Tag Archives: Facebook

I’m a Born Again Social Media User!

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So this whole blog has been for my emerging media and the market class, which is part of my master’s in integrated marketing communications at West Virginia University. I turned in my final project on December 26, and now I suddenly feel liberated.

Yeah, I feel liberated from the course, but I also feel completely energized by social media. In the last few days I’ve Facebooked more frequently than ever before, and I even started posting to the Twitter account I got several weeks ago. I’m also on HootSuite now, which I learned about during my research for a course assignment early on, which means I can now schedule posts to my social networks and even post simultaneously, which is so awesome. I’m totally excited!

Of course it helps that I got a new job today. I mean, there’s nothing like a life-changing decision to motivate you to tell people all about how things are going, right? My job is as a technical writer for Bard Access Systems in Salt Lake City, which is a great job with people I really liked interviewing with. How great is that?!

So I just have to decide what to blog about now that I don’t have to concentrate on new media. I’ll probably stick with it for a while, because there’s still so much I’ve learned that I haven’t really had time to sit down and write about. I might even keep blogging when I start my new job in January. Granted, I’ll be working and going to school so the posts will likely be short, but even if it’s just one thing …

So my testimony about social media is that it ROCKS! It’s so great to be able to talk to so many people so many places without having to write one letter or e-mail at a time (though I did that too for people I don’t yet have on Facebook). I still appreciate letters, which are great to receive, but new media is so much more immediate. Big sigh of happiness!

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Viral Marketing: Have You Caught the Bug?

I watched Yogi Bear cartoons when I was a kid. And I laughed. Really, I did. But then I saw it was being made into a live-action-mixed-with-animation movie. In 3-D. And I sighed. Ah, that my childhood should come to this.

Today I saw animator Edmund Earle’s parody. And I realized, I’m grown now. I can appreciate Yogi and Boo Boo in a clip styled after the movie The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It made me smile. But I wouldn’t let the kids see this. They’re probably not ready.

Now, this isn’t the kind of viral marketing you necessarily want for your company. According to an article in the New York Times, Warner Brothers, which is producing the 3-D movie but doesn’t have anything to do with the parody, is “monitoring the situation.” That said, it is a way to get the word out, even to adults who are sad to see real people acting like cartoons and cartoons trying to look like real bears.

“Going viral” was something that used to happen via e-mail, but now you find out about these things on Facebook and Twitter and probably still via e-mail if you don’t have a Facebook account. Before it was something marketers didn’t expect, now they hope … and call it “buzz” when it happens. Find out the brands with the year’s top ads, which all owe their places because people spread the word electronically. But what makes one video more likely to go viral than another? They’re often funny, usually “edgy” by someone’s standards, often there’s innuendo.

But here’s my personal favorite. It’s been around for a while, but I laugh whenever I see it. And it proves that two negatives (Walmart and clowns) do make a positive. What’s your favorite?


Voice: What Do I Do?

So for my blog this week I really wanted to investigate voice and what kind of voice specific types of blogs use. I was interested in this primarily because I don’t feel I’ve found a voice yet for my own blog. I mean, how do you explore emerging media as a relative newbie without getting academic or even stuffy?

But there must be a way to share what I learn without getting too technical . . .

I found a couple blogs that address emerging media, the first focusing on “Emerging Media Audiences & Tech Devices.” Looking at it I wonder what the author, Kim Garretson, gets in return for the companies she features on her home page and why it appears that she hasn’t updated the blog since 2009? More importantly, what is her voice? It seems to be talking like you would when giving a presentation to people you know well and who don’t make you feel threatened. If I remember right, I found this blog when I did a Google search for “new media.”

Another blog I found focused on social media, Social Media Examiner, which claims to be “Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle.” This one was recommended to me by a post on West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications site on LinkedIn. It also has posts about commercial products, such as BlogWorld and an interview with Mark Burnett about the new TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska—well, actually, the interview begins with a focus on social media as the new water-cooler conversation. Anyway, the voice is informative, probably closer to the journalistic style you often see on blogs that represent a news forum of some sort. Like BBC’s blog The Editors, only the Social Media Examiner isn’t quite as sophisticated as the BBC blog.

American Express has an Open Forum site that includes a variety of articles on different things and I found an article by Erica Swallow about corporate blogs. She lists 15 blogs with a variety of things to learn from, including design, content, and feedback. Among the blogs included was one by Dell, which featured a landing page with a variety of blog topics to follow. When it came to voice, I found the blogs I read here to be rather technical in scope, although I guess that’s what you would expect. Fortunately, the blog on an Android 2.2 upgrade was accompanied by a lot of screen shots and graphics to help you through the step-by-step upgrade process.

Then there was Disney’s blog that features various entries that take you behind the scenes at the Disney resorts. But I think the voice is more informative than personal. The entry about the new menu at Steakhouse 55 was full of details that I would only appreciate if I had watched more Food Network programs.

Starr Hall’s article “The Dos and Don’ts of Blogging” talks about the importance of engaging over reaching and I think The Counterintuitive CEO blog does this admirably. Pay particular attention to the comments on his blog about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The comments posted elicit just as much response as the blog entry that started it all. Forrester CEO George Colony begins with the statement: “Quickly: Mark Zuckerberg’s skills as a CEO are overrated.” and it goes from there. Really good stuff.

So what did I learn about a blog’s voice? Mostly that it depends on who you write for. If it’s a corporation, it depends on the topic and who you are in the organization—although I should note that the Forrester CEO seems to write with a lot more freedom than the Marriott CEO.

But going back to Starr Hall’s article, “DO write with personality” with the caveat “Authenticity is key.”


Media: From Lascaux to Facebook

The role of mass media is to communicate, and evidence of communication has been around since our ancient ancestors first painted the walls of Lascaux in France more than 17,000 years ago.

But modern media is evolving at such a rapid pace that it’s hard to keep up. As early as 1993 the late author Michael Crichton bemoaned the fate of mass media as near extinction because he defined media as a medium for the communication of credible information. As he saw it, “the American media produce a product of very poor quality. . . . So people have begun to stop buying it.” By delivering entertainment or unreliable news, media was effectively euthanizing itself.

So where do we stand today? Certainly media is everywhere—on our phones, GPSs, even video games—and it’s becoming increasingly dynamic, but is the information it communicates any more accurate or compelling? Then again, how many of us are willing to settle for sloppy information?

I’m still fairly awkward about new media; I rarely make an appearance on my Facebook page, and I’d rather visit individual news sites to review headlines rather than set up an RSS feed. Fortunately, many professionals who are far savvier than I have stopped using RSS feeds, so perhaps it’s just a matter of waiting to find out which media tools have real staying power (I’m still hoping Twitter goes away, but at this point that’s probably wishful thinking).

Now that I’ve started my own blog I was rather dismayed to read in the Wall Street Journal that one leading blogger, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton, criticized the “rigidity” of the blog format. Another blogger, Ben Smith, said, “Writing a blog has become this very old-fashioned thing” and compared it with calligraphy.

Public relations leader Brian Solis warned, “If you’re not part of the conversation, then you’re leaving it to others to answer questions and provide information, whether it’s accurate or incorrect.” So I guess one of the keys to modern communications is to stay in the conversation. I need to work on that.