As a communications professional I see my work not just as copywriting, but ideally to tell stories through my writing. My storytelling can take many forms through the written word, including blog posts or social media, and even tactical media like press releases or fact sheets. But of course writing isn’t the only way to tell story, and as a visual storyteller I’ve created a number of infographics
and visualizations that intergrate data with images and text to help make complex stories more accessible. Not to mention my work as a film student writing and editing short stories in video.
Another kind of visualization that is helpful for telling narrative stories is a timeline, which spacially represents key events over time. In a timeline events can be as significant as a milestone/landmark developments which culminate from continuous iterative progress which is illustrated over time, or as simple as a tweet/status update that shows a conflict’s initiation/resolution. And like all narrative storytelling there are key elements like context/setting and esclating conflict which should be resolved by the end. Continue reading Using Timelines for Visual Storytelling→
Ever since I started blogging in 2004 I’ve been trying to better understand my audience of blog readers through stats like unique visitors, pageviews, social media shares, or the number of comments readers add to each post. Analyzing these data points gives me a better a understanding of which pages interest my visitors most, and helps me think of new blog posts I hope will resonate with my audience. As an online marketing strategist I also try look at how readers come to my blog, focusing my efforts on what content I can offer which will introduce new readers to my blog, as well as how to connect with them outside my own website.
In the interest of trying to become more transparent as a blogger, here’s a look back measuring my own blog’s audience during 2011:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
In 2011 there were 15 new posts on the blog, growing the total archive on this blog to 61 posts so far.
Twitter and Facebook were my main sources of referral traffic, but increasingly Google+ brought new readers to my site.
I’ve had far fewer comments in 2011 than in previous years, and average less than a comment per post.
My most read posts in 2011 were actually from previous years, bringing in visitors searching for “Twitter internships” and how to become “Social Media Marketers“, showing the long-term value of SEO built through blog writing.
Looking back on 2011, I wanted to recap my favorite internet memes, music, trends, and more during the year which saw many changes in communications and technology. Until recently I’ve posted a monthly list of my favorite ideas on this blog, and though I’ve lapsed these updates I still share my favorite media on my Tumblr blog. Every day on Tumblr I share the best memes, infographics, viral media, and ironic links, many of which contributed to this list of Top 11 memes.
I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a happy holidays, and a happy new year in 2012! Once again I’m home for the holidays in St. Louis, but I’ll be back in New York City in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Every year I create a Very Indie Xmas mixtape of holiday songs that are a bit more unique than what is played on commercial radio and in shopping malls. This year I’m sharing these holiday mixes from the past few years, and this year’s mix is available as a playlist on Spotify; you could consider this my gift to you this year.
And if you’re looking for a last-minute gift feel free to check out my Wish List page, filled with gift ideas for the geek in your life. Better yet you can learn more about my favorite charities during this season of giving.
Not only is Facebook increasingly synonymous with social media usage, but it’s ubiquity reaches more than 7 out of 10 web users every month, and a growing number of weekly and daily users like myself. Here’s a few more ways to understand the impact of Facebook:
Time spent on Facebook accounts for about 1 out of every 5 minutes time spent online every month, and the most total time of any website.
My 550+ friends on Facebook represent only a fraction of Facebook’s 800+ million registered users, but it represents a historic shift in creating larger circles of friends. Thanks to Facebook’s ubiquitous popularity, I’m able to keep in touch with friends in high school and college who live hundreds (and thousands) of miles away, whereas only a few years earlier I would more easily fall out of contact with my friends. Since I grew up in the Facebook generation, I’m not alone in using the social network to keep loose-ties with old friends following my own graduation and relocation to New York City. Here’s a few more stats about how I use Facebook to connect with friends:
5 years ago I reluctantly joined the social network, admittedly at the behest of Lauren Reid who wanted to make our relationship “Facebook official”. I’m happy to say we’re still “in a relationship” (even though only 24% of my friends are single), and that I’ve been hooked on Facebook ever since. Here’s how I used Facebook when I first started:
I’ve seen this social network grow from a core of friends and college classmates into an everyday network of family and friends used by some people I never thought I’d interact with online; most recently my Mom even signed up! You can connect with me through my Facebook profile or by becoming a fan of my Facebook page for this website.
Last month Nielsen (my employer) released a new State of the Media report focused on social media use in the US and around the world. This report offers a unique snapshot overview of the social media landscape, using measurements of consumers’ behavior in their browsers rather than survey data. It reveals not only the significant growth among the population visiting social networks and blogs, but also who makes up the audience on these sites and how they use social media. Here’s a few highlights of its key findings and takeaways:
More than 4 in 5 American who are active online visited Social Media websites within the last month
About a quarter of all time spent online is using Social Networks & Blog sites, more than twice as much as the next nearest category of websites.
Facebook is by far the most popular social networking website globally, and in the U.S. Tumblr is among the fastest growing
Growth in social media users comes from people of all ages and increasingly among those aged 55+, making social media more representative of the online population overall
As a member of Nielsen’s global communications team (full disclosure), I helped research and write this report, working together with our thoughts leaders/experts and designers to create compelling data visualizations that help convey Nielsen’s insights into consumer behavior. The response to the report has been overwhelmingly positive, with coverage by key news media and thousands of links shared across social networks. Of course all ideas/opinions expressed on this site and in social media are my own (and are not necessarily shared by my employer), so hopefully you find the analysis and insight in this report as helpful as I do.
I’ve wrote before that Twitter has inspired a fixation by online marketers like myself because of how it can be measured. Since my previous post, Twitter has continued to grow its influence among newsmedia, brands, and consumers around the world. Even among experienced Twitter users like myself, Twitter use has changed significantly over the last year as the social network broke records and even breaking news. As of writing this blog post, marking my first 4 years using Twitter, here’s how I’ve used Twitter:
I’ve posted over 16,100 tweets in four years, almost double my total since April 2010, and average 11.3 tweets per day and 328 tweets per month
I’ve gained 1677 followers, about 2/3rds more since March 2010, and I’m following about twice as many Twitter users (1347) as I was during my prior blog post measuring Twitter
In celebration of my 5th year using Twitter, I wanted to update my status about how I use the social network, so I created this infographic using Visual.ly to help illustrate my use on Twitter as of September 2011:
As social media becomes increasingly intertwined with daily lives, it seems inevitable that romantic relationships make greater use of social media. It wasn’t long after online networks were created that web users found the Internet to be a ideal medium not just for academics communicating over long distances but for developing friendships and romantic relationships as well. Perhaps the first social networks formed around dating sites during the web’s early years, and once these social networks began to take part in our online routines, the relationship status became a key part of profiles. Today many consider updating your relationship status from single to “in a relationship” a legitimate means to acknowledge their entry into a committed relationship, and sharing the news of an engagement is only a mouse click away for Facebook users.
Couples use social media to tell their story and about preparations for the wedding, and to exchange photos and share memories with wedding guests (and maybe those who couldn’t make it) after the big day. One popular trend for newly engaged couples is to make a wedding website on which couples can share the story behind their relationship and to share wedding day plans in advance with guests, not to mention making it a breeze to link to their wedding gift registry. Some even use social media to propose to their spouse, creating a unique proposal but also making it easy to share their special story. Here’s a few of the unique ways couples are using social media to share their proposals and weddings:
What is copyright and what constitutes fair use? Do I need to register a copyright for my creative work to be protected? How long is a work copyrighted, and when does it enter the public domain? Are there advantages to using creative commons licensing or copyright?
In a recent course I took at the Brooklyn Brainery, our class took these questions head on to discuss the need to protect creative work and limit the exploits of copyright trolls. Sometimes referred to as intellectual property, copyright is a kind of property right (and a Constitutional Right in the US) which protects the use of creative work. Of course creative work is unique compared to other kind of property, so copyright is created whenever it’s “fixed in a tangible form of expression” by its creators, whether it’s a written novel or a music recording. Copyright gives its owners the exclusive right to reproduce the work, derivative works, and public performances of it.
There’s a careful legal balance between protecting the intellectual property rights of their owners and promoting the free expression which is guaranteed as a constitutional right. For example, in the music recording industry many musicians don’t profit from sales of their recordings after they cede to their labels/distributors ownership to copyright for their work, sometimes waiting years to regain the copyright to their own songs. Likewise the creators of mash-ups and remixes such as Girl Talk make a legal balancing act necessary to avoid infringing on copyrights while using elements of old recordings to create something new.
While media law is a continuously evolving field and largely a matter of interpretation for the judges, over time some precedence has emerged that provides some legal framework. As we learned in our class for general purposes, here’s the four requirements you need to meet for Fair Use of copyrighted works: Continue reading Introduction to Copyright and Fair Use→
At least once in your career as a social media manager you may be tempted to cross-post your marketing message over multiple social networks. While new tools make it easy to post updates across Facebook, Twitter, and more sites you should resist this inclination to broadcast your message through social media; cross-posting ignores the unique purpose of using social media to reach your audience.
The practice of cross-posting has become increasingly common as brands build their online marketing strategy around Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and link baiting across social networks. Posting updates on each site requires sustainable commitments of time and resources, so there’s temptation to publish the same message across multiple sites with only a single update. However the acceptable rate of updates varies widely between social networks, so while it’s effective to post messages multiple times a day on Twitter, this same frequency might be viewed as spammy on Facebook and other networks. The result is often that brands lose fans/followers as well as the trust of their audience, not to mention deteriorating their brand’s value in the eyes of consumers.
In addition to making your brand become perceived as a source of spam, cross-posting also appears tone deaf to the consumers who are interested in interacting with your organization. Social Media opens up new opportunities that can help promote brands, but all too often is viewed as the platform to broadcast their own advertisements. But even a soapbox speaker will read the reactions of the audience they’re addressing, and likewise your brand should listen and interact with your audience.
Post updates individually to each social media site, varying the frequency for each platform; perhaps 1-2 updates a day on Facebook and 6-10 for Twitter.
For every 5 updates on Twitter, only 1 or 2 should promote your company, and the rest should engage your audience by sharing their ideas and answering their questions for subjects which you have expertise about.
Use measurement tools to note which posts resonate with each audience, and make adjustments accordingly to what they find most valuable.
Take advantage of the unique features of each social media site, such as @replies on Twitter and the Events or Photo apps on Facebook, to spark discussions with your target audience.
Use these unique social media tools to listen carefully to your audience and then offer them solutions to their problems, not just to sell them your products.
Being strategic in your communications means using research to focus your goals on any media outlet, including social media. Of course many organizations may not be able to commit resources to support so many social sites, and instead they should focus on one or two which best meet their goals. In many cases a poorly executed communication plan may be worse than no having no social media presence at all, so be don’t be afraid to be selective. After all an abandoned social media profile is like a ghost for your brand, and when you’ve got the tools and the talent “I ain’t afraid of no ghost”.
Public Communications, Online Marketing, and Social Media Strategy