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Lecture on Social Media Reputations

online-reputation

The lecture for this week was on reputation and how easily it can change thanks to social media.  As Justin pointed out, reputations are so dynamic because it is easy to have a say on social media.  Not only can someone have a say, but they can also promote their say as we saw in an example.  A Twitter user actually paid for one of his Tweets about British Airways to be promoted so that more people can see it.  The tweet told readers not to fly British Airways because their customer service “is horrendous.”

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We were asked to discuss the ethical implications for this practice.  Personally, I do not have an ethical problem with this person’s decision to not only say something bad about British Airway nor do I have a problem with their decision to promote it.  To me, it’s the equivalent of standing outside a restaurant and telling people not to go in because you had a bad meal there; certainly within your right.  Further, paying to have the Tweet promoted is simply a way of exercising one’s freedom of speech in my opinion.  If political donations of astronomical amounts can be equated to freedom of speech, certainly this can too.

I also tend to agree with the lecture in terms of handling this type of situation.  The tweet needs to be dealt with just like any other through a quick response and a human acknowledgement of the issue.  British airways should look to gather more information about the customer’s experience and publicly display the fact that they are working with the customer to dissect the problem.  Complaining to Twitter is an unproductive way of handling the situation and likely will only fall of deaf ears from Twitter who seems to take no responsibility for the content posted by its users.

Other ways to address these sorts of Tweets given by the lecture include apologizing and empathizing with the customer, explaining why the even happened and what course of action you are taking to fix it.  I agree with these approaches especially if they are done in a public forum.  Acknowledging a mistake publicly and then showing that you are working to fix the problem is a great way to turn an unfortunate situation into a positive customer reputation experience.

3

Social Media Relationships with Silent Stage Gallery

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For our assignment this week, we have been tasked with discussing how a company manages relationships with their customers in their social spaces.  I have chosen to discuss a company that I am always eager to do business with and one that I am always interested in building my relationship with: Silent Stage Gallery.  The gallery is based out of California and boasts “top quality fine art prints along with very limited edition sculptures at an affordable price.”  I buy many things from my favorite artist, Aaron “Angry Woebots” Martin from them and have appreciated the way that they do business.  Today, I would like to discuss how they build relationships online through social media and where I think they can improve.

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Let’s start with the things that Silent Stage does right.  The primary means of contact that I have used in my interactions with Silent Stage is email.  sales@silentstagegallery.com is usually a great place to get answers to any questions you might have about upcoming products or shipping of purchased products.  Palmetto, the owner, has always been very courteous to me over email and the gallery’s appreciation for their customers is always very apparent.  Emails are typically answered within 24 hours and usually do a great job of addressing the issue at hand.  As this seems to be the primary means of communication, I do occasionally wish the address was a little more apparent across platforms and the website.

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From a social media perspective, Silent Stage does a very good job at remaining “human.”  As a fellow collector, it is fun to see Palmetto post pictures on Instagram of new things that he has added to his own collection and you can tell he shares the same excitement as us when he gets a new piece.  The “language” the gallery uses on Instagram is also appropriate to the platform and does a great job of promoting new works before they premier on their website.  The gallery answers questions on Instagram, but I have noticed that not all questions get answered.  Silent Stage also takes great pictures for Instagram, which is important and helps them to stand out as professionals.

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Silent Stage’s social media is not without fault however and I do think there are some things that they can do to improve their relationship management with current customers all the while appealing to a new audience and bringing in new customers.  For one, there is a Facebook account that like their Twitter, is mostly used to re-post images from Instagram.  Posts do not receive very many “likes” because it seems there isn’t much of a real presence on the platform.  Also, I think it was an ill-advised move to create a second Instagram account that was promoted as being more “exclusive” regarding product information.  I understand why someone might think this is a good idea at first, but all it has really done is segmented their audience and forced monitoring two accounts on the same platform.  I would like to see efforts to change this to monitoring the same account on multiple platforms!  Instagram is really the only social media presence the gallery has and while they are doing a good job on it, more can be done in my opinion.  I would like to see fresh content across multiple platforms that is not limited to just information about their products.  Silent Stage has the opportunity to become a thought leader on social media simply by talking about the trials of operating a gallery or sharing information that might be relevant to the art world as whole.  A Twitter and Facebook account that does more than just re-posts Instagram posts would be great.  Even a YouTube or Pinterest channel might be a new way to attract a new audience.  Overall, I am pleased with my current relationship with Silent Stage, but do feel they could be doing more to build relationships with other customers and expand to relationships with more new customers.

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Lecture Response on Building and Maintaining Social Media Relationships

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Today, an accurate description for the lecture was given right at the very beginning: we discussed how “marketers build and manage relationships.”  This built well on the concept of trust discussed from last week because once we earn a potential client’s trust, what do we do with it then?  How do we interact with them in a way that maintains it?  If you read my blog posts from last week, a common theme you would have seen was consistency (I consistently spoke on consistency as a matter of fact).  After this lecture, I see that maintaining a good relationship with a follower or client can come in many different forms.

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Similar to other lectures, Justin (@newsleader) gave us an example of a company that is doing a very good job at maintaining its relationships with customers.  KLM, a Dutch airline, has guaranteed that they will respond to all posts on social media within an hour.  This is an impressive feat and I commend KLM for having the ambitions to say they can get that job done.  From the examples that we saw, KLM seems to be doing a good job at making right on this promise.  Responding to every comment like this is not without its concerns and as business owners, you must be careful making this promise as it welcomes the negative and the positive comments alike.  As Justin pointed out, “KLM has changed its behavior (behaviour for authenticity) to become more people-focused.”

 

In my personal reflection on application of this subject for me, I had a lot to think about.  Justin asked us to describe how our voice would sound if our social media account was actually a real person.  Before today, I used to think that voice would have a bit of humor to it, but today, I am not so sure.  I think I am definitely a more “informative” voice on social media (@jakereuter10 on Twitter), but now I wonder if I have tried too hard to make that voice more comical than it really needs to be.  When someone comes to see me in my advising office, I am not immediately humorous with them.  They are not here for that.  Perhaps my social media life needs to be tweaked a little bit so that you come to me for the information and stay for the occasional laugh.  Maybe?

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Who I Trust On Social Media. …Do I Trust Anyone?

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Today we were asked to identify who we trust on social media.  I was not really sure where to go with this assignment because I don’t really feel like I go on social media to engage in “trusting relationships.”  So, in order to do the assignment, I began to reflect on what I was looking for when choosing to follow someone on social media.  To me, earning trust on social media is delivering the content or experience or even personality that I followed you for.  So I suppose I would say that a social media account that I “trust” is one without a lot of surprises.

In order to find specific people that I trust on social media, I literally went through my list of followed accounts and eliminated any organizations.  Not that I don’t trust organizations to deliver to social media profile I followed them for, but because this assignment asked us to speak about individuals specifically.  After I sorted out the individuals, I went through and asked myself the following questions: “Why have I followed this person?” and “Have they delivered on that expectation?”

For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised with my results.  Most of the people that I follow have remained consistent on social media and whatever they are “selling” has been apparent, but not in my face.  For example, I follow the Twitter account for our very own President, Barack Obama.  Now, I am not so naïve to think that President Obama is sitting in the White House coming up with insightful Tweets to share with me.  But the account does deliver on showing me “candid” pictures of the president during his travels, as well as discusses issues that I would assume the President finds important.  I also have chosen to follow Speaker of the House John Boehner in hopes that he will provide a counter argument to many of the issues the President discusses and by that regard, he is certainly running a trustworthy social media presence.  On a more personal scale, I follow some of my favorite graffiti artists trusting them to “debut” new works and purchase opportunities on these platforms before anywhere else.

What I have found myself reflecting on most during this assignment is the question of whether or not I actually trust ANYONE on social media.  Maybe my definition of trust is skewed.  Maybe I expect too little from the people I follow because I don’t really expect anyone to be trust worthy in the first place.  Overall, I have enjoyed the exercise and have a lot to think about when trying to create trust with the people that follow me.

Am I cynical for not really trusting anyone on social media?

Is social media really the platform for expressing and maintaining real trustworthy relationships?  Is “social media trust” different than “real trust?”

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Social Media Trust: How Do I Even Know You’re Human?!?

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The lecture for this week was interesting in that it gave me a lot to consider when deciding whether or not I trust someone on social media.  Ironically, I think I have been going through this process already when deciding who to follow or who to share content from.  The following equation was given for us to analyze and discuss on its merits when “calculating trust:”

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Personally, I think this equation is missing one element that I am going to attempt to describe: Connection Credibility (C squared for the purposes of fitting in the equation).  I agree with everything that is listed on the above formula but think there is one more thing to consider.  When I decide to follow someone or share their content, I am very interested in who else that person is following or where that content might have come from.  For example, if I am looking to follow an influencer in higher education, I will look at who they are following and who they are connecting with on social media.  On the other hand, if I am sharing content from someone, I will try and find the underlying source of that content.  If an article says a city has seen less crime rates due to the issuing of more public concealed weapon carry permits, I might question the article, especially if it was shared by someone with a connection to the NRA.  Connection credibility.

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The other question we had to discuss was how we felt the Northern Rail Company was doing on social media.  The above timeline was shared and I was very impressed with the response rate and relevance of the company.  It felt like a real person with real connections to the company (credibility through connection, aha!) who was capable of bringing about positive change for the customer.  I have experienced this on my own when Tweeting the XBOX Twitter account and was very impressed with their response.    

4

Terms and Conditions: Revisiting eduClipper!

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                If you have been following my blog for a little while now, you know that I am a fan of the online social media platform eduClipper.  What I like about the platform is that it is a place for both teachers and students to come together to explore, share, and contribute resources to help enhance teaching and learning of both formal and personal nature.  My personal reflections on the platform addressed any initial concerns of such a specific social media platform by showing how great the service really helps with needs that cannot be met on other platforms like Pinterest.  Today, I would like to discuss eduClipper’s Terms of Service; specifically in regards to ethical implications and how eduClipper has addressed them.

The most obvious ethical implication to consider with a platform like eduClipper is the fact that it is marketed to students as well as teachers.  With students using the platform, there are a lot of unique elements to consider and eduClipper has done a great job of safeguarding itself against these potential ethical pitfalls.  At the very top of the Terms of Service in BOLD with the word “IMPORTANT!,” is a statement about the use of eduClipper by people under the legal age to form a binding contract.  eduClipper insists that students must review this information with their parents before using the platform, safeguarding themselves from any potential problems with minors using the service.

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                The Terms of Service for eduClipper are well written, thoughtful, and fairly digestible for the average reader (unlike Facebook).  Right from the beginning, the Terms are identified as a binding contract between you and the service.  Other issues within the contract are addressed by answering a basic question the user might have about their experience.  In particular, I liked the way eduClipper addressed privacy and potential copyright infringement.  These aspects are presented in a way that asks a given question consumers may very well have before using the service.  Amusingly, eduClipper has also included a “congratulations” message to the reader at the bottom of its terms in appreciation for actually finishing reading them.

Overall, I think eduClipper has done a very good job of addressing potential ethical problems associated with its use.  The Terms of Service are well written and ask the questions that consumers may very well have.  If I were to make any constructive criticism, I suppose it would actually be with the aesthetics.  eduClipper really is a very “good looking” site for the most part with the exception of this section.  While I understand that this is more of a contract than an actual extension of the experience on eduClipper, it still might make it a little easier to read if it were as good looking as the rest of the site.

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Terms and Conditions: A Lecture Response on Mumbo Jumbo

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The terms and conditions are probably the most important, unread document that we deal with on a daily basis.  When we update our iTunes, we agree to the legal terms and conditions without giving it a thought.  When we log in to social media, we agree to the terms and conditions without really even knowing what they are.  In some cases, this can lead to problems because we eventually find out “the hard way” what we have agreed to (see Kyle dealing with an extreme case of this on South Park).  Other times, agreeing is just the quickest way to get where we want to go and usually doesn’t result in any problems.  Usually……..

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The lecture for this week asked us to admit if we read the Terms and Conditions and admittedly, I do not.  Further, as a follow up reading assignment for this course, we are supposed to read the Terms and Conditions for both Facebook and Twitter and I’m not sure I’m going to make it.  As the lecture pointed out, the Terms and Conditions for any media/technology site can be overwhelming and have the appearance of long, legal documents.  I didn’t go to law school! Can’t I just look at funny pictures of cats in peace without worrying that I am breaking the law?!?

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Unfortunately, the answer to that is “No, you cannot.”  As Justin’s (@newsleader) lecture for this week pointed out, many facets and rules have had to be included in these documents and it leads me to wonder: Which came first: the lengthy documents or the silly legal dispute? I suspect that terms the lecture pointed out regarding Facebook such as “no bullying” or discouraging posting misleading information came because someone sued someone else for something that was on Facebook.  Which brings me to Twitter…

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I feel Twitter actually does a pretty good job of making terms that basically say they will not be held responsible for content that users place on their service.  This seems to be the safer, more “free” way and if I were drafting Terms and Conditions for a social network that I was creating, I suspect they would say something similar.  If Stan Collymore does not want to see bullying on Twitter, he should probably stay off Twitter.  If I don’t want my children to be bullied on Facebook, then I should probably keep them off Facebook; just like I should turn off the TV if there is something I do not want them to see.  

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Social Media Ethics Theory

Got ethics ?

I’m baaaaaack!  The summer semester for Mass Communication has begun; and with it, the first lecture in “Ethics and Social Media” from Professor Justin Kings (@newsleader).    This lecture was very appropriately titled “Ethical Theories and Social Media” as it has already given me a lot to think about!

The lecture began with a definition of “ethics;” which was described as moral principals that govern a person’s behavior.   What I liked about Justin’s lecture was that he went on to define the word “moral” within that definition to show its origin as a code of behaviors passed down by society.  This becomes very important when we consider future elements of ethical decisions including the question of our motivation and where our duty lies.  Justin would go on to describe a moral dilemma as “a choice between two or more potentially right choices.”  This got me to thinking:  What about two or more potentially wrong choices?  I think some of the most difficult ethical decisions are between two or more potentially wrong choices and we are essentially deciding between the lesser of two evils.

A system for making these decisions was discussed and included asking oneself the following three questions:  What are my motivations (or why)?  What are the likely effects (and to whom will they be effecting)? Finally, where does my duty lie?  I think these are all very important and fair questions to consider when making an ethical decision and they do a great job of including all the major stakeholders in the decision.  I’m sure there is not always going to be a “black and white” way of defining these stakeholders, but it is a good start.

A great illustration was made as an example that included a journalist who has “friend requested” the acquaintance of a murder suspect in order to gain insight into the alleged crime.  The question arose: should this journalist have to identify themselves?  What a dilemma indeed!  Personally, I think a journalist’s largest obligation is to uncovering the truth by any means necessary, so if the friend were to accept this request and engage with the journalist about the murder, it was the friend’s fault in the first place.  The murder suspect should have chosen more loyal friends.  Now, that’s easy to say when investigating a murder, but what about domestic infidelity?  Should a friend of my wife be allowed to friend request me without making it known that she is a friend in the interest of trying to catch me in a lie?  Hmmm…

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Exploring Kickstarter

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The assignment for this week asked us to explore Kickstarter and find projects that might interest us.  This was actually not my first time visiting Kickstarter and I love it when some of their project get national news coverage.  There is a lot of power in crowdsourcing and some major ideas have come as a result of this platform.  Recently, Kickstarter reached quite a milestone as well when they announced that one billion dollars had been used to support various projects on the platform.

My favorite Kickstarter project is the Pebble watch.  The watch is considered one of the greatest success stories to come out of Kickstarter and shares the company of intriguing products such as Oculus Rift.  I personally own a Pebble watch (bought at Best Buy as I was too late to the party) and have been following the project for quite some time.  I can tell you that in my opinion, the Pebble watch is still the best smart watch in the market and the company has been able to achieve great things as a result of getting their “kick start” on Kickstarter. 

Other projects that currently intrigue me on Kickstarter include various home automation and electronics including a neat looking night light outlet plate and a phone stabilizer for taking photos.  I like that the projects were even available based on location and projects near me were displayed on the home page.  I do not really have any projects that I would like to get funded though I really would like to see a Seinfeld app that is constantly playing random episodes invented.  I don’t think Kickstarter is realy the place for this idea though however because there are copyright issues in play that I do not want to get involved in. 

Overall, I am really happy with Kickstarter and the social and cultural implications that it has going forward.  The platform is an excellent example of the power of the masses and the way that it inspires you to freely express your creativity should not be over looked.  I also like the way the platform allows the “cream to rise to the top” in the sense that if an idea is really good, it has the chance to “go viral” on the platform same as anything else.  Finally, the way that the platform connects consumers with the products around them is great in the sense that one can really feel like a part of an upcoming product and can share in the joy of triumphs while fearing the failure that could happen.  

6

Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

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Google Yourself: The Man with Two Names

“Google-ing” myself was a particularly interesting assignment for me because I sort of have two names.  Legally, my full name is Thomas Jacob Stresen-Reuter, but for my entire life I have gone by Jake Stresen-Reuter.  I was very interested in seeing how this would create different search results for different names and I definitely was not disappointed.

Thomas Stresen Reuter

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Upon conducting this search, the first thing that I noticed was the very interesting image results that came about.  Now that I know what I know about SEO and Image Tags, I suppose I am not surprised to see such diverse results as Google likely returned images with Stresen Reuter in the tags.  I recognized some of the images and names from the search, but I am mostly estranged from this side of the family, so do not really know these people on a personal level.  In fact, the search results for this search were mostly a range of pages related to others with this last name.  I did notice a “White Pages” looking result with my age and location as one of the results that I found interesting.  I also found a posting that listed my position as a graduate assistant from a few years ago.   My current Facebook page for this graduate program was also found on the second page of this search.

Jake Stresen Reuter

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This search actually yielded more results that were specifically catered to me.  It’s very interesting that my unofficial name would have more results about me than my legal name.  I suppose in the sense of privacy and “big brother” issues, this is a good thing for me because I don’t necessarily want all of my information out there.  The images that were returned were at least me at the beginning, but there were still some of the same images of people from before.  My current job came back as one of the early results which I liked.  Also, my wedding registry came back as an early result which kind of surprised me.  Some of my graduate program social media account returned in this search, but my personal Twitter did not come back in this search.  Overall, this was definitely the more effective search when searching for me. 

In conclusion, the most interesting thing I took from this assignment was the fact that my two different names really led to completely different search results.  I was surprised to see how many more relevant results came from searching my non-legal name.  One other thing that I found particularly interesting was a search of my common screen name for various services (jakereuter10).  I have used this name since back in the days of AOL Instant Messenger and the results for this search were definitely an in-depth profile of my online accounts and interactions, including social media and various message boards that I participate in. 

Do you have a “screen name” that you have used a lot that might create an interesting Google search?

What are possible SEO benefits/complications that can result of my having two different names?