MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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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. 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, 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.
Kim Bottomley
May 12, 2009


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

Think like an economist

The Ashing reading I thought was really interesting because it further discussed the issue of full transparency and audience participation.  I guess, like with everything new, pessimism seems to be the name of the game. Although the benefits of social media have been celebrated I think that because it’s new we sometimes expect the worst to occur, audience participation in particular.

As we’ve discussed various times in class, and was one of the first questions asked to Harold, we agree that participation is necessary, but for many organizations drawing the line between audience participation and justifying inaccurate or distasteful comments is very thin. So organizations need to prepare (aka behavior guidelines) to deal with these negative situations.

 I think that’s why I really liked the Ashing piece, because it was refreshing to hear a positive example of audience participation. He identifies The Economist magazine and explains how they chose to post “ALL of the letters to the editor they received on their blog, compared to a handful they print” and were proud to report that they all remained high quality.

 I guess you can never know if they are really posting all of the letters, but it’s nice to know that full participation and integrity between both the company and its audience can exist… even if it’s only in the economist (seriously, think about all the nasty things that could be said at a time like this).

I think that while we are excited about the opportunities in social media, the reality of actual two-way communication is much scarier than just the idea. Thus, as a communicator and human being it’s much easier to expect and plan for the worst than to just cross your optimistic fingers.


 The Bee Dub

June 4, 2009 Posted by | Comment on Course Material | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment is a divison of the twitter website that allows visitors to follow any 3 topics at a time. It’s simple, you have 3 boxes and each box has it’s own live stream.

You just choose any 3 topics and enter the key word into each box. For example when I was trying it out, I chose to monitter Halifax, Britney Spears and PR. It was actually really amazing to see how many people were blogging about these topics and so often, every few seconds there would be a new post in each category.

This is a great communication tool because it allows you to pinpoint exactly what you want to read about, and then find blogs that are relevant. It would also be impossible to find anything more current or timely, as the blogs are streamed live.

Monitter would also be a great asset for an organization that is trying to follow public opinion on a particular issue or crisis. It is could also be beneficial just to see what bloggers are saying about your organization in general.

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment