Obama’s Social Pulpit


Think back to the 2008 Presidential campaign season.  I remember going on Facebook and my newsfeed would be flooded with Barack Obama messages.  Even my favorite blogs featured his YouTube videos.  President Obama took social media to a new level and used it to his advantage to reach an audience that had notoriously been under represented at the polls.

Obama had about 13 million advocates “engaged and empowered” using social networks, text messaging and online video.

Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign changed the way political campaigns are ran in this country.

In Edelman’s white paper, “Social Pulpit: Barack Obama’s Social Media Toolkit”.  It lists social media lessons to be learned from Obama’s campaign.

1.     Start early

2.     Build to scale

3.     Innovate where necessary; do everything else incrementally better

4.     Make it easy to find, forward and act

5.     Pick where you want to play

6.     Channel online enthusiasm into specific, targeted activities that further the campaign’s goals

7.     Integrate online advocacy into every element of the campaign.

I was impressed to find out that Obama was not the first presidential candidate to use social media.  McCain’s 2000 campaign raised a million dollars online and Dean’s 2004 campaign use Internet grassroots efforts to mobilize online supporters to MeetUp in their local communities.  According to Edelman’s report, McCain failed to convert his online donors into votes and Dean failed to channel the online fervor into effective ground support.  Obama was the first to do both.

During his campaign and now as President, Obama has embraced a new way of communicating which is different from the traditional top-down approach.  He is utilizing public engagement to influence conversations.

Below is a chart of Obama’s campaign numbers:

 With the support of Silicon Valley, I believe Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign will heighten the use of social media.  I’m interested in seeing how he will make use of tablets (iPads) and social location based networks or even virtual worlds.  It will be interesting to see how the Republican presidential candidates utilize social media and if they will use Obama’s success to create a new dynamic to this new way of campaigning.  I do however; believe that no one will master it like President Obama.

Photo credit (Responsiblemarketing.com)


19 “New” Rules for Social Media Copywriting

Social media marketing is a tool that companies must have if they plan to reach a particular audience that may be actively using social media.  Social media marketing is not public relations or advertising, but it is a mechanism that requires a two-way communication.  The target audience in social media wants to have a conversation with companies, they want engagement and they look to their peers for recommendations.

How can a company use this tool to its advantage and receive a ROI?  Nicky Jameson may have the answers to that question.  She developed 19 “new” rules for social media copy writing to help companies who are joining the social media bandwagon learn to effectively create messages to their target audience on social media.

Nicky’s 19 Rules:

1.     Use Strong Headlines – You have to capture your audience to get them to stop and read what you have to offer.  Make your reader curious.

2.     Make Your Message Desirable – According to Nicky you have to “Craft content that gets attention, stirs interest, builds desire and compels an action on the part of your audience.”

3.     Create a Relationship– Make the message personal as though you are speaking with a friend.  Make your readers feel comfortable.  Make them feel like they can trust you.

4.     Write in First Person– Give your reader’s a strong sense of who you are.  Make the content authentic by using “You” and “I” help make a personal connection with your readers.

5.     Speak Their Language– Know your audience and use their jargon,

6.     Make Your Message Viral– Nicky suggests that you, “write relevant newsworthy and compelling content and people may pass it on virally via popular Social Media Networking Tools like StumbleUpon, Digg, Facebook, MySpace, etc.”

7.     Start the Conversation- creates conversation pieces that with develop a dialog between you and the reader.

8.     Tell a Compelling Story– share the happening of your company’s world.

9.     Be a Mirror– Use social media to show your audience that you are listening and that you understand their needs.

10.  Create Discussion Topics– Nicky believes, “Blogs are an excellent tool for initiating discussion on a limitless number of topics which then may be shared in specific user forums.”

11.   Generate Buzz- uses your content and makes it available for sharing among other social network websites.  Promote your blog or website on Twitter and Facebook.  Create videos for YouTube that can attract visitors to a blog or website.

12.  Use the 4 U’s- “Create Urgency, Usefulness, Uniqueness and Ultra-Specificity to stimulate interest.”

13.  Create Intrigue, Interest and Emotion

14.  Get to the Point– Make it short and simple.  You have to engage your audience quickly or they will loose interest or become impatient.

15.  Provide Social Proof – Nicky says, “Testimonials, expert endorsements, links and referrals are Social Media Copywriting staples.”

16.  Energize! – Be excited about writing for social media.  Love what you do.

17.  Sweeten the Deal- Offer a free deal to your readers.  It will 1) motivate your reader to accept the offer and 2) motivate your reader to take action.

18.  Agitate- “Choose an issue likely to be on the minds of your audience. Then tell them how to solve it.”

19.  Include Keywords- This will help with your search engine optimization.  It will make your content easily searchable and a stand out amongst the million other websites that are a part of the World Wide Web.

A Second Life with Virtual Worlds

Above is a picture of my avatar for the social networking virtual world known as Second Life.  One day my classmates had to meet up with our professor on Second Life which is comparable to the Sims games.  You can find people from all over the world on this site.  Product placement is used and many brands are placing advertisements and other unique items on this site to drive consumer engagement.  Brilliant!

I had an interesting time on Second life. I enjoyed flying around on the site and using its other functions, but I did not like the harassment that came with the website.  Many people from other countries use this site and would approach me in pursuit of a conversation, but I’m not fluent in Spanish and I have no idea how to speak anything else, so it got quite annoying. There are many other virtual worlds that are free.  Click here for a list of other virtual worlds.

This video explains how and why virtual worlds are growing:


Social media is relied on for product or service reviews.  We are no longer just consumers, but we have taken the role as prosumers. “We are professional consumers and don’t want to be sold, tricked, or manipulated.” Social media has now created a forum to seek suggestions and tips on product and services.

The Social Media Bible says, “People want transparency, sincerity, and authenticity when it comes to product recommendations and advertising.”  Publicists, brand employees and endorsers have come under scrutiny for leaving commentary on websites about products and services that they represent without stating that are contractual involved.


The FTC has recently set up regulations involving this issue.  Now it is required for publicist and endorsers to announce their relations to a product when writing about it or tweeting about it.  Ever see one of the Kardashian sisters’ tweets or a Snoop Dogg tweet?  Celebrities have to be specific when endorsing on their twitter by using the word Ad or stating what companies they endorse on their website.

Many websites like Yelp!, CitySearch and Zagat are forums where you can look up a business and read its reviews from people who have been there.  Some of these websites have been coined “Bad for Business”, because businesses cannot control their reviews and bad reviews are subject to be displayed.   Yelp! have had many complaints about bad review removal and lawsuits over the issue of extortion.


I believe it is necessary to have good and bad reviews and I do not think that every bad review will turn people away.  For example, when I was looking for an Atlantic City hotel to stay in for spring break, I looked through the reviews and made a choice based on what I’m looking for, what the reviews state, and the price.

I believe the use of these websites is important to the growth of businesses especially small ones.  Now that mobile apps are available for these websites it is important to have a page on Yelp!  to create a forum where you can engage with consumers.  Check out this interview with Isaac Mogannam, the owner of Phat Philly Cheesesteaks and how he uses Yelp!

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/g8sRgZuMLgI%5D

Google has recently launch +1 for their search.  Now users can add tips and recommendations that can be found in your search list.

We are now in control and we are turning to our peers of recommendations and tips and there are now places for us to engage.  All of this makes me want to be proactive and begin leaving commentary of my experiences at places for my peers.  By the way, a bonus for your review is the discount or a freebie!

New Media and a New Way for News

Last week my class had a guest speaker from CBS Radio.  He started his presentation by asking us, “How do you get your news information?”  The majority of my class including me told him that we get our news through our phones especially through Twitter.

According to The Social Media Bible, a recent poll showed that:

37% of Americans regularly go online for their news

27% picked up a newspaper on any given day.

39% turn to cable television.

Those who watched a nightly news bulletin on TV fell from 34 %to 29% over the past four years.

Some of you might laugh at the thought of getting your news through your phone, but if you are following thought leaders and major creditable news sources like CNN, Washington Post, Breaking News.  Even email services like Yahoo! And AOL has news updates when you log into your account.   It is important for us to realize how much our world is changing especially in the way we receive news.

Social media is growing and contributing to the way we receive news.  Yesterday, I was in class when the WNBA draft was on and I looked to my Twitter to keep me updated because my childhood friend who plays for JMU was up for the draft.  My phone is how I get news during the day.

Ironically, social media is, also, becoming the news breaker because now our creditable news sources are relying on the “average Joe” or citizen journalist to break news. For example, our eyes were glued on Twitter as employees of the Discovery Channel in Silver Springs, MD and nearby spectators broke the news of their hostage situation in the building.

Another example is when Ronald Isley tweeted the news that Teena Marie had passed away.

And just recently we heard the voices of Egypt rise through technology and they fed the world with social media updates of their protest.

Director of BBC’s of Global News, Peter Horrocks, told his staff in 2010 to embrace Twitter and used it to find stories.  Many reporters are doing this because even I have major news sources following me on Twitter.

This can be a good or bad thing, because news sources are aggressively trying to find news and be the first to break it but sometimes fact checking is ignored and the wrong information is reported.  Ethics come into play because we expect journalists to report unbiased and fact driven news.  Not every citizen journalists’ tweets are reliable, and according to The New Media Relations, reporters and editors say:

o   84% of social media sources were “slightly less” or “much less” reliable than traditional media

o   49% of social media suffers from “lack of fact checking, verification and reporting standards

It is clear that the way we receive our news is shifting.  Communication students and professionals have to be award of this change in order to find new and unique ways to disseminate information.

(Photo: tmforum.org)

Checking-In: Location Based Social Networks & Apps

Two months ago, I would have frowned at the thought of “checking-in” to a place and letting my entire social network have access to my location.  However, I started to see some of my PR mentors, favorite bloggers and editors check-in and my classmates had great reviews about Foursquare so I decided to check it out for myself.

I’ve been using Foursquare for about two months now and I absolutely love it.  This location-based service social network (LBS) lets me control how my check-ins is viewed and whom I can share my check-ins with.  Foursquare has a gaming aspect to it, because your check-ins can get you badges (see my badges below). For example, when I checked-in at the Verizon Center for the Lady Gaga concert, I gained a Swarm badge because I checked-in to a place where many other people had checked-in.  You can, also, become a mayor of a location if you have the most check-ins there.  I’m currently the mayor of Howard University’s Founder’s Library.

The other perks that come with Foursquare are coupons to near-by locations and learning the hotspots of a city.  I follow a NY blogger and editor on Foursquare and it is interesting to see the restaurants that they eat at and the places that they get invited to because of their work.  NY is a place that I would like to reside in and their check-ins let me know where I need to be.  I, also, follow close friends that live in D.C. and other cities and because of their check-ins I’ve been able to check out new places for myself.

I can, also, see why businesses use this as a tool.  For example, I follow Bravo TV, and while I was in NY for spring break, I checked-in at Magnolia Bakery.  When I checked-in I received a Just Desserts badge, named after a Bravo TV show, because some of the Bravo personalities have eaten there.

Foursquare is not the only location-based service out there.  Google is making this concept even better.  With Google Maps 5.1 for Android one can connect their location to a real place by checking in using Latitude.

Latitude’s functions are different from other check-in applications.  Latitude sends notifications immediately at arrival.  One can also choose to automatically check in at places prior to being there.  It would then check-in without manually having to do so.  Latitude also automatically checks out of places to keep friends updated.

Facebook (FB) mobile, also, has a check-in application called Places.  I’m not a fan of this, because now my newsfeed is filled with check-ins instead of status updates. Lawrence Coburn explains this issue best in Facebook Places’ Facebook Problem and Why I’m Not Deleting Foursquare”.

My FB friends from home are the main users of Places, but they probably should have started off using an LBS app like Foursquare.  I don’t think it is wise for them to use the check-in service on FB: 1) I can foresee it being a problem in that community and 2)It bothers me that they only check-in to local places.  I don’t care that you went to Old Chicago every night this week, but I would like to see you check-in to a new restaurant in Nashville or check-in somewhere in Florida for spring break.  I feel like the idea of check-ins are to let your friends experience a new place as you experience it.  I would suggest that my Clarksville friends use Latitude or Foursquare instead of Facebook Places.

Below are other LBS’s to check out:





For more information read, “8 Cool Location-Based Social Networks”.

Is There Such a Thing as Privacy?

Privacy has become an issue with today’s social media.  As social networks try to generate revenue from marketers and advetisers, privacy settings are changing.  With a click of a button, you can be sharing more than you ever wished to share.

I have had my issues with privacy lately.  It all began when I decided to delete people because my newsfeed became filled with negativity and hopelessness I knew that things had to change. My friend warned me of doing this.  He said people will become spiteful and will be personally offended for the Internet deletion.  But I did like Kanye and shrugged and did what I wanted to do.

Soon it seemed to spread that I deleted folks, and of course it became a big deal.  People refused to let me delete them and they repetitively kept friend requesting me.  Did you know that Friend Request no longer have a deny button?  When I simply hit ignore those people immediately had access to my profile updates.  If I did not respond at all they still had the same access.  I found this out when I friend requested a colleague who had not checked her friend request, but I could see her updates and profile changes.  If you don’t want anyone on your page you basically have to accept their request and “unfriend” them the same day.  I had one person to obsessively friend request and I had to block her.  Like any pretty girl, I get a constant stream of friend requests from promoters and weird guys just imagine how much access they have had.

According to Ignored Facebook Friend Requests Can View Some Of Your Updates that, “Facebook explicitly asks you to report the individual if you don’t know the person. Since Facebook assumes you actually know the individual when you click “Not Now”, the company also thinks it makes sense to make your public updates visible to the user.”

Facebook has several applications.  Have you ever looked at the permission clause before you click accept.  Many of the apps request your permission to have access to your profile, address and information.  Even newspaper websites request this permission if you try to share one of the articles to your Facebook or Twitter.  Check out Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know

One day I “googled” myself, and a website known as Spokeo surfaced on my search list.  Spokeo sources information about an individual such as name, address with google street views, estimated income, family members, etc. from various social networks and search sites and displays it in a neatly packaged, publicly accessible profile.  My time on that site was scary.   Check out the article on how Spokeo has affected one man’s search for employment.

I think we all get so caught up on sharing that we forget to look at privacy disclaimers when we use online services. Patrick Courtney makes a great case for this with his post, ” Spokeo Sheds Light on Privacy Issues”. The things that we share can definitely impact our future.  So be careful and be warned because this issue isn’t going anywhere anytime soon unless tighter federal regulation comes into play.

Got Ethics?

Since I’m pursuing a career in communications, it is essential that I use ethics on social media websites.  I believe that without out ethics you become irresponsible and unreliable.  Your name is all you have at the end of the name and a positive repertoire and not a negative one should support your name.  Two of the main issues with ethnics in social media have been about the privacy of users and how their content is being used and how publicist are using commentary and payment on social media to support their brand.

According to RW Connect, “User-generated content has become ubiquitous and it is not surprising that marketers are focusing more attention on social media as an online channel to communicate with consumers and to commission market research to gain insight into consumers’ opinions, attitudes or behavior.”  Market researchers have been under fire from scraping comments from users of a private web community without getting the permission from the webhost.   Many laws are under work on how to protect the privacy of social media users. Publicists have also used these communities to comment about their clients and or pay or offer incentives for others to comment about their clients.  Now publicists are required to identify that they represent their company whenever commenting on social media websites about their clients.

Journalist also has abided by the new ethic rules associated with social media.  Journalists have now acquired guideline on addressing critics on social media and using information for social media as sources.  According to Businessethics.com, “the Washington Redskins have banned writers from tweeting or blogging while watching practices.  The National Football League bans players and coaches from using social media such as tweeting for 90 minutes before, during, or some a time after a game.  Check out this blog post on more do’s and don’ts for journalistic social media use.

Photo CREDIT:  www.businessethics.com

Monitoring Social Media Reputation

Brands like Domino’s have made it clear that monitoring your social media reputation is an important task.  Social media is the new 24/7 news circuit and anything can happened and be said on these sites that can ruin a brand’s reputation.  We all know how a positive reputation is hard to retain once a negative situation arises.

Domino’s Pizza is the classic case study on how social media monitoring is essential:

A video was uploaded to Youtube in April 2009 of Domino’s employee in Conover, N.C., is seen assembling sandwiches, spraying snot on them, sticking cheese up his nose before placing it on a piece of bread and passing gas on a slice of salami.  In a matter of days, the clip went viral on Twitter and other social media sites that lead it to be viewed more than a million times.

The company did not publicly respond to the video immediately, hoping attention would subside. But when it became clear by mid-week that the controversy was only escalating, Domino’s executives acted. The company posted an apology on its website and asked employees with Twitter accounts to tweet a link to it. The company also created its own Twitter account, @dpzinfo, to reassure consumers that this was an isolated incident. And Domino’s U.S.A. president, Patrick Doyle, issued an apology on YouTube.

Social media is a great way to respond to crisis that happen because most people receive their news on the Internet.  Chris Brown used social media to respond to his fans when he issued a Youtube apology after his attack on his ex-girlfriend Rihanna.  The downfall to it is that the apology will always be on the Internet as a reminder of the crisis.

Once уου ѕtаrt discovering tweets, posts, status updates аnԁ comments асrοѕѕ thе social web, уου mυѕt now determine hοw tο deal wіth аƖƖ thіѕ data аѕ іt affects уουr online reputation.  Social Media B2B suggests you take a triage approach by first identifying thе negative comments аnԁ handling thеm immediately.  Secondly, identify thе positive comments thаt need tο bе responded tο.  Lastly, identify comments thаt ԁο nοt need a response, bυt аrе јυѕt раrt οf thе general conversation around уουr industry.

A brand has to be quick and responding to negative news on social media before.   Brands can hire specialized digital and public relations firms to monitor its social media, but there are many tools that can be used. Marketing Pilgrim has a list of 26 Free Online Reputation Tools.

Stayonsearch.com has a list of 9 Professional Social Media Monitoring Tools that companies like Microsoft, Oglivy and Pepsi pay to use to help monitor their reputation.

Photo Credit: oursocialtimes.com

Social Media ROI

With any good strategy or campaign an evaluation takes place to measure if objectives have been reached.  Brands have to evaluate their return of investment (ROI) when using social media.  It will help determine if a new plan must be made to increase its social media presence.  Socialmediatoday.com offers some steps on evaluating ROI:

1.     Listening.  Many companies view their touch points as one-way, passive listening posts to the voice of the consumer or feedback on the effectiveness of traditional marketing efforts.

Conversing.  Now we engage customers in live conversations on Facebook, online new products surveys, customer service Tweets and Four Square locations posts.

3.     Converting.  At each action point, the company needs to focus marketing efforts to convert the user to specific calls to action: downloading information, answering a survey, requesting a quote, or buying a product.

4.     Analyzing.  The analysis determines which touch points are contributing value to the company.

5.     Evaluating.  Evaluate relative value of each action in terms of developing brand loyalty, thought leadership, reducing operating costs, optimizing marketing budgets, and increasing profits.

Mashable offers other suggestions for example using the right social media platform is important to increase the impact of a social media campaigning.  Knowing how to use Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and Youtube and organizing the campaign to make those sites work for you is important.  You also have to provide a message that your audience wants and then listen to them by creating a platform for their feedback.

One can evaluate their content by tracking how many times their content has been used or referred.  There are ways to track how many times people click your link and how they found the link.  Below is a list of tools that can help evaluate traffic, interactions, search marketing, customer engagement, sales, retention and profits in order to measure the effectiveness of your efforts:

Del.ic.ious-determine the number of times people bookmark your content.

Google Analytics-track traffic levels, its increase, traffic sources, trafficked key terms or phrases.

Feedburner-keep measuring number of RSS and email subscribers.

Blog Comments-gauge the amount, quality and influence of comments.

Twitter Search-analyze the trend your company is being mentioned in searches. Use Tweetbeep to get these alerts.

Google Alert-measure the daily, weekly and monthly trend of a particular keyword.

Tweetburner-track the number of clicks on the links that you send out via twitter, also how active your twitter followers are with your content.

Yahoo Site Explorer-measure the amount of incoming links you receive over time.

HowSociable-measure the visibility of the brand on the web.

Technorati-search for blogs based on tags.

Alexa-estimate reach, rank and page views.

Google Insights-compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories and time frames.

Bit.ly-measure number of clicks, countries clicked from and conversations around the site.

Adonomics-track the results with the help of graphs.