Final Paper – General Recommendations

Hi class! I will be out of town today, but did draft up a final report that was sent to Ryan for review. Below is the copy. Please let me know if you all have any suggestions.

_________

Social media is an evolving tool that is continuously changing the way society interacts and views the world. From politics to entertainment, there is no topic that is off limits for conversation among the masses especially in a community of college students. Students are constantly on the go between classes, work and extracurricular activities that social media and its app can easily become the primary source of news. With this precedent in place, it can be quite challenging for traditional media (radio, television and newspapers) and others outlets successfully target an active mind.

Based on the findings from our experimental social media channels, it is noted that engaging college-aged students is not an easy task. The interest of many does not necessarily blend perfectly, however, that does not mean that a cohesive page with quality content cannot be achieved. In fact, it is an effort that can be accomplished with extensive social media research and a deep understanding of the audience. Below is a brief overview of the best practices that can be implemented in local outlets gearing their material to students.

As previously stated, it is essential to understand the basics of the outlet. This can be achieved by asking the fundamental five W’s (who, what, when, where and why) and one H (how). This may read as trivial, but knowing the purpose of your message will better translate to the audience through postings. The planning stage can take as long as needed and often times go through a various of edits before being solidified for a beginning standpoint. Knowing the demographics and a general viewpoint of the audience will make it easier to narrow down the relevant platforms.

For clarity purposes, the audience will remain as college-aged students. As an outlet, it is essential to understand that each person brings their own unique perspective to the social media environment. With this notion in mind, it will open up an avenue to realize that all young women and men are not equally tech savvy and/or up to date with the latest trends. As a social media strategist, it is imperative to know a few simple guidelines such as the difference between use and access. For starters, it should be understood that all students will not use social media for pure academic purpose and development. At times, technology is a simple outlet for staying socially connected and for fun times. Furthermore, if a student is behind on or lacks the common knowledge to navigate social media, it may be due to socioeconomic status and race. Having a background on how certain factors play into interaction will serve as a starting point of creating a sound channel.

Social media marketing aspects and effectiveness suggest creating content that is focused more on the quality and not quantity. The idea behind it is to report buzzworthy, newsworthy events that do not overwhelm the audience. Through this, the goal would be to open up an online conversation on the given topic that keeps individuals engaged. Listening to the tone of the community by observing how members interact with one another as well as general etiquette will establish long-term relationships built on trust. This can potentially generate two-way conversations with followers to talk about their interests. Having open communication can bring more involvement on the end of the channel by being able to respond promptly to messages, questions, comments and utilize proper terminology such as hashtags. As a the brand continues to develop, be sure to monitor other social channels and competitors while bearing this question in mind: “What is the desired outcome?”

In regards to popular platform, there are listed bullet points to review:

 

Facebook

  • Celebrate great things happening
    • Sports, arts, cultural events
    • Post blog articles, news items and announcements
      • Awards, achievements, honors
    • Share educational memes
  • Post 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Twitter

  • Use a hashtag for your school
  • Engaging GIFs, videos and photos
  • Post 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Instagram

  • Best place to post engaging images to entice alumni, current students and prospective
  • Show events such as sporting events, Quad day, school history, etc.

LinkedIn

  • Use it as a platform to help connect students and alumni
  • Post blog articles, news items and announcements
    • Awards, achievements, honors
  • Follow local businesses, campus outlets (radio, tv, newspaper)

General

  • Be consistent and available
  • Quality content

 

Assignments for May 3rd.

Survey data analysis: Khaoula and Ryan  V (send results to Rhea)

Discussion of the results: Rhea (send results to (Masic, Colleen and Mike)

Comparison of results with what local media are doing.

  • Masic analyze week of the DI (send results to Ruoxi)
  • Colleen The news gazette (send results to Ruoxi)
  • Mike Smile Politely (Send results to Ruoxi)
  • Comparison between the effectiveness of posts in twitter and facebook: Aaron (Send results to Ruoxi)

Results of comparison: Ruoxi

General recommendations: Brea and Molly

Putting everything together: Ryan

Assignments for May 3

290surveyNow that we’ve officially ended our postings, we’re finally heading into the home stretch with our final class coming up Tuesday and with our final project due at the end of finals week.

Each class member still needs to get at least 50 different people to answer our online questionnaire at http://go.illinois.edu/tweets. Just asking 50 people isn’t enough. You probably need to ask several hundred to get 50 who actually will respond. The more responses we get, the richer our data will be. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, we were up to 213 respondents. Our goal is 750.

As results come in, make sure we are getting an appropriate mix of demographics by checking the list of who has responded at http://media290.h.media.illinois.edu/survey/respondents.log. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, we had 53.1% female, 45.5% male with the rest not answering. By college, 30.5% were LAS, 18.8% were Engineering, 18.3% were Media, 11.7% were Business, 5.2% were AHS, 4.2% were DGS, 3.8% were ACES, 2.3% were Education, and 1.4% were FAA. By ethnicity, 41.3% were white, 23.0% international, 20.2% Asian American, 6.1% African American and 4.2% Latino/a. By year, 14.6% were freshmen, 24.9% sophomores, 23.0% juniors, 26.8% seniors and 7.0% graduate students. All seem to be within reason for actual demographics on campus.

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 5.57.02 PM copyAs for where they get most of their news, 23.0% said Facebook, 21.6% friends’ social media accounts, 21.1% news websites, 10.3% Twitter and 13.1% other social media,  with very small numbers for newspapers, broadcasts, comedy shows, news apps and various aggregators.

Raw data, rating each tweet, also may be viewed live at http://media290.h.media.illinois.edu/survey/answers.log.

Learn about data analysis and reporting

The entire class is now responsible for coming up with a final report summarizing our findings and offering advice to local media. Assignments were worked on Tuesday. If you have questions, review this assignment summary or contact your classmates.

results

Meanwhile, here is a spreadsheet (as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, which means you will need to update it before doing final analysis) of results of our questionnaire and quick scatter charts (previewed above) preliminarily testing for possible correlations (which, as explained in class Tuesday, would show up as clusters centered on a rising line from left to right) with the factors we earlier came up with. More robust checks of statistical correlation and possibly even revised factors we test against are among the tasks team members should be working on.

Here also is some boilerplate — basically, a summary of what we said in class Tuesday — that may help, provided it is borne out by our more robust statistical analysis:

After reviewing industry best practices and results of various (admittedly scant) research on the topic, students each week posted dozens of items, then refined their tactics on a weekly basis after reviewing data from Twitter and Facebook about how engaging their postings had been. They eventually developed a set of criteria that they thought would best predict whether future postings would maximize engagement and sought to test those strategies via a controlled questionnaire that sought to more systematically gauge levels of audience interest in specific postings selected because of the presence or absence of the qualities they identified.

Preliminary findings, which in final form will be presented in the form of an industry research report prepared by class members for local campus and professional media, are somewhat surprising.

Although using active images and informal, conversational tone may have some value, as suggested by material they reviewed and their own actual practice, the primary determinant of what engages a social media audience appears at first glance to be the same as what engages an audience in any medium: the degree to which a development is unexpected and especially emotional, either directly impacting the individual follower or vicariously impacting him or her by conveying information about a situation with human consequences with which followers can easily identify or empathize.

They also found that running a social media news service is just like running any other news service in yet another way. It needs first and foremost to serve its audience, not merely be a vehicle for promoting some other product, whether it be an institution or a news site. That means developing independent news judgment geared toward the needs and desires of the service’s users even if the news site or other product it may be associated with has no vested interest in promoting everything the social media service might mention.

Conventional wisdom that audiences are most responsive to attempts to spark conversation or to deal with inconsequential yet commonplace daily routines did not seem to be born out. In fact, a social media feed seems less about behaving as if the feed were a typical individual’s social media account and more about behaving as if it were a traditional news provider, albeit one that eschews “dull but important” and other obligatory, incremental news coverage.

Submit your grading contract

This also is the week for everyone to submit by private email to ekmeyer@illinois.edu your grading contract, assessing what grade you believe you should receive in the course and outlining, based on specific work you performed, why you believe that grade is merited. These were requested before class Tuesday. If you still haven’t sent yours in, please do so right away.

To aid in self-assessment of your portfolio, here (as of noon Saturday) are the number of activity posts, reports and other items (except comments) that each class member has posted to this site this semester. Raw numbers don’t always tell a story, of course, but generally speaking the further down you are on this list, the more work you may still need to do to document your contributions to our project:

Part of your evaluation process will be evaluating the work of your teammates. Before the end of finals week, each of your will be asked to submit a confidential teammate evaluation report by email to the instructor.

We’ll talk about all of these things at our final class next Tuesday, but time is drawing short, and we need to make sure everyone accomplishes what needs to be done before class.


ursAlia, Ruoxi and Masic presented our project from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday in South Lounge of Illini Union. 

Free program on digital storytelling

Social media consultant Christopher Wick will share what he regards as proven secrets to digital storytelling success from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday in 126 GSLIS. You also can attend online.

Assignments for April 12

We’re going to keep up our postings this week and add some team projects to the mix.

Here are the teams we’ll be expecting to report significant progress when next we meet, April 12. All teams may contact Ahmed for assistance with their assignments:

Team 1

Blaize, Colleen, Henry, Khaoula and Masic

  • Select tweets (some ours, some DI’s, etc.)
  • Write standards for class to score them
  • Measure to ensure intercoder reliability of scoring and refine standards as needed
  • May need to select many more tweets than are actually used to insure we have a full range to choose from and all pass reliability tests
  • Ensure that all class members complete scoring within a week
  • See group’s post for what every class member needs to do before class April 12.

Team 2

Alia, Mike, RheaRuoxi and Ryan V.

  • Create survey instrument(s) for readers to rate tweets
  • Be flexible to include different tweets, based on what Team 1 finds
  • Collate responses, ensure randomness and demographics
  • May need to get additional responses from some demographics to ensure roughly representative sample
  • Do curvilinear factor analysis between class scores and reader scores

Team 3

Aaron, BreaMicheleMolly and Ryan D. 

  • Write introduction to problem
  • Literature review of qualities that provide background for standards
  • Document our coding and survey methodology
  • Write findings and conclusion
  • All but findings and conclusion need to be written, edited and displayed as poster before Undergraduate Research Symposium

Tentative list of qualities

And here, tentatively, is the list of qualities we’ll be scoring each posting on, using a Likert scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high):

  • Immediacy
  • Unexpected, original
  • Engage with questions, commands
  • Conversational language
  • Humorous or irreverent
  • Personal utility or proximity (student impact, involvement, new service, DIY tips)
  • Talk factor (follow pop topic, weird)
  • Human face, emotion
  • Active or unusual real visual
  • Simplify complex issue

To practice, don’t forget to score all of your postings this week using these criteria when reporting your weekly Activities.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Alia, Masic and Ruoxi are our designated representatives to present preliminary findings of our research from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. April 21 in South Lounge. The presentation is entitled Rising Above The ’Nois: Identifying Effective Practices in Social Media. Obviously, we need as much of our process as possible to be completed in time to prepare a poster that they will present for that session.

Assignments for April 5

    • Make an in-person pitch, which as with everything else on this list you should document in your Activities note for April 5, to a large class or other large group of students encouraging them to help us with our research by following or liking our social media services on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.
    • Expand your ongoing posting schedule to include a few additional postings of original content you create, as discussed in class, about topics that you believe might be more resonant with our audience than traditional news already covered by other media. This is a way not only to better serve our audience and sharpen our brand but also to use social media to test possible topics for additional coverage that traditional media might undertake.
    • Devise a list of at least 10 Likert scale (-2 to +2, 0 to 4, etc.) qualities on which each posting in our service could be unambiguously scored by anyone in the class so that we may then assign scores to each posting we have made and correlate which factors seem to have the greatest influence over various forms of engagement with those postings.
    • Begin thinking about our ultimate goal — drafting, as a team, a final report to campus and other local media using our readings, experiences and data to make a convincing case for how they could improve their social media products to more engagingly reach a campus audience.
    • Come up with a list of any specific technologies or techniques we may need to spend a bit more time learning this semester to enable you to better achieve these objectives. We plan to spend the remainder of the semester splitting time between working on our report and learning whatever additional skills you think might be advantageous to you.

    Kirk Berridge (kirk@fanmedianetwork.com), our speaker March 29 wrote after class that he would be more than happy to talk to any of you who may have additional questions about Fan Media Network or about social media entrepreneurship in general.

    “I am a connector,” he wrote, “and hope they take advantage of the chance to talk to me because I will talk with them and make introductions as well.”

    If you are interested specifically in Fan Media, you can:

    • Install the app (http://apple.co/1HhY2QQ) and use it as a fan.
    • Build an iPhone video demo reel covering sports news (Illinois, Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Fire).
    • Compete to earn money, official status and special access and media credentials.
    • Seek an internship.
    • Work for the company as a Media Manager.

    He also provided this correspondent kit containing tips on making and editing iPhone videos covering their favorite teams and this video of his presentation to the SXSW conference he mentioned.

For March 8: Going public with our news service

 

The noise throughout campus this week should be all about http://twitter.com/TheNoisOfficial and http://facebook.com/TheNoisOfficial as we officially roll out our social media news service.

Everyone should be now be using Buffer to schedule posts and following the other instructions we came up with in class last week. In addition to making regular posts as discussed in our earlier Reports and Announcements, remember to:

  • Use Bit.Ly to shorten URLs so we can track the effectiveness of our posts.
  • Add a #NowNois, #EnjoyNois, #ActiveNois, #ConnectNois, #IdentityNois or #DiscussNois hashtag to allow users to sort by persona.
  • Fill in all the blanks on our posting schedule and stick to it.
  • Pick up copies of flyers from Room 31 and post them all over campus. (An ample supply was still there on one of the tables Saturday. Ask me if you need more.)
  • Follow up with all the avenues – at least two major initiatives per class member – that you last week volunteered you could pursue to encourage likes and followers .

As of Saturday night, we had only 20 followers on Twitter and 16 likes on Facebook. We need hundreds more than that if we hope to gather relevant data, and now is the time for everyone in the class to start blanketing campus with flyers, postings on your own accounts, requests for publicity or to talk to classes and any other methods you can think of to generate interest in our accounts.

Special guest this week

PIX
Mike McCray and your instructor in the Dallas newsroom this summer

Tuesday, we will spend all of our class period working with special guest Mike McCraysocial media editor of the Dallas Morning News. 

A 2009 North Carolina A&T journalism graduate, Mike spent four years as a copy editor, lead sports designer, lifestyle and nightlife reporter, then social media coordinator for the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer before moving to the Dallas Morning News as digital content promotion coordinator. This month he was promoted to social media editor as part of a complete newsroom re-envisioning, which he played a key role in, after A.H. Belo heirs spun the paper off into a private, family-owned corporation focused on operating the newspaper independently and sustainably as a 21st-century major metro.

An expert in responding to digital and social media metrics, identifying content resonant with diverse audiences and creating engaging social media postings that get to the heart of what makes content interesting to readers, Mike talks passionately about how he made his way from college to a major metro, the importance of learning social media and the future of news operations.

His three-day visit to campus in the second part of the Scripps-Howard Foundation visiting professorship in social media that sent your professor to the digital breaking news desk of the Dallas Morning News  for two weeks last summer. Mike also will be speaking to several other classes, at a faculty brown bag and at a special meet-and-greet with free pizza and soft drinks Tuesday night. The latter event is co-sponsored by the Journalism Department and the campus chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists. No registration is needed, but email slconrad@illinois.edu by noon Tuesday if you want to share in the pizza and soft drinks.

Later this semester, we’ll have a brief online presentation from a social media entrepreneur, Kirk Berridge, founder and CEO of FanMediaNetwork and its iPhone app, who will not only be looking for content providers but also can shed some light on how to cultivate an audience and create an entrepreneurial new service.

Remember to document your contributions

As mentioned previously, part of the challenge of any entrepreneurial team project (such as this class) is not merely performing duties as assignment but also identifying ways in which you can contribute to the overall objectives of the projects. That means not only great ideas for posting but also special efforts to publicize our efforts to generate an audience.

For grading purposes and to make sure we all know what each other is doing, don’t forget to make a weekly post – right before the start of class each week – to the Activities category. Your postings there and in other assigned categories on this site will form the portfolio of work on which you will be graded.

Only five of you posted your reports for last week. The rest of you need to add yours, and everyone needs to make report his or her activities for the past week before the start of class Tuesday.

Worthwhile reading

In your spare time (yeah, sure), be sure to check out these sites:

Fire away! It’s live testing week

 

This week, we’ll be practicing posting live to The ’Nois Facebook  and  Twitter pages via our shared thenoisofficial@gmail.com account. We still have to finish some design work on those pages, and we have to come up with a consistent policy for using our own bit.ly shortened URLs in every posting, so we can more accurately track all referrals. Reminders of many of these are in the Reports category. Still, we’re getting there.

In class, we’ll try to take care of those loose ends, evaluate how our test week went, then work to finish our promotional materials and, if everything is a go, launch into our regular routine of providing our service on a daily basis and begin an extensive campaign to promote it so we can generate an audience whose use of our postings we will track. We also need to refine exactly what categories we will use in tracking.

Meanwhile, keep in mind what we have learned about conversational tone, adding our sub-persona as hashtags and, most recently, adding visuals, as recounted below. Also, before the end of class Tuesday, please be sure to post under the new Activities category a brief report outlining everything you did this week. This is an important part of your portfolio for grading purposes.

Another item potentially on tap for Tuesday, subject to logistics being worked out, is a brief presentation by a real-life social media entrepreneur, Kirk Berridge, founder and CEO of FanMediaNetwork and its iPhone app, who will not only be looking for content providers but also can shed some light on how to cultivate an audience and create an entrepreneurial new service.

Creating visuals for postings

Here are several examples of how to create images to accompany social media postings. For in-stream images in Twitter, the preferred size (to avoid possible clipping) is 44o by 22o pixels. Twitter allows up to 5MB for photos, 3MB for animated GIFs, but you don’t want to get anywhere near those limits, especially if you are targeting mobile users.

Sites like https://giphy.com/create/gifmaker allow you to create a brief animated GIF from any web-posted video:

giphy

But that’s not the only way to create animations. You can also create them in Photoshop (using “frames” animation as explained in our video demonstrations):

COMBINE2

Animation isn’t the only way to create visuals or memes for social media posting. One technique, not often used professionally but holding great promise as something we might wish to test, is combining pictures and text, as is done with this one for the same story:

combine

Or this one for a different story, both using techinques demonstrated in the others videos:

meme

Worthwhile reading

In your spare time (yeah, sure), be sure to check out these sites:

Assignments for Feb. 23

We have a raft of assignments for the week leading up to class Feb. 23 as we get closer to going live with our new social media news service.

Testing our live service

First, everyone must sign up to become part of a minimum two-person team that will share responsibility for creating at least one unique social media posting (preferably more) every day until Feb. 23 for each of our six sub-persona:

  • Now (headlines, breaking news, crime)
  • Enjoy (arts, entertainment, travel, fashion, leisure)
  • Active (fitness, sports, health, nutrition)
  • Connect (what we do, careers, classes, majors)
  • Identity (who we are, gender, minorities, ethnicities)
  • Discuss (politics, issues)

Because we’re short of being able to pull this off without them, members of the editing group will form the Now team as well as function as editors for the other groups and  select content to repeat into our flagship “best of the best” group:

  • The ’Nois (flagship, “best of the best”)

Double-check your assignment on the signup sheet and be sure to include your email address. Note that if you did not sign up during class Feb. 16, you were drafted. If you didn’t get your first choice, we will talk about rotating assignments for coming weeks. The editors are free to reassign group memberships as needed, so if you really need to change this week, you may do so if you clear the change with them.

The editors will be sending each group an email discussing scheduling and procedures. For this week’s exercise, you will send all your postings to the editors by email, as described in the note you will receive. They in turn will create a daily summary of all the edited offerings and post them (this week, at least) to the Tweets category on this site.

Material referenced in postings may come from any site, but class members should pay closest attention to these local sites, taking turns consulting them frequently every day:

Creating our pages and flyers

Everyone other than the editors also has been assigned to one of two groups. Please email the instructor as to which group you have joined. The two groups have these charges:

INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Creating separate Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for each of our seven persona. The Twitter accounts are to be registered under special new GMail accounts that group members will create, sharing the login information among all class members. The Facebook pages will be managed by all class members, whose personal Facebook accounts should by now be assigned to our class Facebook group. If you find that you aren’t yet a member of the group, contact Ryan Vasicek via Facebook. This team also is responsible for securing the bit.ly or other link-shortening service we will use and making sure that service includes appropriate means to robustly track everything about whether readers click on the items we post.

PROMOTION

  • Creating final versions of promotional flyers, including a final version of our The ‘Nois logo, which also needs to be supplied to the other team for inclusion on all of the Facebook and Twitter accounts created. The promotional material should have a consistent look and feel but focus on different aspects of our service. This group also should prepare copy for our signup jump-station web page, which we are likely to create at http://TheNois.com, once that domain is registered and set up. The group should further finalize our strategy for distributing the material, talking to classes, etc., creating a very specific action plan that can be implemented Feb. 23.

What’s coming next

We have maybe one or two more weeks of planning to do before switching into full production mode. For class Feb. 23 we will do a final review of our Tweets, transfer them over into the infrastructure accounts to “salt” the service, create our signup jumpstation, and start working to distribute our materials and promote our service.

We also will settle on final procedures to be used when we go live, and begin actual live posting to our real accounts, using whatever rotating schedule of assignments we adopt. Before that, however, we will have to discuss and practice obtaining visuals to go with all of our postings.

In the weeks following Feb. 23, the class will enter Phase II, where each week’s abbreviated meeting time will be devoted in part to a post-mortem of the past week’s postings and brainstorming of ideas for improving in the coming week. Until we start getting actionable results that will let us analyze and rethink our strategies, we will devote the second part of each week’s  abbreviated class  to introductions to various technologies that might assist us along the way — more about creating memes and other photos and illustrations in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign and exploring basics of HTML 5, CSS 3 and content management solutions like WordPress. We also have videos available to help with these.

Once we start getting more data, we will move into analytical mode and begin Phase III, doing statistical analyses of our data and writing up results and documenting what we have learned about best practices in a professional research style while continuing to provide our social media news service.

Worthwhile reading

In your spare time (yeah, sure), be sure to check out these sites:

And consider attending this session:

Feb. 11 is Tweet Day!

Thursday, Feb. 11, is the day we chose to practice creating 100-character-or-less Tweets about current local news as another test run for our social media service, The ‘Nois.

First, consult these seven local news sources throughout the day:

When we actually get up and running, you can look elsewhere, too. But to make sure everyone is working from the same material, let’s limit ourselves to new material, posted Thursday, by just these seven news sources.

Identify at least 10 stories — even more would be better — that could be of interest to members of the campus community. Compose at least one engaging Tweet/headline about each of the stories and identify which one or more of these slightly modified The ‘Nois persona, the names for which are still tentative, the Tweet/headline would be directed to:

  • Now! (headlines, breaking news, crime)
  • Enjoy! (arts, entertainment, travel, fashion, leisure)
  • Active! (fitness, sports, health, nutrition)
  • Connect! (careers, classes)
  • Believe! (faith, service)
  • Diverse! (gender, minorities, ethnicities)
  • Belong! (family, Illini legacy)
  • Discuss! (politics, issues)

Remember to stress what makes the story relevant or interesting and to use an extremely conversational tone, sometimes employing first or second person, as explained in previous postings by the Best Practices and Sampler groups in previous weeks. If you can turn a phrase without torturing it or getting in the way of meaning, by all means do so.

After posting your Tweets/headlines on Thursday to the Tweets category here, take some time Friday through Tuesday to go through everything your classmates posted and add at least one original comment about what each of them wrote. Point out different tactics that worked or that could have worked better, interesting “finds” and things we probably shouldn’t have found — basically, be your classmates’ encouraging coach and harshest critic. How extensively you evaluate others’ postings is just as important as how well you do writing your own Tweets/headlines.

We will then evaluate the Tweets/headlines and discuss the comments during class Tuesday, Feb. 16.

By the way, TheNois.com would be available as a domain if we want to register it for our jump/signup page.

Continue work on team reports

In addition to evaluating and discussing our Tweets/headlines, we’ll also have progress reports — hopefully including finished material — from these groups, which should post their results to the Reports category before class Tuesday:

  • Logo: A vector rendering in Illustrator of The ‘Nois megaphone logo. (Blaize Stewart, Ryan Vasicek)
  • Flyers:  A solid start on promotional ad copy, which may have to be tweaked a bit with final names and design and sample postings. (Ryan Donlan, Molly Gordon, Aaron Swearingen, Brea Thompson)
  • Practices: More on best practices about how to post socially. (Colleen Romano)
  • Logistics: Prospective work schedule and assignments, HootSuite setup,  etc. (Mike Brodecki, Khaoula Dellahi, Rhea Kressman)
  • Hypotheses: Including filing out application — due Monday, the day before class — for Undergraduate Research Symposium(Masic Chen, Alia Kamal, Ahmed Orabi, Ruoxi Su)
  • Unknown: No assignment recorded; please let Prof. Meyer know what you’re doing for this week.(Michele Ellis, Henry Prystowsky, Samantha Welch)

Team presentations due Feb. 9

For Feb. 9, we’ll spend our first two hours hearing 30-minute reports (which also should be posted to the Reports category) and discussion from each of these four groups. Remember that in any team project it’s incumbent on each team member to find unique ways in which he or she can contribute to the team effort.

Branding

(Mike Brodecki, Ryan Donlan, Ruoxi Su, Brea Thompson)

  • We need to create an overall brand for our social media service and relate it to the sub-brands for each persona within it, refining our previous attempts at Segmentation in light of our experiences with last week’s Test drive. Not only do we need to settle on names and scopes for our persona. Part of this effort is making sure persona names we desire are available on social media platforms we likely will use, including Facebook, Twitter and possibly others. This group’s efforts are likely to include testing of names, logos and content with various targeted segments of the audience. For internal purposes only, it also may involve creating a hypothetical touchstone person we can use as a model for each of the persona to help us better imagine “talking” directly to a human who represents intended audience of the persona.

Publicity

(Masic Chen, Michele Ellis, Alia Kamal, Aaron Swearingen)

  • We obviously cannot finalize plans until we have our branding, but we can start scheming how we will spread the word that our service is available — marketing it through large lecture classes, flyers, postings in other social media, etc. — and we need to begin developing literature that will persuasively encourage students to follow our persona. This may involve further assessment of what users would be looking for, which in turn feeds back into the efforts of the Branding group, and assumes close cooperation with that team. Even before the Branding team is done, however, we need to create an actionable plan, which can later be modified with the Branding specifics, for how we would spread the news of our venture.

Templates

(Molly Gordon, Colleen Romano, Blaize Stewart, Ryan Vasicek)

  • Again, we can’t do final work until we know our brand, but we can do preliminary work on actually setting up social media persona and determining features and platforms to go after. For example, we will need to have a typographic style for our postings that includes a shortened link to the material referenced and some form of visual element — photos, memes or short animated GIFs.  Our first link shortener and tracker will be http://bit.ly, with a username of mdia290 and a password of #31greghall, but it is likely we will need other shorteners that can be tracked. Basically, we need to create infrastructure and instructions for the effort: formats for photos and animated GIFs accompanying posts, finding a time-delay posting client like HootSuite, creating a cheat sheet listing how to use it, etc. — basically, handling all the technical and most of the design components of the project.

Sampler

(Khaoula Dellahi, Rhea Kressman, Henry Prystowsky, Sam Welch)

  • Similarly, we need to create sample content to be used in the marketing / publicity effort, which can then be adjusted into the proper templates and brands once these are known. And we need to produce a more refined and thorough Best Practices guide on how to select and write content, whether and when to use hashtags, the expected tone, how much we encourage comment and interaction, etc. This group also needs to plan the logistics of how the persona will function, deciding whether teams will on a rotating basis be in charge of various feeds or in charge of all feeds for various periods, or both, and whether teams will have an editor in charge of approving all posts. If the previous team is the infrastructure team, consider this the logistics team.

In addition, there’s one more team that won’t report quite yet but will interact with the other teams on these and future efforts:

Research

(Ahmed Orabi)

  • We’re hoping to conduct some actual, legitimate research as part of our effort. This may mean anything from participating in this year’s Undergraduate Research Forum on campus or this summer’s panel on the Scripps-Howard Foundation social media professorship program to producing a scholarly study or trade-journal article. Key to this is that we make sure we are gathering appropriate data all along the way for later analysis qualitatively or quantitatively and look for opportunities to insert such concepts as A/B testing in whatever we eventually do. As our visiting scholar in residence, Ahmed will work with everyone in the class to help make this a reality.

DEADLINE for applying to participate in the campus Undergraduate Research Forum in Monday, Feb. 15. Grad students and visiting scholars aren’t eligible, but the rest of you may find this a really cool thing to add to your resume. More information is at http://undergradresearch.illinois.edu/, and the application is at http://go.illinois.edu/urs2016.

Test driving our persona

For Feb. 2, let’s takes these potential persona we developed out for a test drive.

Consult every conceivable source of current news and information that a student member of the university community might rely upon and find as many items as you can, even if they are “buried” within a larger package, that might be of special interest to people who would follow these persona:

  • i-Arts (fine arts)
  • i-Believe (faith)
  • i-Enjoy (entertainment)
  • i-Family
  • i-Fit (sports, health, etc.)
  • i-Grind (studying, careers, etc.)
  • i-Headlines (“if it bleeds it leads”)
  • i-Legacy (traditions, alumni, etc.)
  • i-OfColor (racial and ethnic minorities)
  • i-Serve (service to the community)
  • i-Travel (international students, student travels)
  • i-Women
  • i-Wonks (politics)

Try to put together up to 10 items for each of the 13 persona / category. Don’t worry about links at this time, just write a roughly 100-character headline (a short tweet) focusing on why a member subscribing to this category would find the item referred to interesting. Make sure what you’re referring to is actual news from the current week, not just a generic pitch that could be made anytime.

Keep in mind the best practices documented in class as well as the various presentations on demographics and interests.

Post your heads / tweets to the test drive category and check what others have posted. We’ll evaluate them in class Feb. 2.

If you have trouble with this, an alternative would be to attend a workshop on our campus’s social media listening service, Crimson Hexagon, from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday in 126 GSLIS and report on it to the class. The first two to choose this alternative can do it instead of finding headlines and tweets.

Learn more at http://publish.illinois.edu/illinoissmc/workshops/.

Welcome to our class website

Here is where we will be posting information about the course, including reports from each team working on various projects throughout the semester. Your accumulated postings will constitute your course portfolio for grading purposes.

Of special interest this week is a workshop on our campus’s social media listening service, Crimson Hexagon, from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday in 126 GSLIS. Learn more at http://publish.illinois.edu/illinoissmc/workshops/.

In class this week we will have reports from these groups:

Possible segmentation strategies

Based on . . .

  • Campus demographics: Ryan Donlan, Michele Ellis, Henry Prystowsky and Colleen Romano.
  • Focus group interviews: Blaize Stewart, Sam Welch and Yany Xie.
  • News stories’ content: Khaoula Dellahi, Miranda Holloway and Ryan Vasicek.
  • Social media content: Mike Brodecki, Masic Chen and Alia Mohd Kamal.

Best practices for posting

Based on . . .

  • Review of literature: Molly Gordon, Ahmed Orabi, Aaron Swearingen and Brea Thompson.

In class, we’ll discuss the groups’ findings and explain how each group should post its findings to this site.