Twitter Saves The Day

Many times this semester Professor Robinson has iterated the importance of networking and how to use networks — particularly through social media — to our advantage. This weekend I experienced first-hand how important it is to utilizes social networks.

I’m one of the core organizing members for ConvergeNC Southern Music Festival, a free annual festival that takes place at UNC-CH each spring. This year’s festival was to take place this past Friday night at the 140 West Plaza on Franklin St. We had everything planned out perfectly: a street closure with the Town of Chapel Hill, beer specials with Old Chicago and New Belgium Brewery and talent coming in to perform from all over the South.

Our first two years of the festival, we were so lucky regarding the weather. This year, not so much. Following a gorgeous 70 degree and sunny day, I woke up Friday morning to rain and 50 degree weather. We quickly realized that midmorning our outdoor festival was a no go. So on to plan B.

We had planned our after-party for the festival at Nightlight, a club one street over from our originally planned festival location. We made a quick call to the owner to make sure we had the go-ahead to host the entire festival there. Then we reached out to our sponsors, UNC’s Water In Our World (the coalition in charge of our campus wide theme of water) and the Town of Chapel Hill.

After touching base with all of the required parties, we took to Twitter and posted this:

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.01.26 PM

We reached out to our friends, media contacts and sponsors of the festival and asked them to either retweet us or create an original Tweet of a similar manner. We posted on our ConvergeNC Facebook page and both event pages for this year’s festival and after-party to help spread the word about the change of plans.

And it worked! We were able to get the word out about moving to our rain plan. We had Nightlight packed from the start of the night all the way through the end.

Thankfully, we were able to utilize both our festival and personal networks through social media. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been to change plans like we did in a time without the ability to instantly communicate to our audience.


The Suffers playing at ConvergeNC Music Festival

PS: Catch The Suffers, who rocked the ConvergeNC stage, on the David Letterman show this Monday night!


The Power Is Still On For TV

Alright, I promise no more posts referencing to the Daily Show this week. But Jon Stewart has been on a roll and this story is just too good to pass up.

Huffington Post sums up the story very well:

“The Daily Show” has just made a huge difference in the lives of veterans, helping many gain access to a program they were unfairly kept from using.

The Choice Program, which was put in place to speed access to medical care after it was revealed that some patients had been waiting months for treatment, allows veterans who live far from VA facilities to get out-of-network care closer to home.

The problem? To be eligible, you have to live 40 miles from the nearest VA facility using “as-the-crow-flies” miles.

Because that is the least-meaningful way to judge how hard it is to get somewhere for non-crows,” Stewart said on Monday night’s “Daily Show” as he highlighted the struggles of some veterans to obtain the health care they needed.

The rule kept many who lived far from hospitals by roads from using the program. But on Tuesday, seemingly in response to what Stewart called his “damning piece of investigative joke-a-lism,” the Department of Veterans Affairs changed the rule and will now use actual driven miles based on Google Maps rather than “as-the-crow-flies” miles.

The change in language will double the number of veterans eligible for the Choice Program.

Here’s my mass media takeaway:

We know that journalists often uncover some of the wrongdoings taking place in government, particularly in Congress. But for a late-night comedy show host (granted based on the topic of politics) to uncover the discrepancies in a bill, that is awesome.

And it’s evident that the power of media — here in the form of TV — made Congress act to fix its wrongdoings. Would this change to address the issues in the bill have happened if a campaign was started through social media? Maybe. But having the star power of Stewart’s show did not hurt. It’s been reported that members of Congress actually pay attention to The Daily Show. Probably to see if they’re being picked on or not.

As Aljazeera says:

The new definition could now double the number of veterans who qualify for the program, but McDonald didn’t thank “The Daily Show” for its help in bringing the matter to the public’s attention — and a celebratory host seemed to notice.

Looks like traditional mass media still holds power.

 PS: Links to the videos are in the blocked text

Privacy, Aye?

In the latest installment of “how much do you care about your privacy?,” let’s venture into the 2016 presidential race. Monday morning Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced that he is officially running for president in 2016. Cruz is the first Republican or Democrat to officially announce a candidacy.

More important than the official announcement (we all knew this was coming) are some of the quotes that came from Cruz’s speech at Liberty University. First off, students at Liberty University were required to attend Cruz’s speech as it was part of the weekly convocation they must attend.

Cruz went on to highlight some of his beliefs and goals: honoring the Constitution, abolishing the IRS, smaller government, and of course a federal government that “protects the privacy rights of every American.” But then Cruz went into a part of his speech that leaves some of us scratching our heads.

Cruz asked for all of the students to take our their phones and text the word “Constitution” to the number 33733. However, Cruz never explained what exactly texting the number 33733 did. He just asked them to do it and moved right along. Kind of ironic for a candidate who just made promises about increasing privacy measures for all Americans. Now, whoever is behind 33733 just received data information from every Liberty student who followed those orders.

In class, Professor Robinson asked us how much our privacy is worth. He offered chocolate to anyone who would send him an email containing their password to a social media site or email account. Some students obliged. I wouldn’t dare.

But for me this does raise some issues. Liberty University is a private school. And maybe that allows for things such as this to fly — requiring all students to attend a partisan political event and then have them text an unknown number with no explanation. I bet that students who texted the number probably didn’t think twice about doing so. However, this again raises the question we’ve debated many times over this semester: how much do you value your privacy?

PS: I highly recommend checking out this clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart that inspired this privacy post.

It’s Not Just People Moving From Facebook to Instagram

A recent L2 and Olapic study finds that Instagram is the new favorite platform for brands. For me, this is not much of a surprise. During my internship with Social@Ogilvy in Sydney last summer, I completed a solid amount of research for clients looking to launch an Instagram presence. This was in an effort to complete the third part of the social media marketing triangle: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“Another reason Instagram is a marketing darling at the moment is it’s attracting younger users than Facebook, according to L2. While an estimated 3 million U.S. teens abandoned Facebook between 2011 and 2014, the same demographic now cites Instagram as “the most important” social network, the report says.” – Ad Week

Here are some key points from the study:

  • 86% of the top 100 brands are on Instagram
  • Brands are posting more on Instagram than Facebook
  • Brand fan bases rose an average of 26% over the last year
  • Photos perform better than videos for brand pages

Instagram is the hot social media platform right now for brand marketing. But it won’t be too long before Snapchat becomes a more viable option for brands. Steps have been taken with the addition of Snapchat Discover. But it’s still new, and more time is needed to develop this feature for branding purposes. Right now, it’s only the top-dogs who can afford to advertise and brand themselves through Snapchat. Instagram still has the beauty of being free. For that reason it will continue to be a growing medium for brands to reach their consumer audience.

The New Rules of Social-Media

I recently came across an article published in NY Mag on the new rules of social media. I thought I’d summarize what the author was saying in the article and then add in my own take for you. Here’s how it works: “Old Rule” and “New Rule” are from the author of the article. “My Analysis” is, well, my analysis. Let’s compare notes.

1. Personal Hashtags

Old Rule: The author explains the taboo nature of creating your own personal hashtag.

New Rule: If you don’t participate in a personal-group hashtag that your group has agreed to use on social media (ie: #JOMC240), you’re trying to stand out for the wrong reasons.

My Analysis: I agree that creating your own personal hashtag used to be tacky. But like selfies, it’s become an acceptable social media practice. So if you go to a buddy’s wedding, and he wants you to use to a personal hashtag, you better hashtag.

2. Breaking the Fourth Wall

Old Rule: You’re about two degrees of separation from stalking

New Rule: You’re still only two degrees of separation from stalking. But it’s not creepy anymore.

My Analysis: Yeah, this is still kind of a case-by-case basis. But when you meet someone for the first time, chances are that you’re going to take a gander through their Facebook and Instagram pages. And there’s just as good of a chance that they’re doing the same to you. Just be sure to not spew all of that information out next time you see each other. That’s where it gets weird.

3. Geolocation

Old Rule: With foursquare, and other more-confined location sharing apps, there was the expectation that only your friends on the app could see the location you posted. So not a big deal if you tagged someone else with you in the same spot.

New Rule: “Checking people in against their will on Facebook is grounds for justifiable manslaughter.” — Basically, check before you post.

My Analysis: Yes, with the ever growing publicity of even our private social media profiles it’s better to check in with others before posting a location. But I can definitely think of examples of when tagging someone in at a specific location is okay (think Dean Dome after a big UNC win). However, Instagram allows the user to customize the name of a location. And even if your photo is lackluster, you might gain a few likes from a witty geotag. Just don’t tag your home address.

4. Tagging Photos

Old Rule: Ask before you tag.

New Rule: If you don’t tag that person, it means you don’t like them or aren’t friends with them, or both.

My Analysis: Tag away. If someone doesn’t like the photo you tagged them in, they can either not accept the tag or pleasantly ask for you to remove the photo. People who care about what is posted on their Facebook pages most likely already have the “accept tag” feature locked in. If they don’t, they probably don’t care about the photo that much anyways. Use good judgement.

5. Shout-outs and Descriptions of Real Life

Old Rule: Shout away. Tweets about your friend’s obnoxious behavior are better than tweets about a meme.

New Rule: “We’re all friends with our co-workers, exes, and frenemies on Facebook, so the risk that you blow someone’s cover when you reveal the goings-on of his daily life is very high.”

My Analysis: Shout outs are still alive and well. I’m all about positivity, so if you are shouting out a friend to congratulate them, I’m rocking with you. Tweets about your friends and what you all are doing can be great if executed well. Do I care about your friend eating ice cream? Not really. Do I care about how your friend just dropped their ice cream cone on their pants? You’ve sparked my interest.

6. Crossing Streams

Old Rule: “No etiquette rule existed for crossing social-media streams, because it did not happen much.”

New Rule: “Don’t cross social streams. If you messaged her on Tinder and she didn’t reply, do not hunt her down on LinkedIn. This will get you a restraining order.”

My Analysis: Yeah don’t cross social streams. Ever. Unless it’s being reciprocated by the other party. It’s kind of like the double texting rule. The other individual doesn’t respond to your message? Don’t do it again. Also, crossing streams applies to posting content. Don’t Tweet verbatim what you just posted on Facebook. Yes, we all did this back in 2009. But now it’s 2015 and the rules have changed.

The Death of Business Cards?

The first internship I held was the summer after my first-year at Carolina. An outside sales position where I went door-to-door of local businesses in the Chapel Hill and Durham area selling advertisement space in both the UNC-CH and Duke student planners. By the end of the summer, I accumulated an entire box of business cards. And by no means were they organized. Luckily, a fellow intern showed me this savior of an app, Cardmunch. The LinkedIn-backed app was brilliant. Users took a photo of a physical business card using their phone. Then they sent the photo off into the abyss of the app and within a matter of hours all of the information would be returned in the form of a contact. If you wanted to call that person — just tap on there phone number. If you need to shoot them a quick email to set up a meeting — press their email address and it would launch you into a new email draft on your phone.

Somehow, things went wrong. And LinkedIn terminated the app in conjunction with announcing it was joining efforts with Evernote in the spring of 2014. While Cardmunch was a free service, this new Evernote function will eventually be only a premium feature (they grandfathered in existing Cardmunch users for free service for up to two years).

Then I came across an article by The Economist on “why the business card is thriving in the digital age.”

The article explains how paper business cards have remained relevant even with the rise our of digital media use and consumption. I reckon when you can hand someone a business card shaped as an order of fries, you feel like a boss. And business cards have long been a go-to for giving your number to an interested party at a bar or party. I’m not hating or debating that. Maybe there is something symbolic and iconic about sliding a physical paper card with your name on it across a table. Have I thought about what I would like my future business card to look like? You bet.

However, if we aren’t to the point where virtual business cards are a reality, I still see the need to virtually catalog these adult name tags. Ideally free, please. As someone who acquired hundreds over the course of a summer, it’s impossible to keep track and remember who is who. Plus, how many times have you heard a parent or an adult complain about their wallet or purse being too full of cards or wishing they one their cards on them at an opportune moment.

I challenge the author’s final point:

“The business world is obsessed with the notion of disruptive innovation. But there are lots of things that do not need to be disrupted or innovated. Your columnist finds paper diaries less fiddly than electronic ones. Having dinner with someone is a better way of getting to know them than Skypeing. And exchanging business cards still seems to be an excellent way to initiate a lasting relationship. The ritual swapping of paper rectangles may be old-fashioned but on it will go.”

Yes, maybe for now paper business cards reign supreme. But as we have seen with other forms of print, digital will take over this part of our lives too.

I Would Post This, But…

Let’s talk about data. If you have a smartphone, you have it. And you use it.

The question really is: How much do you have to use? According to Verizon, and a 2013 Nielson study, the average for data usage among all mobile subscribers in the US was 827 MB per person each month. Personally, I have a 2 GB phone plan. And if it wasn’t for Wi-Fi, I would far surpass my allotted amount each month. I reckon that average includes many people who aren’t the same avid cell users as my peers and me.

We’ve finally reached spring break at UNC, and I’m lucky enough to spend the week in sunny south Florida at one of my close friend’s home. A group of us road-tripped from Chapel Hill down here, about an eleven and a half hour drive in total. One of my friends has run out of data for the month. And let me tell you, the time spent in the car when he wasn’t driving or sleeping was a little boring for him. Our two other friends who joined us for the trek both have unlimited data plans. Lucky $@%*!#&.

I researched how much it costs cell companies to provide data, and I honestly couldn’t find that much information. But while we were in the car, I couldn’t help but think about how incredible it would be to have a Wi-Fi hot spot in the car. Then I came across my classmate’s post on the subject of wifi in cars. I reckon we are on the same wave length. Or maybe this just goes back to my point that others my age run into this problem. One thing is for sure, I absolutely agree with Jess’s point that wifi in cars will become the norm in a very short amount of time.