MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Crowd-sourcing is like outsourcing but without any contractual agreements. Web 2.0 has given companies access to the collective intelligence of the Internet. Crowd-sourcing employs the vast expanse of the web through willing participants to help solve or contribute to projects, issues and research (environmental scanning). Imagine having access to millions of perspectives, ideas and part-time employees without having to pay for any of it. That’s the nature of crowd-sourcing in a business environment. The downside of crowd-sourcing for business applications are: people’s suggestions may not jive with your companies current economic or communication strategy, contributors don’t necessarily have any investment with the company or its strategy, poor quality contribution or no contribution at all.

There are also many other applications for crowd-sourcing content as well. For example there are many successful crowd-sourced news websites. The most popular website, Digg allows users to vote up and down content based on the community’s collective influence. Digg’s  front page is highly desired by companies and communications practitioners because of the influence of the community.  Articles that make the front page of Digg have been ‘dugg’  by users all over the Internet, meaning that users have voted positively for that specific article. News-makers, bloggers and citizen journalists can add a Digg widget to their website so readers can ‘Digg’ content from their blog. The idea is that only the best and most interesting news will make it to the front pages of Digg because of the voting system. However there has been extensive criticism of Digg’s voting method.

 Crowd-sourced news sites all have different methods of displaying, ranking and selecting content but the commonality is that the content is either user-generated or user-supplied. 

Other news sites mentioned in our index are:

Newsvine – It’s differentiators include a live feed of content and it’s user rating system called ‘Vinacity” in which users ear ‘branches’ when they display any of their six key values of content sharing. 

Mixx – It’s differentiators is the ability to choose categories of interest, your ‘Mixx.’ This allows for personalization of content consumption and community building with news-makers in your areas of interest.

Reddit – This site is basically resembles a Twitter stream full of links to content. The community votes up or down content they think is valuable or interesting.

Hubdub  – Lets users predict outcomes of topical news stories. Users get ‘virtual money’ and bet on outcomes. This site is pretty interesting and can be pretty useful for acquiring statistical data about how the community feels about certain topics. Not surprisingly, sports is highly favored on this site but there are also interesting polls on how much the dollar will be worth on May 22 and whether H1N1 will be upgraded to level 6 or downgraded to level 4. I find that information excellent for gauging attitudes but not entirely accurate.

Crowd-sourcing is classic web 2.0. It’s use can be very helpful or worthless depending on how you use it. Web 2.0 tools can help execute strategies but can not hold their own.



May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

2-Way Communication within Social Media

Social Media is one of the greatest ways institutions are able to interact with their publics. Social media enables them to send messages to their publics through wikis, blogs and even podcasts. The great aspect to these social media is the “comment” section which is found in most social medias. This is an area usually at the bottom of the posting where people are able to comment on what they are reading. This gives the institution the feedback they need from their public to grow a better a relationship with them.
Comments are a tool which the public to respond to an issue they feel is an important. It engages them into the conversation and enables a public to feel more a part of the institution.
Comments can also be used to judge the quality and insight of other commenters. The comment section of social media outlets really engages discussion on a particular issue posted.
Disquis – A comment and discussion plug-in for Web sites and blogs. This makes commenting more interactive by creating discussion across the web.
coComment – A comment service which creates conversations based on other comments found on the Web.
IntenseDebate – A service that encourages commenting and discussions on your current blog.
Tangler – A service that enables a global conversations throughout the Web.

An example of this can be found on the blog, .
The postings have comments on the bottom where AIMS’ public is able to join the conversation on the institution and agree or disagree on a variety of points.
When beginning a comment section to a social media there are a few factors to be considered. The first of these is who will be monitoring the comments. Due to the open nature of the internet anyone has access to the social media and the opportunity to comment. These comments may not always be appropriate and there needs to be a monitoring system in place to ensure comments are acceptable.
The second factor is the organization has to be prepared for how far they are willing to allow a discussion to go. How much are they willing to allow someone to disagree with their point of view.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | Leave a comment

Social Networks: We are the Facebook generation

Remember when a social network was the group of people you sat with in the cafeteria or on the bus? Or when the only way to hear about a new band was on the radio or on Much Music? 
What about when you watched that Friends marathon and were convinced Ross and Rachel should have stayed together. Didn’t you wish you could create a group where all your friends—and maybe even thousands more—could talk about how they felt exactly the same way?

Well, just in case you haven’t noticed, things have changed. We are the Facebook generation. We knew Hi5 when Hi5 was fresh, and we basically made MySpace what it is. These three social networking sites are some of the tools listed on the Roadmap to the Social Web.

Facebook– Facebook was created in 2004 by technological wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg.  Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. (

Here’s a small example of the power of Facebook. Superstar Lady Gaga currently has over 2.5 million fans on Facebook and you can join the faithful Gaga followers to track her every musical (or not so musical) move…like the time in Russia where they tried to arrest her for wearing leather. Yikes! (

Hi5- Launched in 2003, hi5 is now one of the world’s largest social networks — ranked as a top 20 website globally and the #1 social network in over 30 countries across Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. According to comScore, more than 56 million individuals every month visit hi5, which is currently available in 37 language options. (

In December 2008, Hi5 launched a partnership with, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website. Users can give person-to-person microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries or in their own communities. Positive social networking at its best!

MySpace-… is an online community that lets you meet your friends’ friends. On MySpace and you can share photos, journals and interests with your growing network of mutual friends. (

MySpace has become a popular site for new bands and musicians who want to expand their fan base. Check out the funky reggae sounds of a local Halifax trio – The Ukeladies! (

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment is a divison of the twitter website that allows visitors to follow any 3 topics at a time. It’s simple, you have 3 boxes and each box has it’s own live stream.

You just choose any 3 topics and enter the key word into each box. For example when I was trying it out, I chose to monitter Halifax, Britney Spears and PR. It was actually really amazing to see how many people were blogging about these topics and so often, every few seconds there would be a new post in each category.

This is a great communication tool because it allows you to pinpoint exactly what you want to read about, and then find blogs that are relevant. It would also be impossible to find anything more current or timely, as the blogs are streamed live.

Monitter would also be a great asset for an organization that is trying to follow public opinion on a particular issue or crisis. It is could also be beneficial just to see what bloggers are saying about your organization in general.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Spark and The Adventures of Team Digital Preservation

The blog I was assigned to follow throughout the course is the online component of a CBC Radio show called Spark.  So what is Spark? And I quote…”Spark is a weekly audio blog of smart and unexpected trendwatching. It’s not just technology for gearheads, it’s about the way technology affects our lives, and the world around us” (

To be honest, as some others have mentioned, this first week has been a little overwhelming as I’ve begun to discover just how much I don’t know about the World Wide Web. I was excited to find out that I’m following a CBC blog because already plays a role in my daily internet routine. As far as I can tell, Spark is a smart, well-written blog that touches on just about everything you could imagine in the world of technology.

The first article I read on Spark was “The Future of Our Digital Heritage (or “Why Metadata Matters”)” The article talks about digital preservation and asks the question: how do we design systems to preserve the vast quantities of digital information we’re now creating?

It’s an interesting concept to think about. I’m one of those people who keeps just about everything on my computer. I have music, pictures, school work, and a multitude of other important files, and while I do have a few trusty USB’s that serve as ‘back-up’ if my Toshiba goes haywire, I don’t really understand how digital preservation works. I expect that when I save a document to my computer it will be sent to some digital universe where important information is magically kept (intact) forever and ever, amen. But does it really work like that? Are we putting faith in machines that may not have the capacity to maintain the mass amount of data we are feeding them?

If this makes you wonder about all your files dangerously floating around in the digital universe, check out the article and watch the quirky, yet brilliant, YouTube video about various threats to digital information. The video alone is worth it.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , | Leave a comment