PResenting….

The MAC299 Social Media course blog

Week9s1: Searching, voting, travelling… passing

Posted by mediations on April 20, 2010

Quite a lot to talk about today! Primarily we are going to look at search – how do people look for information and what can an organisation do to make sure its site is found? But we will also look at social media aspects of the General Election campaign, the volcanic ash cloud, even the relevance of modules like this to a modern PR course. And, of course, we will catch up with progress on your own blogs which should be firmly established by now.

First we will build on the MAC299 session which looked at ways in which NewcastleGateshead Initiative might have used social media to promote the Pet Shop Boys accompanying the film Battleship Potemkin at Swan Hunter shipyard.

In two groups let’s spend a little time thinking how the social media tools we have available to day (cf 2006) would inform our campaign.

As we perform this practical execise, let’s also think about whether social media should be treated as an ‘extra’ to traditional PR, or as an integral part of the communications process. This interview with Deidre Breakenridge, author of Putting the Public Back Into Public Relations, might help your thinking.

Next, to what extent has social media influenced your perception of the General Election campaign? Is this campaign being fought online in a way that is noticeably different from what has come before?

(I was amused by this example of repurposing: Who has David Cameron Been Talking To? What, if anything has caught your eye?).  What about The InVinceCable We Trust campaign? Have you seen They Work For You?

Were you/ are you affected by the Icelandic volcano? Can you find examples of how organisations are using online resources to manage problems their customers/ stakeholders are encountering? To what extent is crowdsourcing influencing the situation? Lonely Planet offers Free iPhone guides for stranded travellers.

Search

Search in Plain English (A guide to How to search, not How to get noticed) 

There are two elements to to consider when we look at search. One is to understand how people find information, which must include a consideration of push vs pull technologies (try and relate this concept to Potemkin). Our sources will include David Jennings, Net, Blogs and Rock ‘n’ Roll (2008).

The second aspect to consider is Search Engine Optimisation; how does an organisation raise its profile with Google etc? To do this we need to have some understanding of the technology behind Google (it is a closely guarded secret!).

We also need to think about how we write to be seen. This may be as simple as the headline we put on blog posts, and the content of the short synposis shown on a search page. There is a strong argument, for instance, for writing straightforward labels instead of witty but uninformative headlines for blog posts. Technology has to an extent superseded the race to include multiple references to keywords, but dropped intros and the journalistic convention of general intros and before including specific locations further down a story doesn’t work online.

How important are tags and social bookmarking tools in the race to get noticed?

One of the commonest objectives of a PR campaign is to raise the profile of a product or service? We can create news to get something noticed, but how do we persuade someone to look for something they don’t know is there, or don’t know they want to look for. To visualise this, compare the shopping experience on Amazon and in bookstore. How useful is the “Customers who bought this also bought this…” approach?

In Net Blogs and Rock ‘n’ Roll Jennings identifies what he calls the three strands of digital discovery — TLC:

Trying Out, Links and Community — and explains how the history, culture and technology of today’s media are interwoven with the rise of personalisation and mobile players.

He goes on to profile the groups of consumers and their various approaches to discovery, and outlines the pyramid of influence: Savants and Enthusiasts record their finds, express their opinions and lead communities of fellow consumers, while other groups are more passive participants, Casuals (comes from EMAP Project Phoenix).

Jennings begins his book by noting that we are seeing a profound change in nthe way we make cultural discoveries… “Our problem is the scarcity of attention.” Do you agree?

We do not have to depend so much on coincidences to discuss entertainment that will tickle our individual fancies. we do not need to go out on a limb by making risky purchases, or wait for recommendations from our friends. The digital means of search are within easy reach to even the most casual of cionsumers… (2007:2)

The tables have turned… Consumers are no longer sheep who can easily be hereded towards some Next Big Thing. (4)

No-one is in charge of digital discovery (5)

Jennings continually uses the metaphor of foraging for interesting information, which, with the associated idea of picking up an ‘information scent’ depicts the way discovery can involve either an extended search or a happy accident when you catch the smell of something blowing on the breeze.

Let’s try and follow one of David’s presentations

Returning to Potemkin, much of what Diane was talking about yesterday looked at promotion prior to the event, but it also imporatnt to think about the online legacy of social media activity. Some of these ideas were considered in Chris Anderson’s work on the Long Tail.

Talking  of legacies, have you seen the new Google function that allows historic tracking of Tweets? What implications might this have for (Personal/Brand) Reputation management?

Finally, what have you been up to over the last three weeks? (We should already know, of course…)

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