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Social Media; The Best Outcome is Earned (Or Coupled With Paid & Owned Media)

Recently, I came across an article by Lauren Drell titled, “How Social Media Is Changing Paid, Earned & Owned Media“. The take away from this article is definitely the benefit of each type of media coverage. In the Internet Politics course at Georgetown University, we had a guest speaker, Simon Owens from Jess3 on July 18, 2011. Owens, the Director of Public Relations, discussed how the agency he works at differs in that they operate through earned media for their clients. Drell says  that media that is earned is “squarely social”. “A YouTube channel will succeed only if consumers watch and share the videos they see. A brand needs to earn those eyeballs with creative execution of content”.

Drell and Owen discussed earned media in that same context, in order to be successful through earned media, the publisher must produce content that appeals to the widest range of users possible. Not only must this appeal to a wide range of people, they must also want to share it with others, therefor they must also be an influencer or at least have a range of influence where they can reach other influencers. “So, the goal of the modern agency is to connect the dots and integrate all media for maximum results. Of the three buckets, the holy grail is earned media. Earned media can be most easily described as the result of paid and media — you buy a Super Bowl ad (paid) or you run a promotion on your brand’s Facebook Page (owned), and then and then people in the media talk about it (earned) and the Twitterverse erupts into conversation about that topic. You may shell out big bucks to flash an ad before a consumer, but you can’t force them to buy anything or tweet about it — you have to earn that consumer’s dollars and tweets, you have to engage and empower him to become your evangelist, says Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester“.

Also within this article, Drell discusses paid and owned media. Owned being media that which is published by and on a company’s website. Paid being media that which is purchased (usually at a much higher price than the other two) and presented on the purchased space. The article goes further to discuss the value of using each type of media and how they work together to promote the overall package, if applied concurrently. “As more consumers get on board with social media, generating earned media through social shares will become an even higher priority. And that means paid and owned media — and the teams that manage each — will need to work together even more seamlessly. The barriers of the silos are broken, and they’re only going to crumble more”.


Here Comes Everybody, With New Online Tools For Activists

Mashable.com has become my primary source for developments in social media, emerging technology and even pop culture. Not a surprise as the site is so customizable. Today, I stumbled upon an article titled, 5 Online Tools For Activists, by Activists, by Susannah Vila. As introduced in the article, Vila “directs content and outreach at Movements.org, an organization dedicated to identifying, connecting and supporting activists using technology to organize for social change”.

In her article, she identifies five online tools: 1) CrowdVoice 2) Sukey 3) Off-the-Record Messaging 4) Crabgrass and 5) Piddler. These tools emerge as niche-oriented platforms for activists. Vila theorizes that through a need for socialization, which directly correlates with the same statement by Clay Shirky in his book; Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, users will congregrate online to support like causes. Shirky was led by the same conclusion that the majority of people who participate online in support of a cause are initially pulled in by watching their peers become active within a similar activism and from there they share and inform others. Vila and Shirky share this common outlook, Shirky outlined examples of when activism catches on within a circle of influence and becomes a online phenomen which potentially occurs at certain points when a social network is popular at a given time and not crowded by other sites. This may be at points when there are not prominently emerging sites, like Google+’s unveiling. Will we see large scale following of causes in the near future, once the shock of this new social media tool takes on relative use? Shifts for movements due to shifts in or primary, popular networks.

Vila lists five online tools that are newly emerging that could potentially sway a large crowd if they become popular enough globally, to effectively advocate a cause. CrowdVoice is open to all users to share content to support causes and share information related to their concern. Among the current topics are LGBTQ Rights in the USA, Protests in Iran, Demands for Reform in Jordan, the topics are varying and may be too broad for users to find a cause to become passionate about if it becomes to difficult to discover peers. Aesthetically, the site appears to be cluttered with information.

“Sukey is our name for a set of applications designed to keep you protected and informed during protests. When you see something interesting, you tell us. When we’re confident that something has actually happened, we tell you,” states the website of Sukey.org. Accompanied by a mobile application, this site appears to take action itself, mobilizing others to follow suite. They claim to “keep demonstrators safe, mobile and informed”. Based in London, Sukey encourages users to use twitter as a form of notification, brought together through hashtags. Off-the-Record Messaging appears to be the more dangerous of the suggestions, it encrypts your messages so that they cannot be read by those intercepting the message. This may imply to some people that users have something to hide, which can be both good and bad.

Crabgrass is a software that is more directed for the organization that would utilize its services rather than the overall audience that would be supporting an organization. It was setup by Riseup. Vila points out that the United Nations Development Programme and Camp for Climate Action are both users of Crabgrass, which definitely adds credibility to the service.

Finally, Vila suggest Piddler as an online tool for activists. Piddler is a social network allowing users to be completely anonymous beyond information they provide. It is secure and may provide the opportunity for activists to organize and mobilize their efforts for activism without being traced and followed by advertisements or opposing organizations. The site claims to be “clever, secure and quick,” which are definitely terms that one would be looking for in a social network.

The five tools outlined by Vila are great resources for those looking to become active; they provide very different benefits of safety, privacy, secure communication, mobilizing and connection. Here Comes Everybody can be embodied by many networks that Shirky could not have even been aware of when writing his book, but the evolution of activism and the ability of those to come together online continues to develop.


The Alliance “Raise Your Voice” Campaign for International Exchange

Through the course “Internet Politics” led by Professor Alan Rosenblatt, Ph.D., I will be following the organization Alliance Exchange on all social media and networking levels. There is a current “Raise Your Voice” campaign being implemented that will be the focus of my studies throughout the course. Their website states, “Through our Raise Your Voice for International Exchange campaign, the Alliance is striving to increase the profile of international exchange programs—and their very tangible value in communities across the United States. At a time when pressure is mounting for reductions in federal spending, Members of Congress need to hear directly from their constituents about the local impact of exchanges in their home states and districts. They need to be aware that exchange programs benefit local communities, colleges and universities, high schools, businesses, and individual citizens.” The end result of these studies will be an evaluation of the current campaign and a redesigned campaign to spread awareness for federal support of international exchange.

The Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange is an association of nongovernmental organizations comprising the international educational and cultural exchange community in the United States. The Alliance serves as the only collective public policy voice of the exchange community and works to promote international exchange programs: sending Americans abroad, and bringing foreign participants to the U.S., for educational, professional, or cultural purposes.

The mission of Alliance Exchange is “to formulate and promote public policies that support the growth and well being of international exchange links between the people of the United States and other nations. We work to accomplish this missions through direct advocacy with the U.S. Congress, Department of State, and other agencies within the Executive Branch.”