MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Social Media…is it dead?

Upon checking out Livingston’s Buzz Bin blog for the last time (for this course), it was interesting to find him talking about BlogPotomac – a “unconference” held in DC focused around social media and marketing sponsored by Livingston Communications. The event was held on June 12th and generated a great deal of buzz (mostly positive) on Twitter and numerous blog sites. However, Livingston stated on his latest post on the Buzz bin that the final BlogPotomac will be held in October. One of the reasons why Livingston has chosen to end the conference, is because of his claim that social media is dead.

 At first this statement might seem shocking and make you think “no its not! Its just beginning!”. Livingston explains the statement by saying that from an innovators perspective, widespread adoption of social media. Because the technology cycle has been maturing towards social media, Livingston claims it is no longer a new and unique type of communicate. Livingston also reaffirms that this doesn’t mean social media will go away, there will just be more of a focus around the future of social.

 After thinking about this further, i have to agree with him. Social media has become so integrated into our lives that it feels like nothing surprises us anymore. We may stumble upon a new tool that makes us go “hmmm…this is neat” but overall, we have adapted to social media. I think back to a time hen people would ask “what’s a Blog?” or “what’s Facebook?” – and that was when social media was new. Nowadays, if social media isn’t part of your daily life, you have at least heard of such tools as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

When thinking about this I can’t help but think about Apple, and their constant slew of new products always coming out. When the iPhone was introduced, the initial response was overwhelming, but now Apple could put out various new versions of the phone, with one or two different features, but we will never embrace the new versions as much as the original iPhone.

 Personally, I know for sure that social media will not slow down, and it will only become more and more common in the everyday lives of individuals and the corporate world alike. The future is bright, and more and more tools will be introduced to us. We may not be surprised when this happens, but we will for sure keep embracing social.

 What do you guys think? Any thoughts on the future of social media?

 On an ending note, I’d like to say how enjoyable it was following the Buzz Bin for this course. I will for sure keep checking back!

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

Research is the way to be, even for Social Media

I read the good-bye article from Frank Ovaitt, the CEO of the Institute for Public Relations today. In it, he lists the four things that took him only five years to learn.

1. there is no reason to assume public relations is inferior to marketing, advertising (or many other management functions) in terms of our research

2. there are three kinds of public relations research

  • Research used in public relations, to guide and evaluate communications programs.
  • Research on public relations, to understand what we do and how we do it.
  • And research for public relations – theoretical development to provide the social science underpinnings.

3. The public relations field is more interconnected globally than ever before, and research is one of the great connectors.

4. Public relations professionals who understand research will rule this field.

It seems Mr. Oviatt is a researcher above all else. Which is a great thing, and something I agree with wholeheartedly. For those of my peers who haven’t had the pleasure of taking Research Methods, you’ll soon find out how great it really it. I stuck more onto point three than anything else. Globally connected. This ties into our whole social media spectrum – with the advancements of wikis, blogs, podcasts, social networks and micromedia, we’re all globally connected. Those of us who have the privlidge to have 24/7 access, that is.  When we have the time and effort, we can immerse ourselves fully into this world and find out that there is a wealth of research in there that has been largely untapped. Qualitative research for social media, which what the blog I’ve been following is ultimately about, is something that PR professionals should dive into head first and use the thousands, maybe even millions of bits of information out there to help guide their organization’s mission and help get their messages across.

Research, research, research. And according to Frank Ovaitt, as long as it’s relevant and done properly, you’ll be on the top ladder in the PR world.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

What do you carry?

One of the posts from the blog I am following, Entitled, left me wondering what is I carry that really means something to me and says something about me?

The blog talks about how there are items we all carry with us that mean something to us and say something very particular about all of us.  The woman in the blog speaks about how she even carries something important to her but doesn’t believe she is superstitious.

I think even I carry around items which are very important to me but mean nothing more than they are important. We all ake comfort in certain items and when things are all going wrong there can really be something said for those items that bring instant comfort.

In this world we all live in today I think it’s important for people to find comfort any way they can. So I leave you with wondering, what are you carrying?

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | 1 Comment

“Plug it in and Change the World” : Making Moments with Social Media

The day before C.C. Chapman spoke to our class via Skype he posted a great podcast on Managing the Gray. What I’d like to pull from the podcast is what I think could be one of the most important lessons we’ve learned about social media.

Inspired by a presentation by Ze Frank at Webstock in New Zealand, Chapman discusses creating moments through social media. For Chapman, his moment was when I guy came up to him after following the podcasts and explained that he had quit his high level executive job to follow what he really wanted to do because of Chapman’s discussions on following your passions. Definitely a jaw-dropping moment. It’s certainly easy to forget the kind of reach you may have through social media and the impact what you’re saying might have on people. I think Chapman put his thoughts on the subject very nicely so here’s the quote from his podcast:

“I’m sitting here in Massachusetts with a microphone in my Mac and I’m talking into it but the words that come out of my mouth every so often can really affect somebody. And that’s a moment. That’s when you realize, ‘wow.’ And that’s why I’ve always treated this medium as something different. And while people are out there- whether it’s podcasting, Twittering, blogging, whatever it is, while most of it is just throwing stuff out into the ether you never know when something you throw out is going to resonate. When that’s going to create a moment for yourself or somebody else.”

I think this is an important lesson for us if we are to continue using social media in the future. We must recognize that we will, potentially, hold a great deal of power in our hands and what we tweet or blog about or podcast may actually impact someone’s life one day. The idea of creating moments for people makes social media take on a whole new meaning for me. No longer is it about just getting your name/business/product out there. It’s about reaching the masses and creating your own moments and moments for others.

In closing, the song “Electric Feel” by MGMT. The lyrics were probably not meant to be about social media but I think it fits! If “electric”=computers and blogging, and “making electricity” and “changing the world” =making moments then it works, right?!! Take a listen and enjoy! It’s been great blogging for you all 🙂

“All along the eastern shore, put your circuits in the sea

This is what the world is for, making electricity

You can feel it in your mind

Oh you can do it all the time

Plug it in and change the world

You are my electric girl”

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

To text, or not to text: that is the question.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Shakespeare wrote sonnets in iambic pentameter.

Did u know ur def like summer?
Ur so cool and I ly4e.

We write text messages in two-letter slangameter.

This week on Spark, Nora Young recaps a texting experiment they did with Al Rae (artistic director of the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival). In response to a New York Times article that reported some unbelievable statistics about teen texting, Spark challenged Rae to start texting as much as the average teenager. Neilson Company reports that at the end of 2008, American teens were sending an average of 2,272 texts a month. That means almost 80 texts a day. 80!

Rae stepped up to the challenge. After a few texting lessons from his daughter he attempted to become just another regular text message maniac. After a few weeks of non-stop texting, Rae didn’t quite reach an average of 80 per day; however, he did come away with an interesting perspective on text messaging. Rae said that after a few days of texting he felt a strange disassociation with the world around him. Rather than spending time fully interacting with other people, he was “subtitling and paraphrasing” his life, and publishing “a glib version” of himself.

A few Spark listeners/readers sent in their own experiences with teenage texting:
-One parent found her two children texting each other about the meal while sitting together at the dinner table.
-One high school student was sending 2000 texts a month and a significant portion of those were sent between 1am and 3am.
-A parent received a phone bill for over $500 accumulated during less than a month of texting by her teenage son. He was averaging 200 texts a day.

I’ve been a little slow getting into the world of text messaging. Right now, I’ve got 100 free texts a month and that is usually more than enough for me. When I think about teenagers who send 80 texts a day, only one thing comes to mind: communication overload. Is there such thing as TOO much communication? Too much connectivity? I think that text messaging is redefining our boundaries of availability and our standards of communication. We’re expanding quantity and downsizing quality. It’s a 24/7 world and it’s getting hard to separate ourselves from the technology we’ve created.

Texting isn’t just a teenage trend, but some of the effects on teenagers are a little startling. According to this article, physicians and psychologists have said that excessive texting is leading to “anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.” Instead of going to sleep or even finding a few minutes of peace and quiet at the end of the day, teenagers are interrupted by a beep, ring or vibration that is calling for an immediate response. And many times, where you find a teenager thumbing away on an unlimited texting plan, you can also find a parent leaning face first into a BlackBerry. I could write a lot more about this article and the effects of text messaging on teenagers, adults and families, but instead I’ll recommend that you read the article and leave you to think it over.

To text or not to text? That is the question.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“That was so last week.”

Yet another interesting week on Spark. Nora Young posted her interview with Bill Wasik, senior editor at Harper’s magazine and author of And Then There’s This: How Stories Live and Die in Viral Culture. Wasik is also the creator of the ‘flash mob’ and he has a lot say about the media culture we’re living in. In case you’re not hip with the lingo, according to Wikipedia, a flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, and then quickly disperse. A good example is the T-Mobile video we watched last week in class.

Wasik has been studying what he calls “nano stories” and the internet phenomenon of the micro-celebrity. Everything on the internet is delivered faster and information is boiled down to these little provocative stories. Susan Boyle, who skyrocketed to fame after an amazing performance on Britain’s Got Talent is a prime example of a micro-celebrity. As Wasik says, “move over big celebrities because here come the amateurs”. In order to make your big break, all you need is a comfy chair, a computer and a high speed internet connection. Our society is becoming so accustomed to the rapid speed of the internet that our thirst for novelty is growing insatiable. Susan Boyle sang one song and became an instant celebrity, primarily through the viral market of YouTube. A week and a half later, the excitement was dimming and viewers might have looked back and wondered where it came from and where it’s going to go.

For Susan Boyle, she rode high on the wings of fame for about a month and then came in second place on Britain’s Got Talent. The Star reports that after some makeover backlash, a few meltdowns and being admitted to the hospital for exhaustion, Boyle has begun to sing again. And how many people are watching now? Probably only a fraction of the 200 million who viewed her first performance on YouTube. “Swept up, forgotten, and we’re on to the next thing.” We built her up, and we can easily knock her down.

Now this can’t all be a bad thing. I doubt that Susan Boyle intended to become and remain the greatest celebrity in the world. Maybe these 15 minutes of fame have brought her a great deal of happiness. What I find really interesting is our speed-dating approach to information and entertainment.

Wasik makes a few more interesting points:
-Discourse has migrated to the internet. This is shown in the phenomenon of the micro-celebrity. Something or someone is the talk of the world wide town for awhile; but, soon it’s onto the new idea or new band.
-Internet forces people to market themselves in the same way corporations do. “We use the tricks we’ve been taught, but on the other hand, we know the tricks well enough that we’re not entirely fooled by them. We’re way more aware of them than we used to be.”

After listening to this interview, I was asking the same question as Wasik: is it a good thing for our culture that we’re so aware and that these cycles are turning over and over?

I’m still sitting on the fence. The fast pace of the internet world can be exciting and refreshing, yet also frustrating and overwhelming. It’s changing the way we create and process information, and I think our culture is taking the fast lane when it may be wise to enjoy the scenery for a little while. Okay, so maybe I’m not completely on the fence. In the words of Simon and Garfunkel, “Slow down, you move too fast!”

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Is your Website a needy child?”

It needs to be kept cleaned, updated with the latest trends, make sure it has no bad language, does your audience like it? Are you raising a child or running a website? This week while following my website, I came upon and interesting but humorous post on how website and taking care of a child have some similarities. Lindsey Miller wrote post  “Is your Website a needy child?” and provided readers/organizations some key pointers to make sure your website doesn’t look to needy.

The following is her lsit:

Does your organization have organaritis? If you answer yes to one or more of the following questions you probably need to seek medical help:

• Do you have pictures of very important people within your organization (your needy children) on your Web pages?

• Do these needy children require messages from them to be published prominently on the site?

• Do you have big pictures of smiling actors pretending to be customers? (Shiny, happy people.)

• Do you have needy departments whose stated objective in life is to get some real estate on the home page?

• Do you have needy, powerful managers who demand that their latest programs and initiatives get prominence on the home page?

• Is your culture one that believes that the primary purpose of the Web site is to get customers to do what you want them to do, rather than help them quickly and easily do what they came to do?

• Does your organization embrace verbosity atrocities? Headings such as: “Start your way to a clear new world.”

I agree with all the points that she has made and believe that a website can reflect the organizations lack of customer focus. However I also believe if something it not broken doesn’t fix it. Some organizations websites don’t need to be update because their target audiences are “simple” and don’t need the new and flashy tools. Like Calum said in his presentation, he has not up dated some of his websites and they are still in the top 3 of Google search.

I think what is comes down it, is that organizations need to understand what their audiences are looking for. And some however do need to bit the bullet and ask for help for their dying site.

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment

Get Up, Stand Up: Stand up for Your Rights!

Online privacy issues have dominated the news both nationally and internationally for the past few weeks. Coverage has ranged from Bill IP21C (Way to represent Matt!) to Iran’s chokehold on civilian Internet access. Since hasn’t updated since May 24 (Seriously, guys, get with it!), I’ve decided to blog about what these issues mean for us as users. I’ve also thrown a light article in to the mix to help validate a few of my points.

So, as the story goes, the city of Bozeman, Mont., has invoked a human resources requirement that has job applicants forking over tons of personal information. The requirements include, but are not limited to, “…any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, MySpace, etc.” The etc. here includes email passwords by the way!

Bozeman Attorney Greg Sullivan defended the requirements in the media, stating that a number of the positions (Police, Fire, lifeguards) require people of “high integrity.” So, they conduct these types of investigations to “make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city.”

While I admire the effort this city is going to ensure it has the finest town council possible, I feel that it’s a tad ludicrous. I mean, it’s a bit like allowing your employer to snoop around in your underwear drawer. Sure, the town would like upstanding citizens to serve the municipality, but where does it end in regards to background checks? It is really necessary to have access to personal email and websites? When did the disclaimer “this is not a reflection of XYZ organization“ expire? Did Bozeman miss the memo that grants civil liberties to ALL, and not just those outside of civil service?

For me, all of this dialogue around state officials demanding personal information and pushing bills that allow authorities to take personal information from ISPs is a blatant violation of the constitutional amendment. Are we shifting toward a communist type approach to Internet governance? Are we moving toward a state-run-media like China?

Just Friday, it was reported in the New York Times that the Chinese government had ordered Google to take down its Google Suggest application because it gave search results with “suggestive implications.” Alike their Iranian counterparts, Chinese computer users are also outraged by such government censorship. What’s more, the Chinese government has also announced plans to “force computer makers to install Internet censorship software on all computers sold in China after July 1.”

Again, I get that there are good intentions behind these outlandish requests, such as limiting pornography, but aren’t adults capable of making their own choices as to what they should or should not view?

My dear colleagues, it seems that sadly, our privacy is being threatened, and that the line between being secure and being invaded is incredibly blurred. My hope is that our friends in Iran and China continue to fight for their online rights, and that we Canadians blogg and tweet like nobodies business to have our online voice heard- we will NOT be silenced!

June 20, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material, Really Relevant Interesting Stuff, Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“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

Libraries in the Digital World

This week while monitoring In Media Res, I came across an interesting piece called Bug vs. Book: The Eternal Struggle. The piece began about library books and why it’s important to take care of them. Doesn’t seem very relevant to this blog, does it? Well the piece then goes on to talk about how libraries are attempting to keep up with today’s modern students in a virtual world.

E-mail, Second Life, Facebook and instant messaging are all methods that are now available for students seeking library research. These new methods are certainly convenient; why travel all the way to campus when you have a world of knowledge at your fingertips?

Like everything in our world today, libraries (and librarians!) are becoming digital. I’m not sure that I am ready to fully embrace this concept, given that I have a hard time looking up journal articles on the online database, but I am wondering if these new, digital libraries are something that someone in the class might have used before. Is this something that most students are using now a days and I’m just late to jump on the bandwagon?

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | Leave a comment