Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Importance of Fact Checking to Social Media #baldforbieber

A cautionary tale unfolded this past week when the #baldforbieber began trending on Twitter. Tween’s across the country immediately began to tweet out the hashtag after the cancer rumors were sparked by the photo-sharing online bulletin known as 4Chan. The post included screen shots of a “verified” Entertainment Tonight account tweet and what appeared to be an official Justin Bieber tweet. Here is a picture of the alleged tweet: 

Once the hashtag and tweet went viral, notorious over zealous and obsessive Bieber fans began tweeting what appear to be genuine pictures of their shaved heads, it support of the pop star.

Eventually, after someone tweeted at Bieber’s bodyguard the rumors were dispelled and the prank was revealed. This however, is current proof of the need for fact checking in social media.

Social media has made the world a different place, a more visible place. While that visibility can prove useful and important it also calls for a more critical eye. Social media allows for a unlimited amount of voices, and todays youth often turn to social media as their main information and news source. This prank is proof positive that verified tweets can be modified.

Fact checking is vital when the information is coming from a thousand different sources who have the unique and new advantage of hiding behind technology. In the #baldforbieber example, if these young girls had just checked Bieber’s actual twitter timeline, they would have seen that this “confirmation tweet” never existed in the first place, and that a screen shot was just modified and posted on a different site.

Fact checking is also vital when younger people have access to social media. Kids are exposed to new media earlier each year. Some kids can unlock an iphone and open up a game of Temple Run before they can even tie their shoes. Kids are impressionable and passionate, and if they see online that their “idol” has cancer they are bound to react. Social media fact checking should be encouraged for anyone involved, but specifically in children who might not see through the curtain of technology.

The internet is free and open to everyone that has access, therefore no one is checking to make sure scandals like #baldforbieber don’t happen. Social media is built on the idea of interaction, well as users we have to take advantage of that interaction and check facts. We can’t just believe any tweet that pops up in our timelines.




Let Foursquare Choose Your Next Dinner Date

Foursquare is a social media outlet that enables you to share where you are with friends. However, according to the article, Meet The New Foursquare, The One That You’ve Helped Build And Continue To Power, Foursquare is providing new services to its users past the typical “check-in” that it is known for.

Foursquare now suggests restaurants, coffee places or places to get a drink based on your location with such criteria as ‘places I haven’t been to,’ ‘I have been before,’ ‘my friends have been to,’ and ‘with foursquare promotions.’  With a screen that is almost a hybrid of Google Maps  and Yelp, this improved Foursquare offers a new “explore” experience for users.  According to the article, this improved version of Foursquare opens the doors to new opportunities for monetization and more users.

I personally do not have a Foursquare account but think that with these new changes, I am open to starting a new account.  In the past, with check-in features on Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets, I believed that Foursquare was somewhat unnecessary.  However, with these enhanced features, I think that Foursquare would be a useful application to have. An avid fan of Yelp, I am constantly looking for new places to try and the “explore” feature further simplify the process.

So what does this mean for social media?  I feel Foursquare has targeted in on what to make them stand out in this ever-changing and competitive environment of new media. New media outlets must constantly look for new ways to improve features and distinguish themselves as technology continues to advance. As well, I feel like this is an opportunity for Foursquare to acquire new users which is important to promote growth.  Today social media outlets must look for ways to broaden their target audience in order to further expand and remain competitive with other outlets.



Facebook, Airplanes, Bridges and Chairs?

Facebook has never really relied on ad campaigns in the past. A small start up website became a worldwide phenomenon mostly by word-of-mouth. Occasionally Facebook will promote a new feature, but most of the time any self promotion is done directly on their site. Just recently Facebook solidified its title as ‘The Social Network’  by hitting the 1 billion user mark.

A week after reaching this major milestone the company released its very first ad campaign: Facebook: The Things that Connect Us. The video is only a little over a minute long and compares  the social network to things like airplanes, bridges, and chairs. Most of the comparisons in the clip are pretty spot on, after-all Facebook clearly has a knack for connectivity. The chair analogy however, is a little more complex. The ad says that chairs are for everyone, “anyone can sit in a chair”, they are place where people go to sit down (duh), people can sit down together (if the chair is big enough), and chairs are a place where people can tell jokes from or share stories. The ad claims that chairs, just like planes, bridges and doorbells, are things that people use to get together. Furthermore, the video points out the universe’s ability to make us feel alone, which is why we have created things that connect us.

Personally, I think this is a good ad campaign. The chair example is definitely a stretch when taken out of context, but overall the video makes a clear trajectory of meaning from start to finish. So it might seem a little silly that Facebook is comparing itself to chairs, but I really think the more confusing comparison is the doorbell.

Regardless of metaphor choices, the overall message of the ad is true: Facebook brings people together (1 billion people), and people turn to Facebook to feel connected. So, pull up a chair…friend someone.


Social media has played a major role in the 2012 Presidential Campaign.  Twitter and Facebook have served as platforms for people to openly express their viewpoints on both Romney and Obama.

Social media activity during the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention soared, but was still outdone by the Presidential Debate.  The Presidential Debate was the most tweeted event in U.S. political history.  The debate produced a record-breaking total of 10.3 million tweets in 90 minutes. The moments that created the most Twitter activity included:  moderator Jim Lehrer responding ‘Let’s not’ when Romney requested a topic, Obama joking that, ‘I had five seconds’ when Lehrer gave the time limit, and discussion about Medicare and vouchers. Also, Romney’s “Big Bird” comment became a trending topic.

Fox News said that Romney was the debate’s winner in terms of Twitter activity.  There were 47,141 tweets mentioning Romney and “win or winner” in comparison to 29,677 tweets mentioning Obama and “win or winner.”  Romney was also tweeted more in key states including Florida, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado.

The day after the debate trending topics on Twitter include #ForwardNotBack, #debate2012, and Romney.  I was surprised that “Obama” wasn’t a trending topic as well.  However, after doing some research I noticed that the “Romney” trending topic also included “negative” tweets such as “Romney gave ‘a very vigorous performance but one that was devoid of honesty,” “Fact check: Romneys debate performance was filled with fiction and falsehoods,” and “Romney told 27 lies in 38 minutes last night, no wonder I couldn’t keep up.”  So is this to say that Romney “won” the convention in terms of social media?

During the debate, Facebook and Twitter news feeds were constantly updated with new statuses and tweets, often quoting the candidates. People publicly displayed their political views to their friends and followers.  Social media has opened the doors to a second debate among friends and followers.  People are able to comment and like eachother’s statuses about the debate.

However, years ago people often kept their political views to themselves as it was a “taboo” subject.  No one asked who you were going to vote for.  Today through social media you gain an idea of who the person is going to vote for based on their tweets and Facebook statuses, which is supposed to be a personal decision.

More importantly, are trends in social media an indication of who is going to win the election?  I guess we will have to wait and see.