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Patrick James Cavanaugh
A Thesis Presented to the FACULTY OF THE GRADUATE SCHOOL UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree MASTER OF ARTS (STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS)
Patrick James Cavanaugh
UMI Number: 1464239
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Table of Contents List of Tables List of Figures Abstract Introduction Chapter 1: What is Social Media Chapter 2: Online Community and Identity Chapter 3: The Conversation Chapter 4: Exploring Social Media Platforms Blogs Twitter Facebook Wikipedia Digg Flickr Chapter 5: Bringing it all together - Storytelling Conclusion References iii iv v 1 4 10 15 27 29 32 38 43 49 54 57 60 63
List of Tables Table 1: Number of Internet Users Table 2: Community Types Table 3: Obstacles to Trust Table 4: Social Network Traffic Table 5: Social Media Platform Categories Table 6: Dos and Don’ts Table 7: Blog SMO Table 8: Digg Tactics 1 10 12 18 20 23 30 50 iii .
List of Figures Figure 1: OCRN Findings Figure 2: Web of Social Media Figure 3: Twitter Alexa Ratings Figure 4: HP Labs Twitter Research Figure 5: Facebook Alexa Ratings Figure 6: Wikipedia Alexa Ratings Figure 7: Walmart Wiki Contents Figure 8: Digg Alexa Ratings Figure 9: ShareThis Widget Figure 10: Flickr Alexa Ratings Figure 11: StoryTlr Entry 7 19 33 35 39 44 47 49 53 55 58 iv .
As Social Media is an emerging phenomenon. this shall by no means serve as the complete authority on the subject. and this paper provides both an introduction to and a framework for discussing that medium. grants insight to exploring the various platforms of Social Media and the norms and principles that define each.Abstract In the Strategic Public Relations industry. however it is my aim to provide a foundation for an ongoing review of best practices in Strategic Social Media. As the Internet becomes the prime channel of communication for much of the population—through Social Media—professionals who are willing to engage in the conversation must come to understand the world they are entering. v . as defined relative to a virtual reality. professional communication is defined by well-crafted messaging and carefully chosen distribution channels. It is my contention that an understanding of the principles of community and identity.
9 million 12. by Internet population China United States Japan Germany United Kingdom France India Russia Brazil South Korea Canada Italy Spain Mexico Netherlands Worldwide Internet Audience Asia Pacific Europe North America Latin America Middle East & Africa 1 179.Introduction Looking at the Internet and its evolution over recent decades.4%) 49 million (4.7 million 34.3 million 60. this “series of tubes” is really just a series of interconnected computer networks.com/2009/01/23/comscore-internet-population-passes-one-billion-top-15countries/ 1 .techcrunch.1 million 29.1 Table 1: Number of Internet Users Top 15 countries.4%) 75 million (7. the users of the Internet. a “network of networks.8%) http://www. one is hard-pressed to find someone who believes it has not revolutionized how we live our daily lives. And there are now scads of users: recent comScore data shows that Internet population has recently reached above the billion mark.8 million 20.8 million 17.0 million 36.7 million 163.0 million 32.5 million 11. thrive on the transfer of information that this technology allows. Yet.0 million 37.0%) 185 million (18.3%) 283 million (28.8 million 416 million (41.3 million 21.7 million 27.0 million 27. so too do we.” and just as the Internet thrives on the transfer of data.
” and how communications professionals can best “engage in the conversation.htm 2 . I hope to establish a framework for analyzing online communications from the perspective of Community and Identity. and Media-sharing sites are buckets of pure content. From there I look at various platforms and detail the keys to best practices. Microblogs are a bulletin board of events. the classic message-board of online communication has expanded into a web of content and comment logs. concluding with a section on Social Media storytelling and how this content convergence benefits 2 http://www. videos and blog posts each spark their own thread of conversation and interaction for a community of “netizens. The Internet has redefined human behavior and any guideline for participating is helped by an understanding of the Obstacles to Trust and the Psychographics of Anonymity.”2 With this paper I look to explore the Internet from the perspective of strategic communications. how this is exemplified in the tools and applications commonly referred to as “Social Media. News articles. “The divide between the publishers and the public is collapsing.Public Relations professionals need to realize the nature of the whole of the Internet as the Forum. This turns mass media upside down.” After briefly introducing Social Media.” Aggregates serve as the pool from which a variety of topics and pieces of interest can be drawn from and discussed. looking at how the World Wide Web has increasingly become a prime channel of communication for many parts of the world.businessweek. RSS feeds are news and headlines.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/feb2008/db20080219_908252_page_2. pictures. It creates media of the masses. As Stephen Baker and Heather Green from BusinessWeek put it in their article Social Media Will Change Your Business.
communicators and changes how news is reported. I end with an example of what a Social Media startup would look like for an existing organization. Finally. 3 . utilizing the different platforms to optimize the site for fully engaging in the conversation.
wrote The Social Media Manifesto.4 Brian Solis. and the manner in which information is presented.html 4 3 4 .[and] With the injection of social tools into the mix.3 This is the Wikipedia definition. customer service. who exchange words and ideas through the mediation of computer bulletin board systems (BBSs) and other digital networks.0.com/EBchecked/topic/1495829/virtual-community/1495829main/Main 5 http://www.briansolis. as people share their stories and experiences. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology. An understanding of the role people play in the process of not only reading and disseminating information. It’s a mashup of new and traditional media that spans across advertising.5 http://en.org/wiki/Social_media http://www. social interaction. This interaction. a blogpost where-in he provides the following definition: First it’s an understanding that social media is about sociology and less about technology. one I feel appropriate for an academic discussion of this topic as this online encyclopedia exemplifies many aspects of what Social Media entails. and the construction of words. sales. who may or may not meet one another face to face. PR.britannica. pictures. Indeed. the more authoritative Encyclopedia Britannica has no reference for Social Media. depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities.wikipedia. videos and audio. marcom.Chapter 1: What is Social Media? Social Media are primarily Internet-based tools for sharing and discussing information with other people. a thought-leader and key influencer in Social Media and author of a blog on PR 2. share and also create content for others to participate….com/2007/06/future-of-communications-manifesto-for. and community relations…. only “virtual community”: a group of people. but also how they in turn. people now have the ability to impact and influence the decisions of their peers and also other newsmakers.
Before going any further. you still need to make a time investment. Myth #2: Companies can foster community. and relationships around everyday products. but also confusion over brand identity—missteps can be exposed more readily. and as you get more accustomed to these sites and tools.6 Reality: Just as a Strategic Public Relations Campaign would utilize any other communication channel. then start slowly. If you can't invest hours at first.com/mack-collier/social-media-can-be-cheap-but-its-not-fr.php 5 . Creating a relationship between brands and consumers helps public relations 6 http://www. and appear very easy to use. Not only can this lead to inconsistent messages. This has directly led to a rush of businesses signing up and logging in to every new application without a strategic plan or concrete understanding of the medium. Myth #1: Social Media is cheap and easy Many of the tools of Social Media are free. wrote a blogpost in response to questions about how much time bloggers need to spend on their sites. why is it trying so hard to be on a hip site? Setting up shop online should grant as much preparation and investment as opening a store on the street. a Social Media consultant.searchengineguide. …while it might not cost a lot to get your social media efforts off the ground. And the more time you can invest. and unless you can commit the time that this space requires. Social Media requires a strategic plan and the necessary resources to succeed. the better your results. Mack Collier. it’s important to dispel certain myths that exist about Social Media and its applications. then devote more time. engagement. If the brand is not hip. threatening future credibility and reputation. Don't enter into the social media space unless you can commit to being here for the long haul. and as your efforts improve.
or track.”7 Members were encouraged to upload photos of stains and vote on their favorites. ideas.0.not everyday products. It seems P&G didn’t quite garner the engagement they wanted (though there are still 500 “fans” lingering around). For example. but only so far. Drama 2. summarizes the key learning here as before brand marketers invest their money implementing marketing campaigns.8 Reality: People interact. their social media marketing campaigns are probably doomed to mediocrity at best and complete failure at worst. This critique has followed the industry’s progression onto the Internet. and the page has become another abandoned Social Media ghost town. with stains instead of singers.9 Myth #3: Public relations campaigns which utilize Social Media are difficult to measure. Without a realistic assessment of their position and how they can best relate their product/brand-relationship to the consumer. Social Media goes a long way in contributing to this dynamic by providing tools to help engage communities of users. they should consider their position in the world and in an average consumer’s life. think of it as an American Idol.facebook.com/2008/02/14/note-to-tide-detergent-is-detergent/ 9 http://econsultancy.com/blog/3016-a-case-study-in-social-media-success 6 . monitor.professionals tell their stories and makes their jobs easier. A common criticism of Public Relations is the difficulty with which proper evaluation and cost analysis metrics can be applied to any campaign. causes. where there are no circulation estimates or ad7 8 http://www.com/pages/2x-Ultra-Tide-Presents-Americas-Favorite-Stains/10963072348?ref=s http://www. fantasies . a well-known blogger.drama20show. Tide officials made a decision to create a brand page on Facebook for “America’s Favorite Stains. engage and build communities around passions.
wordpress.10 Here are highlights: Figure 1: OCRN Findings Q16: Which of the following quantitative and qualitative metrics are critical for communication ROI at your organization? 10 http://redplasticmonkey. if not impossible. The Return on Investment generated by implementing a Social Media campaign seems improbable. and to gain insight into specifically how organizations were valuing and reporting on their online communities activities. The Online Community Research Network initiated the Online Community ROI Models and Reporting research in February 2008.space pricing to provide comparison.com/2008/03/28/online-community-roi-models-and-reportingresearch-study-posted/ 7 . due to the still emerging business models of the medium. The study was created to investigate further into the ROI research conducted in the last half of 2007.
Referral logs tell you exactly where people first engaged with your content. 8 . saving our company time and money (b) Availability of information and content for specific areas of interest (c) Increases site traffic / more engaged relationship with us (d) Idea Creation / What we learn from members of the community (e) Lead Generation / Conversion / Loyalty Reality: Communication professionals have found adequate measures for online behavior.Figure 1: OCRN Findings (Continued) Q23: What were the 1-2 compelling sources of value from your community or social media efforts that you constantly communicate? (a) Community helps problem solve faster and more efficiently than Customer Support.
and usage data and analytics statistically define levels of consumer interaction.Google Trends identifies prominent search terms. 9 .
there are like-minded others out there. 11 Table 2: Community Types Type Moral Identifier Individuals share a common ethical system that constrains interactions among members.Chapter 2: Online Community and Identity Online communities can be defined with reference to communities in the real word. Normative Proximate Fluid.0”) is fundamentally participatory. Lee Komito outlines four types of community and how these relate to those on the Internet. the beauty of being online is that no matter what appeals to you. 10 . This is community as communal solidarity. 11 “The Net as a Foraging Society: Flexible Communities” by Lee Komito. in Information Society 14. people across continents become virtual neighbors. There is often little sense of collective identity. #2. or Nomadic Similar to a fan convention or a club meeting. People interact with each other not in terms of roles or stereotypes. and individuals move and groups are redefined. Through the Internet. common-interest communities abound on the Internet. The existence of agreed-upon rules of appropriate behavior. emphasizing mutual benefit above self-interest or personal goals.0” to “Web 2. but there are both benefits and consequences to this. the culture of the Internet (especially with the more recent transformation from “Web 1. and Social Media is comparable to a cocktail party in the community clubhouse. Moreover. 1998. whatever your interests are. Membership in a community is voluntary and temporary. Temporary aggregations of individuals. but as individuals. pp. 97-103.
There is an underlying assumption that the reviews on these sites are posted by members of the community themselves—3rd Parties with no direct brand affiliation—and their inherent disinterest implies credibility. you are building a popularity contest for ideas. When you build a system where you get points for the number of people who agree with you. Identity. So the votes aren't really free . by its structure. It is the sense of community that provides trust. For example.In what has been termed the “In Strangers We Trust” Conundrum by Matthew LeVeque. it's actually quite obvious that if your popularity contest for ideas inherently. but in reality you have to register to vote. “Social trust is affected by latent affiliations and latent affiliations function as identities. but Giles Bowkett has found an inherent flaw with the idea that published content should appeal to the majority.12 online users currently view each other as reliable sources of information.they cost time. and you have to be there frequently for your votes to make much difference. favors people who waste their own time. then your contest will produce winners which are actually losers. and Latent Affiliation Networks. like contribution is with Wikipedia. your popularity contest for ideas will not be dominated by the people with the best ideas. Votes appear to be free. but the people with the most time to spend on your web site. the inherent consequences to “mob” rule. As Ryan Light writes in his paper Like Strangers We Trust: Social Trust.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/8/4/3/9/pages184397/p18439713. It appears to be a very open and democratic system. If you do the math.allacademic. one of the platforms discussed later in this paper is a content aggregate site where a community of users submits content and votes on the submissions. However. http://www.”13 There are. with the anonymous reviewers on Amazon and Yelp impacting purchase decisions. however. The most popular ideas will not be the best 12 13 USC Professor and Senior VP at the Rogers Group.php 11 .
however. since the people who have the best ideas. most of the online world is still relatively new to much of the population. 12 . or unfamiliarity. 144-146. people might presume that anonymous agents are less likely to act responsibly. Policy and Community in an Electronic Age. can in itself stall the formation of trust. and the ability to recognize them. also have better things to do and better places to be. we lack cues that may give evidence of similarity. pp. there are more specific features of the online world that bear on the formation and sustenance of trust…” Nissenbaum posits the following as Obstacles to Trust Online: 15 Table 3: Obstacles to Trust Obstacles Missing Identities Characteristics If we imagine identity as a thread upon which we string the history of interactions with others. familiarity.14 Additionally.ideas. Finally. in Virtual Publics.blogspot. we are separated from others in time and space. because identity is also bound up with accountability. Missing Personal Characteristics 14 15 http://gilesbowkett.com/2008/05/summon-monsters-open-door-heal-or-die. Beyond sheer novelty. then without that thread we lose the ability to learn from past experiences of either indicated trust or betrayal….html “Securing Trust Online: Wisdom or Oxymoron?” by Helen Nissenbaum. and the rapid pace of development in Social Media can be overwhelming for the unprepared. 2003. Helen Nissenbaum writes that “Novelty. or shared value systems. Online.
” written by Mattathias Schwartz.videojug. and trickery.” “griefers.Table 3: Obstacles to Trust (Continued) Inscrutable Context One casualty [of IC online] is role definition. A film on VideoJug titled “How To Behave On An Internet Forum” playfully details this defining characteristic of Internet communication.” and other assorted online characters whose only pleasure is derived by causing others pain. Just as roles are still relatively unformulated. By-and-large.org. a collection of content-specific message boards where a post consists of an image and a few lines of text.com/film/how-to-behave-on-an-internet-forum http://www. This essentially gives them free reign to be as snooty and argumentative as they like.16 A ‘troll' posts deliberately controversial or annoying messages on forums while a ‘griefer’ attempts to enter and undermine games or virtual worlds. so are background constraints and social norms regarding qualities like fidelity. professional. is that everyone gets to be anonymous. Almost everyone posts 16 17 http://www. guile. the trouble with the Internet. at least for now. and forums in particular. duplicity. loyalty.nytimes.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin 13 .com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t. we cannot rely on traditional mechanisms for articulating and supporting social. outlines the issue quite well. by focusing on 4chan. for the specific purpose of getting a rise out of people and initiating a hate-filled and overly-argumentative reaction. and other roles…. and has directly lead to the introduction of “trolls. because. These obstacles to trust are inherent to the psychographics of anonymity.17 “The Trolls Among Us. virtue. The New York Times Magazine published an article in August 2008 explaining these malicious techniques.
com/define.” http://www. this is an argument you will not win. specifically to /b/. Lulz was originally an exclamation but is now often used as a noun meaning interesting or funny internet content. Lulz is the one good reason to do anything… “I did it for the lulz. They do this in pursuit of “lulz”18 and the appropriate course of action is simply not to respond. or an obscene telephone party line. or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand. or the “random” board. the culture of /b/ has little precedent.urbandictionary.” The group Anonymous responsible for much of the recent Scientology protests in Los Angeles has been linked to 4chan. No matter how superior your logic nor the invalidity of the troll-logic. Don't feed the troll. 18 Definition from Urban Dictionary: Beginning as a plural variant of lol. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall. insularity and traffic-driven turnover.php?term=lulz 14 . Schwartz describes /b/ thusly: Measured in terms of depravity.as “anonymous.
your identity is defined by a Profile/Username. entertainment. users have personal reputations—in Twitter. the more worthy and valuable they are to society at large. it’s usually because they are looking for something. or part of an inside joke. It is content that provides much of glue for communities within Social Media. In addition. info on a purchase decision or even a date. with the community “modding” your behavior by way of votes. positive and negative. Every time you post. along with post count. your Post Count/History. posting just to up your count without making a significant contribution brings disfavor. a username can define adoption rate.Chapter 3: The Conversation WHO . your post count goes up by one. and your Karma/Reputation. by going on the Internet people are interacting with media content. Content is King. A username illustrates something about the user.com/film/how-to-behave-on-an-internet-forum 15 . the exact opposite seems to be the case. WHAT – When users go online.19 And finally. reference. so make sure all your messages add to a discussion in some way. Television shows like Lost inspire entire message boards devoted to discussing the 19 http://www. there are sites that track karma points for users. Frankly. with the more common names being registered early on and perhaps. Whether they’re looking for news. your number of followers and who you follow become character traits. for instance. Some people seem to think that the higher the post count.When engaging in the conversation in Social Media. characterizing the influential “veterans” who were there from the beginning. within the larger communities.videojug. a favorite character. an interest or a nickname. Even in sites without inherent karmic capabilities.
bloggers. contributors and readers are all collaborators in creating the content they enjoy. The articles and funny videos are made almost entirely by individual content creators and fans. minute by minute. the Internet Movie Database. relies upon its users to submit film reviews and write plot summaries.demandmedia.com/ http://www. with a freelancer network and studio capabilities to develop content that can help businesses grow through Social Media. IMDB. it gets a heat map of what a growing part of the world is thinking about. Demandmedia.com.com/brands/ 22 http://www.20 Demand Media owns and operates several branded websites. Baker and Green state: [Social Media]'s wrapped up far more in people's day-to-day lives. More than 26 million people visit eHow each month for tips on how to do just about anything.com.21 Cracked is a website which retains its own membership community while consistently appearing on many social bookmarking sites. But those exchanges were private. Most blogs are open to the world.22 WHEN – Social Media has changed the timeframe for audience interaction with media and messaging. eHow. No longer can the length of a news cycle determine whether crises will disappear if you just ignore and rely upon interest waning. including LiveStrong. E-mail has carried on billions of conversations over the past decade.com. So if a company can track millions of blogs simultaneously. giving contributors an audience in the millions and helping them establish a credibility and visibility they wouldn’t have otherwise.com. each one tied to a moment. There are sites now developed to help companies or individuals create and publish their own content. As the 20 21 http://www. It's connected to time…. Editors.demandmedia.latest episode.com is such a site. [Blogs] evolve with every posting.com/brands/cracked/ 16 . and Cracked.demandmedia.
bloggers read each other, comment, and link from one page to the next, they create a global conversation.23 There is a context and timeframe for much of online communication. It is ongoing, and has been ever since the Internet gained widespread use (in some circles, this is nearly 20 years). A concrete example of this is the existence of online ‘Memes,’ cultural artifacts arising from and transferring through interaction. These can be jokes, beliefs, or ideas that have evolved from acceptance and dispersion.24 One Internet meme that reached beyond virtual reality is the Rick Roll. “Rick-Rolling” someone entails sharing a purported link with a user that when clicked actually references a music video of Rick Astley’s “Never Going To Give You Up” on Youtube. This meme had enough farreaching influence that when the New York Mets baseball team held a poll for fans to vote on a new sing-along song for the 8th Inning, they were unwittingly rick-rolled.25 WHERE – Social Media is not the Internet, but the Internet is Social Media. The scope of the term covers a broad range of different websites, networks, and communication platforms. Social Networks are the definitive online community, where millions of members access each other through a single portal. Nielsen Online ratings provides a glance at the breadth of the conversation:26
http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/feb2008/db20080219_908252_page_6.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme 25 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1584640/Rickrolled-New-York-Mets-fall-victim-to-RickAstley-online-prank.html 26 Nielsen Online; US, Home and Work; Month of February 2009
Table 4: Social Network Traffic
Top 20 Social Network Sites, Dec 2008 Feb-09 Site Unique Audience Time/Person Facebook Myspace.com Classmates Online LinkedIn Reunion.com Twitter.com Club Penguin Ning AOL Community Tagged.com Bebo Imeem Flixster Multiply Last.fm MyYearbook Meetup.com Care2.com CarDomain Network Gaia Online 65,704,000 54,164,000 15,545,000 13,418,000 11,220,000 7,038,000 6,073,000 3,944,000 3,637,000 3,488,000 3,165,000 2,665,000 2,520,000 2,394,000 2,262,000 2,248,000 2,216,000 2,120,000 1,627,000 1,544,000 2:59:55 1:35:31 0:08:12 0:12:26 0:04:12 0:08:07 0:40:07 0:13:56 0:10:29 1:16:33 0:11:17 0:06:57 0:12:30 0:06:34 0:03:41 1:01:17 0:07:33 0:03:55 0:03:00 4:06:10
Feb-08 Unique Audience Time/Person 20,043,000 56,313,000 12,955,000 7,392,000 4,323,000 475,000 4,727,000 1,464,000 3,337,000 1,316,000 2,255,000 2,187,000 2,619,000 821,000 1,980,000 1,738,000 1,940,000 1,765,000 1,322,000 1,222,000 1:06:43 2:16:05 0:10:21 0:10:31 0:04:34 0:06:45 0:09:04 0:04:43 0:36:58 0:11:51 0:12:42 0:05:28 0:07:38 0:05:59 0:06:39 1:00:02 0:12:16 0:04:34 0:05:04 2:20:08
YOY Growth Unique Audience Time/Person 228% -4% 20% 82% 160% 1,382% 28% 169% 9% 165% 40% 22% -4% 192% 14% 29% 14% 20% 23% 26% 170% -30% -21% 18% -8% 20% 20% 95% -72% 146% -11% 27% 64& 10% -45% 2% -38% -14% 41% 76%
Nielsen has lumped these sites under the common Social Network title, a general term which undermines the true scope of Social Media, seen below. Figure 2: Web of Social Media
but reference and embed links to and from other platforms. LinkedIn. Last.com Wikipedia. Zooomr. Pownce. Age of Conan Miniclip.tv. Reddit epinions. ccMixter Second Life. and Entertainment. Vimeo. Eventful. TypePad. Youmeo Upcoming.27 belies the cross-interaction that takes place throughout the realm of Social Media.com This categorical distinction. TrustedOnes Flickr. Twitter. as defined by the Social Media article on Wikipedia.fm.The multi-various applications can be organized into four distinct categories: Communication. Wordpress. Everquest. Stickam imeem. Skyrock.wikipedia. Justin. Vox. wetpaint Delicious. Facebook. StumbleUpon Digg. Mixx. Bebo. The Hype Machine. Revver Ustream. Yelp. Viddler. Meetup. PBwiki. SmugMug YouTube. Multimedia. Applications not only share audiences. Jaiku Avatars United. in 27 http://en. The Sims Online World of Warcraft.org. Photobucket. Livejournal.org/wiki/Social_media 20 . Table 5: Social Media Platform Categories Category Communication Blogs: Microblogs / Presence apps Social networking Social network aggregation Events Collaboration Wikis Social bookmarking Social News Sites Opinion sites Multimedia Photo sharing Video sharing Livecasting Audio and Music Sharing Entertainment Virtual worlds Online gaming Game sharing Platform Blogger (service). Orkut. Netlog FriendFeed. MySpace. Collaboration.
addition to an increasing convergence of capabilities. Bloggers. appropriate. you can either talk to them. WHY . and narratives across multiple media channels and demand more active modes of spectatorship. New tools and technologies enable consumers to archive. and recirculate media content. As Henry Jenkins puts it. To communicate. A former professor of mine worked with EA Games. a discourse that shapes how consumers have deployed those technologies. in Entertainment. 2006. and Gamers. but finds itself within Multimedia when videos of epic battles are uploaded to Youtube. 3. and their business meetings had been taken out of the boardroom and into WoW—projects could be discussed and ideas brainstormed while the team was raiding a dungeon and utilizing group chat. and as not only a means of providing material for bloggers and journalists but as a tool of Communication itself. and political candidates are tracking down constituents for their campaigns. ideas. or give them something to talk about. It’s a context of sharing: 1. in Fans. The results for businesses who engage are an up-to-the-minute read on what their audiences are thinking and discussing.” by Henry Jenkins. Movie studios are monitoring blogs to see which films are generating the desirable buzz. 2. For instance.28 “Interactive Audiences? The “Collective Intelligence” of Media Fans. Economic trends favoring the horizontally integrated media conglomerates encourage the flow of images. World of Warcraft is a multiplayer online game. 28 21 . A range of subcultures promote Do-It-Yourself (DIY) media production. as a part of Collaboration with Wikipedia articles providing background story. Exploring Participatory Culture.The Internet has provided the opportunity for instant reference and communication. advertisers are tracking responses to their newest ads. all this exists within a certain context. one that has developed over recent years to dominate media consumption and communication. annotate.
The RIAA.Learning the dialectic of the conversation is important. for those who embrace the new dynamic. allow for a conversation to take place. thus negating the need for a delivery device—the content creator need no longer rely upon an industry for their distribution. and the ability to quickly engage in damage control whenever there are online crises or threats to the company’s reputation. HOW . the connections provided by Social Media applications. headed by the RIAA and the bevy of lawsuits they’ve filed for the past decade. Bands can now simply upload their music to their Myspace page. Companies who similarly choose to opt out of Social Media lose the opportunity to genuinely communicate with their stakeholders. opted out of the conversation and took their case to the courts. a record or CD that delivered music to the consumer. the problem with the music industry is that their product has reached obsolescence. 22 .And what if you or your organization opts out of this paradigm? There is an entire industry still coming to terms with the new context—the recording industry is engaged in a war of attrition with its own consumers. What they sold was a means of distributing media. to gain trust and credibility. Digital technology allows for digital release. and the communities that are thereby formed. and everyone can share their disgust about the evil corporations and their assault on fans everywhere. Looking at the scenario from the point-of-view of new media. an ongoing dialogue between limitless numbers of participants about any possible topic of interest. instead of embracing their audiences and recognizing the role of the Internet in their daily lives.
Before you ever submit anything to a social media site. It’s the old “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” routine. all of this can be boiled down to Eric’s final point.com/blogs/the-11-rules-of-social-media-etiquette. you have to be willing to give it first. the thing that will earn you great connections with others is if you add value to the community. reconsider submitting it.29 These rules help provide some of the Dos and Don’ts of online interaction. This means not submitting content that nobody cares about and not constantly promoting your brand. And yet before a professional should engage. Be Nice. At the end of the day. ask yourself “Does this article really add value to the community?” If not. but basically. You have to earn respect from others.html 23 . You can’t bust onto a social media site with a sense of entitlement thinking you should be a top user immediately. and thus they interact. Eric Brantner posted an excellent summary of what can be called proper Social Media etiquette. he or she must also learn the best practices of online behavior. How do you do this? By giving more than you receive. 29 http://digitallabz.Message boards and discussion forums allow users to feel like they are part of something. Table 6: Dos and Don’ts Do: Give More than You Receive Add Value to the Site If you want to receive attention from others online.
By building quality relationships with other users.Table 6: Dos and Don’ts (Continued) Build Quality Relationships People are more willing to help those who they really know. Respect the Community Don’t: Be a Keyboard Gangsta (Troll) Sabotage Other’s Efforts 24 . Probably the worst thing about the Internet is the keyboard gangstas. Making enemies on social media sites will get you nowhere fast. This is self-explanatory. This might be the most important rule of social media etiquette. and always treat everyone the way you want to be treated. you’ll always have someone in your corner to back you up. so. Drop all of your e-beefs and hatred. Don’t try to ruin everyone else’s online experience because you don’t have any friends in real life. They sit at their keyboard talking trash to everyone they encounter. It’s not that hard to do. Just make sure you don’t step out of line. and you really do reap what you sow. now. always be a good participant in your social media relationship. Remember. You’ve surely run across at least one of these in your lifetime. They say things online that they would never have the nerve to say to a real person’s face. These are simple social skills you should already be following in real life. Don’t try to bury others just for the sake of getting ahead. Show respect to the community. you just have to follow them online too. relationships require the participation of both parties.
People will tune you out if you’re constantly pushing the envelope. eventually. Once something makes it online. you will get caught.org/wiki/Astroturfing 25 . Whether you’re constantly shouting your content or always Tweeting asking people to comment on your blog. its there forever. addresses can be tracked and real identities uncovered. why don’t you focus on building a successful social media presence the right way? Sure. Push the Envelope There are also practices that should be called Mortal Sins of Social Media. you might be able to get some amazing results by cheating. everything you say can and will be used against you.Table 6: Dos and Don’ts (Continued) Cheat Instead of trying to game the system. but also with companies hiring community members to promote their product. And once everyone sees you for the cheater you are. for instance. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. service or event. you can’t unring that bell. Don’t Astroturf. One of the fastest ways to alienate people online is to constantly flood them with requests for helping you out. giving the impression of popular approval. but eventually.30 This manifests itself not only when professionals interact with online communities without transparency. everyone will lose their patience with you. Astroturfing. James Andrews is a Ketchum Public Relations employee who was 30 http://en. Considering that many Internet users have IT-related skills.wikipedia. at least in a Google cache. is where an individual disguises the efforts of a commercial entity as an independent public reaction to a product. It's an orchestration of overt outreach tactics by covert means. Another is forgetting that when engaging in Social Media.
Many of my peers and I feel this is inappropriate. If I interpret your post correctly. Upon landing in Memphis. Andrews posted this message on his Twitter account: “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say. FedEx. We are confident. it is enough to expect a greater level of respect and awareness from someone in your position as a vice president at a major global player in your industry. We do not know the total millions of dollars FedEx Corporation pays Ketchum annually for the valuable and important work your company does for us around the globe.31 31 http://www. these are your comments about Memphis a few hours after arriving in the global headquarters city of one of your key and lucrative clients. This meeting was to provide Social Media consultation and advice. Andrews. A hazard of social networking is people will read what you write…. however.traveling to Memphis for a meeting with his client. and the home of arguably one of the most important entrepreneurs in the history of business.com/2009/01/21/key-online-influencer/ 26 . FedEx founder Fred Smith. ‘I would die if I had to live here. and the result was a lengthy response which promptly spread across blogs and news/gossip sites: …Mr.davidhenderson.’” Eventually this reached one of the corporate communications people at FedEx.
html 27 .alexa. Digg or 32 33 http://www. Reach is determined by the number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day while Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site.0—he’s a Top 50 user on Digg. as a 3rd Party tool Alexa computes traffic rankings by analyzing the Web usage of millions of Alexa Toolbar users and data obtained from other.com for a sense of metrics (except blogs since this incorporates multiple sites). Although the best source for traffic metrics would be the host server itself.alexa. and examples of what could be considered best practices for each. Flickr or iPhoto. However. but what these platforms are used for.org/about.33 These platforms are not necessarily the best or only important ones on the Internet. Digidave (real name David Cohn).34 In a guest lecture at the University of Southern California. that no matter whether Facebook. he made a crucial point. what matters is not which platforms are the most popular. A few may even not exist in a few years. is a former reporter for Wired magazine and a confirmed guru on Web 2.com/site/help/?index=12 34 http://www. Each of the categories will have a few examples given an overview.digidave.Chapter 4: Exploring Social Media Platforms I’d like to now briefly illustrate some of the different platforms and applications that are utilized within Social Media.32 Websites are ranked according to “reach” and “pageviews.” which are typically expressed as percentages of all Internet users who visit a given a site. Myspace.com/site/help/traffic_learn_more http://www. user data gleaned from Alexa. diverse traffic data sources.
2/2/09. 28 . Jay Wang. Prof.Reddit become obsolete.” the act of “putting our lives online for others to see. Jour 568.”35 35 Guest Lecture at USC. what isn’t going away is the act of “Lifestreaming.
Since 2004.1 million US blog readers in 2007 (50% of Internet users) 36 http://technorati. Technorati has published a “State of the Blogosphere” report. these have yielded widely disparate measures of both the number of blogs and blog readership. images.0 million | MySpace 75.9 million eMarketer (May 2008) o 94. and displayed in reverse-chronological order according to time of post or update.1 million o Total internet audience 188. Collectively. are online “journals” where the author. an annual study of the trends and themes of blogging. and though there have been numerous studies aimed at understanding the true size of the Blogosphere. or any other content they find interesting or blog-worthy. but the readers of blogs who oftentimes offer their own comments and contribute to the conversation that way. or web-logs.com is a site dedicated to blogs. All entries are usually archived. Technorati.7 million unique visitors in the US o Facebook: 41.” This concept of a community includes not simply the authors themselves. largely due to the very nature of a community still evolving. or blogger. These are recent numbers posted on Technorati: 36 comScore MediaMetrix (August 2008) o Blogs: 77. the whole community of blogs and bloggers can be referred to as the “blogosphere. Gauging the depth and breadth of the blogosphere is no easy task.com/blogging/state-of-the-blogosphere/ 29 .COMMUNICATION Blogs Blogs. has created a web page in order to regularly post articles. serving as a centralized database for millions of blogs currently online and providing tools which make searching for topics within the blogosphere easier and more accessible.
functioning as an “online newspaper. Lee Odden posted on the Online Marketing Blog specific ways content can be better utilized when blogging.4 US o 346 million WW read blogs | 60. It’s smart marketing anyway. o 22. This helps build interest and credibility into your contribution to the conversation. with prospective clients or other situations requiring PowerPoint. by embedding the necessary tools for bookmarking. 38 Table 7: Blog SMO Get more power out of PowerPoint Turn PowerPoint decks into articles and/or blog posts and vice versa. and even separate.toprankblog. the “author” should be positioned as either an insider/expert. Authorship does not have to be limited to a single person however. and designing an intuitive User Interface on a site. pundits. or a common staffer bringing a dayin-the-life perspective.3 US o 77% of active Internet users read blogs When making the decision to publish a blog. distinct blogs can be grouped under a single portal.6 million US bloggers in 2007 (12%) Universal McCann (March 2008) o 184 million WW have started a blog | 26.huffingtonpost. SMO means providing easy means for users to access and share your content with others.com/2008/08/5-ways-to-re-purpose-content-for-blog-seo/ 30 . the content should be configured for both Social Media and Search Engine Optimization.com/ http://www. 37 38 http://www.” features news and commentary from a community of bloggers. The Huffington Post. journalists and simple spectators.37 In order to build an audience for the blog. Another tactic is Repurposing Content for blog SEO. to build supporting editorial visibility to a topic you’re speaking on at conferences. such as a CTO for a tech company.
Share them on image sharing sites and social networks with a link back to the blog post where the video is embedded. your blog establishes a position within the dialogue and can then contribute. Another scenario is when the interview is by phone. leverage the answers you’ve given into a blog post or an article. 31 . By then commenting on other blogs and becoming a more familiar and visible entity. Heck. Answer the prep questions in text and you have a great basis for several blog posts or an article. No blog is an island. links are queen in engaging in the conversation and fully utilizing social media. they’re pretty boring for everyone. Press releases written in AP style are pretty boring for consumers. typically via email. which you can use for your own online content. Take the key messages of the press release and rewrite conversationally as blog post making sure to cite examples. gaining a sense of what the ongoing conversation is within their interest or industry. Many such interviews do not include the full text of your reply. offer tips and to link out to relevant resources .ideally other influential blogs on the topic.Table 7: Blog SMO (Continued) Let interviews do the talking If you’re fortunate to be interviewed by other bloggers. take screen shots of appealing moments. When you shoot a video for online promotion. Bloggers can get their message out by reading others’ work in the greater blog community. podcast or video and you’ve been given prep questions in advance. Turn press releases into lemonade Utilize Assets If content is king.
and user-specific responses can be made with a reply function. Measurement for Twitter is distinct from other web applications.com 32 .com/about#about http://www.39 Users have profiles.com is a privately funded startup with offices in the SoMA neighborhood of San Francisco.alexa.300% YOY. and must “follow” other users to receive their updates. statistics from Alexa show steady growth in the last six months.com/data/details/traffic_details/twitter. CA. instant message. Started as a side project in March 2006. 40 39 40 http://twitter. Twitter asks one question. "What are you doing?" Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting. Twitter has grown into a realtime short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices. or the web. In turn. with click rate and site visit data undermined by many of the users updating their Twitter from a mobile device and never visiting the site itself. Nonetheless.Microblogs Twitter.Twitter . and Nielsen shows an astronomical 1. users can follow you to get all of your updates.
Figure 3: Twitter Alexa Ratings Tweetrush is a web site that provides estimated stats on Twitter usage over a period of time. which “instead 33 . and overall numbers charted down to hourly averages. Their service is based upon their proprietary Rush Hour engine. Specific users can be searched.
This implies the existence of two different networks: a very dense one made up of followers and followees.hpl.of looking at page view and clicks. HP Labs completed a study using research data from Twitter “in order to find out how relevant a list of ‘friends’ is to members of a network. looks at actions and events.com/research/scl/papers/twitter/twitter. and a sparser and simpler network of actual friends. With a sample size of about 6% of the Twittersphere. 41 42 http://tweetrush.”42 Distinguishing friends from followers. the authors were hoping to determine key drivers in Twitter usage.com/about http://www.”41 Recently. even when using a very weak definition of “friend” (i. their findings show that links between people don’t necessarily imply interaction: In conclusion.hp. These can be located anywhere in the logic that drives any web application.pdf 34 . how ideas and trends spread by word-of-mouth.e.. anyone who a user has directed a post to at least twice) we find that Twitter users have a very small number of friends compared to the number of followers and followees they declare.
Figure 4: HP Labs Twitter Research 35 .
searchengineguide. Zappos does a great job with this one. Just search for '@YourTwitterName'. places.php http://www. For finding more followers. you can search for topics. 4. (Following too many people at once can make you look like a potential spammer) 7. That way more than one employee can use Twitter and represent the company. what is your communication goal and how does this platform fit in? Will it be used for Customer Support (like Comcast does via @ComcastCares) or will it be used to offer promotional deals (like Zappos the on-line shoe site via @Zappos) or will it be to socially network to build up business? 2. Be sure to use a photo (and not a logo).44 8. Realize that it will take time to develop a following. Try to find those people in your target market or that have common interests. It's about developing relationships.searchengineguide. 1. 6. anything. Decide before you join how you want to use Twitter. Have something relevant to say. 5.php 36 . Let everyone be authentic while remaining consistent. For example.43 There has been recent backlash against some brands who have failed to engage by not embracing the spirit of Twitter—sharing information—but those who do it well can easily bring a sense of openness and transparency to their organization while interacting with their stakeholders. If using a business name be sure to use something like "Name_Business Name" (Jane_ABCCompany). You can also search and make sure that you have seen all the replies to you that other Twitter members have left. With Tweetscan.com/beth-harte/thinking-about-starting-up-a. people. fill out the description (tell folks why they should be interested in following) and include a link to the company's website.com/mack-collier/so-how-do-you-find-people-on-twitter. if you have your marketers on Twitter. Don't follow hundreds or thousands of people just because you can. make sure they understand the industry well enough to have a 43 44 http://www. let that come through too. there are tools available. Twitter isn't about just tweeting news about your company or promotional deals. If you or an employee loves music.An article posted by Beth Harte gives a clear picture of the considerations involved when joining Twitter. 3.
Don't just take.com/ 37 . Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter and track the success of branded communications with your customers. 45 http://www. 9. Have fun! Twitter can be a lot of fun from a business perspective. When people are real. For professionals who wish to utilize Twitter but are afraid of the time commitment the application can appear to become. even if it is meant to serve as the mouthpiece of an entire organization.twittertise. there are ways to automate messages to be broadcast at specific times. 10. However. deep industry knowledge). it is critical that each Twitter profile. it can be useful as a promotional tool. operates under the sole ownership of a single person. share valuable information as well. due to the lack of engagement and directreply capability. part of a grander Social Media strategy.conversation with people who just might be potential customers (and not fluff. it shows. This ensures a consistent message for followers who expect a consistent voice. and that leads to a lot of great help and insightful conversations.45 While this is definitely not a recommended approach for communicators.
and songs which can be posted in albums or within application widgets.com/facebook http://www.com has largely become the “face” of Social Media.com 38 . with photos. work. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends. share links and videos. and learn more about the people they meet. the population bloomed once non-.46 Founded on February 4. 47 46 47 http://www. and communicate with other users on their public “wall” or through private messages. videos. list some basic information about school. Facebook has grown to retain a substantial portion of current web traffic.Facebook – Social Networks Facebook. In addition. and interests. there is media-sharing capability. 2004 as a closed social network for Ivy League Universities.com/data/details/traffic_details/facebook. upload an unlimited number of photos.facebook.alexa. due to its impressive growth over the last few years and the rate at which the audience is diversifying.edu email addresses were allowed to register profiles. With an Alexa traffic rank of 5. Profiles allow the users to choose a picture.
Figure 5: Facebook Alexa Ratings There are a variety of different communities within the greater Facebook network. missing phone 39 . they can be about inside-jokes. These groups are about practically anything. and then there is an additional option to join different groups. from classes to common interests. Each profile exists within both a friend and school/work/region network.
they can get a hold of that foxglove they planned to give to their aunt Agatha. requesting insurance quotes. mostly through the thousands of applications that are now available. in addition to impressions. BK created a Facebook application where users could “sacrifice” 10 of their friends in exchange for a free Whopper. or “wallposts.com/ 40 ..com/id/24764555/ http://mashable.com/2008/12/18/virtual-currency/ 50 http://whoppersacrifice. for example. rather than distracts from.” friends can play games or send gifts. downloading ringtones. and even political activism. By signing up for Blockbuster.49 Burger King’s “Whopper Sacrifice” promotion50 should prove to be a case-study in how a Social Media campaign can follow this idea. etc.msnbc.msn. Brands have recently entered the platform with fan pages. the overall user experience. or a lily they hoped would brighten the day of a friend. By tapping into the user’s social activities and motivations—in this case. or by participating in any number of advertising offers such as completing surveys. and there has been a much larger marketing presence with the overhaul that took place June 2008. Besides communicating with others by way of messages. though professionals should be mindful of repeating Tide’s mistake of not understanding the medium (see Myth #1). A great way of engaging with the audience is through this interaction.numbers.48 Metrics for these initial campaigns have relied upon friend or post count. participants in the (Lil) Green Patch application need what are called “GreenBucks” in order to choose the types of plants they want to send to friends. These friends 48 49 http://www. For example. Anu Shukla provides good advice for utilizing the platform in a way that incorporates the different features into a single motivational function: Wise application developers know to integrate advertising offers into their app in a way that contributes to. sending a virtual gift—advertisers’ offers essentially provide the fuel that enables consumers to interact with each other within an application. pokes.
sogoodblog. in effect. The following is an example of a comment thread. when a user de-friends somebody.com/2009/01/14/facebook-disables-whopper-sacrifice/ 41 . a single dialogue amongst the 563 comments that were posted beneath the link to the microsite on Reddit: mattiasl . BK helped illustrate the tenuous relationship most online “friends” have with each other.” The microsite was created and promoted with a Facebook application of the same name. they created a service that taps into an existing behavior on the platform. they are locked out of that user’s information. This was part of a campaign surrounding the new “Angry Whopper. they receive no notice. and only realize the action when they attempt to look at the user’s profile or can no longer read their status updates. 51 The campaign was a Social Media phenomenon.906 friends were sacrificed by Facebook users in the pursuit of a free Whopper. It succeeded due to its creative norm-reversal of Facebook interaction.would be deleted from the user’s friend list. Over the time that the Whopper Sacrifice campaign was live. 233. Normally. With this application. and sent a message from the application that they had been sacrificed. I have tens of "friends" on facebook who I've only met a few 51 http://www.Facebook and other social networking sites have devalued the meaning of the word "friend". in that instead of encouraging support by creating a group and getting BK fans to join. hitting the front pages of aggregates like Digg and Reddit. Facebook disabled the application after a single week. where it engaged the audience in discussions beyond simply a burger coupon. into questions of behavior and values. and how easy it is to sever what little bond there is.
they wouldn't. myself) and constructing a reason why people add them.But yet. one day. ever.I don't understand. A teenage co-worker of my wife's is consistently annoyed that I don't add her on Facebook. 52 http://www. It's partly because I've not said more than two words to her.52 Dagon . It's a bad idea to borrow money from friends. and partly because she consistently annoys me by being a teenage girl.com/r/WTF/comments/7oc4o/get_rid_of_10_facebook_friends_for_a_free_wopper/ 42 . mattiasl . and no. I was being facetious and ironically remarking upon so many people having that sort of 'friend' on Facebook (I do.times when walking around the college campus and never said more than a "Hi" to.Yes it is.reddit. you may want to borrow money from them. And why on earth would random acquaintances on facebook ever want to lend me money? Dagon .
” by Henry Jenkins. providing common space for work groups.54 In a wiki.000 active contributors working on more than 10. Wikipedia's articles provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information. Bloggers. Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites. Since its creation in 2001. in Fans.wikipedia. It is an online social encyclopedia providing reference from the source of collective intelligence. In general this results in an upward trend of quality and a growing consensus over a fair and balanced representation of information. free-content encyclopedia project.org is a multilingual.054 articles in English. these shared online documents are great tools for internal communications. and are written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. Articles can be created about any “Interactive Audiences? The “Collective Intelligence” of Media Fans. there are 2. hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia. (As of 1/22/09). articles are never “finished. 2006. attracting at least 684 million visitors yearly by 2008.710. anyone can edit it.COLLABORATION Wikipedia Wikipedia. Similar to GoogleDocs. Every day. There are more than 75.000 articles in more than 260 languages.000. and Gamers. Exploring Participatory Culture.” They are continually edited and (often) improved over time.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About 53 43 . or what Pierre Levy calls the “cosmopedia” of online information.53 A “Wiki” is a type of collaborative Web site that can be created about anything. 54 http://en.
org 44 .subject.alexa.wikipedia. but there are underlying preferences for submitting the article under an appropriate topic heading. Alexa gives Wikipedia.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requested_articles http://www.org a traffic rank of 8. and users can even request a new article to be written.com/data/details/traffic_details/en.55 Many users of the encyclopedia utilize Wikipedia as a first reference. a way to peruse a new subject with additional sources provided for further reference.56 Figure 6: Wikipedia Alexa Ratings 55 56 http://en.
by John V.”58 However. 118. p.”57 This study helped illustrate the self-correcting nature of citizen-produced digital media.nature.com/nature/journal/v438/n7070/full/438900a. 2008. Pavlik. Simon Waldman of The Guardian praises the success of the “idea. Britannica.html Media In The Digital Age. 45 .Figure 6: Wikipedia Alexa Ratings (Continued) The journal Nature commissioned a study in 2005 comparing Wikipedia with the professionally produced online Encyclopedia Britannica. Wikipedia is not a “real” encyclopedia. about three. citizenproduced digital media feature collective knowledge and widespread public review as principal mechanisms to minimize and correct error. In an article from 2004. John Pavlik describes this dynamic when he writes “Whereas traditional media organizations feature professional training and editing as its primary means of minimizing error.” but maintains that “To its 57 58 http://www. and found that the accuracy of the articles was about the same for each: “the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies.
including the following: 59 60 http://www.com/archives/2005/10/the_amorality_o. takes the criticism farther.onlinesupplement http://www. Wal-Mart’s entry stands as an example of how companies can be defined on Wikipedia.it has to be a beautiful thing if the Web is leading us to a higher consciousness..mostly those from the traditional world of encyclopedias and librarianship. updates are quick. This page was not necessarily created by employees of the organization.0.”59 Nicholas Carr.co.I regularly consult it to get a quick gloss on a subject. formerly the executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. Certainly.” his blogpost on Rough Type about this subject: 60 In theory. it is essential for all public relations professionals to be cognizant of what information is on the Wikipedia article for their company/organization/etc. especially so for any “controversial” organization. Following the edit activity on Wikipedia belongs in any complete crisis communications plan.” a symptom of “The amorality of Web 2. Wikipedia isn't very good at all. Wikipedia is a beautiful thing . but details a wealth of information nonetheless. citing Wikipedia as the paradigm of “The Cult of the Amateur. In reality.guardian.php 46 . though. But at a factual level it's unreliable. and the writing is often appalling. With the editing capability that is in place. it is barely worthy of the label “encyclopedia”. and there are track-back options for reverting to a previously saved draft in cases of vandalism. it's useful .uk/technology/2004/oct/26/g2.roughtype.detractors . Nonetheless.
2 Sam's Club o 2.S.org/wiki/Walmart 47 .1.5 Private label brands 3 Corporate affairs o 3.1 Advocacy groups o 4. there are also visible critiques including Wal-Mart’s struggles 61 http://en.wikipedia. 2.3 Marketside o 2.3 Competition o 3.2 Wal-Mart Supercenter 2.4 Wal-Mart International o 2.Figure 7: Walmart Wiki Contents61 Contents 1 History o 1.1 Wal-Mart Stores Division U.4 Customer base o 3.1 Incorporation and growth o 1.6 Diversity 4 See also o 4.1 Financial o 3.2 Governance o 3.2 Television o 4.3 Other 5 References 6 External links Though much of the article serves as a backgrounder. detailing company history and outlining the subsidiaries.1.2 Recent initiatives 2 Subsidiaries o 2.5 Employee and labor relations o 3.1 Wal-Mart Discount Stores 2.3 Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market o 2.1.
rather than pointedly deleted and revised. Wal-Mart’s entry embraces the ideals of Wikipedia. while simultaneously getting their messages across. 48 . as long as they are edited for the true facts of the situation. These points of negativity.with women and labor relations and past lawsuits concerned with diversity and unethical hiring practices. bring a sense of balance and credibility to the article.
com is a website for viewing. sharing. Similar to other online aggregates.com 49 .com/data/details/traffic_details/digg. Content Aggregates Digg. with the community voting on the submission or making comments about it. traffic patterns show a steady usage rate. 62 Figure 8: Digg Alexa Ratings 62 http://www.alexa.Digg – Social Bookmarking. A vote-up for a particular submission is called a “Digg” and those that have been “Dugg” the most appear on the front page of the site. A vote-down is called a “Bury” and users have the ability to digg or bury both the link and any comments that have been posted. users can register with the site and post links or stories. an artifact of an engaged community of users who consistently return to the site for new and updated content. and interacting with online content. With an Alexa rank of 284.
” where other members can find it and.com/how 50 .Figure 8: Digg Alexa Ratings (Continued) Digg’s self-proclaimed mission is “democratizing digital media. if they like it. Find an article. though each has their own nuances. 63 Table 8: Digg Tactics Discover Submit your favorites. Your submission will immediately appear in “Upcoming Stories. videos. Digg it. selecting. etc. sharing. most aggregates can be navigated in much the same manner. 63 http://digg. and discussing what appeals to them—news. image.” Users within the community participate in determining all site content by discovering. Ways for new users getting involved are provided on a How Digg Works page.com. or video online and submit it to Digg.
and videos. Select Discover media on Digg. and the search terms of your choice. it eventually falls out of the “Upcoming” section. And you can subscribe to RSS feeds of particular topics. popular/upcoming sections. Participate in the collaborative editorial process by Digging the stuff that you like best. If you find stories with bad links. Of course. Or use Spy to watch the titles and descriptions as they roll down the page. Once a submission has earned a critical mass of Diggs. Stack. You also build a history of Digging that you or your friends can view. it qualifies as a “Top 10”. so make sure to do your part and Digg and Bury content that matters to you! Bury. you can always check the topic homepages to see what's newly popular. or duplicate entries. Share Digg. off-topic content. Track submissions as they come in with Swarm. you contribute to the popularity of any given item. click “Bury.” That’s how we get the spam out of the system and let the good stuff rise to the top. it becomes “popular” and jumps to the homepage in its category. 51 . As you Digg. individual users. If a submission doesn't receive enough Diggs within a certain time period. our real-time Flash visualization tools in Digg Labs.Table 8: Digg Tactics (Continued) Become popular. Visit the “Upcoming” section to discover recently added news. The system only works when users actively participate on a large scale. If it becomes one of the most popular. Big Spy or Arc.
Discuss Comment. Then your friends can track what you’re Digging and you can see what they Digg as well. Send your friends (Diggers or non-Diggers) the stories that you Digg. In the “What” section of the 5 W’s of Social Media. and videos as well as Digging and Burying comments by other users. Invite your friends or find them on Digg and add them to your friends list. and creating one that both sparks interest and generates a level of interaction. are then the ones that most appeal to the majority. the ones that have received the most Diggs and are listed on the front page. getting a sense of the context within the top submissions. Appealing to that majority comes by following the site over time. you need to attract the reader without misleading them. Share your opinions by commenting on stories.Table 8: Digg Tactics (Continued) Build a network. The Top 10 articles. Misleading titles will earn some negative comments and a bunch of people burying your submission. images. enabling you to collectively find news together. I referenced the notion of community lifecycles being determined by a popularity contest of ideas. Digg’s democratization of digital media illustrates more fully this notion of how user-moderated content reflects trends in bias and perspective. Ryan Deal explains in a “How-To”article the three main factors to consider if you want to garner that attention: Title: Choosing a title for a Digg submission is a lot like writing a headline for a newspaper article. 52 .
” which is also relevant. if you choose “Pets & Animals. although “Comedy” is an appropriate category.Description: People want to know what they’re getting into. Sometimes a good title is all you need. These widgets are designed with the logos of each of the different sites. there are tools that do all of this for you. make sure you include it. put it in “Comedy. such as ShareThis. you’re submission is more likely to see the light of day.com/ 53 . the point is to get people interested. Rather than coding each of the different platforms individually. other users can do this for you with embedded sharing tools on your site.64 In addition to submitting content directly to Digg or other aggregates.com/2009/01/20/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-digg/ http://sharethis. Category: Some categories are more popular than others. but for submissions that require additional information.” However.65 Figure 9: ShareThis Widget ShareThis 64 65 http://mashable. Funny right? So. Remember. you’ve got to get it into the right category. Take for example a video of a dog falling asleep while running. you think. so if you want a better chance of getting your submission to the front page. and are placed at the bottom of either the site window or the content itself.
and other contacts permission to further organize their posts—not simply by adding comments. In Flickr.MULTIMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT Flickr – Media Sharing Flickr. Alexa ranks Flickr at 32.com 54 .67 66 67 http://flickr. family. Groups devote themselves to collections of different interests.com/data/details/traffic_details/flickr. and users can give their friends.com is an online photo management and sharing application utilized by people who have created media and want to make their content available to people who matter to them. the media can be published as public or private. by enabling new ways of organizing photos and video. “Flickr is the WD-40 that makes it easy to get photos or video from one person to another in whatever way they want. from pets to landscapes. where members can find like-minded users who follow similar themes.alexa.com/about/ http://www. or really anyone. Without delineating between members and viewers.”66 With digital technology. it has become easier than ever to take a massive number of photos or videos and publish them on the web. but also notes and tags.
com . We can show 55 .and stats about people coming from other websites. Currently only for “pro” users.where the referrer is flickr.Figure 10: Flickr Alexa Ratings Flickr provides its members’ measurement capabilities with a tool that delivers statistics on how other people are finding an individual user’s photo. Flickr says “There are stats available for people surfing on Flickr itself .
there is an emerging trend of cross-platform convergence for media sharing.com/guidelines.facebook.70 It remains to be seen which sites become obsolete or simply unnecessary. Flickr does add an important proviso to this function in its community guidelines: Do link back to Flickr when you post your Flickr content elsewhere.com/note. posts on Flickr and similar media-sharing content sites become the link to which other communities find each other. and organized in such a way that stakeholders can access the images. and share.flickr. however. providing a further distribution channel. An internet user. can now share this with everybody. Currently.gne 70 http://www. tagged. By allowing this. 68 69 http://www. pages on other web sites that display content hosted on flickr. In addition. The Flickr service makes it possible to post content hosted on Flickr to outside web sites.com/help/stats/ http://flickr. add their comments. something to interact with for the community.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr.”68 Communications professionals have the ability to utilize this platform to distribute their media assets. with Twitpics now available on Twitter and Facebook now hosting over 10 billion photos on the site. However. these uploads can be embedded onto other sites.php?note_id=30695603919 56 .69 On many occasions. and tell you how many views your photos have. and the discovery of this piece of media content becomes a message to be communicated.you the sorts of things people search for on search engines where your photos turn up. when they find something interesting or entertaining. Photos from an event can be posted.
there is a “Lifestream” which lists bookmarked articles.com started as a project designed to create an updated “personal” page. and recent updates from the user. Many of the key influencers within Social Media involve themselves in multiple networks. one of the designers recently went on a hiking trip through the British countryside. A great way of engaging in the conversation is to look at each of these websites as parts of a larger whole. shared links. compelling album of multimedia content. he took photos of the verdant landscapes. Like an Internet diary. videos and tweets. updates sent over Twitter. driving crossplatform integration and communication. Along the way. and updated his contacts on Twitter with information on his destination. 57 . For example. Postings on a blog. distinct community operating within a certain network.Storytelling Looking back over all the different Social Media platforms. But the sphere of influence generating the user interaction extends beyond a single website. These stories can then be embedded onto other sites as a single. a true “web” of interconnected sites that can be utilized in driving your communications plan when committed to a Social Media campaign. each exists as a separate. and media uploaded to Flickr can be pulled together to create a complete story.Chapter 5: Bringing it all Together . a platform for users to organize all their online activities on a single profile. and a “Stories” feature that creates simple event-based timeline of photos. recorded video of the activities. Storytlr.
—CNN. In addition to the normal categories—world. he was able to pull together each of these content artifacts in a way that more fully captured his adventure. business. iReport. and Social Media has expanded the ways in which people interact by sharing the events of their lives.html 58 . and the rise in citizen-journalism has illustrated the impact new technologies and new channels of communication have on media.71 Figure 11: StoryTlr Storytelling can be useful in engaging in the conversation. fact-checked or screened before they post.com is a user-generated site which means the stories submitted by users are not edited. This now includes news broadcast. etc.Following his return. politics.com now includes a special iReport section of their online news. Only the stories marked 71 http://eschnou.com/story/1-night_hike.
Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan's stream of photos were published by CNN and other major broadcasters. But. a story on iReport claimed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a massive heart attack.com/about. Lots of people argue about what constitutes news. and CNN provides easy tools for users to upload and share their experience. really. In October. it’s just something that happens someplace to someone.ireport. 59 . but also additional multimedia content. Tweeters were also mobilized to help with transcribing a list of the dead and injured from hospitals. …an estimated 80 messages. there is always a risk of widespread rumor mongering with a negative impact upon the subject. Due to the speed with which messages can be communicated across Social Media. considering the nature of citizen-journalism allows for immediate broadcast without appropriate fact-checking. CNN. Many Twitter users also sent pleas for blood donors to make their way to specific hospitals in Mumbai where doctors were faced with low stocks and rising casualties.jspa “Tweeting the Terror: How Social Media Reacted to Mumbai.” by Stephanie Busari.73 Even though there were incidents of fake updates and falsified information. Rumors had been swirling about Jobs health problems due to his appearance 72 73 http://www. or "tweets.72 Many of the submissions include not only text. CNN's iReporters recently led some of the news coverage of the terror attacks in Mumbai in late 2008.“On CNN” have been vetted by CNN for use in CNN's global news coverage…. providing eyewitness accounts and updates. many of the traditional news outlets found themselves relying on stories provided by way of these platforms. which were quickly posted online…." were being sent to Twitter. Flickr also proved a useful source of haunting images chronicling the aftermath of the attacks. overall Social Media provided a valuable component of the traditional media coverage.com via SMS every five seconds. However. Whether that something is newsworthy mostly depends on who it affects—and who’s making the decision. Others sent information about helplines and contact numbers for those who had friends and relatives caught up in the attacks.
the stock tanked. not to mention troubling for CNN and the field of citizen journalism.findingdulcinea.”74 74 http://www. the story was false.of losing weight. absolutely.com/news/technology/2008/December/Citizen-Journalists-Brought-MassCoverage-to-Mumbai-Attacks. “[D]o false reports like this damage CNN’s credibility? The answer is yes. This particular report may even lead to an SEC investigation where CNN will be asked to provide an IP address for the user who posted the story. and with Jobs influence over Apple as the face of the company. at least temporarily. This story seemingly confirmed these concerns. According to Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb.html 60 .
This is where Social Media comes in. while at the same time reaching beyond the network to engender greater awareness for the program. detailing current activities and his progress with the initiative. USC hired a sustainability program manager named Matthew Oden to launch the USC Sustainability Program.html 61 .” said Charlie Lane. As part of the greater USC web presence. change and assessment.75 Among Oden’s proposed program goals is the launch of a USC Sustainability website.Conclusion – A Prototype Perhaps the best way to summarize the key learnings of this paper would be to illustrate how a Social Media campaign would look like as part of an ongoing communications plan for an existing organization. In December 2008. a resource for both internal and external audiences that would serve as both an information database and a communication channel for community outreach. departments and student communities within the institution.edu/uscnews/stories/16328. We are so pleased that Matthew Oden has joined USC – he will work with all departments to envision and implement organizational strategies to help USC become a national model of sustainability in higher education. USC associate senior vice president for Career and Protective Services. “In addition. authored by Oden himself or edited by a public relations professional.usc. The University of Southern California—like most colleges and universities in the States—has a web portal that links together the different schools. Content could include video interviews with Oden and key leaders and 75 http://www. The site should have a blog and Twitter account. he will help develop broad awareness of the many sustainability initiatives currently under way and develop a university-wide process to support sustainability inquiry. an initiative to help reduce USC’s environmental impact. this site must align itself with the existing portal to retain organizational consistency.
which networks fail to engender a massive and consistent audience or even reach obsolescence. Events like the Earth Week launch can be chronicled with pictures. 62 . Users who register with the site can comment on the articles. and its streaming daily through Social Media. and engage with the site by making suggestions for and giving feedback on the Sustainability Program. Rather than become a depository for statistical data for impact metrics at USC. For no matter how many tools and platforms become available. allowing stakeholders to share in the progress by engaging in the conversation with strong.influences at USC as well as within the greater sustainability/environmental community. the site becomes a waypoint for explaining what all the information means and why it matters. In sum. and videos packaged into a story and published as a multimedia calendar. And the Wikipedia article on USC deserves an update and revision with current and correct information. interesting. tweets. in addition to articles highlighting recent findings and/or innovative ideas for reducing environmental impact. The online community is alive. A Facebook group could be formed or an application developed where members can track their own environmental impact and rate their scores under a ranking system. and original content. share them with friends utilizing embedded sharing tools like ShareThis. Social Media can provide the means to extend the reach of the site through audience engagement. content is still King.
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