Week 13: Reflection and wrap-up

I have really enjoyed the class Social Media and Organizations. I think part of the reason why I liked it so much is because it really gave me tangible experience that makes me a competitive candidate for employment positions. I sometimes get frustrated with MIT because a lot of classes aren’t very practical. I know that is what you kind of get with a University degree, and if I want more practical experience, college is where to go; however, I like that with this class I was able to get some of the experience I have been looking for. I feel that I learned a lot in this class. The area that I think I benefitted from most was the lesson on Wikis. Right around the time we learned about Wikis, the office where I have a part-time job started using Microsoft SharePoint. I didn’t know anything about Wikis prior to this course and then when my office started using SharePoint, I felt very knowledgable.

I also liked learning about blogs in this course. I always looked at blogs as being kind of silly, but I learned in this course that blogs can be very good for organizations. It really helps them maintain their online presence. More than that, I actually am tempted to start a blog myself. If I get the internship position I am hoping for this summer, I was thinking it would be fun to keep a blog about the things that I learn in it. This would also help me sort of document my learning so that I can speak to it in future interviews.

I wasn’t very interested in the gaming portion of the class. I tried to join Second Life but got frustrated with the registration process. Then I tried to play World of Warcraft but I just gave up on downloading the program to my computer. I really cannot begin to imagine how an organization would use gaming as a way reach audiences. I mean maybe in Second Life, Apple could have the iPhone in a virutal world I guess and sort of sell products. Or if a movie used synergy to turn their characters into a video game, I can see that as succesful. However, I really can’t see an organization such as a library that takes itself seriously having a presence on World of Warcraft.

A new social media platform that I now love to use because of this class is Pinterest. I think it is so much fun. I actually only use it to “foodgawk”. I have found some incredible food and drink ideas that I am dying to try! I have to wait until I am home for summer though so that I can use my parents ingredients.

I think that organizations need to enter the online world. I think that social media presence really can make or break the success of company. I think that social media policies are very important in order to maintain consistency in the organization’s social media and ensure that the quality of content is high.

Overall, this course has been a wonderful experience. I would recommend it to anyone in MIT, especially those who have an interest in social media. The course exposed me to internet media that I had not been aware of before, and it has encouraged me to pursue more knowledge in this area of media studies.

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Week 10: Cloud Computing

I agree with Diane that cloud computing definitely has its pros and cons.

Pros

I think that as a collaborative tool, cloud computing is very beneficial for organizations. It reminds me a bit of the use of a Wiki in an organization. I think that to have a document that everyone has access to is a great way for everyone to have input. It also helps to move an organization away from the use of mass emails. I was in a job interview and the office was planning on making the shift from email usage to a new company intranet. The woman I was speaking with was saying how email would be better used for urgent correspondence. The cloud allows companies to have ongoing projects that everyone can contribute to and everyone can monitor changes.

This Mashable article also outlines the financial benefits of the cloud. Organizations are able to spend less money on IT services and less time on setting up a network for the company. The cloud is faster, easier, and cheaper to implement and is less technologically demanding.

This chart outlines some of the reasons why organizations started the shift to using the cloud. The cloud also allows employees access from any device, something that is increasingly important in our increasingly mobile world. This allows employees to work from home or access documents when offsite at a meeting. It is very efficient business-wise.

Cons

Privacy is definitely a con of the cloud. If the cloud technically owns the information added to it, then the organization actually has very little control over their projects. My number one concern would be that the cloud might sell the information. I don’t think the cloud could get away with selling the intellectual property of the organization, but maybe it would work similar to how Facebook does, using data mining, etc. Maybe the cloud would sell data to companies who think that this organization would benefit from their services.

This Mashable article suggests a drawback is that if the server crashes, your organization is at a loss. Unlike a network or shared drive in an organization, if everything is stored on the cloud, the office cannot function efficiently if the server goes down. Also, since the IT department in the company has no control over the cloud, the company has no control over when the cloud will get up and running. The cloud is very reliant on internet connection which is a potential drawback of the organization is forced to be offline for a day.

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Week 9: Bookmarking, Tagging, and Folksonomies

I think that tagging is a very useful tool. Not only do I think it helps individuals organize and remember details about their own things, but also I think that tags help individuals share information more effectively with others. This is because the meaning of something can be explained rather than individuals deriving their own meaning. An item will then be received the way it is intended to be received and not taken out of context.

When I think of tagging and sharing information, I immediately think of my friend Irene’s blog. She is currently doing an exchange in Paris, and to keep track of her travels for her own memories and to share her journey with others, she keeps a blog. Rather than just posting pictures to the blog, Irene uses pictures to help explain her journey. She posts pictures, and includes a tag with the pictures, explaining who she was with, where she was at the time of the picture, the significance of that particular moment, etc. It is like a digital scarp book that she can hold onto for herself and it’s a way for her friends to stay in connected with her and know what she’s up to.

I think that Delicisous is a remarkable idea. I don’t bookmark pages often, mainly because I know I will forget about why I bookmarked this particular page. With Delicious, I can now explain the significance of that page to myself. I have only played around a little bit, but so far I’ve started off with bookmarking job postings. I am on the hunt for a summer job and it is hard to keep track of all of the positions I come across (mainly because I do the majority of my job hunt during class – oops – so I can’t apply right then and there). Now I can bookmark the job posting and tag the application deadline, the name of the position, the firm, etc. It is very helpful!

I think that tagging can be used effectively by organizations. I have seen many organizations on Facebook do a similar thing to what the author that Diane follows on Facebook did. Usually I see this with events – they tag people in the event photograph and tell them to like the picture and repost it as their display picture for a chance to win a ticket to the event or something. This makes the organization more well known and the event has a big shot at going viral. I also think that tagging could be used really well for an organization if they are undergoing some sort of change or are starting up a big project. The organization can post pictures of an office renovation for example and explain the progress to their clients. Or an organization can post pictures from a certain office event that they held to promote their corporate culture. As Diane said, they can get quite creative!

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Week 8: Mircroblogging

As much as Twitter really is a one-way form of communication in a lot of instances, I don’t see this as a bad thing. I don’t like to read the news. I find it kind of boring and I don’t know much about what’s going on in the world (probably because I don’t read the news) to understand a lot of news. However, I read more news now that I follow various news sources on Twitter. I like that Twitter provides you with a brief summary of the article and then provides you with a link to the article. With the brief summary, I know whether or not the article is worth me reading because I know whether or not I will enjoy it.

I also think that Twitter is useful for discussing topics as individuals but when it comes to celebrities, not so much. I also, however, don’t see a celebrity’s Twitter feed as theirs as an individual. I sort of see it as a PR technique. They can reach out to some fans but really it’s just to generate a following – a way for the celebrity to “go viral”. Maybe I am wrong to think that because I know some celebrities are very active on their Twitter.

I love Twitter. I use it to share quick little things with my friends and others. Tonight, I Tweeted a ridiculous amount about The Bachelor. I wasn’t corresponding with my friends because I was sitting right next to them. I was reading Tweets from previous bachelor contestants and it was hilarious. It’s neat to see what others are thinking as they watch the show. It kind of creates an online community through this common intersest. When you Tweet, you really are sending out an idea into cyberspace. I mean unless I am tweeting to a friend who I know will see it, I am sending an idea out into cyberspace and I have no concept of who it will reach. I think it’s kind of fascinating and exciting. I think that’s also why it works so well for organizations. They send out a message to no one specific (unless replying to a customers tweet) and they have no concept of who is seeing it – I think that is exactly why things go viral and reach such broad audiences!

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Week 7: Social Networking

The social network that I decided to explore for this week is Pinterest.

I actually had no idea what Pinterest was until the other day when I met with my group for the group project in this class. I heard very enthusiastic reviews of it so I decided to check it out. To start off this endeavor I read a very helpful article on Mashable that was a beginner’s guide to Pinterest. I was unaware that you needed to be invited to join Pinterest so I am currently waiting for an invite. I really dislike it when you need to be invited to a social network – I am not really sure of the point of it. I guess Facebook also started off this way, but I find that more understandable because it originated as a social network within the university/college community. Pinterest so far seems like it is for everyone.

The Mashable article mentions that Pinterest is a good way to collaborate with co-workers on certain projects. I haven’t yet explored the social network but so far I don’t see how Pinterest would be very effective for that unless you work in some sort of design area. If the form of communication is through “Pinning” pictures, I don’t think that this would be very effective for getting projects done. Perhaps after I explore the site further it will become more clear to me.

I was added to Pinterest and I started browsing the site. It took around 24 hours for me to receive my invite. I originally requested an invite on the Pinterest site but then got impatient so I asked someone I knew had an account to add me tonight. The invite that I requested on the site came later this evening. Not an inefficient process at all.

I created my account very easily but I am not sure why I needed to link Pinterest to my Twitter or Facebook account.

The boards that I made include: Desserts; Food and Drink; Book Worth Reading; My Style; Favorite Places and Spaces; Products I Love; Craft Ideas; and For The Home. Some of these were suggested by Pinterest and I added a couple myself. I love baking so I decided to make a separate board for desserts and not include them in my Food and Drink board. The more I browse the more I am sure that my boards will change.

After learning more about Pinterest and playing around a bit I am hooked. It reminds me a bit of Stumbleupon but it has a more efficient way of organizing your interests.

I think that some organizations would do well with Pinterest but others would not. I think it depends on the type of organization. I think that Starbucks would do really well on Pinterest, showing drinks and foods and locations and maybe sharing some recipes (that would be amazing). Customers could also share their pins with Starbucks, sharing their favorite drinks to order. I think that other businesses wouldn’t have much of a use for Pinterest, like banks for example. I can’t even think of what a bank would use Pinterest for.

I am super excited about having Pinterest. I am still unsure as to why an invite to the site is required though.

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Week 6: Social Media Policies

I will begin this post discussing the 5 Ws in the Mashable article Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?

While I agree that company policies should extend to employee’s social media both inside and outside of the office, I think that this monitoring really needs to be limited to company policies. I think that it would be difficult to monitor an employee’s social media and ignore things that may not be in the company’s policy. For example, if an employee has countless pictures from crazy drunken nights and wall posts from friends discussing inappropriate subject matter, a company may take issue with this. These pictures and wall posts have nothing to do with harassment, are not unethical according to the company policies, and are not disloyal to the company. However, I can imagine that the company would begin to view these individuals as unprofessional and would fear that if client’s saw this person’s profile, it would make the company look unprofessional. A person’s social life should remain separate from the workplace, so I think that this is a very gray area that could cause problems. If it is a personal social media site that is for work purposes, like what Zappos uses, then I think that the company is entitled to do something about the content on the page because it is tied directly to the company. Lastly, now is definitely the time to implement a social media policy and get social media into your office. Actually – a year or two ago would have been better. Social media is such a great way to reach audiences and target markets. My friend recently started up a student run, online magazine and I asked her if I could get involved by managing their social media. I haven’t started yet but I have so many big plans for them (many of which I learned through this course – thanks Diane!). I think that if they get their social media running more fluidly and more regularly, it will increase their audience because right now the magazine is only released bi-anually.

Now I will discuss the Mashable article HOW TO: Build a Social Media Education Program for Your Company. I think that it is very important for company’s to build a social media education program. Employees use social media without even realizing it. In a previous employment position, I was updating news onto the company portal everyday (it was sort of like a Wiki I am only just NOW realizing) and I had no idea that that was a social media platform. I was taught how to do it, but I was never taught what it was that I was doing. I think that this is because the company had been using this portal for a while. It was no longer a new aspect of the company that needed to be taught to employees. I, being a new employee, was then not trained the same way others were when it was first implemented. Now, I am working part-time in an office that is changing from e-mail news distribution to Microsoft Sharepoint. Because this is new to everyone, I am receiving the proper training. An education program would have been very beneficial at my previous position to ensure proper training.

Now with regards to the City Councillor who crossed the line. People need to be careful when corresponding via social media. It is a lot easier to say something harsh through a computer screen than it is in person. I find that with a keyboard at your fingertips, sometimes your hands move faster than your head. In this heated debate, I am not surprised that Coun. Sandy White said something regrettable. I think that this is why it is important to implement a decision-making team as discussed in the Mashable HOW TO article. This way, there is not one person in charge of correspondence and posts can be discussed before they are sent out rather than published by one person who may not be in a position to think clearly. This is also mentioned in the 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy. Number 2 states the people need to be responsible for what they write and Number 5 says to exercise good judgment. Writing something online does not have a lack of consequences and Coun. Sandy White did not exercise good judgment.

Now I will discuss measuring reach. Google Alerts are a really good idea for measuring reach. At my part-time job, we have Google Alerts set up for any mention of the company. There are new articles brought to our attention everyday, even when people Tweet about it! My job is to pick out the important news that mentions the company and distribute the news among staff. These Google Alerts are so helpful.

I also have always wondered how companies monitored the traffic to and from their site and how often people were discussing them on social media. I think that TweetBeep is the coolest.

There are so many awesome tools out there for social media. I think that a company is really doing itself an injustice by not joining in on the social media fun. It is a great way to reach so many different audiences and inform the public about your company! It is also a great way to gather information about your target market.

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Week 4: Wikis and Other Collaborative Tools

WOW! I made my first contribution to Wikipedia. I have to say, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be! I added the name of an artist who previously performed Bonnaroo Music Festival. See Lil Wayne? Ya I put that there. I decided to do this because I know that it is not false information as I saw Lil Wayne perform at Bonnaroo in June 2011. I didn’t want to run the risk of tampering with something that I knew very little about. As much as Wikipedia is an non-academic source, people rely on it for information so I wanted to make sure I was being accurate. That contribution to the page gave me a bit of a thrill.

When contributing to Wikipedia, I was surprised to see that it is actually laid out like a blog. Making a post and adding a link to something you post looked almost the exact same as the Wiki Diane set up for our class mixed with this blog on wordpress. It was very easy to figure out. I am so happy that I am learning about how these information tools that I use so regularly work. I am finding all of this so valuable.

I edited the page on the class Wiki and I uploaded a photo in the Photos folder as well. Both of those things were very straight forward. I am having a bit of a hard time understanding why Wikis are so useful as a communication medium within an organization. I see why it would be valuable for multiple posts – almost like a chat room or forum for discussion. But I don’t really see how it would be beneficial just using page edits, unless you are asking someone to edit a piece of writing. I added a new page to the Wiki just to see what happens. From what I gather, people need to continue to check the Pages screen to see if any new pages have been created. I originally thought Wikis were sort of laid out like a blog – With all the posts available on one page. But I am beginning to get more familiar the more I play around and I am seeing that a Wiki is almost like a platform to store multiple shared documents that everyone can contribute to, like Wikipedia. Just multiple pages that you can navigate through.

I can see why Diane struggled with starting a Wiki in her former place of employment. I feel like getting used to a Wiki is like switching over from a PC computer to a MAC. MACs are actually a lot easier to use once you get used to them and function better overall, but the initial change is a bit of a shock and hard to get used to. I can imagine that it would take a long time for everyone in an office to get used to using a Wiki and out of the habit of using e-mail. It may also take a while for people to get fully comfortable with the way that a Wiki works. However, I also see how the use of a Wiki in a workplace is more practical than using e-mail because it can keep everyone involved and allows everyone to contribute. Posting something to a Wiki is much more efficient than sending a mass e-mail, having each receiver of the e-mail make changes or contributions to the ideas circulated, and then having them send back to the original sender or to all receivers of the initial message. One person would have to compile all changes/suggestions. On a Wiki, everyone can contribute and the end result will definitely be better.

Following up from last week – I could not figure out a way to receive e-mail updates from my RSS feed.

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