MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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One PR Student’s Optimistic View of Social Media

There has not been an updated blog on the Ascentum site since June 4th so I decided to to my last blog on my thoughts on Social Media thus far.

At times I feel overwhelmed with the vastness of the internet and I think I am not alone when saying that I can easily get social media fatigue. I think the trick is to look at Social Media as an addition to the mediums in which you gain your knowledge and not a replacement for important acts in our lives.

The concept of Social Media reminds me of something my farther said to me when I was in High School.

“There will always be a need for people to specialize in one area of expertise, but if you truly want to understand others it is better to know a little about a lot of things then to know a lot about one thing.”

This is what social media allows. It permits people to dip into the thoughts of others and gain snippets of information otherwise not seen by traditional media. If this holds true social media will help people progress and better understand each other and understanding foster peace.


June 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iranian People Have a Voice Thanks to Twitter

Read the article!!!! Absolutely world changing.

I believe we are witnessing the end of corrupt government censoring the voices of its people and media. Now thanks to social media the public has the tools to be the media. The Iranian government has banned the media from reporting on the escalating protests, disputing the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

That is not stooping the streams of information on the protests from reaching around the world at rapid speeds. Journalists and members of the public have been using Twitter to send real-time messages of breaking developments.  

One of the most interesting twists to this story is that Twitter was schedule to have service interruptions in order to upgrade their network this week but has postponed the upgrades by request of the US state department because of the important role the communication tool is playing on the people of Iran.

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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

“Our Media is our message” & We are the media!

Interesting post on the Ascentum blog this week. Mary Pat MacKinnon writes about an essay by Heather Stilwell named Remixing Democratic Discourse: New Media and the End of ‘Read Only’. This is an interesting read and very relevant to the issues we are addressing in class. She writes the online networks offer

a powerful medium to give more citizens a voice within that system; one in which we need not speak apocalyptically of “the death” of traditional media, but where we instead look towards the future to a newer, freer media…a future where we no longer remain passive recipients of news and culture – the content of which was chosen and framed for us by a concentration of media companies whose interests may lie less with encouraging democratic freedom of expression, and more with their own financial success. A future where we are no longer told what to think, but where we are inspired to contribute to the discussion. A future that is no longer ‘read-only.'”

This quote sums up the future of social media, media and communication. I think it is incredibility exciting to have such a shift in media where our older generation had such little power to evoke change and knowing that the future generations will have the ability to participate in media.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thanks Ben & Kimberly!

I found the demonstration on twitter by Ben Boudreau and Kimberly Walsh super eye-opening. It was amazing how fast the dialog can take off in different directions and how outside parties can quickly join the conversation and make judgments based on little fact. It is obvious that people have something to say and I believe they will respect organizations that allow them to do that.

I can see why it would be a difficult transition to for an origination to start using the tool because it means giving up control and having the manpower to keep up on the ever-changing communication. With that said it has immense vale for creating buzz and that is priceless.

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not you Grandmas Public Relations: Actual Two-way communication!

On the Ascentum blog this week, Manon Abud writes about a new communications initiative called Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans. There may be a hidden agenda on Ascentum’s part because they may be working with the organization but I was unable to find that information.

The project invites people to “Tell your story. Share your opinions. Join the conversation!” Therefore decisions that will be made about the future of Alberta’s education system will contain ideas that came directly from the public. People can attend the conversation to share their ideas, send a YouTube video with them speaking theirs mind or get involved in the twitter dialogue.

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No thanks, I like my first life

Today’s exercise in second life was very interesting, informative and somewhat unsettling.  At first it was fun picking out my avatar and making funny gestures to others in the class but when I went to explore other worlds I became very uneasy. I went to a world with a tropical island; I was impressed with the graphics and the imagination behind the creation of these places. I was wondering around all alone when I saw an image of another avatar standing on a dock. She was an overtly sexual Amazon women avatar. I walked up to her then she flung herself on a bench tossed her hair back. I stood there not sure what to do. She said “Hello Bethany”…… (First mistake using my actual name.) This freaked me out. In not sure why or what I expected but I had no desire to speak to this stranger or even know how to. We both stood there looking at each other until I panicked and quickly raised my hand to ask the instructor how to get back home. This made me wonder. Why was this girl there all alone? Was she just waiting for someone to come along? Who does this sort of thing? Where do they find the time? I find myself failing at juggling my first life.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

But I like E-Mail

There has not been an new blog posted this week on the Ascentum web site so I went back though the archives to find a post by team member Joseph Peters called Facebook is here, let’s work with it, posted March 12th 2009. He was referring to an article in the Globe & Mail named “The medium is no longer the message” by Omar Akkad. The article speaks about social networking sites such as facebook soaring in popularity and surpassing E-Mail in online activity. Both the posting and article say that organizations need to start using more social networking within the organization. I think there is a place for social networking but I do not think it should replace e-mail. Personally I find elements of facebook very distracting when I am trying to a simple task of directly sending a message to someone. I start looking at pictures and updates which is wasting time or in the case of an organization paid time.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

SLACKER!!! Yep I’m talking to YOU

I found Nora Young’s interview with Evgeny Morozov on online activism or “slacktivism” very interesting. I believe that it is a perfect reflection of today’s society where the average person is very complacent and does not have the attention span to understand the problem or the drive to fully fight it. Our generation is full of “slackers” that think change in the world is a natural progression that does not have to be fought for. Unfortunately I admit to being one of them.

 I think this is a generational issues and not the fault of social media. If anything social media helps more people learn about the. It is not technologies fault that society has little drive to do anything more than type their name to the cause. Social media also allows interest groups to form quickly and communicate on action plans.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Music to the ears of PR practitioners

This week in the Ascentum blog, a team member writes about President Obama’s Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government. To achieve this transparency Obama has created a system of three levels; transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Being a Public Relations student the most exciting term used is “public participation”.

“Executive departments and agencies should also solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities for public participation in Government.” Barack Obama

It will be interesting to see how they will receive this feedback from the public and promote two-way communication.

May 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment