Thursday, November 29, 2007

YouTube: An Effective Political Medium?

Last night the 8 potential Republican presidential candidates squared off in their first ever YouTube debate. As we had previously talked about the Democratic YouTube debate, I was excited to finally have the chance to watch it live.

Listen to whether or not I think the YouTube format is going to be successful in the political arena.

Bringing Social Media to Sports

There was a recent post on how we haven't really discussed social media in relation to sports. There is a company called XOS Technologies that is using social media to promote professional sports and I thought that this would be a great listen for everyone.

Listen here.

XOS Technologies is one of the leading technology partners for maximizing the value of content and commerce for sports organizations and fans.

Facebook is Ruining Christmas

So maybe you avoided the black friday mall rush and opted to buy your Christmas presents online this year, but did you know that the website you bought it from may have let the cat out of the bag. The beloved social media website of college students everywhere is to blame for spoiling Christmas. Facebook has added a new feature that broadcasts users information. In an article on, it discusses the problem the feature poses. This podcast gives a more detailed description of the problem and the larger implications.

Ben Leathers....How He is Putting His New Skills to Work!

Taking Dr. Scott Shamp's new media class is highly recommended by student Ben Leathers. In my interview with Ben, he shares his views on the average college student's knowledge of social media methods and where he sees social media headed in the future.

Ben is not only enrolled in the coolest class ever, but he is also one of the founders of the organization Tumornators, which creates fundraising efforts to raise money for NF and Schwannomatosis research. He also tells us the social media methods they used recently for their "Rock 4 Research" campaign.

Click here to listen to this exclusive interview.

Second Life Concerts...Were They Successful?

In a previous posting, we learned that UGA's Music Business Certificate Program partnered up with the New Media Institute to put on live concerts in Second Life.

I interviewed Steve Dancz, academic director of the MBUS program, to see how the concerts turned out. Steve speaks highly of Second Life and believes it greatly benefits young artists. Click here to listen and learn about the impact Second Life has on the music industry.

Social Media and Politics

Social media and politics must be one of my favorite combinations ever, but I'm not sure it's being used to its full potential at this point. It could be a great tool to open up discussion (two-way communication, hello!), but as my friend Shannon - a former blogger and politics aficionada like myself - points out, in most cases it's only being used as a recruitment tool.

Click here to listen to our discussion of politicians joining the social media realm through the YouTube debates, Second Life, blogs and more.

Get graded on your Second Life skills!

Throughout the semester we have dabbled in discussion about Second Life, but some University students have taken an entire course about this virtual world.

I interviewed Rosie Simon, a senior public relations major, about her experiences in this class taught by Scott Shamp.

Listen here!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

semester projects

The big project this semester was to create a social media product & make it a success. Here are the class projects (in no particular order!):
Check out their work if you haven't already!

UPDATE: Added Kelly's blog because I inadvertently left her off the original list

Beware of "Viral" Videos!

The debate over ethics in public relations will probably never end because traditions are always changing and new tactics are constantly emerging. Listen to this podcast about ethics and the example of a viral video marketer who is causing quite a stir.

Here are a few links to things I mention:
Dr. Vorvoreanu PR Connections
Shel Holtz

YouTube Debates Round 2

Hopefully, everyone caught a little glimpse of the debate that happened tonight. I think the candidates did an excellent job taking this form of communication seriously. While some questions were still funny, the candidates answered the questions like they would in any other debate. Of course, by "answered the question" I mean they put together a string of words that sounded good, but never addressed the real question.

I want to make a comparison to the last debate. In particular the democratic debate featured a question by a comedy duo who post YouTube videos regularly called "The Red State Update." In this podcast I discuss these men and how they have influenced social media's presence in the political world both positively and negatively.

Building relationships with bloggers 101

One of our wonderful social media spotlites, Mr. Brian Solis, wrote a blog post about 10 ways to help PR practitioners build relationships with bloggers. Mr. Solis put it best by saying, "bloggers relations and participation are crucial to the future of your business." As future PR practitioners, we all should listen to the helpful advice!

I am proud to be an American!

I came across an interesting article today on about a lawsuit that Yahoo just settled with two Chinese journalists. Yahoo turned in the journalists' e-mails that contained "pro-democracy literature" to Chinese authorities which resulted in jail time and alleged torture. Listen to see why I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America.

What the public thinks about social media

This class has led us on an exciting journey into the world of social media. However, I feel that we have gotten so enthralled with it that we sometimes forget what everyone else thinks. As future PR practitioners, we need to remain connected to our publics and know what they think of the tools we use.

With this in mind I interviewed two friends of mine. Listen to how they use and think about social media.

Republican YouTube Debate

Wow. I'm watching the Republican YouTube debate right now, and I really don't know what to think.

Stabbing, jabbing, cutting, throwin''d think it was West Side Story.

Anderson Cooper, the moderator, announced each candidate has produced a YouTube-ish video. They are playing them throughout the debate.

I think this goes back to our class period on politics. Each video I've seen has been well produced, almost too much, and they are taking that opportunity to attack their opponents.

Most of the people who are interested in this debate are probably young people. To me, attacking your opponent isn't cool, and I think young people think that, too.

I will probably update some more.

Here are the Web sites for the candidates if you want to check them out. I noticed some of them look a lot alike.

Mitt Romney
John McCain
Mike Huckabee
Fred Thompson
Rudy Giuliani
Duncan Hunter
Ron Paul
Tom Tancredo

P.S. Tancredo and McCain need to work on their google status. They were the only candidates who's campaign pages weren't the first ones on the google search. Hmmmmmm...

Since we are all podcasting now...

I was catching up on my Google reader and I ran across this post. We might all be pros at podcasting but it is never too late to learn new things.

Here is Donna Papacosta's post about podcasts.

The students agree, they'll take a long lunch break.

Cyber Monday is not targeted toward college-aged kids, but I wanted to see if the students here participated. Check out the interviews here.

Long lunch breaks

It's that time of year again. Christmas shopping season is in full swing, but frantic shoppers often forget an important resource ... the Internet.

Cyber Monday is dedicated to those smart, tech-savvy shoppers, so when Christmas break comes, they can relax. Listen here to find out more!

Either you are in or you are out

Even though social networks like Facebook are opening up their door to the general public, there are a hand full of social networks that are doing the opposite and are closing the doors to the general public. In an article found on, three “gated” sites are discussed that are going against the open social networking trend and have strict membership requirements to join. As stated in the article, “the scene [the “gated” sites] is more velvet-roped club, not open-mic night.”

Reuters Space is a private site that allows fund managers, traders, and analysts to network. Every member has their own feed and profile page (a personal blog) which allows them to receive news from Reuters about their field and to network with colleagues and other industry workers. Reuters has their own data in place that verifies the employment status of the applicants and then determines who can join. is a network specifically for executives that are in the wireless industry. You must be a director at a large company, a vice-president at a mid-size company, or in the C-suite of a start-up company in order to join the network. There are currently more than 900 executive members on INmobile. Members include Verizon Wireless executives, handset makers of Nokia, co-founders of the New York mobile-games Cellfun and content providers from Walt Disney.

Diamond Lounge is an invite-only social/business network that just launched this month. The selection committee of the network has already invited 100 people to join, but they have received more than 7,000 applications. Members actually have to pay a monthly fee of $60 to be a part of this elite social network. Members are able to keep a social profile in “the Lounge” and a business profile in “the boardroom.” Members can even set their privacy settings based on physical traits of other members. Instead of exchanging trivial Facebook gifts like a cute teddy bear or a fiesta hat, members of the Diamond Lounge exchange real gifts like designer purses and tickets to a big event.

When I first read this article I disagreed with the idea of closed social networks, but then it began to grow on me. Similar to GodTube, sites are taking the basic principles of open social networks such as Myspace and YouTube and are catering it to a targeted audience. Large social networks can be overwhelming and the purpose of the network can be lost in the mist of the chaos. These elite “gated” sites might seem trivial and over zealous at first, but they carry the same basic principals as other organizations such as PRSA. You have to fill out an application and pay yearly dues in order to be a member. Although, the Diamond Lounge seems to be mixture of both a Myspace and a business networking group, but for the rich that have a lot of stinking money.

Making the Time Capsule

Since I'm sure all of you listened to my podcast about how social media is documenting who we are and how it has time capsule capabilities. You should listen to the second podcast in the series where I put this time capsule talk into action. I interview college students and ask them what they are thinking about these days. Now it is linked here in the black hole of the Internet for years to come.

Social Media as a Time Capsule

When we talk about social media and public relations we constantly talk about engaging our audience and having a human voice. We are documenting our human voices everyday when we digitize "who we are." We are creating a time capsule. Have you ever thought about social media this way? Listen more about this here.

youTube: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Lizzie Azzolino suggested that the State of Georgia sponsor a YouTube contest for videos on water conservation. Given the drought, this proposal is really timely & the details Lizze spends the time to outline are among the things that made this YouTube proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

“How do you Conserve?” YouTube Competition

This document outlines the process for integrating YouTube as a resource into the Office of the Governor of Georgia as a means of aiding in the state of Georgia’s current water crisis.

For a variety of reasons, Georgia finds itself in a multiple-year drought beyond what it has seen in the recorded past. Within the last few months, the state has seen climatologists predict that the next several months will bring little rainfall. The water reservoirs are dangerously low. It has become clear to the state that our conservation efforts need improvement.

Governor Sonny Perdue has asked businesses and citizens in the effected counties to cut their water usage by 10 percent. The Department of Natural Resources has suggested the following as methods of water conservation: wash only full loads of dishes and laundry, take a shower instead of a bath and fix leaking faucets and toilets.

To encourage further participation in water conservation by Georgia citizens, the Governor could announce a competition to conserve by asking citizens to create and post YouTube videos that demonstrate how they are effectively conserving this precious resource. The competition, and use of YouTube, would not only aid in water conservation, but it would spread the message that efforts are necessary. Encouraging citizens to post on YouTube would present a more “human” side to the water conservation effort, helping to make the point that every individual effort counts.

Perhaps the most substantial motivator for making use of YouTube is the Web site’s association with producing “viral video.” The term refers to video content that gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing. With the recent proliferation of mobile Internet devices, these videos can be viewed at anytime and almost anywhere. In addition, the site promotes the option of spreading videos by encouraging users to “embed” them in other sites, such as traditional Web sites, blogs and social network pages, and e-mailing them to others. The viral nature creates incredible potential for, not only positive publicity, but also making substantial progress in the effort to conserve water.


YouTube was founded in February 2005, and since then it has become a leader in online video. In November 2005, YouTube received funding from Sequoia Capital and was officially launched in December. Chad Hurley and Steve Chen became the first members of the management team. Hurley and Chen currently serve as chief executive officer and chief technology officer. In November 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google, Inc. YouTube has partnered with providers such as CBS, Sony Music Group, NBA and Warner Music Group. In June 2007, the entire interface of the Web site became available with localized versions in numerous countries.

YouTube is the premier destination to watch and share original videos worldwide. On, anyone can easily upload video clips through Web sites, mobile devices, blogs and e-mail.

Unregistered users can upload and watch a majority of the videos on the site, but registered users may upload an unlimited number of videos. There is no cost associated. Videos are placed into categories including: autos, comedy, entertainment, film, how-to, music, news and politics, people and blogs, pets and animals, sports, and travel and events. In 2006, special functions were added that allow users to post “responses” to videos and subscribe to content feeds.

Since its inception, a number of corporations and nonprofits have made use of YouTube as a means of marketing a product, service or cause. Dove, Coca-Cola, Delta, Cingular and American Red Cross, to name a few, have taken advantage of YouTube.

Furthermore, Samsung is currently hosting the UpStage lip-sync video contest, Nestle’s Nesquick created the Shake It video contest and Puma Fragrances is looking for creative videos to express what “gets you going.”

For the 2008 election, a number of political candidates used YouTube as an outlet for advertising their messages to the public. This year, CNN aired a debate in which candidates responded to questions from a pool of videos submitted to YouTube.

According to the YouTube site, the user base is 18 to 55 years of ago, spanning all geographies. The most recent figures claim that YouTube has “nearly 20 million unique users per month” who are watching “more than 100 million videos per day.”

Implementation Process.

A. Secure a co-sponsor for the competition to provide a prize for the video contest winner. The most enviable sponsor is one based in Georgia, willing to create a video on how they are conserving and is able to provide legitimate evidence that they are making an effort in conservation. Consider Chick-fil-A or Home Depot.

B. Create a “contest” on YouTube, similar to those on To do so, contact YouTube directly: They will assist you in creating the contest page. It should: link to, as well as provide the contest guidelines and information specified below. It is important to note that the governor’s office reserves the right to remove any video from the contest if it is inappropriate in nature (containing nudity, profanity or violence) or unrelated to the competition. Work with YouTube to monitor the videos.

C. Create a new link that reads “How do you Conserve? Contest” on the left-hand side of This should link to a new page on Governor Sonny Perdue’s Web site. On this page:

1. provide general information about the water crisis and ways to conserve. Link to and other associated Web resources.

2. provide guidelines for the video competition.

a. Instruct contestants, anyone currently living in Georgia, to create an original and relevant video, lasting between one and five minutes, that demonstrates how they are conserving water.

b. Instruct contestants to upload their original video to the contest page that

was previously set-up with YouTube. Provide a link to this page.

c. Provide the competition start-date, immediately, and the deadline, Dec. 20, 2007.

d. Specify that the video will be judged on success in demonstrating water

conservation, quality of expression, originality and creativity.

e. Mention that it is understood that citizens have varying degrees of access to video production equipment. Encourage all to apply.

3. specify that the winner will be announced on and on the YouTube site on Dec. 23, 2007. Provide details about the prize, as discussed with the corporate sponsor.

4. provide information about the sponsor, their conservation video and appropriate links.

5. regularly embed video-submissions.

6. post a video of Governor Perdue conserving water and a video of the corporate sponsor conserving.

7. mention that the governor’s office reserves the right to use the video submissions in adverting and conservation efforts.

D. To announce the competition, begin by making the Web site live. Post Governor Perdue’s conservation video, as well as the corporate sponsor’s video on both sites. Rely on the viral nature of YouTube in a large way. It is likely that media will follow-up, but it is necessary to notify local news channels, as well as the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Consider contacting national morning news shows, such as The Today Show and Good Morning America. For the necessary media outlets, consider a social media press release that may include: links to the governor’s and corporate sponsor’s YouTube videos, a link to the YouTube contest page, a link to the governor’s Web site, a link to the corporate sponsor’s site, information about the water crisis and contest guidelines. For the social media press release format, visit

E. On Dec. 23, 2007, announce the winner. Post a video of Governor Perdue congratulating the winner on both sites. Provide the winner with the prize supplied by the corporate sponsor. Use a format similar to the one specified above, to announce the winner to media.

F. An optional follow-up includes using the winner’s video in advertisements and public service announcements to raise awareness of the water crisis and conservation efforts. This should be followed with current information on the state of the crisis in Georgia.

Tracking the Success.

Do not measure the success of the YouTube contest only with regards to Georgia residents, as nationwide coverage is equally important. Raising awareness of water being a resource that we should not take advantage of is a critical message for everyone. With this contest, the nation will hopefully become more knowledgeable of the current crisis in Georgia, take measures to help our state and take the necessary steps to ensure this does not happen in other areas. It is important to mention that increased water conservation cannot be an assumed result of the contest. The more important factor is that we increase awareness. Awareness comes with participation, whether it’s submitting a video, watching a video or reading a related article. Social media is about having conversations, and it’s not always obvious how to measure the use of these tools. To examine the success of the YouTube contest, consider:

  • A. the number of contest submissions. Contests currently taking place on YouTube, including those sponsored by Samsung and Nestle, have anywhere from zero to 84 video submissions. If we use those numbers as a basis for comparison, 200 submissions would be extremely successful. Take into consideration the fact that, in order to create a video, on average, it takes at least two people. Family and friends of those involved will likely watch the video. Taking part in this process, whether making the video or watching the video, will increase awareness and possibly generate water conservation.
  • B. the number of views per video. Currently on YouTube, of all the videos related to “Georgia’s water crisis,” the one with the most views is at 620 views (“Lake Lanier: Running Dry,” If that number is used as a comparison, then Governor Perdue’s video, the corporate sponsor’s video and the winning submission should have at least that number. With each view, we can assume that the viewer’s awareness of the water crisis increases in a small way. Further, we can hope they make more of an effort to conserve.
  • C. the number and nature of comments. If a comment is left, you can assume the viewer has been engaged in the video submission. Positive comments (“great video,” “thank you for doing this,” etc.) are a measure of success. To be considered successful, Governor Perdue’s video, the corporate sponsor’s video and the winner’s video should have at least 10 comments.
  • D. amount of traditional media coverage. The most likely way for people in states other than Georgia to become interested in the YouTube videos is through traditional media. Whether the contest is mentioned on Good Morning America or picked up by Newsweek magazine. In order to view this contest as a success, coverage by these national outlets is necessary. This coverage does not have to occur during the contest. In fact, the most obvious time for it to occur is after the winning video is announced. Consider having the winner appear on morning news and do print interviews.
  • E. the number of page views for the contest page on Governor Perdue’s Web site, which can be tracked using Google Analytics. As it was previously stated, this Web site will not only have contest details, but it will also have information about the water crisis and how to conserve. With each page view, people will become more aware. In turn, they may choose to conserve water more efficiently. Also track the bounce rate (look for a percentage less than 50), as well as the average time spent on the site (2 minutes is good). Related to this is the number of other Web sites that link to the contest page.
Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

twitter: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Erin Gentry suggested that National Geographic magazine integrate Twitter. Reading tweets from their journalists dispatched all around the world in itself is enough to get me excited about this proposal. A single account, rather than unique accounts for each article, might be easier to manage, though. The specific examples of what type of tweets the reporters should do & the explanations of how to reply (both in task & approach for stimulating conversation) are among the things that made this Twitter proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

National Geographic Use of Twitter

Over the past years, National Geographic magazine has been facing a decline in readership in the U.S. Readers are becoming older and using the internet to gather information once found only in the magazine. To combat this, National Geographic has made its web site interactive including podcasts, videos and photos.

However, there is still a need to generate interest in the magazine. Terry Adamson, executive vice president of National Geographic Society said, “One of our challenges…is to continually find new, younger readers.” Younger people are using the internet. National Geographic needs to generate interest about its magazine where its publics are participating, on the internet.

Twitter is a social networking site. It allows users to create updates, or tweets, up to 140 characters long. Updates are delivered to users who have signed up to “follow” the updater. Updates can be sent and received via email, instant messaging, text messaging or the Twitter web site. Twitter is a service allowing users to keep track of what people are doing, thinking, looking at and feeling.

On July 18, 2007, it was estimated that there was 340,000 public Twitter accounts with an average of 2,000 new Twitter accounts a day.

National Geographic can use Twitter to generate interest in its magazine. Authors and photographers on site for an article could Twitter. Telling Twitter users what they are doing, eating, seeing and experiencing, the authors and photographers could generate interest based on what they did to produce the story.

National Geographic should set up a primary account that would be updated with interesting facts, news about articles coming up and special offers for Twitter users only. They should then set up accounts for each different article it wants to feature on Twitter. When choosing what articles to feature online, National Geographic should consider whether the location will allow for multiple updates and whether the journalist or photographer will be able to make the updates interesting.

Getting Started With Twitter

To set up the Twitter account:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Get Started-Join
  3. Choose a user name (e.g. Nat’lGeographic)
  4. Choose a password
  5. Enter an email address
  6. Click I accept. Create an account.

    Repeat these steps to create the accounts for each different article National Geographic wants to feature on Twitter.

    To send a tweet on the web site, log on to the Twitter account. Type in the message you want to send in the entry window at the top of the page. Hit update to send the message.

    It is also possible to register a phone and instant messenger to Twitter from. To do this, log on to the Twitter account. Under settings, click on phone and IM. Then, enter the mobile phone number and instant messenger name that updates will be sent from. To send a Twitter message from a mobile phone, send an SMS message to 40404. From instant messenger, message TwitterIM if using AOL or if using Jabber/Gtalk.

Using Twitter

A picture can be uploaded to each account. A standard logo should be used for the main account. However, for accounts following a specific story, a picture of the person or persons Twittering should be used. It would be more interesting if the picture was taken on location. This would provide followers with a personal connection to the people Twittering and the story they are covering. To upload a picture, log on to the Twitter account. Click on settings then picture. Hit the browse button and select the picture that will become the profile picture. Click save.

A twitter tweet must be short and interesting telling followers what is happening, how the Twitterer is feeling or pointing to an interesting link. Here are some examples:

Just arrived in South America…Buen Airez to be exact

The local cuisine here is interesting…fried crickets taste like potatos

It is raining…AGAIN

Just got back from a 40 mile hike, beautiful scenes but my feet hurt

Check out the local children (add a link to photos)

To make the Twitter account interesting updates should be made frequently, at least one new tweet a day. However, do not overburden followers with too much information. Do not update more than 10 times a day unless in extreme circumstances (e.g. a volcano erupting).

The account should also contain a lot of links and references. Link to pictures that have been uploaded to the internet, online recipes that describe local cuisine, weather forecasts and descriptions, examples of local artwork, etc.

References on Twitter consist of the @ symbol and the name of a fellow Twitterer (e.g. @eGentry). This occurs quite frequently and should be used as a tool to answer followers’ questions, promote other National Geographic Twitter accounts and participate in the Twitter community. Twitter is about connecting and having mini conversations. Do not be afraid to reference what someone else is saying. For example, if the follower MJcool writes “polar bears are awesome” do not be afraid to follow the link. Then, the main account could reference MJcool and say “@MJcool, polar bears are cool. Did you know their skin was black?”

Each Twitter account has a profile. A profile tells a little about the account user. A profile includes url information, one line bio and location. The profile can be changed by logging in to the account and clicking settings. The url for all Twitter accounts should be the National Geographic’s web site. The one line bio can tell about the company (e.g. Inspiring people to care about the planet) or the project being worked on (e.g. This is a article researching how people in the Amazon eat). The location should tell where the account is being updated from.

The background can be changed in Twitter. Anyone clicking on an accounts name will be taken to their home page which includes their individual background. While many users do not visit other home pages, this tool could be used to individualize National Geographic’s accounts. To change the background, log on to the Twitter account and click on settings. Click on design. Change the colors or click browse and add a picture.

The main account should link to all pictures, videos and podcasts National Geographic adds to its web site.

Employees should follow these guidelines when Twittering:

  1. Tell the Truth – never lie about who you are, where you are or what you are doing
  2. Use a human voice – do not use business talk or PR talk
  3. Have a thick skin – know that people will not always like what you say
  4. Respond to the people who reply to you – answer their questions responding back to them, be nice to the people who follow you and they will spread the word
  5. Never change the main twitter account’s name – you will lose followers if you do
  6. If you do not have the answers say so – not having the answers is human, but find them if you can
  7. Never lie
  8. Never hide information – even if National Geographic is not doing a good job, do not hide the fact. Say what is going wrong and what is happening to fix the issue
  9. Know who is talking about you

Making Twitter Effective

Followers need to have some reason to follow National Geographic’s twitter accounts other than the fact that it is interesting. National Geographic needs to reward its followers. Here are some suggested ways to do this:

    1. Give away special offers and codes only released through Twitter
    2. Create a special edition of National Geographic just for Twitters – this special edition could expand on the experiences of the photographers and journalists who Twitter
    3. Have a contest for the best story idea on Twitter. The winner would not only see his or her story produced and published, but would meet with the journalist and photographer who produced the story

Marks of Success

The marker of success for Twitter is the number of followers an account has. Followers receive the updates accounts send. All National Geographic twitter accounts should have more followers than accounts it is following. Following accounts can be useful. Most twitter users look at who is following them and will start following the accounts following them. If National Geographic has 300 followers in the first month, the Twitter account has been extremely successful.

Replies are also a mark of success. If twitter users are positively responding to what is said, then the account is a success. To view responses, log on to the account. Click on the sub-folder Replies under the update button.

National Geographic could also track success by following how many hits on its web site come from Twitter recommendations.

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

flickr: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Ashley Beebe suggested that the Food Network adopt Flickr. This would be a great way to get Food TV viewers involved in a community of cooks as they share pictures of their interpretations of a recipe & maybe their own concoctions. I really liked how Ashley suggested that people at Food TV actually go out in search of pictures then invite people to share the pic with the special Food group (no pun intended). This focus on community - the heart of what social media is to me - & the ability to showcase one's contribution to the community are among the things that made this Flickr proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

Food Network Flickr account proposal

Ref: [1]

1. Purpose: This document outlines the addition of a Flickr [1] account to the Food Network online community to increase feeling of community and interactivity within the Food Network online community. Food Network already has a fairly well-established online presence within its Web site [2]; the addition of a Flickr account would allow the Food Network to reach outside of its own online neighborhood and participate in other communities. Participation in other communities would increase traffic to the Web site as well as brand loyalty; use of a photo pool, standardized tags and discussion postings would also give Food Network the ability to better track and gauge discussion about the Food Network through blog, recipe and photo posts.

2. Background: Flickr is a photo-hosting network under the Yahoo [3] umbrella, meant to encourage storing and sharing photos online. As of May 2007 Flickr had more than 8.5 million members and members upload as many as 2 million new pictures per day [4]. Flickr is a social medium; there are multiple devices built into the Flickr framework to make it easier to find and share photographs and thus experiences. Each member has his or her own “photostream” and can organize the photos into sets, add descriptions and titles, tag each photo with key phrases, mark other Flickr members as contacts, mark other Flickr members’ photos as their favorites, add photos to group photo pools, add notes on top of photos and comment on each other's photos. Flickr members are given information on how many times their photos and the photos of others have been viewed, they’re shown their most popular photos by number of comments, number of times a photo has been added as a favorite as well as number of views.
Flickr members can also explore other photos by searching tags, search groups, or using the explore page to find interesting photos.

Tags help organize photos and make them easier to find – tags can be searched and added to photos by friends and family who view the photos. Groups pool photos of similar origin and nature – members join a group and can add their photos to the pool; those photos’ pages then show that they are a part of the designated group. Group members are often asked to tag their photos with a common tag in order to make the photos easier to find, members can also
discuss topics relating to their group in the discussion section of the group page. Groups serve to bring together people who have similar interests and photographs and to share those photographs with each other.

3. Implementation Process: Adding a Food Network account and Food Network group would increase Food Network outreach and promotion as well as allow Food Network to follow online discussion of relevant Food Network references, with little increased work by Food Network staffers.
  • a. Create a Flickr account for Food Network: The process is simple and costs $24.95 for a Pro account, allowing unlimited space for uploading.
  • b. Upload, title, describe and tag photos from the Food Network studios: Uploading pictures can be done using the Flickr site or by downloading one of the free Flickr uploading tools [5]. Tags can be added by clicking “add a tag” on the photo’s page once the photo has been uploaded or before it has been uploaded via the Flickr Uploadr tool. Uploading pictures from the Food Network studios allows Flickr users to have an insider’s perspective into the behind- the-scenes life of Food Network. Adding pictures of some of the dishes created, along with a description featuring the recipe and a link to similar recipes on the Food Network site will increase traffic to the Food Network site.
  • c. Create a Food Network group on Flickr: Groups can be created quickly and easily by clicking the “groups” tab at the top of the Flickr account page followed by the “create your own group” link on the groups page. Food Network should create a public group over a invitation-only or private group.
  • d. List the purpose and guidelines of the Food Network group on the main group page: When creating the group, a description listing the group’s purpose and guidelines should be posted in the “what’s the group about?” box. Members of the groups should be encouraged to add the pictures they’ve taken of the recipes they’ve made, especially those recipes taken from the Food Network site. Members should also be encouraged to link to the recipe itself on the Food Network site and a link to any blog postings where they’ve written about the dish itself.
  • e. Create pre-set discussion topics: Food Network should create some discussion topics ahead of time such as: all-time favorite recipes, favorite quick-and-easy recipes, favorite dessert recipes, tips for food photography, etc. Pre-set discussion topics will encourage discussion and increase feelings of community among the members, making it a more active and thus a more successful community.

4. Marketing: Marketing for the Food Network Flickr photo group should include reaching out to Flickr members who have uploaded photos of dishes they’ve made, awards for best of the week and adding as contacts the Flickr members who Food Network invite to the group as well as daily update of the Food Network’s photostream with photos from behind-the-scenes of Food Network.
  • a. Search for and issue and group invitation to Flickr members: Food Network should search for photos of food using the search field to search for common tags such as: food, dessert, recipe, FoodNetwork, etcetera. Flickr members found in these searches should be sent a message with an invitation to join the Food Network group. The message should explain that Food Network has a group to spotlight food photographers and their favorite recipes and that Food Network would love for this member to join the Food Network community.
  • b. Award and feature on the main group site a weekly “Best Food Photo of the Week,” and “Best Food Network Recipe of the Week” : One person should be in charge of picking the best photo of food that has been added that week as well as the best photo based on a Food Network recipe. These Flickr members should be notified of their win through the comments on the page of the photo they’ve won for and the photos should be displayed on the main group page, similar to the Flickr Diamond group’s main page [6].
  • c. Add Flickr members invited to the Flickr group as contacts: Adding the Flickr members as contacts by clicking the “add ‘Flickr name’ as a contact” under their profile page will allow them to be updated when Food Network adds new photos to its stream, thereby increasing traffic to the site and to the Food Network Web site via links in the description sections of the photos linking back to the Food Network Web site.
  • d. Update Food Network’s photostream with photos from behind the scenes, with links back to the Food Network site: Adding photos every week will keep Flickr members returning to the Food Network account to see new photos. Links should be added to the description section of the photo, those links should take users to a relevant page on the Food Network site.
5. Measuring: The success of the Flickr group can be measured by the amount of the contacts added to Food Network’s Flickr account, the number of members added to the group, the number of photos added to the group, the number of times Food Network’s photo stream has been viewed, the number of comments on Food Network’s pictures, the number of times one of Food Network’s pictures has been added as a favorite, the number of discussion postings and finally, the increase in traffic to Food Network’s main Web site that can be traced back to
links from Flickr.

Food Network should expect to see a precipitous rise in the number of contacts and group members added to the Food Network Flickr group. Based on preliminary research, some numerical goals for the first month should include:
  • a. 300 new contacts added
  • b. 250 new members of the Food Network Flickr group
  • c. 500 photos added to the group
  • d. 1,000 views of the Food Network photostream
  • e. 100 comments on the Food Network photostream
  • f. 50 times Food Network’s photos should be added as a favorite
  • g. 150 discussion postings
  • h. 5% increase in traffic that can be traced back to the Flickr site

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

LinkedIn: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Nina Eyrich suggested that the UGA Career Center begin using LinkedIn. The idea that students on the hunt for a job or internship could better showcase their skills & portfolio, plug in to the job databases that are a part of site & benefit from social networking was great. I really liked the idea that the Career Services staff should put up their own LinkedIn resumes, then "friend" UGA students -- that way someone looking for a UGA grad could just go to the Career Center person's profile & browse his or her contacts to find a good candidate. This was the only LinkedIn proposal, but the way it streamlined a process for the organization is among the things that made this LinkedIn proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

Organizational Integration Proposal: LinkedIn

Employers want an idea of the people they are considering for a position. Harnessing the power of Google, it is now almost expected that an employer will search for the online profiles of applicants. With the increasing use of social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace, anyone with an online profile must be aware of how it may affect their chances of being hired.

The University Of Georgia Career Center offers a variety of different services to help current students as well as alumni with their careers. One-on-one meetings with career advisors, resume critiques, career series and mock interviews are only a few of the programs offered. The Career Center particularly emphasizes the importance of how students present themselves during an interview; however, currently there are no programs that advise students about the creation of online profiles. If the Career Center wants to continue in their successful preparation of University of Georgia students into their careers, it should consider the adoption of social networking site, LinkedIn.

Founded in 2004, LinkedIn is a social networking site where professionals from all industries, including educational institutions can enhance their business connections. Creating an online profile is free and as of November 2007, LinkedIn had more than 16 million registered users. The site allows people to create online profiles similar to resumes that highlight their professional experiences, while connecting with other professionals. Profiles can be constantly updated, and the more details you provide, the more complete your network becomes as your compatibility with other LinkedIn users increases. LinkedIn also allows profiles to link to other online tools, such as a person’s professional and personal blog or photo sharing site; a simple Google name search will return any existing LinkedIn profiles.

Once a profile has been created a user can than:

      • Search jobs, people, and additional career opportunities with career search engines such as CareerBuilder
      • Employers can list available positions as well as search for possible applicants
      • Prospective employees can review the profiles of companies and current employees
      • Participate in Q&A Forums about jobs and career moves
      • Determine the success of an industry by looking at past and current employees of the fields top firms

The University’s current system, DAWGTrak is similar to LinkedIn in connecting students and employers. Comparatively, DAWGTrak is much more restrictive. Companies must be familiar with and then seek out the Career Center to post their openings on DAWGTrak, which is only open to current students and some alumni. LinkedIn would allow students to expand their career options outside of the university, by taking an active role in seeking out future employment opportunities. Instead of uploading a written resume that companies than must download, a LinkedIn profile serves as a person’s resume.

Implementation of LinkedIn would not be instantaneous and would require time to learn about the different applications available. The first step is educating all employees at the career center, specifically career advisors about LinkedIn. A profile for the Career Center, as well as the career advisors should be created so that they can start creating a network with students and associated employers. The final step in implementing LinkedIn as a career center resource is educating students through:

      • Pamphlets on how to create a LinkedIn profile
      • LinkedIn information sessions with PowerPoint presentations and panels
      • Walk-In hours with advisors for questions specifically regarding LinkedIn
      • Online flash tutorials on the Career Center Web site

Ultimately success will be measured in the extent and growth of the Career Center’s LinkedIn network. LinkedIn provides an update percentage rating on the extent of a profile’s network with a goal of 100%, as well as tips to reach that goal. One method of increasing a profile’s network connections as well as a separate success measurement is recommendations. Students and employers can leave comments on a profile as a recommendation of the persons skills and qualities. The more recommendations a profile receives the higher its network percentage, and more appealing a profile is to prospective connections. LinkedIn also tracks a profile’s success by region and industry. Having the Career Center’s primary location (Athens, Ga.) as a profile’s top region would be an added marker of success. The markers of success mentioned in this proposal are not extensive as LinkedIn continually adds new features that can be measured in the future.

Social networking sites will be continually changing, and LinkedIn is no exception. As long as the use and success of the site is continually monitored, adding LinkedIn to the University of Georgia’s Career Center extensive resources can only aid students in furthering their future careers.

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

podcast: org integration proposal

For the social media organizational integration proposal, student Katherine Strate suggested that her hometown newspaper integrate podcasting. Her background research from the Rome, Ga. case study and examples of the type of content the podcast should include were among the things that made this podcast proposal stand out.

The proposal she turned in follows.

Client: The Citizen Tribune, Morristown, Tenn.

Purpose: To increase readership and community involvement by implementing the use of podcasts on their Web site.

Overall Proposal:

Why The Citizen Tribune has a need for podcasts:

The Citizen Tribune, a local afternoon paper is undergoing major personnel and readership changes. As of late, The Citizen Tribune has been lacking in community coverage that affects the younger crowd moving to the area. Local stories concerning the older Morristown population are not appealing to the new demographic in town. In addition, The Citizen Tribune is an afternoon newspaper, so their coverage is slightly delayed.

I believe the implementation of podcasts on their Web site would be a useful and effective tool to gain newer, younger readership. The older population of Morristown is dying, and reading an actual piece of paper for the news is dying, too. More and more people are referring to the Internet for daily, local and world news. Putting podcasts or v-casts on the Web site, if advertised correctly could increase readership on the Internet, and it could increase younger readership.

Case Study- The Rome News-Tribune, Rome, Ga.:

The daily newspaper in Rome, Ga. has increased its readership tremendously because of its use of podcasts. Its staff of writers and editors at the paper realized the need for deeper, more personal coverage of the community. They became aware that Rome citizens were more interested in community news, and they read the paper to receive it. Other mediums, like television, were used for world news coverage.

After making a game plan, the paper decided to disperse the podcast coverage; from football games, to school plays to town hall meetings, someone was there recording. According to the editor, the most successful podcast they posted concerned a play at one of the local elementary schools. They advertised the posting of the podcast before the show, and they received hundreds of hits. Once people realized they were podcasting, they started to call the paper making suggestions for possible locations. A firefighter, the father of a girl in the school play, invited the editor to ride in a fire truck with he and his squad.

That kind of community involvement, participation and energy is what The Rome News-Tribune wanted, and podcasting took them there.

Opportunities in Morristown for podcasts:

So many community events happen in Morristown that no one knows about. School board meetings, festivals, church gatherings, PTA meetings, business openings, Chamber of Commerce breakfasts and other functions are important for the life of the town.

Since Morristown is an average-sized town, community is extremely important. High school rivalries and craft fairs are two of the most important topics about which the community cares. If the podcasts covered most events at the high schools, hundreds of people would go to the Web site to listen and watch what went on.

What is also important is out-of-state readership. Grandparents, friends and other family members will go to the Web site to watch or listen to their relative or friend in Morristown. People are increasingly going to the Internet for their first search for information. This is a medium that should not be missed.

The main audience:

As mentioned before, the old are dying out and the young are moving in. Podcasts would mainly target younger families and teenagers who are interested in the community events. If they know to come to the Web site to listen or see that coverage, they are more than likely going to look elsewhere at the other articles.

While covering local government is important, covering local education should be a top priority with the podcasts. Students at school or working parents in front of a computer know how to navigate a Web site and look for information. Consistently updated podcast coverage would result in a consistent podcast “listenership.”

Main Steps:

  1. Set a certain agenda for definite podcasts- either weekly, monthly or by another time. The agenda should be based on the audience- the younger the better.
  2. Cover each event fully and loudly. Let people know you are there.
  3. Make business cards or fliers with the Web site and general information about how to find the podcast.
  4. Consistently cover the basic agenda to gain regular followers. Once new opportunities arise, increase coverage in other areas.
  5. Make a section on the Web site about the podcasts to inform readers they are available.

Benchmarks of success:

The first and easiest benchmark would be increased readership on The Citizen Tribune Web site. If the podcasts are properly advertised and talked about, I believe readership could go up at least 10%.

A second benchmark would be receiving suggestions and community involvement about the kinds of podcasts they do. A newspaper tries to cater to what its audience wants, and I believe it would be a huge compliment to their efforts to receive coverage suggestions.

In addition, if the option is available, readers could post their own pictures or videos (with approval) about each event. Using tools like flickr and YouTube would be immensely valuable.

The program Google analytics could be used to track most of the traffic that goes to each part of the Web site.

Possible Obstacles:

Since The Citizen Tribune’s Web site has not been a main source for news, a possible obstacle could be getting people to go to the Web site to hear the podcasts.

People also may not know what podcasts are. New media terms are foreign to most of the population, especially Morristown’s, and citizens may not be able to see the advantages of using podcasts.

Another obstacle could be the experience of the staff at The Citizen Tribune. If the person assigned to do the podcasts has not been properly trained or is not covering the right events, the plan could fail. Appropriate training and appreciation of the tool are necessary to implement it effectively.

Note: this proposal was created for as a part of a student project in class (ADPR 5990) & is no way an indication of what the organization is planning on doing regarding social media. Students selected clients & social media tools on their own based on their personal interests.

best of ... org integration proposals

One of the major projects in this class was to come up with a social media solution to integrate into an organization's communication plan. Each student got to pick the client & the tool.

I just graded these over the holiday weekend & was really struck about how innovative some of these proposals were.

I'm going to post the best Twitter (National Geographic by Erin Gentry), YouTube (State of Georgia by Lizzie Azzolino), podcast (small town local newspaper by Katherine Strate), LinkedIn (UGA Career Center by Nina Eyrich) & Flickr (FoodTV by Ashley Beebe) proposals here on the blog. Even if I don't agree with all the details in the proposals, these stuck out as being the most creative.

There were more great proposals but I don't want to flood the blog!

The new Black Friday

Black Friday is one of the most profitable and competitive days of the year for traditional retailers.

However, have you heard of Cyber Monday? As it turns out, online retailers have a competition of their own, and it's getting fierce.

Listen to more.

CNN/YouTube Debate Tonight!

Don't forget to tune in tonight to the CNN/YouTube debate between Republican presidential candidates! The debate will air on CNN/TV at 8 p.m. ET from St. Petersburg, Fla. The eight Republican presidential candidates will answer questions sent in through YouTube. This will be the second debate of its kind as the Democratic party participated in July. Read this article to learn more about the Republican race to the White House. The deadline to submit questions was Nov. 25. Take a look at some of the questions that have been sent in!

Social Media and Shifting View Points

Has it ever bothered you that media is shifting towards political polar opposites? For instance, some feel as if Fox News is slightly more conservative where CNN skews toward a liberal point of view.

The danger in this is that people hear only what they want. This hold true to blogs. People will usually read a blog if the author shares the same view point. In a quick five minutes, I discuss the danger of reading just the side you want to hear.

A Battle to the Death!

My last podcast was about the dangers of overusing your thumbs. This one is about the perks of too much text messaging!

How many text messages do you get a month? I only get about 30 and you may get a couple hundred, but the people in this competition send and receive thousands.

In April, 2007, LG hosted the first ever National Texting Championship. Yes, this is for real! The winner got $25,000!

Listen to what I had to say about the competition.

Here's a video too!

Widgets Shmidgets.

My Dad told me about this great article in USA today about widgets on social networks. I was impressed he knew what it was!

Listen to my thoughts about the article (and then you can go write on my FunWall!).

I love Oprah...and Tom Hanks.

I was watching Oprah last week, and Tom Hanks was on with Julia Roberts!

We found out he has a MySpace page, and I went to it on my computer. Hear my analysis of his fun page on my podcast.

Student journalism and student bloggers

My friend Mandi is a staff writer for the Red&Black and I asked her to talk about how social media has affected her job and future profession. Listen to her response here.

Environmental Issues and blogging.

I spoke to my friend Mo, an avid environmentalist, about the current environmental issues and how social media, specifically blogging is affecting it. Listen to her views here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Social Media and Advertising...

Everytime I listen to 'experts' discuss the various uses of social media, advertising is usually left out. I think social media is merely a tool for advertising.

My podcast briefly discusses how they social media is concertainly a form of advertising.


the trouble with too much technology?

Back in the elementary school, recess was the highlight of my day. Though I was a little bit partial to kickball, I was a pretty big fan of anything related to a playground or jungle gym.
Cheryl Wilkerson, the author of an opinion column I read in an issue of TIME, is also an advocate of recess. Listen to some analysis of her controversial article here

Social Media at The R & B

At work tonight I spoke with Juanita Cousins, editor-in-chief of The Red & Black, about how the newspaper has revamped its use of social media tools this semester. With the addition of blogs, video slides and an alumni social networking site, the newspaper is well on its way to being social media savvy.

Hear the full interview in my podcast here.

And Another One...

Stuck in a musical rut? Been listening to the same stuff for too long? Can't find any good, new artists out there, no matter how hard you've been searching? Too many questions? Well, allow me to stop asking, and instead offer you a chance to listen to this podcast about Pandora Radio. Maybe you've heard of it already. If so, you know how awesome it and the Music Genome Project are already. If not, you should first make sure to check out that podcast, and then visit their Web site. It's a great way to hear music that you might not be totally familiar with, but you're sure to like. Do it now!

Closed is the New Open

Or is it? According to this blog post from Techland, it could be. Many of us believe that the only way for companies to logically move forward is to open themselves up to the online world and embrace the "big conversation," so to speak. But how would you explain Apple's great success which comes despite gestapo-like tactics (OK, maybe they aren't that bad) with their consuming public? Will historically open, progressive companies like Google and Amazon follow the examples set by Steve Jobs? Read all about it; or if you're not the reading type, perhaps you'd prefer to listen here. =)

The Price We Pay to Stay Connected

Could this small device be the cause of your next doctor's visit or even surgery?

We don't really think about white-collar workers suffering from workplace related injuries or illnesses. I didn't at least until I was watching MSNBC the other day and an interesting segment came on about how Blackberry users are being put out of commission by overusing the tiny device. For more, listen here.

Beware the curse of the Blackberry Thumb!

Blogging While Brown

As an African-American newbie in the blogosphere, I was delighted to read about blogger, Gina McCauley. Essence Magazine chose her as one of the most influential African-Americans in the year 2007. Listen here to learn more about this inspiring blogger and how she contributes to Black America.

Her blog: What About Our Daughters (WAOD)

Learn more about the Blogging While Brown Conference, an international conference for bloggers of color.

What Does the Internet Have to Do With Watching So Many Re-Runs?

Upset that your favorite TV show isn't airing new episodes? Want to know why?

Listen to what I have to say regarding the Writers Strike, and how the writers are harnessing the power of social media to garner support from people like you and me!

Be sure to check out some of the links I mention:

Why We Strike

Deadline Hollywood Daily


Research in Public Relations

I am also in Sweetser's PR Research class, and I am doing a group research project on the adoption of social media tools by PR practitioners. One of the references that we used was really interesting and I thought that I would share it with you.

The title of the research paper is Web power: a survey of practitioners' World Wide Web use and their perceptions of its effects on their decision-making power. By: Lance V. Porter and Lynne M. Sallot

You can read the full text on the UGA Library's website through E-journals.

You can also listen to my overview of the research here.

Traveling Social Media Style

When the end of the semester creeps up I am tempted to run away to some exotic location and forget school ever existed. It is not realistic I'm almost done with college and although I LOVE Athens, I want to experience the world.

I have the travel bug, but never really gotten the chance to act on it because I'm a poor college student with lack of persuasion skills to convince my parents to finance international trips.

After a night of watching Samantha Brown travel around South America on the Travel Channel. I went to their website. If they can seem the poorest nation in South America (Nicaragua) sound like fun, I need to see her itinerary. However, I never got to the actual trips because I found a website called BINGO. is a social website where people post profiles, link to friends, join groups, participate is discussions, however it offers a special feature: it connects people who might be traveling to people who might have an open couch. It's myspace/facebook for the authentic travelers. Instead of forking over $200+ a night for a hotel or even the $30 a night for hostels you stay with a local who can expose you to a the REAL city you are visiting.

It does sound too good to be true, there are after all plenty of crazies on the internet. The website has built in safety checks to help alleviate any apprehensions someone might have about staying with a stranger.

I love this idea. From my experience I have so much more fun with locals of the city I'm in than I do just staying with fellow tourists. You can learn more about a place if you know the people who live there. Here is one more social networking site for us to follow.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's a holly jolly christmas...

Over Thanksgiving, I was overwhelmed with the fact that I have not purchased a single Christmas present for family or friends. We are at the age that a Bath and Body Works gift set just becomes junk and anything we really want for Christmas is too expensive for anyone to actually buy us.

I came across the a Web site called

It's a marketplace for homemade goods. Want to know more? Listen here.

Virtual MTV

Have you ever dreamt of what life would be like if you were a star on one of MTV’s hit reality television shows? I will honestly admit that I have and MTV is making it a reality for every one; a virtual reality that is. Virtual MTV is a free virtual world where you can interact, party, and shop with MTV celebrities. All you have to do is sign up and create your own avatar and you can virtually be a part of your favorite television shows like The Hills and Pimp My Ride. The Virtual Hills is even going to give one of their users a once in a lifetime virtual opportunity!

The Virtual Hills is teaming up with Ford Models, Elizabeth Arden and M fragrance by Mariah Carey to find the first Ford avatar supermodel. According to an article on, avatars will compete in a virtual runway and dance contest and will be judged by MTV, Arden, and Ford Model representatives in early January. Three finalists will then be chosen and viewers will vote for the winner. The virtual Ford supermodel winner will be announced on January 31, 2008. The winner will be featured in a campaign for Virtual MTV and a thirty second spot for MTV/Elizabeth Arden. Every avatar contestant will receive a free virtual bottle of M by Mariah Carey and fashion advice from Ford Model experts.

Make sure to sign-up today for your chance of becoming the first virtual Ford supermodel! =)

Update: Do we even need to be on one of MTV's hit reality television shows in order to be famous anymore, or will our virtual avatars be the key to our future fame that we have always dreamt of?

Microsoft Invests $240 million in Facebook

I came across an article on that discussed a recent investment made by Microsoft in Facebook, the social networking Web site that we all know and love. Being a business major, I found it to be pretty interesting. I've posted the link to my podcast discussing it here.

Check it out and see what you think!

It's an itsy bitsy teeny weenie...URL

In class, we have talked about the use of tiny URLs for purposes such as Twitter or to simply make an unbearably long URL manageable. The conversion takes place at

In his blog, Make Marketing History, John Dodds makes note of "facilitating short-cuts as a route to better usability and improved customer experience."

His point is that the use of tiny URLs can be very handy, but it disrupts comprehension. The reader doesn't know what he is getting himself into because the tiny URL never gives a clue to its destination. One may argue that it is up to the writer to preface the link for the reader, but an online reader's habit is to scan not to deeply read. John Dodds believes that "having one's scanning eyes drawn to indecipherable urls does nothing positive."

I would have to agree. If an article was heavily peppered with cryptic URLs I would be inclined to leave the page. 's attempt at a remedy is that they do offer a "preview TinyURL" such as this one:

However, the remedy once again circumvents the the TinyURL's function as a short-cut. With the preview, it takes two clicks to get to the linked Web page.

This all may seem a little too over analyzed, but the point is that usability and simplicity typically prevail. After all, it's the "little" things in life that matter.
Last Thursday on the For Immediate Release podcast by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson they looked in to how the Writers Guild is using social media tools in their strike.

  • Information Tactics
  • Writers Guild of America, West WGAW Web Site: lists official updates from the guild, new coverage of the strike and background information about the Guild and the contracts they are striking.
  • WGAW Strike blog: United Hollywood. The blog serves as central point for all the projects the WGAW is working on as well as providing viewpoints and debate on the issues of the strike.
    • On a side note, one of the more interesting posts to PR people is this anti-troll post railing supposed paid commenters who integrate the community and only try to discount the blogs' message on behalf on their clients. This brings up the constant ethical issues of advocacy in the blogosphere and the importance of self-disclosure.
  • Speechless video site. Launched Novemeber 22, featurea video of actors who are speechless because they do not have writers and scripts. One of the more humorous videos features Holly Hunter who is dealing with a Hollywood that as outsourced its writing to India. The videos do a great job of hammering in the idea that actors need writers to work to and shows the presumed support of the acting community.
    • These videos can be watched either on Brightcove or You Tube. Since the speechless channel on You Tube a mere 20 hours ago each of the 12 videos has been viewed around 150 times and channel has 27 subscribers.
  • Wgaamerica You Tube channel This channel was started November 1 and currently has 105, 000 views and 2,000 subscribers. The channel has news posts and interviews. One of the best videos is the Why We fight:

  • Action Tactics
    • In order to get people involved WGAW has offered several ways to show your support.
    • Sending pencils - an idea taken from the fans of the show Jerico, who sent the production company peanuts in order stop the show from being cancelled. For a dollar you can send the Media Moguls a box of Pencils. So far 300,000 pencils have been sent. In addition you can get a widget for your blog so that everyone can see how many pencils have been sent.
    • Sign an online petition, I was signature 59,685.
    • Facebook groups - although there are many unofficial groups in support of the guild, the official group Holtz mentions is Fans 4 Writers. After looking on Facebook, myself, I couldn't find it. If anyone does find it please comment about it.
    • Get a support badge for your Web site or Blog.
This case has so many facets of information and good uses of social media. It will be interesting to watch what impact these tactics have the media corporations and the success of WGAW. But for now we will have to satisfied with getting into the debate and enjoying the forums that are available to us.