MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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A little thank you….

I had a lot of fun in today’s class. We had the opportunity to SKYPE with C.C. Chapman and also got to learn about pod casts from our dear friend Greg.

 I would just like to do a little shout out to C.C Chapman and  thank him for taking the time to answer our questions. He provided each group with interesting and useful ideas and feedback. I know our group really appreciated it.

Thanks Again!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 2 Comments


One of the last readings that was posted, titled “We thinks we ❤ Twitter,” has further increased my fascination with Twitter and its function in society.

Just the other week, I blogged about the first scientific experiment that was conducted via Twitter (which I thought was absolutely fascinating), and this reading has opened a whole new can of worms in terms of what Twitter is capable of.

What essentially happened was this business, called Naked Pizza, used Twitter as a mechanism to sell their pizza. They asked people to join them on Twitter on May 29 (which they dubbed “eat like an ancestor day” – which means avoiding additives, preservatives, chemicals etc.) and order a pizza. In order to track people from Twitter,  they asked them to say “I’m calling from Twitter” when they placed their order.

The result? The two year old store set an overall one-day sales record, and 68.6% of total dollar sales came from customers who said “I’m calling from Twitter.”


This is really exciting, and may represent some of the beginnings of the shift away from traditional marketing and towards what @nakedpizza (which, FYI, is Naked Pizza’s Twitter account & author of its media release) called “social influence marketing.”

@nakedpizza brought up an interesting point, however: perhaps not all businesses are suited to this type of marketing. Because social media at its best practice is transparent, it is important that a company has something good and worthwhile to talk about honestly.

Naked Pizza has been able to do this because they specialize in healthy food and have a social mission – in other words, they have something positive to Tweet about.

The shift towards so-called “social influence marketing” means businesses may have to look at the way they practice business, and according to @nakedpizza, ask themselves the following questions before they become genuinely involved in social media:

– “Was anyone exploited during the manufacturing of our goods?”
– “Will our product effect your health in negative ways?”
– “Are our products good for the environment?”

In other words, do they have anything positive to talk about? Or to spark online discussion about? And can they be transparent and open on a social platform (ie: do they have anything to hide)?

Hopefully this will force companies (old and new) to rethink their business models and begin to practise truly mutually beneficial business (truly good for the company and the customer).

Now I’ll turn this over to you, fellow bloggers:

  • What role do you think Twitter will (or can) play in product marketing?
  • Network building, scientific experiments, marketing and sales… what else is Twitter capable of?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | 1 Comment

I can’t remember the last time I typed a URL

So….. LOVED the presentation on search engine optimization by Calum Nairn. Once I actually started listening to what he was saying and not how he was saying it. My GOD!! He had an attractive accent. Did anybody else think about making their next vacation destination Scotland?  

It is very interesting how many people and organizations there are  that go through all the trouble of making a web page and paying to have it maintained then nobody sees it because NOBODY types in URLs anymore. Personally when I Google which is the only way I visit websites, I rarely even school down to the bottom of the page let alone go to the next page. Yes that says a lot about our society and how lazy we are but that is not the point. People are bombarded with so much information that when they seek out their own they expect it to be easy.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Ethics in Search Engine Optimization

I’m feeling a little behind with my post here, but I just want to say what a great class Monday was! Unfortunately, co-op interviews kept me from Wednesday’s class but by reading the posts, it also seemed just as thought provoking.

Calum Nairn has to be one of the best speakers we’ve had this term. He seems to very much enjoy what he does for a living. I always love watching or listening to people who are passionate about what they do. It gets me very excited about the subject too. I guess that goes back to the Passion post from Managing the Gray I talked about before. Passion is certainly contagious and I think I caught it from Nairn.

I was trying to think of a way to sum up everything he showed us in this post but I don’t think that is possible. Thinking back it’s hard to figure out how he was able to fit everything in the hour and a half he had with us!

One of the more prevalent topics that sticks out to me is about search engine optimization (SEO). That he is able to keep his sites at the top of the Google search is quite an incredible feat. I feel very privileged to have such information now. It kind of makes me wonder though: who else knows this and who else is controlling the information that we receive when we naively Google something on the internet? It may be silly of me but I always thought that the top of the search results meant that it was the most credible source or the most viewed or something along those lines. I will view my results with a little more caution from now on.

Having this knowledge and let’s say “power” that’s associated with SEO is a little troublesome. It’s kind of like, is it ethically right to skew these results to make my organization be number one? Does it make it right knowing other people in similar organizations will do it too? As much as I would want my site to be popular based on merit is it wrong to use SEO to achieve my own agenda?

To answer these questions of course I had to do a Google search. Interestingly enough there is a Code of Ethics for Search Engine Optimization. Please take a look!  Once again I naively chose the first option but hey- it works!

What are your thoughts about ethics and search engine optimization? Do tell.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , | 3 Comments

Bull Twit

On June 15, Social Media Group posted a blog entry called “Tweeting your way into a Twinternship”. A Twinternship is essentially an internship where students can act as a Twitter expert, consultant or content manager for large organizations or high-profile individuals that don’t have time to Tweet themselves.

Considering Twitter’s sole mandate to determine: “What are you doing?” (“you”, meaning organizations and individuals on Twitter), does it make sense for someone from outside the organization to come in and answer that question? Does a fresh-faced student, not-yet immersed in the company culture have the knowledge and intuition to provide daily updates on the inner workings of an organization? Maybe.

On one side of the coin, an outside source would be free from the biases and cynicism that result from years of working for the same company. Someone with a fresh perspective could tweet about exciting news and events that they know would be of interest to the outside world.

On the other hand, that fresh perspective may not be an accurate one. Furthermore, it might not be articulated in a tone that is true to the organization or celebrity.

It’s one thing to Tweet about oneself. We don’t have to research the current events in our life, or adopt a specific tone in order to accurately portray our Twitter status. But when we Tweet on behalf of an organization or celebrity, we must assume the personality of that organization. Someone external to that organization would likely have to fake it.

I suppose that is what we, as communicators do when we write a news release or speak to the media on behalf of an organization. The difference here is that social media claims to be a more organic, or “real” medium. Can companies, political figures and celebrities really claim that they’re using social media to be “real” and transparent when they pay someone else to do the tweeting?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tweet Revolt against CNN

Hello all,

There were so many interesting posts on Net Effects this week, I really didn’t know what to blog about. But narrowed it down to a blog posts that make me re-examine  our traditional media.

Social media vs traditional media. It seems Twitter users are using the medium as a platform to showcase CNN’s decision to not broadcast the protests in Iran this week. Instead CNN covered the bankruptcy of a Six Flags and the lifestyle of bikers. Ummm… selective coverage? This non-coverage of a world major event has prompted Twitter users to take a moral protest towards CNN.

Morozov brings up the newest hot topic of citizen reporters. It seems CNN are picking and choosing the news stories they feel are relevant and would interest their viewers rather then covering the most recent breaking international news. Instead of relying on traditional news outlets to get the most up to date coverage, audiences are turning to social medias to get the real stories from real people experiencing and uploading their stories.

But as Morozov bring up, how reliable are these citizen reporters and if CNN won’t report the important international stories then who will? As suggested by Morozov, the US needs a government-funded news channel. This way information is based on relevance and not if the story will attract viewers and bring ratings up.

In Canada, we have Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) a government-funded media outlet and in England they have the BBC. Is it time that the States also invested in a non-sensationalized media channel so US citizens can begin to receive relevant and though-provoking news stories rather than bubblegum stories about L. Lohan and her recent escapades?

What did you think?


June 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

If Social Media Were a Small Town That Nosey Old Lady Down the Street Would be Facebook

This week on Managing the Gray my eyes were shocked to behold a brand new podcast by our pal (you’ll be meeting him via Skype tomorrow) C.C. Chapman. As always, the podcast impressed. One topic that stood out the most for me was a presentation he did called Social Media is a Small Town.

Being from a small town in Newfoundland, I could totally relate to what he was getting at with this presentation. He says, there is often a small town mentality associated with social media. To me, that means it’s all about generating a conversation or dialogue with your publics. In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business. If you want to know what movie to rent you will ask your neighbour. Growing up in a small town can often be cumbersome especially if you are a private person; but, if you’re into social media you want people to know your business! (or at least want to know other people’s business)

Chapman says growing up in a small town has helped him excel in this world of blogging and podcasts and social marketing. I would have to agree with him there. Small towns teach how to spread information whether you want to share or not. I guess it all comes down to transparency. In a small town, the flow information is often inescapable. If you are to be successful in the social media world you need to realize that information must be truthful and passed along the right channels and to the right people.  In every small town there is the one nosey lady down the street who knows everything and shares it with everyone she speaks with. In our social media world she would Facebook or Twitter. Tell her a secret and within seconds all of your friends will know.

So, who agrees? Who in the class is from a small town and can see how this has helped them with social media? Or conversely has it hindered you? Let me know!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , | 3 Comments

Wikis and Tracking Social Media

Myself like many others in the class, began to think a lot about wikis as a academic tool. Upon completing the wiki and following it over the weeks, it was really interesting to see how it grew in content. While this was a great opportunity to learn how to use a wiki, there were some downfalls. The wiki as a tool isn’t the issue – its how we use it. I agree with the majority class that the wiki would best work with small groups, and have each group be in charged of a particular section. That being said I do feel it will always be important to keep up with the collaborative aspect of the wiki. Similar to communications plans, consistency and roles should be key in achieving an effective final project.

 In terms of the Political Analysis, it was very interesting to see the different ideas and recommendations for the different parties, and it really encouraged me to look more at what the parties are doing to connect with us. The wiki provided a free space to add information, however I almost feel like the paper component would have resulted in more critical thinking (about the issues, are they portraying their platform properly? Etc, as opposed to ascetics).

 Martin Delany as a guest speaker is always a treat. I had previously heard from him in research methods, so it was very insightful to learn about evaluation about social media. Throughout this degree we are very heavily focused on tactics, as opposed to research (preparation) and evaluation/measuring. One part of the lecture that stuck out to me was his emphasis on participation in social media, and the importance of doing something that pulls people in (T-Mobile). Who would have thought that such an easy initiative would have such huge results? Social media is meant to be used to help achieve this.  

 His suggestions on how to track social media (benchmark, traffic, engagement, brand, sales, loyalty) provided some great insight that I know I’ll take with me on any social media campaign I become involved in. As frequent users of social media, you can become accustomed to assuming you know it all, when really, there is so much more out there and more ways to evaluate it than you may have previously thought.  For me personally, I know I’ll be sure to check out the tracking tools Martin mentioned, such as tweet deck, blog pulse and google trends to help track any social media efforts I do for projects, as well as future professional efforts.

  All in all, great learning experience in using the wiki and great lecture from Martin!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff | 2 Comments

Did I break up with the love of my life for the cheap thrill of a fling?


So this week on The Hobson and Holtz Report they covered a study done by Harvard University about the usage of Twitter.  This seemed relevant given last weeks class and the seemingly consented opinion that no one knew what to think of Twitter and whether to jump on that band wagon like it was the new facebook or not.  Apparently though, we’re not the only ones having a hard time deciding about our romantic feelings toward this relatively new social media sensation.  According to the study Twitter’s major content is generated by a small and loyal user base.  Okay, so perhaps that’s an understatement, the reality of it is that 90% of Twitter’s content is generated by…guess…are you ready for this? Only 10% of their users.  That means that if there were 100 people signed up for Twitter and 100 tweets, 10 people would have generated 90 of them while the other 90 people split the other 10 between them. Alright, so I’m not trying to insult your intelligence with that grade 1 math lesson, but when I finally realized that and the implications that holds for Twitter, especially if they do start charging for use as we discussed in class, it absolutely blew my mind. I mean, after our Kermit Card Twitter experiment I was absolutely positive that this was a boat I was missing and I should try to catch up.  But after hearing about this study, I realized that maybe it’s not as effective a tool as I’d originally thought. Maybe more people have only luke warm feelings towards Twitter like we do than I realized.

On the report they questioned whether Twitter was actually about engagement or if it was really just a broadcasting platform that could be used as a marketing/communications tool.  My thoughts: how could it really be an effective marketing/communications tool if everyone is signing up but no one is using it? Honestly though, if you think you’re reaching a million people but really you’re only reaching 100,000, that may seem like a lot but you’re also missing out on ways to engage the 900,000 you’re not actually communicating with. How effective is that really?  Not that I’m ready to break up with Twitter and lie that I just want to be friends instead of a passionately engaged companion, but this report really added to my confusion. Maybe I should have just stuck with my first long term relationship with Facebook before abandoning it for a younger lover.

What do you think?  Did I break up with the love of my life for the cheap thrill of a fling?

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The List of Change

Last week, the Buzz Bin announced the launching of the List of Change – which ranks the top English-language change or cause related blogs. The great thing about the List of Change is that any blogger can submit their URL to potentially be part of the list. The List of Change is a collaborative effort between Geoff Livingston, programmer Shannon Whitley and Beth Kanter— a leading change blogger.

 The Team developed the initiative to help out the not for profit sector through creating a single point of aggregation for change blogs, which will help bloggers promote themselves and also benchmark their performance. The List will follow an opt-in ranking in which bloggers must submit their URL to become part of the ranking. The List of Change has no profit motivation, with no corporate affiliations, and it is the hopes of the team that the list will eventually move to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s site. What a great initiative Geoff!

 Geoff updates that as of June 10th, the list includes 125 change blogs – 115 of which were added over the span of one week. The team still hopes to add to the List and improve on its function but for now the List will be used to help promote the 125 blogs.

 The List of Change is a great example of the power of blogging. While some people may feel like a blog is just that – a bunch of text someone puts online everyday, we often forget about all the bloggers out there that are trying to make a difference. Often times, the only reason we forget, is because we don’t know about them, and this list hopes to change that.

 To check out the List of Change click here!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment