Studying Social Media: Class 2 – Week One Is Complete

The first week of our on-campus class is complete.

Today’s class included three new students (along with additional participants following online).   It appears we have a great group of students including two fellow faculty members.  I am already looking forward to meeting with them again during our next scheduled class on Wednesday (our campus is closed for the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday) as we continue our social media journey together.

Martin Luther - Image courtesy of http://oldschool.davidwesterfield.net/

We started today’s class with Maria leading a discussion of the reading and video homework of How Luther Went Viral from The Economist.  The conversation included a discussion about how Luther’s message spread without an intentional plan to make it happen.  It also made us think about how the things we communicate can take on a life of their own far beyond what we would imagine.  It gives us further reason to be cautious about what we say on social media.  Maria pulled out the quote from Luther saying that he “should have spoken far differently and more distinctly had I known what was going to happen.”  How many times have we wished that we could have a second chance at communicating our message (but once it is out there, it is difficult to retract).Several students grabbed on to the idea that Luther’s accusers claimed he needed to excommunicated because of a need to stop the spread of the “disease” of Luther’s message.  The reading talked about the warning that the spread of Luther’s message had to be prevented, otherwise “the whole German nation, and later all other nations, will be infected by this same disorder.”  His message was going viral.

Michael Wesch creator of the Anthropological View of Youtube

Michael Wesch Image courtesy of Flickr user: kk+

Next we spent some time talking about Michael Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.  We talked about how people can become very attached to and protective of their social communities.  There was a discussion of YouTube contributor who produced a video plea ( No Fraud, Fakes or Liars ) to save the integrity of YouTube by imploring other YouTube contributors to only produce honest materials.  We also discussed how YouTube is not simply a video broadcasting site but there is actually two way communication going on through a combination of video posts, comments and video responses.

We expanded on our earlier conversations about the history of social networks and the definition of the phrase social media.  by playing the game So You Think You Know Social Media?.  I offered up a series of real and made up names.  The class needed to decide if the names were real and if they were about how long they had been in existence.  Some of the names we discussed included: Facemash, Yammer, Orkut, LifeSwap, ImagiMeet, LifeSwap and SmugMug (we had others, but ran out of time).  The variety of social media represented allowed us to at least briefly introduce concepts such as international social media sites, defunct sites and closed social networks (more about all of these ideas in future sessions).  If you do not know which are real and which we made up, pull up your search engine and do a little research of your own right now.  We also used this time to introduce The Conversation Prism, and see the social media is more than just Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
We spent part of our time during today’s class talking about the technology we will be using as part of our collective social media experience.  This included an very brief introduction to Word Press.  Students that do not already have a blog set up a free account at WordPress.com.  This included discussions about the importance of blog names and user names and the difficulties of finding that perfect name (that is not already taken).  We demonstrated the process of starting, saving and publishing posts.  Students will make their first post before we meet again next Wednesday.

We finished the afternoon with Maria focusing on getting Twitter accounts set up.  This included a basic primer on things like following, direct messaging, replying and retweeting.  Maria also talked about the importance of a well thought out digital bio and how to find other Twitter users with similar interests.

We had a lot more content than we had time today so we will continue on during our next class.

Here are some things you should be doing at home before we meet again:

Blog #2 Prompt (to be posted directly to your blog along with your first Blog post): Historical overview of social media in your focus area and/or who are the big players in social media in your area

Permanent link to this article: http://www.studyingsocialmedia.com/2012/01/12/studying-social-media-class-2-week-one-is-complete/

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