Sunday, February 27, 2011


Just as we had to learn growing up that when someone is talking we in turn need to be quiet and listen attentively before talking, this lesson is a crucial one for "tapping into the Groundswell". 

Chapters 4-6 describe why and how companies need to interact with the Groundswell. A major point that I particularly reflected on was that listening is key to understanding and effectively participating in the Groundswell. Listening is so important because in order to be strategic about moving your company into the Groundswell, you have to be aware about what people are talking about and how they are reacting to your products or service. If you're product is getting bad reviews the thing to do is probably not to jump into the Groundswell full force because it will end up amplifying the negative. Listening is a huge strategy because it shows you when to act and when not to. Not to mention when you listen you will only be better equipped to respond and talk within it.

That moves us to the next point, talking too plays a major role in the Groundswell. After listening to what's going on in the Groundswell the next step is to interact and talk. This step is extremely important because it is key to spreading your message. 

Combining these things helps to effectively place yourself or your company within the Groundswell.

Follow the Oscars with Social Media!

More Access to the Oscars!

I don't know about you, but Sunday evenings are typically consumed with school work that piled up over the weekend, so if you're like me watching the Oscars tonight isn't really much of an option. Lucky for us the Oscars are jumping on the bandwagon and joining up with social media sites to inform the masses on all their favorite parts of the Oscars.

The Oscars will be posting the results on their Facebook page and you can also keep up by listening in with the stars themselves. A number of stars including Oscar Co-Host James Franco (@jamesfranco) will be tweeting all of the fun. In addition to Facebook and Twitter the Oscars have also placed apps for phones to follow the news.

I for one am pretty hyped for this because even though I have no time for TV on this homework-filled Sunday, I always seem to make time to check into Facebook and Twitter from time to time. The influence of social media is affecting major awards shows and I can definitely say how the convenience of it is only going to make the Oscars even more accessible and interactive!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keep An Ear Out

What makes someone influential? Is it the number of followers they have, how interactive they are, how often they dispel information? Listening seems to be a major factor in identifying influencers. All three articles this week- Unveiling the New Influencers, New Approaches for Analyzing Influence on Twitter, and Social Media Reading- Influencers- mentioned how crucial listening is in identifying influencers as well as becoming an effective influencer.

Listening is so crucial in identifying influncers not only because it will become clear who is out there talking about your topic but listening also intensifies your own ability to understand the main issues and to respond accordingly.  "Social Media Reading- Influencers" makes reference to the elephant ear being "the art of customer listening". In other words this is saying that listening intently to customers online is key. If you listen intently you will be able to find patterns among individuals who serve as influencers and will be more capable of distinguishing between them and people who are just boasting information.

The article explaining "New approaches for Analyzing Influence on Twitter," discusses how influencers are not just those that have the most followers but rather those that are consistent in responding to and re-tweeting information.

The message expressed in these articles is first to listen and observe what and who might be influencers online and that through attentive listening you are compelled to comment accordingly and become an influencer yourself.

Naming Your Child Facebook?

An article that popped up on my Google Reader entitled "Egyptian Baby Girl Named "Facebook" After Revolution" immediately caught my attention. The article depicts how Jamal Ibrahim named his newborn daughter Facebook. I read this and thought it sounded a little absurd, but the article explains how Ibrahim did this to honor how much Facebook had aided Egyptians during the recent revolution.

Social networking sites are have a massive amount of influence in the world today and this is just one example. We often see people naming their children after their favorite movie stars or other artists and now we have a case of a child being named after a social networking site. Facebook is having such an influence on people and their ability to communicate effectively from continent to continent that it is mirroring reactions that people might have with their favorite celebrity.

Facebook has created an easy way for normal people to organize and create revolutions, that can lead to freedom in Egypt's case. Facebook and other social networking sites are now forums of power for people which is why they are posed as so critical in today's politics.

Ibrahim naming his baby girl Facebook may seem odd, and I can't say that I would be thrilled to grow up with such a name, but it represents the importance that Facebook played in Egypt's freedom and serves as a memento of how it changed the lives of people in Egypt forever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Make It Your Own

With all the buzz about social networking sites, it's easy to see how quickly it could go wrong. I found myself Google-ing the other day and I came across an interesting site, Build A Social Network. The site aides you in creating a social networking site catered to your own interests whether that be politics, education, religion, or gaming, ect.

I don't know about you, but this seems a little but absurd to me. I think social networking has developed into a very important part of our society, but I also think there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. In reference to the "Build A Social Network" site they have flown over the line. As to be expected with success, there are bound to be copycats and so I wasn't surprised to stumble upon such a site. The thing to keep in mind here is that although this site would allow more amateur social networking experimenters to develop something that more directly caters to their own interests, it seems a little excessive in my opinion. In contrast though the site shows how accessible the Internet and social networking has become to the basic individual. Everyone can find something just for them.

The realm of social networking is developing faster than we can even keep track of and it is branching in all different directions from sites like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, or Build a Social Network and create your own.

Referencing a series of videos used in my COMM class here's a quick video explaining social networks.

New Opportunities

The reading this week out of Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies discussed the importance of companies being actively involved on the internet and with the Groundswell. Particularly with what companies should hone in on when creating and maintaining social media in regards to the Groundswell. I found this interesting because my parents own a small advertising company in San Antonio named Allied Advertising and the only thing I could think of while reading this chapter is how not involved they are in the Groundswell or even really online for that matter. They could definitely benefit for POST- people, objectives, strategy, and technology. POST is used in building one's groundswell. For the first time I found myself interested in possibly working for my parents which prior to this reading was always a bit of a joke among my family. Every time my parents asked me to work for them I would flat out answer "NO," but it's looking a little more appealing now that I know of something specific that I could do other than screen print (for which I am completely unqualified...for now at least). The Groundswell is opening up opportunities for people to infiltrate the workforce in a completely new and interactive way.

Being active in the Groundswell is crucial for any company that wants to be successful because the social networking sites and blogs can provide ample insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a company as seen by the customers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Social Trends in a New Realm

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and I can already count nine Facebook statuses that in someway mention this phenomena. I thought the Super Bowl would be an interactive way of explaining how the Groundswell Effect comes into play in everyday circumstances. The Groundswell Effect describes "A social change in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations" (Li, Bernoff 9). In a nutshell, I took the Groundswell to be the exchange of information that takes place between people through the Internet. The most pertinent part of this is that word on the Internet can travel so quickly that it is impossible to control. Referencing back to the Super Bowl, this effect is bound to take place. As soon as the winner comes out it is going to be everywhere and people with no interest in football are inevitably going to be exposed to the results. Social networking sites play a heavy role in this because sites like Facebook and Twitter are convenient and accessible for people to update and produce information that will be exposed on the web. The Groundswell puts the power of imaging and communication into the hands of the community rather than PR professionals which makes it necessary for them to work differently. Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell, explains how this might be achieved through starting a community

Josh Bernoff of Forrester on Groundswell
Uploaded by coBRANDiT. - Explore international webcam videos.

People collaborating both actively and passively greatly contribute to the Groundswell. Those that create, comment, and read all play vital roles in the efficiency of the Groundswell. People use the Internet as a medium for communication and in order for a message to be heard (or in this case read) and in order for that to happen people need to understand how to use the technologies. For instance, my dad has a Facebook that was set up by an employee for him and a few weeks ago I went to his page to find that he had responded to someones comment with "I don't understand how other people can change your page". By this you can see he doesn't understand how Facebook works because in his opinion someone commenting on his page was throwing him out of control of his own page. Understanding the technologies is essential and this also applies towards PR firms who need to work with the Groundswell rather than staying stagnate in old ways of communicating image. GM along with many other companies have created blogs to aide them in forming a positive image for themselves by understanding and working with the Groundswell GM Blog.

Individuals are processing information that spreads across the web and companies must work with this in order to dispel any negative effects of the Groundswell and to magnify any good ones. Basically in this day in age as we watch the Internet and technologies involve the power of communication is more readily accessible to everyday people and we have a greater ability to shape the world around us.

Networking Disconnect

As the world watched the events that have taken place in Egypt the last few weeks a few questions came to the forefront in American minds concerning the power of the Internet, social networking, and the effect that "kill switch" legislation may have on our country.

The events in Egypt spiraled concern in our Nation regarding the government's ability to shut down the Internet. The "Kill Switch" legislation proposes that if need be the government could shut down Internet connections in the United States Huffington Post. Egypt's recent events have brought the "Kill Switch" legislation into the forefront in the minds of Americans.

Much of the conversation revolves about whether or not it would even be possible for the United States government to pull off such a task.Unlike Egypt who only had four Internet Service Providers (all owned by their government) the United States has thousands and none of them are owned by the government Washington Post: How Egypt Pulled Out of the Internet. This factor would make it nearly impossible for the government to gain control over all the ISPs and thus "kill" the Internet.

In addition, to the obstacle of the number of ISPs that would need to be procured there are always ways around such legislation. Egypt demonstrated this by accessing the Internet through radios and getting other countries to lend them ISPs Enabling More Egyptians to be Heard. The "Kill Switch" legislation seems to be very improbable that it would be effective if it does end up passing because of the obstacles that it would need to overcome. The concept of this legislation brings about quite a bit of circulation regarding social media because it would affect them directly. Attempting to quiet peoples voices through shutting down the Internet only seems to empower people to resolve to find their way around and thus provide a stronger front. The events in Egypt and the occurrence of "Kill Switch" legislation are interesting to think about because it makes it easy to relate how such an action could turn out. Egypt's example, in my opinion, only shows how entirely ineffective "Kill Switch" legislation would be.