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COM 460 Course Reflection

After taking COM 460 this semester I feel more prepared to graduate and enter a social media field I am excited to be a part of. The course had so many diverse topics, assignments, and discussions that really brought the class up to date on a wide range of criteria affecting the world around us. But at the same time, there were some areas that presented challenges from a student perspective. All together the experience in COM 460 Social Media & Mobile Technologies in Strategic Communications was made so enjoyable because it covered such a broad range of topics.

 

LIKES

I like the guest lecture aspect especially as a way to illustrate potential in the social media market. Dennis Yu was a person who exemplified to me (a communications major graduating at the end of the course) what I could do with my degree. While Im not entirely set on social media as a career, the guest lectures showed me what the industry is like. Conducting Skype and in-class guest lecture also made the course engaging because it broke up the PowerPoint-presented course material, which can get a little hectic. Overall, I was very impressed with the caliber and success level of the guest lecturers. Hearing of their success greatly increased my optimism of entering the working world after graduation.

Taking the course and absorbing  the material made me more conscious of the influence social media has on other aspects of life. I found myself paying closer attention to how strategic planning is used in things like sports and marketing. Hashtags and Twitter handles gained my attention as a major way of linking things together across social media.

Twitter use was another aspect I came to enjoy using in terms of the course progression. Before taking COM 460, I had never set up a Twitter account but now Im glad I did. Although I have come to like Twitter for its capabilities, I still enjoy Instagram more because I prefer visuals to reading text. Twitter did show me a new way of participating in class discussion that I did not have prior to this course. I liked being able to simply follow the #Freberg13 hashtag to see the class discussion in a new way. I think using Twitter in the classroom allows for students like myself to better express themselves by sharing relevant topics in a way that doesn’t necessarily feel like classwork.

 

DISLIKES

There was, however, one major dislike about the COM 460 course: Hootsuite University Certification. I know, I know, it is really helpful for marketing contact with potential customers, but I don’t have any potential customers. Plus, I kind of like using my device to switch from social media app to social media app. Part of the main reason I bought my phone was to enjoy the app interface, not to just keep one Hootsuite app open for all feeds. Plus, the Hootsuite University program is a little too in-depth sometimes. I don’t think managing the color of my outgoing e-mails tab will have a huge impact on whether or not I get a job offer using it later in my career. If I was to make a suggestion for future classes it would be to exclude Hootsuite Certification as a requirement. It is a good example of a social media analytics monitoring tool, but it’s a little too in-depth for the course. I found completing Hootsuite very difficult to complete along with two weekly blogs, Twitter participation, taking notes, and work for other classes.

Overall, the semester was a great learning experience for me. The course really got me excited about the employment opportunities available in social media. The mobile app and social media campaign projects, although challenging, I know will prove useful in some way later down the road. For a 400-level course, the pace was quick, yet I was still able to learn a great deal. The experience as a whole opened my eyes to how so much of the traditional human interface and marketing is changing due to social media impacts.

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COM 460 Social Media & Crisis Communication

What do I know about social media and communications? I know that behind all social media platforms there are humans who occasionally make mistakes. We discussed in lecture how these human error occurrences require special attention to protect the reputation of the organization who made the error. This is the basis of social media crisis management. 

While exploring Social Media Crisis Management in a Google image search, one finds that much of the business is made up of answering critical questions about the crisis at hand. Many of these yes/no answers are presented in Infographic Flow Charts that give insight in tackling a wide range of problems. This particular chart deals with negative comments posted on social media sites that can affect the reputation of the company. By asking and answering questions like “Unhappy customer? Dedicated complainer? Comedian want-to-be?” gives insight into the appropriate reaction. 

 Responding to a crisis in the right way can make or break a company with just one large event, or years of neglectful monitoring. Tim Hughes blog dedicates several posts to what he has learned over his 30 years experience in the field of fixing company reputations. He explains how bringing companies back from the bring involves “companies who make their own luck, support must be earned, leaders need a positive vision and true grit”. 

Companies must have a plan of action that can be applied when a crisis occurs that is integrated into their existing risk management process. The plan should nominate a crisis team of management leaders (CEO, financial, tech, legal, etc.) to establish such procedures. If the event is serious enough, outside crisis management professionals may need to be incorporated into the plan. 

Tim Hughes goes on to explain that the much of the crisis readiness plan can be reserved with proactive measures. By “working pro-actively at every level of an organization to deliver consistently high levels of quality in terms of product and customer experience” goes a long way to protecting a company from potential crisis. Strong consumer followings and quick response to customer needs curbs dangerous public relation events that can harm a business. 

COM 460 lecture slides address how social media crisis management requires having the right plan in the hands of the right people who are capable of taking preventative action. After formulating the right plan, the organization must make an effort to keep up good customer relations. This involves listening to customer feedback (both good and bad) on social media sites that now gives everybody a voice. 

Com 460 Elective Blog “Wearable Tech”

For my Com 460 Elective Blog this week I will explore the tech area of “wearable technologies”. We discussed the emerging technology in class lecture concerning the rising use of mobile devices. It was explained that mobile tech use that also includes wearable tech now exceeds “traditional” computer use. Mobile devices and social media use are complementary due to their easy portability. Some very popular apps (like Instagram) are specially designed for the mobile market. Wear technologies make up a growing proportion of the “mobile device” industry.

After a simple Google Image Search for “wearable technology”, I was very surprised to see how many devices I recognized on the consumer market already. I never new there were so many wearable devices available to the consumer already. No doubt the Google Glass is the device I have heard the most buzz about. And the only wearable device I’ve in use that I can recall. After talking with some friends who have tried them (I never have), Google Glass got mixed reviews from the people I knew. I still think they would be cool to try to form my own opinion. Also, I believe the Google Glass project has the most potential of any wearable tech for being widely accepted in the consumer market in the future. Oh yeah, and to buy the Google Glass Explorer kit, it’s like $7,500 on eBay.

Another wearable tech device I have seen before, never used, but knew was available is the Nike Fuel Band. I know this device links to the Nike Plus Running App for your phone that tracks how far the person ran, then post the route, time, etc. on select social networks. I have used the Nike Plus Running App before while in the gym and running on the track with a positive experience. I liked how it kept track of how many miles you have ran since getting the app and displays it on the homescreen (I was up to like, 126 miles total). However, I have not used the Nike Fuel Band linked to the Nike App. I know the Band does a lot of cool stuff, but it was too expensive ($150.00) and couldn’t justify buying one.

Although wearable technology is growing by leaps and bounds, there have been some problems gaining position in the mainstream tech market. James Fields writes about several of these problems in his tech blog in The Tennessean. He cites “clunky design, battery life, and limited functionality” as some issues. It is my opinion that for wearable technologies to replace mobile devices (iPhones, iPads, tablets, etc.), there has to be a feature of the wearable technology that makes the consumer say to themselves “that’s better than what my (blank device) can do, I should get one”. There has to be a more streamline both in the design of the device, as well as how it integrates into a persons life. People playing games or checking social media (two most popular mobile activities) need to have the same access with wearable tech as their mobile device.

COM 460 Blog: Viral Video, Event Planning, and Mobile

In this week’s required COM 460 blog I will explore three recent media topics discussed in lectures including viral communication, event planning, and mobile. These topics are all centered around communicating a cause or message of the creator of the project.  

            As we learned in Dr. Freberg’s course, viral content spreads easily by word of mouth but doesn’t always catch on as intended. From my experience, viral communications don’t typically convey a deep, meaningful message (although the can be), but instead usually used to get a laugh in with our friends quickly. This topic focuses on the “viral” or “sharing” concept to gain attention. Myself and many others consider YouTube and Vine to a lesser extent the launching pad for user-created viral content. Doing a YouTube search for “Viral Videos”, one quickly gathers they are short (there are many compellation videos made up of short viral videos), have a “wow” factor (hysterically funny, interesting, inspirational, etc.), are often remixed by others, and they come and go from the mainstream culture very quickly. Dr. Freberg would also highlight that the most useful viral videos created by/about brands connect content back to the brand itself by using them in the video. Diet Coke and Mentos fountains is one video that does this excellently.

            Event planning is another topic that ties into the idea of brand sponsorship and promotions for the course. Guest lecturer Joey Wagner (joey@jwagnergroup.com) explained how his firm J. Wagner Group connects with media and influencers to assist in promoting an event. He talked about his Pink Prom, Jocktails, and Glow Go 5k events that relied heavily on having such influencers present as a form of promoting a cause and the event itself. His “Jocktails” concept utilizes sports figures like jockeys, footballers, public figures, etc. as a way to attract attention to the cause and generate more media coverage. I thought it was a great concept that can easily catch on, but I also admired Joey’s foresight to trademark the idea for the future. He also talked about how gaining corporate sponsorship helps both in funding the event while mutually benefiting the sponsors themselves as a form of unique regional advertising. Success breeds success in this regard. Return on investment makes sponsoring the event appealing for those investing sponsorship dollars.

            The mobile concept is the final piece that ties the above mentioned topics of viral content and event planning together. Viral video sharing today is more like to be done on a person’s mobile device more so than a computer because people usually have their device close at hand. I personally cannot count the times a friend has said “have you seen this yet…?” and then showed me something crazy and new on their iPhone. This is how things go viral: getting the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, in the format easiest for them to use (i.e. mobile device). Event planning also benefits for mobile devices because media platforms like Twitter and Facebook being used to convey the right message to an audience who might be interested. Joey Wagner explained how he uses his multiple Twitter accounts to promote events to an audience of followers who knows what he does. In short, all the concepts mentioned here have the ability to mutually benefit each other as a way of more effectively communicating a desired message. 

COM 460 Blog: Dennis Yu Lecture

For this week’s COM 460 “blog of my choice”, I will be reflecting on Dennis Yu’s brilliant Skype lecture presented to our class on Facebook analytics. First off, I did not take notes during this lecture because I was so engaged with what was being said, so my reflection will be on aspects that really stood out to me. It was the most engaging guest lecture thus far in the course by a wide margin.

I was very impressed with Dennis’s work building (http://blitzmetrics.com/) as a major player in the analytics industry. I admire a person with great intelligence and the ability to make a business a success accompanied with a sharp mind. I also enjoyed hearing about his big-name industry connections he made in the process. Not everybody has the ability to arrange meetings with people like Mark Zuckerberg to discuss media branding over lunch.

As for his demonstration of Facebook’s promotional abilities, I was blown away. I had no idea that an average person could filter so much data to target specific influencers based on categories like occupation, location, and employer. I really enjoyed the example of filtering data to cross-promote a post for “Toyota employees, in Japan, in management”. This showed me a way of promoting any message I want to the people I really need to target. Being a senior Communications major, this would be a great way to get my resume to the people who need to see it (Dennis, if you’re reading this, feel free to help me with this any time).

Another reason for my admiration of the lecture was how it might be applied to my work with University of Louisville Athletics for the course. I know that Dennis has worked with Nick Stover and the Athletics Department before, so he would be a great man to talk to about where we should go with our project.

Our UofL Athletics team is tasked with marketing promotions and gaining more followship for the program as a whole via social media with a budget of $0.00. Dennis has made a career doing this with other businesses, so some expert advise would be great. We have researched other competitors in the college athletics industry and have found that currently UofL Athletics is not a the top, but they are not at the bottom either. The university has many social media outlets, but yet seems unresponsive to its audience. Engaging followers with content they want, on time, in a form easy for them to access is key to achieving our project goal. It would be great to get some input from Dennis (after reviewing the current state of UofL Athletics social media) about what they should be doing to engage more people via social media.

COM 460 Blog of My Choice: Branding In Sports

Ben Chester

Branding in Sports

For my COM 460 blog this week, I want to look at corporate branding and sponsorship in athletics. I use the broad term “athletics” to mean professional football, MLB, NASCAR, as well as college athletics because so many of the large sponsors have an influence across multiple sports arenas. I have learned from my work with the UofL Athletics project in the course this semester that sports broadcasts have some of the highest viewership of any programming on television, and advertisers can reach millions of audience members when the programming is on.

As with all my COM 460 blog topics, a Google image search for “Branding in Sports” in sports gives an excellent overview of the topic. I see logos and color schemes that are instantly recognizable both as a sports fan and as a typical American consumer. Traditional sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Callaway, etc all appear in the results along with other companies that have nothing to do with sports. These brands include Allstate insurance (“the Allstate Sugar Bowl”), BMW, Chevron, Google are just some of the large companies consumers are familiar with but have nothing to do with sports. I have no doubt that these brands are sponsoring these events to take advantage of the large broadcast viewership where they get the most bang for their advertising buck.

One great example of corporate branding and sponsorship in athletics that I was surprised to see in the top results of a “branding in sports” search was the rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z. Now that I think about it, Jay Z is the human embodiment of cross media promotion. In case you don’t know, Jay got his start as a drug dealer in Brooklyn, then rapper, then producer, then he bought a the Brooklyn Nets pro basketball team (then sold for millions in profit), and now he is a high-profile sports agent…“I know about budgets, I used to be a drug dealer” -Jay Z. He has built a corporate brand based that plays off his personal brand of sports and music. People recognize him not only as a person, but also as an industry.

One article I found that nicely ties the issue of sports to corporate sponsorship poses the question “Can Sponsorship Impact Brand Affinity?”. In other words, what events a brand sponsors affects the consumer’s perception of the brand itself. This drives home the notion that large sporting events today have a impact on more than just team stats. The article uses the Royal Bank of Scotland’s rugby sponsorship as a negative example of how brands and sports affect public perception. After the banking crisis, people were opposed to large corporate banks and thus the rugby team saw a decline in follow ship. Today, brands influence sports and vice versa. The article concludes with the point that “do it (brand affiliation in sports) right and consumers can truly get behind a brand in impressive ways, visible and quantifiable through their words expressed online”.

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COM 460- Blog: Hootsuite II

This week’s class blog for COM 460 on Hootsuite will be an update for my progress and my thoughts on the process up to this point. From the start of this blog my, progress looks like this…

HS 1

…although I am still working on completing the program, I have worked with it enough to write my first Hootsuite blog earlier in the semester. I was not a fan of the certification site initially because mainly because I have not experienced it fully. As I write this, I will be working through it more and will be giving my opinion on some parts that stand out and hopefully they will be more positive.

After working with the program further, I still maintain that it is a very in depth and through process. The software is a great way for businesses to capture content as they grow, but on a personal use level I am still unsure of its utility. The data research ability of the Hootsuite experience was one section I liked because of the capacity to omit terms the user was not interested in. Filtering data is one aspect that adds to the listening ability of the user. I also like the integration of all these data collection capabilities across multiple social networks. By drawing avenues like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Foursquare, Myspace (whatever that is), WordPress, Mixi, etc., it expand one’s ability to gather and filter information. This is a tool in terms of information gathering and online targeting a specific demographic that can hap a small business grow. Capturing the right information at the right time can help build relationships with potential influencers.

HS 2

I also liked the dashboard feature used in Hootsuite. I think this would be good for a business to manage a variety of business perspectives covered in the different sections of the Hootsuite program. My dashboard seen above is sparse compared to some of the more well-connected dashboards featured in the video tutorials. Again, a lot of the examples discussed in the Hootsuite certification videos referenced the program from a business management side rather than a personal level. If I utilized a program like Hootsuite to its full potential outside the confines of this course, it would make me feel a bit desperate for attention. If I was a small business owner on the other hand, I would definitely use the program to reach a perspective audience in the ways it suggest.

Looking over the application as a whole, a lot of what is covered in the COM 460 course was reinforced by the program itself. I enjoyed reading about the specific topic sections like collaboration, analytics, engagement, and listening because it made the program well rounded from a business’s perspective. Hootsuite is designed for the person with a growing business that doesn’t have time or money to manage a lot of different feeds. The program is also useful to that small business start-up who doesn’t want to pay an analytics company to find new customer markets. I feel like pairing the promotional abilities of Hootsuite with a program like Quicken Home and Small Business Manager that has the same visual data representational aspect, a small business owner can properly manage their business into new markets.