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COM 460 Blog: Twitter Handles on Team Jerseys?

For my blog this week, I will giving my response to the article supplied by to me by Dr. Freberg on 2012-13 Digital Best Practices #8: “Akron Attempts to Put Twitter Handle on Jersey”. After having read the article it is the first time that I have heard of any NCAA school going this far with their social media. My immediate response was on of shock that officials would allow such a thing, but that shock value ultimately generates media buzz about the school.

 

“Creativity, scalability, simplicity, execution, and impact” are all aspects the article highlights as factors that go into creative and innovative social media practices. I love this idea even more because it came from a very small school like Akron thats not huge in college athletics. This shows that social media innovation can emerge from one person with a unique idea, no matter the size of their organization.

 

The article references how huge sports reporting groups like ESPN and USA Today have picked up the story. This alone, regardless if NCAA approves putting Twitter handles on jerseys, will promote the school, the players, and the team. Relating this to my experience as a sports fan, putting players Twitter handles on jerseys would give me something to do while I was watching the game because I always have my phone with me (i.e. second screen viewing genius).

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COM 460 Blog of My Choice: Second Screen Viewing

For this week’s COM 460 blog post of my choice, I would like to explore the topic of second screen viewing. This is basically the idea that media users often use more than one device at the same time. Example include activities like using one’s iPhone research sports while watching some sporting event on television. Another example is me using my iPhone while I write this to do further research about second screen viewing (among texting friends and listening to music).

After performing a Google Image search for ”Second Screen Viewing”, user engagement and interactivity is key. When watching live television, people naturally get bored and pull out their devices. Broadcasters and media influencers to capitalize on this boredom. The challenge lies in engaging viewers with interactive content to keep them tuned in to the program and through the commercial break.

I like the topic of second screen viewing because (I have been told) it is one potential avenue for social media and marketing. There is already a number of apps for this purpose and Jeffrey Wilson addresses the h “5 Greatest Second-Screen Apps to Enhance the TV Experience. He sums up the topic well by commenting how “downloading these apps to mobile devices let boob tubers acquire ancillary information about a movie, TV show, or commercial”. The top 5 best apps (in one blogger’s opinion) for second screen viewing include, IntoNow, SoundTracking, Shazam, Twitter, and Zeebox. I have personally used both Twitter and Shazam and Twitter in some cases. Twitter can be used to search specific program hashtags (seems like every show has a hashtag these days) and Shazam works with audio to identify a specific commercial and take you to a page with more info about the product. From my experience, Shazam works well but I really don’t care about most commercials enough to look deeper into their webpage. As for Twitter as a second screen option, I usually get sidetracked doing other stuff before looking up a show’s hashtag.

One Second Screen Inforgraphic from the awesomely-named site LostRemote.com outlines the who, what, when, where, how of second-screen (and even third-screen) viewership. One stat that really caught my eye was that 30% of tablet users spend 11-20 hours a week on their tablets. Thats almost like a second job. Also, a large percentage of users are active between the hours of 5-11PM. With just these couple statistics, one can see the potential audience for marketers looking to target the American public. In short, targeting multi-taskers doing research about potential product purchases should be the goal of advertisers. Second screen viewing is a great emerging avenue to tap deeper into the consumer market. This is also one outlet that I will keep in mind for my work with UofL Athletics this semester.

 

COM 460 Blog: Social Media Monitoring

As with all COM 460 weekly blog topics, “Social Media Monitoring” is something I first like to explore visually with a Google Image Search. From this very general view of the issue, I can gather that social media monitoring relies heavily on analytics, numbers, and infographic presentation of results.

 

Social media monitoring, as discussed in class lecture, is “the practice of analyzing, understanding, responding to conversations about products, brands, and individual reputation and opinion of key online community members virtually”. This is a very good outline of the idea. One Social Media Monitoring Inforgraphic presents the topic as a circular cycle. The cycle involves finding chatter activity, analyzing chatter for relevance, assigning quality index score, reporting chatter activity, and posting a response. The general idea being responsive to discussion of the product, brand, person, etc. be it positive or negative. Being interactive with other social media users goes a long way towards creating a properly based online reputation.

 

After researching the topic further, it is clear that listening to whats being said is key to posting future content that followers will enjoy or respond positively to. There are a number of applications to monitor online presence, one newcomer is Digimind. This app caught my attention in that not only can it monitor a person’s/business’s online presence, but also gives insight into what the competition (for a given industry) is doing with their social media. This professional Digimind program yields cutting-edge analytics, infographics, PowerPoints and PDF reports for in-depth research of a business’s online footprint.

 

As we learned in class, social media monitoring analytics is like a real-time focus group for a business, but also can be used for personal use. Many parents have taken to using social media monitor to Snoop on Your Kids. Parents monitoring their kids is a good example of how deep social media monitoring can go if one desires to find more about media use. The Huffington Post article by Lisa Belkin highlights how “43% of kids say their parents ‘occasionally’ check the messages on their smartphones with their kids’s knowledge”. While this corresponds with the idea that social media monitoring revolves heavily around the discovery, collection, analysis, and response to relative data (in this case, how high school students are using smartphones).

 

In short, social media monitoring gives the user deeper insight into their online presence and reputation. By knowing what your followers respond to, in either a business or personal context, one can better connect with their audience. In terms of business, a better connection with the customer/ audience base can be extremely for increasing sales. On a personal level, individual social media monitoring can be used to increase one’s social media presence or help to curve problems such as cyber-bullying.

COM 460 Blog: Random Ramble About Stuff I Like and Why I Like It

For this “COM 460 week 6 blog of my choice” post I will give my quick summary and reaction to some current events, pictures, and whatever else I think is cool. Relax, I’m not going to talk about the government shut down (I touched on that on that in My Blog last week, check it out). I will get the topics from my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. as I read through my live feeds. For the purpose of this blog, I will examine what draws me in rather than the content of the articles.

First from my Facebook feed is the  University of Louisville’s live updates about the game on right now (Cards are playing Rutgers and are up 17-7). I pay attention to their updates for multiple reasons, first of which is the fact that I am a student and I care about what is going on. Second, I pay attention to their content more when it involves live athletic updates as another way of watching the game (second screen viewing working perfectly). Another reason for my focus is because they post a lot of pictures and graphics that are professional and interesting. I read enough in my classes, so when I want to relax with some social media time, I would rather look than read. The page is interesting on another level because I am in the UofL Athletics group for COM 460 and I am always looking for options for that project.

The second social media outlet I am browsing while writing this is My Twitter. First, I would just like to say Twitter sometimes makes me feel anxious because it updates quicker than most sites and never seems to stop. I feel like there’s always something I may be missing, usually about current events or news more so than my friend’s updates. The Huffington Post Article I selected from the top of my feed while writing this drew me in with the Tweet “What German wisdom can teach the rest of the world about living the good life”. The title was appealing because I like to think I live the good life and want to continue. The German part was appealing to me because they are known for quality, precision, and order (all things I like and value myself).

The third and final outlet for finding stuff I like online is My Instagram account. This is the site I use the most because its basically all pictures, its easy to use on my phone, and it has a mix of people I know and don’t know. I like the random-ness of updated content on my live feed in particular. I follow pages than ranger from what new sneakers are coming out (Kicks4Sale) to baseball (MLB) to what my friends from high school are doing. All this content is constantly refreshed all the time so there is always something new to see. The Instagram for  Apple Computers is an example of a professional page I check into often. I like their content because I like their brand and their clean product design. In  short, each social media site I use for different reasons, but what content I find appealing remains much the same.

COM 460: The Social Consumer

As with most COM 460 blog topics for this course, I like Google it before looking at my lecture notes for a visual summary. After giving “social consumers” a Google Image Search, one quickly gathers that the group includes most internet users. Social media consumers are those who frequent mobile and online media, post content, maintain profiles, and use a multitude of social networking sites. One also gets the impression the practice is very commercial in terms of branding, logos, advertising, business, etc. Graphics and visualizations stand out among the many images as well. I recognize infographic-heavy content that is standard in the industry (the topic of my last blog, check it out too). From taking in the topic of social consumers visually, data presentation in a simple form to a wide online audience is something I really picked up on.

Fortunately, guest speakers and in class lecture give deeper insight to social consumers of media. Those working in the social media industry like Robert Young and Adam Lefkoe made it abundantly clear that social media allows for (and most definitely should be) used for two-way communication. An example from Adam used was a his response to both positive and negative comments on a feed. By engaging and responding to other media consumers gives the profile owner personality, rather coming off too stiff or formal. Adam Lefkoe’s key points for keeping an involved online presence include “never stare at success, remember the purpose, and knowing your voice”. All of which are good points to keep in mind when addressing social consumers.

From looking at news articles, the growing trend for social media consumers and producers content creation and ownership. The Forbes Article by John Hall drives home the idea that organizations need to tell their story on social media in a compelling way. Companies cannot just post mindless content average followers don’t care about. Points like “understanding user context with sponsored content, creating mobile-first content with strong visuals, and catering to shifting attention spans” make up the main topics. Keeping users attention with new content consumers care about in the quickest and easiest way (increasingly, mobile devices) will ultimately benefit the organization.

On a personal level, social consumers peak my interests due to potential career opportunities and tons of money to be made. Jeff Dachis, writer for adage.com, bogs about how Real-Time Marketing is quickly gaining traction in the industry. He touches on how sharing content from other media consumers is not real-time marketing. Creating content that is striking and new is a better, yet more difficult and expensive approach to gaining attention. Real time conversations with people is another way to market to followers commenting about a brand. Being different and new while consistently promoting an image professional approachability makes for a strong social media foundation.

COM 460: Sooo…the government quit, now what?

For my COM 460 “blog of your choice” topic selection this week I select: the government shutdown. I choose the topic to review for my Social Media class blog due to news coverage the situation has been attracting. Also, I would like to make the point early that I am not a political science major so I will not get into deep issues with this posting. I am, however, a communications major with an interest in current events.

I have watched a couple CNN news clips that cover the basic disconnect between republicans and democrats regarding government funding. This is interesting because it affects everybody, but I am personally interested in how the media is used in events such as the shutdown. News and social media outlets use terms like “civil instability” and “GOP civil war” to create what I think is unneeded panic. I hold the view that the shutting down the government temporally will generate positive changes in America’s future.

I hold this opinion after having read The Washington Post article “nine most painful impacts of government shutdown” that highlights the American working class to stands to lose in the shutdown. Issues like owed back pay to federal workers, food inspection, and flu shots affect those all voters. It is usually in critical events like the current that government acts the quickest with its policy. Maybe by shutting down programs people rely on will spur people to take political action when government resumes. I hold my optimistic outlook partially because I think people in America should be able to correct a dysfunctional political system.

Social media also plays a role in such political events with growing influence. One article from Washington explains how social media opinions of many users has an influence on public opinion. Tweeters can now direct their anger towards government leaders more easily, quickly, and frequently with tools like Twitter and Facebook. The article notions towards the current public view that those in D.C. should put aside political differences in order to solve problems facing the struggling middle class. While Tweets and likes may not replace ballots and  voters, public opinion of government on social media outlets is beginning to (and rightly should) carry more weight when selecting officials.

In conclusion, I think the large majority of Americans are hoping to avoid another Occupy movement or Arab Spring at the moment. There is still the feeling in myself, and I can assume other optimists, that the American middle class should be accurately represented by elected officials. I believe the votes should determine those elected and not campaign contributions. Social media at this point in history gives everybody a voice in politics that may count in some small way to inspire change.

COM 460: Infographics & Visualizations

As our COM 460 class continues to learn more in-depth about social media, it is clear that we are learning the material in a completely different way than within many other courses offered to students. Communication majors in particular can tell you that displaying information to convey meaning has come a long way with our modern digital age.

Today, using photos and videos to communicate a message to an audience serves as a modern rendition of infographic illustrations. Wikipedia outlines how Infographics are “visual representations of information, data or knowledge”.  This concept lays the foundation for numerous creative possibilities when applied to the online media. This also ties into what we learned in lecture regarding sites like YouTube, Pintrest, Vine, and Instagram being platforms for storytelling and infographic display. Displaying vast data in a short amount of time accurately is key.

Some may argue that people and Americans specifically value infographics and visualization so highly because of the time-poor nature of our culture. We as modern digital humans need information quickly summarized and presented directly to us (preferably on my iPhone…with lots of pictures and maybe a video). One article by blogger Randy Krum reviews Google’s new AdWords Conversions program. The main point of the article is that Google has developed a program to analyze cross-device conversion patterns, but that really doesn’t matter because it took me time to read the completely to find that. And really, who has time for that these days? My point of this ramble is that people what graphics (pictures and videos) to convey information with a high-level of accuracy and dependability, directly to them in form that is easy to use (a large visual flowchart in the case of Randy Krum’s intended message).

As I sit and write this, another example of informative visualizations strikes me. I got a snapchat on my iPhone from Team Snapchat while finishing the last paragraph. It was a video message promoting their newest update with something called “Snapchat Stories”. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Blogger Darrell Etherington of techcrunch.com thought it was so exciting that he had to write Snapchat Stories review of the update and share it with the world less than an hour after its release. His review with video element visualizations allows the reader to quickly gather that the new update allows for a deeper social networking aspect, much like other sites they compete with. At that’s all the normal reader may gather from the article. Those more interest can easily learn more, but most absorb the info and move on quickly.

To conclude, infographics and visualizations as they are used today ultimately serve the traditional purpose of displaying information quickly to an audience. A quick Google image search of “top 10 infographics” brings up pages of highly visual flowcharts with key points highlighted. This is an illustration of visualizing complex information is exceedingly helpful in gaining audience attention and conveying a message.