Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Social media sites cover Mumbai attacks in real time

I just learned about the horrible terrorist attacks in Mumbai. I've been following the developments on Twitter - weird how just a few months ago I would have immediately turned on the TV and set it on CNN. Another good example of the effectiveness of social media in times of crises.

Poynter has a good summary of all the social media sites currently covering this tragedy.

11/27: CNN and Gauravonomics also have detailed accounts of the real time citizen journalism that took place during the attacks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tweeting about layoffs at Zappos

Very emotional day for everyone at Zappos. I’ll be sending out an update later today with details of what’s going on.
That's the message Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh sent out over Twitter today. The details he would later reveal were plans to lay off 8% of the company's workforce in order to deal with the economic slowdown. The company, which has more than 400 employees on Twitter openly discussed the layoffs on its employee Twitter page. Asked if it was okay to tweet about the layoffs, Hsieh responded: "Our Twitter policy remains the same as it's always been: just be real, and use your best judgement." Nice to see a company being that transparent about bad news for once.

Obama Takes the Presidential Transition Process to the Web

Looks like president-elect Obama isn't losing any time preparing to take office in January. Today, his campaign launched, a website supposed to chronicle the presidential transition process. Most interesting to me is the part of the website that allows users to share their vision for the country. To do so, users fill out a short form and can then input their ideas into a form field and upload a picture or video.
Start right now. Share your vision for what America can be, where President-Elect Obama should lead this country. Where should we start together?

I've always been convinced that the Obama campaign really understood the power of social media. I think the campaign results and the money raised speak for themselves. What's nice to see now, is that they seem to be planning on keeping those social media tools in place even after winning the election. To me, the webpage shows a desire to stay connected with voters and a willingness to listen to them. seems to be all about transparency and dialogue - a true web2.0 site.

Actually, the idea behind this site reminds me a bit of Dell's Ideastorm site - a site which encourages users to post ideas for Dell products and services and which has received a lot of acclaim.

The Internet & Social Networks: A museum of personal mistakes?

I came across this excellent video via the OpinionWatch blog. It's an hour long documentary on reputation management and personal branding in a hyper-connected world. The documentary is in French (hey, a good time to practice those French skills!) and was produced by 13ème Rue, a NBC Universal Global Networks channel.

The first part of the video focuses on the problems the net poses for public figures and celebrities who see their every move captured on video or in pictures and broadcast in near real-time to the whole world. When those moves include off-the-record remarks, revealing personal pictures, and troublesome video, the Net's promise of increased transparency suddenly turns into a grave danger to a person's reputation as illustrated by numerous examples. Any carelessly spoken word or inadvertent gesture has the potential to become a lasting liability. In the case of politicians, video that captures these "personal glitches" becomes a campaign weapon, used and released by enemies at an opportune moment.

Instead of 15 minutes of fame, the Internet now offers 15 minutes of shame to people who have to watch their mistakes broadcast to hundreds if not thousands (or sometimes even millions) of people. The documentary does a nice job showing how our digital footprint creates our personal brand and why this brand may need to be carefully watched and managed. It also introduces a powerful new idea with regards to social networks: that of the "droit à l'oubli" - the right to oblivion, or more specifically, the right to erasure of data. According to the documentary, our current society ignores that right by following people both in space (through videotaping) and in time (through social networks). Our lives are constantly recorded digitally and then shared online where the pictures and video may live on indefinitely. Hence the idea proposed at the end of the documentary: that the Internet has become a museum of human mistakes.

So what to do about all this? The documentary suggests that we need to set boundaries but stops short of offering a viable solution. Are there any?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Student Podcasts

This semester's student podcasts are finally in! For this project students worked in teams to produce a 5-10 minute podcast on an issue pertaining to class. Each team was given the option of either interviewing an expert on the topic of social media or organizing a panel discussion on a social media and PR issue. Here are their podcasts: