MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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You’re not intelligent, but your pen is smart!

This social media thing gets a little redundant from time to time. I find myself knowing the same information, learning new tools, asking and answering similar questions, but mainly I find myself losing and gaining interest almost as much as I shower. Okay maybe that was a bit much, but seriously—every time I begin to write my blog I switch from losing interest in social media to becoming completely fascinated by it.
Five minutes ago that exact thing just happened. But then I read this post on the blog I’m monitoring (mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg).  This was a post from Prof Wesch on Mar 11, 2009 titled “SmartPen as Digital Ethnography Tool”.  This is the craziest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, have you ever seen something online or on YouTube and said “this can’t be real?” I.e. the YouTube video, “Microsoft Surface” that received over two million views.
But this SmartPen is real. Prof Wesch describes the pen by saying “In short, it records audio as you write and links what you are writing to the audio (by recording what you write through a small infrared camera near the tip of the pen).  When you are done recording you can actually tap the pen anywhere on your page and the pen will play the audio that was recorded at the time you were making that specific pen stroke.  Students are already sharing lecture notes in the community section of livescribe.com.  As recording devices become increasingly embedded into everyday objects the days of protecting lectures from being recorded seem numbered.”
He includes his first use of the pen during his midterm research updates by his assistants. You can enlarge the image and actually click anywhere on his notes and you can here the discussion that took place while he wrote his own notes. The interesting, and I hate to say it but –ironic- part is; when I clicked on his notes, the discussion happened to be centered around “ownership” and “authorship” in the context of code, and developing websites.
He uses the example of a painting belonging to the artist who painted it, but if he used Photoshop, would his image belong to the creator of that software, where the image now belongs to the paintbrush and not the person using the paintbrush. I say this is “ironic” and I say that lightly, because if a student uses a tool like this to share lectures and lecture notes isn’t it the same idea of ownership? Who will own that knowledge or lecture? Will it still be the professor who originally wrote the lecture and taught it to his students? Or the student who wrote her notes and recorded it with her pen? Or the makers of the software that allowed that pen to copy the lecture? Or even still would it be the person who coded the site that allowed that student to upload his/her professor’s lecture with the Livescibe pen and share it with the world?
Ahhh this is so exhausting…but so fascinating.
Chew on that for a while ☺

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June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The right to be heard

I found it interesting that the first sentence in the introduction of this article was a question; an unanswered question – “Does Web 2.0 mean anything?” It’s almost amusing that as students we are asking the same question as web research and developers. I know there are specific definitions as to what Web 2.0 is and the types of tools and collaboration that makes Web 2.0 exist, but what does it mean to the people who don’t actually care? The people who don’t own a computer? The people who aren’t connected to the Internet? Or the people who use the computer and Internet every day but only for work, not for research, or Web 2.0 uses?
The question of the “right to communicate” is an interesting one. I didn’t really even think about it, to be honest. But as citizens we all know we have the right to free speech and freedom of opinion and expression, so what happens when the only way to voice your opinion is through a video posted to the web? A comment box on the website? An email? An online survey?
The people who either have accessibility issues, or disabilities, or the people who aren’t connected but still hold the same rights of freedom of opinion and expression are now left without an outlet. This just emphasizes the importance of continuing already existing communications with the addition of Web 2.0 technologies. We can’t simply just leave many people behind and ignore their rights to communicate with us. I understand that certain campaigns or companies will target specific audiences, and those people may not have communication issues, but for … say … the government, it is much more important to be able to give everyone the same opportunity to voice concerns, opinions, and comments. Everyone should be apart of the conversation.
Any thoughts?

Kim Bottomley

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

The apple fell and landed on a “big fat gay collab”

I am following http://mediatedcultures.net.ksudigg , a very interesting blog developed by a Kansas State University working group led by Dr. Michael Wesch. Their blog is “dedicated to exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.”
My first response post must be dedicated to their most recent blog post. The post features two videos – the first an old Apple advertisement about the Internet and what possibilities it would bring (at a time when very few were actually on the Internet).  The ad posed a question, “What would you do?” if you had the Internet, and many comments spilling all over YouTube were disgusting and hateful towards many groups.
Wesch continues his post speaking about the considerable amount of GLBT hatred on YouTube and other social sites. He ends his post with an inspiring video flying around YouTube at lightning speed. It is called The Big Fat Gay Collab! and it did make me emotional. For one, I love the song – Lily Allan rocks. And two, it’s just so true – real people being true to themselves and saying Fuck You to all the haters that are too small minded to think outside of their own lives. Personally, I think this is a brilliant video, and an opportunity to eff up the saying ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. I assume the people who participated in this video feel that they have been burned enough times by people who also ignore the ‘nice rule’ that a backlash was necessary. And I can’t disagree.
This blog has many other great posts. I hope you all find it as interesting as I do. Stay tuned for what I expect to be more posts that push some boundaries. P.S. Prof. Wesch uses a lot of embedded YouTube videos in his blog. I like it.
Cheers,
Kim Bottomley
May 14, 2009

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonder world

Wow, I can’t believe blogging is a requirement for a university course; this is actually amazing. I am so excited for the social media seminar; this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. And it seems there is no better place to start than with Tracey Taweel’s paper, Social Media, Social Capital and Public Relations.
This paper was a great read for the introduction of the social media class. With the evolution of communication and society’s dependence on the Internet, Taweel is right when she says; this dependence also presents a lot of choices when it comes to social media options. The question of which method to use, when, why and to connect with whom, are questions I hope to find answers to in this class.
In my time as a PR practioner, working on my co-ops I have found that many organizations do recognize the importance of using the Internet and social media as a primary information source, and the importance of having a strong web presence, but few know exactly how to do that. Few organizations understand how to utilize the same channels that their stakeholders and clients are utilizing.
I agree with Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, authors of Groundswell – organizations need to encourage, listen and connect with those who use social media tools and they need to spend time answering consumers’ questions, responding to their blog outbursts, and correcting misinformation that flies around in cyberspace.  The recent Domino’s crisis (which didn’t have to be a crisis) is a prime example of the way social media can cause an unnecessary issue if the organization isn’t paying attention to what social media it’s employees, consumers’ and stakeholders are using. If you aren’t monitoring what is being said, if you aren’t connecting with those around you who are online and participating in these trends, than you will end up being slapped in the face by it.
James Grunig said it best, “new media offers tremendous potential for environmental scanning, issues management, rumor control and crisis communication…”
Today, people are all about the videos. Everyone has a video camera on their mobile device, or a video option on their digital camera. People are uploading their videos as often as they upload and share pictures. www.wonderhowto.com is a great example of this new wave of video popularity. This website is the one-stop-shop of how-to videos. They have it all from how to dance, to how to make a toothpick launcher with a clothespin and string. And if you are creating your own video for your website, www.magnify.net is a platform that enables users to add video channels to their sites based on topics. This site provides video discovery, social networking, and custom players. They even have a live chat so you can talk directly with a web video expert.
I definitely believe that what scares organizations away from using social media is the lack of control they have over the way their message is used once it’s out there.  Taweel’s paper says, consumers now have a choice whether or not to accept your message and they will be happy to tell you and everyone in their online community what they think about it. That can be a scary thing, but it can also be an amazingly exciting thing.
My hope is this class will provide me with the tools to evaluate when it’s right to use social media, who to connect to and why, and most importantly how to evaluate the use.
Cheers,
Kim Bottomley
May 12, 2009

June 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“social networks spread defiance online” – NY Times

Well guys and girls, this is supposed to be my traditional comment on my monitored site. But unfortunately my site has not been updated since May when I was originally assigned to Prof. Wesch’s blog. So lucky for you, I won’t be talking about YouTube or Anthropology today.

Instead I want to talk about how social networks are spreading defiance online. That’s right; I’m talking about the article in Monday’s New York Times. I found the link on Prof. Wesch’s blog.

Just so you know what I’m talking about: “As the embattled government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appears to be trying to limit Internet access and communications in Iran, new kinds of social media are challenging those traditional levers of state media control and allowing Iranians to find novel ways around the restrictions.”

Yup, the government has limited the country’s access to the Internet and has tried to stop Iranians from using Twitter to form groups and organize protests. Basically it comes down to censorship. This is really quite depressing if you think about it. These social tools are what’s keeping Iranians focused and positive and providing them a way to communicate with one another during such a trying time. The government was restricting the media coverage regarding the election so the only way the stories were being told and heard were through social tools such as Twitter. These tweets were being re-tweeted or “echoed” across the world.

Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School (an Internet expert) said “As each new home for this material becomes a new target for censorship, a repressive system faces a game of whack-a-mole in blocking Internet address after Internet address carrying the subversive material.”

I encourage the class and DeNel to pay close attention to this story as it develops. I have a feeling this will bring light to social media issues we have not thought about before.

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Motrin Causes Mommy Headaches

I know I’ve been talking a lot about YouTube and its role in social marketing or just building communities, but I have to do it one more time – so bare with me.

This post isn’t even necessarily directed at a YouTube “issue”. Rather more focused on Motrin’s lame attempt at delving into social media marketing. The article discusses the Motrin ad and compares it to other “social media infernos”, but I also think there are some key lessons that Motrin learned (hopefully) from the disaster that was their Controversial Motrin Moms Commercial.

The first issue I found with this whole campaign is that Motrin did not look for or listen to feedback. After 48 hours, other social media sites (other than YouTube) were flooded with conversation of disgust centered around the advertisement. Clearly Motrin did not do their research about social media and how to use one tool effectively and other tools to monitor the response and ongoing conversation after the release of the ad into the online world.  Note to all organizations: you must understand more than one social tool and/or network before unleashing an advertisement, message, conversation, etc. to people who completely understand and respect the tools and the conversations that occur in that environment.

What’s even more shocking is they didn’t even go online to find mothers/mommy bloggers and ask how they felt about the advertisement. And they didn’t even think to include mothers in the process of developing the advertisement in the first place. This completely boggles my mind. The ad probably doesn’t make any sense to mothers. I mean, I doubt that if Motrin ran a focus group with mothers, the majority of them would identify ‘fashionably wearing their baby when it causes them so much pain’ a major concern. I doubt they would say, “if only I had a pain killer I could strut around with my fashionable baby strap all day long!!” Puuhhhllleeeaassee!!

Anyway, basically I think it’s time that organizations become a little bit a lot more responsible when it comes to using social media. There are way too many examples of what NOT to do, and how-to-do-it-right. Anyone can learn, it’s just a matter of the organization taking the time to do it, and paying attention.

This class is ending and I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. I have learned so much and I’ve had such a great time doing it. I can already see how this knowledge I have picked up is going to help me in the PR world. Employers are excited about it and I’m excited about it. I think CC is on to something…eventually (and I can’t wait) the term “social media” will fade away and it will quickly become a part of common communication practices.

Peace out PBRL 4405!! It’s been a time!

Love, 
Kim 🙂

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

YAY! We officially got the scoop on social media evaluation!

This is great news. Martin Delaney gave an amazing presentation to our class today, I learned a lot. But what’s really interesting is that I already knew some of the information he presented. I guess I just thought there was more to it than there really is.

When Martin said, “participation is the new consumption”, it all really made sense. A Social media campaign really does have a different overall goal than a traditional marketing campaign. Rather than getting people to go out and consume or purchase a product, we really want people coming together to be a part of the process.

So when I thought about measurement and evaluation, I definitely considered most of the things Martin said. It was interesting to hear him compare “soft data” to “hard data”.  In the end your social media evaluation will most likely be comprised of narrative research; talking and listening. I think that in the past, marketers did care about what their customers felt about their brand, but never actually listened. Social media presents us with this incredible opportunity to have this discussion with people, basically free research to enhance marketing initiatives. It’s so exciting!

Martin’s six steps for tracking a social media campaign:

  1. Benchmark
  2. Traffic
  3. Engagement
  4. Brand
  5. Sales
  6. Loyalty

This was really helpful, not only for our current client projects, but I will definitely use this information when I go to my next co-op and out into the working world. I thank DeNel and Martin, this is exactly what I wanted to get out of this course, and everything else is practice and the cherry on the top.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

iTube, WeTube, we all scream for YouTube

Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University has yet to update their blog, so I went back in time, to my birth month and found another YouTube related blog post from one of Prof. Wesch’s students, Becky.

Becky posted a blog titled “The Internet has a Face”. The blog post discussed her interest in vlogging as “meaningful interaction (with others) beyond the limits of text”. She produced a video compiled of some vlog videos that were posted to YouTube. She says her video was “created to explore the content and purpose of vlogs, as well as the networking and interconnectivity as users respond and reach out to each other within and beyond the YouTube website.”

Once upon a time people wrote in a diary, kept a journal, wrote a letter or phoned a friend. Today people are text messaging, video calling, blogging, tweeting , poking, writing on walls, nudging and emoticoning.

 Oh, and vlogging.

People are vlogging about very personal and private things and posting it to the Internet for the world to see. This at first might seem odd, but it’s working for them.

In class we regularly discuss the pros and cons of social media vs. face to face communication; a very worthy discussion. Becky takes our conversation a bit further; beyond the boardroom and rows of cubicles we will all eventually come to despise and focuses on the “YouTubers” themselves. She argues that the Internet is “no longer just text to text, the Internet has a face. The Internet has a heart. The internet has humanity. …with YouTube.”

The video is actually quite moving. I think that YouTube allows people to connect more than any other social media tool. It allows people to be real and express whatever it is they want, whether it’s humility, honesty, humor, compassion or love. And people are connecting. People are just being themselves, telling a story and other people are coming to support them and share with them. It’s actually quite powerful.

Becky says “if there was a fear that the internet was making society antisocial, vlogging would seek to prove otherwise.”

And I think she’s right.

June 9, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Paul’s Lie

Learning about Paul’s Story was very disheartening. What really saddens me about the whole thing is that people actually go through this. Young people are involved in so many deadly car accidents it’s scary. And my understanding is that YouTube and social tools are used to connect people, connect people in new ways over common interests. Fooling the public in this way is not only unethical and devious, but it’s just cruel. Those of us who have a heart and feel for these young people that have to live with the consequences of these bad choices cringe at these videos.

In a recent video presentation from Prof. Wesch, he addresses why people use YouTube to express themselves. This is important because it may explain the reason behind why transparency is so crucial to a successful social media campaign. From an anthropological standpoint, he says “anonymity + physical distance + rare and ephemeral dialogue = freedom to experience humanity without social fear or anxiety.”

This is important because people on YouTube usually address the YouTube community directly. They speak into that glass dot we call a web cam to share their emotions, feelings, and experiences with people who want to listen. They don’t know who will pay attention, who will respond, who will care but those that do, will always be there with support.
These phony videos that organizations and agencies produce violate these “rules” to YouTubing. They produced a script, hired actors and didn’t tell the public, they strategically wanted a certain audience to feel a certain way and change their behavior because of it.

I think Prof. Parsons’ class has great questions that need to be answered. I will definitely keep spying on the discussion, I think there is a lot to learn from this disaster and the answers are crucial.

June 6, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , | Comments Off on Paul’s Lie

It’s long, but a goodie!

Since there hasn’t been any new material posted to the blog I decided to try out the website Professor Wesch links his blog from. I found this amazing video of a presentation he gave at the Library of Congress last year. The interesting thing is Wesch decided not to use a PowerPoint but rather prepared over 40 minutes of video – mostly YouTube videos.

The title of his presentation was “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”. Wesch and his students study the culture of YouTube and together collaborated to build this incredible presentation. The video I’m referencing for this post is 55 minutes long, so I’ll spare you the summary and allow you watch it yourself. (Just a word of advice: don’t watch it in the library, you may LOL at any point and “apparently” that annoys people…just sayin…)

In a nut shell, the video tells a story about how YouTube gives people an outlet to create  “new forms of expression, new forms of community, and new forms of identity”. The video is captivating from beginning to end, and touched on some things that Kimberly and Ben talked about last class.

Wesch says there is a “cultural inversion” where people are increasing expression of individualism and simultaneously increasing their value of community. Humans are becoming increasingly independent while longing for stronger relationships and we see increased commercialization all around us but we long for authenticity. As Kimberley and Ben addressed the “argument of authenticity”, I thought about the many organizations we learn about who try to mimic authenticity, and fail horribly. The “wigging out”, “I killed my best friends” and lonelygirl15 vlog that created an explosion of drama all over YouTube are just some examples. It seems almost commonsense to me that a foggy YouTube campaign would fail, and I wonder why, after so many have proved it doesn’t work, organizations continue to try and fool their audience. Clearly all the YouTubers are much smarter than these organizations and will no doubt do their research.

But, back to authenticity, I wonder how authentic one can really be? What about the saying “put your best face forward”? Do we have more than one face, more than one self? How we define ourselves changes depending on who we are defining to and the desired outcome of that definition. Maybe I’m going a little too far, but Wesch makes a great argument for authenticity. He asks, “Can YouTube be authentic?” When everyone around the globe is uploading a video, ripping someone else’s and editing it to create a different product, aren’t those people actively producing content? If we are uploading videos of ourselves, aren’t we producing ourselves? Aren’t we toying with our identity?

I’ll take it one step further, how many times do you “un-tag” a picture of yourself on Facebook that someone else produced? Is that not editing your identity? People get an understanding of who you are by studying your profile, looking at your picture, reading your interests, and watching your videos. By editing or deleting a picture are you not censoring your identity? Which is the real you?

It is important for us, as individual users of these social tools, to recognize this struggle and tug-of-war we have with authenticity. Without understanding it on a “self” level, I don’t see how we could understand it on an “organization” level. To be effective social communicators we must understand how we as individuals identify with the tools themselves and the communities we belong to, and ultimately how we identify ourselves in these spaces.

Are you authentic?

June 6, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment