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:

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The 2014 #JBowl Journey – Storified

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The 2014 #JBowl Journey – Storified

#JBowl – no, this is not on the syllabus, and we haven’t really talked about Twitter yet. But let’s do it! SuperBowl has something for everyone – hate football? Well,there are always the ads, the halftime show etc. Or, you can use Twitter to express your disdain for all the above things. IMPOSSIBLE for you to watch even a few minutes? Google some of the ads or other clips that will be posted online after/during the game. Some of you have done this before, but it can be an interesting learning experience to actively participate in an event online. Tweet your thoughts/observations using the hashtag #jbowl. Show us “the scene” where you are watching the game. Respond to other folks also using the #jbowl hashtag. Create a Storify of the above…and include a few other tweets you found fun or interesting.

View the Story as a website:

Photo365 Challenge – Day 13

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Bonono, being the curious monkey that he is, decided to climb on top of the TV to make sure that Super Bowl score was real.

He was not amused…. However, he thought that giving Peyton a little pat on the butt would help his performance.  

It apparently did not give Peyton the boost, “Nono” anticipated.

He says this was the worst day so far during this Photo365 Challenge

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Remember:  In the coming weeks, you may see pictures of The Adventures of Bonono and Bones.  Bones, a puppy, is Bonono’s pal and companion in crime.
Currently, Bones is working on his own Photo365 Challenge.  If you’re interested in seeing what he is up to, follow him by clicking here.

Photo365 Challenge – Day 11

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Bonono plays dress up & asks for some social media love – hence the “like” and “tweet” “buttons” in his photo shoot.

He is also a big help around the house because I’m too tired to cook. 

Mmmm thanks “nono,” I love lasagna. nomnomnomnom

This Photo365 Challenge definitely has its benefits!

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Remember:  In the coming weeks, you may see pictures of The Adventures of Bonono and Bones.  Bones, a puppy, is Bonono’s pal and companion in crime.
Currently, Bones is working on his own Photo365 Challenge.  If you’re interested in seeing what he is up to, follow him by clicking here.

Journal # 2 – The Topic Blog

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The Topic Blog

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

“Choose a topic of focus for this class, or what journalists might call a “beat.” It is VERY IMPORTANT to choose wisely, so put some serious thought into this. Choose a subject you are interested in and passionate about, personally or professionally. This could be anything from bowling to city/county school consolidation to local bakeries to the Memphis hip hop scene to the aviation industry to a particular company, industry or cause you are interested in promoting and/or understanding. Consider your post graduation goals, but be sure you genuinely care about the subject. It will be critical for you to narrow your topic as much as possible.

Anybody can “use Twitter” or “use Facebook” – it is technologically very easy to do. The trick is to use it productively when you have a specific professional goal. One of your goals will be to develop your ability to create interesting and informative content around a particular subject. But a bigger goal will be your ability to cultivate a community around this topic, to listen to what others have to say and engage your audience.

Write up a short description of this topic of focus or beat on your journal blog. Be as clear and specific as possible.”

 

My Topic Blog will be titled TN Libertyand will be a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning the state of TN. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, will be encouraged to contribute.

TN Libertywill also be 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 will serve as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog.

Journal Post 1 – Social Media Use

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Personal & Professional

Social Media Use

“In your first post, answer the following questions:  What social networks of you use most often?  How or why do you use them?  What do you find interesting or important about social media (e.g. why are you taking this class?)”

In terms of social networks, I used to say I used them all but then realized that there are thousands out there that I didn’t know existed and some that I still don’t know exist, i’m sure.  So, to give an exact answer to this question we must start with a list. I love lists, don’t you?

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Twitter
  3.     Tumblr
  4.     Facebook Pages (admin for 9 pages – 4 of them aren’t active)
  5.     WordPress (as you can see here)
  6.     Instagram
  7.     Foursquare
  8.     Klout
  9.     Storify
  10.   Snapchatsocial-media
  11.   Google+
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Hey Tell
  14.   Yelp
  15.   Urbanspoon
  16.   LinkedIn
  17.   Academia.edu
  18.   Buzznet
  19.   CaringBridge
  20.   Classmates.com
  21.   Couchsurfing.com
  22.   delicious
  23.   Flickr
  24.   Flixster
  25.   Myspace
  26.   Meetup
  27.   LiveJournal
  28.   MyLife
  29.   Pinterest
  30.   ReverbNation.com
  31.   SocialVibe
  32.   StumbleUpon
  33.   Xanga
  34.   Circle.com (I think it is now FullCircle.com)
  35.   Bump (no longer a site – sold to Google, I think)

So now that we have a list of all the social networking sites that I have used, still use, or have used at some point (at least enough to know what it is and have an account) we will break it down.  Let me start by saying that some of them I didn’t even consider to be a social networking site until I looked it up and found that they were indeed social networking sites and some, I didn’t remember I had used until i read a list of all social networking sites.  It was a pretty interesting list too – check it out by clicking here.

Okay – so the sites I use on a regular basis are:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Yelp
  14.   Urbanspoon
  15.   Meetup
  16.   CaringBridge (sucks to add to a “use often” list btw)
  17.   Flickr (will be using it a lot more now)
  18.   Academia.edu
  19.   delicious
  20.   HeyTell

Now we’ve learned that I use 20 social networking sites on a regular basis.  Wow – I think I’ve just learned something about myself and where all those extra hours of time i used to have available, have gone.  The missing time felt like the random 1 sock and its missing partner from the load of laundry in the dryer phenomenon until now.  So – no longer a mystery.

So, if we break those down again into the social networking sites I use on a daily basis we have:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube

Hmm… that’s  still a lot of sites, but significantly less when you consider that I’ve linked many of them together so 1 post is distributed among them.

I use them mostly for personal connections and networking.  I know that sounds simple and maybe it is to most but to me – i have to remember what different things to post to which sites because some are personally funny posts, some are professional posts, some are networking posts, some are Liberty and Freedom posts, some are conservative posts, some are liberal posts, some are TN specific, some are posts for the Computer Science department page at the University of Memphis, some are for the Young Americans for Liberty group/page at the University of Memphis, etc etc etc.

If I had to pick the one site that I use most often, it is Facebook to include Facebook pages and groups, followed by Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.  The others are more of additions and by-products of those.  Pinterest, I used a good amount this past summer because I became obsessed with the DIY information and began to refurnish all the furniture in my house and create those awesome pieces of art that normally cost a lot of money if purchased from Crate and Barrell, Pier 1, and other specialty stores – you know the ones of which I am speaking.  Anyway..now that I’m in grad school – i have several half-finished pieces of furniture to include my coffee table and a craft room full of spray paint, paint, glue, sand paper, and other miscellaneous arts and crafts items I long to use again one day.  Until then…it sits there, looking at me.  A window into the free time I once had.

I’m excited to take this Social Media Class because I hope to pick up a few tips and tricks that I wasn’t aware existed or that I haven’t mastered.  This class will also force me to update my blogs and pages more often and with more consistency, as well as create those blogs that i’ve been meaning to make, in order to enhance my online presence.  Although my online presence is not that bad – i’m ranked pretty high on Klout (obligatory popping of the collar had to be done).  Anyway, I hope to have a professional “portfolio” of sorts at the end of this semester.