Web Round Up: Social Media Education Videos, Google News Labs, and Link Building

Summer is a great time for finding new resources to share with students in the classroom. And with that in mind, I want to share a few readings and resources you may find useful to use this fall in your classes, or just may want to stay on top of.

Social Media Education Videos – Online @UCF has a series of awesome social media videos called “The New Social” that appear to be produced by UCF’s Center for Distributed Learning. These brief videos cover a range of topics and you may find them very helpful to incorporate into class lecture or to assign students to watch at home. Here is Dr. Melissa Dodd’s list of “The New Social” videos on Vimeo.

New Google Labs Could Help Content Marketers from PR Daily – This is something to keep your eye on! Google just launched Google News Lab, a collaborative tool for working with journalists. The tool appears to enable journalists, and content creators more broadly, to harness Google’s data and resources in content. I’ll be interested to see how it is used in the months ahead. The PR Daily article offers some ideas for how content creators could harness the tool. I’m also excited to see if and how journalism professors explore this resource. p.s. Love the clips in the video of what looks like the Newseam in DC.

A PR Pro’s guide to link building from PR Daily – Link building is something I discuss in both my Writing Across Platforms and Social Media classes. The idea makes sense to students but this article provides an explanation of how to go about gaining links from authoritative sites . p.s. In explaining link building to my classes, I like to use the analogy of a student’s reputation in school. If lots of people are talking about you (linking to you), there must be something important and noteworthy about you (credibility). If the really cool people (authoritative websites) are talking (linking) about you, you must be really cool (higher credibility; authority). But if you associate with troublemakers (spammy websites) and they’re talking about you (linking), you’ll lose some of that ever-important credibility (with Google).  Kind of silly, but it helps the students easily understand the importance of inbound links.

Hope your summer is going great!

– Cheers!

Matt

What is The Future of Content Marketing in 2014?

As I discussed on this blog, 2013 was to be the year of content marketing. (Here are all my posts on content marketing)

Recently, Gary Shirr (@ProfessorGary) brought up an interesting point in a discussion post he made to the Teaching Social Media Marketing LinkedIn group I’m a part of. It got me thinking quite a bit.

In essence, he asked what the impact of Facebook shutting down the “Like economy” last December will have on organic social media marketing? (And what the proper mix of paid and organic should be)

Gary (whose blog I highly recommend) also alluded to the problem of a saturated content environment, (What Mark Schaefer calls ‘content shock‘).

While I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions, I wanted to share the problem here on the blog and put out a few related articles that you may enjoy reading. I hope it helps you jump into the conversation (see the great thread of comments on Gary’s post – cited below)!

So what happened?

Facebook made a change to its newsfeed algorithm resulting in a large decline in visibility of branded Facebook posts in an individual’s news feed.

The impact? Anecdotally, my wife, who runs the Facebook page for an international non-profit, said the change has resulted in a recent decline in her organization’s Facebook page stats.

What’s the Effect?

Gary argues in his post that it is the result of an effort by Facebook to drive more paid advertising (read his post for explanation). As a result, he says, organic won’t be enough to sustain a brand on Facebook.

Mark Schaefer posted a comment in Gary’s blog post that adds further clarity to the issue. In it, Mark is quoting a Facebook exec writing about the change: “On a given day, when the average person visits their News Feed, there are an average of 1,500 possible stories we can show. As a result, competition for each News Feed story is increasing. Pages will likely see changes in distribution resulting in a decline in organic reach.”

In a follow-up post, Gary discusses his recommendations to how businesses should adjust given the change to the Facebook algorithm.

Other Challenges to Content Marketing in 2014

As noted above, Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) recently posted about “Content Shock,” his term for the saturated marketplace of content marketing. In essence, he argues that as more people enter the content marketplace, competition for attention increases, and attention becomes increasingly fragmented. This makes sense! But this content is free. So how do you compete with the limitless supply of competition also creating free content? Mark argues that this flood favors those entities with big budgets, and that the cost of social media is rising. Read his post to get the details and more on the why.

Lastly, in a related vein I recently read an article on Shift titled “How Content Marketing Could Kill PR.” In essence, the piece argues that due to the flood of content being created, PR folks are being asked to pitch cruddy content. This may result in a loss of credibility, as those on the receiving end of the pitch are dealt sub par content. In their words, “What could kill public relations is not the content marketing itself, but increasing pressure from brands to pitch mediocre or bad content.”  It is a really interesting read and one I recommend.  So what to do? The simple solution may be “Create Great Content.” But will that really work? Will there be increasing need for PR professionals to help organizations break through this content shocked ocean of content and reach a targeted public?

What do you think? What is the future of content marketing? Is the “market saturated”? And if so, what will the effect be in 2014? How will organizations respond? Is the playing field no longer level for “the little guy?” Will the cost of social media become prohibitive?

Just some thoughts and questions for your Thursday! I hope you have a great one!

-Cheers! Matt

photo CC by Sean MacEntee

 

Follow up research to “Did Social Media Really Matter?” Published!

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Exciting News! This week’s post is a quick announcement those interested in research on social media and civic and political participation!

My latest publication with my colleague, former fellow WSU graduate student, and good friend Masahiro Yamomoto is now available for “early view” online. As you know, I research new and social media and civics / politics.

Published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, the article “More harm than good? Online media use and political disaffection among college students in the 2008 election” is a follow up to our 2010 publication “Did social media really matter? College students’ use of online media and political decision making in the 2008 election.”

“Where Did Social Media really Matter?” asked whether social media and online expression on social media sites were related to positive political outcomes, namely political self-efficacy and situational political involvement, “More Harm Than Good?” asks whether these media are related to political disaffection. Specifically, we looked at political cynicism, apathy, and skepticism.

While cynicism – lack of confidence or trust in the political system, and apathy – indifference or lack of interest in politics, are both negative, skepticism isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Skepticism falls short of rejecting politics or the process of politics, but it is characterized by a disbelief and thus a need to gather more information about what one learns in the media about political issues, candidates, etc.

So what did we find?  Attention to social media was related to cynicism and apathy, and related negatively with skepticism. However, there was a positive relationship between online expression and skepticism.

In short, as our previous research suggests, paying attention to political content on social media may not have played as positive a role for young adults in the 2008 election as some have suggested. The story, of course, is not the same for online expression – so why is that?

We must of course consider all the limitations of the study. And keep in mind that this is 1 study and 1 sample. Please read the study to learn more about these concepts, related research, the sampling design, limitations, and other important considerations.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this paper was presented at AEJMC 2012.

All my blog posts on social media research.

Cheers!

-Matt

photo CC Tom Lohdan

Web Roundup: Social Media Education Infographic; Zimmerman juror book deal sabotaged; Cool Professors; More!

This week flew by! Today’s Web Roundup contains a variety of articles.

 Search:

This week’s subject has been search, as on Monday I published a post on Snickers use of search in a very creative campaign – if you haven’t seen it, check it out!  In an article “Why search is much bigger than you can measure,” Chris Penn talks about some of the ways in which web traffic from search is being masked, preventing us from realizing the true volume of people who are being referred to our site from search.

Social Media and Education:

Recently, Karen Freberg (@kfreberg) Tweeted a great article with Infographics from MediaBistro on social media and education. Of course I agree with the article that: “Social media has revolutionised many industries, but it’s perhaps its impact on the classroom, and the education system as a whole, that is the most striking.” There is a lot of interesting data here. A few things that stuck out to me:

59% of students who use social networks talk about education topics online

50% of those who talk about education online talk specifically about schoolwork.

Also, there is a great infographic exploring just some of the benefits of using social media in school for teachers, students, and parents. There is also another infographic showing the uses of a variety of social media tools to enhance the classroom.

Current Events and Social Media

Twitter user swiftly sabotages Zimmerman juror’s book deal on Yahoo news – With the outpouring of emotion and opinion regarding the verdict in the George Zimmerman case, one person turned to Twitter in an attempt to block a juror in the case from getting the book deal. She succeeded. Here again we see the power of social media to rally support for/against an event. I’m not so sure such the effort could have succeeded in the pre-social media age, or at least so quickly (The article claims she succeeded in 6 hours!) The decision by the Martin Literary Agency to seek to publish a book on the controversial trial has certainly left many people shaking their head. The agency was forced to respond to social pressure and did so quickly, releasing a statement. What do you think about how the Martin Literary Agency responded to this situation?

Friday Fun!

Lastly, just for fun:

I’ve seen a lot of creative professors over the years. This photo album of “18 clues that your professor is cooler than you” shows just how witty professors can be!

If you’re an old school Internet nerd like me, you’ll appreciate this list of “Things that will make you miss the old days of the Internet” from the masters of the web list, BuzzFeed Rewind. Take a walk down memory lane with classic screen savers, AOL, the comforting sounds of dialup, and much more!

Dr. K Roundup

In personal news, my wife Kelin and I will be getting our very first puppy later this month, a bergamasco! My wife grew up with dogs but this is all new to me! I’ve been reading a lot of Cesar Millan books! I’m considering joining Instagram or another photo-sharing social site to share photos of our new dog experience. My Instagram knowledge is rather limited, so this may be a fun way to get up to date on this burgeoning social network. If you’ve got any thoughts on what the best photo apps are, or have any tips and tools, I’d love your input.

Hope to see you at #AEJMC next week! Have a great weekend.

Cheers!
-Matt

photo: CC opensourceway.

As the teenager goes, so goes Facebook.. so goes the social media professor?

FB_logo

Back in January I posted the below Tweet.

My Communication & New Media class was talking about the boom and bust of Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and the “cool hunt” – the tendency of young folks to jump from one trend to the next. (Yes, of course MySpace came up. Interestingly, students this semester hadn’t heard of Friendster).

I have asked the same question every semester since 2008-2009, when I began teaching new media as a grad student at Washington State University. “What is the most popular social network?” The answer has always been Facebook.

This semester the answer was clear. Facebook is on the way out.

Is there a shift coming to social media?

A great article posted to CNET last week titled “Why teens are tiring of Facebook” offers an in depth look as to the social networking giant’s troubles. Many of those same troubles were echoed by my students. They can be summed up in this Tweet I posted to a question I got from @richelecole to my original Tweet as to what was in:

In other words, Facebook:

  • Lacks exclusivity – “Everyone” is on Facebook – and yes, that means Mom, Dad, and the grandparents. There could be nothing less cool.
  • Is too cumbersome – Facebook, the social network that built itself on being sleeker and less chaotic than Myspace, is too complicated for the fast-paced on the go lifestyle. It takes too much time to maintain and participate in. Students said they just didn’t have time for all Facebook demanded of them. Twitter is quick and easy. Instagram is too, and the bonus is – pictures!

It seems my students aren’t the only ones thinking about unfriending Facebook.

As social media professors, are we always part of the cool hunt as well?

In a way. Trying to keep up with changing trends while balancing the many other responsibilities of being a professor may feel sometimes like an unwinnable race. That’s why it is so important that we keep our focus on what truly matters. Teaching students to think.

The tools will change. New trends will emerge. The fundamentals are much less fickle.

I think of them as:

  1. Monitoring: Strategies for identifying, cultivating, monitoring, and analyzing information on the social/real-time web.
  2. Metrics: Strategies for setting goals and what to measure on social media. And measuring them.
  3. Optimization: Strategic use of optimization strategies to maximize potential exposure to communication content online.
  4. Engagement: Strategies for targeting and engaging potential publics online.

When we teach new media, we should always keep in mind that the tool we’re teaching may be gone tomorrow.

It isn’t the tool so much that counts, as understanding the underlying concepts and strategies – the Why. If students learn only two things in my classes they should be: Be Adaptable (apply what you’ve learned to new situations). Be Lifelong Learners. These are platform agnostic skillsets.

Is a shift coming to social media and what does that mean for educators? As an educator, how do you stay current with changing trends in the classroom? What do you emphasize to your students?  Do you disagree with my approach? I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss this important topic further. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Like this post? Please share it.

Cheers!

– Matt

image creds: Facebook logo. This version hosted by MarcoPako Flickr page.