Category Archives: Assignment

Next week’s assignment

For next week’s assignment, you should start your Twitter account, if you haven’t already, and begin tweeting. For the next week (i.e. at least September 22 – 26), you should tweet at least once per day on the subject matter of your choosing. You may tweet about things you’re thinking about, respond to someone else, comment on a recent event, etc. Pay special attention to which of your tweets get retweeted, if any, and/or generate comments from other users.

Spend some time exploring Twitter. In order to participate in the conversation on Twitter, you must identify 5-10 other handles than interest you and begin following them (unless you’re already heavily engaged in this platform). Also, connect with your classmates from this class.

You should also connect your Twitter feed to your Blog page. In WordPress, under “Appearance” go to “Widgets” and there will be a widget for Twitter (essentially a small App or computer program). Click and drag this to the right side of the page (the “primary widget area”) and provide any information requested.

For this week’s blog post, discuss some of the conversations that are happening on this platform that interest you. Also, reflect on Twitter as a public relations tool, specifically discuss the value you think it has a public relations tool. What are some good examples of organizations using Twitter effectively? What about bad examples of its usage? Also, what new insights did this week’s readings give you regarding Twitter?

Meanwhile, in the weeks to come you will be required to live tweet from an event, so start thinking about what might make a good event from which to do so.

Have a great weekend!

Social Media Fact Sheets

As you all know your Fact Sheets and presentations are due this Thursday. The assignment, as previously discussed is included below.  One thing to note, I will not REQUIRE a Powerpoint/Prezi for this presentation. Since you will be spending time on the platform you’re analyzing (i.e. for demonstration), it may be too cumbersome or confusing to also navigate through a Powerpoint/ Prezi, as well. I will leave that up to you in terms of what you think will aid you in being a most effective communicator.

The assignment:

Each student will comprehensively review a social media platform and become a subject matter expert, explaining its history, effective practices, etc. Students will be assigned a social media channel including social networking sites, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, vines, etc. Students will create a single-spaced fact sheet, using headings & bullet points, to address the significant things professional communicators need to know about these platforms. Your Fact Sheets must be 1 -2 pages long and you must create handouts of the Fact Sheets for all class members. Presentations should be between 7 -10 minutes long.

  1. Introduction to the platform with some basic information about who is using it and for what (users and marketers). Include data like reach (how many people are active users) and user demographics.
  2. Brief demo on how to use the platform;
  3. How do brands or businesses successfully communicate on this platform (show at least 2 examples);
  4. Specific user elements that are important to the platform (likes, hashtags, etc.); How do you use the platform to provoke responses or engagement?; What level of engagement is realistic or achievable on this platform (refer to your examples)?;
  5. What risks are inherent to this platform? How can syntax (limitations on size of messages for example) increase risk?
  6. What are the top ways to build followers on this platform? What tips can you offer brands that will allow them to develop loyal, engaged and committed followers that spread positive WOM for them?
  7. Your advice and recommendations for using this platform to communicate with customers or potential ones.

C193/293 – Next week’s blog post

What makes a good blog? As we prepare for next week’s topic, let’s do some investigating of our own.

For next week’s blog post, I would like you to find 2-3 other blogs about a topic that interests you, and critique these blogs. These blogs can be about any topic, such as fitness (Michael Contrereas) or cars (Kelvin Cao), for example. Specifically, discuss the tone and content of the writing, and the blog layout and design. How would you describe the writing tone/voice of the blog? What makes the layout attractive (or not)? Does the blog post a lot of photos or other visual “eye candy” or not? Do you notice any commonalities across the blogs? What do you think works really well in these blogs, and what doesn’t? Also, note the level of engagement on these blogs. Are readers commenting a lot? Most importantly, what ideas can you take away from these blogs to improve your own?

Remember, your blog is a work in progress and I encourage you to improve it as the semester progresses. Think of this, also, as an opportunity to consider your own voice and your own personal brand.

C193/293 Schedule Changes

I’ve had to modify our schedule — even after last night’s changes — due to the scheduling of some wonderful guest speakers!  Therefore, please note:

Next week, September 16, 18:
On Tuesday we will welcome our first guest speaker, Ian Hill, executive producer for digital and social media for News10 Sacramento. He will discuss the rise of social media in the newsroom and suggest some strategies on how to use social media to engage audiences.

This means that ALL fact sheets and accompanying presentations will now be due next Thursday, September 18. On this date, I will also ask that you hand in a draft of your social media plans for your Client. Get as much done as you can, and especially work on sections that may be particularly problematic for you. The point of the draft is to make this a working document so that I can provide you with some feedback before your Client pitches.

Remember plans should include: Background Research and Situation Analysis; Goals and Objectives; Key Publics; Key Messages; Strategies and Tactics; Budget (likely $0 unless you’re proposing some sort of give-away); and Evaluation. Also, please include a short (250 words) executive summary (i.e. an abstract) and some samples of your proposed content.

A suggestion to manage your work flow: you may consider divvying up the sections and assigning a lead to get the draft going on each section (or 1-2 sections). Then, make sure that at least 1 other person also reads/contributes to that section. Then someone should read the whole proposal for continuity sake, as well. Do not short change your research — remember, think about what we need to know regarding the organization; project; environment; key publics etc. Your research is key as it supports the logic of your proposal.

Client pitches:
The Music Team will now pitch their plan on Tuesday, September 30 (not October 2 as originally stated in the syllabus). This will move the pitches closer together and make room for a special guest speaker from Edelman Digital who will come to class on October 2. I am awaiting confirmation from Theatre Arts that September 25 still works as a pitch date.

Any questions? Please let me know. I’m excited to see how your work is progressing. Hopefully you are as excited as I am to see everything come together.


Next Week’s Blog Post

For next week’s post, I would like you to reflect critically on the Goundswell (Li & Bernoff, 2011) readings you’ve completed thus far. Reflect on the first 5 chapters of this book. Which ideas do you find particularly interesting? What take-aways have you gotten that might influence your approach to designing a social media campaign? Is there anything you disagree with or think needs updating?

Use this blog post to engage with the content thoughtfully. You do not need to summarize the material, and avoid generalizations. Instead, I want to see you engaging with the material, and critically thinking through the ideas presented in the text.


Preparing for class tomorrow – Client visits!

This jam-packed, exciting semester will get a jump-start tomorrow with our Client visits. At 5pm, Professor Tromovitch from Theatre Arts will be visiting with our class to debrief us on her needs as related to social media and the upcoming performances. At 6pm, Professor Hatschek from the Music department will join us to discuss the upcoming album drop and their needs vis-a-vis social media.

To remind everyone of the process: tomorrow will be our Client debriefings in which our Clients will explain their needs and concerns. This is also our opportunity to ask all of our questions related to their upcoming campaigns. Therefore, between tonight and tomorrow, you should really start thinking about their “products”/events and how you think social media can be used to help them achieve their objectives.

Therefore, you should also be considering all the components that will go into your social media plans. You must consider: research; goals; objectives; key messages; audiences; strategies; and tactics. Start thinking seriously about your content strategy. Remember, you should think beyond using social media for one-way messaging (i.e. “old-fashioned” promotion); instead, think about how to use these platforms to engage. You can also jump ahead in Groundswell and read on page 68, key objectives the authors identify for organizations to pursue online. These are: 1) listening; 2) talking; 3) energizing; 3) supporting; and 5) embracing. Consider which ones might be most appropriate for your Client in this context.

As mentioned yesterday, you want to show up to your Client meetings knowing all you can about their business. You want to maximize the precious time you have with your Client, and ask questions that cannot easily be answered on your own. I.e. do your own research now on their current social media properties, past events/product launches; etc. Read the scripts, if you are working on the theatre campaign. When working with Clients, you want to demonstrate that you care as much about their business as they do. So, please take time to prepare for these meetings tomorrow.

The fun is just getting started!

C193/293: Blog Publishing

Okay, the semester has begun and we are off and running!

It looks like many of you have your blog up and have posted your first entry. Hooray!  If not, you should do that before Tuesday’s class and post the link on the class FB page (I sent each of you an email invitation to join — if you are still having trouble please email me again and I will resend the link). Before Tuesday’s class you should have published two blog posts, as described in the syllabus:

Week 1:
) Create your WordPress journal blog, and email me the link. Create an About Me page that has a brief personal bio and photo of yourself. Include things like your career goals, your hobbies, work experience, etc.
2) In your first post, answer the following questions: What social networks do you use most often? How or why do you use them? What do you find interesting or important about social media (e.g. why are you taking this class?)

Week 2:
For next week’s post, I want you to apply what we learned in class yesterday by identifying a social media campaign to analyze. As indicated in the syllabus:
Blog post: Identify a social media campaign that was a success and apply the principles of campaign planning in analyzing the campaign. Discuss what kind of research you think was needed to launch the campaign. Who were the key audiences and what were the key messages? What were the strategy and tactics that were applied? How was success evaluated? Why do you think it was so successful?

Also, you should consider your blog a work in progress. During the semester we will have an ongoing discussion of what makes a good blog, including identifying the characteristics of good writing, design, photography, etc. Meanwhile, keep playing with yours and working to improve its readability and functionality. Besides fulfilling a class requirement, think about your personal brand that you’d like to showcase on this platform.

Regarding the “Photo-A-Day” assignment, note: I will delay the start of that project for a bit, since we have so much to do to get our campaigns pitched and launched. So, don’t worry about that assignment right now.

Finally, I encourage you to bring your laptops to class, if you have one, so that we can look things up on the fly. However, unless we are all using our laptops i.e. as part of a class exercise, I will ask you to put them away while I’m lecturing and/or we’re having a discussion. Otherwise, it creates too much of a distraction in the learning environment which is not good for anyone.

Have a great weekend!

Schedule – Week of November 6

What an exciting week! Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, November 6! Finally, the day is here. I am still hoping somebody will live tweet during election night. 🙂

Meanwhile, in COMM 193 I’d like to read about your thoughts on content curation, and the platforms of Pinterest and Tumblr that we discussed last week. Also, on Tuesday, Graduate students will present their social media case studies — these are the papers that you handed in last week, but that we didn’t get to present. You don’t need to prepare a formal powerpoint, but it would be helpful for you to show the class some examples of the materials (i.e. the campaign) that you analyzed. Please prepare, this will be part of your grade.

It is a busy month, for sure, but we will allocate some class time for your group work. Here are some deadlines to take note of:

Thursday, November 6, Quiz #3, topics to be covered include readings & class discussion from week 8 (social photography & social writing to week 10, web curation)

Tuesday, November 13: Live tweeting assignment due (post your storify link in your blog) and presentations

Thursday, November 15: Draft due of your social media plan, from Goal(s) to Tactics/technologies. Please make an effort with this — there will be points associated with it.

Tuesday, November 20: Personal branding assignment due

Thursday, November 29:  Quiz #4 (readings & discussion from Week 11 and 12, Metrics and SEO)

I think that’s everything – for now. Have a great weekend!




C193 Schedule

It’s difficult to believe we are nearing the last month of classes for the semester!

In looking over the syllabus, I’ve made a few changes, please note:
– Graduate Case Study Assignment is now due on Tuesday, Oct 30
– Laura and Carrie will present on Pinterest and Tumblr on Tuesday, Oct 30
– Quiz #3 will be rescheduled to Thursday, November 8

– Thursday, November 1, will be a group work day – you will meet in your groups to work on your social media plan. I would also like to meet with each of the groups individually, in my office, to address your concerns and campaign directions.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Social Photography Blog Post (Assignment)

I am looking forward to seeing all of the C193 students’ blog posts tomorrow — the topic of which is social photography. The assignment, you’ll recall, was to shoot some photos (approximately 3 – 5) with a digital camera, or phone, and upload them to your blog. You were also asked to start a Flickr account and load some photos to that platform. Finally, your blog post will reflect on these actions and social photography, in general.

I enjoy photography and graphic design a lot. As I’ve mentioned, I spent the first part of my career doing a lot of photography and design and it’s interesting to come full circle and get back into it. Photography is another skill that you, as a communicator, can continually develop. You’ll be amazed at how often you’ll be asked to take photos as part of your public relations work, especially if you work for a smaller organization where funds are limited. As we spoke about in class last week, just a few adjustments to your photo composition, especially being more aware of the background, can make a big difference in the overall design of your images.