Author Archives: jessaclara

Using Social Media and Corporate Philanthropy to Drive Traffic

Champions for Kids Facebook Cover Photo - Giving Tuesday

Champion for Kids social media campaign – Giving Tuesday (12/2/14). Source:

One of the aims of my final paper was to identify whether promoting a cause marketing campaign (Giving Tuesday) on social media platforms could increase web traffic to the campaign’s landing page on my company’s own website. In several studies of communication strategies, the effects across multiple platforms are examined. However, the focus of my final paper explains the Champions for Kids’ (a non-profit organization) campaign strategy for Giving Tuesday to engage employees in donating, promote materials on Facebook and drive traffic to the organizations landing page.

In my final paper, I first build on scholarship relating to social media and consumer behavior scholarship to identify digital platforms in cause marketing as a significant method of consideration for communication strategies. For the purposes of the paper, I limit the data findings to two platforms: a website landing page and a Facebook page. I find data to prove a correlation between social media posts on Facebook to drive landing page traffic and  the effects of cause marketing campaign in increasing a social media audience.

What’s Wrong with the Landline? We Prefer Text.

Imagine this: You are at a dinner with friends, either out at a restaurant or in someone’s home, and know only one or two people in the room. Although you’ve had a lovely conversation with one young woman, she has excused herself to the restroom and you are no longer tethered to a conversation. What is your first reaction?

More than likely, you turn to your phone either to check the time or fill time.

Welcome to the world of contextual mobility 2.0.

While reading “Implications of Mobility” by author Kenichi Ishii (2006), I could not help but trace the eight-year-ago paper’s summary to new examination of mobility, as described by Turkle (2012) and Rheigngold (2014). The author’s work seems almost a forshadowing of current social forms of communication. The idea of contextualized communication has, since the paper’s publication, become a norm. For example, the author gives an overview of young people using mobile phones to maintain social networks beyond parental grasp, and that mobile phones “…[are] used to obtain freedom from family grip” (Ishii, 2006, p. 348).

With the decline of landline usage, the contextualization for youth using mobile phones has shifted to a norm of communication, leading to Turkle’s (2012) point that humans expect more from technology and less from each other. This, perhaps, rising from the idea that contextual mobility has “….enable[d] mobile phones users to communicate more freely from an existing social context” (Ishii, 2006, p. 350). Published shortly after the birth of Facebook, I see the author’s paper as forbearance of future events.

Perhaps most prophetical is the author’s illumination between low social skills and mobile use. Today, millennials hate getting voicemail, and prefer text over actual phone conversations. This hyper-contextualization of communication is pointed out in the author’s note that “…it is hypothesized that people with low social skills prefer mobile mail to mobile voice phone as compared to people with higher social skills” (Ishii, 2006, p. 351). Taken in context of Turkle’s point that “…Some of the things we do now with our devices, only a few years ago we would have found odd. We would have found disturbing” (Turkle, TEDtalk, February 2012), such as prefering text over voicemail

What do you think? Is Ishii’s (2006) work a foreshadowing of contextual communication mentioned by Turkle (2012)?

A Changing Social Field

What I found most interesting in Using Social Media for Collective Knowledge (Longo 2013), was the author’s articulation that face-to-face interaction will not necessarily be replaced by social media. For technical communicators, at this point, this may be true. However, as “New technologies for making and sharing information in a variety of media have made it easy for users to tell their own stories” (Longo, 2013, p. 22), perhaps a more anticipatory view may give readers pause.

While currently this statement may be true as of now, it cannot be denied that technical communicators (in general) work for corporations or organizations. As the rising trend of creating a corporate social media presence rises, what pressure will this place on technical communicators? If software development trends continue at their current pace, easily re-writeable document software may change the traditional claim technological communicators have had. Namely, that of “…audience analysis and user accommodation” (Longo, 2013, pg. 23), since audience collaboration is not limited to social media platforms but in writable software as well.

What do you think? Will audience collaboration in social media transpose to document writing? Will the ‘social’ aspect of social media morph into technical communication fields of document writing? 

Managing Collective Knowledge

When reading through Howard Rheingold’s (2014) “Social-Digital Know How” in his book, “Net Smart”, I was struck by the correlation between the management of collective intelligence and the author’s previous examination of attention.

First, the author outlines various positive outcomes from collaboration superpower, the “…desire from early childhood to cooperate, to coordinate activity, and to strengthen group bonds…” (Rheingold, 2014, p.156). This innate desire has, with an infused element of gaming, produced collaborative efforts from Olympic games to political inquiry. While collaborate effort has long been instilled in human nature, it is never long-lived unless efforts are rewarded or reciprocated. This is why I

Source: VirtualSpeechCoach

Collective knowledge management will require an in-depth focus on audience wants. Source: VirtualSpeechCoach

appreciated the author’s point that skill are needed to “…participate in and instigate collective intelligence activity…” require an ability to “…create a synergy between personal knowledge management and collective knowledge management” (Rheingold, 2014, p. 160). Specifically, the author states that individuals must be able to “…connect to people and find information sources, then filter, select, and categorize information for your own purposes” (p. 160).

In light of last week’s reading, specifically the overview of an increasing demand for attention from content available online, I found this statement intriguing. As attention span diminishes and content availability increases, this vital (yet somewhat overlooked skill) will determine who succeeds in audience attention. It will also force focused messaging, meaning that some companies/organizations will need to forgo the latest platform if it isn’t inhabited by their core audience.

What do you think? Will a discipline and skill in whittling down information to serve both individual collective purposes force a forgoing of some audiences? Why or why not?

The vicious cycle of supply and demand

Perhaps most intriguing among Howard Rheingold’s (2014) first chapter on attention was positioning of intellect versus knowledge. Specifically in relation to the scattered, snippet forms of content available through search engines, the author states that “Sometimes you want an answer…and sometimes you want knowledge…” (p.52). Perhaps the overwhelming availability of information has instilled an expectation that answers matter more than process, thus continuing a cycle of shallow inquiry.

The idea of “…shallow inquiry—the uninformed way in which many people use search engines to find answers” (Rheingold, 2014, p.53), is perpetuated by the innate human habit of multitasking. Technology has, I would suggest, merely augmented

The cycle: As more content is available, more content is demanded. Source:

an age-old human trait. History repeats itself, and if the continual lose of our “…capacity as a society for deep, sustained focus…” is leading cultures “…toward[s] a new dark age” (Rheingold, 2014, p. 56), then would it not be advantageous to observe history to predict what will happen next? Sherry Turkle’s (2012) overarching premise in “Alone Together”, is that human expect more from technology and less from each other. However, in light of Rheingold’s (2014) assertion that technology has “…encouraged the development of a culture of simultaneity…” (p. 56), I would ask what role human expectation has plays in the process of shallow inquiry. Is it that more content is expected at a faster pace, and heightened access to more information demands faster results. In a very basic sense, it is the idea of supply and demand. More information is supplied, and the natural tendency is to demand more in order to increase supplied content.

What do you think? Is the cycle of scanning information versus wrestling with knowledge a cyclical problem? Is it a problem?

Relevant Topic. Dated Examples.

I appreciated the expansion Salvo and Ronsinki (2010) give to the idea of digital literacy, for it allows for the fluency with which digital evolution changes communication. They state that “Digital literacy cannot be just the ability to use certain technologies. Rather, the term must apply to the thoughtful deployment of technologies…” (p. 123). What specifically intrigued me was the somewhat ironic application of the chapter’s message to the chapter itself.

Parts of the reading seem like rhetorical history in technical communication, especially when the authors focus on ambient findability. Much of the technology the authors wish existed during the time this chapter was written, already exists. For example, the authors say that “…search engines barely register any distinction between…desktop or laptop” (p. 122), but Google Analytics has incorporated these (and many more) aspects in its services. Furthermore, the authors foreshadow Facebook’s revolutionary EdgeRank Algorithm and advertisement cookies, wishing for a web browser which delivers advertisement based on “…maximizing applicability and relevance” (p. 122). These technologies exists, and has changed not only social media integration in marketing, but also the way information systems are designed.

However, I would offer an alternate approach to their statement  that “…as soon as a design is out of the author’s hand and launched in the world, we see how effective that design can be.” (p. 124). In a digital architecture, system creation does not have to be one deliverable which cannot be altered. Examples include Content Management Systems (CMS), web sites, app development etc. Each of these digital platforms allows for a responsive design. With responsive design of digital space, authors are no longer bound and “…cannot control how users interact with digital space [them]…” (p. 124). Responsive design, created from careful analysis of users’ current behavior within a space, gives the author freedom to adjust to a user’s interaction. This concept, I feel still ties in with the authors’ main point on the fluidity of trends within technical communication. The ability to remain flexible, alert and engage new technology with older methods, is still a cornerstone to digital communication, even when considering responsive design.

I would love to hear from my classmates, however. What do you think? Does Salvo and Rosinki’s chapter seem dated in its examples of non-emergent technologies? What are your thoughts on how responsive design’s ability to give authors real-time response to user interactions? 

Staying Abreast of Trends

When reading Digital Literacy for Technical Communicators (Spilka, 2010), what struck me was the concept of assumption mentioned in chapter two, “The Effects of Digital Literacy on the Nature of Technical Communication Work.” Author R. Stanley Dicks gives an overview of the technical skill involved in technical communication, and it’s rapid evolution with rise in the digital age. He states that “It is too easy to look at the latest trends and assume that all workers will be doing those new, different tasks in the near future” (Spilka, 2010, p. 51). Technical communicators see the fundamental process of their jobs changing rapidly. When this happens, a shift in work production ensues. Is this due to the time adjustment for learning new technical processes? Perhaps, but Spilka states that it should be remembered that trends “…largely have to do with the tools and technologies associated with the discipline, and not with the core competency skills that the discipline continues to require” (Spilka, 2010, p. 52). Perhaps a core skill for any technical communicator is the ability to adapt quickly to shifting trends.

For educators, the shifting trends can be especially problematic when deciding what aspects of curriculum to change, and which resources to seek. Are the trends universal or isolated to a niche aspect of technology? Are there enough resources to adequately teach fundamental skills? These questions, among others, face educators in technical communication. Spilka acknowledges this and says that educators can “…continue to develop internship and cooperative education opportunities and to encourage their students to take advantage of them” (Spilka, 2010, p. 76). This kind of cooperative relationship between educator and student allows teachers to keep track of changes in the nature of technical communication.

In the concept of emerging media, however, are there sufficient opportunities for students? Will educators follow up in order to know what emerging trends will face their future students? These are all questions I found myself asking when reading this week’s work.

People as Products

People gather around a common idea. This is why, according to Boyd and Ellison, social sites thrive among smaller groups and communities dedicated to a similar interest. When reading their work, it immediately made sense as to why Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm changes continually. In order to best service their primary customers (companies advertising via Facebook) and consumers, Facebook’s primary goal must be to study consumers first. Where people gather to share, ingest and produce ideas depends on what each group prefers and finds passionate. This kid of digital narcissism (Keen and Weignberger, 2007), is precisely why similar patterns of behavior are studied in order to utilize the underlying beliefs of niche groups.

The brilliance behind this kind of marketing is, I feel, that individuals feel specialized when, in actuality, they are part of a mass product. If individuals do not have to pay for a product, I would suggest that they are the actual product. In the case of social media, individuals are the product, and their behaviors are analyzed to deliver best marketing information to the shareholders (i.e. companies).

Social Media and Communication

While an older generation may lean with a bias towards Hurley and Hea’s assertion that a student’s professionalism or credibility is lowered when using social media platforms freely, the permanency of posts is not an observed fear among millennials such as myself. This, perhaps, is due to the sheer volume of content created on media platforms that emerge other than the largely viewed (i.e. Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter) platforms. Hurley and Hea do a good job in outlining ways which students should engage, even if on a superficial level, social media.

Companies which are able to maintain tone while engaging a social media audience do well. This is especially true when technical patois is translated to every day terms, crafted in a way which engages an audience.

Personally, I feel that whether or not technical communicators like or want it, social media is the primary way in which communication is conceived and consumed. Learning how to manage and navigate the trepid waters of new media will be crucial for any technical communicator not because it is a fashionable means but because it is the primary means in which audiences relate and look for new information.

Always a Blogger

Growing up as a digital native, blogs were ubiquitous with self expression. Whether the short-lived Xanga bubble, MySpace catastrophe or the matured Blogspot and Blogger platforms, the form of blogging as always lived within my own social sphere. In a sense, digital natives have lived in a world where self expression lends itself to some form of microblogging. Thus, digital natives may associate themselves as a perpetual blogger.

Professionally, blogs have also been integrated in my life. As the managing editor for a university, I oversaw organic and non-printed copy development for online usage. This meant blogs, specifically hosted on CMS platforms for branding control, were part of the editorial and content calendar. Apart from blogs hosted on a privately developed CMS, I’ve worked with other third-party sites and currently have my own WordPress cite. Although I am still developing my coding skills, I am interested in WordPress themes which allow me to access and change the CSS so that I can customize the cite to meet my needs.