Google+ Hangout with Mark Schaefer

Yesterday I had the opportunity to try Google+ in a new way – using the “hangout” as an academic group discussion. 

Over the past year and half I have had to balance being a full-time employee, freelancer, and graduate student all while planning a wedding.  Even though it seems overwhelming at times, I am so fortunate for the opportunities that come along the way.

I was invited by my Southern New Hampshire University professor, Dr. Jessica Rogers to join in a hangout with author of The Tao of Twitter, Mark W. Schaefer. A few classmates gathered together to probe the globally recognized blogger. It was a great experience and I was able to take away some useful information. In fact, I will be using some of the discussions as a basis for our weekly meeting to improve our higher-education social media strategies.

One of the most exciting aspects of the field I am currently in is I am able to learn the upward trends, the future of SM, and apply all to my working field. There is nothing more satisfying than to go to work with a new vision to help streamline and improve antiquated systems.  I have a profound appreciation for those who are in social media marketing since there is so much more to be learned.

Learning about SM marketing can certainly be read in a textbook, though guaranteed those textbooks will be out of date within a short period of time. We are finding new methods, strategies, and metrics to measure success — as time passes, so will all printed knowledge about the subject.

I have been so much more successful and creative this past year and it has been all because of my deeper knowledge of marketing. If I knew what I know now when I was in undergrad school, I would have invested more time in pursing addition core marketing courses at Lyndon State.

We all make mistakes, but how many can we afford to make?

Serdar Yegulalp, author of Social media disaster recovery: A first responder’s guide, writes to explain the steps in which businesses can take to successfully take control over what could be a huge PR disaster.

With social media being newly born and constantly being developed, businesses are slowly learning ways to improve and learn from their mistakes. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we bounce back from our that makes us superior.  Yegulalp shared insight towards handling any social media boo-boo.

First, recognize there was a mistake made. If people are negatively commenting or lashing out from a post, tweet, blog, etc., it probably means there was a mistake in which should be addressed.  Often time, companies are reluctant to react; instead it may seem easier to hit the delete button.  Wrong—deleting concerns and comments only exacerbates the problem.  Instead, businesses need to take blame and recognize something in fact happened to upset people.

Second, Yegulalp suggested to take action/apologize.  Crafting a response and apology to the public can provide individuals a reassuring sense of relief that the company has acknowledged their mistake, learned from the situation and will prevent the same mistake happening in the future. The most important action, which I have seen and heard over and over again, is companies to always be transparent and honest in any and all situations.  There is nothing worse than a company trying to sweep their mistakes under the floor because eventually the true will be released; and we all know that with the power of social media, that truth will be released within seconds and will spread like wildfire! So the best practice to employ is to always admit, take action and release a plan for the future.

Like I had stated, we all make mistakes but it is how we react and learn from those mistakes that makes us better and stronger.

Really….which department owns SM?

Really….which department owns SM?

http://mashable.com/2010/05/17/social-media-ownership/

So this week’s assignment was to find a social media article that was of some interest to me.  I have read quite a few thus far, but really rather share one that was related to this week’s discussion topic.

Our Blackboard discussion has been full of debates—who really owns social media?  I made my initial reaction based off what I thought I knew from our readings and previous lectures – though after posting my thoughts, I stumbled upon this article that shares multiple views on who should own social media.

Surprisingly, no one really owns social media.  Everyone’s opinion and debate could be convincing enough to be true.  The real fact of the matter is that social media has become a blend of each department and therefore one particular department can’t OWN social media.

One interesting comment was made from a Twitter user: “@film_girl for us, Marketing owns social media. But maybe it’s because no one else knows what to do with it!”

This particular Twitter user is correct; social media is new to our culture and some people don’t know how to handle and maintain its content properly, so it falls into the marketing department’s hands—who really knows, it could stay there or maybe shift to another department later down the road.

As an example, Zappos.com doesn’t really see social media directly as a marketing function.  They provide tools to their employees to connect to customers and the outside world.  They use it as a public relations function, sales function, a forum, etc. So who controls their social media, a little bit of everyone?

 

I Want to be Part of a Happy Patch

Nicholas Christakis brings a very interesting topic to the table when he talks about the hidden influences of social networks.  Now, while his thoughts are pretty obvious, he does provide interesting facts to support his theory.

Basically, an overarching summary of his clip is best described as people clustered together with similar interests, feelings, actions, etc. within a social network.  The beginning part of his video he talks about the epidemic of obesity and whether or not commonalities between these people are their joining social networks.  Those who tend to make unhealthy choices are bound to be within groups who have those same habits, as well as individual who smoke, drink excessively, etc.  He takes these types of groups and similarities and applies them to the social networking world.  Those who are negative seem to attract the same types of people and influence them and their friends, so on and so forth.  Because social networking branches a particular group further out and extends your “friends,” to the third, forth, fifth ect. level, people could potentially be affected by a blog, comment, action, etc.

He talks briefly about the causes of similarity and clustering within social networks.  One is induction, sort of a domino effect; homophily, ties people together within similar groups or “tribes,” and finally confounding, common exposures.  I find that personally, I have a domino effect on others and vise versa.  When people are on Facebook, complaining about their day and enough people are creating these negative postings, moods tend to shift to a unhappy state.  A few articles were published with evidence linking Facebook and depression, while researches disagree on whether it’s a medical condition or other circumstances, it can certainly alter ones mood.

We all have to stop and think of how this social network is shifting our fundamental ways of thinking.  Are we conforming to other groups without even noticing, are our habits changing because of this new trend, which Nicholas says is consistent and resilient?

Oh the Changes…

After having watched Seth Godin’s short video titled, “The Tribes We Lead,” left me with a sense of empowerment and drive to start my own “tribe.”  He not only provided a valid insight to how people are making change through the use of social media but they are changing the world.  These groups of people with common interests can now be connected easier and fast to help fight a cause and to make change around us.

As a youngling, I grew up with the basic PC in my household, but soon into my preteen years our house was officially on the net.  At that time I was still a bit too young to get involved with what the internet had to offer, though once high school hit, I was on instant messenger like it was my full time job.  It was simple, easy two way conversations between friends, talking about our day, what was happening over the weekend, etc.  Soon after AOL became a nationwide sensation, so did chat rooms.  Chat rooms became the new biggest craze – instead of a two way conversation you could talk to dozens of people all at once.  Even though this was a starting point to where we are today – grouping people together with similar interest and social environments – chat rooms were unorganized and messy.  It was hard to follow individual conversations when there were multiple lines streaming down the computer screen.  As time progressed, so did chat room and the more people were becoming aware of the mass amount of people and exposure to one another, drew in illegal and inappropriate content.  This particular trend that caught on some time ago set a foundation to what we see now.  There are forums of people [or tribes as Godin discusses] that speak about similar interests or dislikes, there are specialized shopping website, protesters, reviews, etc.

Seth Godin provided circle of success which gives a great everlasting flow to this movement.

Boomers = growing social media population

Boomers = growing social media population

Generally, most tend to think the older generation doesn’t utilize social media – however, there are many articles that will support the ideas and statistic that boomers are participating in the groundswell and this market needs to be recognized more by businesses.

In the article writeen by Cecilia Kang, Boomers rapid users of social media via smartphones: Nielsen, Kang discusses not only did the percent grow by 109 percent from 2010 to now, boomers are using social media websites such as LinkedIn for professional networking.

Even though Boomers may not be participating actively as much as fellow social media users, most are still listening and observing the conversation that do happen.

“Boomers are very comfortable online, but they do not confuse their Internet interactions with their offline ones. For most boomers, being in constant contact is a personal choice, not one dictated by technology. Marketers should not expect boomers to become “fans” or “friends” unless they are passionate about a product or service. However, boomers who do sign on should be nurtured-they are vocal about their positive and negative experiences.”

I was actually discussing this the other day with my fiancé – we were talking about our parents, age range 56-64, and both our mom and dad’s use social media in some capacity.  Typically our moms use Facebook to stay in touch with family and use it as a means to keep updated with businesses and new trends.  Both our fathers use social media to stay in the loop when there is breaking news or even for sport updates.  Each boomer uses social media as a different function, though, the end result is the same – they are using social media.

So what does this mean?  Below is a social technographics chart that outlines how boomers are using social media.  Although we are still seeing an increase of Boomers who create content, the stats are showing that in 2008 there was a 23% spike in Boomers being spectators.  Now these stats were recorded back in 2008 and since then technology has advanced, the availability of social media has increased with smartphones, iPads and devices such as Kindles and Nooks.

According to Forrester, they suggested businesses to keep a watchful eye out for this market, delegate some marketing money on social media advertisements, and provide blogs and videos that connect them with professional development.  And even though we have seen a significant increase in the usage of social media with Boomers, this technology they are utilizing isn’t by any means advanced.  Sites like YouTube, simple blogs and Facebook are all sites that allow users to navigate with ease and find information they need and want.

References:

Kang, C. (2011, July 19). Boomers rapid users of social media via smartphones: Nielsen – Post Tech – The Washington Post. The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-tech/post/boomers-rapid-users-of-social-media-via-smartphones-nielsen/2011/09/12/gIQARe8YNK_blog.h

Perez, S. (2009, February 20). How to Reach Baby Boomers with Social Media. ReadWriteWeb – Web Apps, Web Technology Trends, Social Networking and Social Media. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_reach_baby_boomers_with_social_media.php

Phillips, L. E. (n.d.). Boomers and Social Media . Market research & statistics: Internet marketing, advertising & demographics – eMarketer. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.emarketer.com/Report.aspx?code=emarketer_2000649

Mr. Splashy Pants

Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

Mister Splashy Pants—need I say more.  A brilliant, yet intriguing name will inspire individuals to find out more about a serious matter—saving humpback whales. Web 2.0 was the reason this name came to be created.

It is actually interesting how a group of marketing individuals can sit around a conference table and try to brainstorming the next big campaign.  Ideas fly back and forth, hours are lost in productivity and really where did it end up going? Nowhere—just a bunch of concept-web scribbles on a dry-erase board.  With the amount of talented and witty individuals in our world, sharing the work is not only free, but it may become more successful to tap into what the web/people have to offer.

In the case of GreenPeace—an activist group to help protect our environment—started a name-a-whale competition, while most of the suggestions that poured in were sophisticated and thoughtful, one had commented they should name the group “Mister Splashy Pants.”  Even though the name was amusing for a serious campaign, it surprisingly received a large amount of positive feedback from Reddit and BoingBoing, which are both social news websites to which users can submit content and is ranked by voters.

Web users have a wealth of knowledge and know exactly how and what they respond to, so why not ask them? As Ohanian discussed in his video, you have to let go, you have to let some of the power be put back into the hands of users.  Be honest, open to change and in the end you’ll most likely wind up on top [of Reddit].

To view the video clip, click here

 

Clay Shirky — Reaction

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history

Clay Shirky provided a brief, though insightful, presentation to how communication has evolved over time.  He provided chronological examples of messaging inventions and their limited communication capabilities—the movement of type and print, individual communication through the use of telephones, mass media through movies, television and finally, the fastest growing—the internet.

The use of the internet and later creation of social media has been a gateway for multichannel communication; it is no longer a one way conversion.  Social media allows “amateurs” —as Shirky describes—to speak with each other, inform each other and express themselves in a more flexible fashion. For amateurs, this is a powerful tool that can be used in a powerful way, though some businesses may not see this new power in the same manner.  Companies traditionally had—to some extent—the authority of what was being said about their brand; today with the strength of social media those privileges has been somewhat taken away.  Their voice isn’t as strong as it perhaps used to in the past—people are dictating, reacting and voting how and what company’s brand stand for and this alone could be a brutal reality in how companies are delivering themselves to customers.  The best solution for a company is not to hide or diminish their values but to express and react to what people are saying—become transparent and be honest.  Let those who are speaking about you know where the company stands and how a situation is going to be handled.   Tell the truth.

Shirky provided a quick story about the Obama campaign.  Him and his fellow marketers created a website where voters could read and follow his stance on certain political issues.  People where pouring in, opting to receive emails, commenting and expressing their support.  Though, when Obama changed his stance on a certain bill, a large group of supporters weren’t too thrilled.  They expressed their dislike, their concerns and comments – traditionally, this has only been a one way communication line, though social media has opened the line for everyone to speak their opinion.  Even though Obama lost a few votes on that account, he was able to speak to those voters who expressed their concern, and let them know he understands, he listened and wanted people to know he still felt strongly to go forward with the bill.

People were privy to the fact he was honest and responded.  The negative comments weren’t removed, yet addressed.  The fact is, all people are not going to be all smiles, those who are frowning need a conversation, need a reason to perhaps become happy.  A large portion is to understand where people are coming from and address those concerns in which they may have.

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~Stephanie Pinto