The promise of free money should raise red flags, but what if it comes from a supposed friend?

It starts with a Facebook message.

“You’re contacted by your friend who says, ‘Hey, did you get your $250,000?’ You’re going, ‘What do you mean $250,000?'” said Greg Dunn, CEO, Better Business Bureau Hawaii.

Dunn says the scammer hijacks an account and uses its friend list to send messages, hoping people will respond.

“The next step is they send you a link to a Facebook page and that Facebook page is for a fake organization that is the World Tax and Health Organization of the world federal government, which is all completely farcical,” Dunn explained.

That’s where you’re told to enter your personal information, such as your occupation, date of birth, annual income, and mother’s middle name. Then you’re told you need to pay a $550 fee for the processing of the $250,000 check.

“You may receive then a fake document, a money order, a check for $275,000. You’re thinking, ‘Wow, this is great. I got extra money.’ So you go down to the bank and it’s a money order or a cashier’s check you deposit it at the bank,” Dunn said.

Then you’re told too much money was sent by mistake and you need to send back $25,000. It’s only when the check bounces you realize it was a scam.

Dunn says the scam has been targeting members of non-profit organizations and community groups, and at least one person here in Hawaii reported falling for the scam.

The BBB says be careful when responding to email or social media messages asking for money or personal information, even if it looks like it’s from a friend.

If you’re not sure, call the person on the phone to verify the authenticity of the message, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Source : khon2.com

Categorized in Social

MRA and IMRO published this simple guide to Social Media Research (SMR) in 2010 in order to help researchers identify and find answers to the most important questions to SMR techniques.

Social networks engulf everyday life. They represent a place to share news, ideas and information of all kinds. The connections made among people in these networks, and the resulting information shared, can have a profound effect on the thoughts, attitudes and beliefs of individuals. Moreover, even the flow of information itself, can be a powerful predictor of key business and program outcomes.

Recognizing the power of social networks, opinion researchers have increasingly begun to take advantage of social media to answer critical business questions. In doing so, the research profession has invented new tools and methods to supplement an already impressive array of techniques. The Marketing Research Association (MRA) has developed this guide in order to describe the current landscape of social media research as well as to facilitate and advance further development of the technique. Ultimately, it is the goal of the Association and its members to foster universally accepted and practiced standards and best practices for these and other research methods.

What is Social Media?

There are many definitions of social media but, at its core, social media uses Internet-based technologies that facilitate the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Social media refers to Web sites that permit people to interact with the site and with each other using simple interfaces. At the time of publication, Facebook, qq.com, Twitter and YouTube are among the most popular social media sites.

Social media refers to the information that people share on those sites, including status updates, image and video comments, responses to blogs and forums, and any other individual contributions to the online space. This information reflects naturally occurring conversations among people who may or may not personally know each other.

What is Social Media Research?

Though evolving rapidly, social media research (SMR) is the application of marketing and opinion research methods to social media data for the purposes of conducting research (e.g., usage and attitude studies, social media research tracking studies, custom research, etc.). Similar to other types of marketing research usage and attitude studies, tracking studies, research goals and objectives are developed, methodologies are prepared, and social media data are analyzed quantitatively and/or qualitatively depending on the goals of the project.

SMR is distinct from other forms of marketing research in that it uses social media as its data source as opposed to surveys, focus groups and other data collection modes and techniques. SMR can be a complementary or stand-alone analytical tool for researchers, providing them with a unique opportunity to listen and measure the opinions of potentionally vast numbers of people who communicate online, some of whom may not normally or easily be accessible through non-observational forms of research.

About the Authors
MRA is grateful to the following for their contributions to this Guide to the Top 16 Social Media Research Questions: Jim Longo, PRC, Itracks, Committee Chair; Janet Savoie, PRC, Online Survey Solution; Annie Pettit, Conversition Strategies; Ray Poynter, The Future Place; Ellie Schwartz; Ed Sugar, PRC, OLC Global; Tamara Barber, Forrester Research; Tamara Kenworthy, PRC, On Point Strategies; Steven Runfeldt, Schwartz Consulting; Benjamin Smithee, Spych Market Analytics; Aaron Hill, PRC, Sawtooth Software; Susan Saurage-Altenloh, PRC; Steffen Hück, HVYE; and Patrick Glaser, MRA.


#1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of SMR?

From a capacity standpoint, SMR provides the ability to collect and analyze information from the past as well as in real-time, as it is generated. Moreover, the richness of data available on social media networks is conducive to both qualitative designs (e.g., digital ethnographies) as well as quantitative designs, including numerical aggregation of large quantities of data.

In terms of methodological considerations, SMR utilizes an observational form of data collection. Information is collected from Web sites as posted by individuals who may not be specifically aware of the research role. As such, social media communications are thought to be free of, or less subject to, response biases that occurs in interviewer-administered, and even self-administered, forms of opinion surveys and focus groups. However, social media is inherently a public form of communication, with varying degrees of privacy which may affect some social media user’s willingness to reveal information, particularly sensitive or potentially embarrassing personal details.

From an ethical standpoint, SMR has the additional advantage of eliminating the burden that would otherwise be placed on a research participant. Social media users do not participate in “active” data collection (e.g., survey, focus group). They generate data simply by engaging in their natural online communications. However, SMR presents unique ethical considerations of which researchers must be aware (see “Ethical and Legal Issues”).

SMR offers researchers a host of benefits, a few of which include:

  • Ease of adjusting research criteria throughout the study
  • Potential cost savings and reduced logistical burden
  • Ease of application across locations
  • Access to hard-to-reach research participants
  • Benchmarking (e.g., reported vs. observed opinions)

Likewise, researchers should be aware of various challenges associated with SMR. For example, researchers who are new to SMR methods will need to familiarize themselves with both the characteristics of social media users as well as specific SM sites in order to properly draw conclusions about research findings. Additional considerations include the need to learn and become proficient with:

  • SM tools and techniques including sentiment and content analysis
  • Indicators of SMR validity and reliability at each stage of the process
  • Relevant types of biases, particularly those arising from unique SMR tools
  • The types of brands and categories that are more likely to be successful carrying out SMR, e.g., due to volume of data or consumer importance

#2. What data sources are typically used in SMR?

Millions of Web sites (small and large) currently facilitate the practice of social media research. However, online sites, which currently facilitate social media communications come and go, and change very rapidly. Researchers involved in SMR need to stay abreast of changes in social media communication patterns and trends, including the rise of mobile access, and popular SM vehicles. Current examples of SM Web sites that generate data suitable for SMR include:

  • Social Networking Sites:Social News: e.g., Digg, Reddit, Mashable, Technorati
     Facebook: Search, Community Pages, Fan Pages, Groups, Chat, Facebook-based  Apps

        Twitter: Location-based Application, Real-time Search, Advanced Search                             (search.twitter.com)

        LinkedIn: Search, Groups, Q&A

  • Photo/Video Sharing: e.g., YouTube, Flickr
  • Online Communities: Industry, Topic-related, Branded or Unbranded
  • Blogs: e.g., Blogger, Posterous, Wordpress
  • Forums: Industry or Topic-related
  • Questions and Answers: e.g., Yahoo Answers, Linkedin Answers, Yedda
  • Commenting: e.g., Disqus, Backtype
  • Traditional News: e.g., CNN, BusinessWeek

#3. How does SMR interact with other forms of traditional and non-traditional research, including online, offline, in-person, and qualitative and quantitative?

SMR can effectively stand on its own, but may also be integrated with traditional research methods to create a holistic research solution. In fact, SMR may sometimes springboard or support other forms of traditional research. Examples of SMR integration with other research methods include:

  • Observing the flow of conversation in real time, thus prompting the most effective methodology for further research
  • Accessing user supplied media such as photos and video
  • Measuring trending topics for further “traditional” research
  • Assisting in the preparation of discussion guides or surveys
  • Identifying key influencers in an industry or on a topic
  • Reaching a segment of the population that may not otherwise be reachable
  • Comparing community-based insights to natural observational social media insights
  • Establishing trust between researcher and participant, potentially for further recruitment into another form of research
  • Exploring, and discovering “unknowns” via observations

#4. How reliable are SMR results?

Validity refers to the degree to which results reflect truth or reality while reliability reflects the degree to which results can be replicated if someone else were to conduct a similar study. Because research suppliers have different methods, standards of quality, and processing rules, research consumers must conduct their own validity and reliability analysis of any potential supplier to ensure the quality of work is sufficient. As with all types of marketing research, the validity and reliability of social media research varies greatly:

What is the validity and reliability of the sentiment and/or content analysis processes? If manual coders are used, reliability might be lower. If automated coders are used, validity might be lower.

  • Given that sentiment differs by Web site (e.g., Twitter is more negative while blogs are more positive), what is the range of social media venues that are measured and what percentage of the Internet population do they represent? Do any of the sites overwhelm the data collection strategy in a proportion that does not reflect the Internet space? Does the vendor know how and why to sample and weight data?
  • To what extent is the intended target group reflected by the social media venues being used?
  • Is the intention to measure and generalize to the general Internet population or to a particular segment of the Internet?
  • How is geographic and demographic information being measured in order to assess the validity of generalizing outside of the sample?
  • What timeframe is appropriate for the research objectives? Though small samples may be acceptable for long-term research, shorter time frames must use larger sample sizes.

#5. Within businesses and organizations, how will SMR activities be tracked and aggregated, and whose responsibility is it to handle each of those functions?

Social media research may be executed in multiple ways. For example, numerous departments within a single company may be involved in SMR, including internal research departments, and cross-functional teams from marketing, customer relationship management, public relations, public affairs, and other departments. SMR may also be outsourced to vendors who may or may not specialize in research. Regardless, the skill set of the user must be appropriate for the function.

#6. What additional knowledge, skills and abilities will a corporate researcher need to learn in order to improve their level of competency with SMR?

SMR may involve several different methods and analytical approaches. As such, corporate researchers may find it most advantageous to learn a wide breadth of relevant techniques while continually honing their skills and knowledge in the areas that are most relevant to their organization. Commonly used techniques include both sentiment analysis and content analysis. Additionally, researchers will need to learn about, and become comfortable with, important explanatory variables beyond traditional “respondent” demographics, such as how different types of Web sites (e.g., blogs, forums, media, etc.) generate and facilitate different types of data (e.g., whether data is more positive versus negative, descriptive versus condensed, etc.).

#7. Are the participants aware that their usergenerated content is under observation?

Research contributors have demonstrated the occasional tendency to provide sub-optimal information when they are aware that others are studying or observing them. Oftentimes, this is attributable to concerns over the privacy of sensitive information or feelings of being compelled to give a socially-desirable response to a question. In SMR, though it commonly is understood that conversations are generally public and open to viewing by almost anyone, the individual under observation may or may not be aware of the presence of a researcher.

At the same time, participation in the social media space offers varying degrees of privacy. Users may participate for personal and/or professional reasons and they may or not seek relationships with other users. Researchers should be aware of the potential and likelihood for “social observational bias” and the effect it will have on the type, candor and direction of the user’s comments.

Ethical and Legal Issues

#8. How are sources cited in research reports and on research Web portals? Are the citations different based on the source, e.g., Twitter, Blogger, forums?

As in traditional forms of research, it is important to protect the privacy of contributors. As such, without prior express consent, data transmitted from vendor to client should not include direct references or citations to individuals that would reveal their identity.

However, sources may be recorded for validation purposes as well as for potential data quality checks. Any data or reporting intended for transfer to an outside entity should be purged of personally identifiable information (PII) prior to changing-hands. This includes IP addresses, usernames, user id numbers, user photos, e-mail addresses, and other types of commonly available online data.

Where detailed information must be shared for the purposes of data quality or validation, the data should include source citations using the current link of the information (e.g., http:// twitter.com/xxxx/xxxx/). Notably, links should be expected to expire or become “broken” overtime. Researchers should plan to record any pertinent administrative or relevant source data (e.g., date/time, source identifier, query details, etc.) to be used in validation at the time of data collection.

#9. What are the controversies and legal issues regarding the rights of the people whose data is being used?

Social media is a relatively new form of communication and individuals from every stakeholder group, including the public, researchers and governments, are participating in an on-going conversation about the nature of its privacy and ethics. For this reason, it’s critical for researchers to understand that they have a responsibility to respect social media user’s privacy and that the definition and expectations for social media user’s privacy can and will change over time. Some brief areas of consideration are described below.

Privacy: Individuals and their social media privacy expectations should be respected. If an individual has posted information on a public Web site under a public “privacy” setting, they may be considered to have a very low or no expectation of privacy for the information they reveal. Even so, researchers who collect and analyze this information should take care to protect it from becoming identifiable to an individual.

Conversations should not be copied verbatim into reports as those direct quotes can be searched and identities discovered. A small number of relevant conversations can be summarized, without losing their flavor, in reports. Moreover, full quotations can be used with permission.

Interacting with individuals: Clients must never use information collected during or for social media research for the purpose of direct marketing or otherwise influencing the opinions and behaviors of the data subject. Marketing may only occur in places like branded and client communities where contributors would naturally expect those types of conversations to take place.

Combining data from multiple sources where privacy policies differ: In general, the policy provisions that tend to favor the rights and needs of the contributors should be given weight. Best practices call for researchers to respect the coded crawling terms of every Web site they visit. Where Web sites are coded to indicate that crawling is not permitted, those Web sites should not be crawled even if it is technically possible. Researchers must not join Web sites under the pretense of being a member so that they then have access to crawl a Web site that prohibits such crawling otherwise – this condition holds for both automated and manual crawling. Where researchers do join groups, they must immediately make it explicit that they are there for the purposes of marketing research. Notably, issues concerning access to data sources are paramount to the conduct of social media research and can be expected to be a major focus of the opinion research industry moving forward, both in terms of how to ethically gain access to the widest net of sources as well as appropriate ways to handle and adjust for cases where this is not possible.

SM Research Processes & Providers

#10. What is the level of expertise and industry qualifications of social media researchers and/or SMR companies?

Anyone selecting a social media research vendor must be aware that the technique is relatively new. They must be careful to select a research partner with the appropriate level of expertise and skill in the practice of SMR. Some relevant questions to ask include:

  • Is the company primarily an IT or social media company that expanded into research, or a research company that expanded into social media? While IT and social media companies may have expertise in social media, crawling and data collection techniques, research companies have expertise in data analysis techniques.
  • Does the company focus on research exclusively or do they maintain other functions as well? For example, companies that conduct SMR may specialize in buzz monitoring, customer relationship management, public relations, research, or some other social media function.
  • Does the company specialize in qualitative methods, quantitative methods, or a combination of both?
  • Is the provider aware of traditional research practices such as sampling and weighting and, if so, how and when do they apply those practices?
  • For the practice of ethics and standards of quality, does the provider classify themselves as a researcher or as some other profession?

#11. What are the standard data and/or research outputs?

Since SMR is relatively new, industry standards for outputs have not yet been developed. It is important to understand the vendor’s policies and capacities for standard and custom reporting. Relevant questions include:

  • Does the company offer a full-service model of data collection, analysis and presentation or do they offer a self-service tool such as a portal?
  • In cases where the vendor offers full-service reporting and presentation, what substantive outputs may be expected? What technical explanation and reporting may be expected (e.g., a technical appendix)?
  • Are the SMR analyses incorporated with traditional types of marketing research and does the company have expertise doing so?
  • Does the provider offer standardized or customized tools?
  • How often are outputs updated and/or delivered?

#12. What is the process for gathering data?

Like other forms of opinion research, a wide variety of approaches exist for the implementation of SMR. It is important to understand the company policies undertaken. Relevant questions include:

  • Does the company gather its own data or is a data collection vendor used?
  • How many Web sites are crawled and how are those Web sites selected?
  • Does the company seek out permission-based relationships with the sites they crawl?
  • Does the company honor the electronic privacy notifications of individual Web sites?

#13. What data quality processes are implemented in each stage of the SMR?

What quality and validation protocols have been adopted and implemented to safeguard the quality of the research at each stage of the process? Are there validation processes in place for initial data collection, scoring and coding, etc.? Does the organization collect and retain information at the initial stages for validation purposes while removing/anonymizing data for reporting purposes?

#14. Does the company provide sentiment scoring?

Sentiment scoring is a process of assigning a positive or negative emotion to a conversation. Some vendors may provide strictly positive or negative emotions, while others may assign a continuum ranging from positive to neutral, to negative. If the vendor provides sentiment scoring, is the process an internal proprietary method, a third party purchased product, or some combination of the two? How is the sentiment scored (e.g., dictionary, bayesian, manually)?

#15. If sentiment scoring is provided, what is the process for validating results?

Simple and commonly-used systems of sentiment validation may prove to be inadequate. More rigorous approaches should be used, specifically blinded methods. For example:

For automated systems, researchers should receive a list of uncoded conversations and then code them manually. The manual codes should then be matched back and compared to the automated codes to derive a percentage match (i.e., validation coefficient).

For manual systems, two unique raters should independently code conversations. A validation coefficient may be derived from a comparison of the two outputs.

The above processes are two relatively simple examples of validation systems. More complicated calculations are available, but their use should be weighed according to the capacity of stakeholders to understand the meaning and method of the technique.

Language constantly changes and evolves due to new and lapsed slang, terminology, and speech patterns. As such, simple systems of sentiment validation may prove to be inadequate. When conducting SMR, rigorous and constantly monitored approaches to sentiment analysis are most appropriate.

#16. What, if any, methods are used for determining the geography associated with the data?

Demographic and geographic information can often be an important and meaningful element for research and validation purposes. When considering SMR, what geographic information is available and how precise is the information (e.g., city or town, region, country, unknown)? What types of demographic data are available (e.g., age, gender, income, education)?

Researchers must take care to specify the methodology and sample size associated with the information. Inferred methods (based on Web site sources or language) may be associated with large sample sizes but have low validity. On the other hand, precise information is currently only available for an extremely tiny percentage of conversations and therefore often has insufficient generalizability.


The “Top 16 Questions” presented in this guide represent the core matters of importance to the research field with respect to social media research. They include issues of reliability, execution, interaction with other kinds of research, ethics and legal compliance, data quality, process, and outputs.

Importantly, the 16 questions in this document do not stand as the only ones the opinion research profession needs to address, nor do they take the place of standards of practice. Instead, they provide a starting point for experts and professionals to debate and discuss development toward this goal. As in any profession, a reasonable consensus should be reached in order to validly define and represent an industry standard of best practice. It is the goal of the Marketing Research Association that this document be widely distributed and contribute as such.

Source : insightsassociation.org

Categorized in Online Research

Fake news” has become a topic of household conversation. It is more important than ever to have a firm understanding of what authentic and reputable journalism is, and what is actually fake news.

It is more important than ever that individuals be proactive in differentiating fake news from real news, especially in the social media world. Consider some of the points below to get your education started.

What Actually is Fake News?

According to GCF Learn Free, “…Fake news is any article or video containing untrue information disguised as a credible news source. Fake news typically comes from sites that specialize in bogus or sensationalized stories. It tends to use provocative headlines, like Celebrity endorses not brushing teeth or Politician selling toxic waste on the black market.”

However, as GCF points out, these stories are becoming increasingly dangerous in the digital age, with many people consuming stories on social media without fact checking or bothering to confirm that such headlines that aim for a “shock” factor even exist. Once these stories are shared and become popularized, enough people believe the story and accept the story as truthful. Oftentimes, this can even become subconscious. This cycle is vicious in the social media world, as stories that make it to the top of news feed are all-too-often untruthful clickbait.

Jokes and Satire Are Not Fake News

It is also incredibly important to mention that satire sites like The Onion and Clickhole, which feature funny stories based on relevant current events, are not “fake news.” They are smart satire pieces intended to be humorous — not real — and their entire sites are based around their readers being knowledgeable about this strategy and theme. With branding like Clickhole’s own “Because Everything Deserves to Go Viral” or The Onion’s “America’s Finest News Source,” their articles’ joking nature is intended to be common knowledge.

A Word on Mainstream News

For the most part, trust in major news sources really lies in the eye of the beholder. See the image below highlighting the most trusted major news sources in America (most of which are actually British), as found by Pew Research Center and cited by Business Insider. While there are discrepancies based on ideological views, most major news sources do have to undergo editorial reviews and are recognized as being prestigious forms of journalism. The BBC, PBS, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, CNN, USA Today, and Google News were among the most trusted across ideological groups (with the exception of consistently conservative folks — who favor BBC, Google News, and the Wall Street Journal).

Trust levels of news sources by ideological group

How to Differentiate Between Fake News and Real News

There are definitely some things you can do if you are not certain a story is real or fake. Here are some tips to help you differentiate between fake news and real news stories:

What is the Site?

As discussed above, while people fall all over the board ideologically in deciding whether they trust a mainstream news source, the truth is that most major recognized sources for news journalism are not going to be producing clickbait fake news. Most of the fake news that go for “shock” value and produce fake stories are not as recognized. Look into the source itself and see whether it is a website that can be trusted.

Check the Domain

NPR recently reported that many fake news stories use similar URLs and domain names to mimic reputable news sources, but rather than using a .com they use .com.co endings. “This is true even when the site looks professional and has semi-recognizable logos. For example, abcnews.com is a legitimate news source, but abcnews.com.co is not, despite its similar appearance.”

What are the Authors’ Sources?

Good news stories contain links to other reputable reporting by respected organizations. They contain interviews with individuals who can confirm or deny they made the claim. They are supported by evidence, dates, and other data that can be fact checked. Be wary of sources that cannot substantiate their claims.

Fact Check!

When in doubt, fact-check the information that you read! You can start with a simple search to look into the keywords or the event that is being reported on. You can also use sites like PolitiFactFactCheck, and Snopes — all of which are extremely reputable fact checking sites for a variety of issues and topics (not just politics).

Fact checking fake news on Snopes

Snopes indicating that a news story is false

Examine the Website Closely

It is important to not look at one story alone but to look at the full spectrum of details on the site. Are there other fake-looking or shocking headlines? What does the overall website look like? How is the user experience? Sometimes doing just a little further digging will make it evident if a news story is fake.

How Informed Users Can Interact

Once you identify if a story is real or fake, you can make a big difference. Do not share stories on social media that are fake and make them more visible. If you notice a friend or family member share a fake story on a social media outlet, do them a favor and comment or message them showing how you found out it was fake so they don’t repeat the same mistake.

If you come across a fake news article, comment on it stating how you arrived at the conclusion it was fake. If everyone does their part to distinguish fake news stories and make them known, then they won’t be shared as easily.

How do you differentiate between fake news and actual news stories? Do you see this as an increasing problem on social media? Let us know your thoughts and what strategies you use for identification on social media.

Author : Amanda

Source : searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in How to

Amritanshu Gupta prefers to call himself ’social media manager’. He’s the one who writes out those tweets for boxing star Vijender Singh and former cricketer Moh­ammed Kaif (he also writes tweets for a former cricketer, a certain swashbuckling batsman, but doesn’t want to ‘out’ him). For each of these celebrities, he puts on a separate thinking cap. “I try and match the personality to the account, whether it’s Kaif or Vijender,” says Gupta. Kaif, for instance, is a ‘simple’ man and he wants that simplicity to reflect in his tweets. “He’s a thorough patriot, a fielding icon and a fitness freak, so his tweets are mostly about these.”

Ghostwriting on social media is not some shadowy, nether-world activity. A simple Google search throws up over 4,00,000 results. Several writers spoke to Outlook without any qualms. They consider themselves professionals who post content on social networking platforms on behalf of celebrities, who are either too busy or do not have the smarts to write themselves.

Professionals? Yes. It’s a buzzing economy out there—and it’s sharp witticisms and quick repartee that form its primary capital. Insiders say the going rate is close to Rs 2 lakh per tweet if a celeb with, say, 15,00,000 followers endorses a product or service,. “It may be a little misleading for the public, but celebs are brands unto themselves, and have to maintain PR with their fans,” says Pin­aki Ghosh, another social media ghostwriter. “Sometimes the basic thought is their own, handed over to the hired writer, who puts them down in better words,” he says.

These writers have to understand how the celeb thinks, and then develop a full social media personality around that. Many clients insist on a non-disclosure agreement. “Clients want confidentiality, they get a non-disclosure agreement signed. They also want the option to get changes done as per their request,” says Ghosh.

Priyanka Panchal, a familiar face on television, who was in Mahesh Bhatt’s The Silent Heroes, uses the services of Sagar Thareja, a marketing consultant, for her social media accounts. “With my busy schedule, it’s practically impossible to keep track of what’s trending and what would bring about the best visibility,” she says.

It’s not just individual celebrities. The list includes brands and production hou­ses, which require people on short-term contracts for, say, the promotion of a film. Sulagna Chatterjee and Tanya Chopra are a ghostwriting duo for celebrities like Shraddha Arya, Pavitra Punya, Amit Tandon and a Bollywood actor-singer whom they can’t name because of the confidentiality clause. “These are actors with hectic schedules who want to stay connected with their audience. At times, they do not know when to tweet what and how, that’s where we come in,” says Sulagna.

Amit Chakraborty manages singers Javed Ali and Ash King’s handles. He works with around 15 other celebs. “I have whoever I manage on a Whatsapp group with me,” says Amit. If there’s anything he considers necessary, he gets their approval on the group. “If any celeb tweets to Javed, we inform him and ask him for a reply.

They also have to take care to see that the public persona and the individual are not too out of sync. A consultant says her actress-client did not put up pictures of herself wearing shorts on Instagram for over a year as she was playing a more traditional woman’s character in a TV serial. Sonarika Bhadoria, who plays Parvati in Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev, had to ward off trolls recently after her bikini photos on Instagram, while holidaying at a sea resort, went viral.

A gaffe like this would be curtains for the ghostwriter. Sometimes, when celebs want to put out a strong statement that could be a potential PR disaster, ghoswriters have to dissuade them. “They say, ‘par humko abhi bolna hai’,and we have to tell them the issue needs to die down before you can say anything,” says Chakraborty. In some cases, the ‘image’ doesn’t fit. For instance, a Shilpa Shetty would not be taken seriously on demonetisation as opposed to an Amitabh Bachchan (her Animal Farm gaffe in print did no harm to that image).

But isn’t ghostwriting inherently unethical? “I don’t think so,” says Pinaki. “If doctors use assistants while conducting operations is okay, or if a film director can direct multiple films on the same day using assistants, and actors can use stunt doubles, what’s wrong in using a hired writer?” he asks. But the question remains that if the fans found out that the smart one-liners from their stars on Twitter and FB are not actually their own, would they still follow them?

Author : Yamini

Source : outlookindia.com

Categorized in Social

Last time you dialed a corporate call center, did the agent seem nicer than usual? That could be because companies now pull data from sites like Facebook and LinkedIn in order to select an operator who is most likely to charm you.

According to the Wall Street Journal, phone giant Sprint (S, +0.35%) and casino operator Caesars are among the firms using the new matchmaker tools, which works by running phone numbers through a variety of databases prior to when a call center agent picks up the phone.

The new system is based on the idea that it's possible, using thousands of call records, to determine which agents perform best with certain type of customers.

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For instance, a certain agent's call history might show she is exceptionally good at serving middle class young women who frequently dine out. Now, if one of those restaurant-loving women are on the line, the data tools route the call to that agent.

How can a company know so much about who is calling? The answer lies in data-gobbling firms such as Afiniti Holdings, which mash together not only social media profiles, but a wealth of other information as well. As the Journal notes:

[Afiniti's] artificial intelligence software, which has been installed in more than 150 call centers by dozens of companies, examines as many as 100 databases tied to landline and cellphone numbers to determine the best agent to answer each individual caller. Such matching can result in more satisfied customers and more sales, the company says.

Afiniti’s technology not only pulls callers’ histories for a business and credit profile, but seeks insights into their behavior by scouring their public Facebook and Twitter posts as well as LinkedIn pages.

Author Cathy O’Neil explains what could go wrong.

When it comes to social media, the amount of data Afiniti can scrape is limited to what users display publicly on sites like Facebook (FB, +0.07%) and LinkedIn (MSFT, +0.42%). Nonetheless, such data can offer a wealth of clues about a person's location, profession, and interests — information that is even more powerful when combined with records like credit and shopping histories that Afiniti buys from third party brokers like Acxiom.

For firms, using all this information to pair call center agents with consumers may translate into more sales and higher levels of customer satisfaction. And for consumers, it might make the experience of phoning a call center more pleasant. But as with any other big data breakthrough, the situation raises privacy concerns and questions of whether consumers should be able to opt out, or just call in anonymously instead.

Author : Jeff John Roberts

Source : http://fortune.com/2017/01/10/how-companies-use-your-social-media-data-when-taking-your-call/

Categorized in Social

In October, the ACLU released emails showing that a social media monitoring company called Geofeedia had tracked the accounts of Black Lives Matterprotesters for law enforcement clients. The revelations of social media spying made headlines and led Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to cut off Geofeedia’s access to bulk user data (which in turn prompted the company to slash half its staff). Since then, two more social media monitoring companies, Snap Trends and Media Sonar, lost Twitter data access for similar surveillance activities.

Civil liberties advocates have celebrated these decisions, but new documents suggest police still have plenty of other tools to spy on social media users.

Jennifer Helsby, co-founder of the police accountability group Lucy Parsons Labs, provided CityLab with a slideshow prepared by a former employee of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Center that sheds some light on how police use social media. The presentation shows intelligence analysts how to mine location and content data from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—and advises them on setting up fake accounts and assembling dossiers on persons of interest.

One tip shows sites such as Statigram and Instamap, which can help law enforcement analyze photo trends or collect photos on individuals in targeted areas. This example points to images of individuals collected using Instamap near the Cook County Jail, which the Cook County Sheriff’s Office operates, as well as images of a child, a young woman, and families in Chicago.

Other slides reveal more advanced monitoring techniques. Geofeedia, the presentation states, can be used to geolocate users and conduct a “Radius and Polygram search” of an area for social media content. Echosec, a lesser known tool can monitor and geofence users, which allows police (and marketers) to track and collect users’ posts as soon as they are disseminated within a bounded area.

These tools rely on individuals’ public social media posts, but the slideshow also explains that police can use “catfishing”—creating fake accounts—to get non-public social media data, even though such accounts are not permitted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

While social media surveillance is often thought of as targeting certain locations or terms, such as hashtags, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office records suggest that intelligence analysts are also compiling informationon persons of interest for longer term retention, not just for “situational awareness” at public events. Here’s a sample “Intelligence Information Report,” for example, to collect photos and other information.

The presentation doesn’t get into whether there are limits on who can be the target of these operations, or what legal safeguards they are ensured. One slide mentions terms such as “probable cause” and “search warrant” but there is no explanation if or how legal procedures affect the monitoring. Some of the slides suggest this police monitoring is not necessarily focused on dangerous criminal suspects. For example, the presentation links to an ABC news clip featuring a specialized LAPD unit “dedicated to tracking teen parties in real time by monitoring social media.” (The Cook County Sheriff’s Office declined CityLab’s requests for comment on its social media monitoring program.)

“As long as you type it, for police it becomes real.”

Joseph Giacolone, a retired NYPD Detective Sergeant and professor at John Jay College’s Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration Department, says that while these undercover social media accounts may violate the terms of Facebook and Twitter, that doesn’t make them illegal. “It’s no different than running an undercover operation, or a buy and bust,” says Giacolone. “Requesting a friendship, as a policeman you have to be careful of that entrapment issue. But if you just put a half-naked picture of woman in there, you’re gonna get in. I mean how hard is it really? They’re gonna invite you right in.”

Nationwide, experts say there is very little clarity on how often undercover online operations are carried out. Surveys suggest such activities are often left up the discretion of police officers themselves. “Seventy percent of the detectives using this are self-taught and like half of the departments don’t even have a policy or procedure on how to use it,” says Giacolone, citing a 2014 LexisNexis survey on the use of these tools. “So cops are working without a net, so to speak, and you are going to see lots of challenges on these things.”

The same survey found while only 48 percent of departments polled had formal processes for using social media in investigations, 80 percent of law enforcement officers reported that they felt that “creating personas or profiles on social media outlets for use in law enforcement activities is ethical.”

One major concern among civil liberties advocates is that such methods are unfairly targeting the general public, not those who’ve already committed a crime. The LexisNexis survey also indicated that 40 percent of law enforcement officers had used social media monitoring to keep tabs on “special events” and 67 percent of respondents believed that social media monitoring “is a valuable process in anticipating crimes.”

ACLU of Northern California policy attorney Matt Cagle, who helped break the news on Geofeedia’s surveillance of Black Lives Matter, worries that covert accounts lack judicial oversight. ”This new world of surveillance products shouldn’t give law enforcement a blank check to create undercover accounts and collect information on law abiding people,” he says. “By using undercover accounts, they are potentially friending multiple people and getting much broader access than a warrant to Facebook for specific information would allow.”

So, who are really most likely to be targeted by social media snooping by law enforcement? Brendan McQuade, an assistant professor of sociology at SUNY-Cortland who studies law enforcement intelligence operations, is concerned that these methods will be used to crack down on political dissent. “It’s bad criminal tradecraft to broadcast your stuff on social media, so I would think this is more geared to political policing,” he says. McQuade points out that data already available to law enforcement, such as phone company records, allow police to grab suspects’ association and location information far more efficiently.

Geofeedia advertised its usefulness on this front during what it called “The Freddie Gray Riots” in Baltimore last year. In promotional materials aimed at police departments, the firm claims that its product, which was used by Baltimore County Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, helped police “to run social media photos through facial recognition technology to discover rioters with outstanding warrants and arrest them directly from the crowd.”

Giacolone says that social media surveillance can be useful for crime-fighting, but general only for low-level youths, not serious players. “You got two types of people out there: the young kids, the look-at-me generation that posts everything online, and then you have the older crowd that has learned to use social media to sell drugs through anonymous social media and its difficult to identify them. Most of these young kids are just posting, like, ‘Hey, everybody, I just robbed the store on the corner, look what I got.’”

“If you’re black or brown, your social media content comes with a cost—it’s a virtual prison pipeline.”

Even if these spying operations were only limited to suspects in such low-level criminal investigations, civil liberties advocates warn that users should be concerned about the ways in which their data is being retained and interpreted by law enforcement. Over the last few years, the NYPD has relied on millions of social media posts to justify “gang” raids across the city, targeting neighborhood youth crews whose online discussions sometimes relate to violence in their communities. Subsequent prosecutions for these raids have been controversial because social media chatter about shootings, drops in individuals’ volume of social media activity, and online photos of young men flashing hand signs have been questionably interpreted as evidence of gang membership and involvement in violent criminal conspiracies.

Matt Mitchell, a security researcher with theracial justice organizationCryptoHarlem, notes that the NYPD has carried out these operations by building intelligence dossiers on social media users over years, as the CCSO appears to be doing. ”The police are saying, ‘I’m going to follow you everywhere you go, write down every word you say, and look at every picture you take’, and now with these undercover accounts they are your friend hearing everything you say in confidence,” says Mitchell. “If you’re black or brown, your social media content comes with a cost—it’s a virtual prison pipeline.”

Often the NYPD’s social media surveillance gang operations collect and sift through social media content from teens and pre-teens over years, only to be used against them in court much later down the line. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s retention of social media data through intelligence reports could enable similar prosecutions. “What you say online is not always real. It’s not the same as something police pick up on a wiretap, but as long as you type it, for police it becomes real,” says Mitchell. “If you look hard enough, you’ll find something, no matter who you’re looking at. Take this post today, look at this thing they did five years ago, put it together, and you can draw any conclusion you want.”


Source : http://www.citylab.com/crime/2016/12/how-police-are-watching-on-social-media/508991/

Categorized in Social

In a society that is more connected than ever, investigative journalists that were once shrouded in mystery are now taking advantage of their online community relationships to help scour documents and uncover potential wrongs. The tools and information now available to journalists are making the jobs of investigative outlets more efficient.

The socialization of the web is revolutionizing the traditional story format. Investigative reporters are now capturing content shared in the social space to enrich their stories, enabling tomorrow's reporters to create contextualized social story streams that reference not only interviewed sources, but embedded tweets, Facebook postings and more. Journalists are also leveraging the vast reach of social networks in unprecedented ways. In many respects, social media is enabling watchdog journalism to prosper. Here's how.

Distributed Reporting

On the social web, investigative journalists are tapping citizens to take part in the process by scouring documents and doing shoe-leather reporting in the community. This is advantageous because readers often know more than journalists do about a given subject, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

“That was always the case, but with the tools that we have today, that knowledge can start flowing in at relatively low cost and with relatively few headaches," Rosen said. Rosen admits that we are just starting to learn how to do this effectively, but there are certainly some great experiments being done.

Talking Points Memo Muckraker had success with this approach by having its readers help sort through thousands of documents pertaining to the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice's controversial firing of seven United States attorneys in 2006. TPM provided clear instructions to its readers to cite specific documents that included something interesting or "damning.”

Even though they had hundreds of readers contribute in the comments, it's important to remember the often invisible factors that contribute to that success. The site's readers had a shared background knowledge because they had been following the story as Josh Marshall and his team developed it over months of reporting. They were also motivated to show that the attorney general had done something wrong, Rosen pointed out.

A similar example on a grander scale is that of The Guardian deploying its community to help dig through 458,832 members of parliament (MP's) expense documents. They've already examined roughly half of those, thanks to the 27,270 people who participated. The Guardian rewarded community participants by creating a leader board based on the quantity and quality of their contributions and also highlighting some of the great finds by its members.


Recruiting Shoe-Leather Volunteers

But can a call to action motivate the community to do some actual shoe-leather reporting? Wendy Norris, an investigative reporter and Knight Fellow working on web and mobile civic engagement applications at Stanford University, motivated a community to do just that with a simple tweet (shown below). Norris was investigating whether locking up condoms and keeping them stored in pharmacy shelves in Colorado was depressing purchases, especially those by younger people, who might be too embarrassed to ask a clerk for help.


Norris used Facebook and Twitter to recruit 17 volunteers to go to 64 stores in one week and find out whether the condoms were displayed freely on shelves across the state. When all was said and done, the distributed reporting actually disproved the rumors in the community. Social updates and e-mails from the field showed that condoms were stocked on open shelves in 63 of the stores canvassed. One of the stores did not sell condoms at all.

“The investigation was fun to report and a great public service," Norris said. "I've researched quite a few other stories using social media... But this was the most fun example of how it can work well for investigative reporting."

Norris outlines seven quick points that were key to her success:

1. Employ a sense of fun with the request. 
2. Make the task discrete and easily accomplished.
3. Explain the purpose as a larger public service. 
4. Set a reasonable time frame for task completion.
5. Allow volunteers to overlap tasks as built-in fact checking.
6. Provide immediate feedback to questions/responses and encourage retweets for additional recruitment.
7. Build public interest in, and anticipation for, the story.

Community-Sourced Mapping




There's a big difference between an audience and a community. Norris probably wouldn't have been able to convince a detached "audience" to go out and do some reporting, but because she had built a community, she was able to get them on board. It's not just about the tools journalists use, but the community they have already established and whether that community is a genuine one or just a crowd, said Rosen. Is the relationship you have with the community strong enough that community members are willing to participate with information, advice, feedback?

“It's similar to how we make a mistake if we look at the gross number of followers, because what really makes a difference is how densely inter-connected those people are,” Rosen said.

In Columbia, South Carolina, journalists of The State Media Company newsroom noticed something didn't smell right in their town. It wasn't corruption, but an actual stink that was permeating the air outside. Betsey Guzior, the features editor, decided to call on the community to help investigate the smell using an open Google Map.


“People were sharing tweets and Facebook posts, but this map let us own a different level of conversation,” Guzior said. The community helped narrow down the possibilities and the next day health officials pinpointed the source of the smell to land owned by a former city councilman.

TBD.com has been able to leverage its community during breaking news stories on several occasions, including using Twitter and Foursquare to get eyewitness info during the Discovery hostage situation. But the site has also taken advantage of social tools and mapping to investigate ongoing issues with the Metro. The site integrated Crowdmap, enabling the community to submit issues through a form, sending an e-mail or tweeting with the #tbdwmata hashtag. Mandy Jenkins, social media editor at TBD, said it has been an ongoing topic of the site's reporting.


Keeping the Powerful Accountable With Social Questions

Because the social web gives both citizenry and journalists access to officials and companies at the click of a mouse, social question and answer tools can be used to collaboratively investigate issues and keep powers accountable.

In the UK, Paul Bradshaw founded HelpMeInvestigate, a site in beta that enables users to start an investigation and invite others to collaborate on it. It often includes answers to questions that journalists wouldn't be interested in, but ones that people care about.

“It's primarily helped people investigate issues that otherwise wouldn't get investigated,” Bradshaw said. “It also connects people together around a cause that might otherwise not have connected and makes it easier for whistle blowers and inside sources to find people to pass information on to.”

And then there is the more recent example of Kommons, founded and built by Cody Brown, a recent NYU graduate, along with former classmate Kate Ray. Kommons is simple: You ask a question and get it answered. It's also built on the idea of keeping the powerful accountable by taking these questions out of private channels bringing them into a public forum, where those who answer must deal with the repercussions publicly.


The site is heavily integrated with Twitter, connecting questions to Twitter usernames. Other users on the site interested in the question can follow it for updates and contribute their own follow-ups, all of which are on the public record. “Kommons is designed to help more people ask questions, but we're also designed to help others easily find them later,” Brown said in answer to my question: “How do you see Kommons being used for investigative journalism?”

Kommons also leverages the community. Whether it's working for an established brand or having a credible personal brand, those things often come into play for journalists looking to get answers or their calls returned, Brown said. But most people don't work at The New York Times and they have to work a lot harder to get answers.

A Networked Newsroom

What if newsrooms were open to the public, where sources could drop in to give tips to reporters who are digging for a story? Social media opens it up virtually, and by building a networked community of sources on the social web, investigative journalists can get story leads they otherwise wouldn't have, and are able to report stories more quickly.

Robert Hernandez, an assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, said if journalists connect with their communities through the social web and encourage and engage in a dialogue, they'll be more likely to get tips for stories that are worth investigating. But it's all about the relationship.

"Social media has amplified our reach and network to increase the size of the of the crowd," Hernandez said. "Investigative reporters need to be committed to social media to build that brand, so that one day, the investment pays off.”

But perhaps the biggest challenge for many investigative journalists is opening up to the community in the first place. "Most investigative reporters are freaked out about sharing publicly what they are working on. They are convinced that the guy from the street will steal their story." Rosen said. "But if you can't tell people what you are working on, you cannot do any distributed reporting.”

Once you open up to that community, it takes time to build that relationship. "Social media tools are useful when you need a diverse range of knowledge, but you need an existing community to really use them well, too, and that takes time and understanding,” Bradshaw added.

The Investigative Network Effect

Having an open dialogue on social sites can encourage sources to come forward and build interest in the investigation and story. If you publicize the activity of an investigation while it is ongoing, Bradshaw said, it will help bring other potential sources with new information into the conversation. But sensitivity is the key.

“Don't use social media for the sake of it,” Bradshaw said. “It should be appropriate to the people involved and the objectives you're pursuing.”

If you're dealing with sensitive material or sources you want to protect, then you might want to deal with it offline, he said. But if you're doing a public investigation, the social web's network effect can give you a boost.

Paul Lewis, an investigative journalist for The Guardian, has demonstrated the value of the network effect in several investigations. He recently had to investigate the death of a deportee on a plane from the UK to Angola. It was suspicious because the guards that escort the deportees had been criticized for brutality in the past, Lewis said. To find witnesses of what took place on the flight, Lewis tweeted from his account, asking for anyone who was on the flight that saw what happened. He started a hashtag named after the victim, #jimmymubenga, and Lewis received several responses, including one from a man who was quite distraught in his reply.

“Could we have done that story five years ago? Probably not,” Lewis said. “Journalistically, it has opened up a whole new realm.”


Source : http://mashable.com/2010/11/24/investigative-journalism-social-web/#m1SFQzRVAkq3

Categorized in Investigative Research

SASKATOON—Hours after Cheyenne Antoine, 20, made her first court appearance for second-degree murder in the death of Brittney Gargol, a photo was discovered of the two posing together just hours before Gargol’s death.

The social media post by Gargol to her Facebook page was her last – the 18-year-old would later be discovered at 6 a.m. on March 25, 2015 dying on a quiet country road on the outskirts of Saskatoon.

At the time police were unsure of Gargol’s identity – today it’s hard to say how much this photo played into Antoine’s arrest, but what is clear is how social media is increasingly being used by police during investigations.

“You can go into social media and find out almost anything about anybody.” said Superintendent Dave Haye of the Saskatoon Police Service.

According to Haye, an officer is assigned to scour social media for clues in any major investigation.

“It could range from a serious assault, to a homicide, even to commercial crime.”

Depending on your privacy settings, anyone can track your movements or access your photos and posts – which could even be presented in court.

“They can provide both an alibi for themselves at times; they can provide some great assistance to your defence,” said criminal defense lawyer Brian Pfefferle.

“But it can also provide corroboration to a Crown theory that could cause difficulty [in] defending yourself.”

Pfefferle has even refrained from calling on his client to testify if he knows police have already obtained prejudicial information on them.

“Lawyers have to be very careful that they’re not advising clients to delete or destroy evidence that is already existing online – however, changing the privacy settings are a different story.”

Pfefferle says it would be naive to think members of a jury don’t search for information on an accused even if they’re instructed not to. He’s even used social media to dig up information for his own cross-examinations.

“We regularly are able to access intimate details about complainants and witnesses in cases,” Pfefferle said.

“When we get jury lists, we’ll regularly go through the list and attempt to see information that’s available to the world through social media.”

Is someone racist or sexist? Have they ever said anything highly prejudicial on social media? Those are all important questions when preparing for a case to go to trial.

“Your reputation in the community is something that can definitely affect your right to a fair trial,” Pfefferle said. “We have a system that is one of the best in the world, but it is still subject to human bias.”

The court of public opinion is another a significant hurdle for defence counsel to overcome once an accused has been charged and there is media coverage of the case.

According to Pfefferle, “live tweeting” – or play-by-play reporting – by reporters during a trial can help the public fully understand why someone is found guilty or not guilty by a judge or jury.

Author : Meaghan Craig

Source : http://globalnews.ca/news/3300102/brittney-gargol-fb-post-law-court/

Categorized in Social

Social media has revolutionised how we communicate. In this series, we look at how it has changed the media, politics, health, education and the law.

Borrowing Malcolm Turnbull’s election slogan, optimists would say there has never been a more exciting time to be a journalist. Why? Part of the answer lies with social media and the digital age.

A recent trip to Nepal for the second Asian investigative journalism conference revealed something exciting is changing journalism. In a digital era that promotes sharing through tweets, likes and follows, reporters are sharing too – not just their own stories, but also their skills.

They no longer view each other as simply rivals competing for a scoop, but collaborators who can share knowledge to expose wrongdoing for the public good.

Take, for example, the Panama Papers that broke in April this year. It involved almost 400 journalists together trawling through 11.5 million leaked documents from law firm Mossack Fonseca to expose the shady global industry of secret tax havens.

Wealthy individuals were exposed of corruption and wrongdoing. FlickrCC BY-NC-ND




Another version of this type of collaboration occurred in Kathmandu last month. Eighty of the world’s best investigative journalists from The New York Times, The Guardian and other quality outlets met to train hundreds of reporters from across the globe in digital journalism. Classes included data reporting, mapping and visualisations, online searching, tracking dirty money, co-ordinating cross-border reporting teams and effective use of social media.

The Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) chose Nepal as the host country so that journalists from less-developed economies – many with limited political and civil freedoms – could attend to learn how to strengthen watchdog reporting in their home countries.

Reporting in these nations can be difficult, and some stories told were horrific. Umar Cheema, a Panama Papers reporter and investigative journalist for Pakistan’s The News International, described how he was abducted by unknown assailants in 2010, stripped, shaved and beaten. His “crime” was to report critically on the Pakistani government, intelligence services and military.

His captors have not been caught. But rather than remain silent, he shared his story with the world and was awarded the Daniel Pearl Fellowship to work at The New York Times in 2008.

Umar Cheema established the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. East-West Center/FlickrCC BY-NC-ND

Despite diverse backgrounds with varying levels of press freedom, journalists came to Kathmandu with the same motive: to give voice to the powerless against those who abuse power; whether it be corrupt governments, corporations or individuals.

Unique to the digital age, this can be achieved with tools as simple as a mobile phone and internet connection. Social media platforms are useful too, to distribute stories beyond the territories that oppress them.

Among the watchdog journalism educators were Pulitzer Prize winners, including Walter “Robbie” Robinson. Now editor-at-large at the Boston Globe, Robinson is the reporter played by Michael Keaton in this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Spotlight.

The film tells how Robinson in 2001 led the Spotlight team’s investigation that uncovered widespread sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. That investigation inspired other journalists around the world to probe and eventually expose the church’s widespread abuses of power. Robinson’s message was simple:

To me you are all Spotlight reporters. For the great journalism you have done and will do. For your energy, for your passion, for your courage, for your tenacity, for your commitment to righting wrong and for knowing with a certainty, that there is no injustice however grave that cannot be eradicated by those who unearth the truth.

To unearth truths, trainers profiled free digital search tools like Picodash for trawling Instagram, and Amnesty International’s YouTube DataViewer, as well as reverse image searching programs like TinEye.

Thomson Reuters’ Data editor Irene Liu showed reporters how to search for people using Pipl, ways to navigate blog content using Kinja, and creative techniques to search social media. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can be trawled using Rapportive and Chrome extension Storyful Multisearch to find public interest information quickly and cheaply.

Here are five ways that social media is changing journalism in the digital age:

  1. Reach: social media offers journalism a potential global playing field. It is used for sharing stories but also crowdsourcing information and enabling local stories of significance to spread beyond geographical boundaries. Whether it is the Arab Spring uprising or the recent hurricane in Haiti, journalists can source contacts and share stories with the rest of the world.

  2. Participation: social media provides a many-to-many network that allows for audience participation and interaction. It provides for audience comment, and these interactions can take the story forward.

  3. Hyperlocal reporting: social media is filling a gap in hyperlocal reporting. In a recent study we found community groups, including the local police at Broadmeadows, used social media to provide local news. This helped fill a reporting hole left by the shrinking newsrooms of local newspapers.

  4. Low cost: social media is a fast and cheap way to find, produce and share news. It lowers the barriers to entry for start-up news outlets and freelance journalists.

  5. Independence: journalists can bypass state-controlled media and other limits on publishing their stories. They can report independently without editorial interference, and broadcast their own movements, using publicity for self-protection.

The benefits social media can offer journalism, particularly in developing economies, is not to deny the challenges established media outlets face in developed countries in the digital age.

Certainly, the rise of digital media technologies has fractured the business model of traditional media as advertising has migrated online, causing revenue losses. In turn, these have sparked masses of newsroom job losses cutbacks, and masthead closures.

But for all the pervasive pessimism about the future of established news outlets, and the negative aspects of social media such as trolling, the Nepal conference demonstrated the positives as well.

Digital tools are changing the ways in which journalists find, tell and share their stories with audiences beyond the control of state borders. Yet, at the same time, new technologies enable journalists to do what they have always done: to uncover stories in the public interest.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa wrote in The Leopard:

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

So it is with journalism in the digital age.

Source  : http://theconversation.com/how-investigative-journalists-are-using-social-media-to-uncover-the-truth-66393

Categorized in Social

Visitors from all over the world will soon be collecting in Southern Illinois for a few minutes of darkness. No, I’m not talking about Ozzy Osbourne. Of course, like the rest of this month’s SBJ, I’m talking about the 2017 solar eclipse that will have its longest point of duration right here in Southern Illinois.

Make no mistake, while these visitors won’t be physically here for another 174 days, that doesn’t mean they aren’t already here.

You may be asking, “But Nathan, how can someone in London be here already? The eclipse isn’t until August.”

The answer: the internet.

What once took a phonebook, a map or a willingness to risk a bad restaurant or crummy hotel room now takes common internet access. Visitors are already visiting Southern Illinois through their computer screens and smartphones. Visitors are already sampling the food through reviews and pictures and they’re requesting rooms with softer or stiffer pillows. Visitors are pre-planning their driving routes, and when they get to Southern Illinois, their navigator is just a button away.

Visitors sure as heck are not using a phone book.

What these visitors are using is TripAdvisor, Facebook and a plethora of other digital resources that will set expectations that we, as a region, need to be ready to fulfill when these visitors arrive. For business owners in the hospitality industry, this means tidying up your digital storefront before visitors start walking through your actual storefront. This means representing your business accurately online so when visitors do walk through your front door their expectations are met, not mauled.

Now that you know the concept of why, let’s talk about how.

Start by searching your business. Regardless of what search engine you personally prefer, search your business on Google. With more than two-thirds of search traffic in the U.S. occurring through Google, it is the undisputed search champion. Additionally, Google offers a lot of free tools to help your business be a champion. Sign up for Google My Business and make sure all of the information for your business is accurate. Are your operating hours correct? Is that address your actual address? Is the first picture you see when you search your business one that best represents your facility?

If your answer to any of these questions is no, then take 20 minutes and claim your listing. Also, and I hear the opposite of this from clients all of the time, answer Google’s telephone call and follow their instructions. When Google calls it’s usually for your benefit, not to sell you something.

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Once you’ve got your Google listing claimed, start focusing on the listing that come up first when you search your business. If Yelp is the first link that displays when you search your business, but there’s not a TripAdvisor link until the second search page, it’s best to focus on Yelp first, but don’t forget to claim your listing on all of the premier listing sites you can think of. While some visitors will be searching using broad sweeping search engines, others will use the site they already belong to to plan their trip. It’s is important for you to be organized and presentable on all of these sites because of this.

Finally, after you’ve claimed these business listings and filled them with accurate information that represents your business honestly, it’s time to show activity. If you’re using Facebook, make sure you’re posting often enough that visitors to your page will know that you’re open. Even though your hours may say you’re open, if you’ve not posted since March 2016, visitors may assume that you’re closed and not visit.

You should also be monitoring customer communications with your business that use any sites that display your business’ information. You don’t have to respond to these reviews or comments if you do not feel confident in your abilities to politely engage your customers, but if you regularly update review sites and other sites that display your business’ information then visitors will know that you’re monitoring your online presence and that you are (hopefully) working to fix any shortfalls that may be outlined in customer reviews or comments.

As a bonus, there are many tourism sites that are providing business listings. Get in touch with Williamson County, Southernmost or Carbondale tourism bureaus and ask about what listing services they have available to local businesses. Some may cost money, but some of these tourism organizations offer services that will cost your business nothing out-of-pocket.

These aren’t just listings, they’re opportunities. They will not only help your business, but our region. Like the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships.

Nathan Colombo is a Carbondale native, stand-up comedian, and marketing professional. His small business, Brand Advocacy Group, Inc, provides digital media services for other small, local businesses in and around Southern Illinois.

Author : NATHAN

Source : http://thesouthern.com/business/southern-business-journal/social-media-and-business-get-internet-ready-for-eclipse/article_7d12e081-ca02-5d72-8bac-9a38ea04f07a.html

Categorized in News & Politics

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