Category : social responsibility

#Follow Fakeness: The Scoop on Sandy’s Social Media Backlash

Exactly one week after Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, we are all too familiar with the horrific scenes of rushing floodwaters and flattened homes along the East Coast. News broadcasts are now filled with emotional coverage of mourning families pleading for help from their water-engulfed neighborhoods.  Yet, despite the heartbreaking destruction, many people still chose to abuse their access to social media, posting fake pictures of the alleged damage that Sandy has left behind.

Social media damage control was a necessity in the hours following the storm, with many followers duped into sharing the doctored images. While some pictures were simply lifted from online photo galleries, others traveled the extra mile by grabbing screenshots from movies like The Day After Tomorrow, and adding true-to-life captions. This is not to mention the tactless celebrity comparisons like, “Snooki is a lot like Hurricane #Sandy. They’re both heading to Jersey Shore with intentions to blow everyone within a 50-mile radius” posted by a Twitter user.

With the startling evidence of thoughtlessness and the incessant need for attention and buzz, our societal priorities must be called into question. We are hyper-connective by nature, sharing and liking anything that retains shock value on a daily basis, let alone during a national emergency. But given the lives that were already lost during Sandy’s travel in the Caribbean, why take this storm and turn it into a joke?

The answer to that question remains to be seen; however, in the mean time stay smart when cruising your social media sites, especially during weather emergencies of any magnitude. If you come across an image that raises your suspicion, check out some online tips to avoid sharing incorrect information. Using these tips will not only decrease the unwarranted buzz that has circulated from false facts, but will also keep you and your followers better informed during an emergency.

New Social Media Site Breaks Ground in Breast Cancer Fight

Stepping into the social media landscape is, an online social network that aims to connect breast cancer patients and survivors to each other. Through detailed profiles of their cancer type and treatment plan, these women are given a comforting virtual space to interact and bond despite this distressing disease. As the first social network to cater specifically to breast cancer patients, is utilizing the power of cyberspace to spearhead the fight against breast cancer.

Developed by MyHealthTeams, a California based company that specializes in creating social media sites for people suffering from chronic diseases; MyBCTeam is making leaps and bounds in both the social media and health care industries. Not only does the site provide a network of support between patients and survivors, but also offers a directory of health providers who can be referenced during treatment. To further enhance connectivity amongst its users, MyBCTeam has developed iOS and Android applications for on-the-go support and connectivity, not to mention accompanying Facebook and Twitter accounts that offer insightful articles for cancer patients, seen here:

MyBCTeam’s features are unique in comparison to medical discussion boards and information sites. The social network offers one-on-one interactions between patients and survivors, rather than cold information that can be quite daunting to delve into.

It has been highly noted that a close support system during treatment of the disease is a crucial factor in recovery. Aside from their families, doctors, and spiritual leaders, breast cancer patients are given a further extended system of support that is bound by strength beyond this disease. Spanning beyond this technological feat is a greater achievement that has been made to enhance medical recovery with the aid of social media.

Using social media to promote a cause: Jamie Oliver and the Food Revolution

written by Pam Maloney (@PMaloney)

Facebook fans of Jamie Oliver saw a post in their news feeds this morning-

Oliver’s mission (and the point of his new television series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution) is to bring healthy food options into American school lunches. His program aims to show us all that the current system in place is severely broken – In one episode, Oliver gets visibly irritated after discovering that the current school lunch program he is trying to overhaul considers French fries to be a sufficient vegetable serving.

Oliver certainly isn’t the first to use social networking for this purpose. I write about him because this is a great example of how to social media tools to gain notoriety for your cause (and because it is a cause  I support).

The web page for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution promotes the spreading of his message through a variety of social media tools he is employing to rally supporters.

Covering all his bases, you can follow Jamie’s cause on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Bebo & MySpace. And he doesn’t just have these social networks set up and his fingers crossed that it will go viral.  His petitionboasts a great infographic showing support state by state across the US.  The Food Revolution site offers lots of content for sharing – how-tos and recipes for both families and schools. He even has an iphone app Jamie Oliver’s 20 minute meals.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution airs Friday nights at 9  on ABC.

Using Social Media to Remember 9/11


Serious Scoops Here.

Today we remember an event 8 years ago that rocked the core of American tradition and principle. As many before us, we have used traditional forms of media as a way to reflect and remember how this day changed our country forever. As untraditional as social media is, it offers an easily accessible global outlet to share their memories, grief, anger, frustrations, and pain. Social media sites are now becoming a gathering for those who are reflecting. Whether it is looking at 9-11 conversation hashtags on Twitter or viewing President Obama’s speech at the Pentagon today, there are many ways to show your sadness and empathy for the victims and families of thsi tragedy.

To view more please visit:



“Apple hates personality stuff and press intrusion. ‘We want to discourage profiles’. Strong words from an Apple PR. Apparently Apple didn’t want the Sunday Times to publish the 4000 word plus profile for the fact that it may reveal more about jobs past, present, and future than the company is willing to disclose.

I think Transparency is overwhelmingly important in a day when most of American’s financial powerhouses (GM, FORD, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) are proving to be less and less trustworthy with the future of our economy. Apple is no exception. Like the former mentioned, Apple has a ton of money, and therefore a ton of power in America. I think every good organization can attribute much of its success to good leadership. That said, Jobs has an obligation, by my standings, to show that he is an honest, trustworthy, ethical, real person, capable of sustaining the influential role he plays in the worlds technology society.

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To all of the information highway skepticals, many have discussed the groundbreaking election of president Obama and its significants in modern American history, but think about this – what other campaign, in any context, is bigger than a presidential campaign? Not many. Obama’s campaign staff realized one centrally important concept. Next big campaign, next big marketing strategy. And what better than social media. Through Social media, Obama raised some $600 million from 3 million people, registered 3 million + cell phone numbers, countless voters and ultimately won the most ground breaking election in us history. My point is, many people feel scepitical of the power of social media, but I think once people really take a look at some of the successful campaigns such as the Obama campaign, they will develope more confidence in the power of social media.

Check out some of Obama’s sites: (6.5 MILLION FANS!)…

TripAdvisor banishes fake reviews

The influential travel Web site TripAdvisor has been quietly posting disclaimers to warn customers of hotels writing fake reviews to improve their popularity rankings or hurt competitors.


The red disclaimers near the names of hotels show that TripAdvisor has a problem with fake reviews, travel bloggers and industry experts say. One blogger, Jeff Tucker, warned that without changes to restore credibility to the reviews the site is “going to come crumbling down behind them.”

Experts say manipulated reviews can be overly positive, citing features — such as the brand of faucet fixtures — regular travelers rarely notice. Or they can be extremely negative, with a competitor bashing a hotel that generally has more favorable reviews. Fake posters often have only one or a few reviews, whereas many regular TripAdvisor users post numerous reviews.

Travel industry insiders — but often not casual travelers — understand the financial incentives hotels have to artificially inflate their rankings on the site. Some offer discounts or freebies to patrons who write positive reviews or hire public relations companies who say they can improve the reviews.

The company has policies to weed out suspicious reviews, screens reviews before they are posted, and uses automated tools to identify attempts to corrupt the system, Ferencsik said. Users can also report reviews they find not credible.

Full story here

Social Networking = Cohesion or Division?


Is the social media revolution bringing us together? Or is it perpetuating divisions by race and class?

An important question asked by New York Times’ Riva Richmond.

I know, your all probably thinking, “what do you mean division, social media is all about bringing people together.” Your right, most social media is, well, just that. Social. It functions as a wonderful, easy-to-access, and often free medium in the online social stratosphere. But take a second and think to your self. Does social media always help promote diversity in your own life? Think about the people you communicate with via social media. Aren’t the overwhelming majority business partners, co workers, old college buddies, home town friends, family. In short, most people tend to connect with other people like them. It’s true outside social media as well.

I hate to bash the leverage of social media, but are people really being brought together in a new way? My opinion is, not always. Even as I examine my own social media endeavors I realize, the majority of the people that I interact with are my college friends, hometown buddies, co-workers, clients, family, and career-like minded people. Other than that, I can’t really account for much of the other engagement that occurs across my array of social networking profiles.

In addition to people centralizing their social conversation around a relitivly narrow selection of genres of people (way to wordy), studies also show that certain socioeconomic groups tend to flock to specific social media networks over others. For example, during the 2006-7 school year, conversations with high school students showed a trend of white, upper-class and college-bound teenagers migrating to Facebook. Meanwhile, less educated and nonwhite teenagers were on MySpace. The interviewer, Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, noted that old-style class arrogance was also in view; the Facebook kids were quicker to use condescending language toward the MySpace users. “What we’re seeing is a modern incarnation of white flight,” Says Boyb. “It should scare the hell out of us.”

Others have mounted quantitative studies that confirm these divides. A December 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that, over all, Facebook users were more likely to be male and have completed college, while MySpace users were somewhat more likely to be female, black or Hispanic, and to have not completed college. Since that study, however, Facebook has boomed and the social network landscape has no doubt changed significantly.

Ms. Boyd’s contention is that social media “mirrors and magnifies” our social divisions, rather than removes them. “We can use technology as a tool to connect with people, but we can’t assume that it will eliminate all of the serious issues we have to face in this country,” Ms. Boyd said at PDF. “Pervasive social stratification is being reified in a new era. If we don’t address this head-on, inequality will develop deeper roots that will further cement divisions in our lives.”

So my question to the reader is, do you think Social Media (and more specifically social networking) is in fact fostering an online environment of Cohesion among all people, or one reinforcing the haunting socioeconomical divisions that remain so deeply rooted in America’s past, present, and possibly future?

Full Story

Trusting the brand to the lowly ‘twintern’

marketing intern blog pic

Many corporate higher-ups are demonstrating a genuine concern for the level of discretionary decision making invested in todays corporate “twinterns” (Twitter/social media interns). The thing is, many companies such as Pizza Hut are now choosing to hire paid interns to focus on their social media endeavors. Great idea, in theory.

One of the most common myths surrounding social media is the idea that teens and college students, because of their inherent involvement in the social media realm, must be great agents for corporate social media management and counsel. True, an overwhelming majority of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are now not only engaged but completely consumed with social media. But even so, many of these Gen Y Social media “Gurus” only know social media from an individual perspective. They understand how to harness the power of social media for networking with friends, but not for improving brand recognition, employing marketing campaigns or generating social buzz around a companies product.

One London based home-furnishings retailer, “Habitat” ‘s twittering intern got in big trouble last month after he sent out misleading tweets that included commonly searched words related to the protests in Iran. He added keywords — called “hashtags” in Twitterspeak — such as Iran and Mousavi to messages so that people who searched for information about the protests would see his employer’s ads instead. His bosses were not pleased. “This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat,” a representative said in a statement. “We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused.” Habitat has since deleted the tweets and vowed to “do better for the Twitter community.”

For this very reason, many organizations have refrained from employing under experienced interns to handle their social media loose ends.

Even so, companies like Pizza Hut, who have entrusted single social media interns with entire twitter campaigns, have witnessed amazing success within just months of hiring their twinterns. Robinson, Pizza Hut’s first official “twintern”, spends much of the day on the free microblogging service Twitter sending out messages about special promotions, responding to customer complaints, and trolling Twitter for mentions of Pizza Hut.

Despite a lack of in-house experience — she worked for only one day in a Pizza Hut restaurant — Robinson seems to be doing a fine job thus far. She has increased Pizza Hut’s Twitter followers from 3,000 to more than 13,000 and successfully executed a sales promotion over the Fourth of July weekend. And despite having only been on the job for a month, she seems well-informed about the company offerings. In response to a customer inquiry, she tweeted on Tuesday: “Currently the Stuffed Pizza Rolls are only available with pepperoni. I’ll keep you posted if anything changes.”

But she might have added this caveat: if anything changes this summer. The twinternship ends come September, at which point the posting duties will presumably change hands once again.

So the Question is, do you think trusting a “twintern” with your brands social media endeavors could prove useful or fatal?

Click Here to read the entire story

Facebook for Charity

Here’s a timely article. Using Facebook to promote social responsibility, some youngsters create facebook cause to benefit the family who’s house was destroyed in the crash of Continental Airline’s flight 3407 earlier this month.

We surely understand the impact social media and social networking can have on philanthropic causes – as we begin planning stages for our newest social media project with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. We’re helping to promote their Community Support Fund and Mass2-1-1. Join their facebook cause and definately watch this video – it’s quite moving.