Journal # 13: Finally…Facebook

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Finally…Facebook

 In your journal blog, describe what your Facebook strategy and goals might be. Be as specific as possible. If you would like, you can set up a Facebook group or page for your topic area. 


 

Ah…finally, Facebook.  My buddy, my pal, my go-to social network.  Does that make me old?  Out of touch with the youth?  Boring?  I don’t think so.  In my experience on Facebook, I have been able to reach out to thousands of college students in order to organize liberty groups across the states of Tennessee and Mississippi as well as make connections with thousands of liberty-minded people and organizations.  These connections have afforded me some amazing opportunities and I hope that there will be more to come.  I’ve found that reaching people on Facebook is easy.  Almost everybody has a profile and even if they don’t “use” Facebook as often as others, they check their news feed and inbox semi-regularly.

My personal Facebook strategy started long before my “topic” blog Facebook strategy – in fact, long before my “topic” blog was even a thought.  As a member of the Liberty movement and someone who works in political consulting and grassroots activism/organizing, I am my own brand on Facebook.  The majority of my Facebook time is filled with sharing relevant liberty movement memes, updates, news stories, events, and the like.  The other percent of my time on Facebook is spent catching up with family and friends – and those people who used to be friends or attended high school, church, or something similar at the same time I did.  I find Facebook to serve many purposes in my life.  I use it to make connections, to find people who are liberty-minded college students in order to reach out to them about joining the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at their school, to organize and advertise liberty relevant events, to beg people to participate in phone banking, sign waving, or Get Out the Vote campaigns or to volunteer on a campaign, to arrange meetings with those at campuses and in cities across the state to talk with them about student chapters, adult groups, campaign, and anything else.

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.36.06 PMAs part of my personal branding strategy, over two years ago I created a Facebook page called Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership in order to have a more consolidated way to share information relevant to the Liberty movement in Tennessee and Mississippi.   Since then, I have shared at least 2 pieces of relevant information each day – sometimes a lot more– in order to maintain a constant flow of information and engagement with my audience.   By monitoring this page’s metrics, I know that I have a decent reach and engagement as well as a supportive audience.   However, my audience isn’t one that comments on posts unless it is to argue with me or another person.  So, for the liberty-minded, it seems that sharing and reach are the metrics I should continually monitor.    I can also tell that a good number of my blog audience has come from publicizing my posts on Facebook and on my Facebook Page(s).

Here are a few screenshots of my Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership page:

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Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 3.52.51 PMIn addition to that page, I am also the admin for the Young Americans for Liberty at Memphis Page, the Shelby County for Ron Paul Page, the Tennesseans for Liberty of Shelby County Page, and one of the admins for the Libertarian Party of Tennessee Page and the Campaign for Liberty –Shelby County Page.  Although, I used to have time to constantly update and monitor these pages as well as the many groups I am an admin of, admittedly I have just not had the time to keep up lately.  In the future, I would like to work on my reach and engagement through sharing a bit more as well as continuously post relevant information on my Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership Page.

I would also like to have more time to develop the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Memphis  and hopefully, find a student who has the time, ability, and passion to take over as President of that student organization because god knows that I do not right now.

Here are a few screenshots of my reach and engagement for the uneventful past week on Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership:

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Other than that, my strategy is to keep on keepin’ on.

And since we’re on the topic of Facebook, here is a great blog post about why Sarah Elahi loves Facebook (sort of).  It’s quite witty and I agree with her, down to the bit about the creepy stalkers.  Yes, I said creepy stalkers.  Find out what I’m talking about by reading it for yourself.


UPDATE:  While I am on the topic of Facebook and seriously cool stuff, I wanted to share an amazing analytic software for your personal facebook page with you all.  Okay, so maybe i just nerded out over some analytics but I found it quite awesome.  Check out  Wolfram|Alpha so that you can see all the neat statistics, metrics, and wicked cool information it collects from your profile.  It even gives you a nifty little “report.”  Oh and did I mention there are pictures and charts too?  The best part?  IT’s FREE!!  Check it out!  Below is a slideshow of my report.

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Weekly Reading Ramblings – Week 2

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Robin Rambling on Week 2 Readings

Social media


I know exactly how Anne Trebek feels. No, i’m not a book editor or a literary critic. I don’t live in Cleveland or mingle among the literary and academic elite. I do, however, use Twitter…and Facebook…and Tumblr…and any other social medium that allows me to connect with people. People who share my passion for liberty, freedom, Ron Paul, education, journalism, animal rescue, travel, and about a million other hobbies and interests. In the past two years, I have been lucky enough to meet people, experience opportunities, and open doors that would have remained closed, if it weren’t for the vast reach and power of the internet’s social networking capabilities.

In “Only the Literary Elite Can Afford Not to Tweet” in SFGate,  Trubek explores the upside to being a member of a social media community.  She is an avant Twitter user and although, Twitter isn’t my favorite social networking site, it’s in my top three. I can easily see the Twitter appeal and it has helped boost my number of career connections, tenfold. Truth be told, it’s Twitter’s stringent 140 character limit that secures it’s number two spot on my favorite’s list. I know that comes as a shock to those of you who know me, but it’s not all about my lack of brevity. In order to be concise while Tweeting, one must use the “&” symbol and abbreviate words. My academic training rears its ugly head and that voice inside of me screams “NOoooooooo” whenever I begin to substitute symbols and abbreviations for words. I suppose it’s no longer the cardinal sin it once was and that just because I’m able to tweet using symbols and abbreviations doesn’t mean that i’m any closer to losing the ability to spell out words like “love,” “for,” and “you” with the teenage millennial substitutions of “luv,” “4,” and “u”. So far, I’ve managed to keep a significant number of followers while only using the abbreviated syntax sparingly.

Trubek noted that because of social media’s vast reach, she was able to gain an “intellectual community” that she otherwise lacked in her daily life. I can certainly relate. My local friends are by no means stupid, but many do not share my interests or passions – and if they do – there is a significant difference in our intensity levels. Now, that I have made my passion my work, it is nice to live two lives to some degree, as Trubek suggests. At her office, she “mingles” with intellectual equals who are eager to participate in conversations pertaining to her passion – editing, but when she closes her office door and opens her front door every evening, fulfilled by her work and her community, she is comfortable letting her other interests run free.

Growing up without the connectivity of the internet, I didn’t realize how big of a change it could make in one’s life until recently. After obtaining an Advertising degree and struggling to find work that didn’t feel like work, I began to question how I would be able to find happiness in a career for the next 50 years. I hated everything about the day to day and was disturbed about the lack of fulfilling jobs available in this city. One day, that all changed and it wasn’t until I read Anne Trubek’s words that I realized the debt I owed Facebook and Twitter. She is right – with social networking sites people are less judgemental. Even though physical appearance is part of that, I’m not talking about a “catfish” scenario. People of all ages can become friends and colleagues through Facebook and Twitter. In fact, one of my best friends, and fellow activists, lives right here in Memphis but I met her originally on Facebook. Her youngest son is a college student at the University of Memphis and she is 15-20 years my elder. I’ve actually never asked her age specifically, because it mattered so very little. However, I truly believe that without social media being our first connection – we would’ve never gravitated to each other. If meetings and networking events had been our first introduction, the categorical differences would’ve placed us in separate “groups.” Social media can act as a “leveller” in many ways. I have been able to change career paths and have conversations with cutting-edge influencers who give me the same respect as they give a 20-year political campaign veteran.

Next, Trubek addresses social media self-promotion. Many critics, with beliefs similar to Jonathan Franzen’s, consider garnering publicity for oneself through social media channels to be a new form of bragging and boasting – and it can be but it isn’t a cut and dry as they make it sound. I find the methods in which some self-promote to be arrogant and flamboyant. That doesn’t mean that all social media self-promotion is arrogant and flamboyant – in fact, if done correctly and with class – it won’t be a turn off, it will be a turn on – garnering you the attention you deserve. There will always be the “used car salesmen” of the internet but that doesn’t mean you have emulate their actions – there are plenty of ways to promote yourself, without selling yourself.


This week’s readings were very Twitter-ful and helped to give guidance in the art of Twittering. Okay, so you caught me. I’m trying to be cute because it’s easier than going through four articles on different standards and processes for one’s use of Twitter.

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In “Storyful’s Validation Process” by Malachy Browne, he walks the reader through a series of steps that could help a journalist in the digital age of information ascertain the verifiable truth. First, he notes the mantra “there is always someone closer to the source,” and goes on to explain that journalist’s you should always try to locate the original source of any videos. Fair enough, you say? Exactly – wouldn’t most people do this? Well, one would think so but honestly, I’ve seen so many incorrect and false posts on Facebook that reliable sources just re-posted without verifying – I have come to realize the answer is No, most people wouldn’t do this. They would assume it was the truth, and we all know what happens when you assume. Browne explains the multitude of techniques that you can use such as examining the embedded data within the images, cross-referencing the video uploader’s social media accounts for location, reliability, bias, and length of existence, as well as consistent video quality and number of close friends, and checking the video descriptions for any telling information such as a date or a specific location or IP address.

Next, Browne gives an example of a video posted to YouTube that shows residents of coastal Meulaboh, Aceh fleeing from the April 11th, 2012 tsunami. Storyful was able to verify the video uploader was from Meulaboh, that he had previously uploaded other videos from Meulaboh in the past six months, and that he was an active Twitter user and blogger, as well as verify the location in the footage through a visible sign that read “Meulaboh Lagoon.” They concluded that this video was in fact truth and because they verified that information, they could feel good about publishing it.

Browne delineates several other techniques that one could use to corroborate the content of a video before assuming its truth. Once the uploader has been assessed, he suggests that you focus on the content.  First, you ask the obvious questions such as does anything in the video look out of place and does it make sense in the filming context.  Then you move to the more detailed questions by examining the background of the video and checking for geo-tagging, landmarks or topographical data. One should also check to ensure that weather conditions in the footage match other reports for that given day including checking to see if the shadows that appear in the videos jive with the time of day that is reported. Next, Browne reminds you to check for accents or dialects that could create a disconnect between the people speaking in the video and the location in which it is supposedly filmed, as well as verifying that other users have mentioned the “event” in local news reports, news wires, twitter feeds and lists, or by posting other videos and images.

At first glance this looks like a lot of work and admittedly, it takes time as Browne suggests. However, as journalists it is our responsibility to gather and report the FACTS – not the potential facts. A few extra minutes spent doing due diligence could ultimately save you a lot of time trying to repair your reputation. The world doesn’t forgive journalists as easy as it forgives Justin Bieber.


Other Articles of Interest for this Week: