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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Journal #12: It’s All About Me: Branding & Strategy

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It’s All About Me:  Branding and Strategy

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Discuss in your journal blog, what are you doing to establish your personal brand online? What could you be doing better? What do you plan to do in the future? What strategies will you employ?  


Personal Brand: 

My personal brand.  What can I say?  I’ve always been one to worry about how I appear to others and online is no different.  My friends thought I was weird when I originally locked down my 6a00d8345275cf69e2014e87df8ad5970dFacebook profile like Fort Knox and then, they soon followed.  Friends also wondered why I made them ask for my approval before they posted a picture of me in any online capacity in the days before there were so many tagging and timeline removal options on Facebook.  I would remove friends’ comments on my wall or take down any picture that portrayed me in a light that I found, or thought someone might find, “unbecoming”.

As time has gone on and employers began social media searches, I have realized how important this is, among other things, to my professional brand.  In addition, my career paths have changed as times have changed and maintaining a positive professional brand, both on and off line is more important than ever before.  In addition to portraying myself in a professional light, I must maintain a public persona and brand that is both knowledgeable and social,  In order to work in the liberty movement, grassroots organizing, political public relations, and digital activism.

Numerous Strides:

My personal and professional brand has made numerous strides just by creating and maintaining two blogs this semester.  These blogs have made me more noticeable by encouraging me to branch out from my old Facebook fallback and have given me more things about which to create social media posts.  In order to further establish myself, I have attempted to make frequent posts to both blogs but know that TN liberty will require me to do so on a more consistent basis.  I have also become a more active Twitter user and in doing so, have begun to clean out and balance my “followers” to “following”.  On Twitter, I have chosen to keep my profile public in all forms and now that I’ve learned about what a non-balanced follower to following ratio could portray, I have made steps to remedy the situation.

personal_branding_social_mediaDue to my extreme time limitations and the amount of work it will take to promote and execute TN Liberty in the manner it deserves, I have decided to focus most of my attention on this blog for the time being.  This summer, I will have more time to maintain and promote TN Liberty on a consistent basis.  After graduating with my Master’s in December of 2014, TN Liberty will become my main focus and a larger part of my branding.  However, for the rest of this semester, it will remain a side project.  That being said, after noticing that I have gained for than 650 views on this blog, I purchased my name at .com and .org.  I am now using www.robinspielberger.com for this site.  Unhappy with having to use “libertytn” instead of TN Liberty as a WordPress domain name, I also purchased www.tnliberty.com.

In order to grow my career and secure a position working within the liberty movement, I have to make sure my social media presence is one that shows knowledge, passion, education, self-control, personality, the ability to unite and connect, and consistency.  In addition to the aforementioned branding , I have outlined the strategy and metrics for my social media presence, designed to make my personal brand more effective in Journal #10:  Do You Like Me?  Check Yes or No.

 

Engagement Strategy:

As for my engagement strategy, I am working on promoting my posts for this blog and TN Liberty through various social media channels and sites.  I have also begun using Twitter, Tumblr, InstagramFoursquare, and Yelp on a more consistent basis in order to supplement my Facebook profile and professional Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership page.

images_main-image-for-social-media-engagement-strategyI am also keeping track of which blog posts get the most views so that I can see what my audience is most interested in reading or viewing.  So far, It is obvious that my What Liberty Means: TN Liberty video garnered the most engagement, reach, and views but I am interested in seeing what other types of posts could potentially gain new followers and if they same strategy works for all sites or if each site requires a different strategy.

Currently, I am working on garnering a Yelp  following by consistently “checking-in” and writing at least one review a week, so that I can develop my personal brand in a more well-rounded way.

I am also trying to become a more consistent and active Twitter, user and while doing so, I am testing the phrasing of blog promotion to see if just the mention of an interesting post on my blog is enough to gain a new follower or if a direct ask is more productive, as well as monitoring what kinds of tweets are more likely to get retweeted by my following.

On the most basic of levels, I feel that my increased and more consistent social networking activity on both blogs, my Facebook profile and page, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare, as well as peripherally on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest, should allow me to increase my number of followers and make my online brand stronger. It has been shown, that the people with the most popular personal brands are keeping up with their topics and followers and posting with consistency.

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Journal #11: Leveraging LinkedIn

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Leveraging LinkedIn

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Assignment:  Establish a LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one. Enhance your profile if you do have one; join groups and interact with others. Please describe what you did to enhance your profile in the journal blog.  


Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.37.26 AMI’ve had a LinkedIn profile for as long as I can remember and last summer I spent a good amount of time updating it.  My profile is now at the All Star Level and I have over 500 connections on LinkedIn.  Each connection is someone that I know personally, have worked with, or is a member of an organization or in a field that I could potentially leverage for a future job, campaign, or a need, such as printing services, catering, banquets, conferences, social media, advertising, press, and so on.

Each month, I get over 50 profile views (not all of which I can see because I have refused to upgrade to the premium version – I just don’t get the point and it hasn’t been a necessity) and over 10 requests to connect each week.

I also have 18 original recommendations for my most recent 4 positions and 147 endorsements for 25 skills.

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In order to enhance my profile for this week’s assignment, even though there wasn’t much that I could do, I reordered my key skills so that the ones in which I am most interested in leveraging for a new job are now displayed at the top.  This will also help me to gather more endorsements for those skills from connections.

I also joined a couple of new groups, removed myself from a couple of restaurant centered groups, followed several companies, added a connection or two that were waiting in my inbox, uploaded some of my recent work to include the StockBoy startup presentation from Entrepreneurial Journalism class and the What Liberty Means: TN Liberty video, changed my headline to a more current description of my skill-set and job-set, added my volunteer work from the Libertarian Party of Tennessee and in the new “Test Scores” area, I added my MAT score, as well as a description of the Miller Analogies test and the percentile in which I scored.

See the slideshow below for the updates and the various sections of my profile.  If you’re interested in seeing my actual resume, click here.

 

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I would say that my LinkedIn profile is fully complete and ready to be leveraged for an exciting new position in grassroots and digital activism, youth leadership and organization, and campaign management, as well as political and nonprofit public relations.  Fingers crossed.



 

Journal #8: Reflections of a Picture Taker & a Movie Maker

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Reflections of  a Picture Taker & Movie Maker

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Personal reflection on your experiences creating and sharing the video should include thoughts on: How can you continue to use video to enhance your blog?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other could best utilize these sites? 

In reflecting on the blog on your experiences this week, consider: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the sites you’ve used for your topic area? How can you use photos going forward as semester continues to enhance your blog or website?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other –  could utilize these sites productively? 

 

Due to how these two assignments are related, I decided to combine them and share my experiences on both in one nifty neat little blog post.

Creating a video for “tn liberty” was an interesting undertaking, to say the least.  In the beginning, I wasn’t sure exactly which route to go.  If I had been creating a video for this blog, I would have gone the funny route or the “a day in the life of” route – something that shows my personality.  However, I was creating a video for “tn liberty,” a topic that is rather hard to define and even harder to show when put on the spot.  It’s not like I can head out the front door and take a few photos or shoot some footage of “tn liberty.”  It’s not a bird, a plane, a particular event, or even something easily defined.  It’s a movement. It’s a cause.  It’s a passion.  So how do you visually represent a movement, cause, or a passion.  My first thought was an event but seeing as it isn’t campaign season and I’m a busy little bee I didn’t have many options, here in Memphis, from which to choose.  Then I realized that most indoor events are in a room at Jason’s Deli with beige walls and many people who attend those events are not all that excited about having their picture taken.  Libertarians can be a bit odd and most aren’t exactly the #selfie taking type. Apparently, I’m an odd duck every where I go.

For the video, I finally decided on asking members of the Liberty Movement and contacts that I have made to explain in a short sentence or phrase What Liberty Means to them.  For those who were not located in the Memphis area, I asked that they use their computers or phones to record themselves and email me the footage.  It took a bit of begging but in the end, I had numerous clips from which to work.  I realized that I also had footage from various events such as campaign rallies, protests, and other types of activism that I had taken in the past couple of years during my extensive travels across the state of Tennessee and that I could document the Tennessee Liberty Movement in a short movie.

As I began to edit the clips and footage, I realized I had embarked on a HUGE project and once I was in the middle of it, there was no turning back.  I had to make the mini-documentary as awesome as possible no matter how many hours it took.  And by hours – I mean days and days.  Next, came the technical difficulties.  My MacBook Pro is a very full Mac and even with a 3T external hard drive for all my files, the programs and necessities stores on the computer leave very little room for any temp files created by iMovie.  As I was nearing the end of a 30+ hour editing session and could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my computer told me it was full.  I moved a few things to the hard drive and added another transition to the movie.  Again, my Mac was full.  This process of moving, trashing, and adding went on for another hour or so and I finally closed iMovie and decided to rid my computer of all secondary and tertiary files of old emails (WHY does the computer keep multiple copies of emails from days of yore?) and duplicates of all my music (again, WHY does the computer and iTunes make copies of every file you add?).  Finally, I had 30Gb of space available and that was enough to complete the video.  Thank God!!

I completed the video, uploaded it to YouTube, embedded in to my topic blog, “tn liberty,” and then immediately began sharing it on every Facebook page of which I am an admin, in every Facebook group of which I am a member, by tweeting it on Twitter, and by begging everyone I knew to share it.  Within one day of posting the video and sharing like a mad woman, I realized that I had gained hundreds of new followers on my Facebook page “Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership” and on “tn liberty,” as well as almost 200 views on YouTube.  I had even gained a few new followers on this blog.  As it stands today, the video has approximately 230 views on YouTube.

Next, I had to figure out what I was going to do about the pictures assignment.  Capturing “tn liberty” was hard enough with video – how the heck was I going to capture its essence in a still???  So, I actually decided that I would go 2 routes.

First, I was going to take the end of the video I had just made (What Liberty Means) and turn the final section entitled “Faces of Liberty” into a series.  I would cut “picture” portion of the video (I put a ton of pictures of people in the movement holding up campaign signs, at events, protesting, and the like at the end of the video in a slideshow-esque montage.)  Most of these pictures were ones I had taken during the past two years and some were pictures that other liberty movement friends had given me.  I now had several 30 second slideshow montages of “tn liberty” and added the first one to my topic blog.  Due to the lack of time, I didn’t promote it all that well.  It only has like 10 views on YouTube.  However, there is always time to promote it later and I’m sure it’ll gain a great response.

Next, I realized that throughout my travels I had taken an extraordinary amount of tn landscape pictures.  I have always said that nothing shows liberty quite like a beautiful mountaintop or bubbling brook in Tennessee.  I created another series – this time just stills – called “Landscapes of Liberty” and placed it on “tn liberty” with a call for followers to send me pictures they had taken of TN landscapes.  I also created a TN Liberty Flickr account and posted them there, with the hopes of adding to that as time goes on.  Fingers crossed that I can get another job traveling the state of TN and organizing groups in the Liberty Movement!!

To conclude, I feel that moving forward, including pictures and videos in posts on this blog and on my topic blog is extremely important.  People like pictures and people like movies.  It’s a given.  It also adds relevance to your topic and can show a “behind the scenes” look at events that I may be privy to and others aren’t.  In addition, it can show the non-liberty movement people that we are human and normal – it gives your site a personal touch.  I can say that the next video will be much shorter and less complicated.  What Liberty Means is a once every couple of years type project!!  In the future, I will also start to share the “Faces of Liberty” and “Landscapes of Liberty” series in hopes of gaining new followers and gathering new pictures from others.

What’s #JOscar Wearing on the Red Carpet? – Storified

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What’s #JOscar Wearing on the Red Carpet?

Don’t forget tonight is #joscar night. Most of you don’t really need extra credit, but hey, if you want I’ll give some if you want to participate and create a Storify. Mostly this is for fun and for community building. 

View the Story as a website:

Journal # 3 – Topic Blog Influencers

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Topic Blog Influencers

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“Develop a list of at LEAST three other blogs or Web sites that meaningfully address your topic of interest.  For professionals, a blog is often a “hub” for other social media activity occurring around the web. Summarize and evaluate some of the key features of each blog or site using bullet points on your journal blog.

Answer all of the following questions: What kind of problem do these websites/blogs help solve for their audience and/or what needs do they fulfill? What do they do well? What could they improve? Can you identify any gaps in their content or features that a competitor could fill, and how is what you could offer different or better? Look at their social media presence and the comments or interaction they get: Are they cultivating an active community around their site?”


My Topic Blog, TN Liberty, is a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning our state. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, are encouraged to contribute. TN Liberty, is also a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested. TN Liberty serves as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog. There are contributing writers on topics concerning the Liberty Movement in Tennessee, liberty-minded issues, and various opinion columns.

For this assignment I started by searching for other bloggers who are advancing the liberty movement. I found that many of these sites were highly specialized and a little on the fringe. That is not the type of blog that I want TN Liberty to be. I feel that it should be specialized by pertaining to the state of Tennessee, but it should also contain information about why the Liberty Movement is so important, how our government is violating the Constitution, and what actions a citizen, can take to advocate for Liberty and Freedom.

Next, I found an interesting site that ranked the top libertarian leaning (or liberty-minded so as not to be confused with the Libertarian Party) websites according to Alexa and Compete.

Here I settled on several top ranking and well-known liberty-minded sites to which I could make some comparisons.

They are as follows:

Reason

The Liberty Paper

The Liberty Crier


Let’s start with Reason.

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  • Reason is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.'”
  • “It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.”
  • Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.”
  • Reason.com is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. It also contains the full text of past issues of the print edition of Reason.”
  • At first glance, reason.com looks a little messy in terms of visual appearance.  A little cluttered and although I understand that this is because the site’s home page is the first stop for ReasonTV, Reason24/7, the Hit & Run Blog, and stories from the printed magazine, as well as the location for Top News Stories (sortable by Featured and New) and a lot of advertisements.
  • Reason is financially backed by a national non-profit and thus, has the ability to aggregate thousands of news stories as well as employ a staff of over 50 for the website.  However, I believe they could significantly improve their website by maximizing the white space and uncluttering the articles.  It could look much cleaner.  Once you click on the headings for the different sites within the site, they pages get a bit cleaner and more visually appealing.
  • TN Liberty is a more more localized blog/site and will not need to run every single news story and headline that potentially has anything to do with liberty or liberty politics.
  • Reason does enjoy a fabulous social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and on their Twitter each day.  On Twitter, Reason has over 130K followers and on Facebook, over 125K likes.

Next, we examine The Liberty Paper:

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  • The Liberty Paper  is a web-based news site commentating and reporting on legislation and events, which affect the American peoples’ liberty domestic and abroad.”
  • The Liberty Paper was launched in the summer of 2012, by political commentator and legislative lobbyist, Michael Lotfi.”
  • “To date, TheLibertyPaper.org has enjoyed an ever-growing, loyal fan base, which has generated hundreds of thousands of readers in more than 140 countries around the world.”
  •  TheLibertyPaper.org is updated only semi-regularly with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the most recent article posted is from January 27th, 2014.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is also riddled with advertisements and donate here boxes.  I understand why Michael Lofti would choose to accept advertising and donations – hopefully, someday soon, the TN Liberty blog will also accept advertisements and donations.  However, I feel the visual esthetics of the site could be cleaner and the ad placements more controlled.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is run by a friend of mine.  He is a recent graduate of Belmont College in Nashville, TN and a well-known activist in the state.  However, I have mixed opinions of his work, his self-promotion, and his ability as a journalist.  Each story is riddled with grammatical errors to say the least.  He was also given a column at the Washington Post.  On his first article, there were complications and the post was ultimately removed due to his lack of due diligence and his reporting false information.
  • TN Liberty is will certainly provide a more grammatically correct site as well as one that is more visually appealing.  However, it will not focus as heavily on National stories and investigative muckracking.  I hope to provide a forum in which concerned residents of the state can ask for advice as well as receive news – especially that which is most pertinent to their area.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org does have a social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and but no Twitter as far as I can find.   On Facebook, it has just a little over 4K likes.

Finally, let’s take a look at The Liberty Crier:

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  •  The Liberty Crier is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the a rotating Top Story Box
  • The Liberty Crier is a very visually appealing blog sites with a lot of features.  The masthead is clean and displayed prominently.

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  • Some other interesting aspects that The Liberty Crier features are categories for:

1. Top Headlines

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2.  Member Blog Posts

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3.  Documentaries

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4.  Channels

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  •  The Liberty Crier seems a bit lacking in their social media presence with their Twitter receiving only 1200 followers.  Their Facebook page has only 8.9K likes.  This seems rather odd to me because it is not being a new website.
  •  I envision the TN Liberty blog looking closer to this blog/site than any of the others in this review/comparison.  I also plan to add a forum for discussions among Tennessee residents and allow for contributing writers as well.  The main difference will be that TN Liberty will be localized plus – it will have a much bigger social media presence.