Jun 072017
 

Jacob Sollum from Reason Magazine’s Hit & Run Blog has a good piece on the topic this morning.

It will surprise no one familiar with Donald Trump’s attitude toward criticism that people who make negative comments about him on Twitter may find their access to his account blocked. If Trump were an ordinary Twitter user, he would be well within his rights to shun anyone who offends him.

But Trump is not an ordinary Twitter user. He is the president of the United States, and he regularly uses his @realDonaldTrump account—which has about 32 million followers, 13 million more than the official @POTUS account—to trumpet his accomplishments, push his policies, attack his opponents, and complain about his press coverage.

In a letter they sent the president yesterday, lawyers for two blocked Trump critics argue that the way he uses his personal account makes it a “designated public forum,” meaning that banishing people from it based on the opinions they express violates the First Amendment.

“This Twitter account operates as a ‘designated public forum’ for First Amendment purposes, and accordingly the viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional,” write Jameel Jaffer and two of his colleagues at Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute. … “The government may impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions in a designated public forum, but it may not exclude people simply because it disagrees with them.”

Not so fast?

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh likewise thinks the issue is not nearly as clear as Jaffer suggests. Volokh argues that @realDonaldTrump seems more like a personal project than a government program: “My inclination is to say that @RealDonaldTrump, an account that Trump began to use long before he became president, and one that is understood as expressing his own views—apparently in his own words and with his own typos—rather than some institutional position of the executive branch, would likely be seen as privately controlled, so that his blocking decisions wouldn’t be constrained by the First Amendment.”

We have not, at any rate, been here before.

Aug 152016
 

From the very smart libertarian blog “Hit and Run,” presented without comment, except to note that all’s well that ends well (if it does end well):

Last Thursday an Ohio jury acquitted Anthony Novak, a 27-year-old man whom Parma police arrested last spring for making fun of them. After hearing one day of testimony, the jurors unanimously concluded that Novak did not “disrupt public services,” a felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison, when he created a parody of the Parma Police Department’s Facebook page.

Novak’s fake Facebook page, which changed the department’s slogan from “We know crime” to “We no crime,” included a job notice saying that anyone who passed a “15 question multiple choice definition test followed by a hearing test” would be “be accepted as an officer” but that the department “is strongly encouraging minorities to not apply.” …

When they arrested Novak in March, Parma police complained that his jokes were “derogatory” and “inflammatory.” …

Novak plans to sue the police department and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office for violating his First Amendment rights. … Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney with the ACLU of Ohio, thinks Novak has a strong case. She told The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer Novak’s actions were “so clearly protected by the First Amendment that the criminal proceedings shouldn’t have even come this far.”

reposted from basil.CA

May 102016
 

For almost a decade marketers, educators, and students have been using the social media “dashboard” created by Vancouver, BC’s Hootsuite to monitor their social networks, analyze the effectiveness and reach of their messages, “listen” to the many buzzes of the online world, and engage with their customers and influencers. It’s a superb platform. (Bias alert: Several former students now work at Hootsuite. I have also used Hootsuite University in my digital media marketing classes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.)

The company also publishes a lot of content. I find Hootsuite’s blog especially useful; its writers keep me up to date on just about everything in the world of social media. With this morning’s cup of coffee I perused Emily Copp’s Social Media Acronyms All Marketers Should Know and found several I didn’t know: SaaS (“software as a service”), ELI5 (“explain like I’m five”), and … LMK (“let me know”). Copp’s annotations are clear, and the links she provides are helpful.

Other recent blog-posts I have found valuable:

Finally, the blog’s monthly round-up of Social Media News You Need to Know is a really great cheat-sheet – comprehensive and likely vital to your work.

Jan 252016
 

Dana Fontein, a fine blog writer over at Hootsuite, posted a really helpful piece this morning, “So You Think You Can’t Write: 8 Writing Resources for Non-Writers.

Many believe that they simply cannot write, or that they aren’t a “writer,” when the truth is that they really just believe they are not a good writer.

For content marketers, writing is obviously an integral component to most, if not all, aspects of the job. Everything from drafting blog posts to crafting the perfect video script requires the ability to write. While of course the act of stringing words together to form sentences can satisfy the basic requirements, writing is a skill that with time, dedication, and a desire to improve, can be mastered to an exceptional level. Just like the perfect set of graphite pencils helps with drawing, there are numerous tools available to help you improve your chances of writing success.

Bless her heart, Fontein includes two nondigital resources (books!) that I can highly recommend as well: Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (remember the birds, my KPU students?).

Among those digital resources she lists, I follow Copyblogger (“the bible of content marketing”) closely. Others were new to me. Portent’s Content Idea Generator is whimsical and fun and occasionally absurd – and therefore a fine boost to brainstorming blog-post ideas. Others include Co-Schedule’s Headline Analyzer. (The headline “Why I love kittens” earned me a lowly 51/100 score, but with some precise guidance on how to improve it.)

Fonteyn annotates these and each of the other resources beautifully.

Dec 252015
 

In an excellent article called “How Much Is Involved in Building an Authority Site” (in website-designs.com), author Steve Cartwright notes that “Authority websites have the potential to generate a tremendous amount of money, but the downside is that they can take a tremendous amount of work. However, a niche website that isn’t an authority website is almost as hard to keep updated anyway. It’s difficult to continually produce enough quality content to keep the search engines indexing your website enough so that your website remains at the top of the search results.” True, though not so difficult for individuals for whom the goal of websites and social-media is professional reputation and branding rather than financial profit. For owners of business websites, though,

How long each aspect of the authority site takes to develop will depend on your skill levels, as well as your budget. If you have the funds to hire out various aspects of the site building such as the web design and even the content creation, you’ll be able to rank higher faster. But, building an authority website still takes time. The way in which Google decides that your site is an authority site is by the age of the domain name, incoming links referencing the website, and the amount of relevant, high-quality content on the website.

When starting an authority website some experts will tell you that you need lots and lots of short highly focused articles. Each one of these should be focused on one particular topic and should include basis search engine optimization. The sole purpose of these articles is to gain indexing within the search engines. On top of this you’ll need to include some longer articles, these are your main authority articles and the idea is that these build on the grown work done by the SEO type articles. Authority articles tend to be longer than those written for search engine optimization alone, there sole purpose is to educate the audience on a particular topic. When I started Website Designs, I decided that I wanted to concentrate on lots and lots of authority articles, this is why you will not find any short SEO type posts on this website. …

If you work really hard, you can have a website up and running in about 30 days (sometimes less) depending on your own skills in terms of creating a website and graphics. You can fill it with 50 pages of content to get started, and then work on keeping it updated with fresh content on a part-time basis, but understand from the onset that it takes lots of work this is why most people don’t do it and many give up before they are successful. Spend at least equal time promoting the website as you do adding content to it. Expect it to take at least 120 – 180 days to start seeing a marked increase in traffic from search engines. Then spend time each week keeping the momentum going.

Dec 252015
 

It is a truism that dormant websites and social media platforms can do more harm to you than good, no matter how active you have been in the past. I teach my students numerous methods to keep their online presence bubbling even when they are busy with other things – the holiday season, finals – or when they are ill. I have certainly used these methods myself, in both situations, to keep my many platforms up to date.

For websites and blogs:
– Feel free to recycle past posts that have a timeless quality to them – maxims, insights, humour. (I make sure that such posts are at least three or four years old. I also make it clear that these are re-posts.)
– Point your readers to good writing posted by others whom you bookmark or follow via your news-feed (see below). There is nothing wrong with a post that is composed mostly of another writer’s thoughts. Give credit where credit is due, and Bob’s your uncle.
– Create and use an extensive photo library. A photograph with a short description will indicate that you are still “on the case.” And people like pictures.

For Twitter:
– No matter how busy or under the weather you are, you can usually get out of bed and review your news-feeds (see my own Feedly feeds); this can take as little as twenty minutes.
– Then: Tweet the posts and articles that will appeal to those who follow you.
– To make sure that you don’t spam your readers, spread out your tweets. There are numerous tweet-schedulers. I use Hootsuite and Buffer. With these I can be tweeting all day with just a few minutes’ effort in the morning.

For LinkedIn:
– Many, if not all, of your blog posts will be of interest to your LinkedIn “connections.” Post these in your LinkedIn updates. There is nothing wrong in repurposing your work this way.
– Once or twice a week, head over to your LinkedIn account and see what your connections are doing. Comment on or “like” their updates. Show that you are still attending to the work and insights of your online friends and colleagues.

So there you go: easy peasy lemon squeezy. Keep your online presence active and your ‘brand’ beaming. Have a wonderful holiday!

Oct 082015
 

Picture 2

CMO’s always valuable social media infographics and slideshows have been staples in my classrooms the last few years, in particular its “Social Media Landscape” series. The one for 2015, thumbnailed above, takes a bit of a new approach, focusing on “overall customer experience” and non-North American platforms. Download the 2015 guide here.

Mar 242015
 

When Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for USA president at Liberty University yesterday, many students in the audience used the Smartphone app Yik Yak to mock the junior senator from Texas (and to complain that they were coerced to attend the event by the university). Yik Yak gives users the opportunity to interact anonymously with other users within a ten-mile radius. The tone of the messages run the gamut; many are vile indeed (no examples needed here); others are requests for advice (“where’s a good place for lesbians to drink on Granville Street?”); and others are semi-amusing insults (“Things I love more than you: burritos”). I will keep this app on my iPhone for a few days to find out if there is anything I find there that I can’t find elsewhere. If so, it stays. I have my doubts.

Another recent addition to my iPhone will stay there a long time: Meerkat, a very simple live-streaming application; I have been looking for something like this for a long time. My first project: Live-streaming (some of) my Kwantlen classes.

reposted from basil.CA