Major Assignments

Assignment 1
“Investigate and Evaluate” Social Media Platforms

Assignment 1 PDF

Purpose:  Investigate and evaluate two social media alternatives

Rationale: Most social media (SM) users have little understanding of the underlying dynamics at work when they choose to use a particular SM. A SM strategist should understand these dynamics and help others weigh the relative costs/benefits of their choices.

Major Activities:

  1. Select one SM platform from the “Major Players” list below and one platform from the “Niche Players” list.
SM Major Players SM Niche Players
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Snapchat
YouTube
Instagram
 
Multiply
MyLife
Ning
Café Mom
Orkut
Tagged
Bebo
Waze
Live Journal
Deviant Art
Google Plus+
VK
flickr
Foursquare
Tumblr
MySpace
Digg
Xanga
Badoo
Xing
Biznik
Friendstr
Meetup
Yelp
  1. Become the resident expert on your two SM platforms. At a minimum, your expertise should allow you to answer the following questions:
    • What are the origins of the SM?
    • How does the SM provider make money?
    • What are the mechanics of using the platform? In other words, how does the platform actually work?
    • How do users typically make use of the platform?
    • Who are the primary users? Why are they the primary users?
  1. Develop a list of effective and ineffective uses of the two SM platforms. Provide your rationale.
  2. Describe the potential benefits and costs for various users (e.g., CEOs, entertainers, teens) of each platform.
  3. Describe the potential benefits and costs for various types of organizations (e.g., restaurants, hi-tech, manufacturers, non-profits).
  4. Craft an infographic for each of the two SM platforms that summarizes key facts along with your insights.
  5. For each of the two SM platforms, summarize your thoughts with an ML (Most Like) + - analysis and demonstrate how it might be used to discuss a social media strategy for an organization.
  6. Describe a recent SM “fail” that occurred on each of your platforms. Use the format found on the “Social Media Fails” link under the “Fun” tab on amazingsmstrategy.com (e.g., brief explanation, proof, and lessons learned).
    Note: Lessons learned should reference #5CsofSocial.
  7. Craft a tool to evaluate whether an organization is making effective use of the two SM platforms. Justify your criteria.

Requirements:

  • Professional group presentation (15 - 20 minutes) and cross examination (5 – 10 minutes)
  • Written report (due 1 week after oral presentation) 

Evaluation:

  • Synthesis of key ideas – Does the report synthesize key insights from personal experience, research, and class principles?
  • Utility of insights – Can the ideas in the report be applied to real-world problems?
  • Depth of analysis – Does the report indicate that the team thought deeply about the issues? Have certain ideas been eliminated or honed through discussion?
  • Quality of insights and rationale – Does the report go beyond the standard recommendations advocated by self-ordained “social media gurus”?
  • Professional style - Does the report and presentation adhere to professional standards (e.g., well organized, one voice, proper design, well written, proper citations & appendices)?

Assignment 2
“Isolate and Contemplate” Social Media Variables

Assignment 2 PDF

Purpose: Isolate key social media variables and contemplate their implications. (The variables might include items such as people, groups of people, content type, direction of communication, links between groups, etc.) Use your selected variables to highlight the underlying dynamics of three communication channels, two of which are social media platforms.

Rationale: Using a limited set of variables forces you to develop a deep understanding of the underlying dynamics of any system. It also helps you identify the potential choke points in the systems, the constraints of the systems, and the possibilities of the systems.

Major Activities:  

  1. Select one communication channel from each column below.
Traditional Channels SM Major Players SM Niche Players
Lecture
Teleconference
Videoconference
Newspaper
E-mail
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Snapchat
YouTube
Instagram
YouTube
Multiply
MyLife
Ning
Café Mom
Orkut
Tagged
Bebo
Meetme
Waze
Live Journal
Deviant Art
Google Plus+
VK
Meetup
Foursquare
Tumblr
MySpace
Yelp
Digg
Xanga
Badoo
Xing
Biznik
Friendstr
Meetup
Flickr
  1. For each of your channels, select three geometric shapes that best represent your variables (you can use the same geometric shapes/variables for your three channels – in fact, this is encouraged). Develop a diagram or schematic of how each of your three channels functions based on these shapes. Think of this as diagramming a football play. Each shape and variation is meant to symbolize some important feature of the channel. The following provides some examples and a potential starting point for your choices:
Basic Shapes     → Circle Line X – Factor  (Your choice)
Variation A Size Length ???
Variation B Boldness Arrow ???
Variation C Color Thickness ????
Variation D ??? ??? ???
Variation E ??? ??? ???
  1. Provide your rationale for your choice of each shape/variation (e.g., Why is this attribute an essential feature that needs to be highlighted? What attributes of the channel did you choose NOT to highlight? Why?).
  2. Use your diagrams to answer the following questions:
    • What are the critical differences between the three channels?
    • What potential barriers or bottlenecks do the schematics imply?
    • What communication tasks are best suited to each channel? What communication tasks are poorly suited to each channel?
    • What types of usage patterns are most likely to emerge in each of the channels?
    • How could you judge the effectiveness of communicators who use the channels?

Requirements:

  • Professional group presentation (15 - 20 minutes) and cross examination (5 - 10 minutes)
  • Written report (due 1 week after oral presentation)

Evaluation:

  • Synthesis of key ideas – Does the report synthesize key insights from personal experience, research, and class readings?
  • Utility of insights – Can the ideas in the report be applied to real-world problems?
  • Depth of analysis – Does the report indicate that the team thought deeply about the issues? Have certain ideas been eliminated or honed through discussion?
  • Quality of insights and rationale – Does the report go beyond the standard recommendations advocated by self-ordained “social media gurus”?
  • Professional style - Does the report and presentation adhere to professional standards (e.g., well organized, one voice, proper design, well written, proper citations & appendices)?

Assignment 3
“Compare and Repair” Social Media Strategies

Assignment 3 PDF

Purpose:  Compare how two organizations in related fields (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke, Harvard vs. Yale) make use of social media (SM). Repair the organization’s SM strategy that you deem less effective.

Rationale: SM strategists should have a clear understanding of how to evaluate an organization’s use of SM and know how to take corrective action. Developing your own protocol and evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of SM can help you establish a solid reputation as a social media “guru.”

 Major Activities:

  1. Select two organizations in a related field.
  2. Gather information about how each organization makes use of SM. At a minimum, answer the following questions:
    • What SM do the organizations use?
    • What are the goals of their SM strategies?
    • What messages/images are typically communicated in their SM?
    • How do the organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their SM strategies?
    • How does each organization’s SM relate to its other communications?
  3. Craft a protocol and evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of any SM strategy.
  4. Use your protocol and evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of the two organizations’ SM strategies.
  5. Provide a “repair” or correction plan for the organization with the less effective SM strategy. Assume you would present the plan and rationale to the senior leadership team of the organization (Note: Most leadership teams would not be satisfied with merely matching a competitor’s strategy).

Requirements:

  • Professional group presentation (20 - 25 minutes) and cross examination (5 – 10 minutes)
  • Written report (due 1 week after oral presentation)

Evaluation:

  • Synthesis of key ideas – Does the report synthesize key insights from personal experience, research, and class principles?
  • Utility of insights – Can the ideas in the report be applied to real-world problems?
  • Depth of analysis – Does the report indicate that the team thought deeply about the issues? Have certain ideas been eliminated or honed through discussion?
  • Quality of insights and rationale – Does the report go beyond the standard recommendations advocated by self-ordained “social media gurus”?
  • Professional style - Does the report and presentation adhere to professional standards (e.g., well organized, one voice, proper design, well written, proper citations & appendices)?

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