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Universities Embrace Social Media October 9, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Education, News, Social Media, Trends.
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Colleges and universities in the US are embracing social media to connect with students, alumni, prospective students, and donors.

According to BestCollegesOnline.com, one in three schools indicate that they achieve better results with social media than through traditional media.

Data from a study by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth show:

98% of colleges and universities report having a Facebook page
84% have a school Twitter account
66% have a blog
41% have a podcast

This infographic shows how those in higher education are using social media.

Compiled By: BestCollegesOnline.com


What Facebook IPO Means February 2, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media.
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Get ready for the sharing economy with a new form of media – social networking. Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally taken his company public, filing papers for an initial public offering – through which anyone will be able to buy shares of the social networking company on an open stock exchange.

Facebook seeks to raise US$5 billion in the IPO that looks likely to be the largest by a Web company since Google in 2004 and could place the value of the social network as high as US$75 billion to US$100 billion.

We knew Facebook was big – you don’t get to 800 million users making over 100 billion connections with each other without making a few bucks. But until today, we didn’t know just how big. The filing revealed Zuckerberg earned a base salary of US$500,000 last year, more than triple the salary of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when Google filed for its IPO.

Zuckerberg, now 27, famously started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004. For those who have seen the movie “The Social Network,” the Zuckerberg juggernaut is continuing unabated. Just as Apple challenged Microsoft for software supremacy, Facebook now challenges Google for Web supremacy.

The two Web giants are at war over what Jeff Jarvis calls “signal generation” – the ability to get us to generate data about ourselves – who we are, where we are, what we like, whom we like, what we buy, what we want, what we know, what we want to know – so they can serve us more relevant and valuable content, services, and advertising.

While the default in society is still privacy and anonymity, Zuckerberg hopes to strengthen how people relate to each other and sees a future where things and value should be tied to our identity. Beyond Google and other net services, which “crawl the web” with algorithms to seek information, his master plan is a social networking platform that connects humans to generate data, information and knowledge in a sharing economy.

This new form of media will not only redefine the Web, change human relationships, create a new marketing landscape, and challenge Google, but it will now rescue and alter the economy itself. It will infiltrate markets, creating new opportunities for a peer-to-peer “social” economy to take root. So if you buy this, buy Facebook shares.

There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future.

The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

This is the full text of the letter Zuckerberg included to investors in his IPO filing.

The Death of the Cyberflâneur – NYT

Egypt: Web Videos Spur Facebook Revolt February 12, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Amid euphoric scenes on the streets of Egypt, it is clear that the Web is a potent catalyst of political change. As befits a revolution galvanized by social networking, the feeling on the streets is one of individual and collective empowerment as citizen videos show the historic moment, when Mubarak’s resignation as President of Egypt was announced at the hour of evening prayer.

This video shared by YouTube’s Citizen Tube through Twitter shows people at prayer in Tahrir Square holding off the celebration until it is finished before breaking into cheers.

Even though Mubarak has stepped down, the story of Egypt is not over, and neither is the work of cyber-activists. With the military now running the country, it is uncertain what level of digital freedom or online surveillance lies ahead.

Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year old Egyptian woman who began online political activism in 2008, is now credited for launching the video call that sparked the revolution. Mahfouz recorded the video below on January 18th, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it on her Facebook. Within days, the video went viral:

Young people forwarded it on mobile phones – a communications tool that some 65 million Egyptians use. Soon after, the government blocked all mobile phone networks. This was not the first time a young activist used the Internet to mobilize, but it departed from the convenient anonymity of online activism.

Mahfouz is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, a group of young, Internet-savvy activists. Time will judge whether it is accurate to credit this one video and young woman with catalyzing the Egypt revolt. At the very least, her video advocacy captures the zeigeist of an important moment in history:

If Asmaa Mahfouz’s Web video captures the spirit of the political times, Egypt’s anti-Mubarak street movement found a hero to rally around in Wael Ghonim. The 30-year old Google marketing executive created an anonymous Facebook page, “We Are All Khaled Said” named in honor of a blogger beaten to death by police last summer.

The page, launched over six months ago, became a rallying point for demonstrations. What started as a campaign against police brutality grew into an online hub for young Egyptians to share their frustrations over the abuses of the Mubarak regime. Ghonim was detained for 10 days after starting the Facebook page.

The online organizing through Facebook, e-mail list serves and Google Docs that sprung out of it catalyzed cyber activists to collaborate on a kind of movement wiki that is being continually re-edited and improved upon by an expanding Web of contributors.

This is the revolution of the youth of the internet, which became the revolution of the youth of Egypt, then the revolution of Egypt itself.

Wael Ghonim

The Facebook page that Ghonim ran sounded the call for the initial protest on Jan. 25. As the page’s following approached 400,000 people, and word of the event spread, it hosted a constant stream of news, photos, and videos, downloadable fliers, and emotional entreaties for all Egyptians to join the push.

The active early participants in the “We Are All Khaled Said” community were young activists and dissident bloggers, many of whom knew one another and had been organizing against Mubarak’s policies for years. Emboldened by their cyber-purpose, activists took their collective confidence to the streets, giving each other the sense that they just might bend history on the ground.

News 2.0 the Facebook Way July 31, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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Facebook has outlined best practices on how news organizations can connect with its user base as part of their social media strategies. The findings are the result of a study that examined Facebook use at news organizations such as CNN, The New York Times, and Univision.

After implementing various combinations of Facebook tools on their sites, referral traffic at ABC News jumped 190 percent. Referrals at Life were up by 130 percent, Scribd’s user registrations went up by 50 percent, and Dailymotion saw as many as 250,000 users engaged with a single video.

Facebook boasts 500 million active monthly users with average monthly time-on-site of seven hours. So integrating Facebook into your news site could translate into lots more traffic. Tools like Like buttons, Activity Streams and LiveStream can keep users clicking through stories on a site. And the Insights analytics tool provides valuable demographic information.

For a Facebook strategy customised to your news organization, contact the team at Sapphire Studios. Journalists can learn more about the techniques and discuss how to improve upon them at facebook.com/media. Here’s a snapshot of what you can do to merge news with social media:

Optimize the Like button

There’s a lot of power in those little Like buttons, both on the Facebook site and off. When a user clicks Like, that gesture is broadcast to all of his friends — on average, 130 people. Depending on how a site implements the button, clicking the like button may add a link to the user’s profile page and make the liked page discoverable in Facebook’s search system.

Anything on the Web is potentially Likable: a news story, an organization, or even a reporter. Crucially, once a user Likes a Facebook Page, the administrator of that Page gains the ability to push new content to that user’s Activity Stream. In essence, that single click is all that’s needed for users to opt-in to future messages — and if they don’t like your content, to opt back out.

Like buttons are easy to make and come in a variety of features and sizes, from tiny rectangles to full-featured iframes that include profile pictures and comment boxes. Facebook has found that “Like” buttons do best when they’re close to content that is both visually engaging and emotionally resonant, such as video.

In addition, full-featured Like buttons tend to do better than smaller ones. Adding faces of other Likers to the button and including Facebook comments increased the clickthrough rate from as low as zero up to 0.2 percent — comparable to the click-through rate of a banner ad. Because Facebook delivers this content to publishers’ sites through an iframe, only a small amount of code is necessary to implement the “deluxe model” Like buttons.

Tailor content specifically for Facebook users

Content matters on Facebook. Touching, emotional stories earned 2 to 3 times as many Likes as other stories, as did provocative debates. Sports stories tend to perform particularly well, with 1.5 to 2 times more engagement than the average.

With that knowledge, news organizations can identify stories likely to perform well on Facebook and push those stories through social channels such as Facebook Pages and Twitter. Publishers can even strategize around when they push this content. There’s a spike in Likes at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., so having fresh content at those times is crucial.

Deploy activity plugins on every page

Increasingly, news site home pages will be customized to users’ tastes and networks. On CNN’s home page, for example, an Activity Feed plugin shows users what their friends have Liked on the site. Publishers should set aside real estate on every page on their site for the Activity Feed and Recommendations plugins, which suggest relevant content to users.

Sites that placed the Activity Feed on both the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites with the plugins on the front page alone. Sites could use Facebook’s LiveStream plugin, a real-time chat box that gathers users in a conversation about live, breaking news. The plugin could be seen as a competitor to live-tweeting and live-blogging tools like CoverItLive.

Create separate pages for major events

For major stories that break over several days, some organizations increased engagement by creating a dedicated Facebook Page for that event. Stories published from a World Cup-focused Page of one major media company had 5x the engagement rate per user than stories from the company’s main Page.

Of course, that technique isn’t without some degree of risk. Publishers might worry about fragmenting their audience and losing viewers when an event is over. For example, after a flurry of wall posts, ESPN’s World Cup Page abruptly stopped posting on July 15. The 636,000 or so fans have continued to post to the wall, but with no response from ESPN, they are likely to lose interest.

Manage your many pages

Depending on the type of item that a user Likes (a person, a show, an article, and so forth), almost every Like button generates a new Page on Facebook. As more people click “Like,” publishers will need to organize and manage an ever-growing volume of Pages — some of which aren’t even visible to most users.

Facebook uses what are called “Dark Pages” to connect publishers to users. Invisible to everyone but administrators, Dark Pages represent pages on the Web that have been Liked but do not have a publicly visible Page on Facebook — for example, a single news article.

Publishers must place the Open Graph and Facebook tags such as and on each page of their site to identify the content. Then, once a publisher has claimed its page (dark or otherwise), it can publish new content to the Activity Streams of their Likers and examine Insights to learn more about their users’ demographics.

Publishers could wind up with thousands of Pages to monitor. There’s not a perfect method to manage that onslaught of Likable content, Kelly said, but he expected that solutions would emerge from Facebook’s outreach to publishers.

Turn status updates into infographics with the streamlined API

Just as newspapers invested in printing presses, online news divisions must now invest in software development. Facebook recognized that developing social tools can be confusing and resource-intensive, so the company recently streamlined its API – the clean, comprehensible data that developers can access from simple URLs such as http://graph.facebook.com/markzuckerberg.

Facebook’s new API is structured around objects and connections, just like the user experience on the site itself. It can be used to generate innovative visualizations like the New York Times’ visualization of soccer players’ popularity. In addition, Facebook has developed a more robust search tool, which can be used to find content from public status updates, not just people. Journalists could use the tool to gauge community interest in a story or to find new sources.

Facebook has also streamlined its authorization process, implementing OAUTH 2.0, which offers improved scalability and ease-of-use. For users, authorizing applications is now a single-click process, rather than having to click through one dialogue after another. For publishers, that translates into smoother engagement with users.

Social networks — particularly Facebook — are quickly becoming a key way to learn about breaking news, a phenomenon that Facebook is only too happy to embrace. The recently released research is just a foundation for what Osofsky hopes will be a long-term collaboration with media partners.

Anyone involved with news — journalists, editors, software developers – do visit facebook.com/media to learn about Facebook’s engagement with the news industry, to share ideas, and to contribute to the emerging practice of integrating social tools with journalism.

Excerpted from findings by Facebook Developer Network engineers Justin Osofsky and Matt Kelly at a Hacks/Hackers meetup.

Connect For Real Please May 28, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Essays, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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Hello Facebook, please understand connections are built on friendship and meaningful experiences with friends. Please create a context of trust, safety, and true connections. Your network has eroded our confidence as users and limiting our ability to actually connect.

Research shows instant intense connections affect the overall tenor of the ensuing relationship. Specific factors trigger such connections – physical proximity, vulnerability and a clearly defined community. They are all seriously lacking in Facebook.

Teams that click tend to work more effectively together. Couples in love at first sight are more passionate with each other. What makes people actually click and form instant intense connections? Think – meeting someone at a party, that spark on a first date.

Distance separating people greatly influences likelihood of a connection. The pal in school who sat beside you is probably your closer friend today. Likewise, scientists proved more likely to collaborate with other scientists who sat in the same corridor.

Those last few feet separating people really matter. While Facebook might create digital proximity, it’s impossible to recreate the intimacy of sitting next to someone. Facebook can’t do much about proximity, but there are two other factors it can do something about – Foster vulnerability and community.

It’s now difficult to be vulnerable on Facebook, that once intimate community that only included your college buddies. Vulnerability builds trust. Psychologists found that personal revelations make us more likely to connect because we become vulnerable and open, showing we trust those we disclose to.

Facebook is seen as Big Brother-like. It’s as if the company is a hidden microphone that threatens to expose what we’d really like to say. Who will see what we write on someone’s wall? If we comment on someone’s status, whose newsfeed will it show up in? Without that ability to be vulnerable, it is difficult to really connect with friends.

It’s really about a sense of community. Think of how close people get with their freshman dorm mates. You’re all new at school and together you form a clear, delineated community. Research shows that when people feel they belong to a community that experiences real world together, they’re much more likely to bond.

It used to be that a group of Facebook friends felt like a separate and delineated group. As the site shares more and more information with the “outside,” the walls of the community — that clear delineation — are becoming more porous and less effective at building bonds.

By dishing out a never-ending assault on privacy, Facebook is uniting its users at least. Nothing like a healthy dose of shared adversity to bond users, like soldiers in battle, into a coalition of Facebook quitters.

Facebook? Oh Puhleeze May 1, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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I’ve been tracking Facebook, not that my sense of self worth hinges on how many strangers “friend” me. People react with incredulity when I say I don’t Facebook. There are many things I like, but few are on this $800 million a year business that makes its money from advertising.

It’s easy to support the movements forming against this social network because I’ve no emotional investment in this Web superpower where people broadcast their lives in orgies of sharing and over-sharing. Now that Facebook has made the cover of Time and Zuckerberg-alikes are cashing in on those opting out, I’m glad I was never in.

Now that user confidence is being eroded by privacy blunders, phishing scams and controversy around instant personalization and the exodus of angry users, Facebook must give me control options less complicated than these. Like, let me opt-in rather than opt-out of instant personalization, the feature that hands my publicly available Facebook info to selected Websites I visited.

Facebook privacy came to a head in May, when 15 organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and users started a “Quit Facebook Day” campaign. Although the campaign wasn’t universally embraced, Facebook changed its privacy settings, making it easier to keep personal information from going public.

Privacy is a personal responsibility. Information has no walls and it’s time we realise the Web cannot protect information posted online even as it makes the transmission easier than ever. For those in a social coma, how many hacked accounts will be sold before they wake up and make privacy a personal responsibility?

The Web has meshed with our lives. Facebook is not the enemy in this new world. If you want to give the world a front row seat into your life, don’t expect privacy controls and security settings to protect you online. If you want to keep a secret, don’t talk about it or quit Facebook puhleeze.

Chinese Premier Wows on Facebook May 28, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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It helps when you’re the leader of 1.3 billion people and you put your popularity on the line online. Flush from the accolades for his sympathetic response to the Sichuan earthquake, Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has gone Web 2.0 with a profile on Facebook.

You can be friends with Grandpa Wen, the moniker for China’s 66-year-old premier who has always cultivated a populist image unlike many of the Communist Party’s aloof leaders. And with 15,000 Facebook ‘supporters’ as of this writing, he’s more popular than US President Bush on the social networking site.

As the face of China’s grief, Wen’s knack for looking sympathetic has won him supporters offline. Hours after the quake hit Sichuan province, he was on the scene with a bullhorn. TV cameras followed him for days as he tried to comfort children and put on a hard hat to enter a collapsed building.

Wen Jiabao at ground zero in Sichuan

Full of laudatory comments, the Facebook page was set up two days after the 12 May quake. It has photos of Wen walking through the rubble, comforting victims and breathless posts such as: ‘I love you, oh my God,’ ‘A model Premier for the world!’ and “Go Grandpa Wen! Go China!”

The profile creator had uploaded a mournful “We Are The World” – style music video that interspersed horrific images of the quake’s aftermath with shots of musicians wearing white T-shirts with “5-12” printed on them.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

Facebook lets users create personal profiles. The page appears to have been set up recently though it’s not clear whether it’s the work of Wen himself, a government official or someone with no ties to the premier. The page bears the official government photo of Wen in a gray suit.

The Chinese leader is one of hundreds of politicians on Facebook. He joins Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and every major US presidential hopeful who have Facebook pages. The site has a section where users can ‘Browse All Politicians’ and see them ranked by their number of ‘supporters.’

A Strategy for Facebook October 13, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Social Media, Trends.
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Facebook is addictive and you can only envy its traffic which has grown to 42 million members. Dropping its college-only membership policy to allow anyone to join has fueled its meteoric growth. So has opening up an API to allow any developer to add applications that Facebook members can use on their accounts. This means other companies can take advantage of the Facebook masses.

Steve Outing of Editor and Publisher has collected interesting opinion about whether or not to devote some resources to Facebook applications:

In a nutshell, our attitude towards Facebook is ‘this too shall pass.’ We see no reason to buy into Facebook’s walled-garden approach; our time is better spent serving OUR audience instead of trying to feed on Facebook’s detritus like a Ramora.
Jacob Kaplan-Moss, Lead Developer, Lawrence Journal-World

It’s a great way to market at very low cost. Why not put a Facebook-using staffer in charge of this, providing them a leadership opportunity and exposing yourself to a growing, young audience at minimal cost?
Robert Niles, Editor, Online Journalism Review

We need to make sure that the social space is relevant to our news organization — or make certain that we are relevant to it. … I believe it’s vital to develop strategies to leverage the power of the social networking space, if the news industry wants a future. This audience no longer or seldom goes to the print medium for their news and information. I believe that Facebook’s initial value is as a marketing tool to connect to the online audience and make it smart for them to come to us for reliable, local information. Whether it’s in the form of widgets that they can load and share, or just being part of that space so we can understand it enough to be able to connect with them and let them know that we’re not necessarily just their father’s news anymore.”
Karen Ryder, Marketing Manager, Cape Cod Media Group

We use radio and television to try and get new print subscribers. We should use online to try and get new audience to our websites. This is a no-brainer. I just wish I had resources to develop applications to use on Facebook.
Kathy Schwartz – Director of Marketing Operations, Pocono Mountains Media Group

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