Sharing Content Online will Strengthen Your Personal Brand

Mashable recently discussed the importance of sharing content on social networking sites.  In addition, they discussed how this could help a person become the ideal job candidate.  In the past, the belief was that a person should do anything and everything to get their name out there on social networking sites.  This meant building their personal brand by writing blogs and sharing them on sites, talking about yourself as much as possible, and making sure that your name appeared everywhere to increase your name/brand recognition on Google.  After years of doing this, it now seems as if that approach detracted attention from an individual.

This change in mindset now goes back to the old adage “sharing is caring,” which I believe can be described as “sharing increases the quality of my personal brand.”  I can attest to this new thought process because it helped me increase my relationships on social networking sites, specifically Twitter.  As a Parent Teacher Association President, one of the topics that I follow closely is public education and the “reform” movement.  I’ve started sharing content online related to public education and my relationships within this field increased immediately.  After a few weeks, I shared my first blog post on this particular topic.  In two days, my audience read the blog over 150 times.  In addition, a local paper published the article and I received recognition from public school teachers throughout my city.  This would not be possible if I did not start the relationship with others by sharing content and spreading the knowledge.

This is an interesting development in new media because it shows a movement from a “me-first” attitude to a “community-first” attitude.  It teaches us that we need to focus on developing relationships first before we try to make a name for ourselves.  In doing so, we strengthen our personal brand by becoming an ideal go-to person for knowledge and to promote other people and their content.  As I explained above, this is important because it transcends from social networking sites to the real world, which can lead to new job opportunities and professional relationships.

JPMorgan Finds Out What a Hashtag Failure is All About

On Thursday, The Telegraph reported that JPMorgan cancelled a social media Question and Answer session due to negative reaction from the public.  The Q&A session was supposed to take place on Twitter with the hashtag #AskJPM.  Top-level executives from JPMorgan claimed that this was supposed to be an online marketing event to help boost positive publicity for the brand.  However, many individuals took it as an opportunity to speak out against the company because of the housing collapse that caused havoc to the economy throughout the world.  From various reports, many of the tweets using #AskJPM were relevant to the housing/global economy collapse while only some were irrelevant or “abusive” in nature.

This is an interesting situation because, in my opinion, it shows how communication specialists (or top-level executives) within JPMorgan did not think through this initiative before implementation.  They did not assess the community to find out their beliefs and opinions before their attempt to use social media to promote the organization.  In addition, they did not research other hashtag failures (also known as bashtags) to learn from the mistakes of other corporations.  The initial research is very important because it helps eliminate some of the issues that could come up by using a hashtag campaign or any other social media initiative. 

This article does not let us know what lessons the specialists/executives learned because they only replied by stating that they learned their lesson and would go “back to the drawing board.”  Therefore, we don’t know if they are assessing their processes or initiatives.  They might just blindly believe that they are correct and there is no reason for the public to act negatively.  This attitude limits the efficiency of the corporation because there is no evaluation procedure to bring checks and balances to its processes.

Can we Replace Standard College Courses with Social Media?

Last week, USA Today posted an article about a recently released study claiming that college professors are using social media as a tool to enhance instruction and learning.  Within the article, it gives accounts from different educators who are using or have used social media within their college courses.  Some educators and students discuss the benefits (i.e., getting to know all the students), while others discuss issues or drawbacks (i.e., privacy concerns) related to instilling social media into their coursework.  The most interesting outcome was the fact that Pearson Learning Solutions co-authored this study on social media and academics.

The concern with Pearson Learning Solutions is that they, along with others, are leading the charge on education reform (or as believed by some, the privatization of public schools).  Most likely, this push for social media integration into college courses is because Pearson and others are trying to push Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) into public universities.  Unfortunately, this article does not address any data or facts regarding the success of implementing social media (or MOOCs) into college courses.  Due to this, I would claim that this study is no more than hearsay and just a method of implementing Pearson’s desires into public universities.   

The integration of social media into college courses has its benefits but it should be under the discretion of the professor.  Some courses have too many students to keep up with the integration of social media.  This extra workload for a professor might limit the amount of attention that each student gets for his or her assignments, which might affect their grade.  In addition, some professors might not know how to use social media and it might lead to delays or issues throughout the semester.  When studies like this occur, we should not jump into changing policies or implementing industry-wide (i.e., university-wide).  We should open discussions with all stakeholders to find out the best and most effective way to implement changes, if necessary.         

Twitter Users can Now Tweet Coffee to Friends and Strangers

A recent article in the Huffington Post highlights a new technological advancement that Starbucks is enacting via Twitter.  Starting on Tuesday, a Twitter user can pay for someone else’s coffee by sending a tweet.  The program, known as “Tweet a Coffee” (suitably so), will transfer a $5 gift card to a person from the original Twitter user’s Starbucks account.  This new development shows a business partnership between Twitter and Starbucks that goes beyond the often-used Sponsored tweet.    

This is an interesting development in new media because it might bring some benefits to Twitter as they prepare their IPO.  In addition, it gives corporations a new marketing avenue to increase brand awareness and profits.  On the other hand, it is a promotional boost for Starbucks business since it is the first company to test transferring money or buying products through a tweet.  Current and potential customers will see the company as a progressive, technological advanced brand that is making their lives easier using social media.

Based on this new development, one can only assume who will be the next CEO, corporation, etc. to utilize the monetization of a tweet.  Will Starbucks counterpart Dunkin Donuts be next with some type of Twitter gift campaign for the holiday season?  Will a big chain supermarket use it to help Twitter users donate turkeys to friends in need?  Will a nonprofit organization use it to tweet resources to their clients?  Or, will a political campaign/politician use it to give Twitter users an opportunity to tweet donations to a campaign?  The sky is the limit, which leads to a very exciting time! 

Sharing your Sexual History Online

This week, Venturebeat posted a story about an online platform called Luhu that helps individuals share their sexual health status with potential partners.  An individual now has the opportunity to let a potential partner know if they have a sexually transmitted disease before getting intimate with them.  The article does not explain if Luhu violates the confidential patient laws (i.e., HIPAA) that are currently in place in the United States.  In addition, it is specifically for individuals who get STD testing on a regular basis rather than those who only get tested during an emergency or on a sporadic basis.

Based on the information in the article, it appears that the platform is not for everyone.  Luhu seems to be only for individuals who have disposable income to use for it.  In addition, this particular platform is not useful for individuals who live in houses and/or communities that do not have internet access.  Therefore, it might not be beneficial for the individuals who are most at-risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases.       

This is an interesting new media development because it displays the openness of some individuals to promote their sexual activity to a broader audience.  In some occasions, these individuals might be complete strangers who are sharing very personal information.  This might bring up some privacy concerns because an individual is sharing intimate information with others who could use it against them throughout social networking sites.

Will Senator-Elect Booker Lead the Charge for a Tech-Focused Government?

Last year, Newark Mayor Cory Booker won a special election to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg as New Jersey’s U.S. Senator alongside Senator Robert Menendez.  With the victory, TechCrunch claims that Senator-Elect Booker will become one of the most prominent voices nationally within the Democratic Party.  The interesting reason for this is not his power within political circles but due to the power he holds within technological circles, especially throughout Silicon Valley. 

In 2010, we saw this come to fruition in a $100 million donation from Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg to Newark Public Schools.  Some reports show that most of the money went to consultants and administrative costs rather than going to the students and educators.  However, it still shows the influence that Senator-Elect Booker has with technological companies throughout the country and world.  With that said, there is one question for Americans to consider.  How will technological companies and its millionaire/billionaire top executives influence democracy in the United States?

The TechCrunch article highlights some “liberal” policies that we might see coming through the Democratic Party in the years to come.  However, when a group of millionaires and billionaires leads the push for policy reform we can only assume that politicians will not hear the voices of the average American.  These tech executives might claim to be liberal and for the American people.  However, when the option comes for profits or the greater good, which one do you think they will choose? 

Mobile 3.0 Brings New Privacy Concerns into our Pockets

A new article on VentureBeat from Mihir Shah discusses the next evolution (or revolution) of our mobile lives.  The article discusses Mobile 3.0 and its attempt to shift our adoption of mobile phones into a stage of “emotional connection.”  This shift takes away our use of mobile devices as a mere distraction to our everyday life and turns the usage into something that will make our lives easier.  Some examples of this include, letting us know about products and services around us that we might be interested in, giving us the opportunity to leave private messages for friends in different areas around town, among other things.

For many technology enthusiasts, this information is great because it allows us to evolve all tech-related devices, products, and services.  However, for others, this is just another privacy concern to add to everything else they currently deal with (i.e., Facebook privacy issues, NSA, “Big Brother”).  In my opinion, this group has a valid reason to be concerned about privacy. 

The article discusses new hardware within the iPhone 5s phones called the M7 motion co-processor.  This co-processor activates sensors on the phone that always stay on, which means they are aware of everything taking place while your phone is on you.  The author touts this as a positive enhancement by stating “our personal devices will gain an ability to understand not only where we are but also what we are looking at.” 

This “enhancement” leads to some serious ethical concerns for individuals.  It is a great thing for advertisers and the NSA.  However, who gets to control all of the information that smartphone users share with others?  Just because you turn off the sensor in settings, does this mean that the sensor is not secretly recording your every move? 

In reality, the shift to Mobile 3.0 might bring many positive enhancements to our everyday lives.  However, how much of our personal life do we need to sacrifice to get these enhancements?