Posts Tagged ‘network’


Social Media: Reflecting Room or Eye Opening Forum

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Kelly Mulholland*

networkingAn overwhelming amount of news has been about Facebook’s new Timeline, a feature which all users will be required to implement in the near future. (If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline layout, please check out my colleague Andrea Corbo’s blog post for a detailed explanation of this new debatable feature.) Other headlines have focused on Facebook’s Rise From Start-Up to Establishment and its latest IPO.  

Personally, I’m much more interested in Facebook’s recent study on how the social giant has changed the way we gather and transfer information.

In a 2011 study conducted by Facebook’s Eytan Bakshy — which I found when I subscribed to Mark Zuckerberg’s statuses via Facebook this past month — the  author debates whether or not social media acts as a reinforcement of our own ideas we share with “strong ties” (such as friends, family, coworkers, classmates) or  a tool that broadens your view of the world by taking in new opinions from “weak ties” (strangers or acquaintances) and asks us to Rethink Information Diversity in Networks. Bakshy’s study was inspired by a 1973 American Journal of Sociology study conducted by economic sociologist Mark Granovetter called, The Strength of Weak Ties. In Granovetter’s study, documented well before the Internet, stronger ties flock together sharing similar information while weaker ties aren’t as prominent and withhold eye-opening news.

Fast-forward to the age of social media … Interaction is often compared to that of a party-like setting in which you must interact and share information with people in a similar manner. Bakshy conducted his current study to measure to and/or from whom at this “party” we are more likely to share information. With the help of Facebook’s newsfeeds feature, the study measured how often a Facebook member would re-share their weak ties links versus their strong ties links. While it was found that strong ties’ links would be reposted more often, it was the weaker ties that were the ones who provided the most information. How? While the strong ties may have more interests in common and a stronger influence,  Facebook friends are more likely to have a majority of acquaintances invited to their metaphorical social media bash than close friends.

The majority of a person’s newsfeed will contain new information from more dissimilar members via new updates posted throughout the day. Now more than ever, “weak ties” are able to share information spread throughout a social group. Whereas before this segment would not have the capability to reach a broader audience without the assistance of a larger media outlet, but now thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and any other social network site that has a newsfeed element these “weak ties” are spreading their influence. I can say that Bakshy’s theory explains why I read his article in the first place from Mark Zuckerberg, a “weak tie.”

 Do you believe we are more likely to spread information due to the quality of the connection or the quality of content? Have you found that you are more aware of opinions that differ from your own, now that use of social media outlets has increased as opposed to face to face interactions? Most importantly, did you read or share my article because of this theory?

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Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, Kelly interned at CondeNast’s Glamour magazine as an editorial intern to the senior style writer and was an editor of her college newspaper. She received a B.A. in Behavioral Science and Business, Society and Culture from Drew University with honors. After graduation, she worked as a sales associate at Nordstrom and took a month off to travel abroad throughout Europe. In Kelly’s free time, she enjoys traveling, fashion, reading, bringing awareness to Breast Cancer, running 5Ks, baking and social media. Twitter:@miss_mulholland Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: Kelly Mulholland

Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell the difference between Fox and Hulu, HBO and Netflix, or CNN and YouTube.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

sneetchesThe recent jockeying for position and struggle to find an identity within the crowded and competitive world of network, cable, streaming video, and online television reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories, The Sneetches. The Sneetches were a group of yellow creatures, some with green stars on their bellies (a sign of distinction) and some without, until a character named Sylvester McMonkey McBean offers those without stars a chance to add them by going through his Star-On machine. In order to stay special the Sneetches formerly with stars happily pay the money to have them removed in his Star-Off machine. Ultimately this escalates, with the Sneetches running from one machine to the next, and to quote the good Doctor,

“until neither the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew whether this one was that one… or that one was this one or which one was what one… or what one was who.”

The last few month, the news out of the “television” world has been very Seuss-like to say the least:

At this year’s winter TV press tour Kevin Reilly, entertainment president, Fox Broadcasting Company, revealed that his network plans to use web content as a development tool for the airwaves. “Something that starts in digital could be the next big primetime hit… We have an expertise, and a history, and proficiency, and a primetime audience base,” he confirms in this Atlantic.com article about 5 Ways the Networks Want to Change How You Watch TV. Reilly goes on to use Web Therapy starring Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame) as one example of a web-only series that has successfully made the switch and is now aired on Showtime.

In an effort to kick start their declining subscription base, Netflix is beginning to act more like a network rather than your average streaming video provider. By jumping into the original programming waters, Netflix plans to release three new series in 2012 – starting with Lilyhammer, a crime comedy set in Norway’s former Winter Olympics headquarters, starring The Soprano‘s Steven Van Zandt. Not to be outdone and fresh off a year where they realized 60 percent revenue growth in 2011, the web streaming service Hulu is launching its first ever original scripted series. Battleground, a mockumentary series described as “The Office meets The West Wing, premieres February 14, explains, this opinion brief on TheWeek.com.

And remember when YouTube was just a site where you could watch short clips of people doing funny and unusual things? Well, last week Reuters joined CNN and the BBC by unveiling its own channel to be shown on the popular video sharing site. The channels will show original content from Reuters on YouTube, which will allow them to leverage an army of over 3,000 reporters worldwide.

I doubt all the players involved with getting content to the masses will end up in blissful harmony like our friends the Sneetches, but it should be fun watching them run from one machine to the next having their green stars removed and re-added over again.

What are your thoughts? Please share them with me here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Without Power, What’s a Social Media Junkie to Do?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Ruth Mesfun*

Twitter Scrabble Over Halloween weekend, the Northeast faced an unprecedented snow and ice storm, atypical for this time of year, leaving over 2.5 million people from Maryland to Maine without electricity. Many people in New Jersey (BurrellesLuce is headquartered in Livingston) have only just now had the power turned back on, while hundreds of thousands are still in the dark. In fact, some towns in NJ have postponed trick – or – treating until Friday (today).

With millions of people scrambling to the nearest café for WiFi, what’s a social media junkie to do? Of course, the day after the storm my sister texted “Shouldve gotten 4G,” which at that moment I was tempted to double my monthly cell phone budget just for some Yahoo!News.

I also resisted the urge to hibernate under my blankets until the power went on. Instead, I came up with these five ways to get my social media fix:

1. Play Twitter Scrabble. My sister, the writer, would loathe this but I believe Twitter scrabble is the best invention for twitterholics. Instead of using actual correct words, players write it in “tweet speak.” Also, the blank tokens can be used for symbols, such as the “@” or “#” sign.

2. Write a blog post, or seven. I use every social media device to write anything other than the blog post I am supposed to work on. Well, without any electricity, I have no other choice but to actually write. Plus, think about how impressive it would be when you have all your work done AHEAD of time. Afraid to use up all the power in your laptop? That’s why we have paper and pencil. 

3. Clean up your room, computer, hard drive, car, anything! Yes, you know what I am talking about. Most people use social media as an excuse NOT to clean. Well, no excuse now! Plus, if you are feeling really compelled, you can probably take a few pictures to post on your Facebook, Tumblr, or Flickr account once the power is back on … this way your friends can see exactly what you’ve been up to while away.

4. Play “Keep it Short.” Now if you have listened to the Breakfast Club from Power 105.1, you know what I am talking about. To play “Keep it Short” you need at least 3 people. One person will say an acronym and the first player who says the correct phrase scores a point. Whoever has the most points is the winner. #winning

5. Build your network. I know that this might seem like a head turner, since you cannot connect to any networking sites. But, go to your town and get to know the local business owners (in real life) and give them your card or tell them what you blog about. Who knows, you might get a free cupcake, if you are sweet enough, never mind the chance to build relationships. You can then turn these into hyperlocal connections online.

Now, these are my top five to stay connected to social media and the community when the power is out, what are yours? Please share your comments here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, as social media specialist, Ruth worked as a marketing assistant in a kitchen design firm and, later interned with Turner Public Relations. She holds a BA in Economics with a minor degree in International Relations from Rowan University. In addition to economics, education, and finance – Ruth is passionate about understanding the business implications of social media, including how it can be used to increase ROI, find and maintain a career, and create a business. Connect with her on Twitter: @RuthMesfun LinkedIn: Ruth Mesfun Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Overcoming Blogger’s Block

Monday, February 7th, 2011

What to blog about?

istockphoto.com Good IdeaThat is the question I’ve been asking myself for a few days. In my pursuit of a topic for a post, I realized I’m not alone… Writer’s block has always been something that communications professionals, and others, have struggled to overcome. But now that audiences expect instantaneous access to new content and materials via blogs and other social media, it’s becoming even harder to keep up and remain, well, “fresh.”  

In hopes of beating my own blogger’s block, I decided to take a look at some PR resources for inspiration. I’d like to give you some, in case you, too, find yourself in a similar situation.

One: Arik Hanson recapped a blog discussion last November on 24 ways to feed the blog beast. I’ve referred to this list several times. In fact, my BurrellesLuce colleague Valerie Simon has utilized number nine, summarizing various Twitter chats, several times since she leads both the #PRStudChat and #HAPPO chats. I especially like number 20 on using best of posts. This strategy allows me to include information from multiple, valuable sources and give some “link love” to other great blogs.  

Two: My Google Reader is a great resource for searching for topics and other blogs of interests. Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web Marketing, notes this tip in his post, Four Tips for Overcoming Blogging Writer’s Block. He also suggests using Twitter to review hot topics and ask for ideas.

Three: The startup, Skribit claims to be the cure to writer’s block. The application allows you to get feedback and suggestions from readers of your blog. Mashable even highlighted the tool in its Spark of Genius series, and based on the comments, I would give it a try.

Four: I’ve asked my network for ideas. I don’t always use the ideas, but the act of reviewing their ideas often leads to new ones. For this post, I asked Peter Shankman for some  good writers’ karma, because he had tweeted about  how a blog post just came to him and he had a great writing session. And he sent it (the good writer’s karma) my way via DM.

Five: And don’t forget the traditional media! My colleague Tressa Robbins recently wrote a blog post, News in Our Digital Lives: “Old” Media Still Matters, recapping the annual joint meeting of PRSA, IABC, and CSPRC.  Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism presented some interesting finds, confirming the importance and reliance on traditional news. “In one American city (Baltimore), a whopping 92 percent of new content came from “old” media, proving that the published story is just the beginning of its life cycle.”

How do you get ideas for your blog posts? What themes have resonated with your readers? What topics would you like to see covered on Fresh Ideas?

FCC approves $30 Billion NBC – Comcast deal…with many strings attached

Friday, January 21st, 2011
Image Source: IWatchStuff.com

Image Source: IWatchStuff.com

The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department approved a pending $30 billion joint venture which allows Comcast to own 51 percent of NBC Universal. The approval comes 13 months after the two sides announced their plan to merge one of the nation’s largest cable and internet operators with a broadcaster whose assets include NBC and Telemundo, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Universal Pictures. Comcast controls 24 percent of the nation’s cable subscribers and NBC owns 12 percent of what is viewed on television. A match made in heaven? Not so fast… Over the last year this deal was met with heavy opposition from consumer advocate groups who argued consumers would have less influence over the newly formed company while online distributors worried about the possibility of having to pay a premium for NBC’s content, which would be controlled by one of their largest competitors in the distribution space. (Source: LA Times Blog, Entertainment News Buzz, January 2011.)

On paper this looks like an unstoppable combination in the making, and could potentially open the door for similar deals between content providers and cable and online providers. Although some were successful and some flopped, this is not the first time we’ve seen this type of marriage before – CBS/Viacom, AOL/Time Warner, Time Warner/Turner. With Comcast controlling NBC’s network and cable shows as well as their movies, it would seem their 15 million subscription base would be the perfect captive audience to view their content with competing cable and online providers forced to pay a kings ransom for the rights to their shows and movies. The FCC, however, put conditions on the deal to prevent any funny business with the hopes of maintaining as much “net neutrality” as possible.

One of the conditions requires Comcast to make its content available to all rival cable and satellite distributors as well as online distributors, and has to offer it’s content for the same price to everyone. They are also required to sell their internet service as a standalone service – this is significant since online distributors (Netflix) gives you the ability to access content without a cable subscription but requires internet service. The FCC is also asking Comcast to relinquish its day-to-day control of their online site HULU, allowing them to maintain an ownership stake but stripping them of any voting rights or the ability to suddenly make content unavailable from the site. (Source: Reuters, January, 18, 2011.)

So before everybody bows down to this newly formed Media behemoth, let’s remember… a lot has changed over the last 13 months since their initial announcement, and the conditions put on the new merger by the FCC (if enforced) will help neutralize any abuses of power. The consumer now has more options with the rise of online providers (Netflix, Google, and Apple TV) and will ultimately choose their services based on the quality of the entertainment, not the amount of channels offered or where the channel falls on the dial.

The pressure now falls squarely on the shoulders of NBC Universal. Without quality content from NBC, Comcast will quickly begin to wonder why they paid all of that money and went through all of the trouble of diversifying their business. The competition is sure to be fierce between cable and online providers; content providers will continue to fight for better licensing agreements for their content and in the end consumers will also have to ask themselves… is it all worth it?