Social Media: Not a Bad Thing in the Workplace

SocialmediaworkplaceSocial media has become such an integral part of our lives that most of us don’t even realize we are on these networks consistently throughout the day. These instances are not just confined to our personal time, but often people access their social profiles while on the clock. Is this wrong? Are there exceptions when it is acceptable to be on social media while at work?

The work I do can often blur together. I constantly stare at computer screens and television assets. I am a firm believer that a ten-minute break every few hours helps my productivity and focus. I will often times take a walk, grab a coffee from the cafeteria or browse my social media accounts to breathe. These little breaks do not have a negative impact on my work performance. I don’t believe they are ethically wrong. Am I the only one that feels this way, especially when it comes to social media breaks?

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#NickiatHSN

In my field that majority of people I work with list their professions in their biography and often promote their shows. For instance, this past week we launched Nicki Minaj’s fragrance exclusively at HSN. Our whole beauty team was posting about it. We were so excited about the social media buzz surrounding it and our work involved in this amazing launch. In my opinion this created a greater sense of teamwork between my colleagues and me. Ultimately I do not believe it is a bad thing to talk about work on social media, as long as it is ethically correct (viva la Best Buy guidelines).

For this reason I do not believe it is necessary for corporations to be strict on employees for their social media use at work. The relationship we are fostering and the environment we are creating is a positive one that brings us closer together. I believe that is invaluable in the workplace. However, I do believe there should be some guidelines to have some sense of control over our fluid social networks.

I believe a great way for companies to ensure their social media policies are understood is to bring them up in meetings every now and then. I discussed in my reading response how my company does quarterly town hall meetings. In these meetings business needs and practices are discussed. I think this would be a great way for my employer to discuss our social media in the workplace stance.

Do you believe companies should be stricter about social media use in the workplace? Do you think social media can encourage positive behaviors?

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The Importance of Accuracy

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I can defiantly see how journalists can feel threatened by social media. When you think about it, anyone can be a journalist these days. Social media allows anyone to break news but is their news factual? Journalists need to employ tools to combat all of the noise on social media and hold the journalism “pledge”: report the facts.

I had never heard of geocodes before this week’s lecture and I have to say, they are so cool! Think of how many more sources journalists could if they used this tool. Better yet, think of how many sources they could check! With limited Twitter users enabling geocodes in their tweets I realize the limitations this tool presents. Hopefully more emphasis is placed on geocodes and it is utilized more in the future!

Another new concept presented in this week’s lecture: reverse search. The giant squid example proves just how important it is to check the validity of imagery on social media. I was unaware this was even possible. During the Boston Marathon bombing I saw so many images with extreme captions on social media. Seeing as this situation was a very extreme one the captions on these images seemed feasible. As more information came out the more I learned some of the images were just not true. When situations like these happen news outlets should take the time to investigate images so false reporting does not occur.

To answer the question posed in the lecture accuracy should be the most important priority for journalists. When news is breaking and journalists want to use social media to report it I think the best practices to still ensure accuracy are to use verified accounts and geocodes. Bottom line: if you can’t confirm a story don’t post about it. As our “Verifying Tweets When News Breaks” article states, it’s more important to get it right than to post it first. Trust is such a hard thing to gain with news viewers, why risk breaking it with a story that can’t be verified?

Sometimes mistakes happen…if a news organization accidently reports something that is not accurate I believe it is extremely important to address it, not delete it. Every once in a while when watching the news I will hear reporters correct themselves if they reported something that later proved to be incorrect. The same should be practiced on social media. Journalists should say sorry, report the correct facts, and post a link with a source verifying this information.

Bottom line: always verify and always be accurate.

Every Social Media Manager’s Worst Nightmare

dflaWe’ve all been to a restaurant before that left us wanting more. The lack of service, atmosphere, or good food can lead to a less than desirable experience. What do you do when this happens to you? Below you will find a hypothetical situation of an individual taking to social media to express their disgust and what I would do to address it.

“I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

Ouch…this is a harsh comment. From a business standpoint I would want to take this down, but sometimes leaving these comments up and responding publicly to them can show the audience that you care about each customer. I would comment on this post by saying “Hi there, Thank you for letting us know the conditions of our store. We are very sorry to hear about your experience. Please send us a direct message giving us more details and we will address the issues you have mentioned. Thank you, Alexis.”

Once I have left my comment I know there will be more left on this post. I have seen so many Twitter rants and Facebook comments go off topic and turn into other users fighting. I do not want that to happen on this post. I want it to be an example of what my company is doing to improve our services. I would let the conversation play out but as soon as obscene language or hate speech came into play I would jump back in the post and let user’s know we do not condone this type of behavior. It is one thing for people to say they agree with the disgruntled customer but to throw this type of language into a post services no purpose.

From one extreme to another, I’ve worked in television for about five years. During my reporting days I was taught to always report fair and balanced to avoid situations like this:

“Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.”

Wow, another  social media attack. This one seems a little harder to address considering the racial issues this viewer has. I would first respond to the comment by leaving one saying “Hi, we are sorry to hear you did not like our story last night. Our goal is to provide our viewers with fair and balanced stories. Please contact by direct message so we can work at providing you with a better story next time. Thank you.”

In our lecture it was noted not to respond in anger. As a reporter it would be hard for me not, considering we know the story was unbiased and accurate. I also believe user’s should not respond in anger so once I let the viewer know I saw this comment I would remove it from our page. Using obscene language is unnecessary and unprofessional. I do not want our viewers to be subjected to this.

How would you react to these situations?

Trust…A Very Powerful Tool

Trust is indeed a very interesting aspect of social media. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…without trust you have nothing on social media. With this aspect so being so important how can we ensure we are creating an environment of trust through our posts?

I really like the trust formula developed by Steve Rayson and outlined in this week’s lecture. Authority x’s Helpfulness x’s Intimacy divided by self-promotion is a pretty spot on interpretation of how trust is developed online. That being said I do believe our teacher, Justin Kings is correct in saying having an element of reliability in this equation is important. This is perhaps my biggest frustration when it comes to social media, both with individuals and brands.

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In my reading reaction this week I talked about an experience I had with Citibikes in NYC over the Memorial Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Citibikes they are bikes (sponsored by Citi Bank) you can rent out for certain periods of time with stations all over the city. It’s supposed to make renting bikes easy, however mine and so many others experiences were just that. To make a long story short my friends and I spent almost two hours circling a two-mile radius trying to find a station that a) had enough bikes, b) had bikes that were able to be rented, c) accepted my credit card, d) accepted the code given to me once my transaction was completed to rent the bikes. At almost every station we went to we saw the same people from previous stops experiencing the same problem. I called customer service three times with no luck and finally took to Twitter to see if I could get a response there. Still no luck…I felt frustrated and defeated! How are they supposed to make my experience better if they don’t see what’s wrong!?

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This is an example of what brands don’t want to experience on social media. The goal should be to add value to follower’s experience. Answering tweets (reliability), helping people (i.e. listening), having authority over content and network, giving followers a unique experience, and a little self-promotion is the formula for success. It sounds so simple, yet so many companies do it wrong. The train company mentioned in this week’s lecture has done it right. I was so impressed by their practices! If only other companies would implement these easy processes into their routine…it would mean a world of difference to frustrated followers!

Are You “Ethical” on Social Media?

imagesSocial media and ethics have always been something I have struggled with. I earned my undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism where I was taught that integrity and fact checking were essentials in the field. In today’s world these notions have been dismissed. With so many people using social media as news sources news outlets are racing to post stories first, often times at the expense of accuracy. I am excited to see how this course addresses these issues.

The “steps to ethical decisions” really struck me as I watched this week’s lecture. I believe this is a fair theory. I think everyone should ask themselves these questions before they post anything online, whether professional or personal.

The fact of the matter is what we post on social media is forever. Someone will always see it and have record of it. For instance, James Franco’s attempt to “hook up” with an underage girl on Instagram. I don’t even follow James Franco on Instagram yet mainstream media has dissected this story from every angel, even after he removed the post from his account. Franco could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he would have asked himself what his motivations were, what the effects would be, and where his duty lies the strongest. Franco says he’s learned his lesson “But what I’ve learned…you don’t know who’s on the other end… So I used bad judgment. I learned my lesson.”  franco

That’s the key with social media. You don’t know who is on the other end. Keep that in mind with every post. My mantra: if my grandmother wouldn’t approve of it shouldn’t be on the Internet!

Onto the question posed regarding connecting with a friend of a murder victim’s on social media…

Last semester in my Research Methods in Digital Communication course Dr. Andrew Selepak discussed an instance where he researched the KKK. He reiterated the importance of disclosing who you are and what your purpose is when working with people. If a reporter wants to connect with the friend of a murder victim I believe they should use similar practices and disclose who they are and why they want to connect with them. This way the ball is in the other person’s court, they can choose if they want to be subjected to the press.

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How Social Media is Transforming the Beauty Industry

If you’ve ever questioned the power of social media on retail then look no further. Julep is a nail polish brand that has utilized social media to transform their business. Forbes magazine predicts this company is the next billion dollar brand in the beauty industry. Julep is a prime example of why it is essential for the beauty industry to re-evalute their social media strategy.

Julep CEO and Founder Jane Park started the company because she wanted to give women something different. Most nail polishes contain toxins and chemicals. Creating a safe nail polish became her passion and thus Julep was born. Parks credits her success by “not telling the customer what they want, we’re giving them what they want” (Tice, 2014). She has done this through social media and distribution feedback.

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On Facebook Julep actively solicits images from their followers. They hold contests with these photos and the photo with the most likes will receive a prize package. Julep is giving the consumer an incentive to follow and interact with them on social media.

Julep also provides their consumers with a unique shopping experience by offering them the chance to subscribe to their business. For $19.99 per month subscribers receive a custom gift box with fresh products. Most Julep products sell for $14 apiece so receiving a variety of products for this small fee is a huge incentive for Julep devotees. Park says once consumers receive their gift boxes the photos roll in on social media and the interactions begin (Tice, 2014). These interactions allow Julep to see how their products are used and reviewed.julep

Julep partner Jason Stoffer notes “beauty is a business where women talk to each other about what products they’re trying. It’s one of the most social businesses there is” (Tice, 2014). Having a booming business online has not only helped Park learn about her customers, it’s also helped her network with beauty retailers. Julep is not only sold on their personal website but in major retailers Nordstrom and QVC. By offering incentives, having a creative approach, and networking on social media Forbes projects Julep is well on it’s way to being the next billion dollar beauty brand (Tice, 2014).

Julep is utilizing their social following and taking it one step further. After listening to their consumers Julep has recently begun crowdsourcing on their website to create a one-of-a-kind nail polish pen (Tice, 2014). This was requested by and curated specifically for their consumers. Talk about advocacy.

The Julep story is important, an inspiration, and one every retailer should hear. Consumers don’t want to feel connected to brands on social media. They want benefits…a tangible experience. Those involved in the beauty industry should take a look at the Julep story and begin to implement similar practices.

In Case You Were Waiting on Baited Breath…the Results Are In!

Last week I asked audiences on Google+ social media focused communities and followers on my blog to take a short survey about social integration in television programming. I chose to ask these audiences as opposed to my Facebook friends because I felt I would get a more diverse demographic of participants. Seventeen people answered a variety of questions detailing social media’s role in television.

One response that stood out to me the most was how people like to see social media incorporated into their television shows. Over 47% of those who took the survey said they liked to see a Twitter crawl as opposed to a television host reading comments (29%). This was interesting to me because later in my survey I asked what incentive would get my audience to participate in social integrations and over 58% said they would post more if they knew a television host would read their post on air. So what is it they really want? Twitter on tv

82% of my audience believes social media in television programming does add value to their shows, but they generally like it to be done more passively (i.e. via Twitter crawl). I can’t say I disagree. It is nice to be updated about the latest in a certain genre every half hour or so in this fashion, when it interrupts a show or becomes the focal point the show’s message can get lost. I also think social media contests are not as common in programming so the incentive to have a famous person read one of my audience’s social posts is something different than what they are used to seeing!

I found out the majority of my audience likes to interact with their television shows on Twitter (58%). Everyone agreed social media will only continue to play a bigger role in television programming in the future and the majority of my audience supports this (48%). 58% of my audience interact on social media via mobile but surprisingly 0% interact on a tablet (that one threw me for a loop). I expect this statistic to change some in the future as tablets continue to take on a bigger role in our digital world.Social-TV

Hindsight is 20/20

Overall I am very happy with the results I received, but looking back I would change some things in my survey. I did not ask any demographic questions which I am disappointed about. To be honest I just overlooked these type of questions and really focused on the meat of the matter. I realize now how important demographic questions are because it could help me understand what gender and race like social integration more.

I also wish I would have asked a few questions centered around YouTube. YouTube is vastly popular but isn’t seen much in social integrations on television. Why? I would like to see what my audience’s feelings on this outlet being incorporated into their television shows would be.

I plan to take this information and really think about what it means to me, my career goals and my focus in this degree program. I think if ever presented the opportunity to make a survey about social integration again I have a great outline and now know better, more precise questions to ask my audience.

Social Survey Says…

In this week’s episode of graduate school I have been asked to create a survey and distribute it on the Internet. I decided to create a survey based on my inspiration for going back to school and getting my Master’s degree: television and social media convergence. I think it is extremely important for television networks to have a social strategy to stay relevant but what does their audience think? I plan to use my friends on Facebook and people in Google+ communities as guinea pigs for this topic.

Ultimately I hope to establish whether or not social integrations on television are effective ways to reach audiences. I think of two television “news” shows I watch on a regular basis: The Today Show and E News. Both of these shows incorporate social media into their programming regularly. The Today Show has “the orange room” aka the social media room (pictured below) dedicated to what’s trending on Twitter complete with a big screen TV for the anchor to utilize during their social update. E News runs a Twitter crawl on a regular basis during E programming and has the hosts address celebrity social media posts, tweets, ect. I’ve never seen a rundown for these shows but I estimate a good 10-15 minutes of the programming (in the television world that is an eternity) is dedicated to some sort of social mention! There are aspects of these strategies that I enjoy but I am not sure if this is because social media fascinates me.

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By asking questions about how often people are exposed to social media on television, whether or not they enjoy it, and what incentives would get them to participate in television network social media campaigns I will help find my answer. Personally I want to see social media integrated into television programming, especially news. In my opinion news stations tend to be very biased and by having social media present I think it could help steer the conversation back to what the consumer is focused on. Regardless, social media has the ability to take television programming to the next level and I hope to find out if others think so too!

So, take a minute. Think about your opinion on these mediums merging and then take this quick seven question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GTYWR6S

Social Media Wrap Up

This semester we have talked about what seems like every aspect of social media. From social media networks to SEO and edgeranking, we’ve performed and analyzed the majority of the social media practices on the Internet. As this semester comes to a close there are still some questions that linger…

How does social media impact journalism? What is social media’s relation with public relations? Is it public relations? How much of an impact does social media have on your job? I’ve thought about these questions throughout the semester and luckily this week’s readings provided some insight.

In my opinion social media and journalism now go hand-in-hand. Print is merely extinct and the majority of journalism can be found on the Internet. News companies have leveraged Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other mediums to post their stories and interact with the public. Perhaps the greatest way social media impacts the news is by giving journalists leads.journalism on social media

As an undergraduate I studied journalism. I remember going into the newsroom and pitching stories to my news director. The majority of my story ideas came from the Internet and my news director would always ask me how I could make my pitch a more personal story for viewers. Social media allows this to happen. Journalists can see what’s trending, ask the public if they’ve been affected by something, and find sources.

What about credibility? News means nothing if it is not reliable. Reuter’s is a great example of a news source having a guide in place for their reporters. In it they stress having a checks and balance system (make sure sources are credible) and encourage journalists to rely on their supervisors and peers to help maintain credibility. I encourage all news companies to set the same standard when it comes to social media and reporting.

On to social media and PR…

Social media is a catalyst for public relations. Social media was created with the intent of sharing content and connecting with people…the primus of public relations. I would encourage PR teams to utilize social media because “by sharing information, both PR and social are able to grow their networks and surpass client expectations.” Social media gives people a platform of millions and millions of people, and in my opinion gives people visibility that surpasses what print and feature article can provide. While most PR teams know this and utilize social media today, it is never a bad for them to get a reminder how important these platforms are for their clients success.

prWhile social media can help accomplish your job more effectively I can’t stress how important it is to be mindful of what is said on these outlets. People watch each other on social media and if they don’t like what they see it can negatively impact your career. My advice: be smart and don’t share anything on social media you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Practice proper edict and your job and reputation won’t be in jeopardy.

In summation, everything public relies on social media to help tell a story, let the right people know the information, and get the job done. Like other aspects of life it is important to set goals that help you define success. Knowing expectations will help you utilize social media appropriately and keep you on the right track.

What are some insights you have in regards to what was discussed above? Do you think every company should be utilizing social media in some fashion? I would love to hear your thoughts.