Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Once Digital, ALWAYS Available

In my talks with social media users, I use the early Facebook era story of a varsity athletic team at a major university (no, not UA or A-State) where the players had a private group in which they shared, well, everything.  All the pics of pre-season parties, opinions of the coaches, etc.  It was all fun until the one walk-on, non-scholarship team member walked off the team.  And shared screen caps with the head coach.

That was 2006.  This week, national attention is turning to Saint Louis University after some less than acceptable running commentary among baseball team members was reported to the university and then to the general public via social media.

No commentary offered on what was said or the university's current response.

What I do want to re-emphasis is how this happened.  Your personal security depends on your friends.  That is what unraveled University of Oklahoma and a fraternity party video.  This time it was a Group Me screen capture of comments among members of the team.  Shared with a soon-to-quit the team player.

A year ago.

Read more here in the River Front Times.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Algorithms vs Words

Friends, would you share if you are seeing this problem.  In the past month, the number of followers shared images with text is running an order of magnitude below photos on most of our Facebook pages.  Similar content, similar times of day -- an infographic is doing several hundred; the straight photo several thousand.

What concerns here is this:  everyone in athletics is consumed with using services, etc., to generate social media content with numbers and scores.  As InstaGram declares their allegiance to the algorithm and Twitter tries . . .  the industry is wasting a ton of time and money on messages no one will see.

Before I sound a general alarm, who else is seeing this?

A not so ideal side-by-side example below as the graphic on left ran for about 36 hours compared to the photo on right's 24.  Didn't get the 24 vs 24 hour comparison, because item on left was hovering around 800 reach.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Social Media and the Hiring Process

Since the beginning of this blog, I have warned students, friends, faculty and staff of the impact of their social media upon their future employment.  Again, I do not care what laws may or may not be in place in various states -- we deal in reality here.  Whether legal or not, it happens.

Here's a reminder from the New York Times today in case you forgot.

The key quote is the last line:

In other words, social media has to be treated with the same nuance as real life — because these days, that’s what it is.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Big Brother New Year

Active shooters, bowl game and holidays . . . apologies my dear friends for the dearth of posts.

Today, I've got one to ask you all about.  Have any of you experienced the following:

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I had the opportunity to send three emails to Elle Mohs at KTHV in Little Rock. All related to a story she was working on about A-State's hover board policy.

I've never searched her name on-line.

I've never looked for her (or even her station) on Facebook.

This morning, look who is at the top of my "friend suggestions."

Now I've seen this kind of crossover during that past couple of months -- a podcast subject searched for on iTunes appearing, some personal email interactions suddenly bringing those friends back to higher frequency in my Facebook feed, new people added in Twitter popping up in Facebook.

So I'd chalked a lot of that up to coincidence or obvious data sharing (the searched Christmas gift items as a prime example).

But this was my work email -- which is in no way tied to my social accounts by design -- that has led to a "random" appearance as a potential friend of someone I have extremely weak social graph ties to.

And at the top of the list.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Where For Art Thou, Dan Gillmor?

An essay in today's Chronicle email belaboring the lack of "journalism" training for the masses reminds me of the work of one of this blog's patron saints, Dan Gillmor.

Dan predicted the technology shift that would force closed door events like the Olympics to open up in the face of what would become social media.  His last book, We The Media, covered what Jennifer Brannock Cox found dismaying in 2015.  He did it in 2004.

Cox was dismayed at some of her social media classroom experiments led to very unintended consequences.  Her "commenters"  spent more time in snark than expanding the discussion.  She comes to this as one of her major points:

Unfortunately, social media is not the most reliable source of reporting, and our "journalists" are not trained. When anyone can post anything any time without restraint, the perpetuation of false and subjective information is inevitable.

Back in his transition from Cal to Arizona State, Gillmor made a huge point that one of the future cornerstone courses of media education should be just that:  a gen ed course on media that talked as much about how to consume it as how to generate it.

Cox's essay brings that right back to the forefront.  To which I ask the question of my media & comm colleagues: are you creating that course?

From the past is prologue school, another golden oldie from Dan.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Is Social Media Commentary Next?

In a ruling that should catch the attention of all employees of state agencies, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that former Georgia State psychologists didn't have a case against their employer over a memo they wrote critical of a policy change and reorganization of their student services clinic.  Inside Higher Ed's story has this key passage:

A district court found, and the appeals court affirmed, that the memo the psychologists wrote was "employee speech" related to their duties and thus not protected by the First Amendment.

Keep in mind, this was a memo to the employer.  Point being, if they'd decided they weren't getting a hearing internally and took to social media, would they have had more - or less -- First Amendment standing?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Well Intentioned, but Dangerous

The Chronicle notes today the petition of over 70 groups to require colleges and universities to address the anonymous harassment from sites such as YikYak.

The key in the story:  failure to monitor anonymous social media and to pursue online harassers as a violation of federal civil-rights laws guaranteeing equal educational access.

YikYak in particular, and most social websites in general, do not provide the level of anonymity promised, particularly when the free speech crosses the line into terroristic threatening or other legal areas (fake bomb/violence threats).  Neighboring student at UCA becoming the latest to learn that lesson the handcuffs way.

However, to require universities -- or public agencies in general -- to be the police of the internet is at best futile and at worst draconian.

By no measure do I condone or lessen the real issue here -- I've seen it up close.  Does this extend to RateMyProfessor reviews?  Does it include message boards like Topix -- the ancestral cesspool of these mobile-enabled platforms like 4chan and YikYak?

We are asking our universities to become larger and larger police agencies.  I might add, an unfunded mandate of the first degree.

This is a "Dear Colleague" with the best of intentions, but it will be little more than the Internet Monitoring Full Employment Act if pushed to its conclusion.