The Fate of Social Media and Its Users

Enrolling in a social media course has taken my perspective and knowledge of social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram and drastically manipulated it and expanded it, eventually leading it to a complete breakthrough in the way I see social media as a consumer.

Throughout our course, we have seen some major news and changes in social media and there’s more to come.

More recently, we have seen small changes from less filters and more raw content to much larger changes such as the complete change of Snapchat (along with the absence of users to follow).

Still to come, I believe will be more live videos and real/raw content, less marketing, more of an emphasis on relationships instead of business, social videos/social video ads, Ads in stories, further monetization, and VR and augmented reality features.

I hope to see more awareness of eco chambers and filter bubbles and a more simple solution of credible sources.

Although I believe some of these to be the future of social media, I believe we can only predict social media to a certain extent. There’s a reason there isn’t any textbooks for our social media class: because things are constantly changing-at times, changing in ways that you would never expect.

In regards to Facebook, I hope that the long term effect with the transition from engagement to meaningful interaction will be time better spent on Facebook and more authenticity. Mobile video is Facebook’s key element in 2018. They will also manage to boost brand discovery through the Explore tab and accelerate organic and paid Messenger interactions. I hope there is a way to simplify access and build transparency regarding where content is coming from and why it’s showing up on a given feed. I hope to see more people (older and younger) seek and investigate sources.

I especially enjoyed coming up with future features for my app to present, Flipboard. From this research, I learned that even if an application doesn’t have “posts,” there are still ways to produce effective content. I also learned that when creating an app, it can be difficult to draw a line between presenting your users with a lot of content and overwhelming your users.

For now, marketers can reach people on apps (that may not be considered social media). For example, my dad doesn’t use social media much; however, he uses apps on his IPad. This could be a way to advertise NOT on social media, but still through technology rather than traditional advertising methods such as newspaper and flyers. Inserting ads in movies, television shows (Netflix) and sports may prove effective as well. Celebrity advertising may find a way to reach a young audience without going through social media.

One of the most surprising elements to me during our social media course was the amount and extent of importance that social media can play for a business. I thought more of social media as a “plus” rather than a priority. The person who does social media at Knapheide isn’t a social media manager, but social media is just one of the many things she does. I never knew people had careers based off of social media managing. That’s very cool.

If I designed my own platform, I would be sure to include a convenient, simple and elegant user interface, good security and analytics.

 

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Facebook Live: Proper Execution

Facebook Live: Best Practices

Through the analyzation of the best practices of Facebook live videos, I am able to execute my own live video, use Facebook to promote a business or product and predict the future of live video.

Most of us are scared when it comes to executing a live video but after learning that engagement is six times greater on live videos compared to regular, I think it’s time we dive deep into the best practices of live videos.

Live Video: Best Practices

Tell people ahead of time you’re going to broadcast. Build anticipation by letting people know you’ll be broadcasting live. Give people a preview of what you’ll be doing. Let them know how they can benefit.

Go live when you have strong connection. Take a test video before your actual broadcast to ensure that you have connection that is up to par. Facebook users are fast paced. If they watch a video and realize that it’s not working properly, has bad quality or doesn’t benefit them at all, they are going to jump a live stream and fast. Keep your audience engaged by confirming strong connection before going live.

Write a compelling description before going live. Use the status update section when you select “live” to let your audience know what your video is all about. Leave a tease or let them know how they can benefit from watching your video. I think simplicity is key here. Nothing draws me away from a live video more than 10 lines of information about what the video is about. After reading it, a part of me doesn’t feel the need to watch the video anymore.

Ask your viewers to follow you and receive notifications when you go live. Again, here I would entice them to follow you by giving them a reason why or how they can benefit from future videos as well.

Say hello to commenters by name and respond to their comments. If you’re not able to engage with your viewers’ comments during the live video, then be sure to comment on them soon after the video.

Broadcast for longer periods of time to reach more people.

Plan ahead to avoid awkward pauses. I plan to list an agenda for my live stream and have that list near me during my broadcast for any emergency awkward pauses.

Walk around during your shoot and please your audience with visuals by giving them a clear picture and description of what’s going on. Remember not to give them a narrow view but a 360 one.

Keep your audience interested by engaging them through interesting video content or questions. Call all commenters out. Let your audience know that this stream is a two way one.

Keep your goals in mind while you stream. These will dictate many of the logistics. Study your agenda before hand and be prepared for any and all situations.

Don’t forget about ethics. It’s important to not show any pictures or videos during your stream that aren’t 100 percent yours. Let people around you know that you are doing a live Facebook video so if you get a shot of them, they aren’t caught by surprise or worried as to why you are filming them and the people around you.

Using Facebook Live to Promote

I would love to use Facebook Live to promote Knapheide during one of our many shows. Our biggest one is the NTEA Work Truck Show. Here, Knapheide shows off its best trucks and their many features. There are multiple Knapheide employees there to explain these awesome features to potential clients. Knapheide has (by far) the best setup at this event. Thousands of people partake in this event. Although Knapheide produced a short video segment and took many pictures, I think it would be a great social marketing opportunity to have a live video because Knapheide promotes this event all over their website and social pages. Some people aren’t able to go to the show so what better way to make them feel like they are there than a live video?

Live vs. Demand

I’m not sure if more people watch the Facebook video live or on demand. Engagement is much higher with live video content which makes me think more people are watching it then; however, I’ve watched much more live videos on demand. This can also depend on how long the video is. As I stated above, it’s best practice to shoot long videos so you have a further reach to Facebook users.

The Future of Live Video

I don’t think the success of marketing depends on live videos; however, I do think the success of marketing could depend largely on video content as a whole. Knapheide produces sublime Day in the Life videos on their pages. They’re edditted, polished and perfected into a professional and sleek finish that has an awesome impact on viewers. I think live videos currently do and will continue to have a big influence on the social pages of businesses especially with the new Facebook algorithm which stresses live video use.

My Live Experience

Tonight, I executed my first live video at the Taproom Bar and Cafe in Quincy. During preparation, I wrote a carefully planned agenda and read through it a few times. I used a selfie stick to provide my audience with a wider angle for a better view of my surroundings. This was important because the bar was extremely scenic. I attempted to hold my phone horizontally; however, Facebook wouldn’t let me record that way. It would be easier for users to view it vertically anyways. I was pretty nervous and I didn’t speak as smoothly as I wish I could’ve; however, I’m happy with the outcome of the video and believe it bettered me not only as a public speaker, but as a social media manager as well.

The Death of Stephon Clark: Ex-Nurse Fired for Contentious Facebook Comment

In response to the death of Stephon Clark by Sacramento Police, Faith Lithicum was quick to voice her opinion that he deserved to die on Facebook; however, only to find that it would cost her her job. Through this case, I have reflected on the involvement of Facebook, what I would have done and what this means for us as a community.

Stephon Clark was shot eight times primarily in his back by Sacramento police officers, the autopsy found. What was thought to be a gun turned out to be a cell phone. A mistaken gun, eight shots, a shattered vertebrae, a collapsed lung, a shattered arm and many protests later, we’re left wondering what this means and where this leaves us as a society and a community.

It began when two officers were dispatched to the Meadowview neighborhood in South Sacramento to investigate a report that someone was breaking car windows. A county sheriff’s department helicopter joined the search. The officers spotted Clark who ran from them into his grandmother’s backyard. An officer is heard yelling “gun” repeatedly and firing almost immediately after.

Maybe this story started much sooner…when Eric Garner was held in a chokehold until he could no longer breathe or when 37 year old Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a confrontation with two police officers outside of Baton Rouge. Or maybe it started even sooner than these.

Whenever the story started, we as a community have found ourselves being split. For Faith Linthicum, it was a decision between freedom of speech and hate speech. In response to Clark’s death, Linthicum made a comment on Facebook saying “Yeah but he was running from the police jumping fences and breaking in people’s houses…why run?! He deserved it for being stupid.”

Activist Christina Arechiga saw the comment which later caused it to go viral.

Linthicum, who worked in labor and delivery at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville Medical Center was put on administrative leave and then fired.

Arechiga also shared other comments made by Lithicum saying “Can we protest all the deaths of people shot by black people too?” and “Hell ya! Build that wall Mr. President!”

If you’re wondering what I’m wondering, it’s whether Kaiser Permanente fired Lithicum because they don’t tolerate hate or discrimination of any kind (which is what they claimed) or whether they didn’t want to be the center of attention when a viral post was released about a so called racist bigot who happens to be their one of their employees.)

In this case, social media was used to shine light on the issue between free speech and hate speech. If hate speech isn’t allowed, then is there such a thing as free speech? Can an organization fire someone based on a personal view? No, but they can certainly fire someone due to certain social posts that reflect the company in a negative manner.

When I worked at Blessing Hospital, our social accounts were being watched. I never thought they were until my brother got in trouble for creating and later sharing a parody of KHQA’s live video of Devon Hawkins which went viral in (at least) the Quincy area.

Facebook was the platform used in the case of Lithicum’s comment because in my opinion, Facebook is where all the chatting happens especially hot conversations about controversial issues such as this one. Although the new algorithm is being implemented primarily to connect people, I wonder if long comments of people arguing in viral posts will end of at the top of the news feed as well.

I think an interesting note to make on this case is that she didn’t go out of her way to make a post. She just commented on a viral post. Sometimes when I comment on a viral post, I look at the thousands of comments and think there’s no way anyone’s going to see this comment anyways so let’s see what spicy comment I can come up with.

In this particular situation, if I was Lithicum and felt the need to make a comment about Clark’s death, I would do so in a professional manner. I think there were three words that caused her termination: He deserved it.

In order to support herself during unemployment, Lithicum later launched a GoFundMe page titled: RN fired for exercising first amendment. Since, it has raised over $20,000.

I studied multiple stories on this case. I watch my news sources as much as possible; however, I was curious to see how Fox would craft their story. It turned out to be much different compared to the Huffington Post article I read (of course). In it’s article, when explaining how the comment came to light, Fox doesn’t say an activist shared the comment, but rather just “a user.” They were also sure to make their pull quote: “I believe Kaiser Permanente violated my first amendment right to free speech in order to protect themselves from the wrath of these activists.” (Quote by Lithicum)

Overall, news outlets and reporters should use social media as a business, a trend, a promotional tool and a way to seek the truth and report it. It’s heavily involved in our lives and only makes sense for it to be heavily involved in news.

The Facebook Apocalypse: Survival Guide

The Facebook Apocalypse is upon us; however, by delving into the new metrics of meaningful interactions and the reasons this change was implemented, I discovered a multitude of ways that social media managers can adapt and change their social media game in order to take advantage these new measurements and come out more successful than ever.
To everyone’s surprise, Facebook blindsided a large number of its users and more specifically, its social media experts by changing the way it measures engagement. The social platform has turned its focus solely on the number of comments a given post gets, measuring engagement through meaningful interactions between people instead of the number of likes a given post receives.

The Metrics of Meaningful Interactions

Michael Stelzner explains the metrics of meaningful interactions as followed:

  1. Users ‘liking’ shared content from publishers will become a significant element of the new algorithm. Influencers will be crucial here. (By collaborating with them on content creation, you can reach a lot of your ideal customers without having to put in years of work building your own social following and email list that your influencers already have.)
  2. It will be key to place the right type of content in front of the right type of audience.
  3. Users conversing with each other or group dialogue will be highlighted as a major influence in the new algorithm.
  4. More relevant ads will win. In order to increase successful advertising, marketers will need to focus on creating pertinent content in order to have better leverage. There will be a greater demand for ads. Make yours stand out.

Why the Change, Zuck?

In mid-January, Co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg, posted a status on the platform that would be the spark of something huge. In summary, Zuckerburg stated that one of Facebook’s biggest focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. He further explains by saying that Facebook was built to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. Research has proven that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness. However, Facebook received feedback from the community that public content is taking over the personal moments that lead us to connect with one another. When we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely. This is correlated with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, reading articles or watching videos may not prove as good.

The freakout moment has begun. Many people are thinking that their businesses are now doomed because organic reach is near to nothing. Meaningful interactions are real. It’s not a number. It’s not a statistic. It’s real engagement. Social Media Marketers are scared of this. It’s more difficult to garner and its completely new. Take away a human’s habit, give them a new one and their world is turned upside down. Can you blame them? However, think about your human needs. We would rather have fewer meaningful interactions than many passive ones. If it works for humans, it may prove the same for your business. As Zuckerburg stated, if we do the right thing, it will turn out beneficial for our community and our businesses over the long run.  

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m here to tell you there’s a way to use this new algorithm to succeed as a social media manager.  First and foremost, forget your frequent posting schedule. With meaningful engagement being the new focus, use your time wisely and concentrate on engaging posts to update occasionally. Learn what your audience likes through your analytics. Make adjustments to your tone and social media strategy to pinpoint your target audience and pull them closer to your business.

Once you’ve delve into the wants and needs of your audience, present effective and probing questions to them. Brainstorm on call to action’s that will interest and grab the attention of your potential customers. Presentation is key. “Comment below” is timeworn. Push your creativity to the next level and think of refreshing new ways to engage your audience. They’ll thank you for it.

Schedule Facebook Live events and keep your viewers engaged with compelling content, visuals, personal connections and by asking them questions. Involve your viewers by encouraging them to share your live videos. Don’t be afraid of long video. Feel free to post content that lasts anywhere around 10 minutes to four hours.

Be Human at Scale

As a millenial, numbers in social media have been everything. Even transitioning into adulthood, numbers on social media continue to be a heavy influencer on one’s status, so to speak. We even judge ourselves based on our numbers. This is human and its normal. However, so is meaningful interactions or at least it’s supposed to be, right? Is the exact mechanism that built us up to be creatures of numbers the one that will tear us down and back into real people engaging in real interactions? In a way, Facebook is telling us how to human and that if we are to a certain extent, we may find ourselves (and our businesses) being better off.  

Mari’s Advice

In 2009, Mari Smith gave Michael Stelzner advice regarding management of social media. She advised him to put the people first and business second. Social media, before marketing was thrown into it, was centered on meaningful interactions.

In this apocalypse, safe ground exists. As witnesses to potentially the largest turn in the evolution of social media and through collaboration and response, we may not only find our businesses thriving in the new algorithm, but ourselves, as users, as well.

Local Educators Look for Ways to Respond to Recent Mass Shooting

After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14th, hearts and families were crushed, prayers were sent, many were inspired and not only was the safety of students across our country contemplated and questioned, but a deep and thorough reflection of the proper reaction to an event such as this is has since transpired in the United States from citizens and more specifically, from our local educators.  

Various options are being proposed regarding how to respond to the mass shooting in Parkland including reviewing policies and procedures, changing gun control legislation, arming teachers, installing metal detectors, bulletproof and tinted windows, hostile intruder training presentations, controlled access of schools, upgraded safety drills and security cameras and many more. Some plead for stricter control while others are frustrated with guns being pointed at as the reason for shootings such as these.

“As an educator, as a grandparent, as a parent, as a member of society- each and every tragedy resonates deeply in my heart and soul. We are all members of the human family and horrific situations like the Florida murders make me reflect, pray and consider what could have been done,” Director of Campus Ministry for Quincy University Ray Heilmann said.

According to Principal of St. Peters School Cindy Venvertloh, in order to prepare itself from like incidents like the mass shooting, St. Peters School has rehearsed drills with and without police officers present. This is a requirement from the state. They also have a yearly annual crisis review meeting every October. During this review, they ask first responder representatives to join them in reviewing and evaluating the plans in place.

In addition to similar protocol with multiple safety drills rehearsed and reviewed Quincy Notre Dame High School has implemented a number of security upgrades such as electronic key fobs and numerous security cameras for a better view of areas inside and outside the building.

“Our school district does lockdown drills a few times a year, but other than that there is truly not much security,” Third Grade Teacher at Quincy Public Schools Allison Menz said. “Our school does not use metal detectors on students but only on visitors coming in the building. I feel it’s ridiculous that we are not checking students. This year I had a third grader come to school with a pocket knife. It was caught thanks to another student. Even after the Florida shooting, our school has not done anything different besides a reminder of what to do in a lockdown drill. If society could get passed this idea that a gun kills people, they could focus more on the people who have the mental issues that are causing them to make he choice to kill others.”

According to USA Today, March 14th is National School Walkout. The walkout is a call to Congress to pass legislation to keep people safe from gun violence at schools, on streets and in our homes and places of worship.

Kade Zanger, junior at Quincy Senior High School, said that the high school will not be walking out and that they are instead having meetings.

Associate Professor of Communication at Quincy University Travis Yates suggested our admissions department make concessions to any high school seniors that are reprimanded for taking part in peaceful protests in their home state.

“I think guns in the classroom are a terrible idea, regardless of who has them, be it a teacher or armed security force. A classroom has one purpose, for learning,” Yates said.

According to Director of Safety and Security at Quincy University Sam Lathrop, based upon four decades of police and security work, the only way to address armed violence is with armed violence.

“In one respect, I agree that the staff and teachers should be able to defend themselves and protect their students. I wonder if people realize that to many of us, our students are our family and we would do anything to protect them. Does this mean we should be trained and armed? I am not sure what the answer is,” Venvertloh said.

Sourcing and Verification: What You Need To Know

Through the exploration of the significance of verification and how to properly verify content, I, as a future social media manager, have learned how to better gain trust from my audience and viewers.

image_6483441 (2).JPGSome people know verification as the process of establishing the truth, accuracy, or validity of something; however, for those who are social media savvy, verification is necessary in order to prevent fraud, and to protect the integrity of the person, company or corporation whose name is being used.

It’s important for people to be aware of what’s going on in the world today. News it vital. Seeking transparency in our government is important. Without knowledge or access to accurate news, the public can be blinded and end up voiceless. This is why seeking news and content is significant.

Many businesses are proving credibility in their content in order to gain trust from viewers. CNN verifies its content by contacting the contributor. They gather more information by checking local media and calling local people in the field. They will call their affiliates and try to get to a place where they can confirm as many details as possible. They handle any suspicious content by contacting creators of potentially false images or video.

It’s better to be right than be first. For example, if someone were to find a mind-blowing video that was going viral and this person wanted to share it with their peers, it may be best to verify the content before rushing to share it.

I personally believe users should be held accountable to verification standards before posting content. For example, seeking credibility and accountability before posting. However, if you re-post false content, you are not liable for false dissemination.

In order to stay safe, you can accurately verify information by researching the name of the author or organization who created the content, look for a complete and comprehensive presentation of data and facts and determine from this information how the creator of the content gathered their facts or studies and how they conducted their analysis.

A share or a retweet does not necessarily mean someone has verified the content and they are sharing it because they agree with the findings; however, this may in fact be the case for some people when they share content. For example, my sister checks every single sourse of everything she reads or shares on social media. She will search the name of the original creator and look for their method of conducting information. If it was done scientifically and methodically, she shares it.

There is a lot of value in a verified social media account. People automatically trust verified social media profiles a lot more than those without a verification sign. This can lead to a higher engagement and a higher brand reputation. If there’s anything I’ve learned in news writing, it’s that getting your audience to trust your content it extremely important. This can vary from punctuation to proper writing style to credible and verified content.

Quincy University Provides Opportunity For Students Beyond Their Own

Quincy University is working to provide a better college experience for John Wood Community College transfer students and local Quincy high school students through scholarship implementation, weekly visits at John Wood Community College  and easy credit transfer.

During the fall semester of 2017, 34 percent of QU’s transfer students came from John Wood.

“The transfer process came incredibly easy for me,” Madison Badgley, junior, said.

QU offers the standard scholarship matrix for all transfer students that ranges from $8,000 to $17,000. Implemented in 2017 was the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship. Any students who were a part of this fraternity prior to transferring to QU have the opportunity to receive this scholarship. This international honors organization is available to John Wood students. In order to be a part of it, a student must have completed 12 semester hours of associate degree work, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and be currently enrolled in classes at John Wood.

Also implemented in 2017 was the John Wood Community College Scholarship. If students transfer directly to QU from John Wood, they can receive an additional $1,000 off of their tuition. However, this scholarship is not available for existing QU students who transferred from John Wood Community College.

According to the Office of Admissions, this scholarship implementation was a way for QU to strengthen its relationship with John Wood even more.

“We are showing we want to invest in these students and give them a valuable and affordable option to stay in the local area,” Director of Admissions Brittany Ellerman said.

The Associate Director of Transfer Admissions, Justin Ray, visits John Wood on a weekly basis to meet with interested students and offer onsite admissions decisions.

“I will tell you due to our longstanding relationship, QU is familiar with the John Wood curriculum and can offer a seamless transition. The majority of John Wood credits transfer easily to our institution,” Ellerman said.

QU is currently partnering with John Wood to entice Quincy high school students to stay local for college. QU is currently planning a College Caravan event at Quincy Notre Dame High School in March where both colleges will bring faculty, staff and students together for a small college fair. QU hopes to do this at Quincy High School in the coming months as well. QU will also offer a Camp College event this summer on QU campus for sophomores and juniors in high school just starting out their college search. John Wood admissions staff will take part in the event to provide basic admission, financial aid and student life information.

“In my experience, students transferring from JWCC are very well prepared, and they begin to contribute to life at QU from day one.  I’m sure that at first they wonder how quickly they will begin to feel at home here, but they are warmly welcomed and fit in right away.  We want to make it as easy as possible for transfer students to know from the day they start at JWCC that there’s a clear four-year path to graduation from QU,” Associate Director of Communication Barb Schleppenbach said.

According to the Office of Admissions, QU hopes to bring John Wood advisors, counselors, and faculty members to QU campus to mingle with QU professors and discuss the ease of helping John Wood students transfer to QU to further improve QU’s transfer process.

“While I am unaware of up and coming articulation agreements possibly in the works, the admissions staff would love to see increased development of adapting John Wood’s applied degrees and certificate programs into four year programs or additional 2 year programs,” Associate Director of Transfer Admission Justin Ray said.