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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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7 Days of Blogging – #6 – Social Emotion and Grief

deathI have been thinking a lot about how we deal with death and grief on social media, and this can be viewed as a kind of Part 2 to my 7 days of blogging #5, Five Equals Robin. A friend of mine just recently lost her husband. Within a year of discovery that he had inoperable brain cancer, he was gone. Gone. She decided early on to share their experience and her emotions, and now also her grief, very openly on Facebook. She gave the option to “unfriend her” if you felt it was too much. Too many posts, too much reality, too much emotion, too close to home, just too much. I opted to stay and experience her and her husband’s journey. It was raw and it was visceral and it was real… and it was a beautiful journey. It was (and is) never too much.

It taught me much about community coming together to help in time of need and about collective mourning. These were not our “best” friends, nor people we hung out with on a regular basis, but they needed us to come together as a community to help, and were brave enough to ask for that help. We helped as much as we could (I’m not sure it is ever enough, but I do know we will still be there in the months to come.) Utilizing various social media sites they set up a network of people to help wherever needed.

Caring Bridge is a site giving support to families when they are experiencing health issues and is a great place for information exchange on what is happening without the phone ringing off the hook. Another great site they utilized was Food Tidings, which is a place where they listed needed food items and preferred recipes. We could then schedule ourselves for whenever we could pick something up for them or bring them a warm meal. It may not seem like a big deal, but when going through this, feeding oneself can be a struggle.

These sites make things so much easier, but this is not a new concept. Meghan O’Rourke writes about how a century ago, we were more communal about our grief. The town or community of neighbors would come together to help in times of need, or of grief. This changed during World War 1,

“partly because the sheer numbers of dead made it hard to properly mourn all those who had passed, and partly because psychoanalysis was placing new emphasis on the internal aspects of grief… Americans came to view grief as a private and a psychological function rather than as a communal one. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ “stage theory” of grief, with its emphasis on tidily achieving “acceptance,” became our script for mourning. Death began to take place in the remote hospital, instead of at home; wakes were outsourced to funeral homes; and children lived longer, making sudden death more unusual.”

This man in his forties was blessed to have the option to pass away at home in the arms of his loving wife, and with his beloved pets. Sunlight streamed into the windows, and he could look out to view the garden they had grown together. He got to visit and commune with his loved ones and friends before he passed. Although we may not have been there in person, we were able to experience it with them online because of her ability to share those private moments in such a unique way. Perhaps some felt  the need to “unfriend,”  but for me personally it was (and still is) a privilege to share this reality with her. This is a prime example of how social media has helped to restore the concept of communal mourning.

After his memorial, my husband actually had a hard time with the fact that he’d never really gotten to hang out with this person whom he’d never met but was so similar to, and now he was gone. Luckily there are many stories online to keep his memory alive forever and others will get to know this man as so many of the rest of us have.

“I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”   ~Jack Kerouac

 

Please remember, it may not “be for you”, but please respect that there may be others who need to grieve within an online community, and that it happens to be good healing for them.

 

~Christine Dietsche

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Social Media Restaurant Menu

As I ponder Social Media, one thing for sure is that it is omnipresent. Since enrolling in the Public Relations Specialist Certification program at Takoda Institute American Indian OIC, I come to enjoy Social Media. That got me to thinking, what if there was a restaurant that had its meals and beverages named after social networking sites? Well, I have decided to do that. Just for giggles I have comprised a Social Media menu. The list is not exhaustive. I did not have time to list too many ingredients, that would require lots of time that I do not have, plus I will leave that to you, the readers. Also, this will menu will give each of you an opportunity to explore new social media networking sites. The social networking sites are in bold print.

 

                                     Beverages

       Specialty Drinks                                                                      Soda
        MocoSpace Latte                                                            Skyrock Ginger ale
        LiveMocha Latte                                                             Skoob Root beer
        Influenster Coffee                                                          Hyves Cream Soda
        Ibibo Vanilla Espresso                                                     Gogoyoko Mist-Lemon Lime Soda

                                      Sandwiches

Mouthshut.com-your choice of Chicken, Turkey or Beef
Spring Me– Vegetarian sandwich served with Cheddar, Mozzarella or Swiss
Meet up– Italian Sausage (Spicy, Mild or Hot), Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni
Stickham– Grilled Cheese- your choice of Ham or Turkey or just cheese
Mubi– Grilled Chicken with vegetables

                                        Entrees

Sound Cloud– Baked Chicken served with light fluffy mashed potatoes and vegetable
MOG Stew-Chicken, Turkey or Beef served with hot water cornbread
Ravelry Chops-Pork Chops served with roasted potatoes and vegetable
Taringa!– Mexican Meatloaf served with Cilantro Lime Rice or Mexican Mashed Potatoes and vegetable
Shelfari– Fried Chicken served with mashed potatoes and vegetable

                                        Desserts

Goodwizz Sundae-Vanilla ice cream sundae served with your choice of fruit toppings (Strawberry, Pineapple, Blueberry) and Hot Fudge
Wooxie– Moist slice of three layer chocolate
Yammer-Slice of apple pie served with vanilla ice cream and a splash of cinnamon

I had a fun time compiling my Social Media Restaurant menu. Do forget to visit a few of the websites you might learn something new.


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PR and social Media

 

 

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    ↔    PR

 

 

The field of Public relations (PR) has changed so much since the beginning of social media and it will continue to change as social media keeps evolving. Understanding how much social media has changed the PR profession will help us put together better communication programs that put both parts in a way that intensifies your messages. With that said, I would like to share a few areas of how social media has impacted the world of PR

Communication consistency

It used to be that PR was a one-way message program. You put out the information that you hope is relevant and wish that it will reach everybody. With Social media, your target message is transformed into a conversation that just about anyone can start, converting the one-way message into a constant discussion.  Social media makes it possible to enter this discussion anywhere, but the discussion cannot be controlled.

Target Audience

The old model of PR is to send a specialized message to a single message source. But in today’s world of social media infused PR model, you target audience is now a community. The main difference now is that with a community of friends, many conversations take place socializing the message.

Channel Reach

With social media, your audience is motivated to pay attention to each other making it very powerful. The engagement from the audience boosts your message leading to more shares, and making certain conversations go viral. Engagement, in social media and PR, is a key achievement.

Source credibility

User-generated content in PR groups has always been a point of concern mostly surrounding bloggers and journalists. In today’s social communication platforms, a message could become very potent when there’s an exchange between sources. For instance, the journalist using social media to investigate stories or the stories in a traditional publication gets shared on social platforms.

PR uses many communication programs and social media is just one of them which allow us to interact directly with our customers. Social media also allows us to be to communicate with our consumers and hopefully gain a positive action. And understanding how social platforms have changed the PR world, it can help us make better use of it in our campaigns.

 

Source: Social Media Disruptors of PR and social PR


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7 Days of Blogging – Five Equals Robin

Life is all about all kinds of emotions and recently, I have been thinking a lot about how we deal with death and grief on social media.

This blog is an updated and abbreviated version of something I wrote shortly after Robin William’s death, and this is why #5 = Robin.

Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society

The news of Robin Williams’ death on Monday August 11, 2014 shocked the world. That this news created an overwhelming sense of sadness at the loss of someone whom I had never personally met was at first a bit incomprehensible. Why did this loss affect me so? Then I wandered onto my Facebook page to the onslaught of commentary of Rest In Peace and video clips of this man who touched so many people on so many levels. I then realized that he had been a part of my social conscious for almost 40 years. I felt the need to honor this man. I also found it fascinating and somewhat frightening how social media reported and reacted to his death.

Social media will be changed forever due to bad behavior. Twitter quickly re-vamped its user protection policies after a few horrible people posted things to Robin’s daughter Zelda’s account. “We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter,” Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement, “We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”

Zelda herself had the last word though, “To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh. As Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 1.42.59 AMfor those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too.”

Robin starred as lead in numerous films, not all of them comedic roles. He won an Oscar for his portrayal of professor Sean Mcguire in Good Will Hunting. Of course it’s mainly the comedies that most remember, especially Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin got social media, always had a joke at the ready, and himself tweeted his photo as Mrs. Doubtfire in response to a certain someone showing up at the Met Gala one year wearing a dress that Robin claimed, he “wore it better!” As always, perfect timing.

Dead Poets Society (John Keating) – 1989
“Why do I stand up here? Anybody? I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”

 

Dead Poets Society is one my favorite films and one I have watched too many times to count. Ironically, the deep roles Robin played often revolved around dealing with suicide. How strange and very sad that some of the funniest humans have the heaviest hearts.

The news, the tributes and internet chatter about Robin’s death not only allowed people to grieve openly together, it also allowed people to speak out about their own struggles with depression. The silence about mental illness and depression must end. We must have those difficult conversations about a topic that generations have tried to sweep under the rug. Everyone I know has in one way or another been affected by suicide and, unfortunately, many of us with more than one loss due to suicide throughout our lives.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 38,000 people die by suicide every year, and 750,000 more attempt suicide. More people die by suicide annually throughout the world than death by war, murder and natural disasters combined. These staggering numbers makes one reel. How can we prevent these numbers from continuing to increase?

Robin’s death prompted many people who had never spoken about their issues to open up, and more amazingly is that they have done so in a very public forum on the internet. The dialogue needs to continue. Everyone needs to understand that there is no shame in having depression. Start talking. Speak openly and honestly, reach out and talk with someone. Find someone to trust who can be there for support whenever you need it.

~Christine Dietsche


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7 Days of Blogging – The 4-letter Word

 

beachWow. As much as I am enjoying writing my 7 days of blogging, my self-imposed challenge is not going well, timing-wise. I have discovered quite quickly just how important it is to PLAN AHEAD! I thought for sure I’d have the time every day to write a blog. How hard can it be? Well, I discovered quickly that TIME is a huge factor in blogging. This is why blog #4, is about that new 4-letter word: blog.

I did some research, and I know that I am not the only one who struggles with finding the time to do it right. It is important to supply good content, not just writing about “nothing”. Yes, I know, Seinfeld made millions being a show about nothing, but little old me or others who are trying to carve their niche, are finding out quickly that there are millions blogging, but not everyone is being read.

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” 

This Benjamin Franklin quote is spot on, and I’ve also heard that when you start your own blog, be prepared to have two months worth of writing done in advance. This is so that if you get into a time crunch (as I did) you have content ready to post. I truly thought, an hour or two of writing a day, “This will be fun!” But unfortunately I did not take life into account and sometimes other do priorities pop up. Unexpected asks that are just as, or more important than the timing of your blog post.

I am also struggling with what is my blog going to be about? Many claim that a streamlined process and a focused topic is the only way to go. But what if I prefer to muse on life? To tell stories about my pets or crazy travel experiences? To share a good recipe once in awhile? Or simply how I feel about something at that moment in time? Musing on everyday life is preferred by me for now, therefore that will be my start. That decision has been made at least. I want to brand myself and I would like to blog, but it has to be “me.” TBD (“To Be Determined” – I don’t always know acronyms or sometimes simply make them up, therefore don’t assume others know them!) there might be one or two versions of “me” in regards to branding myself!

Luckily there’s some great advice out there. Julie Deneen writes, “Developing an online presence is like building a sand castle at the water’s edge.” Having built a few sand castles in my time, I can relate to that statement! I perked up when I saw her advice about the six word brand. Hmmm, choosing six words to describe me? Then from those six come up with six more words for each that can be more specific descriptions and/or variations. This is how to build my brand? How do I pare it down to six? TBE (“To Be Explored” – now that’s an acronym I just made up, see how I am?) in the future because the wheels are turning as to how you can make things tie in better when you have base words to work from.

Of course this all smacks of planning and organization, but I’m discovering that is what is needed to get good at blogging. Some of you may scoff, “Pishposh! If one can truly write, it comes easy!”

PISHPOSH

Well, my future blog will have to be “me” and I state again, the biggest lesson learned for me this week was about timing and preparation. Therefore, before I launch, I will do some serious planning, writing, brainstorming, re-writing, scheduling, re-writing, and figuring out how to showcase different things in different ways across different platforms.

When you walk the right beach, you are always bound to find a few gems. So yes, the stories will come, but even if you have them, if they aren’t written and that deadline pops up, you may find yourself exclaiming another 4-letter word!

~Christine Dietsche

 

 

Liz Lemon saying, "What the what the?"


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Is Cursing Taboo, Blase or OK?

If the Internet hasn’t made our culture more profane, certainly it has diminished our collective shock by curse words. According to a study reported in digitaltrends.com, one in every 13 tweets contain profanity (nsfw, but in case you are at work and curious, you may be as surprised as I was that the C-word ranks 16th). Now, one in 13 is not a shocking figure when you consider anyone with opposable thumbs has a media platform. But for those of us who believe there is more to writing than the ability to navigate a keyboard or message chat acronyms on a smart phone, our audience and message determine the words and language we use.

The lax on the taboos of profanity goes back farther than the Internet and has been happening for decades. It’s been almost ten years since Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to f*** himself, and even though it probably wasn’t the first time that suggestion was offered on the Senate floor, it would have been far more shocking 50 years earlier. It would be even less shocking if it happened today. Perhaps social media and the plethora of smart phones are simply revealing that we were always a culture of potty mouths. But back when a virtual conversation meant something tweeners imagined having with the latest heartthrob on the cover of Tiger Beat, profanity was considered taboo in “mixed company,” meaning when both genders were present. I’d have to try pretty hard to fain shock by the use of “naughty language” today, even though I was raised where my permissible threshold for cursing stopped after darn and before hell (outside its religious context). Mom said the use of profanity demonstrated not only a lack of cultural civility, but a lack of an abundant vocabulary. And even after I rattle off a string of profanity that would prompt Chelsea Handler and Roseanne to rise for a standing ovation (mostly when no one’s around), I remind myself that Mom was right. Words matter.

Whether defining your own voice or that of the organization you represent, the right words will always matter. Broadcasting through social media offers greater freedom but also a greater opportunity to cause damage to your brand if you don’t choose your words carefully. It pays to think before you post because no matter how fleeting your messages may be in the world-wide web of words, remember all posts are permanent and will come back to haunt you if they can. If using one of George Carlin’s famous seven curse words you can never say on television is right for your brand or the audience you want to reach, use them, But the S-word or F-word can be just as dull or jarring as using a fancy, multisyllabic word when it’s not the right word. Using the right language or even inventing new words and phrases will attract the people you want to your site. Think how popular Thirty Rock’s Liz Lemonisms, like blergh, myirt, whuck and jagweed have become.

Recently the AP stylebook, the journalist’s bible, defined “N-word” and “F-word” as the proper style rule when writing those words in print. But Jesse Sheidlower, author of  “The F-Word, The Complete History of the Word. Yes, That One,” contends that the media should reflect the real world and use the actual word when reporting. After all, everyone knows what those acronyms mean, so you could argue substitutions are silly or, at best, only there to protect the innocent. But I doubt there are many children over five who haven’t heard or seen these words many times before. Are the acronyms any less ugly than the words themselves? Would using them shine more light on their vulgarity or are they too offensive for that experiment?

Time will tell whether social media changes the bleep-word practice or other current language mores, like it seems to be changing nearly everything else. And were he alive today, Carlin would agree social media has blurred the lurid language line and he’d have a new, brilliant riff on the subject. WWCT – what would Carlin think – or tweet? SB

 

 

 


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Baby Boomers and Social Media J(^U^)

Recently, I have found myself sharing conversations with other baby boomers, like myself, who echo a sense of dismay over how life, as we know it, has so drastically changed over the course of our lifetime. Surely, it must be the most extreme, compared to previous generations.

The nearly 79 million-strong baby boomer population, born between 1946 and 1964, are not only significant for their numbers, but also their distinct social and demographic characteristics. In 2011, the first of the baby boomer generation reached the age of 65, and for the next 17 years, nearly 10,000 boomers a day will celebrate their 65th birthday. That is a lot of candles!

The Woodstock generation, with their collective spirit of optimism, exploration and achievement, have definitely left their very own unique and distinctive impression on the world. Baby Boomers came of age during a period of U.S. history in which the complexity of family life increased dramatically (Cherlin, 2010). Boomers had front seats for:
• The Civil Rights Movement
• The Women’s Movement
• Dramatic shifts in educational, economic, and social opportunities
• Man’s first steps on the moon
• At least four major wars
• The creation of the first computer
• The assassination of JFK, Martin Luther King J
Not to mention they:
• Have lived through economic explosion and collapse
• They have challenged underlying values and attributes of society
• Have higher rates of separation and divorce; lower rates of marriage with fewer children
• On average, are healthier with longer life expectancy
• Have more varied work histories, and work more of their adult years
• Have influenced education, fashion, music, race relations, sex roles, hair-length, and child-rearing (remember Dr. Spock?), as well as key societal institutions.

Whew! The list goes on and on, but in summation, baby boomers have redefined each stage of life as they experienced it and are known to be goal-oriented, adaptive, and focused on individual choices and personal freedom. Just think, the boomers have already lived a lifetime, and technology has only blossomed in the last 10 to 15 years. True to form, baby boomers have embraced technology as a lifeline, enabling the preservation of autonomy and identity—a voice and new tool to enable them to take charge of their own life as physical agility fades.

According to 2010 Pew Research Centre’s Internet & American Life Project, “…the 74+ age group is the fastest growing demographic among social networks. Currently, there are 39 million people aged 65 and older using Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.” The study also showed that seniors reported feeling happier due to online contact with family and friends through social media. Through online connections, more seniors feel empowered and connected while fewer suffer depression from the helplessness of isolation.

The American Academy of Neurology published a new study which involved 294 seniors who were tested for memory and cognitive thinking every year for six years, then examined for physical signs of dementia. The people who were mentally active, maintaining a steady stream of stimuli through technology, displayed sharper wits and intellect, whereby those devoid of social media stimuli showed more advanced signs of aging with greater incidence of memory loss and inability to retain information. Well I guess that conflicts with the reports from Korea about “digital dementia.” Everything in life is a double-edged sword with good and bad attributes alike. The difference is usually in ones preferred slant or persuasion.

To be honest, I don’t consider myself a senior citizen yet, although there are days when my joints would argue that point. “Determination” is definitely a boomer trait I happen to possess and for that I am grateful, as it has enabled me to embrace technology with all of its idiosyncrasies. Personally, I welcome the rapid pace of technology; the faster it moves, the more I will have the privilege of experiencing in this baby boomer lifetime. I say, “Bring it on, baby! oh, and while you’re at it, please pass the green tea.” J(^U^)