Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Burger King's social choice: Free burger, or true "Fan"?

Burger King in Norway is trying out a rather unusual social strategy to separate its "true fans" from the trolls: The company is running "The Whopper Sellout," offering their  38,000 existing Facebook fans a simple choice: Demonstrate true be a "true fan" by liking the chain's new Facebook page, or opt for a free Big Mac and be declared a "Whopper sellout". Those who opted for the freebie received a coupon for a Big Mac in the mail, along with a signed letter reminding them they were "banned from Burger King's Facebook page for eternity".

Read: full story on Serious Eats

WATCH: Burger King - Whopper sellout

Burger King: Whopper sellout from Patty George on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Ethics of Terms of Service in Social Media

In October 2012, Facebook made a change to its news feed algorithm that appeared to dramatically reduce the number of posts a user would see from pages they had liked. At the same time, Facebook launched a new, for-pay, feature called "promoted posts."

Richard Metzger penned a widely read blog post on Dangerous Minds challenging the ethics of the change, which he argued in essence took a feature (post reach) that he and other pages had previously enjoyed as free...and turned it into a for-pay feature.

Twitter user Leonard Barshack who had gone by the Twitter handle @sunvalley for several years, sued the company when it suddenly seized the handle and gave it to the Sun Valley corporation. Twitter cited its terms of service as prohibiting anyone from "impersonating" a person or company. Barshack adamantly insisted he was never impersonating anyone, but Twitter's TOS allowed them to take back the handle without warning.

Instagram set off an even bigger firestorm in December 2012 after announcing a change to its TOS that suggested the company might claim ownership of images published to the social platform. After a social media furor, and the cancellation of accounts by some major users including National Geographic Magazine, the company withdrew the changes and reverted to its previous TOS.

Incidents like these have led to discussions about the need for a People's Terms of Service - something akin to a 'negotiated contract' between user and provider, a more equitable balance of terms between sharing and protecting data, consistent with the long history of contract law between parties. Has social media reached the stage where it is time for a negotiated exchange, a People's TOS?

For more on these examples, see Santa Clara University's excellent article: Clicking Through to the Ethics of Social Media Terms of Service

When Media Fail to Follow Legacy Ethics in Social Platforms

The media coverage and social media frenzy surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings of 2012 offer a poignant case study of the harm that can be done when an organization doesn't apply its traditional standards of ethics to the new social media platforms.

As this article in Ethicaljournalismnetwork.org painfully details, such failures can not only harm reputations but can also, ultimately, be deadly. Full story: http://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/en/2013/how-tragedy-strikes-when-journalism-and-social-media-lack-ethics-and-humanity

Sadly, this not the only example. As details of the mass shooting of small schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 12, 2012 unfolded, initial media reports named the wrong person as the shooter. The speed of social media, and Twitter in particular, accelerated the spread of this falsehood.

In the ensuing debate over media ethics, an NPR journalist was soundly criticized for the practice of tweeting raw, unconfirmed information as a method for quickly 'crowdsourcing' what was true. Andy Carvin then used STORIFY to pen an extended defense of his re-tweeting and crowdsourcing approach, even though it involved 'publishing' significant information in social media that ultimately turned out to be false.

Social Media Ethics & Policy - Cisco

Here's Cisco's presentation of its views on its philosophy of employee use of social media, as well as a statement and an explanation of its social media policy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Lecturer tonight 11/12 (Prof M sick)

Hello DTC #338 students,

I'm very sorry that I'm not feeling well and will miss you all tonight. Dr. Grigar assures me you will be in good hands and will have another member of the excellent DTC faculty as your instructor tonight for our planned discussion of Social Privacy and Social Media Information Security.

I know you'll provide the same high level of engagement and participation that I enjoy with you each week.

Please turn in your peer review forms tonight, I'll have them left for me.

And note that next week's assignment, our final Exercise #6 on Social Media Ethics, is already posted to the class website.

Due to my absence tonight, I will be emailing out grades for the excellent Team Marketing Projects, and will return Ex 4/5 to you in class next week.

Final reminder that your Brand of You Project is ongoing, with your full Marketing Plan due tonight via email by 6p, and then after the Thanksgiving Break, you will submit your report and do a 5-minute presentation to the class at our final meeting on Tues Dec 3.

Prof. M

Monday, November 11, 2013

Security and Privacy in Social Media

As the social persona of brands and individuals becomes increasingly important, protecting that persona also becomes more crucial.

Social tools, and by association our social personas, are 'protected' by passwords in the programs we use to update and manage our social profiles. 

However, most people already feel inundated by the demands of a digitally-driven, password-protected world. Annual surveys of the '10 Worst Passwords' continue to find that both individuals as well as major brands routinely use overly simply passwords, or use the SAME password for many different accounts, or allow many different users access via a single password to an account that can significantly affect the brand. A recent survey, for example, found that many people use the word "PASSWORD" for their password!

How secure is your own social persona, or that of the brand you manage? 

Burger King found out the hard way how important it is to secure access to social accounts when its primary Twitter account @burgerking was hacked, and changed to...McDonalds!

As Gizmodo put it, if you are a burger company, you don't want to have "cheese" as your password.

Personal Branding Mistakes to Avoid

A KitchenAid employee with access to the company's public branded Twitter account took to social media to tweet about the death of Pres. Obama's grandmother, just days before his inauguration. The tweet, intended for the individual's personal account, was instead sent out as a Tweet from KitchenAid. 

The incident highlighted the hazards of today's social tech tools, which make it "easy" to manage personal and public persona posts within the same tool. 

These mistakes can have huge consequences for the individuals as well as the companies whose brand is damaged. At a Salt Lake City TV station, an employee who had access to the station's Twitter account sent out this tweet on the company account by mistake.

As a result of the mistake, which caused the TV station great embarrassment, the unnamed employee who authored the tweet was fired. 

The Myth of Privacy in a Social, Digital World

In our digital and wired world, we can no longer assume that our private actions will remain private. The long-assumed distinction between public and private life is under digital assault. It's not hard to argue that the notion of privacy as we've previously understood it is dead.

 Certainly in the area of Social Media, anything that is 'said' in any digital platform, whether intended to be private or not, can easily become public.

On crime stories, News outlets routinely are able to access the personal Facebook page of the suspect, and broadcast photos and details from those pages in the news media.

Then-Congressman Anthony Weiner famously tweeted a sexually suggestive picture to a 21-year-old Seattle woman. The picture was presumably intended to be sent as a private, Direct Message but instead went out on the Congressman's public account. The tweet was quickly deleted. But in this era, our digital actions leave digital footprints. A screengrab was made of the tweet before it was deleted, and was shared with a media blogger and quickly went viral.

In the early hours of this revelation, Weiner denied sending the photo, and suggested in interviews that his account must have been hacked by a political opponent. Eventually, he confessed to sending not only that photo but other similar messages to other women during the time he was married. The incident to Weiner's resignation from Congress.

Rachel Berry was crowned Miss Oregon 2012. But she relinquished her crown after a series of posts in by blogger Jack Bogdanski in bojack.org called into question her eligibility.

Berry would have represented Oregon at the Miss America pageant. But Bogdanski's reporting questioned whether she met the pageant's residency requirement that contestants live in Oregon for 6 months prior to competing in a qualifying contest.

Berry initially denied claims that she was ineligible, and quickly deactivated her Facebook and Twitter accounts when questions began to be raised. However, Bogdanski pointed to Tweets from "Sunny California" in December of 2011, and YouTube video clips showing her working at a California TV station in late 2011 to prove she had failed to meet the residency requirement.

It seems the category of beauty pageant is especially fraught with peril. There have been a number of cases of queens deposed after photos or videos surfaced from social media showing these 'representatives'  engaged in not-so-appropriate conduct. The latest was the resignation of the 2012 Miss Delaware Teen USA, after a pornographic video surfaced.

Gawker: Miss Delaware Teen USA resigns after porn video surfaces

All the above situations involve individuals who, through their own choices, have made their private lives and their private choices 'newsworthy' by entering into the public arena. So they are not entitled to the same expectation of privacy.

But all these lessons apply even to those of us not in the 'public eye.' The public/private distinction is increasingly  indistinct. Here's a typical example of an individual assuming a difference between their private and public life, making a critical comment about their boss on Facebook. And note, the punch line:

Many of our actions leave a digital footprint. Even actions we may think are private can easily become public in an age where we check in, photograph, and tag even our private activities.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peer Review Form: Please complete and bring to class on 11/12

Since we used the full class time for project presentations last night, I've put the peer review form online here as a PDF (it's also available as a link under CLASS RESOURCES).

Please download and complete the form for each of your team members and I will collect these forms from everyone next Tuesday 11/12 in class, thanks!

Prof M

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Avoid these Deadly Presentation Mistakes

Improving your presentation skills is a great way to increase your effectiveness as a communicator.
We all have endured the opposite - bad presentations.

Here's comedian Don McMillan's take on PowerPoint Mistakes to Avoid.

Here's a creative use of "white-boarding" as a method of presenting the differences between traditional, boring presentations...and ways to make the presentation into a STORY.


When it comes comes to presenting Digital technology, there has arguably never been anyone better than Apple's Steve Jobs.

As this video makes clear, it is no accident that Jobs was a master of presentations. In fact, he followed a set of key principles, principles you can apply to make your own presentations more effective.

Tips for Effective Presentations

Here are some of the keys to making an effective presentation:

  • Keep it simple: One idea per slide 
  • Pick a presentation method that matches your message 
  • Verbalize your outline so your audience can follow 
  • Share a story, make an emotional connection
  • Use props, do a demonstration, mix it up! 
  • Know the 'one thing' you want to leave your audience with 
  • Dress professionally! 
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

This Twitter account shames big brands for bad tweets

"Engagement" tweets about Diarrhea? Inspirational posts from a soap brand?

And who can forget the array of poorly-considered "thematic tie-ins" on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks?

Well, now there's a twitter account devoted solely to outing the brands that commit shameful acts in social media. 

Your Tweets Are Bad, aka @urtweetsrbad: https://twitter.com/urtweetsrbad

Don't try this at home - or work!

How Facebook's news feed algorithm works

Ever wondered how many of your friends see a typical Facebook post? Or how Facebook decides what content is displayed in your news feed? Or the relative reach of a personal page compared to a business / Fan page?

Here's a great webinar from the folks at SocialNewsDesk.com on the 'secret sauce' behind Facebook's news feed selection algorithm, formerly known as EdgeRank.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Worst Social Media Brand Meltdown - Ever?

The authors of GROUNDSWELL argue that in a world of easy social sharing, the customer defines what a company's brand stands for, not the company.

Put another way, today the conversation about your brand is already going on in social media, with or without a company's permission or participation. Far from being in control of that conversation, most companies simply must decide whether or not to participate.

So in the real world of Reddit and Yelp, here is a vivid example of how to do everything wrong in managing criticism of your brand.

In May 2013, a couple who owns an Arizona restaurant goes deeper and deeper, in a highly public social media name-calling contest.

Buzzfeed: This is the Most Epic Brand Meltdown on Facebook Ever 

And here, from ZDNET, a month later: 10 Social Media Lessons from Amy's Baking Company social media meltdown