MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Did we cheer Twitter Revolution too quickly?

Protests in Iran from Telegraph.uk

Protests in Iran from Telegraph.uk

Wow, sometimes we get too excited over happenings in the social media realm without researching, analyzing and the big one THINKING about it!

On the blog, I am following Net Effect, Evgeny Morozov published an Op-Ed on his blog that he had sent to the Boston Globe and was also published. In his op-ed/blog, he stresses that we should look at things from the other side before we start celebrating the success of social media.

For instance, the Western World celebrated that Twitter was allowing us to know about the happenings inside Iran. However, as Morozov questions, why didn’t the Iran government block Twitter? He gives these excellent ideas:

1)It is a god-send to Iran intelligance to discover connections between activists and their outside counterparts.

2)It allows the government to follow the events happening inside closely.

Opps… yet another way for big brother to control the people. Also another example that we as intellectuals need to question more and think from the other perspective.

As social media is used more and more we need to be more inquisitive about who is able to read what we are putting out into cyberspace and who can read it.

Your thoughts?

Cheers,

Jenn

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June 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

It’s been a fun and interesting ride!

It is hard to believe tomorrow we enter our last week in our Social Media class. Seriously, the time flew by! I have to admit  this class has been an eye-opening experience. I feel so lucky to be ahead of the game in regards to social media and its use in business, marketing and PR from this class and I am nervous to leave in case a new social media tool creeps up and I won’t hear about it. (oh no, I’m concerned about being left out of developing social media apps. Has this class turned me into a Web 2.0 geek?)

Although I found learning about all the different social media tools (blogs, wikis, twitter, flickr and even skype was new to me) fascinating, it wasn’t until we had the opportunity to speak with C.C. Chapman that this exciting world of social media hit home for me.

C.C. was so down-to-earth and spoke about social media in plain language (Too much tech talk before turns me off). After hearing about his agency’s, The Advance Guard, advance buzz campaign for True Blood I was captivated. So I read more about this particular campaign and watched videos on the response. I even found myself showing it to people who barely know me at work and gushing about how well done I thought it was. This campaign was the perfect mix of social media and traditional marketing. As mentioned in our first reading by Tracey Taweel, people love to communicatewith each other, but we also love to communicate in different forms. If we only had ICQ, and couldn’t talk on the phone, in person or in any other form what a lonely world we would live in. This campaign not only tapped into newer social media as a forum to intregue influencers with social capital, but they used the old fashioned post office communicating.

It is exciting campaigns like The Advance Guard’s True Blood and people like C.C. Chapman that get me excited about social media and how we can use it as a new tool among all the other tools we have in our red PR tool boxes.

Thank you Dr. D for this fantastic experience. Turning on a computer will never be the same for me ever again!

Cheers,

Jennifer

P.S. By the way, ever since C.C. Chapman skyped into my life and I discovered True Blood, I’ve been a little obsessed. For your viewing pleasure, the teaser for True Blood season two.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 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?

Cheers,
Jennifer

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

And in this corner, Wikipedia…

scienceA few weeks ago an online controversy was brought attention to on the blog I have been following, Net Effects. Well this week, Evgeny Morozov is blogging again about the Wikipedia vs Scientology scandal.

In case you have yet to hear, Wikipedia is taking a stance on their opinion on Scientology and are banning any IP addresses associated with the Church of Scientology editing any Scientology-based articles. Yikes. As Morozov says “Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit but scientologists”. Soon mainstream media jumped on the scandal story.

This week, Morozov follows up the coverage with some points to ponder.

1) The Church of Scientology is a large institution and has lots of money to spend on defending the Scientology name. PR companies representing Scientology would be able to think of other ways around IP addresses associated with them. The added interest raised in the media will bring more traffic to the Wiki page, making Scientologists more apt to find ways around the ban to have control over the pages content.

2) The Wikipedia editing war between Wikipedia and Scientologists is not the first of its kind. But it raises an issue about how controversy articles on Wikipedia are being updated. To eliminate these petty editing wars, Morozov recommends that Wikipedia invest in better tools that will distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate updates. Although this tool exists in WikiTrust, many times Wiki Admin and other editors get boggled down in petty editing wars. As Wikipedia is an important project, Morozov suggests that the editors and Wiki employees spend their valuable resources on more important issues just as approving new articles rather than spending hours on smaller controversies.

Wow! So this raises so many issues, eh? Does Wikipedia have the right to ban an organization for not agreeing with their beliefs? Is this getting into free speech issues?

What do you think?

Cheers,

Jennifer

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Online tools for Organizations; Social media or more corporate messaging?

I found Wednesday’s class with Harold Simons via Skype very interesting. This was the first time I had seen this popular communication tool in action and was very impressed. How small the world has become now with new technologies like Skype. It makes you wonder what’s next.

Although Skype was very cool, Simons’ insights on internal communications made me think about how corporations use these online technologies. Rogers Plus’ internal website is a great resource for new employees joining the team and to receive information on the companies strategic goals. But is the internal site just another avenue for corporate messages or is it truly a social medium? There seems to be a thin line between too much corporate messaging and a two-way communication tool for employees. Can there really be a social media internal website, or is it just more one way corporate messaging?

What are your thoughts on this?

Cheers,

Jennifer

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

Moving religion closer to the masses

To keep up with the Internet boom, religions from around the world are moving their practices into the cyber-world.

In the Net Effects blog this week, Evgeny Morozov mentions Al-Sadiq Al-Othmani, a Moroccan expert of Islam living and has brought his work in the Islam religion to a broader audience in Brazil.   Morozov says that for many Islams living in Brazil it can take up to 12 hours to reach a mosque. Othmani saw an opportunity and put his sermon online he was able to reach thousands.

“To our surprise, the sermon got 800,000 hit in just one week,” said Othmani.  Morozov mentions Othmani has since established an online magazine introducing Latin Americans to Islam.

This article shows that it is not only the business world that is taking advantage of this new avenue of communication but religions are also using social media to connect with believers in today’s world.

After a little investigating, I discovered it is not only Islam using online resources, but I found everything from Christian Facebook groups, Buddhist blogs, Muslim Twitter lists and Jehovah witness web sites. It seems most religions are jumping on the online bandwagon.

Is this a good thing for religions? Can the same faith be felt in a virtual community vs a real life religious community?

Your thoughts?

Cheers,

Jennifer

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Sticking to Real Life

After reading Julie Rak’s The Electric Self: Doing virtual research for real in second life, I was excited to try it out today in class. Rak quotes Stephen Meadows stating in Second Life  “to think of an avatar as “a machine that is attached to the psychology of its user”.

This made me think of Second life as an extension of ourselves to communication as a compliment to real life. It seems the next logical step in the transition of mediums for communication from print, broadcast, web 2.o and now a virtual world. After reading in Rak’s article of the possibilies in second Life, I was excited to start and see the possibilities for upcoming clients.

However, after trying it out today I have reservations of suggesting this experience to a client. There was a HUGE learning curve for figuring out how to work the aviator and I was unsure what to do once we ventured out into other spaces besides our safe home space. However after looking through a few islands and spaces, I could see the opportunities for those tech-savy individuals. The unlimited space for business to set -up shop is not limited by geographic location and the availability for meeting with others is endless.

However, for myself I think I will stick with real life meetings or at least over Facebook or MSN. I have yet to throw in the towel on Second Life, but will leave it at least for a few days until I attempt to live in-world again.

What was everyone else’s experiences like?

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little bit of history repeating…

The wheels started turning when I was reading Birdsall’s Web 2.0 as a Social Movement for the class readings.

As Birdsall points out “the right to communicate” is as important today as the previous right to freedom of opinion and expression. I believe these all are true, in today’s world we should have the right not only to freedom of speech, but the right to communicate. However when Birdsall mentions larger telecommunications companies allowing faster computer connections to only those who can pay for it, this brings us back once again to the age old predicament of those with the wealth have the information and power.

Just as the printing press in 15th century suddenly allowed those who could afford books, the ability to learn and gain knowledge. This kept those who could not afford books to stay uneducated and content in the lives they were living, not knowing what else was out there.

Today it is still happening. Those that have money, have the ability to communicate. We in Canada have money that folks in some countries couldn’t even fathom. We are able to own computers or at least have access to computers through schools and libraries. However for many this is not a reality. For millions their main concern is to sustain life.  Even in Nova Scotia, many families do not have access to the kinds of technology that many of us take for granted.

The cycle of information and power staying in the wealthy ranks seems to be continuing and developing today. Those who have the wealth have the information and can now better communicate this knowledge with each other.

Although it is important to keep the rights we have and should fight for the right to communicate, perhaps we should also focus on the right for all people to have access to opinions, expressions and have the ability to communicate. If not, we continue the cycle of keeping knowledge and power from those who simply, can not afford it.

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

Are you being blocked?

It has been a busy week for Evgeny Morozov on his blog, Net Effects. Seriously, lots of interesting blogs that make you go hummm.

The blog that made me sit back and think was one that dealt with Web filtering.

In this blog, Morozov quotes a newspaper article from Ontario’s Epoch Times on May 20, 2009.  In the article, author Matthew Little, describes a library in Mississauga, ON where a man was blocked from Chinese websites with content on the repression of the Tibetans and controversies during the 2008 Olympics. As these web sites should not be blocked, the man complained to the library manager and the issue was later brought to the city of Mississauga’s IT department.

The city blocked web sites that were in Chinese and did not have a translation for the IT employees to read. To help filter more Chinese web sites the city bought a web filtering package from a Chinese company. However the package had any web sites that rivaled the Chinese regime blocked. The city’s IT department was too lazy to change the security level for a non-communist county that allows free speech and does not censor political rivals.

This made me think. If the Chinese government is able to block and censor web sites that challenge its ideals, could this happen in Canada. We have experienced large media convergences in Canada in recent years with many internet suppliers owned by some of the large newspapers and broadcast companies. Could these few owners start blocking our web sites?

How do we know if our open communication and free speech is not being censored by big brother?

What do you think?

Cheers,

Jennifer

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Photo creeping… yeah or nah?

In class I was assigned the topic of pictures in regards to social media to research for the class.

So let’s talk images.

Pictures are a significant aspect of online communicating. (For all of us with Facebook accounts, when was the last time you “creeped” someone’s photo album?) Images are how we brand our online reputation. As in Danah Boyd and Nicole Ellison’s Social Networks Sites: Definion, History and Scholarship, “Profiles are unique pages where one can “type oneself into being” (Sundén, 2003, p. 3). On social networking site profiles, people use descriptions and images to show who they are, whether that translates into their real life persona or not. Boyd and Ellison write about profiles being authentic and Fakesters,  a profile is never a true representation of a user’s true self. The profile is a snapshot of what the user wants their network to see as their true self.

Their are various social networking sites that are picture-based web sites, Flickr and SmugMug are two popular sites. Flickr is a free photo management web site that allows you to edit, categorize, share and create photo-based products. SmugMug is a site to manage photos in a professional manner. The fee-based web site allows professional photographers or the serious amateur display and share photos for friends, families or clients.

Now with camera phones, images are not limited to computer use. Images can be uploaded from anywhere at anytime.  This new dimension to online pictures dips into privacy and ethics issues. Anyone could be featured on photo-sharing web sites without their permission. Along with images used without permission, their is a thin line between pictures that are appropriate for online sharing and not. Many users do not realize the implications other people could base their options of that person from the images they decide to display on their profile.

To wrap this up, their are great photo opportunities online. Fabulous web sites for professionals to display their portfolios to clients and for the average joe to share photos with friends and families. However remember to monitor what pictures you do share with the world. You never know when that image of you out drinking could sway that employer or friend of a friend to pass judgement on you.

Cheers,

Jenn

References

Boyd, d. m., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html

May 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments