. helps you keep your friends informed about what you are doing online. In real time, collects all activity from your favourite web services on page, and shares your updates with your friends. supports over 40 social networking sites and relays your messages to social networking sites through a straight forward posting method and advanced custom triggers.  

 Profilactic is a social media and lifestreaming service which support over 190 social sites, which allows users to combine everything you and your friends create online.

While i am very new to Lifestreams, i am quite intrigued by them, as they provide a time efficent way to share your updates and check out your friends’ updates at a simple glance.


May 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | Leave a comment

Listen up! How to “hear” what the internet has to say

To be truthful, starting this blog I have no idea what “listening” means when it comes to social media. I actually thought it meant programs that allow you to listen to music like iTunes or Winamp or something. So, if you too are a little confused about the meaning of this term, let this be a learning experience and journey for the both of us.


Technorati is a search engine for blogs. It tracks 112 million blogs. It searches, and organizes blogs and other forms of independent, user-generated content. 

Upon first inspection of this site it seems a little confusing. For someone unfamiliar with the world of blogs (like me) it was a little hard to navigate. Of all the “listening” tools presented though, I feel as though this may be the most helpful for the desired end result.

Google Alerts

Google alerts emails updates from Google and web results based on a search topic of your choice.

This “listening” tool seems very straight forward. It claims to be able to help you monitor a developing news story, keep current on a competitor or industry, get the latest on a celebrity or event or keep tabs on your favorite sports teams. You just enter your search terms, your email and how often you want to hear about it.

Radian 6

This is a widget-based monitoring solution for managing social media.

The phrase a-top the home page is “Who’s talking about your brand?” The site claims to gives you a complete platform to listen, share, learn, and engage – both inside your company, and with your customers across the entire social web. 


A search engine for blogs.

Upon initial inspection, IceRocket doesn’t seem as good as the competitors. This could be because it is a search function and not a notification service. Along with searching blogs you can also search news, twitter, myspace and more.

 From inspecting each of these sites I would deduce that “listening” means an online scan or search of a particular form of media online. If you wanted to “listen” to what the public thinks of a certain product you could use such a function to find out what type of independently driven responses are out there in the blog world. It would be a good way to assess how a product is performing or also an effective way to do market research prior to developing a product. It is a way of “listening” to the public without expressly asking them their opinion and without them really knowing you are hearing them.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 3 Comments

Managing the Gray : Some Rules to Begin With…

The blog I have been assigned to follow this term is Managing the Gray is a blog of podcasts by C.C. Chapman, who incidentally will be speaking to our class later this term. I think it will be interesting to follow his blog prior to his talk with the class to get a good understanding of his background and insights into the social media realm.

Chapman is Co-Founder and Partner at The Advance Guard. The Advance Guard is a new media consultancy that uses social media as a form of radical marketing. I think his insight will prove to be valuable to our class as he has worked with some major industry clients including American Eagle Apparel, Coca-Cola and Warner Bros.

As a marketing podcast and blog, Managing the Gray hopes to teach companies and businesses about the ever-changing (media) world we live in.

Upon initial review of the blog, one particular entry caught my attention that I would like to share today. In his podcast for April 16, Chapman discusses the five New Rules for Marketing as seen in the magazine Ad Age. He provides a link to the whole article but unless you have a subscription for the site you will be unable to read it. ( As beginner social media students I think these rules are good way to start the course. I’m also including the comments that Chapman made on them via the podcast, which are quite insightful.

The five new rules for marketing are:

1. Listening to consumers is more important than talking at them.

2. You can’t hide the corporations behind the brand anymore – or even fully separate the two.

3. PR is a primary concern for every CMO and brand manager.

4.Cause marketing isn’t about philanthropy, it’s about “enlightened self interest.”

5. Social media is not a strategy.

C.C. Chapman’s comments include:

  1. One thing to do is start listening no matter how big or small your organization. Listening helps you identify problems, find brand advocates and hear what people are saying about your product. You can get a sense of the current trends- what are people talking about the most and also what they are complaining about. Listening helps you see where your consumers are online or where the people you want are. If you can listen to your advocates you can listen to your competitors brand. Listen to your whole industry and not just yours brand. Reaction must be discussion based.  
  2. There needs to be “radical transparency” when it comes to corporations these days. People want to know about green initiatives and other similar ventures. Even if it has nothing to do with the product, at a corporate level if you are doing good things share them! People will be more likely to buy your product if they feel connected to your corporations’ community investment, outreach, etc. Letting the public know about the  “touchy-feely” stuff is critical.
  3. Marketing and PR go hand in hand. Chapman cannot see a separation between the them. Due to this, there needs to be more discussion and communication between the two.
  4. At the end of the day organizations are still trying to sell products. Similar to the transparency point, cause marketing will work because you will get a better reaction from people by associating with a certain charity, etc.
  5. Social media will not save you if you have a bad product. It is only one of the tools at your disposal. It needs to be integrated with all other aspects of marketing being used. 

I thought these rules and his accompanying comments were very interesting, thought-provoking and useful. I hope you think the same and gain some insight into the world of social marketing because of them.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

All about Customer Service Networks

All over the world people are using a variety of social media tools to connect to one another and gather and provide information on wide range of topics. Customer service networks such as Yelp, MSN Groups, Google Groups, allow users to interact with others and to educate and share their common interests. I have explored the following customer service networking sites:

  1. Yelp

Yelp, Inc. is an online social networking, user review, and local search web site where users rate and review businesses and services. It’s a fun and easy tool to find reviews and talk about what’s great and not so great in your area. The Yelp sites have listings for any business or service across the United States and Canada. Yelp provides listings of a wide variety of company’s such as restaurants and shops; to service businesses such as doctors, hotels, and cultural venues.

The site uses a 5-point rating system to inform web viewers on how a specific business is rated by the public.  Site visitors can post their comments freely on their experiences, however all comments are approved by screeners to avoid any derogatory statements. Business owners can directly update their own business’ listing information to keep the site up to date.


Go ahead, try it out and find business in our neck of the woods!


  1. Google Groups

Google Groups is creating communities online by helping users connect with people, access information, and communicate effectively over email and on the web. This tool is a free service from Google where groups of people have discussions about common interests. Internet users can find discussion groups related to their interests and participate in threaded conversations, either by using Google Groups web chat, or by e-mail.

Users can also start new groups on anything they like. For example some of the most popular groups are:

 Google Maps API

Gmail Help Discussion

Random Conversation


When creating a group, users can add their own touch by uploading pictures, colors and styles to their group page. Groups can also create websites in their own groups, where they can use it for information about their group, shared documents, or use it to publish anything they want online. Any member can view their site, contribute to, and comment on the pages.


  1. Yahoo! Groups

Like Google, Yahoo has also created their own customer service network called Yahoo! Groups. A Yahoo! Group can be made up with anyone; from your family, friends, business associates or just people you have met with the same interests. For example some of the topic groups found on Yahoo! Groups are Computers & Internet, Entertainment & Arts ,Family & Home, Games, Government & Politics, Health & Wellness. When creating these communities, groups can privately share information, pictures, ideas and more. For example some of the tools provided on Yahoo! Group are; FAQ, Files, Photos, Links, Databases, Polls, Calendar and Answers.


Other possible customer service networks:

MSN Groups

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | Leave a comment

Ragan… Great little site

Woza! This site provides a lot of information. It look me a little while to get used to all the information but I think I understand it a little more.

The site that I am following is run by Lawrence Ragan Communication, Inc. ( For the past three decades, Ragan has been the leading publisher for corporate communication, PR, and leadership development newsletter and has been offering “news, ideas & conversations for communicators worldwide.” Since the launch of The Ragan Report in 1970, this organization has been dedicated to providing professional communicators information related to all. Throughout this site, The Ragan brand includes over 16 targeted newsletters in the areas of employee communication, organizational writing and editing, sales and marketing, media relations and motivational management. Some of these blogs consist of formal to not so formal information, such as How KFC’s using social media for a big-time make-good, to Social media risks: What you should know.

Not only does this site consist of blogs, viewers are also informed of upcoming events, recommended books, training books, consulting videos and jobs. I found the online consulting very interesting.  They provide video discussing Custom training, Social media,Strategic Communications planning, Surveys and focus groups, Communication audits and Publication Critiques.

I am looking forward in following this site and reading the information it offers.  This site looks like there are many interesting posts. I also look forward in viewing all of their consulting videos.


Till next time…

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

Blog Monitoring: In Media Res

I was a little skeptical when I began to monitor my blog, In Media Res ( The goal of the blog is to “promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media.”

Basically, scholars from around the world upload short video clips with commentary and try to bring about discussion and feedback. If you think it sounds confusing, you’re not alone. After looking at the site very briefly, I didn’t have a clue what it was all about. But once I checked out some of the videos the concept became a lot more clear.

There are theme weeks and the one I chose to look at for this post were videos revolving around Canadian media. One post by Serra Tinic from the University of Alberta, Made in Canada?: The Art of Memesis in Global TV ( discussed Canadian television programming and gave a really interesting comparison between Canadian and American programming.

This website is really unique in that in combines social media tools, like you tube videos with academia. I hadn’t really thought of social media as being an educational thing but this website proves that it in fact is.

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Niche Networks – Things will only become more defined

The three Niche Networks listed on Solis’s Conversation Prism are LinkedIN, Ning and Plaxo.

LinkedIn is a professional network that helps people stay in touch with colleagues and classmates while helping connect people to experts in their chosen field.  The premise is to use the site to make connections by creating your contact list.

Ning lets people to make their own social networks on their own topic of choice.

Plaxo allows users to create an address book of other users which is constantly updated with the users new contact information. Plaxo recently introduced the service called “Pulse”, which is a social network site with only the people you want to stay in close contact with.

Before implementing this software in an organization one would have to ensure that your “connections” such as stakeholders are using this system and not another social networking site.

I like the design behind the Neich Network, Plaxo because it makes sense.  Personally, I don’t feel comfortable having my employer, past employers, colleagues and networking connections on my facebook cite, but would like to stay connected with them. I believe Niche Networks will become more and more popular because people will need a venue to separate their different online communities such as, school, work, family, friends and special interest groups.  I also think there will be a need for more exclusive sites with stronger privacy settings so that a potential employer can access your online portfolio easily but not your pictures of your vacation to Cuba.


May 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Social Media for a Collective Mind

Taweel discusses social media being used today by savvy public realtions practitioners. I use social media. I’m constantly on Facebook; I’ve attempted to “tweet” (and failed miserably), and I even joined after seeing it during our first Social Media class. I would like to think I’m up on the technology, but when I think about my chosen profession, and my personal life, I wonder how those two will connect. Taweel states that more and more coporations are using social media (some wrongly, treating it the way they would use the old tools), but there are some companies who have integreated social media successfully into their operations. Taweel’s article brought forth some questions into my mind that I don’t have the answers for yet, but I hope to by the end of this course.

My issue lies here – a corporation legally is an entity, but when picking it apart, it comprises of a multitude of parts, working together to form a cohesive unit. After reading Taweel’s article and how organizations should use social media, I walked away wary. Should we really? I’m on the bandwagon because it seems we’re on a roller-coaster ride through the Social Media fantasy land, and will learn to use it to the best of my ability, but I don’t know if it’s really the right choice.

Facebook, Twitter, etc. These are social networking sites to connect people together. It was started for the individual to find other individuals and connect. I don’t see how a multi-national corporation  fits into Facebook, Twitter or similar sites. When we are being bombarded by 3 second advertisements to get the biggest bang for your buck, finding Ford Motor Company and Dell Computers on Twitter just seems artificial. Is there a human face behind these accounts, and how does a public relations practitioner get that human touch when using social media for a corporation?

I come to this from a consumer’s perspective. Perhaps through the progression of this course, I can move my mind from the cynicism of a personal user of social media to the professional, analytical mind of a public relations pracitioner who can use social media as a tool, but effectively and ethically.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Institute for Public Relations Digest

I posted this comment this morning, but it is being evaluated by a moderator and may not appear until later during the day or Monday. So I’m re-posting the article, and my comment! Enjoy!

David Rockland: New Ketchum Award Winner (and Why We Do This)

imageOne of the Institute for Public Relations’ oldest and most prestigious prizes, the Ketchum Excellence in Public Relations Research Award goes this year to Minjeong Kang, a Ph.D. student at Syracuse University. She will receive a $2,500 grant to support her work on measuring social media credibility. A six-stage research project will seek to validate methods for measuring social media and examine its impact on public engagement and branding.

The award has been around since 1992. Originally known as the Smart Grant and Internship, it was sponsored by Ketchum from the beginning. We do this to foster the development of new public relations research methods, especially when it comes to measuring effectiveness. The resulting research papers are published by the Institute, and many are now available free on the website.

Miss Kang earned her master’s degree in public relations at the University of Maryland, and her bachelor’s degree in economics at Chonnam National University in South Korea. She also holds an associate degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and her work history is strongly oriented to the fashion industry. So what is it that moved her toward a career in public relations teaching and scholarship?

It appears to be the never-ending intellectual challenges of our field, judging from the research proposal she submitted when applying for this award.

The management of credibility is key, she believes, to the relationships we build between the organization and its publics. The credibility of any communications channel helps determine what audiences choose to get involved, and how. So as our publics pay ever more attention to social media, what do we really know about the credibility of those channels? What roles do authenticity, authority and passion play in determining who the real influencers are?

Miss Kang’s research will employ focus groups, new scales designed to measure social media credibility, a multi-sample survey to validate the scales, and laboratory experiments to investigate causality and connections between social media credibility, engagement and branding.

“Without valid and reliable measurement, the management of credibility in social media will hardly be feasible,” she says.

You’ll be hearing more about this project in the months ahead, and about this bright young researcher as well.

David Rockland
Partner & Managing Director
Global Research & Interactive Communications

I completely agree with with Miss Kang’s statement about credibility. Without credibility (as well as maintaining those vital relationships between a company and its publics) the entire purpose of public relations is moot. We have been moving towards Grunig’s two-way symmetrical model for quite some time now, but with the emergence of social media, we’re enabling our publics to voice their concerns and thoughts with more ease then ever thought possible. But with this causes potential problems she lists – how trustworthy are these channels?
The fact that she is employing research to study social media and how organizations can evaluate the effectiveness of this new tool is absolutely amazing. You can tweet and facebook all day, but in the end, how will you know your message is really getting across to your publics, and how authentic are our publics, or even our message using these tools?
Congratulations to you on this achievement and award.

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Itty bitty teeny weeny little… micromedia.

Micromedia. Millions of people around the world have embraced it, tweeting their minds out and following celebrities and friends. Micromedia is social media, but in a tinier, more compact format. Twitter is the first one that comes to mind, but with some investigation, there are, in fact, many more options available to the techno-savvy individual who wishes to use social media in their everyday lives.

070410-twitter Twitter – answers one question – what are you doing? Through the use of rapid (and short) status updates, you can keep all the
people connected to you informed on what you are doing.

In regards to communicators, Twitter has even  been used to combat crises. Take Ford Motor Company, for example. In “The Ranger Station Fire” fiasco, Scott Monty utilized Twitter, and tweeted 138 times over 19 hours, helping calm the online wildfire.

Ford Motor Company isn’t the only company using Twitter. Starbucks, Dell, ComCast, and The Home Depot have Twitter accounts.  Sharing corporate news, new products and coupons, companies that are tweeting are reaching more people than those who don’t.

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– similar to twitter, it allows you to post to a “lifestream”, whereby you explain what you’re doing, how you’re doing, thoughts, ideas, etc. Like Facebook, you can also add comments to other people’s accounts,  and it is compatiable with Nokia cell phones for mobile microblogging.

*Taken from

tumblrTumblr – lets you share anything. Photos, quotes, text, ideas and emotions, videos and music. Nothing is impossible with this social media tool.  Like MySpace, it allows users to customize their blogs or profile pages to their liking with backgrounds, pictures, etc.

*Taken from

plurkPlurk – is extremely similar to Twitter. It allows you to send status updates (or anything you feel necessary) in 140 character chunks. Updates are shown on a chronological timeline, and you can reply to someone’s update by an instant message or text message.

*Taken from

utterli1Utterz – Now known as Utterli, this site allows users to start discussions from their computer or their phone. Texts, audio,
video and photos can be uploaded and other users can comment to begin a discussion of your original post.

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seesmic1Seesmic – is a new application, whereby users can use their webcam to upload videos and have conversations with other users. It is a video blogging application and has been referred to as the “Twitter of video”.

*Taken from – Like Twitter, this application allows users to post 140 character updates. Like Twitter calls its updates “tweets”, refers to these 140 character updates as “dents”. It supports  XMPP which ultimately means users can import their dents into Twitter, or to an aggregator.

*Taken from – Allows users to upload cell phone videos or webcam videos to Twitter, Facebook, or leave them on the 12seconds website. Their marketing slogan is “What can you do in 12 seconds?”

*Taken from

May 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment