Category Archives: Social Media

Politics in Search Results

I recently came upon a blog article from the New York Times, that discusses a new digital campaign technique being utilized by the campaign for Republican presidential hopeful, Herman Cain.

Photo courtesy of

After the recent sexual harassment scandal involving Herman Cain, his campaign team used a new way of drawing bad press away from the Republican candidate. The Cain campaign purchased ad space from Google to help dispel the allegations.

Screenshot taken of Google search

Just by searching for “herman cain” or “herman cain scandal”, a Google user is greeted by two sponsored websites in support of Herman Cain. This is an interesting and good strategic move by the Cain campaign. It’s easy to tell that the links are provided by the Cain campaign, but it accomplishes its task by planting an opposing idea in your head. This article also brings up a good point on how our news is being dispersed.

Political campaigns, and business campaigns to a certain extent, no longer have to go through the typical channels of media to access the public. Typically, a candidate when faced with accusations such as these, would have to make a  public appearance to dispel the rumors and the allegations. With the advent of social media and the internet; multiple channels have opened for a candidate can express his or her opinions on.

The New York Times blog also details Cain’s campaign team utilizing Twitter to reach the public. By searching for Herman Cain on Twitter, members are directed to a tweet from Herman Cain that references a Washington Post article detailing Cain’s response to the harassment allegations.

By utilizing social media, politicians have opened up new ground to spread their message. Many believe Barack Obama’s popularity in his presidential campaign was due to the extensive use of social media; specifically Facebook. The interesting thing about this story is that many companies aren’t quite sure yet how social media fits into their business plan. Political campaigns though, appear to have discovered an excellent way of utilizing social media.


Sean Dixon on Social Media Platforms and ROI

Social media dashboards, such as HootSuite, provide an easy way to update statuses across multiple platforms. After using them myself, I can say they are a definite time saver. A guest lecturer for the COM 509 class made me look differently at how dashboards are being used.

Sean Dixon, the Interactive Media Manager for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, provided many  interesting insights on social media during his lecture. He presented ideas for Facebook, Twitter and Blogging from his personal and work experience. I’m disappointed the lecture came after having just finished my social media campaign; I would have loved to incorporate some of his ideas into my own campaign. He presented a convincing argument that social media outlets should be used individually rather than using an application, such as HootSuite, to control them all at once.

I’ve used HootSuite before, but I feel it gives off an impersonal tone when used to update across multiple social media outlets. Because the message is being mass-produced, it doesn’t translate well across the different social media platforms. It does, however, save time in updating different social media outlets and it can be helpful when organizing multiple timed tweets. Dixon recommends though, using the individual networks to disperse information. He said that using HootSuite isn’t necessarily bad, but the presentation of information is clear and well polished if presented over its native network.

Dixon’s discussion of the ROI on social media was informative and the subject is currently a hot topic within the public relations world. Todd Defren, author of PR-Squared, recently posted on his blog how companies are presenting the ROI of social media. I’ve been searching up for an effective way to present the ROI of social media until Dixon’s lecture. The excel sheet Sean provided serves as a good template for how a social media oriented employee should present the information. It lists statistics for the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook, Twitter and blog account. Under the heading “Social Media Statistics” it displays the amount of new followers and “likes” on their Facebook and Twitter account. As public relations comes to the forefront of companies, it will become more important for practitioners  to show how their efforts are contributing to the company.


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Twitter or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tweet.

I’ll admit it. I’m a public relations major and I didn’t like Twitter. Get the pitchforks! We must kill Frankenstein’s monster!

I didn’t understand the reason for using something that was nothing more, in my opinion, than a glorified Facebook status update system. I vehemently refused to use it and thought everyone was odd who did. After spending time in my COM 509 class though, I’ve begun to see the light. Twitter is more than just a status update system for people to keep me alerted to the food they are eating. I’ve begun to see the multiple ways people use Twitter to keep in contact with one another or the way it is utilized to spread news.

I joined this semester out of pure curiosity. I figured, if I’m going to not like something, I might as well know my enemy. So, I joined and began following a few celebrities and friends to get a feel for what the system was like. I can’t say I was impressed at first.  I thought it was too busy and I didn’t understand what was going on. So, I stopped using Twitter and let it fall by the wayside. I then realized that I was acting like a bull-headed dope, rather than a college student. I was afraid of change and going outside of my comfort zone. There was nothing wrong with the social network, there was something wrong with my perspective.I suffered from the excuse, “I have nothing interesting to say.”

Now if you were to look at my Twitter account, you can probably tell there hasn’t been a huge change in the amount of tweeting I do.

I’m working on it.

I’ve decided to take a new perspective and begin using Twitter with purpose rather than seeing it as an outlet for people’s current state of mind. The original use of Twitter was actually to make it easier for individuals at a business to have communication with one another. Therefore, I’m going to try to find a subject or an idea of what I want to do with my Twitter. It could be public relations (original, I know) or possibly something more hobby related. This subject has made me realize a fundamental lesson, that I needed to learn again, which is to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Even when it’s for something like Twitter.


Monsters, MySpace, and Viral Movie Campaigns

With the advent of social media, movie marketing campaigns have become even larger and creative than before. It used to be enough to interview the actors on late night shows and release film trailers to the public to increase buzz about a film. Marketers are now having to find new, innovative ways to draw attention to blockbuster movies. The most interesting trend, I’ve noticed in recent years, is the viral movie marketing campaign. Many films have made worthy attempts into the field,such as “The Dark Knight”, but I don’t think any have perfected the art.

The best viral marketing campaign, I’ve seen done so far, is for the film “Cloverfield”. “Cloverfield” is a 2008 monster movie, produced by J.J. Abrams. The film had one of the best marketing campaigns in my opinion, because it was built upon mystery and seeking out clues. When the trailer was first released, no one knew what to expect.

The original movie website at the time even made for an eerie viewing.

Then, slowly, more details started to come out about the plot of the film. Fake websites were made for organizations featured in the film and even fake MySpace profiles for the main characters. The use of MySpace was great because the actors involved with the film were relatively unknown at the time, therefore, it gave a feeling of realism. Their profiles are still up if you want to check them out.

This marketing campaign was fantastic because it stimulated people to actively seek out more information about the film. My favorite part about this film was two people could watch it and come out with two different experiences about what they watched. If someone participated online, the story had even more twists and turns than it did for the average moviegoer. The use of social media and websites became as important to the story as the film was.


The Future of Interactive Technology

I’m a complete nerd when it comes to reading and learning about futuristic computer technology. When I watched the movie Iron Man, I was more impressed with the holographic computer system than his lame tin suit. I’ve also been known to daydream about having the interactive computer system from Minority Report. So, when I read about this news presentation through Poynter, I was definitely interested. The video is called “The Storm Collection”, and it comes from Matt Thompson and Robin Sloan.

According to the Poynter article, Robin and Matt presented this video at the annual convention of the Society of News Design in St. Louis. The subject of the article and the video fascinate me, because of the predictions they make on how news will be presented in the future. I created my own iGoogle homepage this semester, and I can’t believe the amount of time it saves me to look up news information. The way technology is becoming integrated though, that’s no longer efficient enough. It reminds me of the presentation in my COM 509 class, when a KSPR news reporter discussed tweeting a news story as new information became available. The reporter was tweeting updates, while simultaneously uploading photos of the news story. That story shows where our news system is headed.

The article discusses how our news could be moving towards a more personalized system. People will no longer read the news, rather the news will be explained to them, in context of what they’re reading. Because of the technological advancements in news, a explanation will be necessary, due to the speed and amount of information being presented.

The video also touches on the idea of augmented reality. According to, augmented reality is “an artificial environment created through the combination of real-world and computer-generated data”. Some magazines, such as Esquire, have already made moves into augmented reality with their publications.

I’m more interested though, in how augmented reality will affect technology the public doesn’t use yet. For example, will there one day be augmented reality glasses, which can be tailored to keep us connected to the Internet at all times? There is a slightly eerie line at the end of the “The Storm Collection” video. Thompson describes not being able to turn off the flow of information. Sloan responds “Well, you never could”.


Offering Value to the Customer

Offering value to the customer, through social media, is of the utmost importance in today’s fast click society. Brian Solis discussed an interesting topic in his latest blog post related to the subject. I touched on a similar topic in my previous blog post, which discussed that people should question why they use certain social media technology. In his post, Brian discusses an idea called social “stream fatigue”. The idea is if a company or organization posts on social media networks consistently without offering value, people will stop listening or unfollow them on their social media account. I completely agree with this consensus. Many times on my Facebook account, I’ve found organizations that I follow, don’t offer a good reason for me to continue to subscribe to their page. Or their posts are so infrequent; I often forget I was following them in the first place.

The big question now is: how does an organization engage its audience, while offering value? A suggestion, offered by Solis, is that organizations simply ask consumers what they would like to see.  This could be done through surveys or by simply posing the question on the respective organizations Facebook page.

After I read Solis’s article, I looked around on Facebook to find an organization that does a good job offering value to the customer using social media. I’ve noticed clothing companies do very well with offering value to their customers, especially on Facebook. They do so by offering sales promotions and giveaways through their social media networks.  I understand not every organization can follow the same business model, but I do think it provides a good example of how to use social media. I specifically looked at Lands’ End Canvas Facebook account and found they have a fantastic system of providing customer interaction.

A unique customer service they employ is hand-written thank-you letters to customers for Internet purchases.

Lands’ End Canvas shows a great approach, in my opinion, of how to generate awareness and maintain a loyal customer base through social media. They also avoid overexposure to their audience by only posting information once a day. As marketing and public relations activities move into the online world, companies will have to adapt to prove themselves to their customers. It’s not enough to simply have an online presence. Organizations have to make it worthwhile to visit their online persona.


Home Security Issues with Social Media

A report on says burglars are now regularly checking Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare to scope out potential houses to vandalize. There’s no need to immediately panic though, only 50 former burglars took part in the British survey. The author, Grame McMillian, says that many burglars also utilize Google Maps to get a better visual description of the house they would like to burglarize. The article does raise some interesting questions about the current use of social media in updating our location and giving out information.

This may sound like an old man talking, but it seems the general public use to worry about Big Brother constantly peeking over their shoulder. Now, people willingly give away their information over social media platforms without a second thought. I’m not saying that using social media means you no longer want privacy in your life or that I’m pointing fingers.  I’m as guilty as anyone of updating my location or personal information into the social media world. I also realize technology that shows our housing location or gives away personal information, such as Google Maps, is out of our control. I’m simply pointing out that this article draws attention to a fact about social media along with ideas about security.

We need to think about why we do things on social media platforms before we do them. I know this sounds simple, but many students and adults have yet to grasp how permanent information posted in the social media world is. In my opinion, I think people sometimes become so preoccupied with what we can do, with new social media technology, that we don’t take the time to stop and ask if we should.  In the PR field though, I understand  if you’re not on top of new and upcoming technology, you will be left in the dust. We need to find a way to strike a balance between utilizing the social media we know and experimenting with new technology.


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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in Blog, Facebook, News, Social Media, Twitter