Thursday, May 07, 2015

No Win Anonymity

YikYak strikes again, and this case should strike terror in the hearts of all institutional (K-12, higher ed or other governmentals) administrators.

The Chronicle tells us today of the case of Univ. of Mary Washington and a lawsuit against the school for not going after anonymous threats via YikYak.  Tragic circumstances here with the murder of a student.(UPDATE: A more detailed account from WaPo, with references to other university who successfully went after YikYak users.)

We've seen cases at University of Rochester where they have gone to YikYak for information, and most famously at Michigan State.  In this case, the threat of campus violence and an on-campus public safety based cyber investigative unit got real time results.

I have spoken with colleagues at other major universities regarding the chasing down of spurious rumors.  We've had calls from media where they are using YikYak as an early warning tipsheet.

This unfortunate situation was predicted by my good friend and former colleague Debby Jennings of Tennessee.  In 2005.

We're sitting in Destin, Fla., at the annual SEC meetings, and I'm discussing the future potential for social media and streaming data and audio/video on our futures.  In bringing up "the Facebook" as we all knew it then, Debby surprised me and others by saying UT was not monitoring it.  Why?  Prophetically she responded, because our lawyers advised if we do, we'll be liable and have to take action on everything that is there.

Fast forward a decade.  Now we are told we cannot monitor students, particularly student-athletes, as that is an invasion of their privacy -- even though they represent our institutions by legal statue in may states.

Frankly, like Topix before it, YikYak is a digi-bully's dream.  All the ease of social media and none of that messy responsibility.  Not knowing all of UMW's circumstances, but what are we to do?  To effectively respond will require knowing who made the accusation.  YikYak won't like that -- eventually it will break down their model because they will comply in life-safety situations.

What happens when the next YikYak goes off-shore, lets say to Iceland, where privacy trumps public safety?

What the UMW and Michigan State cases should tell you once again, in a digital landscape, there really are no secrets.  If you make dangerous, terroristic or libelous statements, the chance of you getting discovered rests less with you and more with how bad the state wants to discover.  (Remember, Facebook is now the first subpoena for many divorce cases.)

Have no answers for you today . . . just food for thought.

Friday, May 01, 2015

PGA Fights the Future

In a cut your media off to spite them move, a Sports Illustrated contributor had her PGA credentials revoked for using Periscope.

So let me see . . . . a key influencer of public opinion about your sport gets banned for using new technology.

Fans may continue.

And golf's overall demo continues to fade.  (But not on Fade, no, never, not some digital thingamajig)

Not smart.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Championing the Fab Four

File it under "duh", but the Chronicle discovers today that social media (Facebook in particular) is important to student well-being and retention.

Opportunity to repeat the "Fab Four" developed at Northwestern State to help students gain footholds.  We actively encouraged them to . . .

Follow the university main feed (for news and annoucements)
Follow the athletic department (for entertainment and activities)
Follow their academic area
Follow their social group

Of these, getting the academic areas to understand the need for good content and consistent interaction with students was important for both recruiting and retention was the greatest challenge.  For the non-digitally inclined, it became "why" and "you're not paying me to be their friend."  Uncompensated work, some added.

Look, our jobs revolve around getting and keeping students.  This is just another tool.

Interestingly, the social group was the one that was the toughest for the students.  Sure, if they were greek, that was easy.  But for general student body, what was that -- the rec center?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Luddites with Lumber

So the NHL gets the Gillmor Prize for attempting to fight the future this week.  Teams are banning Periscope and Meerkat as violating their broadcast rights.

Good luck.  Like the Olympics tone-deaf work to try and stop social media in 2012 and 2008,

CBS figured this out several Final Fours ago.  No one is going to choose to use someone's Meerkat stream when they can see the NBC broadcast.  Well, unless the broadcast isn't available.  The days of restricting access are gone.

The value added nature of media is what sells, and will continue to draw subscribers, viewers and advertisers.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Potpourri of Changes

A series of links to things you need to check.  Facebook changes the algorithm again, and it's bad news for institutions.

Personal vent here: if I want to get info from companies, teams or colleges - damn it Facebook, stop jacking around with that.  We all have something we are passionate about, and I don't want you continuing to make it harder for me to see that.

Frankly, I want to see LESS from some of my inane friends (sorry, hugs, but for reals).  And don't tell me, go to Twitter.  Doesn't work well for other reasons.

(Bill steps off the soap box)

Here's the key takeaway:

users who actually want to see content from their friends: "content posted by the friends you care about" will be "higher up in the News Feed." Also, if a friend interacts with a post from a brand or publisher page, it will be less likely to show up in your News Feed.

Read more from the Verge.

The latest Pew usage by teens -- ever so important to those who recruit them -- is out.  Once again, their Facebook usage is down, but it is still such a large number participating that it still keeps it the best place to reach them.

Pew's annual bellwether in this area – and that 71% usage combined with the raw number being so tremendous – confirms where we are as a university:  Facebook is a vital part of the strategy for potential recruits despite continued “buzz” that it’s done.

The key takeaways:  multiple platforms for the message, Instagram continues to rise, and in this survey, Twitter is now down around Google+ (a finding that seems a bit off).  You will want to drill down into this one through all the pages.

Huff Po added more to the teens on Facebook


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Social Media Customer Service, Advanced Course

Coming home from Washington DC and the American Association of State Universities and College's Communicator Conference, I noticed former Lady'Back legend, youth author and - dare I say - activist for good Celia Anderson was at it again.

Celia was helping someone out. Gasp.

I'm putting the backstory on as an image - courtesy of Celia - so you can understand where this went in social.

After doing the decent thing to assist Iona, she then decided to let American Airlines know about it on Twitter. Quickly, the script was broken . . . what is the team going to do when we can't contact the original person?

Interesting that one of my major teaching points at AASCU was we as institutions can no longer think that responding in social is an option - because folks like Celia (the 82% of those online according the the latest surveys, BTW) EXPECT an answer.

Notice the hour gap between Celia's last comment and AA's last response.

What would you have done? Serious social customer service food for thought.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Apps, Two Screens, Two Somethings

Ah the joys of social media and separating one's personal life from professional.  More than a few will say it can't be done, but I'll recommend at least making a physical separation on those social accounts you can.

Facebook's native environment is bad for this -- and I can't tell you how many times something for the institution came out on my personal by accident.

By the grace of God, I'm not in the shape of these two folks.  Twitter tends to be where this happens most, and you can do what I do (and many other pros): use two apps.  I know folks who go so far as to separate those two apps onto different screens on their mobile devices -- a work screen and a personal screen.

The Washington Post famously told the world about one of their social media team's feeling about the upcoming March Madness.  More directly in the sports world, one of UTEP's SIDs mistakenly gave his opinion about a player intended for his personal account.