2020: Was It the Year of All Things Social Media?

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

We have officially made it to 2021, a year of recovering and hope, a year that seemed to have taken it’s sweet time getting here. 2020 was a devastating year to many, it was a time where the world was locked in their homes, away from friends and family, leaving them to turn to social media to connect. This was the biggest year for social media according to Hootsuite, 3.8 billion people, or 49 percent of the planet’s population, were active on social media. I would be lying if I said looking at my screen time these days didn’t alarm me, I devoted most of my 2020 year to watching TikTok video’s and planning out my Instagram feed, as I am sure many of you can relate.

For a year that was mostly distanced, I did find it one of my most social, I found myself on Facetime, Imessage, and Messenger more then ever before. I had nothing but time to reach out and check up on what some of my friends and family were doing, it confused me as I had never been closer to people, despite the physical distance. The amount of new apps that were downloaded on my phone in 2020 was at an all time high, I had downloaded TikTok the week of the first lockdown, I truly believe it was one of the only things keeping me entertained, as my attention was only needed for a 15-60 second video, until I would swipe to the next, which I did for countless hours and days. I don’t believe that the app would of had as much success as it did if it wasn’t for the pandemic, people chose to laugh and bond over an app that helped escape the reality that was 2020.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

With much of the world in a stay at home order, many people lost their jobs or had to work from home, you could say that people involved in social media work were quite lucky as it was almost like business as usual, but in their pyjamas. Influencers also had the ability to continue working almost as normal, with people turning to their phones more then ever, the attention was on them to grow and promote. Online shopping was heavily abused throughout the year, I can promise I made up a good chunk of that percentage. With people constantly scrolling through their social apps and seeing all the brands and influencers posting about the latest trends, and with nothing on the calendar to look forward to, why not order a little something to keep a lookout for in the mail. In many ways, social media had a hand in keeping 2020 afloat.

So if 2020 was the year of all things social media, what is in store for 2021? Will we top the numbers from the year before? How will this affect us once we return to our normal routines? Will we be doing TikTok dances at our desks? These are the questions I am left asking myself. I am hopeful and excited to see what is to come for 2021 on all things social media and our normal lives. What app did you spend your time on in 2020? What do you think is to come from all of this in 2021? Share your thoughts below!

Sources :

https://www.hootsuite.com/

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20201216-how-tiktok-changed-the-world-in-2020

Global Bread: from Yeast to West

Join me on my journey around the globe in search of freshly-baked artisan breads in countries far and wide. Every week, I will introduce you to a different country, share one of its traditional bread recipes – and as a bonus you will get to know the baker and their story. 1 country, 1 bread, 1 person.

About me

Hello and welcome to my blog, Global Bread: from Yeast to West!

My name is Kristina. I have three passions: baking bread, travelling the world and collecting stories about different people. It all started with my grandmother’s bread. She baked it weekly. I remember waking up in the morning to the delicious smell of fresh buns. Buns with butter – what can be better?! Perhaps, only buns with butter in Paris. As I grew up, I discovered the beauty of travels. I explored a number of countries in Europe before moving to North America. I met many wonderful people along the way and was inspired by their stories.

Destination baking

Corn bread in Canada, baguette in France, ciabatta in Italy, naan in Pakistan, pumpernickel in Germany, black bread in Belarus, etc. Is there such a thing as destination baking? If not, then let’s invent it.

Based on research, “culinary activities such as “trying local food and drink” is one of the top leisure travel activities that travellers choose to do when visiting”. France and Italy are the first to come to mind when we think about this type of tours. Bread is baked around the world. Combine bakery tours with wine and cheese tours – what else does one need?! Ancient Romans might’ve added “circenses” (from Latin, “panem et circenses”, means bread and circuses, or bread and spectacle) to the list.

1 country, 1 bread, 1 person

Country: Belarus

I would like to start my journey around the breads of the world with my home country, Belarus. It is a country in Eastern Europe with a population of just under 10 million people. Belarus has a variety of traditional breads made with wheat or rye flour. Some of the recipes are recognized as a “non-material heritage” of the country. Fun fact: some bread is baked on top of oak or birch leaves, this adds a beautiful flavour and a pretty pattern.

Хлеб – pronounced “khleb”, means “bread” in Belarusian language

Bread: Belarusian rye bread recipe

Source: Kristina Stankevich Photo

Starter:

  • 50 g rye sourdough
  • 300 g rye flour
  • 300 g water

Mix sourdough, flour and water and leave to rise for 12 hours.

Dough:

  • Starter
  • 150 g rye flour
  • 150 g wheat flour
  • 150 g water
  • 12 g salt

Mix all the dough ingredients with a wooden spoon first, continue with wet hands. The batter should be moist and slippery. Grease your bread pan with butter. Put batter into the pan, cover with a plastic bag and let it rise for 1.5 hours. Pre-heat the oven to 490 degrees and bake bread at this temperature for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 460 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 395 degrees and bake the remaining 40 minutes. Spray the top of the bread with water about 10 minutes before you pull it out of the oven.

Baker: Veronika

Source: Kristina Stankevich Photo

Veronika’s baking was inspired by her grandmother. She is a nurse and works hard during these difficult times of coronavirus. About five years ago she decided to pursue her passion of making cakes. It didn’t stop her that she lives with her husband and two children in a one-bedroom apartment with a shared kitchen. She worked hard and now creates magnificent and delicious masterpieces. A few years ago she ventured into bread baking. After months of trials and errors she became a master baker. She treats her family to a few fresh loafs every week.

Bonus: Bread around the world

Source: https://youtu.be/K2dQxnoy-I8

Let’s talk

What is your favourite type of bread? Who inspired you to bake? What is your favourite country to visit? Would love to hear your thoughts – share via the comments below and find me on social @Yeast2West.

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

 

So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

COM0011 – Risk Assessment, Corporate Responsibility and Finding a Social Media Voice

By: Kamal Hylton

One of the major challenges in marketing for business is developing a voice for a brand. The ability to strike a delicate balance between corporate professionalism and authentic uniqueness can be difficult, but especially risky when factoring in the power of social media.

For a small startup looking to make its mark or a company that has developed a game changing product or service, all it takes is one perfectly timed post on the big social media platforms to propel said business to the next level. However there is a flip side to this coin, as it only takes one poor post to set off a domino effect that can lead to major financial losses, a spoiled reputation within the industry and potentially a business up in smoke. Assessing all of the risks and outcomes, the best course of action to avoid all of those potential pitfalls is to think before pushing send or as the old saying goes “measure twice, cut once”. This certainly isn’t new advice but it’s often taken for granted or ignored. One tip I use as a safeguard in my work as a social media marketing consultant is to write and go over my posts in a word processor before posting on social media. Although this is a little more time consuming, it’s a small price to pay considering the alternative.

This leads to the topic of customer interaction. Successful companies on social media use these platforms as a way to engage, ask/answer questions and listen to consecutive feedback that can be implemented to make themselves better. Simply put, nobody wants to be inundated with sales material and promos throughout their feeds or be made to feel like they’re interacting with a robot spitting out scripted responses from a playbook. To truly make an impact and grow a customer base organically it’s just not enough to respond in a timely manner, but there has to be a genuine back and forth that makes them feel valued and cared for. A good way to approach this is to take a few moments to come up with a well thought out and honest response before answering any questions or engaging with customers, as there are no prizes being given out for quickest answers nor are there bonuses being given out for meeting a quota.

The difficulties and pressures that marketing teams face is understandable when growing an online presence of a corporate brand, but that’s no excuse to putting emphasis and value behind things that don’t matter. For corporate social media to be successful it’s much simpler than we tend to make it:

  1. Properly assess all risks and outcomes before posting
  2. Take the time to think and be thoughtful with answers
  3. Ask the questions you actually need answers to
  4. Listen to constructive feedback and take emotions out of it
  5. Keep social media feeds as a genuine platforms/don’t use social media as just another sales tool

Let me know your thoughts. How important is a companies social media voice to you? What do you feel is the best way for companies to deal with customers on social media? Do you have any positive/negative experiences to share?

Reference Material:

Five Tips for Corporate Social Media Responsibility – http://bit.ly/1XtAyPj

How the voice of the People is Driving Corporate Social Responsibility – http://bit.ly/1TMniqY

COM0011 – Can Snapchat Become a Primary Social Media Tool for Small Business Marketing?

snapchat-logo

By: Kamal Hylton

When it comes to how useful a social media platform is to the business world, I zero in on how effective it is at interacting with an audience, sharing ideas and/or getting a message across.

During the current era of social media boom, the impact of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn on big business have made a clear impression. However it has made an even bigger mark on small businesses, startup companies and given local entrepreneurs marketing power and global reach like never before. Twitter have allowed owner/customer relations to blossom and build productive long-term relationships through short and simple messages, Facebook has enabled startups to unleash detailed marketing campaigns that are professional quality at little to no cost, Instagram is tailor-made for video or image marketing equal to any big advertising firm and LinkedIn has done away with the old rolodex in its ability to keep up with contacts and find like-minded professionals.

That said, one social media platform I personally can’t wrap my head around as a “go to” tool for small businesses social media marketing is Snapchat – the video messaging app that allows viewers to see short videos up to 10 seconds in length before being deleted permanently.

Being a writer/social media marketer on behalf of a media company, part of my job is to help startups acquire and sustain an online following. Typically these are companies with little to no advertising budgets or are in fields like healthcare, data security and employment services that although important aren’t exactly sexy or exude excitement like the music or art industries nor do they have the ability to get a big star like Justin Bieber or Drake to do a social media takeover of their brand. When it comes to Snapchat, I’ve found it hard even suggest as a primary tool to our clients simply due to its premise and main selling points not making sense for them. There are some good selling points to Snapchat that I’d love to use for specific projects like the “Discover” feature, giving companies a 24 hour channel of videos and short articles. The easy way Sanpchat can be used to promote specific events is also a plus, its immediacy perfect for pop up giveaways or the creation of citywide treasure hunts all in the name of publicity.

The issues I’m presented with in regard to Snapchat could come down to demographic  or nature, with more than half of Snapchat users under the age of 25 and companies I tend to work with not catering to the flashy nature of the app. It could also be as simple as Snapchat still being a new tool that hasn’t reached its full potential enough to make it a primary social media pillar like the others mentioned. Whatever the case, right now I can’t recommend Snapchat for a company right out of the gate in the same vein as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

I’d love to hear from you (especially if you are a regular Snapchat user). What makes Snapchat appeal to you? How could a small business make best use of Snapchat? How do you see Snapchat evolving in the future?

Reference Material:

Snapchat for Beginners: 6 Ways To Use It For Business –  http://bit.ly/1TOdR8F

Making Sense of Snapchat for your Small Businesshttp://bit.ly/1TqZ31q

Guide to How Snapchat is being used todayhttp://read.bi/1UjutWv

Dove, B2C social success – missed opp – COM0014 post 4

I was not sure how to get started on this post.

Find a B2C that is using Social Media to reach it’s audience.

My wife is a savvy shopper and and one of those Crazy Couponers so I thought she would have some ideas?

I asked her if she had seen or noticed anything that caught her eye from a company trying to reach its customers?

She said “Dove”. No pause. Wow!

Okay, good enough for me. What is it that got my Wife’s attention?

Facebook

I went to their Facebook page to find out.

Dove

Dove

There was the bold headline

Shouldn’t every age feel beautiful?

and almost 24 million likes!

YouTube

My wife told me about Doves Sketches on youTube.

Doves Real Beauty Sketches

I was definitely impacted by this video and I was not even the target audience. I can’t remember the last time an ad made me stop, think, feel emotional?

Did you feel the impact, hear the message?

Wow!

I wish I could get a sketch artist and some people together and do this for my wife, myself, everyone I know.

So what was different?

The message, not really, I think I have seen this idea before.

The delivery, yes, not a 30 second ad, not a pretty graphic, mini documentary of sorts about how women see themselves as compared to others.

The real difference

Dove is not explicitly pushing its products, they are not saying buy this soap, or that creme or lotion. yeah they branded their stuff but I do not feel like they are trying to sell me anything (which they are not directly – I don’t feel like their target demo).

Nice.

Yeah but

Great delivery, great angle, great message, however…

I did notice that the focus is on women. This is a good thing but when I look in my bathroom I notice at least 2 Dove products for men. I did not buy them but I am sure their influence and my wife’s opinion of the company is why they are sitting on the edge of my tub. But, I might have bought them? More likely to now, but if I had been targeted I may have had them sooner and may have purchased more Dove products, for me, my little guy and of course my wife.

Dove stuff I own

Nice big manly blue Dove bottles

  1. 1 of all in 1 Shampoo
  2. Exfoliating body wash (the gritty stuff – I am not really educated on beauty product).

So what about Men Dove? What about me?

Things you can do to make your Social Media content more accessible – COM0011 #a11y

Initially I was not sure of how much information is out there for accessible social media or how much work would be involved in putting together resources to help with making accessible social media more accessible.

Turns out that many other people are sharing their thoughts, tricks and tips on how to make their online content and social media more accessible.

I was not sure where to start, should I explain the issues by disability related access problem or Functional Limitation or tackle it 1 tool at a time.

Not know what to do I did what a lot of people do I turned to Google to solve my problems. I also, suspected that a tool like Twitter might be a good place to start because I assumed that since it is mainly sharing text content it would be an easier place to address some of the access issues so I Googled (great that Google is now a verb isn’t it?). I was excited to see that after Googling “accessible Twitter” I came up with some great hits right off the bat.

Social Media Accessibility – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube http://www.queensu.ca/accessibility/how-info/social-media-accessibility

This Queen’s University is an interesting resource. It is simple and covers some basic access issue for 3 heavily used tools. Many of the ideas are cross service/platform meaning the ideas could apply to other tools once you understand why they are needed. In the case of the above 3 tools it is not that the content can’t be made more accessible it is more that the service needs to be more developed from an accessibility point of view. It all seems to boil down to WCAG concepts like Percievability, Operability, Understandable and Robustness.

  1. Perceivable – Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

o    This means that users must be able to perceive the information being presented (it can’t be invisible to all of their senses)

  1. Operable – User interface components and navigation must be operable.

o    This means that users must be able to operate the interface (the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform)

  1. Understandable – Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

o    This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding)

  1. Robust – Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

o    This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance (as technologies and user agents evolve, the content should remain accessible)

It seems to me following the WCAG Accessibility Principles also enhances the tools usability.

Instead of looking at a specific disability or going over some ideas for each tool I want to introduce 5 things that you might do with any of your on-line content to help make it more accessible. My hope is that using these ideas will make your content more accessible regardless of the tool you are using (assuming the tool support what I am suggesting) that way you have some things you can do to help more people access your content on more platforms and services.

Text

Many different tools allow text content. Almost any tool and device supports text so looking at things you can do to improve text accessibility should have a big impact.

Plain English or rather plain language may be a good place to start. “Choose your next words carefully…”. Working at a college I often wonder about the language we choose and whether it is readable/accessible to the intended audience? What terms do we understand, what grade level is our reading at and are the people trying to reach us using language that makes sense? I see tons of short forms and acronyms on the web, especially when trying to cram a lot of info into a Tweet, does it make sense to the people we are trying to reach?

Clear Print and Fonts

The CNIB (used to be known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind) has a Clear Print Guideline document that suggests base Font sizes, the use of Sans-Serif Fonts and more that can be used to make things easier to read. Many of the features would make something easier to read for someone using a small display like your phone (granted Phablets are not exactly small displays?) and make reading easier for someone when English is not their first language (funny how access is more than just a disability issue, I actually like to think of it as an ability issue).

3 things you can do to enhance your text.

  1. Keep the language clear and simple
  2. Use a sans-serif font
  3. Use a reasonable font size and contrast

Audio

The first thing that comes to mind is Podcasting. There still seems to be more audio only Podcasts out there so I am starting with Audio.

When people think about audio accessibility things like transcripts and closed captioning come up.

The Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) says:

Transcript – required. For most W3C media, such as recordings of teleconferences, you only need to get/make and post a transcript to provide basic accessibility.

Other things to consider include how much background noise is in your recording, how fast are you talking, are there too many sound affects etc.

3 things to consider for audio

  1. Keep it as clean as you can
  2. Do not talk to fast and take time to breathe – this allows the listener some time to process
  3. Provide a text transcript

If anyone has any insight on how to make more accessible music I would love to explore it?

Video

Accessible video seems to be a sweat inducing, high blood pressure type of conversation because we use so much audio video content and it is so easy to create. We just pull out our phone turn on the camera app and start shooting, and then when we are done we click on the little Facebook “thingie” and up it goes to all our friends. I have to admit, I am not putting any thought to making these videos more accessible.

So what can I do to make videos more accessible?

Visual Description/Describe Video etc.

I have seen many different terms used in the last while but they generally mean the same thing an Audio Description: a narrator talking through the presentation, describing what is happening on the screen or stage during the natural pauses in the audio, and sometimes during dialogue.

The W3C has some information on how to create Audio Descriptions

Related to Audio Descriptions is the more commonly known Closed Captioning

Closed Captioning

Captioning is a transcript of what is said and heard that is displayed in text on screen during a video timed to when the voice and sounds happen. The important part is that the text information about the sound happens at the same time as the sound… The closed part of Closed Captioning means that the user can turn the caption on or off. Another type of captioning is Open Captioning which can’t be turned off.

How to caption your video the easy way

Put your video on YouTube and watch this video!

This is a great YouTube video that not only entertains you, explains why captioning is useful but also shows you an easy way to do it.

If you are okay with putting your videos on YouTube you can caption your videos easily.

Offline captioned videos

1 trick you can try to generate a time stamped caption file for an offline project is to load your video to YouTube on a private channel, caption the video using autocaption or do it manually, adjust the timing and correct the text and then download the caption file as a *.vtt, *.srt etc. You can do this under the Action button when you are in the Caption tab of your video.

Wrapping up

I did not really touch on Visual Descriptions but they are very similar to Closed Captioning in concept anyway and I did not get into how to make graphics and pictures more accessible. Graphics can be both simple and complex like most other issues and if I do get into it I will do it on a separate post.

Some questions for you?

How can someone who can’t see know what you are sharing in a picture?

What if you use colour for meaning and someone is colour blind?

Does a picture mean the same thing to everyone?

How many words are in a picture?

Even better, what language is a picture?

COM0011 – Blog Post 6: Effective Content

Eventually, my personal brand will be that of a communications, media, and design guru, so I will draw from those already existing to describe content that I think would be relevant.

Adele Chan, founder of a special events and PR business called Blank Communications based out of Vancouver, is a lovely example of what I hope to achieve. She works with clients of the beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and consumer brands of Canada and customizes unique communication strategies to enhance brand awareness and growth. If you follow her on Twitter, you’ll notice that she regularly posts ‘features’, ‘client news’, or ‘as seen in’ posts to showcase her clients and what they’re doing, outside of the raw promotional efforts she establishes and organizes with her clients…almost as a way of bragging about them. She also posts short updates or photos on events she has helped organize, or events that she personally cares about. I think this is the kind of content that would matter to her audience because not only does it reinforce her commitment to work with them and help them grow, but it also showcases her work to prospective clients, who may have just been wanting more information about an event and not knowing that she was the force behind it.

I think from a design professional’s point-of-view, any graphic work or videography they may be working on is really relevant, because that type of content is the most snackable and shareable content as far as social media is concerned. So if you were working on a brand launch or a video project, updates on progress or actual video snippets of what’s to come are really relevant and would also generate some excitement leading up to whatever it is you might be launching.

I look forward to all of these aspects of my future!

COM0011–521 Blog Post #3: Using Social Media in my Journalism

seismic_waves-600x175

We hear every day that social media has changed the way we do things.  We hear it often enough that the saying has lost some meaning to most of us.  Journalists are keenly aware of this.  Social media has in fact become one of their primary tools. Journalists now rely on social media to get on top of a story before anyone else is even aware of it.  We’ve heard the story of how the people of New York received tweets about the earthquake seconds before they felt it.  In a similar vein, professional journalists are using twitter to scoop one another on current events

Aaron Lazenby, DJ for Pirate Cat Radio, was scanning Twitter one night last year when he noticed #iranelection trending. Curious, he clicked on the hashtag, and started poring over the flood of tweets about the “stolen” election. Lazenby became fascinated with the situation, and stayed up all night talking with people in Iran and reading up on the subject. The next day, he was hanging out with a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP reporter who was completely unaware of what was going on in Iran — news of the protests had not reached the mainstream news. Lazenby seized the opportunity to tell the story. He contacted one of his Twitter sources, who agreed to do an interview over Skype for Lazenby’s radio show. The interview, in turn, was picked up by CNN’s iReport, a citizen journalism portal.”


Social media had alerted the mainstream press to an event faster than their traditional means of finding information. It can amplify voices and events that they would not have otherwise been aware about.


However, the introduction of social media hasn’t been all roses for journalists either.  Being human, they are prone to mistakes.  We often see retractions in newspapers or corrections through a news broadcast.  Mistakes happen.  The problem is that social media can amplify those mistakes as well.

Possibly the worst example of this was the school shooting in Connecticut earlier this year.  Journalists, in a rush to identify the shooter, posted the Facebook profile of one Ryan Lanza.  It was a shame when it was found out to be his brother Adam Lanza.  The amount of harassment Ryan received was nothing short of tragic.  What must have felt like the entire world came crashing down on him in anger and rage.  That journalistic error was made worse due to the very nature of social media.

So the take away is this.  Social media is a fantastic research tool for journalists.  You can often find out information faster than any other means available to you.  The problem with it is that you need to be extremely accurate.  Mistakes travel quickly and can reach just as wide an audience.

Raffaele Furgiuele

Blog Post 3: Social Media in the IT and Higher Ed Realm

This post is three-fold, and I will discuss all three in a broad way; there is a difference between social media in:

  • the IT field alone,
  • in higher eds alone,
  • IT within higher eds (IT department in a College, for instance)

The IT Field

This one goes two ways – companies are either tweeting the overly technical information (new device specifications – stuff you’d find in a manual, which in my opinion, is the not-so-great use) to the gearheads out there who keep track of all the updated devices and features and operating systems, or they’re posting about wicked new innovations, journeys, or campaigns (I.e. technology developed to move objects with your brain, augmented reality, etc – in my opinion, the better use). Two of the places I follow for the latter (because I’m no techie, and I have no interest in a device’s IMEI or its firmware – no disrespect to anyone who does! It’s just over my head, is all) are FastCompany and Mashable. There are new innovations posted on these two sites daily, our world is moving forward at a rate I’m not sure we even know how to keep up with. I can’t wait to see what ten years from now will look like.

Higher Eds

Based on my observation, higher eds (main identities for universities or colleges) use social media to promote their programs, services available, campus events (or College-related events), as well as previous or current students who are doing great things, and to me, this is what social media is all about – spreading the word about things and people who are making a difference, or at least on their way there) Social media has actually changed a lot of these institutions’ approach to the admissions process. For instance, on MIT University’s admissions page, the first thing you see are these blog posts that are written by students, and they’ve chronicled their journey to and from MIT. What better way to sell yourself? They’ve put all of the admissions babble (I.e. admissions fees, policies, any other relevant babble) subsequent to the most important pieces – testimonials. It’s brilliant.

IT within Higher Eds

If you look at an institution like MIT University in the States, their use of social media in this realm would be much different than ours here at Algonquin, in that MIT is a forward-thinking, innovation-driven, prodigy in advancing information technology and being a force behind many breakthroughs in this area. MIT will often tweet or post pictures, videos, or tidbits of what’s going on in their classrooms with the most advanced technology and most up and coming developers and designers. Not to Algonquin’s discredit, but we just aren’t there. Algonquin, and more specifically the IT department, uses social media to communicate changes to/outages/maintenance to critical College systems (I.e. Blackboard, e-mail, etc). We’ll also use it to retweet content about really interesting things that are commonly known and current within the IT world (I.e. the Google Glass Project), or we’ll use it to help people connect to our wireless infrastructure or configure e-mail on their mobile device. Depending on the issue, we will also use Twitter to respond to complaints or questions regarding our services, and if it’s too complex or requires a work order, then we’ll send them off to the right place.