Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Essentials of Social Media Strategy

My last post included a social media response chart for positive activity, negative, and breach in policy.  The chart was taken from a research paper I recently wrote entitled,

The paper's intent is to help social media managers build a strong social media strategy for their organization.  By summarizing the opinions of fourteen industry leaders, I was able to compile some forty important components of social media strategy suggested by these industry leaders.  I then ranked the key components of social media strategy by taking the leaders' most frequently mentioned themes.  The paper seeks to help social media managers identify the "must-haves" as they begin to develop their organization's strategy.  
You can find the paper here.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

A Social Media Engagement Road Map for the Good Times and the Bad

Businesses jump into social media for a number of reasons, namely because they realize it is a powerful tool.  Still, (those of you who like FDR and/or Spiderman) you have heard it said,  

With great power comes great responsibility. 

As a social media manager, I have had to think about this responsibility in great detail and meet it with strategy.  Social media strategy is a giant of its own, so for now I want to share with you a road map, so-to-speak, of how you might go about managing user engagement on your platforms. Enjoy!

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oh the Places We Will Go...

Last week I met with one of my favorite professors from college just to catch up.  He asked me what I was doing these days and was shocked when I told him that I landed a job in digital marketing.  He asked, "how did you get into that?"  I started thinking about it, and I think my journey toward digital marketing was a long time coming.  I've been an avid social media user since 2005ish when I signed up for a Myspace account and have spent every day since connected to social media.  Maybe it all started in 2006 when I, as a senior in high school, signed up for a Facebook account because I was so excited to college I had to connect with other incoming freshmen.  Or perhaps, even more likely, it may have really started my last year of college when I studied abroad in 2009, that is the year I started blogging.

I didn't have a blog like I have today; instead, I had a Photoblog.  So you've never heard of Photoblog?  I'm not surprised.  Let me preface all of this by highlighting the fact that social media has changed drastically in the past decade.

Photoblog was (and is) a very basic form of social media; it is a blogging website that would allow the blogger to upload photos to their blog giving the world instant access to the blogger's experiences.  Blogs like this were revolutionary for the time, not to mention a huge deal for me when I was traveling. Sometimes I would post a picture with a quick description of something I had experienced, while other times I would post a picture and explain it in great detail, a full on blog.  I would then post the link to Facebook and my friends and family would be able to follow me on my adventures.  This might seem commonplace today with platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr... People take pictures and share it with their friends and family on different sides of the world all the time these days but back then it was significantly more uncommon.  Let's not forget, in 2009 Twitter only had 18 million users (3.8% of adult Internet users), while it now has about 750 million!  Instagram hadn't even come out yet, and wouldn't be released until October, 2010.  So, though I may not have been reinventing the wheel, I was certainly doing something that was a little ahead of its time and I was excited to be able to share my adventures.  I continued to post on this Photoblog when I lived in Puerto Rico the next summer.  From there I landed a coaching job at Point Park University, followed by a job in the School of Business managing a few social media accounts.  My love for social media grew each day and expanded into other forms of digital marketing.  A year later, I got a promotion and my role became digital marketing for the School of Business, I've been ever since. Looking back, I'm a little sad to see that the Photoblog site I used so much never really took off.  Still, it is exciting that there are now so many other great ways to share pictures, posts, etc. from different corners of the world.

Reminiscing on my old Photoblog, I found a bunch of pictures that I'd like to share. I've posted them HERE on Flickr.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CBS Pittsburgh Features My Use of Google Glass at Point Park University

Today was an exciting day for us in the School of Business at Point Park University.  KDKA-TV/CBS featured our use of Google Glass in two segments.

Pittsburgh Today Live!

The Nightly News - View a recap of the story HERE.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NISM Study Guide: Social Media Compliance, Governance, and Law

To get certified in Social Media Strategy through the National Institute for Social Media, I spent weeks researching compliance/governance issues that surround social media.  The following is a summary of what I found related to compliance/governance in social media, which I believe will be helpful to anyone who manages social media for business/commercial use and/or is taking the NISM exam:

FTC Guidelines

  • Truth in advertising - consumer protection laws apply to everyone who advertises or markets to consumers
  • Disclosure! "As with all truth in advertising laws, the consumer must know he or she is being sold to before reading something or taking action to purchase." -Sara Hawkins

The FTC on Endorsements and Testimonials -
The FTC gives guidelines that essentially point out that endorsements must reflect truth. A statement from the website guidelines says,  "Endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser. Furthermore, an endorsement may not convey any express or implied representation that would be deceptive if made directly by the advertiser."

Endorsement = advertising message, endorser = someone other than the sponsoring company.
 "For purposes of this part, an endorsement means any advertising message (including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser..." For more info. on the subject of endorsements/testimonials, visit this site.

To summarize the FTC Guidelines:

  • Endorsements must be truthful.
  • Testimonials must disclose typical results a consumer should expect, and companies can no longer use best-case scenarios or "results may vary."
  • Endorsements must provide disclosure of payment for advertisement or research funded/provided by the sponsoring company.  Disclosures must be clear and conspicuous.
  • Bloggers are often endorsers.  Payment = endorsement and must be disclosed.
  • Celebrity endorsements are a little bit different.  TV commercials and other platforms which are obviously paid endorsements do not require disclosure as the audience assumes the celebrity is being paid.  Other areas that are less clear, such as Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, may require that a celebrity mentioning a product or service in a post must also disclose their relationship with the company of the product or service.
  • Expert testimonials must come from true experts and make claims that are generally accepted amongst other experts in their respective field.

Digital Millenium Copyright Act - DMCA

Taken from this article on Wikipedia: "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet."

Fair Use

Another Wikipedia definition for you, FAIR USE is "a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test."

Want to know more about fair use? Visit this fact sheet on fair use by the US Copyright Office.

The fact sheet mentioned lists four determinants of fair use:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Examples of fair use:
  • Quotations or excerpts that are cited and used for illustration, such as in the beginning of this blog when I reference Sara Hawkins.
  • Quotation of short passages used for illustrations, such as the paragraphs I used from wikipedia.
  • Summary of an address or article with brief quotes in a news report.
  • Use in a parody of the content.
  • Reproduction by a library to replace a damaged copy.
  • Reproduction of a portion of a work for educational purposes.
  • Reproduction for legislative/judicial purposes.
  • Incidental reproduction in a broadcast of a work located at a scene being reported.

Copyright Law and Copyright Infringement gives a great summary of copyright law in this article.

What can be copyrighted?

  • Visual Arts
  • Literary Works
  • Sound Recordings
  • Audiovisual Works
  • Architectural Works
  • Sculptures
  • Dramatic Works
These works are automatically protected by copyright law and do not require that the author register their copyright.  As I mentioned earlier in this blog, the article above points out that copyrights protect the expression of an idea, not the idea itself.  

What rights are reserved for the author of the copyrighted work? Again, referring to the link above, this article, the website says:
To paraphrase, copyright law (outside of a few exceptions) generally provides the following exclusive rights:

  • The right to perform or display it publicly
  • The right to create an offshoot or sequel (called a derivative work)
  • The right to copy it
  • The right to distribute copies of it

This great article from the same website explains some examples of copyright infringement.

Some examples of copyright infringement were:

  • Using someone else’s material on YouTube without permission
  • Posting a picture (without permission) from Google Images
  • Publishing a translation of someone’s foreign work
Generally speaking, copyrights are good for the author's lifetime + 70 years.


The following is an excerpt from

What is a trademark or service mark?
• A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
• A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. Throughout this booklet, the terms “trademark” and “mark” refer to both trademarks and service marks.

Do trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect the same things?
No. Trademarks, copyrights, and patents protect different types of intellectual property. A trademark typically protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. A patent protects an invention. For example, if you invent a new kind of vacuum cleaner, you would apply for a patent to protect the invention itself. You would apply to register a trademark to protect the brand name of the vacuum cleaner. And you might register a copyright for the TV commercial that you use to market the product." -For more information, view the full site here.

I also found a great publication called, "Trademark Issues in Social Media." Check out the publication HERE, written by Janet Garetto for Nixon Peabody.

Creative Commons Licenses

I was not familiar at all with this area of social media compliance.  The following excerpts are taken from

What our licenses do The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law.
License design and rationale All Creative Commons licenses have many important features in common. Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially... A Creative Commons licensor answers a few simple questions on the path to choosing a license — first, do I want to allow commercial use or not, and then second, do I want to allow derivative works or not?...
Lastly, this wikipedia article explains Creative Commons Licenses in the following way, "A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use and build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work, so they don’t have to worry about copyright infringement, as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work. There are several types of CC licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution."

If you are studying for the NISM exam, I hope this helps!  Don't forget to read through the handbook and know ALL of the sections thoroughly.  Good luck!

Thanks for reading.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Point Park University's 1st Virtual Fieldtrip Using Google Glass

If you read my last post, you know that last week I went to Carnegie Mellon University to conduct a virtual field trip using Google Glass for students in the School of Business at Point Park University.

Prior to the trip, I had concerns about whether or not Glass would actually work as intended.  One of the glitches Glass has yet to overcome is its often inability to work around interference.  When Glass is surrounded by other technology such as computers, other WIFI networks, phones, etc., it runs the risk of not working properly.  Being that CMU is one of the most technologically rich universities in the world, I was a little worried that Glass would basically explode.  Fortunately for us, it did not!

I walked around the whole campus wearing Glass, giving the Point Park University students across town a virtual campus tour of CMU via a Google Hangout.  What sets Glass apart from a computer or a smartphone when using Google Hangouts is that the perspective changes.  Rather than seeing what the computer or smartphone camera would see, which is usually just a person's face, Glass projects what the wearer is seeing.  This first-person perspective gives the person on the other end of the Google Hangout the feeling that they are actually there!

We ended the virtual campus tour in the Office of Admissions for Heinz College, with an interview of the Director of Admissions who was able to talk about the new partnership between CMU and PPU.  The partnership awards Point Park University students accepted into graduate school at Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College a scholarship of $6,000 per semester to help pay for their studies.  Check out CMU's website for more information on this partnership.

Though the trip was successful in its own right, the real success lies in the possibilities for the future; Glass can now be used for virtual field trips all over the city of Pittsburgh and even for virtual fieldtrips all over the world! We plan to use Glass to make Point Park University's School of Business even more hands on than it already is by literally bringing our students into the field they are studying.  Follow me as I continue to post about Glass and its use in higher education and go where no university has gone before!

Thanks for reading.
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