AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Archive for May, 2013

Ashton Kutcher has a problem with the media on Twitter. Do you?

Posted by hlg123 on May 31, 2013

Earlier this week, Ashton Kutcher told an audience at the CTIA 2013 wireless conference that  “Twitter’s experience has changed for me, pretty drastically. It used to be sort of a personalized, experience for me, a really personal experience that I could share. I think for lack of a better verb, I think the media kind of f***ed it up,” Kutcher said on Thursday. “I think retweeting hurt Twitter the most.”

Kutcher’s primary complaint  is that he believes Twitter has primarily become a marketing tool. As social media platforms age, its interesting to think about how those that last have evolved over time.  I was a college freshman when Facebook was launched among the first round of colleges. Thinking about what it was like then in comparison to what Facebook is today is quite startling when you think about it. All platforms will (and should evolve over time, but what happens when these changes fundamentally change the framework of the platform?

As a latecomer to Twitter, I never experience the “personalized” experience Kutcher is referring to, but I think one of the platform’s greatest strengths now is acting as a source of up-to-the-minute headlines. That being said, I do think that platforms like Facebook and Twitter are in danger of morphing into giant amalgamations that resemble one another too closely. There are benefits to having a niche, and offering similar content in a different format, in my opinion, is a devaluation of each. Which begs the question, how should these platforms balance keeping up with their competitors, while maintaining the elements that made them popular in the first place?

-Hannah Griffin

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Creative Social Media Production with Vine

Posted by rc9530a on May 30, 2013

Mashable recently held an interactive contese for its readers to produce “Vines” using the theme of “Unexpected Pairs.” For those of you that aren’t familiar with the app, Vine is a social media tool that’s best described as the video form of Twitter. It allows for users to film videos up to six seconds long and share them with their friends. The app doesn’t have as large of a following as other comparable apps like Instagram, but it’s still relatively new and slightly unheard of.

What makes Vine such a great tool is that its built-in camera feature allows for dynamic video production capabilities on the part of its users. Where as most camera apps force you to record once you’ve press the record button, Vine works by recording only while your finger is touching the screen. This feature allows for great versatility in creating content, a great example being Mashable’s “Unexpected Pairs” contest:

http://mashable.com/2013/05/28/best-vines-unexpected-pairs/

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#fakeDCbars

Posted by bexmoy on May 30, 2013

#fakeDCbars

Last night, Washingtonians shared their creative ideas for appropriately-named bars that DC should have on Twitter. For the most part, the tweets featured favorite phrases and places of politicians and those who work for them.

It was one shining moment for DC nerds. More than anything, it demonstrates how an area can take a hashtag and run with it, making a shared experience across people who have never met and may not actually even exist.

-becky

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Businesses Bailing The ‘Book

Posted by zachthebernstein on May 29, 2013

We’ve all just finished doing our social media monitoring assignments, and one thing I would guess all our companies/organizations/whatever have in common is that they use Facebook.  Using social media is an important way to reach out to more people, but also probably to show potential customers that you’re living in the 21st century.  So this article, about business owners joining teenagers in their Facebook-related angst, was an interesting read.  It details a couple of small businesses which are taking a very down view on Facebook – in one case, bailing completely:

Bethany Gonzalez Moreno, founder of B. EcoChic, a green parenting website, says that the company still has a Facebook page, “but we’ve found that it has nowhere near the impact an old-fashioned email newsletter has. We’ve found we have much better engagement with readers through email and through our website. We’re keeping our page up, but we only update it occasionally with major news and have not spent a lot of time trying to build a large presence. I think the time is better spent getting great content up on our website.”

Gregory Ciotti, Marketing Strategist at IT support software company Help Scout, has an even more pessimistic position, saying, “We recently left Facebook completely and no longer directly incorporate it into our marketing efforts, the reason being is that our Facebook page was returning abysmal results and became a complete waste of time. In contrast, our newsletter, LinkedIn sharing, and Twitter profile were sending in much more traffic with no need to “boost” status updates to fans and followers that we already earned.”

Granted, this is only two pieces of purely anecdotal evidence, as the author notes, and the advantages of using Facebook probably still outweigh the negatives for a lot of businesses.  Still, with all this negative buzz surrounding Facebook and how utterly disinterested users seem to be in it, it’s reasonable to ask: Is Facebook going to go the way of MySpace?  Who’s thinking of shutting down their account?

-Zach Bernstein

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60 years after first Everest ascent, anyone can climb (online)

Posted by stephanielenore on May 29, 2013

This week marks the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historical first ascent of Mt. Everest. To celebrate, HSTRY.org – an online platform dedicated to historical reenactments – is tweeting the climb in real time. Anyone wishing to join in is asked to add #Everest53 to their tweets. 

In 2012, HSTRY.org live-tweeted a reenactment of the 1952 Great Smog of London and the platform soon plans to launch a reenactment of World War I. From their website:

“Hstry.org creates a living and breathing historical record, ideal for consumption in today’s media market but also tailored for future consumption. Every person, young and old, is struggling to come to grips with information consumption in this age. Hstry.org will ensure that major historical events around the world are retold in an easily understandable format.”

The idea is not entirely original (that credit goes to the Home Alone Project, which started in 2009), it’s a pretty interesting example of offline activities being adapted by digital platforms. Though the coordination would be extraordinary, it would be pretty cool to see an entire network based around the idea. 

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Days: The 21st Century Diary

Posted by rc9530a on May 29, 2013

As I was reading an article today about upcoming social media apps, I came to learn about a new app called “Days.” Basically, this app works as a photo diary that organizes all yours photos by day so that you can go back to any given day and reminisce on what you did on that particular date. The app is currently in beta and to download it you need to be texted the link to the download (which you can easily do by entering your phone number on the app’s website).

I’m always hesitant to try out new social media applications. The majority of them usually flop, and a good number of them just end up sucking the fun out of real life by creating an artificial sense of necessity in terms of having to share what you’re doing every second of every day. What I like about this app is that it isn’t necessarily made for sharing with your friends, but rather for compiling and creating content for your own private usage.

This raises another question: if I’m using “Days” privately and not sharing my content, does that still make it a social media app? The content produced by other apps that can be used privately, Twitter for example, still serve the intention of creating a channel of communication between the user and the ether, while “Days” serves more as a record keeper for the user. I wonder…

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Social Media Continuing to Expose Rape Culture

Posted by Stephanie on May 29, 2013

The United States embodies an alarmingly well-tolerated notion of rape culture that has been recently further exposed as a result of growing social media practices. With incidences such as the Steubenville rape case, the nation is coming to realize what is deemed normal or acceptable regarding gender violence certainly is not. This is an opportunity for social media giants (such as Facebook and Twitter) to take a stand on a pressing national issue in order to influence younger generations and change the way people view an issue that merits more pressing attention.

WAM! (Women Action and the Media) recently posted complaints to Facebook claiming the site tolerates pages and offensive content posted by users involving rape and violence against women. When WAM! went public with their complaint, 15 companies pulled their ads from the Facebook site, and a petition was circulated. While this got Facebook’s attention, they originally indicated that the complaints against this rape rhetoric did not fit in with their current policies, which included the removal of any anti-Semitic, homophobic or Islamophoic wording or images. As of Tuesday, Facebook has revoked this statement and issued a new statement vowing to review and improve their guidelines for removing hateful gender based content.

Much like corporate social responsibly, Internet advocacy should be used to foster community involvement to rally around an issue that is detrimental to society. WAM! executive director Jaclyn Friedman said “we are reaching an international tipping point in attitudes towards rape and violence against women,” and I truly believe social media is playing a large role in this. 

Facebook has established itself as one of the leaders in the social media world. With this comes the responsibility to be at the forefront of the movement for reducing rape culture and minimizing and eliminating hateful messaging by blocking harmful gender based content. There is a fine line between freedom of speech and monitoring damaging content, and Facebook should now use its platform as the leader of social media to set a standard for their company and values, and hopefully other new media companies and outlets will follow suit. 

 -Stephanie Saulsbury

 

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10 Hot Social Networks to Watch

Posted by stephanielenore on May 29, 2013

10 Hot Social Networks to Watch

Honestly, will anything ever overtake Facebook? I personally have my own doubts, but these new niche platforms have some interesting potential… even if they do just end up being purchased and adapted into more dominant networks. 

Of the 10 emerging networks listed, Medium and Ghost seem, at least for now, to just be two other competing blogging platforms. Kleek, which offers user the ability to build a smaller, more selective feed of Facebook friends, is begging to be purchased and folded into the original Zuckerberg production, as are Pose and RunKeeper. These three networks offer niche settings that could easily be incorporated into Facebook and Instagram, in a similar manner to the List feature of Twitter; one feed for close friends, another of fashion images, another for running buddies, etc. 

Viddy and Vine, both micro-film creators, seem to be setup as natural competitors, though Viddy is already able to incorporate into other platforms and offers users better production tools. 

The Days platform seems particularly cool and is the one I would be most likely to use. Essentially, the network creates a shareable photojournal based on the metadata of date storage in one’s smartphone. If Days could integrate into iCal or Google Calendar, it would essentially become a social media scrapbooking network, offering users the ability to organize and store schedules and daily occurrences with minimal effort.

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#Facebook is aging itself without #hashtags

Posted by juliarav on May 29, 2013

Being the forefront of social media, Facebook is expected to adopt #hashtags, one of the most popular and almost day-to-day language earlier enough to get in the game like Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. However, in case you are still wondering about Facebook and #hashtag, it is still two separate issues. When I say, “I am having the time of my life,” it is simply a “what’s on your mind” status. Not related to any broader conversation at all, or maybe, but I am not sure about it. However, if #hashtag is in use, “I am having the time of my #life” can be something big. #life becomes searchable and valuable to many people, especially marketers or even communication professionals like you and me. We understand people better and faster.

#Hashtag is simply useful in the sense that it brings people together. In reality, marketers nowadays are all adopting different ways to bring like-minded people together, the use of #hashtag is only one obvious tool.

However, I believe a lot of people have the same concern with me in that the traditional use of language is #dying off. We use LOL to represent big laughter and now maybe #LOL for happiness or whatever that may mean. Not opposing the use of #hashtag in any way, because sometimes I do find it easier to #hashtag something rather than saying it in a complete sentence; yet, just to make a point.

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Watching TV with 200 million of your closest friends

Posted by bexmoy on May 28, 2013

Just as essential as the remote control and popcorn when I settle in to watch a sporting event or new episode of whatever show is the main event of my night is Twitter.

I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon in my own life for the past several months. And even before that, I participated in the hashtagged world of TV commentary for at least the past couple years. I can’t pinpoint when it became a habit, but I’m thinking it was likely when I moved in with a group of roommates who had little interest in Gossip Girl. I needed to share my thoughts on the unfolding social crises of Serena and Blair, and Twitter graciously allowed me that outlet.

It is now my habit to check #MadMen during each commercial break. Are my thoughts on par with the rest of the world? Is there something I should have noticed that I missed about the theme of the episode or symbolism in the last scene?

And I cannot even fathom watching a sporting event without Twitter nearby. (This includes when I’m at the game amongst fellow fans).

In addition to the trending topics assuring me I am not alone in this habit, there is also evidence right on my TV screen during everything I watch, from The Today Show (#Today) to Pretty Little Liars (#PLL) to the Red Wings embarrassing the Blackhawks or vice versa (#StanleyCup).

In fact, Pretty Little Liars took some heat last season, when it posted the hashtag #PoorSpencer before the moment of the big reveal, thus lessening the scene’s impact. Similarly, Glee tells fans how to feel and what to tweet throughout an episode. It makes TV interactive; it makes it a shared experience even when you’re watching a show alone.

Once upon a time, fans of a show had to wait to talk about it until the next day at the water cooler or lunch table. Now, it’s instantaneous. Even more impressive in an age where Hulu and Netflix are a normal-but therefore unscheduled-part of people’s viewing habit.

At SXSW, one presenter analyzed how Twitter has changed the way we watch TV. It’s not all shows per say, it’s the ones where something surprising is about to happen—a given every week in Pretty Little Liars, for example (and yes, I know it’s embarrassing that I can speak with authority on this) or during playoff season.

Some of Twitter’s potential influence is possibly limited, however. House of Cards and Arrested Development allow viewers to go at their own pace. No amount of Spoiler Alerts can prevent an accidental reveal of a major event in the plot and a lack of urgency to share every reaction to the show on social media. 

Regardless of its limitations, Twitter’s influence on TV is a powerful tool. After all, it played a part in Arrested Development pick up by Netflix in the first place.

-becky 

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