Communication Using Social Platforms Essay

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Textbook:
Lipschultz, Jeremy Harris. Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics. 3rd Edition.  

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Exploring the ‘social’ in
Social Media
The Plan
• Introduce key
issues/debates/anxieties that
surround the use of social media
communication
• Place these in the context of your
own media diet
• Posit a couple of arguments about
what is ‘new’
In the next decade, will public discourse
online become more or less shaped by
bad actors, harassment, trolls, and an
overall tone of griping, distrust, and
disgust?– Pew Research Center
(@pewinternet, 2019)
I think anyone on the internet with
eyeballs at this time and place is a
bargain. Because it’s so new, no one really
knows what they’re worth.– Logan Paul
(@LoganPaul, 2016)
We live in a time where brands are people
and people are brands.– Brian Solis
(@briansolis, 2013)
Key Issues and Debates

Trust. Traditional vs. Social news outlets and other forms of “official” information and content

Amplification. Impact with of course both accurate and inaccurate information. How/why s/t goes viral.

Collective Intelligence. Growth of knowledge through crowd but also “mob justice”

Role of Media Gatekeeping vs Raw content. Representation of diverse voices, mis/information.

Political and Cultural contexts. Social media boundaries/politics despite apparently borderless reach

Media Literacy. Can we accurately and effectively interpret the content and media?

Addiction models of social media. Social and economic implications

Surveillance and data collection. User vs. Product.

Identify Formation. Self-identification and community alignment through social communication.
Reflect on your media diet …

Think carefully about how you consume information – specifically hot information like politics, health,
social issues. What sources do you rely on? Is there a range of sources?

To what extend do you rely on social media feeds to shape and/or confirm your knowledge and
opinions?

How active are you in seeking out a range of different viewpoints on issues? How do you do it?
Experiment with your social media feeds – consciously look for information on an issue that you may
not agree with. How did that go?

How salient is social media communication in performing and developing your sense of self and
community identification?
Mechanics of Social Media communication
Blah …
Blah …
“networked individuals
engaging in interpersonal, yet
mediated, communication.”
Storytelling as social media communication?
• Personal and professional shifts in how we tell stories
• How do we construct our self narratives?
• How do we construct our brands?
• What does a narrative look like?
• Rethink the nature of agenda-setting function of narrative
• TRUST
• “The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals
that despite a strong global economy and
near full employment, none of the four societal
institutions that the study measures –
government, business, NGOs and media – is
trusted.
• The cause of this paradox can be found in
people’s fears about the future and their role
in it, which are a wake-up call for our
institutions to embrace a new way of
effectively building trust: balancing
competence with ethical behaviour”
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA-NC
Social networking sites (SNS)
• web-based services that allow individuals to
• (1) construct a public or semipublic profile within a
bounded system,
• (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they
share a connection, and
Self-construction
Self –presentation through connection
• (3) view and traverse their list of connections and
those made by others within the system. The nature Distribution
and nomenclature of these connections may vary
from site to site.

• (boyd & Ellison, 2008, p. 211)
of identity through community
• While personal branding has become popular, the new mobilesocial media may be best reflected by singer Taylor Swift as an
“UnBrand” – “a symbol or emblem to a group of people” that
begins as “blank space, allowing various groups of fans to
identify with her and project their ideal self” (Honjo, 2016,
para. 6).
Relational
Expectations
“When it comes to social media communication, individuals
present themselves online, and use a constructed identity
for impression management in relationships. “Social
networking sites, such as Facebook, are particularly
interesting to communication researchers because they are
dedicated specifically to forming and managing impressions,
as well as engaging in relational maintenance and
relationship-seeking behaviors” (Rosenberg & Egbert, 2011,
p. 2).”
• Existing inter-personal connections can move into online
spaces
• New connections based in interest (games, fan groups,
politics) can be made in online spaces
• New ambiguity in self-disclosure – not a question of
anonymity, but that identity can be altered – versions of
self – in amplified ways
• Fluidity and instability of identity opens up potential for
unbounded social interaction but also amplifies trust
issues
Identityconstruction
Identity through act
of Disclosure
• Acts of disclosure (relative control) key to degrees of
relationship formation
• Online presence created through acts of disclosure that
are continuous and ongoing and expected
• Consider distinctions between sharing and disclosure –
the former does not always indicate the latter
• We seek interpersonal connections and to explain
ourselves and to understand others
• This need to interactivity is the internal logic of social
media communication
• How does it meet/exploit our desire for connection?
Interactivity
Community/
Community
construction
• Unprecedented potential for community construction and
engagement
• Potential for opportunities for new stories, new acts of
cultural production and change
• Need to better understand role of platforms, but also the
relationships between online community engagement and
material change
• How communities self-identify through group building,
through cultural production, inclusion/exclusion, etc.
• Potter world having a tough time with this right now as an
example).
• Social interaction theory looks at links between popular or
positive traits and judgements of sincerity (trust) – links to
influence/leadership online
• Blurred boundaries of cultural consumption and cultural
production as forms of communication. Reshapes how we
understand roles of identity construction and
representation.
Behavior and social
settings
• Examine relationships in and between social networks for
culture-level examinations of behaviours, trends, attitudes
• IE – do members of political network suggest relational
connection to other social issues?
Relational Patterns
Influence and
Leadership
• What is needed to secure and amplify influence within
networked environment?
• Examine relationship between need to ground influence or
momentum within virtual communities to live material
events
• Performative vs. substantial activism using social media
communication?
Memes are thought to compete for
attention through imitation and
iteration:
Memes (more next week!)
• Memes are “understood as
cultural information that passes
along from person to person, yet
gradually scales into a shared
social phenomenon.”
• They “reproduce by various
means of imitation.”
• They are interesting because of
“their diffusion through
competition and selection.”
POWER AND
SOCIAL CHANGE
Social media and Action
Collective Action
• Communication technologies historically
connected to sites of revolution
• They change the game of who, how and
when people can communicate
• Think of mobility (radio, phones) and
potential for collective action
Census flash mob dance on Times Square
COURTNEY GUARINO • SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
“ These networks suggest that digital activism has
entered a second act, in which the tools of the
Internet have been increasingly integrated into the
hard-won structure of older movements. Though, as
Jane Hu,
Aug 2020
networked protest grows in scale and popularity, it
still risks being hijacked by the mainstream . Any
urgent circulation of information —the same memes
filtering through your Instagram stories, the same
looping images retweeted into your timeline —can be
numbing , … You know something has gone wrong
when the San Francisco 49ers post a
#BlackoutTuesday box. … the discourse of Black
struggle remains open to aggressive co-optation.
“The Second Act of Social-Media Activism
Has the Internet become better at mediating change?”
“SOCIAL MEDIA
IS THE
CONNECTIVE
TISSUE OF THE
NEW BODY
POLITIC”
Hashtags as
“connective
structure”
• Sites of identification and connection
• But also sites of contest and negotiation
• Have to be managed and controlled
Cdn Left Media:
“movement demanding
greater economic equality”
Alternate
Narratives
Occupy
Cdn Right Media:
Social media:
“rag-tag ne’er do
Citizen stories of
wells with vague
concerns about
invalid goals”
wealth gap
Shared
Awareness =
Shared Power
“ There is power in the
knowledge that there are
others who are willing to take
a stand. It is a common
thread in movements such as
Occupy ” … (190)
“social media does not replace
taking to the streets”
“Click to Like:”
Slacktivism
or
Empowering Signal to Support
Action
Of ten energy and volume of voice and
attention on social media does not
Voice
without
action?
translate into action or change
• Potential gap or slippage in the
interests driving the resonance online
(Iran example)
• Lack of back door organization and
infrastructure to translate to active
change (Occupy)
• Social Media Communication allows for
velocity of protest – from local issue to
international attention very quickly
Limits of a
Shared
Story
• Gives huge momentum but limited
resilience as social media conversations
move on fast
• How to tap into /contain this f lash of
connection so it leads to real change?
• Lack of leadership at Occupy was both
empowering and limiting feature –
movement held up by logic of
spreadability
Tufekci argued, “modern networked movements can scale up quickly and
take care of all sorts of logistical tasks without building any substantial
organizational capacity before the first protest or march.”
The speed afforded by such protest is, however, as much its peril as its
promise. After a swift expansion, spontaneous movements are often
prone to what Tufekci calls “tactical freezes.” Because they are often
leaderless, and can lack “both the culture and the infrastructure for
making collective decisions,” they are left with little room to adjust
strategies or negotiate demands.
At a more fundamental level, social media’s corporate infrastructure
makes such movements vulnerable to cooptation and censorship.
“The Second Act of Social-Media Activism
Has the Internet become better at mediating change?”
Example of an industry response to changing nature of PR work:
5 Archetypes of Content
Cloverleaf
MOBILE
SOCIAL
SEARCH
https://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2013/10/
content.html
PR Goal: Develop “Strategies that extend the
lifecycle of a Narrative”
“Ecosystem Disruptions” that make storytelling
different and challenging:
• Social personalization – often mobile, content
flowing through lens of friends
• Media proliferation/fragmentation – infinite
content, finite attention
• Advertising Frustration – ad blocking, bots, changes
to monitization
Influence in Media Ecosystem:
•Platforms are technology hubs
where most content discovery
now starts. These dominate the
digital day and include social
networks / messaging services,
search engines and
personalized news curators
•Publishers are groups of
content creators. These include
traditional and digital-native
news organizations, platformsavvy influencers plus content
and digital experiences built by
brands https://www.edelman.com/post/edelman-cloverleafforecast
1
Develop social
storylines.
2
Embrace
distributioncentric
thinking.
3
4
Drive to
earned media.
Create a single
narrative.
5
Focus on
creating
canonical
content.
Ethics and Strategies
https://www.cyberclick.net/numericalblogen/5-best-examples-of-native-advertising-2020
▪ Publications allow native advertising (masked as editorial content) to support
revenue
▪ Risk of enhancing conflation of information: promotion, news, entertainment.
▪ Experience of information gets more flat
Content
Advertising
Content
Advertising
Content
New York
Times
Tim’s roll
up rim
click
Cat video
Fake news
from a bot
Invite to
post photo
wearing
TRU teeshirt
How do we differentiate?




Publisher content
Sponsored content.
Friend content.
Journalism content.
Does it matter?
Who’s benefitting from all
this flat content?
“Social media is where consumers are having conversations today, and
one of the most impactful by products to emerge is that of influencer
marketing. Now, influencer marketing is part of the everyday
marketing mix.
At a high level, it is a form of branded engagement where marketers
connect with those who boast prominent social footprints. The goal is
to plug into new communities and connect the brand/product to new
audiences through the voice and trusted relationships of said
influencer.
Consumers validate information
through:
▪ trusted influence endorsement
and demos
▪ Reviews
▪ networked community
conversation
It’s a lot of
work to be a
consumer
these days.

Simple consumer-generated media is created without prior
request.

Consumer-solicited media, or participatory advertising, occurs
when brands ask consumers to create, for example, their own
advertisement.

Incentivized consumer-generated media offers prizes for
submissions.

Consumer-fortified media result occurs when a professional
advertisement sparks trusted consumer conversation.

Compensated consumer-generated media is a term used to
describe paid bloggers and other arrangements.
JOURNALISM AND
SOCIAL MEDIA
The challenges and paradoxes
THIS WEEK

Paradox of news aggregation

The changing “value proposition” of journalism

Trust and agenda-setting
PARADOX OF AGGREGATION
Coddington: news aggregation is taking news from published
sources, reshaping it, and republishing it in an abbreviated
form” (p. 5).
• Social media communication enables wider reach of stories
• But wider reach involves “information accretion”
Wider reach for story means lack of control over the
goals and meaning of the story, which ‘evolve’ on the
path through “audiences and platforms”.
https://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/the-anatomy-of-the-corporate-contentteam-five-models/16-The_Aggregation_Model_NEWS_AGGREGATOR
2013 – Craft and Davis.
5 foundational democratic needs for Journalism:
o Journalism informs, analyzes, interprets, and explains.
o Journalism investigates.
o Journalism creates public conversation.
o Journalism helps generate social empathy.
o Journalism encourages accountability.
VALUE PROPOSITION


Clearly online journalisms in all
its diversity is a disruption of
business models and so
practices of broadcast
journalism
Within this, can we preserve the
public interest function of
journalism as a professional
practice?
Amy Guth. Changes in behaviour shift the
practice:



Breaking news found through social
media rather than direct reporting to
journalists
Need for ‘hypervigilant’ fact checking
especially in incredibly fast news cycle
Role of eyewitness – first hand accounts
in multi-media; citizen live streams
VALUES – SYMBOLIC AND
CULTURAL CAPITAL
If engagement is to be effective and
meaningful, journalists must earn their
audiences’ attention, build loyalty, and
deepen trust while finding new revenue
streams to subsidize the public-interest
journalism that market forces have never
supported anyway.
– Jake Batsell (@jbatsell, Batsell, 2015)

Assumes responsibility of
profession to adapt to new
value economy

Assumption that ‘publicinterest’ journalism like
government accountability
has never been
economically sustainable.
TRUST AND AGENDA-SETTING

Journalism played/plays a
gatekeeping function – influencing
what people think about

Now the table is both vast and
fractured through social media
communication

Audience/audiences

Public discussion?
HOW WE EVALUATE CREDIBILITY
Informational Trust – “trust of news information”
Interpersonal Trust – “trust of those who delivery the news”
Institutional Trust – “trust of media corporations”
— Williams, 2012
The basis of social media is informal
conversation. Prospects want to be
involved in a dialogue, not subjected to
a stream of sales pitches. Even when no
back-and-forth conversation is taking
place, a company’s posts need to sound
like human speech.
(P. Miller, 2013, p. 92)
▪ As brands strive for social capital, what
about the consumer?
Are we being asked for more than we
should?

▪ Are we getting a good deal in the
exchange of capital?
▪ Are we getting value for our
time/attention/money?
▪ Interactive two-way consumer/brand communication
▪ Conversations/connections/shared control vs. passive consumption of advertising
content
▪ Highly measurable – behaviour data rivels value of conversion to sales.
▪ Indebted to demographic, geographic data for highly targeted direct exposure
strategies
▪ About enabling relationship to accrue “earned exposure” vs one time advertising events
Conversion:
Turn interest into sale.
S/M Conversion:
Turn interest into
Relationship
Greg Satell – https://digitaltonto.com/2013/rethinking-marketing-strategy-for-the-digital-age/
“Difference
between helping
and selling is just
two letters” but
these are key. “If
you sell, customer
today, help, create
customer for life”
Do you agree?
▪ Updated “marketing mix”
▪ Another example of evolving
practice within the industry that
is responsive to this shift to
relationships and sustained valuebased exchange
Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado and Jonathan Knowles https://hbr.org/2013/01/rethinking-the-4-ps
▪ Risk management Strategy in an
unstable communication
environment
▪ Features of effective content
▪ Effective Tactics
▪ Have a formal “social care team” to engage emergent issues
▪ Have a Triage system for posts to design and implement guidelines, filters and
disclaimers
▪ Leverage conversation monitoring to ensure timely but appropriate engagement
opportunities to maximize content
▪ Understand and Use analytics
1) is native to platform;
2) does not interrupt the social media flow;
3) rarely makes demands;
4) leverages pop culture;
5) contains micro-nuggets of “information, humor, commentary, or inspiration”; and
6) stays consistent and self-aware (pp. 16–28).

Audit of social channels and control over account profiles

Social Media calendar for posting/monitoring outcomes to develop voice

Strategic use of relevant and branded hashtags, linking to audience interests, marketing
strategies, analytics and optimization of content.

Links social media strategies and tactics to larger long term strategic planning (ie. his Hilton
example)

Engage in real-time listening, schedule and deploy posts from an inventory, track brand
health across networks

Create personal relationships and sustain it
“the training and deployment of communications
professionals who can understand, integrate, and
utilize the complex opportunities that traditional and
emerging media offer in terms of outreach, behavioral
tracking, analytics, program design, and refinement for
timely and effective response, budget allocation, and
the like.”
Social Media Analytics
ISSUES AND PRACTICES
Social media monitoring is
about listening to what your
audience is saying about you
on social media. It is about
analyzing the data and finally,
it is about creating insights
that will improve your social
media strategy or even your
overall marketing strategy.
“Social media sites offer
a unique opportunity to
measure human nature
and communication
behavior. With every
online click, we leave a
digital trail. There are
huge economic realities
behind the interest in
social media
communication.”
Social Media Monitoring
INFLUENCE
POPULARITY
ENGAGEMENT
TRUST
Measurement of social media involves
tracking online behaviour, often in real time
Debate over what constitutes adequate
social media data analysis
Key issues
Debate over what constitutes ethical data
analysis
Access to and use of metrics is not always
transparent
Principles of Social Media Measurement
Early measures:
popularity, mentions,
followers, reach, likes,
sentiment, interactions,
conversions
ROI
Return on
Investment
COI
Cost of Ignoring
Discipline rather than Tool:
“Transparency central to credible
and trusted social media
measurement”
Monitoring types of behaviour (Gordon 2012)
See – measure eyeballs on things
Say – measure active engagement and participation
Feel – measure sentiment and reaction
Do – measure behavioural outcomes
See, Say,
Feel, Do
Control over data and analytics
Platforms increasingly limit access
to data and use in-house analytics
(sell back)
“Social Media Dashboard” is big
business
Public access to public data?
Imperative for transparency –
Cambridge Analytica
“The
data came from a personality quiz, which
around 270,000 people were paid to take. The
quiz — “thisisyourdigitallife” — in turn pulled
data from their friends’ profiles as well, ending in
the enormous data stash.”
“Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information on
where users lived and what pages they liked, which helped
build psychological profiles that analyzed characteristics
and personality traits.
This kind of information was later deployed in political
campaigns.
Wylie said: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of
people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we
knew about them and target their inner demons.””
“One particularly important aspect of social network analysis is the
detection of communities, i.e., sub-groups of individuals or entities
that exhibit tight interconnectivity among the other wider population.
For example, Twitter users who regularly retweet each other’s
messages may form cohesive groups within the Twitter social
network. In a network visualization they would appear as clusters or
sub-graphs, often colored distinctly or represented by a different
vertex shape in order to convey their group identity.
(Rodrigues et al., 2011, para. 2, emphasis added)
Theoretical roots in Social Network
Analysis
Burnett and Marshall (2003)
“At the very core of the meaning of the Web is linkage and connection: it is
fundamentally about modes of communication and presenting possibilities about
how those modes might intersect. Thus, the Web is simultaneously a massmediated and one-to-one form of communication. It is a site of incredible cultural
consumption and cultural production and makes it harder to establish the
boundary between these two activities.”

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