Hello? Hello? Are you there? You’re Phubbing.

Can you hear me?  I see you  curled up on the couch, but where are you?   Oh, your thumbs are flying.  You must be texting.  Now you’ve got headphones in.  You must be watching a YouTube video.  Now you’re swiping the screen.  You must be scrolling through facebook, or pinning on pinterest.  You’re slashing at the screen–oh, it’s fruit ninja.  Are you there?  You’re phubbing.

In a world where we we can use our electronics for just about anything, it’s hard to remember to take time out for the more important things on life.   Here’s a few responses to some of Emily’s team’s thought-provoking prompts on the matter:

3. Why do we treat electronics as our most prized possessions?

Because they’re pretty much the most expensive things I own! If anything happens to them, it’s a lot harder to replace them.  The other things is because they’re so multi-purpose.  I’m reliant on my electronics.  I use my laptop for school, occasionally for work, for church, and for personal use (both just for fun or for social purposes).  I use my phone the same way.  It’s essential to have it.  Try telling your group members or employer you don’t have a phone.  It doesn’t work long-term. People expect you to be available and capable of getting info.  You need electronics to be a highly-contributing student or worker in this more urban  society of Provo, UT.

4. How do you feel when someone is using his or her phone during a conversation with you?  Do you do this too?  Why?

It drives me nuts.  There’s a term for it too: phubbing.  It’s snubbing someone for your phone.  (See http://stopphubbing.com/).

In my personal opinion, it’s worse if they snub you while they’re texting a boy.  I don’t mind if they need to answer a quick text, take a quick phone call, look up an address, or send a quick email to take care of something important.  However, if they’re just passing the time between texts by pretending to have an un-related conversation with you, it is the MOST annoying thing in the world!  I used to do this before I knew any better, but I don’t do it anymore because I realized how disrespectful it is.  It’s not as bad if you weren’t actually having a conversation together, but if two people are engaged in a conversation, and 1 person repeatedly disregards the other person in favor of their phone, it’s annoying.

5. Are you in control of your electronics, are are they in control of you?  Give examples.

I am in control.  I refuse to pass off the blame to my electronics. 🙂  Sometimes it is easy to exercise poor control over your electronics.  It’s been a joke in my apartment recently.  When six of us started out as roommates last summer, none of us had a smart phone.  We used to joke about our dumb phones.  Then, I got a smart phone.  A few months later, Carol, our second-smart phone owner, moved in.  Then, Heather got a smart phone.  Then Janae, another smart-phone owner, moved in.  Then Haven and Becca got smart-phones on the same day!  As of about two weeks ago, the whole apartment had smartphones!  One day we were sitting in the living room and Becca (who’s phone was in her room) says, “Hey, everyone’s on their phones!  You all are just having a phone party!”   We used to hate it when people would be on their phones all the time, and then we were doing it!  So, after a little bit, we put our phones away and all made breakfast together.  Case in point: It’s easy to exercise poor control, but if you’re aware it’s a problem, you can do something about it.

One of my roommates told me her goal this year was to focus on being present.  That means that wherever you are, you focus on what’s going on there.  She’s great, because when she comes home, you know she’s ready to socialize.  She still does some homework at home or texts, but you know that when she’s having a conversation with you, she’s focused on the conversation, not the homework or the phone.

6.  Would you rather have no phone at a party for 4 hours straight or spend the night playing on your phone with friends who are playing on their phone.  Why? 

It depends on who will be there and if there’s anything fun happening at the party.  If I’m really comfortable with the friends there, then I’d take a 4-hour, phone-free party any day.  It sounds a lot more fun!  Playing on your phone by yourself can be really fun, but you lose all the interaction you have with other human beings.  There’s something about face to face communication, sharing the same experience, and being able to laugh with one another that’s just unbeatable.

7. Do you prefer texting or calling?

If it’s something easy to say/ask/explain, I prefer texting.  That tends to work better for me, because I’m in work/class/buildingswhere I can’t talk (like the library) a l0t.  I like texting because I can access it silently when I want, and for however long I want.  Voicemail takes too much time, and it’s a little loud.

If something takes explaining, or I’m walking somewhere, then I prefer calling.   If someone doesn’t answer their phone, I send them a text or an email communicating whatever I wanted to say, or I just ask them to call me back.   I like it when people do the same for me.


Blog Post Questions for Monday

1. In what ways have access to online digital networks put more power in the hands of the citizens of countries?

In what ways have access to online digital networks put more power in the hands of the citizens of countries?

Ex. Facebook’s impact on the overthrown of the Egyptian government

2. Has the Internet helped create a stronger sense of community in our society, or has community been lost due to the Internet?

 For example: are there differences between online communities/networks vs. in-person communities? are there limitations for both types of communities? Is one community stronger than the other?

3. What do you think a cyberculture looks like?  What does a cyberculture member look like?  How do they act? 

Think of the Mac vs. PC images.  What about traditional corporate business world vs. the techno-savvy generation?

4. How has the introduction of the ‘personal computer’ and ‘the World Wide Web’ changed our way of life?

     For example: Has communication, knowledge, relationships, news, entertainment, privacy (pretty much all aspects of life) been changed because of these technological advances? Could our lives go on with out these technological advancements?

5. Should governments or businesses regulate/censor the internet within their own country, or should the internet remain open worldwide?  Why or why not?

Ex:   China censors their internet.  What kind of problems does this create in a world-wide community? What would happen if everyone regulated the internet?  What would happen if there was no regulation?

10 Tweets and 5 Facebook Posts

10 Tweets:

  1. On April 1st: Today is Sydney Newman’s birthday, creator of Dr. Who.  Who’s work inspires you as a writer?  Get inspired by @WesterCon67.
  2. Two free WesterCon tickets to the person with the funniest science fiction book quote.  Tweet #westercon67.  READY, SET, GO!
  3. Caption contest (use a picture of someone in costume from the last WesterCon)!  Caption with most favorites wins 2 free tickets to @WesterCon67!
  4. What’s your funniest writing prompt?  Tweet with the hashtag #westercon67 for a chance to win an autographed Brandon Sanderson book.
  5. Caption Contest Round 2!
  6. New items available in Brandon Sanderson’s store at http://www.17thshard.com/news/brandon-news/new-items-in-brandons-store-r147!  Listen to him @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org)
  7. (On March 4th–scheduled release date of Brandon Sanderson’s book): Brandon Sanderson’s sequel, Words of Radiance, comes out today!  Bring it to @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org) to get it autographed!
  8. Check out this awesome interview with Brandon Sanderson: http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/show/836.Brandon_Sanderson.  Come hear him live @WesterCon67 (Westercon67.org).
  9. Connect with other writers @WesterCon67 (westercon67.0rg) #scifi #fantasy #writing
  10. Has anybody seen taco bell’s saucy hot sauce packets?  What scifi story would you write based on this packet?

(Picture from: (Picture from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=144420631862&set=o.253760834836&type=3&theater)


5 Facebook/Pinterest Posts:

Share memes with posts:

1. What are you writing about for NANOWRIMO this year?   Get geared up at WesterCon 67 on July 3-6th in Salt Lake City, and hear from greats like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow.

(Meme from here: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/national-novel-writing-month)

2.  Got writer’s block?  Need some inspiration?  Sign up for WesterCon67 at westercon67.org and get inspired by authors like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow.

(Meme from: http://alexvox.com/?p=256)

3. Come mingle with other free-lance writers and learn about their secrets at @WesterCon67 (westercon67.org).

(meme from: http://watchoutformama.blogspot.com/2012/02/trendy-meme.html)

4.  Calling all SciFi/Fantasy Writers: come mingle with other writers and get inspired @WesterCon67.  Learn more at westercon67.org.

(Meme from: http://www.google.com/imgres?rlz=1C1ASUT_enUS462US462&espvd=210&es_sm=122&biw=1366&bih=624&tbm=isch&tbnid=hc5oFtJze-5FRM%3A&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmemegenerator.net%2Finstance%2F35320404&docid=JF-7W24nNQrFKM&imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn.memegenerator.net%2Finstances%2F400x%2F35320404.jpg&w=400&h=400&ei=BfIEU8ukNIyFogTj0YLABA&zoom=1&ved=0CKsBEIQcMBs&iact=rc&dur=750&page=2&start=16&ndsp=26)

5.  (As suggested in class): SciFi and Fantasy Writers: Come to Utah, the home of all things awesome!  Connect with other writers, hear from famous authors like Brandon Sanderson and Cory Doctorow, see awesome constumes, and explore the beauty of Utah!  Learn more at westercon67.org.

(video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAJYk1jOhzk)

Transparency and Efficiency of Social Media Marketing

1. How have social media and the internet changed the way businesses (and more specifically, the entertainment industry) approach marketing and advertising?  (Example: A great Batman campaign by 42 Entertainment, highlighted in this YouTube video)

Businesses can be a lot more open now.  It seems like before there was always this sort of wall between the business and consumer, but social media made that wall transparent.   A relatively new, local candy store in Provo posted on Facebook, asking it’s customers what kinds of retro candy they would like to see in the store.


This is an example of very open communication between businesses and consumers.  Entertainment industries often do the same thing.  In class last week we talked about how Gleeks (lovers of the TV show Glee) could have a say in what would happen in the show.  There’s a greater transparency with social media.

2. In what ways has social media changed the ways fans can interact or get involved with a television show or movie?  (Example: Twitter and mad men)

Haha!  JIMMY FALLON HASHTAGS!  He used to do sarcastic thank-you notes, which were pretty hilarious.  I don’t know if he still does the thank-you notes (anyone else know?) but he does do a lot of hashtags now.  Every Wednesday fans can tweet to a hashtag provided by the Jimmy Fallon show.  He then chooses his favorites, and every Wednesday he reads them off.   They’re pretty hilarious, and encourage quite a bit of interaction with the show.  It also gets people more aware of and involved with the Jimmy Fallon.   This is my favorite Hashtags video:


3. How has social media allowed the entertainment industry to shift more of the load of advertising and marketing to the consumers? (Example: Carl’s Jr. saved money by turning to YouTube)

Social media is genius, because for the low cost of writing a post or making a simple YouTube video, consumers will take care of spreading the message.  The consumers themselves will market and advertise.  For example, has anybody seen the broken springboard YouTube video?  There’s a couple versions out there, but I bet you didn’t know it was a commercial.  Check it out:

Craftsmen Tools, Sears, and Nascar all won big on the video.  I first found out about that video because several of my friends posted it on Facebook.   Sears and Nascar put the video out there, and the consumers took care of the rest of the advertising and marketing by sharing and talking about the video.  It’s a genius model.

4. Is there a point in which a story (deep media) can become too immersive? Can fans become too involved?

I don’t know that that point has been reached yet.   Fans can get too involved than is good for their own health, but I don’t know that I’ve heard of a time when over-zealous fans as a whole ruined a story or deep media.  The fans are the people who love the story, so they aren’t going to hate something they helped create.  Fans can get too involved personally.  We often hear stories and studies about people playing too many video games, or getting caught up in virtual worlds of fiction or fantasy.  Still, I can’t think of any examples where fans as a whole were too involved in a story.

Gotta be Funny to Go Viral

For today’s blog post, I’m going to address question 5 about virality:  Is humor simply a matter of taste or is it a vehicle?

Humor is a vehicle.   I pondered and pondered, but couldn’t come up with one single viral video that wasn’t humorous.   Here’s a list of the videos that popped into my mind (with links, for your enjoyment).  There may be an exception to the humor vehicle theory, but I honestly can’t think of one, and when I google “Viral Videos 2013”, all the results are funny videos.


There’s a few reasons why humor is a vehicle:

1. It’ easy to remember.  

Who can forget “What does the fox say?”  That’s an easy rhyme, and the song will get stuck in your head.  It’s easy to search, easy to quote, and easy to share.

2. People will watch it over and over again.

How many times did you watch Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” song with the goat?  It’s kind of addicting.  You just want to see it again and again.  That boosts the number of views, which translates into virality.

3. People are more likely to share something funny with friends than something serious

Let’s say someone made a Christmas YouTube video of their family that was really traditional and serious.  You probably wouldn’t share it with your friends because they wouldn’t really care.  If you share something humorous, like the Christmas Jammies Video, then they’ll care more.  Also, no one wants to be that preachy friend who’s always talking about serious stuff.  Sometimes people just want to be that fun friend who makes you smile, so they share a funny video with you.  The more times the video is shared, the more viral it is.  The world is pretty serious already, so there’s a demand for funny movies so every can take a breath a relax for a 2-minute YouTube video.

Also, usually videos are shared with social media.  Usually when people are on their social media, it’s when they need a break from something, like work, or homework, or just life.  So they go online.  They don’t want to share serious things as often as they want to share fun things.

4. It’s easy to connect over something humorous; it’s relatable.

OK, one more video.  My friends and I really relate with “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That”

(Really only the first minute and a half are important.  Please excuse the language in the middle part of the video.  Skip 1:23-1:29 and 1:46-2:04 to avoid the part where she takes the Lord’s name in vain.  A lot of people just don’t know better than to do that).

Sometimes, when a teacher assigns something that seems like busy work, my friends and I will say to each other, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”  Or, when we’re feeling stressed about all the things we have to do, we’ll quote the movie again.  It’s easy to connect, we can quote it together, and we can relate to the quote.

All in all, there may be an exception to the humor as a vehicle rule, but I honestly thing that nine times out of ten, you’ll need humor as a vehicle to make something go viral in social media.



Social Media’s Impact, and How JCP Flipped a Flaw into a Dynamite Campaign

1. How has social media changed our perception of who is a professional/expert in a given field? ex. photographer?

Someone with good social media can now be considered an expert.  Here’s why:  For someone to be an expert, we need proof.  In the days before social media, we needed some kind of proof we could all understand, like a college degree, or experience with a company.  Now, we have social media.  People can show us the proof online, through pictures, tweets, FB posts, blog posts, etc… that they are experts at what they do.  They may not be formally trained, but because of their social media, they don’t have to.  They already prove to us that they are experts.  

For instance, before, we used to want to have professional photographers.  Now, just about anyone with a nice camera, who has nice pictures on their pinterest/FB page/blog/website is considered to be a photographer.  We also have tons of photo-sharing platforms, like flickr, pentax, 500pix, etc… where people can rate pictures, give critiques, etc…  Several of my brothers are into photography. 

My brother Ryan likes 500pix: 


Here’s one from my brother, Trevor, on the Pentax photo gallery (which is also genius social media for the Pentax business):


These are the same kinds of sites that professionals often post to.  Because of social media, amateurs are in the same realm as professionals.  The same goes for singer sensations on YouTube, and so forth.  



2. How has social media changed business management?

It is crucial to business management to have good social media.  Upcoming generations use social media to research a product.  If they can’t find anything about you online, they’re liable to think you’re a shady company. You also need to have someone to maintain and curate the social media.  That means you have to pay more people to do that, but the benefit will most likely outweigh the cost, as long as the social media marketing is done well.


3. What have we lost because of the freedom social media gives us?

Someone mentioned in one of their blog posts that people focus more on capturing a moment than taking time to enjoy the moment. I would have to agree with that.  Sometimes it’s a little comical.  I saw this on my FB feed the other day, and it made me crack up.



This is totally today’s generation.  However, I contend that even though it’s easy to get caught up in capturing the moment, often the capturing part is the memory that is so fun.  For example, these girls will probably look back on this picture and laugh when they remember their day of sight-seeing together.  

4. What is your birthday?

It’s a holiday. One of my friends likes to call it an appreciation day for the person who was born.  



It’s also a day when you feel really special because your friends tell you Happy Birthday on Facebook, and you get a lot of notifications.  


5. Because users can post instantaneously, how has this affected the quality of the content?

Hahaha, TYPOS!   But here’s someone who the problem of typos to their benefit: 


JCP is so smart.  They didn’t spend any money on Superbowl ads, but they got a lot of attention with their typos on their Superbowl tweets.  Prior to the game, they tweeted about their Olympics GO USA mittens shown below.  Then during the game, they had several typos, and blamed it on the mittens.  



(Mittens available here: http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom/go-usa-mittens/prod.jump?ppId=pp5003600298&cm_re=S2-_-PP-_-MITTENS).




Several people got in on the dialogue.  The US Olympics commented.  Several individual people commented.  JCP followed up positively, too (see the tweets from Dale Glenn and JCP below).  Nokia tried to throw in a little plug for the Nokia Lumia    



Before the “Tweeting with Mittens” hashtag, someone conjectured that JCP’s representative was drunk, so Kia Motors got in on the action and asked JCP if they needed a designated driver.  




The Olympics team also made a video about other things that are hard to to do with mittens (http://www.teamusa.org/Road-to-Sochi-2014/Features/2013/November/19/Video-Olympic-And-Paralympic-Athletes-Test-Go-USA-Fan-Mittens).  JCP showed some goodwill towards Snickers and Doritos, and tweeted a picture of eating those items with the mittens.



GMA got in on the action and tweeted a pic of tweeting with mittens as well.  JCP reinfored their interaction by retweeting GMA’s tweets.  



JCP was genius.  They utilized a simple flaw in social media to create a trending campaign that not only took the Superbowl by a storm, but swept over into the Olympics as well.  It’s so smart.  We need to do cool stuff like that with our Social Media clients.


Group Work: The Good and the Bad

A Response to The Questions for Wednesday’s Class:

1. How can incentives impact the dynamics of a group or community?

We talked about Prisoner’s Dilemma in class.  If the group is given an incentive that requires them to work together for everyone to benefit, the group will work well together.  If the group receives an incentive that pits them against each other, then they are not as likely to work together, because each individual person will be concerned with their own welfare.  If the group receives an incentive that is only dependent on one person’s work,and the rest of the group can slack off, then other group members are likely to take it easy while one person does the majority of the work.  The impact of an incentive depends on the reward structure of the  incentive.

2. What are some of the costs and benefits of group participation (compare that to individual action)?

Let’s do some pros and cons, shall we?

Pros of Group Work:

  • More motivation to do stuff, because you know someone else will hold you accountable
  • Sometimes you become really good friends with group members
  • Easier to set aside a time to all come together and work, rather than having to slave away by yourselves.
  • You’re not alone.  It’s a little less overwhelming than doing it by yourself.

Cons of Group Work:

  • One person might get stuck doing all the work
  • If you divvy up assignments in a process, you might be stuck waiting for someone to do their part so you can do yours
  • Coordinating schedules….oh goodness is that difficult, especially with college students.  It means you often have group meetings really late in the evening, because that’s the only time when someone doesn’t have class or work.

Pros of Individual Action:

  • You can do what you want to how you want to
  • You can do it when you want to
  • You can often get it done in less time (because you don’t have to go to meetings, discuss things, etc), but maybe not as good
  • Your ideas are always the best of the team, because you’re the only one in your team!

Cons of Individual Action:

  • Easy to procrastinate
  • Can seem overwhelming by yourself
  • Lonely

Most of these apply to group projects, because that’s the majority of my experience with group work.  However, here’s a little nugget: it’s more fun to listen to a group project presented by two or more students rather than a long lecture presented by one student.  The same applies to social media.  It’s more fun to listen to your friend’s conversations about a product/brand/event than it is to hear that product/brand/event tooting it’s own horn.  Groups and social interaction are incredibly important for the success of a business.  It’s like we talked about in class.  We need connectivity, centrality, transitivity, etc…

3. What are the effects of consensus in a group?

If everyone agrees, it’s easier to work together.  Agreeing means you have the same goal.  You can work more efficiently if everyone is working towards the same goal, rather than having everyone working in different directions.

4. Is it better to be a part of a large group/community or a small group/community?

I think it is better to be part of a large group/community and then to form smaller subgroups within that community. The benefit of that model is that there is always room to grow and expand.

For example, let’s say a bagel business in New York hires you to help them with their social media.  Being in New York, they’re just another bagel shop.  People may not notice them very much.  It is harder to make connections in a bigger group.  So, they’ve got to start building a smaller sub-group from the people in New York for people to notice them.  They need to leverage their social ties fo a chance to grow.  We might start out having all their friends and family like the facebook page, and offer incentives for people who visit the shop to like the page on facebook, tweet, or foursquare that they’re there.  Then, we might try to have our more famous customers like our page.  We might have daily contests, neighborhood specials, or posts about bagels and life, or stuff like that.  Soon, we would grow a small sub-group of New York that is part of this bagel shop’s community. From there, we can only expound outward.    However, if we had a bagel shop in a small town, then we could only survive if all the people in that small town gave us business.  If a bigger better bagel shop comes to town, we’re out of business.  However, in a larger community, there is more opportunity to succeed.  You just have to work a little harder.

5. How do social pressures affect the dynamics of a group?

Everyone is influenced by social pressures.  As it influences the individual members of a group, it influences the group. Let’s take Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign for example.  It seems like before, the group, or society, was more focused on how to fit in, how to be beautiful, how to be part of the “beautiful” crowd.  Then Dove released their Real Beauty campaign, including their Real Beauty Sketches YouTube video.    Here’s the video:

I think Dove invited people to expand their definition of beautiful, and because of social media, the people get to be heard now.  Now, there is more acceptance for different kinds of beautiful.  I probably see at least one post per week of someone sharing their thoughts on what real beauty is.  Some are re-sharing blog posts or videos (including Dove’s), and some just like to share their opinions, like this one.


Several people liked her post, and (although you can’t see it in the screenshot), several people commented as well.  The social pressures of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign impacted my group.  Our dynamics are not so much about fitting a definition of beauty, but about each person being beautiful on their own.  Dove influenced us.  Now we’ve got to get WesterCon to influence people like that.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

How does the Prisoner’s Dilemma apply to the social media world?

Well, first I had to find out what exactly what Prisoner’s Dilemma actually is.  I liked this quick quote from wikipedia “Prisoner’s Dilemma…shows why two individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.”  (Side-note, this reminds me of an episode of the TV show Numb3rs, but it’s not on YouTube, so if you have Amazon Prime you can watch the episode here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Of-Reckoning/dp/B000PZQWPC.  It’s pretty great.).

To sum the answer up, there are two parties with different interests.

There are two parties with different interests.  The company wants positive conversation/interaction online.  The public isn’t always interested in their company.  However, the public likes free stuff, positive reinforcement, and funny pictures or memes.  The company wants to  be known.  If they work together, they succeed.  If they don’t help each other out with what the other party wants, neither one gets what they want.

Should a Facebook friend keep providing favors for a friend who never reciprocates?

Should they, or will they?  I think general human nature tends to make people stop giving if they never receive reciprocation.  We need feedback.  For example, if a person comments positively on a company’s post, they are more likely to do it again if the company gives them some positive feedback, like a “like” or a follow-up question, or some kind of incentive.   If the company never appreciates or reciprocates their efforts, a person is less likely to engage in the conversation again.  Social media is a conversation, and just like in real life, no one likes to have a conversation with a brick wall.   There has to be some give and take.

Why would cooperation between a business and their customers be so important?

It’s super important.  People talk. If they don’t like the business, they won’t say good things about it.  Word of mouth carries a lot of weight to it.  If one of my friends recommends a service/company/store to me, I’m more likely to give it a chance than if I had never heard of it.  Businesses need that word of mouth message to be working for them, so they have to have good relationships with their customers.  That means they have to cooperate with what their customers want.  They have to know how to not annoy their customers, and still invite their customers to engage in the positive conversation about their business.

How can you promote cooperation on social media?

Offer incentives to promote cooperation.  We talked about SLC Comic Con doing that.  Here’s an example from their facebook page, where they encourage people to like/comment on their posts for a chance to win a multipass to the 2014 Salt Lake Comic Con Fan Experience:

incentive to partcipate

Other incentives could include a chance for a trip, free tickets, gift cards, etc…

You also should ask relevant questions of your public.  Here, Zappos promotes their own goods, but they do it under the spin of which superbowl team’s colors their fans are supporting.  They got 22 comments and 213 likes as of the morning of Feb. 3rd 2013.

Zappos, good interaction of facebook

When should a person cooperate and when should they be selfish?

That’s probably up to the person.  Some people like to protect their privacy, and some like to engage in conversations.  I think it just depends on the person, and whether they feel like responding to the incentives of or reasons for cooperation.