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Quinnipiac Assignment #15 – Reflections about ICM 522

Quinnipiac Assignment #15 – Reflections about ICM 522

With the end of my first Social Media class came a request for our overall impressions of how things went. Hence, I prepared Quinnipiac Assignment #15 – Reflections about ICM 522.

Quinnipiac Assignment #15 – Reflections about ICM 522

My classmates and I were also tasked with showcasing what we felt was our best work.

I was so very pleased that I had a few works to choose from, but I narrowed my choices down in order to save some space.

My reflections essay included comments about the video and essay portions of Module #4, Module #9, Module #10, Module #11,  and my Final Project; that video is duplicated below.

Module Four was about the Ad Astra Star Trek fan fiction writing community. Module Nine was about the Facebook page that my partner, Kim Scroggins, and I created for our ‘client’, the as-yet undiscovered Rhode Island rock band, J-Krak. Module Ten was about the creation and growth of the Twitter stream that we made for J-Krak. And Module Eleven was all about our less than successful experiments in spreading the gospel of J-Krak to MySpace and Google+ (the former was a particularly abysmal showing. At least our client’s presence on Google+ assured better placement in overall search results).

The class was great fun, and I could not get enough of studying for it. I have never, ever had a course like this before, where I was so into it that I could not wait to study, and I did all of the extra credit because I wanted to, and not because I necessarily needed to. That has never, ever been my experience with a class before this one. This overwhelmingly positive experience has given me the incentive to not only finish my Social Media Certification training, but I am also rather seriously considering going on and getting my Masters’ Degree in Communications, with a concentration in Social Media.

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Opinion Twitter

Twitter bigots have no place in Boston, says NHL

Twitter bigots have no place in Boston, says NHL

On May 3rd, 2014, ESPN reported that the Bruins and their coach, Claude Julien, are appalled by recent racist tweets against Canadien PK Subban.

Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Subban’s winning goal against the Bruins sparked Twitter outrage that turned racist very quickly.

While fans were angry afterwards, and some threw debris, the organization says that the racist outrage doesn’t seem to have come from the fans who don black and gold and attend the games.

“I didn’t hear anything from the fans — at all,” said Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “It’s all Twitter.” 

When asked whether he’d heard racist comments while on the bench, Julien said, “Not to my knowledge, no. There’s a lot of good fans out there, and that’s the sad part about it is that your good fans get tarnished because of a couple of comments like that who don’t belong in that same group.” 

With social media moving almost as fast as the speed of light (or so it seems), anger is the emotion that moves the fastest.  Couple it with racism, and it all seems even more accelerated.

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Opinion Personal

Just Trying to Make Some Sense of it All

Be aware, there are adult words in here, for very adult events. Turn back if four-letter words bother you more than terrorism. That makes no sense to me. Maybe it does to you.

Stay Strong

For all who have been living under rocks, things here in Boston have been astounding over the course of the past week. If it were a film script, it would never be made. No one would believe it.

On Monday, April 15th, 2013, the unthinkable happened, when two bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people died, and nearly 180 were wounded, many gravely.

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Trying to Make Sense
Get a sense of our close call in Brighton – the blue star is more or less where I live

Then, going from Thursday, April 18th at night, into about 24 hours later, Friday, April 19th, at about 8:40 PM, there was a lockdown and a manhunt here. To give you an idea of how close it all was, check out this map – I can scarcely fathom it. And I have friends, former colleagues, who were even closer, people who heard shots and explosions.

This is reality.

But I want to put in what, to me, is a bit of perspective, I hope.

Destruction and Despair

There are plenty of horrible images and I will, mainly, not focus on them.

But this image should tell the tale of Friday. We, like most people, did as requested and stayed in our home.

I took maybe 20 minutes at about lunchtime and sat on my front porch. I saw a guy walking his dog and another getting a smoke. Plus maybe three cars went by.

And that was it.

I firmly believe that staying out of law enforcement’s collective way was vital in not just keeping bystanders from being harmed but also in the swift conclusion to the manhunt. Also, I will not publicize the alleged (yes, alleged; I believe in the right to a fair trial) perp’s name.

Hope and Glory

There are a lot of images and words and I cannot possibly cover them all so I will cherry pick a few.

Neil Diamond and Sweet Caroline

So Neil Diamond hopped on a plane yesterday morning at 4:30 AM.


He just showed up, 40 minutes before the Red Sox game was to start, and asked if he could sing “Sweet Caroline“.

Sure thing, Neil.

David Ortiz (who never made more sense than at this very moment)

David Ortiz got on a microphone and dropped the f-bomb on live TV. The FCC shrugged and said the equivalent of, hey, no sweat.

David Ortiz: This is our fucking city! He made the most sense of all
David Ortiz: This is our fucking city! And boy did he ever make sense.

Ortiz, I am sure, did not plan what he would say. He just spoke from his heart.

And I am sure most of us agree with him and aren’t about to hold the f-bomb against him. I know I don’t.

People care. And they have expressed their caring in some amazing and offbeat, quirky ways. These are the ways that make the most sense to them.

Always & Forever

The Always & Forever Tattoo Salon in Watertown has a sidewalk memorial going. Add to it, if you like.


There are multiple fundraisers going on. The big one is OneFundBoston. This charity was started by Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick and is of course legitimate.

The local running club, the Brighton Bangers, held a fundraiser, too.

Memory and Healing

I refuse to provide the names of the alleged perps. But I will gladly share the names of the lost and the injured.

Krystle Campbell

This young woman was 29. She was a restaurant manager at Jasper White’s Summer Shack and mainly worked in Hingham and Cambridge, putting in 70- and 80-hour weeks.

I celebrated my 50th birthday at the Cambridge location last September, and may very well have seen her.

Sean Collier

This MIT police officer lost his life in the Thursday night shootout. Boston Police stood at attention with respect as his hearse passed, remembering this young man who gave his all.

Lingzi Lu

This young woman was a graduate statistics student at Boston University, my alma mater.

Lingzi Lu
Lingzi Lu

The wildly generous trustees of Boston University have already raised over half a million dollars for a scholarship in her name.

Martin Richard

This eight-year-old child was wiser than most of us, eh? His father, mother and sister were also hurt. So please remember them, too.

Jeff Bauman

This young man‘s image was all over the news, as Carlos Arredondo helped get him to safety and care. Some images were cropped. Others showed the full extent of the awful damage to his legs. This site is a legitimate fundraising site to help pay for his care.

If you want to send him a card, send it to:

In care of Jen Joyce
for Jeff Bauman
117 Tynsboro Rd.
Westford, MA 01886

Celeste and Sydney Corcoran

Sydney and Celeste Corcoran at Boston Medical Center
Sydney and Celeste Corcoran at Boston Medical Center

These women are mother and daughter, and they were both hurt (Celeste has more extensive injuries). So there is a legitimate fund to help with their care.




Dic Donohue

Officer Dic Donohue
Officer Dic Donohue

This police officer and Navy veteran was wounded in the Thursday night gunfight. So here is a legitimate fundraising site for him.

Patrick and Jessica Downes

These newlyweds each lost a leg. This is a legitimate fundraising site to help pay for their care.

Marc Fucarile

So he is neighbor to a friend who lives in Stoneham. And this young roofer has already lost one leg, and there is shrapnel in his heart. There is a legitimate fund to help him, too.

It’s Personal

I have loved Boston ever since I attended BU (I am from the Class of ’83) and am also a runner (but only 5K races – marathons are too long for me).  Many of these directly affected people are second and third degree of separation from me. I cannot begin to describe just how personal it all feels, and I know that my feelings are rather small within the scope of this immense tragedy.

So I leave you with this image –

The Strip and sense
The Strip made a ton of sense!

and with this song.

Peace. Please.


Sail On

The ship has sails, and it has a rudder.

The winds cannot be predicted or controlled. The tide cannot be harnessed. The waves will do as they will.

But the sails can be trimmed, or even taken down entirely. And the rudder exists for steering.

Control what you can; don’t lament what you can’t.

Ever onward.

Career changing Opinion Social Media

Social Media Lessons from Campaign 2012

It’s all over but the shouting, and most of the shouting is done, too. So it’s time for some analysis and Wednesday afternoon quarterbacking.

This campaign was more shaped by social media than any other campaign has been in history. I have little doubt that 2016 will be even more entrenched in the online world. And what have we learned? Let’s see.


I seriously doubt there is anyone on the planet who doesn’t realize just what a juggernaut FB is, but if you needed any convincing or confirmation, look no further than the campaign. Both sides (er, sorry Jill Stein and other third-party candidates but … srsly?) used and overused FB for their own ends.

Messages to the Faithful

These were all over Facebook, often coming in about four or so times per day. This ensured a steady stream of information and rhetoric, on the top of everyone’s feeds whenever they could get onto the site. Checking before work in New York? Gotcha. Lunchtime in Chicago? All set. After work in Denver? We got your back. Insomniac in Los Angeles? Just getting up in Anchorage or Honolulu? Hey, you’re covered, too. I can’t think of a day when I didn’t see several messages showing up.


Some were undoubtedly created by the candidates’ own committees, but a lot of them weren’t. Plus related groups, like the Occupy Movement, got into the act, often sharing the same information. Stuff went viral really, really quickly.


This was likely the most creative and impactful use of Facebook. Your opponent said something dumb or weird? A meme was created quickly, often with a silly image attached to it. This Bill Clinton and the Binders Full of Women one is one of my favorites, as it is more or less bipartisan (frankly, I can’t recall another meme that was more or less poking fun at both sides at the same time. If you know of one, lay it on me).

What I love about this image is how it brings all of it together and more or less pokes fun at every bit of politics. Bill Clinton is present, at his horndog best. Barack Obama looks tired and not amused, chagrined, even. And of course the statement was made by (or, rather, it was heavily implied and then everything was amped up to infinity) by the guy who isn’t in the picture – Mitt Romney.


Beyond the memes, there were the images. For the President’s victory, Barack and Michelle he chose a stunning image that was easy to relate to. Perhaps as interestingly is the fact that the image is anything but political. I’ve seen this image shared in lots and lots of places already.

For Governor Romney’s concession speech, I like this press image and hope he finds a way to use it in the future. It gives a very warm sense of family. It also rather Romney concession neatly shows there is the physical differences in his family, a fact that, I feel, never really came across during the election. Of course a candidate’s family isn’t running. Or are they?


Twitter skews younger demographically than Facebook does. It’s definitely not the place for long speeches. Link and go, or add an image link and you’re outta there. But Twitter still had its moments.


Woe to Mitt Romney the day someone in the Obama campaign came up with #Romnesia to cover the Republican candidate’s evolving positions! It sounded a little like a country, and a little like a disorder. Romney was dinged either way – either it sounded like he was remote at best and forgetful at worst. Not a good combination.

The Twitter Army

Obama was just moving faster on Twitter, and a good part of that was that people who weren’t officially “working” for him were tweeting and re-tweeting for him just the same. A secret weapon named George Takei really helped – and Takei didn’t even tweet much more than he usually does. But Takei is a master of FB and Twitter, with an enormous legion of followers (almost half a million on Twitter alone). Also key, I feel, was that supporters like Takei often didn’t carpet bomb their followers with political tweets. Instead, intermixing some political content with a lot that wasn’t political seemed best. You could look at a stream and, if you didn’t favor the same candidate, still find a lot to like.


It had a smaller role but it’s not completely out of things. President Obama has a LinkedIn profile. So does Governor Romney. Curiously, Romney’s has more recent activity, although some of that could be from what may have been some catch up that needed to be done (as I recall, the President had a LinkedIn profile the last time he was running. I can’t comment on when the Romney profile was created). Interestingly enough, the Romney profile experience is written in the third person, whereas the Obama experience is in the first person. Now, I really doubt that the President filled in his own LinkedIn profile. But the use of the first person sure makes it look that way, and gives it more of a feeling of a desire to connect, versus an obligatory social media outpost duly handled and nurtured by a campaign worker (although undoubtedly both of these profiles are).

Google Plus and Pinterest

Google Plus

For Governor Romney, his page is colorful but has little interaction. And someone should be moderating the comments! The President’s Google Plus page also has some commenting issues, although not as many as I noticed on Romney’s. In truth, both are somewhat scattershot collections of images, soundbites and short videos, but that’s the nature of the medium.


This much newer (and smaller) medium skews rather heavily toward women.

The Barack Obama set of pins has a lot of repetition, but 3-D glasses some are fresher images, including this meme. Much like with President Clinton during his initial run and the beginning of his first term in office, President Obama works in an appeal to youth by flashing a lot of pop culture references and inside jokes.





As a contrast, the Mitt Romney Pinterest board Mitt and Ann is more serious, but this official photograph also makes several appearances and is a very humanizing image.




Biased Views

As I look at the official, semi-official and repeated imagery from various social media sites, I wonder where it all was during the Romney campaign.

While Facebook and the like can often skew perceptions (we “like” this, we “collapse” that), the overall picture should still get out there. And it didn’t, at least, not when it came to the challenger. Will this become an equal time issue? It just might.

Gaffes and Misstatements and Sound Bites, Oh My!

This campaign, like every other campaign before it (and, undoubtedly, like all that are to come) was a gaffe-rich zone. Some statements, to be sure, are more harmful than others – and some aren’t accidents at all.

Statements about the 47% were extremely damaging, and were repeated and built upon again and again. See Romney on the 47% for details. The same was true about Mitch McConnell’s statement that the top priority of the GOP was to deny the President reelection.

Introducing his running mate, Paul Ryan, as “the next President of the United States” was a small slip of the tongue, but social media grabbed a hold of it and wouldn’t let it go. The President looking tired or annoyed ended up in images that were passed around and went viral. And then there’s what was said by people further down the ticket. Romney was hampered by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock’s statements on rape. Did he do enough to counter them? The only poll that counts says no. And those little sound bites absolutely came back to bite him.

Debate zingers went viral quickly, too. There’s the “binders full of women” statement, referenced above, but there were also references to “horses and bayonets”. This campaign has lore that will be discoverable on Google for decades to come (should Google exist that long).

Email and Snail Mail

While they aren’t (really) social media, they are a part of candidate messaging. For the first time in my living memory, I was not bombarded with snail mail. I received one item – it was a bumper sticker – and then only because I got onto a particular mailing list. Plus of course this is an article that cannot be emailed. Hence, interestingly enough, aside from salaries, most of both candidates’ social media campaigns was free.

As for email, that was much more of an issue. My inbox was inundated, and I know that was true for others. For so many things that were handled so carefully by both of the candidates, email was like a dropped ball. It should not have been used with the frequency of Twitter and Facebook. The campaigns should have dialed it back several notches, and I suspect they will in four years.

Bottom Line Lessons

  • Always look good, even when you feel lousy. All images will go viral; you can’t stop it. Of course, this is impossible, so the best thing a candidate can do is to try to be rested for appearances. The only acceptable illnesses are losing one’s voice (campaigning too hard) or, perhaps, shin splints from running (because they’re also supposed to maintain fitness levels after eating God only knows what at fifteen county fairs in a day).
  • “Off the record” no longer exists. All candidates must operate under the assumption that everything they say – even to the party faithful – is going to be filmed by someone’s smart phone and tossed onto the Internet. Hence, how do they speak freely to the party faithful? Very, very carefully.
  • Hire an experienced social media manager and get a good, responsible group to help out. Tweeting and Facebooking frequencies were a  big help to both candidates. They both obviously did their homework in that area and were well-covered. Kudos to both campaigns.
  • Manage the message! Memes had to go out and had to be proofread. Images had to be clear. Video had to be audible.
  • A good presence on the bigger media (FB, Twitter and LinkedIn) was crucial. Presences on Pinterest and Google Plus were less vital but might become more important in four years. Stay tuned on this one.
  • Don’t email so much! It’s annoying and unnecessary. Too much message is just that – too much.

I don’t envy the people who run for public office. And the ones who serve live in fish bowls. But with social media, the horse races of the past couple of centuries got a new and different spin. Let’s see what happens in two, and then four, years from now.

Opinion Social Media

WikiLeaks and the Perils of Oversharing

Recently, The New York Times‘s writer, Noam Cohen wrote about how Wikileaks is making it harder and harder for governments to operate properly. This is, in part, due to diplomatic relations being imperiled.

Why are they being imperiled? It’s because of a lack of privacy. It’s the privacy needed to, essentially, establish trust between wary individuals. Governments need to be able to speak freely and privately without wondering if their negotiating fits and starts will end up on some website.

And, while I support that, some of it seems a tad disingenuous. After all, governments are deliberately online these days. So, to my mind (and perhaps I am totally wrong about this), isn’t all of the information out there stuff that these governments have placed online deliberately? After all, I’m not seeing anyone claiming that anything was stolen. Was it? Perhaps I’m missing that.

A lot of the exposed information appears to be cables. And cables aren’t necessarily the most secure means of chatting. And, to add to the fun, these cables seem to — at least for a part of the time — be kind of juvenile in their assessments. Comparing Putin and Medvedev to Batman and Robin is, well, it’s not even High School. It’s Junior High, fer goshsakes.

So, a less than perfectly secure means of communication was used. And a few embarrassing TMI-style statements were made, and in a snarky manner. And now the government is worried about that? Why didn’t they worry earlier?

Barn door, horse. You know the drill. And this is true whether you’re a government, or a company or an individual. Keep your mouth shut (or your fingers from typing) when it can be a future detriment to you! And you might want to be a bit liberal in your definition of detriment, e. g. be more miserly with your information than you might think, because it’s impossible to unring this bell.

Or, as my friend , Robert Gentel says (and I can’t find the quote, sorry Rob!), “If you’ve got something private, the Internet is an awfully stupid place in which to put it.”