In the world of digital publishing there are few as brazenly, and successfully, cynical as Buzzfeed.
The successful piggybacking of social media to do all the hard work distributing their content looks obvious now, but, when they started, everyone else was still looking to search engines to deliver the traffic. The appropriation of Facebook and Twitter especially was, effectively, the step which turned an also-ran into a front-runner.
The content itself relies heavily on what used to be the last resort of the lazy journalist – the lists and the quizzes. While everyone else tried to create original content, the Buzzfeed people took the easy route and made it into a work of art. The ‘listicles’ (they even made up an annoying word for it), and the ‘what kind of [blank] are you?’ quizzes are the ultimate in ‘snackable’ content.
The real cynicism comes in the headlines for this stuff. The tried-and-tested three word phrases that awaken our clicking instincts. Again, they arent the first to do this – Robert Ludlum never wrote a thriller that didn’t have a three word title, for instance (The Bourne This, The Bourne That), but we passed that off as genre. This is the three-word link bait turned into a science. This graphic from Max Woolf, via Boing Boing, shows how the quizzes (‘what character are you’) and the things you think you need to know, but don’t, get us clicking through the Facebook link and on to the site. If this didn’t reveal just quite how much we’re being manipulated, it’d be admirable. It’s the work of evil genius.
If you managed to use this internet this year without hearing about social media (or using it for that matter), you’re either my mom or living under a rock. Social media is more mainstream than ever, and with many new platforms entering the market and older ones enduring, it can be hard to keep track of who is using what and just how popular things are.
The handy infographic below takes a look at some of the trends in social media over the course of 2014. From platform popularity to statistics on mobile usage, it offers a bit of retrospective and insight into what the past year’s trends may mean for the coming year. Keep reading to learn more!
What we learned in social media: 2014
- Tumblr and Pinterest were the fastest growing platforms in 2014
- Pinterest’s active users increased 100%
- Tumblr’s active users increased 120%
- 70% of Tumblr and Pinterest users are age 16-34 – the youngest social media user base
- Facebook has the oldest user base; 25% of Facebook users are over age 45
- Facebook is still the #1 global social media network
- More than half of Facebook’s active users are also logging in multiple times a day, higher than the equivalent for any other network
- Facebook has 1.35 billion active users
- YouTube has the highest visitation rate – 85% of online users visit each month
- 6 billion hours of video are watched each month
- 100 hours of video are uploaded each minute
- Snapchat is the fastest growing mobile app- 56% growth this past year
- 71% of Snapchat’s users are under 25 years old
- 40% use a mobile phone to login to a social network
- Multi-networking is flourishing – 19% of users aged 16-64 visited YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google in the past month
- 91% of users aged 16-64 visited YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, OR Google
What a world we live in. You can’t swing a high school diploma without hitting someone talking about how much today’s students are using social media. I believe most blogs even go so far as to say students are addicted to social media. So it’d be a natural idea to think that prospective students choose their university based on social media interactions. Right?
Not so fast.
A new survey from Eduventures polled more than 10,000 prospective students about the college search process. As you can see in the below tweet, social media is at the bottom of the list. I’m quite surprised by this to be honest. I definitely thought the ‘school website’ would be at the top but wouldn’t have thought the online school comparison sites to be the second biggest tool. Perhaps it’s because they’re easier to find while doing some online research and relatively easy to use? No matter. I just found it interesting – do you?
Would you have expected a bigger or smaller role played by social media? I figured it’d be much higher – not the top of the list to be sure – but at least a few spots above where it currently sits.
Advice For College Admissions Offices
A great note to all you admissions offices and school marketing departments – don’t rely on social media as much as you think. Spend your time creating a great school website, a good Google search presence, and some beautiful brochures (preferably interactive online ones!) to share with your prospective students.
As someone who previously worked in a university’s admissions office, I know how much work it takes to do any single one of those things I just listed – so be sure to focus on the top part of this list rather than the bottom since all items are very time-consuming!
Whether you’re in the business world, a teacher, or a student, Twitter can really be a power tool if you know how to use it. It can connect you with colleagues, mentors, learning tools, and interesting tidbits that you may not have otherwise come across. While much of this can happen organically through the trusty old ‘browse, click, browse, click, ooh! look at that!, click, click, shiny things!, browse click’ method, there are many more efficient methods of finding the information you need and want on Twitter. You’ll get all of this along with some personal interaction by participating in Twitter Chats. We’ve already showed you how to find chats that are relevant to your interests, and how to discover relevant hashtags (which will often lead you to a Twitter chat).
What many folks find when they participate in their first chat is that it can be overwhelming, especially if it is a chat that a very large number of people participate in. With huge numbers of responses, it can be hard to keep up with what people are saying, and even more difficult to get your two cents in – sometimes you have to do one or the other. Many of the social media management tools out there have features that make it a bit easier to follow along with chats, and we’re giving you an overview of a few of our favorites. If you have a favorite tool that isn’t listed here, tell us about it! Leave us a note in the comments below, mention @DailyGenius on Twitter, or head over to the Daily Genius Facebook page and drop us a line there!
The 3 Best Tools For Twitter Chats
Tweetchat (aptly named) is a tool designed just for Twitter chats. Free for mobile and web, you simply put in the hashtag you want to follow, and login using your Twitter credentials. You can block or highlight certain users, and there’s a text box for you to tweet with at the top of the page that includes a handy-dandy link shortener so you don’t need to click off to another tab to shorten the links you’re sharing. A huge plus for me, it buffers 5 tweets at a time so that you can actually read what’s happening even if a lot of people are chatting at once. You can also hide retweets so that you don’t see the same thing over and over. When you enter a hashtag to follow, Tweetchat makes it a ‘room’ for you, and you can easily switch between rooms to keep up on what is happening in different chats.
Though Hootsuite is a very robust social media management tool, it offers an easy way to keep up with your chats. Simply click on ‘add stream’ and then search for the hashtag you’re interested in. It adds a column in your dashboard which you can easily keep an eye on along with any other chats you’re following, your scheduled tweets, your mentions, and more. Hootsuite offers both free and paid versions, but you can manage up to 3 social profiles from a free account, which should be good enough for most people who aren’t trying to run a business.
Twubs is a tool that allows you to follow hashtags, follow Twitter chats, find relevant chats, and even host chats. It also offers additional tools for live events, but for the basic purpose of following along with a Twitter chat, you’ll need no more than to enter the hashtag you’re looking to follow along with in the big text box on the main page. There’s a text box for tweeting at the top of the feed, and it allows you to choose the speed that new tweets head your way, along with the handy ability to pause the feed. You can also search for chats with their handy ‘scheduled chats’ feature that shows results based on your location/time zone. Twubs is free for users, and offers paid options for those who want to register their hashtag on the site for others to find and follow along with.
It’s the largest social network on the planet and all students already have an account. But is Facebook really something worth implementing into the classroom?
In a word, no. It’s not.
That’s because it’s home to your student’s digital life. They have used or are still using it to share their life with their online friends and family. Mixing in a classroom and other education-oriented activities might prove disastrous.
Basically, students don’t want to have to ‘friend’ or ‘like’ or even join a specific group on Facebook. They don’t like being told what to do. I’d recommend trying the bespoke services like Edmodo or perhaps a Moodle implementation first.
If you haven’t started using Twitter yet, you’re going to want to stop reading this product review and head over twitter.com to create your free account. Unlike before, it’s actually quite easy to set up your account and find people you may actually want to connect with online. That’s because it’s now one of the most effective education tools that is being used by millions of people in the education world right now.
The Best Part Of Twitter As An Education Tool
It’s easy to get started and you never know what you’re going to discover. You can search by location, topic, or really any other keyword by just using the built-in social search tool. It’s great for following real-time events and learning around education hashtags but, more importantly, it’s a trusted way to get insightful education tips, tools, and tricks from a professional learning community.
The Tough Part Worth Knowing
Getting started is now a bit easier to be sure. But you can quickly feel overwhelmed by the never-ending stream of updates that people share. Don’t give up. Simply unfollow the people and organizations that annoy you or take over your timeline. It’s YOUR stream so be sure to curate your list of people you follow on a regular basis!
In our never-ending quest to figure out how to get the most out of Twitter, we’ve looked at some great people to follow, how to find the most relevant Twitter chats, and how to make a Twitter profile that entices people to follow you (as well as some more general recommendations, too). If you’ve checked out any of what we’ve already said about Twitter or have read what many others have said, you probably have some idea that using hashtags is a great way to get involved in a conversation about things that are relevant to you. But if you aren’t participating in a specific Twitter chat that you’re sure of the hashtag on, how can you find conversations that are relevant to you?
Finding Relevant Hashtags on Twitter
Search, search, search
Before you share your thoughts on a topic and just throw a random but seemingly relevant hashtag on the end of your tweet, do a quick search for that hashtag using the Twitter search function. Sometimes you’ll find that you were spot-on with your hashtag selection, and other times you’ll find that you’ve inadvertently inserted yourself into a chat about something totally inappropriate. More often than not, you’ll find that your hashtag is not as obvious as you had previously thought. You can do some ‘creative’ searching if this is the case – you may find that a more general search will yield some results in the tweets that include the more popular hashtag for your topic.
Example: If you wanted to add your thoughts to discussions on education, you might be inclined to just include the hashtag #education, but the more robust discussions on education usually happen on #edchat.
Find the right tool
Once you’ve found one relevant hashtag, being able to expand on that can be what turns Twitter from marginally useful and informative to a power tool for your professional development, personal networking, and extracurricular interests. Enter hashtagify. It is a super simple to use interactive online tool (and free!), that lets you plug in one hashtag to find other relevant, related hashtags. Using the example we’ve already discussed, I plugged in #edchat to the search box, and hashtagify populated with the 10 most popular related hashtags.
On the website, each of the blue circles is clickable, and when you mouse over it, gives you some statistics on the popularity and correlation of the hashtag in question to your original query. You can also click on any of the blue circles to expand the search and find more relevant hashtags and correlations (see below).
You can even expand the network of hashtags a bit further, by clicking twice on one of the blue circles, which sends it to the center of the search (see below).
The platform also shows you recent relevant tweets on the right side bar of the site, allowing you to explore not only what the algorithm finds to be relevant, but what actual Twitter users are saying as they participate in discussions with these particular hashtags. You have the additional option of setting up email alerts that will notify you, if you sign up for an account. Paid members can also get more in-depth analytics of hashtag use for a monthly subscription fee.
Let’s say you’re a teacher, school administrator, or government official looking to utilize social media in education. No matter your position, it’s important to understand the various problems that might arise. From misuse to abuse to bullying, there are a lot of potential issues you should consider.
That’s why this ‘Social Media Policy For Schools’ is worth checking out. Simply put, it’s a document that you can download and edit to your needs. It was crowdsourced through the magic of Google Drive and has become the below document which has been used in schools around the world.
As with any policy, be sure to tailor it to your exact needs. Spend some time closely reading it over and share it with as many people as possible who are involved in the social media in schools process. You’ll be glad you did.
Text Version: The Social Media Policy For Schools
YOUR SCHOOL recognizes that access to technology in school gives students, parents and teachers greater opportunities to learn, engage, communicate, and develop skills that will prepare them for work, life, and citizenship. We are committed to helping students develop 21st-century technology and communication skills.
To that end, this Acceptable Use Policy outlines the guidelines and behaviors that users are expected to follow when using school technologies or when using personally-owned devices on the school campus.
- Students, parents and teachers are expected to follow the same rules for good behavior and respectful conduct online as offline.
- Misuse of social media can result in disciplinary action.
- YOUR SCHOOL makes a reasonable effort to ensure students’ safety and security online, but will not be held accountable for any harm or damages that result from misuse of social media technologies.
We encourage teachers, students, staff, and other school community members to use social networking/media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) as a way to connect with others, share educational resources, create and curate educational content, and enhance the classroom experience. While social networking is fun and valuable, there are some risks you should keep in mind when using these tools. In the social media world, the lines are blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.
We’ve created these social networking/media guidelines for you to follow when representing the school in the virtual world.
Please do the following:
Use good judgment
- We expect you to use good judgment in all situations.
- Regardless of your privacy settings, assume that all of the information you have shared on your social network is public information.
- Always treat others in a respectful, positive and considerate manner.
Be responsible and ethical
- If you are approved to represent the school, unless you are specifically authorized to speak on behalf of the school as a spokesperson, you should state that the views expressed in your postings, etc. are your own. Stick with discussing school-related matters that are within your area of responsibility.
- Be open about your affiliation with the school and the role/position you hold.
Be a good listener
- Keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of social media is that it gives others another way to talk to you, ask questions directly and to share feedback.
- Be responsive others when conversing online. Provide answers, thank people for their comments, and ask for further feedback, etc.
- Always be doing at least as much listening and responding as you do “talking.”
Don’t share the following:
- Do not publish, post or release information that is considered confidential or not public. If it seems confidential, it probably is. Online “conversations” are never private. Do not use your birth date, address, and cell phone number on any public website.
Private and personal information
- To ensure your safety, be careful about the type and amount of personal information you provide. Avoid talking about personal schedules or situations.
- NEVER give out or transmit personal information of students, parents, or co-workers
- Don’t take information you may receive through social networking (such as e-mail addresses, customer names or telephone numbers) and assume it’s the most up-to-date or correct.
- Always respect the privacy of the school community members.
Please be cautious with respect to:
- Respect brand, trademark, copyright information and/or images of the school (if applicable).
- You may use photos and video (products, etc.) that are available on the school’s website.
- It is generally not acceptable to post pictures of students without the expressed written consent of their parents.
- Do not post pictures of others (co-workers, etc.) without their permission.
- A significant part of the interaction on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks involves passing on interesting content or linking to helpful resources. However, the school is ultimately responsible for any content that is shared. Don’t blindly repost a link without looking at the content first.
- Pay attention to the security warnings that pop up on your computer before clicking on unfamiliar links. They actually serve a purpose and protect you and the school.
- When using Twitter, Facebook and other tools, be sure to follow their printed terms and conditions.
And if you don’t get it right…
- Be sure to correct any mistake you make immediately, and make it clear what you’ve done to fix it.
- Apologize for the mistake if the situation warrants it.
- If it’s a MAJOR mistake (e.g., exposing private information or reporting confidential information), please let someone know immediately so the school can take the proper steps to help minimize the impact it may have.
- Users should always use the Internet, network resources, and online sites in a courteous and respectful manner.
- Users should also recognize that among the valuable content online is unverified, incorrect, or inappropriate content. Users should use trusted sources when conducting research via the Internet.
- Users should also remember not to post anything online that they wouldn’t want parents, teachers, or future colleges or employers to see. Once something is online, it’s out there—and can sometimes be shared and spread in ways you never intended.
If you see a message, comment, image, or anything else online that makes you concerned for your personal safety, bring it to the attention of an adult (teacher or staff if you’re at school; parent if you’re using the device at home) immediately.
- Users should never share personal information, including phone number, address, social security number, birthday, or financial information, over the Internet without adult permission.
- Users should recognize that communicating over the Internet brings anonymity and associated risks, and should carefully safeguard the personal information of themselves and others.
Cyberbullying will not be tolerated. Harassing, dissing, flaming, denigrating, impersonating, outing, tricking, excluding, and cyberstalking are all examples of cyberbullying. Don’t be mean. Don’t send emails or post comments with the intent of scaring, hurting, or intimidating someone else.
Engaging in these behaviors, or any online activities intended to harm (physically or emotionally) another person, will result in severe disciplinary action and loss of privileges. In some cases, cyberbullying can be a crime. Remember that your activities are monitored and retained by others.
Examples of Acceptable Use
- Follow the same guidelines for respectful, responsible behavior online that I am expected to follow offline.
- Treat social media carefully, and alert staff if there is any problem with their operation.
- Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies.
- Alert a teacher or other staff member if I see threatening/bullying, inappropriate, or harmful content (images, messages, posts) online.
- Be cautious to protect the safety of myself and others.
- This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Users should use their own good judgment when using social media
Examples of Unacceptable Use
I will not:
- Use social media in a way that could be personally or physically harmful to myself or others.
- Engage in cyberbullying, harassment, or disrespectful conduct toward others–staff or students.
- Try to find ways to circumvent the school’s safety measures and filtering tools.
- Use language online that would be unacceptable in the classroom.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Users should use their own good judgment when using social media.
Limitation of Liability
YOUR SCHOOL will not be responsible for damage or harm to persons, files, data, or hardware.
Violations of this Acceptable Use Policy
Violations of this policy may have disciplinary repercussions, including:
- Suspension of volunteer privileges
- Removal from positions of leadership within YOUR SCHOOL.
- Removal of student from YOUR SCHOOL.
- Additional consequences determined by Administration.
I have read and understood this Acceptable Use Policy and agree to abide by it:
( Printed Name)
If you’ve gone to graduate school, you’re probably familiar with the myriad of jokes about graduate students and academics. Most of them revolve around being broke, sleeping in your office/lab, fantasies of quitting your PhD program/job, and procrastination. Those in the humanities generally find themselves on the butt end of these jokes and memes more often than folks in other academic disciplines, but if we’re being honest, no grad student or academic is immune.
Thankfully, this handy graphic below explains why academics are REALLY using Twitter. Good thing, otherwise we would’ve had to assume they were trying to find information relevant to their research or (apparently nonexistent) extracurricular interests. But as it would turn out, academics are using Twitter for many of the same reasons as the rest of us. Leading the pack on the reasons? To procrastinate, of course!(nb, % used below are approximations based on the graphic)
Academics, why are you really using Twitter?
- T0 PROCRASTINATE, of course! (over 50%)
- Because it gives me an outlet to make snide comments about other academics (35%)
- Hopefully to interact with people I have an intellectual crush on (23%)
- To gossip about other people in my field (40%)
- To legitimize my web surfing (49%)
- To avoid writing (20%)
- How do you know I use Twitter?! My account is anonymous! (10%)
- “Outreach” that does not actually involve coming into physical contact with other human beings (20%)
- To read an article on Nature that said academics use Twitter for Serious Reasons (less than 10%)
- To look for a job in case I get fired or denied tenure (17%)
- It gives me something to do during boring seminars (42%)
- It gives me something to do during boring meetings (40%)
- It gives me something to do when I’m talking to boring students (24%)
Twitter can be an incredibly robust community of movers, shakers, interesting story sharers, collaborators, clients, customers, mentors, potential business partners, and friends. It can also be an overwhelming stream of more information than you can possibly read and a sea of eyes that pass right over whatever you’re saying. Having a huge community of folks right in front of you and an invisible wall between you and them can be a really frustrating experience. After all, for a long time, Twitter’s tagline on their homepage (for non-registered users) was “join the conversation”. And we all know that conversations are much better when they aren’t with just yourself.
But fear not – there are many different ways you can go about harnessing the awesomeness that can come about from using Twitter strategically. You can have chats, create lists, curate the folks you follow, and more. The handy graphic below takes a look at the 5 1/2 best Twitter practices: In short, a few ways you can try to make the most out of the huge Twitter community without feeling overwhelmed.
How to get better at Twitter
Tweet often and tweet in the afternoon. 4:00pm is the most RT’d time of the day, and the highest volume happens between 3 and 7pm. If the Twitter community can’t see that you’re saying things, how will they know they should listen to you? Don’t count on folks seeing one tweet in their feed when they likely follow hundreds (or more!) of other Twitterers.
Tweet at people, have conversations with people. Join in interesting and relevant conversations you see. Participate in a Twitter chat. Inserting your voice isn’t rude, it is how it gets heard.
Show Your Fans Some Love
Follow those who retweet you. Retweet them, too, if they share something you like. They may lead you to some interesting people and conversations you didn’t know about, and you’ll show that you’re an active, engaged member of Twitterland.
Share Unique Content
57% of all RTs include a link, so include links to interesting, unique content whenever possible.
Tweet What you See When and Where You See It
Twitter moves quickly, and things can get lost in the shuffle quite easily. When you see something, just Tweet it, or you’ll likely have a difficult time finding it again, especially if you can’t remember who said it or if it is from an account that tweets a lot.
There is a 140 character limit on Twitter. While there are exceptions, you should try to keep your tweets within that limit. Use a link shortening service (like Bitly) to give yourself more room to say what you need. Leave enough room for people to RT you without going over the character limit. The less work your followers have to do to RT you, the more likely they’ll be to do so.