The Selfie Culture

Here is a definition of what selfies are courtesy of Wikipedia.

“A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Selfies are often associated with social networking. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm’s length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus. Selfies taken that involve multiple people are known as “group selfies”.”

Love them or hate them, they are here to stay. Selfie was named “word of the year” in 2013 by the Oxford English Dictionary.The popularity of selfies is largely due to how easy they are to create and share and also the control they give to the photographer over how they present themselves. Many women, and men, take photos that would characterize them as ‘attractive’ or ‘sexy’, birthing trends such as the ‘duck face’ which emphasized a person’s lips formed to mimic an exaggerated kiss.

First Family selfie — Michelle and Bo Obama, August 2013.There are various schools of thought regarding the psychology behind selfies. Some regard it merely as a tool to capture a moment to share with friends on or off social media. Others however associate this culture with narcissism and body image issues especially in young girls aged between 18-24 seeking approval from their peers. Whatever your reason for capturing a photo of yourself alone or with a friend, know that one million other photos are being taken  and shared each day. Even Michelle Obama is taking them.

Check out the infograph below titled ‘Selfie Syndrome – How Social Media is Making Us Narcissistic‘ courtesy of Best Computer Science Schools that paints a grim picture of the selfie phenomenon and the effects of excessive use of social media on an individual. You may want to evaluate yourself and your use of social media after reading the statistics.

There is however no reason why selfies should not be taken if it is merely for the reason to share with family, friends and fans a captured moment in your life. You can go here  for a guide to taking good selfies. Below is an infrograph shared from the page about what you should consider before, during and after taking a selfie as well as reasons behind most selfies. 

selfie

Why do you take selfies? Let us know on the comments section below!

2013 Social Media Stats

If you are not getting desired results from your engagement on social media, it may be that you are using the wrong medium to communicate to your audience. Below is an infograph courtesy of Digital Buzz  to enable you to create more effective social media strategies or campaigns this year. Once you know the facts and figures the rest should come easily.

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Blog News Releases

Are you a start-up and wondering how to share your news releases without having to go through a journalist? A company blog is the way to go. If you do not have one, it is imperative that you do, and not just for the purpose of publishing new releases but also sharing other vital information with your customers and employees. This does not only apply for small organizations but even larger ones. With this approach, your company can achieve the efficiency and effectiveness it desires by saving both time and resources.

Journalist generally use news releases to attain news and information and will not necessary bring out the story as you would like it told. With a blog post, there is much freedom in portraying the story in the best way possible. Another added advantage is that you can include visuals in the release; this eliminates the use of discs that are normally incorporated into a media kit. It is also easier to embed visuals on blog post than it is on web-based news releases. This will create both visually appealing and engaging content for your targeted audience.

If you would like your work published online or on traditional media, it is not simply enough to send news releases to journalists, it requires a pitch. When doing so, with a blog post you can make the pitch shorter than is normally required and send a link of your blog post. This is also much better than downloading an attachment. It also allows the journalist to gather other information from your website about your service and product. This way they are able to capture the essence of your company.

Online newsrooms circulate news about your company much easier and faster than print media. With your blog however, you have the freedom to share on as many social media sites as you wish by adding a share button at the end of the content. Remember, the news releases are not merely facts and data; they are stories that ought to be shared by stakeholders, customers and employees as well.

Most of all, one can evaluate and provide measurable statistics to how many people viewed the page. It specially helps the PR personnel to give qualitative data to the success of the information shared and work toward increasing traffic not only to future blog post news releases but to the company website as well.

Social Media Lingo

blog.gauffin.org

blog.gauffin.org

In the general sense, we all know what the sky is. however, explaining to a toddler what the sky is in terms they can understand may be particularly hard especially if you are not a scientist. Some have the same problem when it comes to social media; they know a term and it’s applications, but explaining to others the meaning of that particular term may prove difficult.

Here are some social media terms courtesy of Constant Contact  for your understanding.

App

App Short for Application, this is a program or add-on, usually for Facebook or for a mobile device (i.e., an iPhone or Blackberry). Its purpose is to deepen user interaction and provide greater depth of functionality and engagement.

Widget

Similar to an app, a widget is a small block of content that one provider can offer to another, for use on another blog or website. Widgets have a specific purpose such as showing weather forecasts, stock quotes, or news updates and are constantly updated by the creator of the widget, not someone who hosts it on his site.

Avatar

An online picture that’s associated with your social media accounts. Business people typically use a headshot for personal accounts, while companies and organizations use their logo.

Blogroll

A list of recommended blogs on a person or business’ blog site.

Crowdsource

The practice of asking a collection of individuals online for opinions, suggestions, or submissions.

Embedding

The act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed on that site while being hosted by another.

Flickr

An online photo sharing site owned by Yahoo!, Flickr lets individual users upload photos and short videos to their account and share them in photo groups based on a certain subject.

Foursquare

A geo-location service that allows users to check in at businesses and other locations, earning badges and other virtual rewards along the way. Users can share their check ins with fellow Foursquare friends as well as through their social media networks if they choose.

Google Alert

A service offered by Google that allows users to save specific searches and receive an update whenever a new result appears on the Internet for that particular search, typically delivered by email or RSS.

HootSuite

A service that allows businesses, organizations, and individuals to monitor, manage, and schedule their social media marketing activity.

Microblogging

The act of broadcasting very short messages to an audience, such as on Twitter, where posts are limited to 140 characters each.

Podcast

Audio programs or recordings that are syndicated online. They can be streamed or downloaded. Many are posted on and downloadable from iTunes.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

A marketing tactic that, when combined with SEO, helps a business or organization attract customers, generate brand awareness, and build trust by increasing its website’s visibility. This is done through the purchase of pay-per-click advertisements and paid inclusion in search engine results.

Social Media Marketing

Building your social network fans, followers, and connections using relevant and interesting content that is shared, allowing you to reach and engage more people and drive more business.

Handle

Your Twitter username is referred to as your handle, and is identified with the @ symbol.

Hashtag

Words preceded by a # sign (i.e., #ctctsocial) can be used to tie various tweets together and relate them to a topic

Live-tweeting

The practice of documenting an event through tweets that are posted while an event is in progress. (See also “live-blogging.”)

Timeline

The chronological listing of all tweets in a given feed, be it your own, in a list, or another user’s.

Tweetup

A term for events (i.e., meetups) that spring from Twitter connections. Tweetups are typically informal gatherings that let Twitter followers meet in real life, and coordinators often use a hashtag to unite tweets related to the event.

URLT

he technical term for a web address (URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator.)

Vlog

A blog that contains videos instead of text entries.

Viral

When a piece of content on the Internet is shared organically, without prodding or encouragement from the business, organization, or person who created it, it is said to have “gone viral.” This means it has been shared on social networks, posted and reposted, tweeted and retweeted multiple times.

Here are a few more hand picked social media terms from Social Media Wikispace

Aggregation is the process of gathering and remixing content from blogs and other websites that provide RSS feeds. The results may be displayed in an aggregator website like Bloglines or Google Reader, or directly on your desktop using software often also called a newsreader.

An archive may refer to topics from an online discussion that has been closed but saved for later reference. On blogs, archives are collections of earlier items usually organised by week or month. You may still be able to comment on archived items.

Back channel communications are private emails or other messages sent by the facilitator or between individuals during public conferencing. They can have a significant effect on the way that public conversations go

Content management systems (CMS) are sometime described as the Swiss Army knives of social media. They are software suites offering the ability to create static web pages, document stores, blog, wikis, and other tools.

Culture: social media only works well in a culture of openness, where people are prepared to share.

Cyberspace has been widely used as a general term for the Internet or World Wide Web. More recently blogosphere has emerged as a term for interconnected blogs.

Feeds are the means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without visiting the site, by subscribing and using an aggregator or newsreader. Feeds contain the content of an item and any associated tags without the design or structure of a web page.

Mashups* are the smart mixes that techies do to combine several tools to create a new web services.

Mapping networks enables you see who are the main connecting people.

Permalink is the address (URL) of an item of content, for example a blog post, rather than the address of a web page with lots of different items. You will often find it at the end of a blog post.

platform is the framework or system within which tools work. That platform may be as broad as mobile telephony, or as narrow as a piece of software that has different modules like blogs, forums, and wikis in a suite of tools.

Presence online has (at least) two aspects. One is whether you show up when someone does a search on your name. The second is whether you use tools that show you are available for contact by instant messaging, voice over IP, or other synchronous methods of communication.

Subscribing is the process of adding an RSS feed to your aggregator or newsreader . It’s the online equivalent of signing up for a magazine, but usually free.

Troll: A hurtful but possibly valuable loser who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your blog.

Whiteboards online are the equivalent of glossy surfaces where you can write with an appropriate marker pen and wipe off later. They are tools that enable you to write or sketch on a web page, and as such are useful in collaboration online.