Saturday, February 28, 2015


I am sorry if I am frustrating you one more time with monotonous stories about my country only. However, this is a very interesting story that can be applied in what we are discussing in our classes about Social media in Emergency and Crisis.
The story is about the publicly showed anger and rude behavior of a Vietnamese public official, who is the Executive Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Traffic Safety Committee and General Director of Transportation Department, Ministry of Transport. He was invited to a talk of the National Radio Agency to discuss about the deteriorating transport safety context of the country. However, when he came to the studio, he realized that the television talk came out to be a radio talk due to his assistant’s misinformation! Dressing up and prepared to be live broadcasted on TV, he got so furious with the assistant (and with the radio team also, even though they didn’t do anything wrong) that he immediately took his tie off and throw it to the assistant’s face, together with a tirade of invectives.
The rude demonstration shocked the whole studio and the radio team. Being professional in communication and social media, without hesitation, the team wrote a critical column to be published on the National Radio Agency’s website and on some staff’s private Facebook pages. Although the well-known public official and his impolite attitude were mentioned anonymously, it was not difficult to the public to figure out who the official was. And immediately, the posts and article were flooded with comments, most of which criticized the official’s patronizing attitudes he used to have towards young, inexperienced reporters. The event made a scandal on Vietnamese Facebook pages and online newspapers about how bad a public official could treat media in just several hours afterwards.
About the official, several hours was enough for him to calm down his anger and consider appropriate response to the uprising crisis. He posted his official apology on his personal Facebook page to the public in general and to the radio team in particular, in which he linked to the original article for the readers to have an overview about the event. The apology conceded the inappropriate behavior, unreasonable anger; and expressed his gratitude to the criticized articles and comments, which “opened his eyes and mind” about how skillful a public official should be in self-controlling and what should be included in his daily self-education. The apology attracted thousands of views, likes and praising comments. The public no longer talks about how bad his behavior was, but how sincere and self-conscious he was in claiming his fault.
To me, it was interesting to witness this crisis escalated and de-escalated just in less one day. From the public scope, Vietnamese citizens, whose disagreements and criticisms about public sectors used to be not welcomed, has had a new channel of communication to express their ideas, criticisms about the public sector, including public policies, administration and public officials. Vietnamese public has handled social media so well that they set up constructive social conflicts professionally to engage others in to raise voices and give public’s message to the officials. On the other hand, they are opened enough to hold criticisms back as long as the official sincerely conceded his fault or failure. From the public sector scope, the time of monopoly and authoritarian in Vietnam has been over due to technological development. A public official’s figure can easily be either create or damage through social media platforms. Therefore, they should be more self-aware of handling their post professionally and ethically.

--- Trang DANG ---

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Planned Parenthood vs. Susan G. Komen

Social Media and the Planned Parenthood/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Controversy 
*Note - This is a group posting by: Kazybek Abraliev, Matthew Reynolds, Vikas Sheel, Ateesh Singh, and Stephanie Valdes

Planned Parenthood, once again, launched another successful campaign using social media. The campaign was so successful that Susan G. Komen had to reverse their decision, to withdraw the grants provided to Planned Parenthood, within four days of the decision going public. 

The case has numerous lessons, both in terms of important factors and strategies which can lead a social media campaign to succeed (or fail). Both organizations in this case have their own missions on women’s health, but each of them uses different approaches and strategies to achieve its mission and constituency. 

The following are the analyses of the most important lessons learned that are applicable to strategic management and social media communication: 

Be Prepared! In this digital age, one cannot afford to ignore social media. Planned Parenthood used social media platforms to build a large and loyal base of active supporters as well as using regular “calls for action”. At the same time, it’s perhaps not advisable to jump in if one is not prepared in terms of in-house capacity for content creation, dissemination, management, and monitoring.

Consistency is Key. Your External Communication Policy is the vehicle by which you interact with all groups outside of your organization. Social media is a powerful set of tools that allows you to engage your public stakeholders. Your organization’s mission is most important—you cannot bow to external pressures without compromising your mission.

Define the Target and Drive the Agenda. Planned Parenthood took the initiative and used social media proactively in order to set the agenda of debate and engage followers in the issue at hand. Susan G. Komen, on the other hand, reacted and was always on the defensive which led to them being involved in the very controversy they wanted to avoid. 

Build Alliances. Use knowledge (influencer) hubs to spread your message on social media networks in order to amplify your message, but make sure to match your mission with those of the amplifiers.

Communication Space. Active surveillance of the content posted, new content being created by users, and feedback thereon is essential to not only driving the agenda of the debate, but also to empower followers. The communication must at least be bidirectional and efforts should be made to facilitate multilateral exchange of ideas.

Evasive Maneuvers Will Boomerang. Deleting content and\or disabling comments in the public domain are actions that not only alienate supporters, but also leads to loss in credibility.

Conclusions. After completing an analyses of the information presented in the case it seems that follower engagement is the key to promoting trust which in turn can lead to followers taking a higher stance on the issues they want to see resolved. Social media has become a portal for people to communicate about issues all over the world, so making sure content is fresh and accessible can bring back the best results. Also, allowing opportunities for followers to voice their opinions and give feedback, along with building relationships with others like them, can foster a sense of community.


This blog I am writing after attending the today's Nigeria Guest lecture "  Bring back our Girls". In this blog I have tried to bring certain facts about Social Media challenges in India.

Somebody  in India rightly commented “If social media was present during the days of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Mangal Pandey, India would have become a free country much before 1947”. I couldn’t agree more! Social media has taken this world by storm. Like all other technological advancements till date, you can use, misuse or abuse social media. The rules are new, and the ones waging this war are people like me and you.
Think of abuse, and for some reason politicians come to mind. They are one breed which has brutally been punished by social media. Mudslinging has got a new medium, and people are venting all their wrath and anger by blasting off tweet after tweet, mocking every aspect of these servants of society.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi became the victim of what was an incident that could have easily got brushed under the carpet had it not been for the social media. You can’t call up everybody on Twitter and ask them to stop tweeting, can you? One leaked video on YouTube was followed by thousands of angry, funny, shameless, derogatory tweets, which eventually led to other media also talking about the episode. Finally a pressurised Singhvi quit all party posts. No wonder, Government of India has been after Google and Facebook to ‘censor content’ and make the web clean. Maybe he saw incidents like these coming?
Social media is as prone to misuse as your computer is to virus. Justice Katju said in a letter “a new practice has developed in the social media, of its misuse for defaming people/groups/religions/communities.” While he was focusing on the larger issue of defamation, there is increasing misuse at all levels and growing concern over the same.
Celebrity fake accounts are being made and untrue stories about them are being spread. ‘Hacking at home’ has led to stealing of passwords and accessing the private lives of others, leading to relationship woes and even divorces. A survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) revealed that four out of five lawyers reported a growing number of divorce cases that cited evidence derived from networking sites.
Till a few years ago, the Jessica Lal murder case was the only example of the media playing a central role in keeping a case alive and doing its best to bring justice. Ever since social media came around, there have been many more people and cases whose battles are being fought in the courts of law because the layman raised a voice on social media. Deaths of Keenan Santos and Reuben Fernandes stunned Mumbaikars and the entire cyberspace. The case was fast tracked and the four accused were booked after the social media raised a strong voice. 
Social good is difficult to spread because it has no commercial value. Smaller social organisations used to falter at the task of apprising other people of their work and making people contribute. With Facebook and Twitter, NGOs could breathe a sigh of relief. Many unknown social organisations today have a sizeable following on social networks. Their work doesn’t go unnoticed anymore, and in fact attracts the appreciation and attention of people.
Regular attempts at curbing the freedom of the social media will be made, but the truth is that it is leading us towards a new world where the lies will be trashed and the guilty will be charged. It will not happen overnight but change has begun and it is for the good. 

DoI Social Media Strategy

Hi Everybody...

It has been very entertaining and educating to read the comments  and views on the various issues.
I was very excited to hear our guest speaker on DoI. Therefore, I have also tried to reflect some of the issues which I think are very relevant for all of us which specially required to to be considered while writing our research paper.

It was very interesting to know about the Digital Strategy being followed by the Department of Interior, US. It must be very challenging to communicate with the large number of employee of more than 70,000.

It was really exciting to know how the organization has carefully planned its Social Media strategy and taken a cautious approach towards moving from one platform to another platforms.  We also heard about organization views onSnap Chat. What I could not understand how the the password for the Tweeter account having 25,000 followers was lost and finally interim announcement was made that the same is not being followed.

However, It is very very heartening to know that how effectively the Facebook having 99,000 followers  is being utilized where the large amount of images , videos are being posted without facing any difficulties of the traffic congestion. The organization has been effectively using the Social media and uploading videos for the purposes like live events, live chats and promotional events. The use of Tumblr has been also very useful for the organization where 73,000 users are actively engaged with the organization activities. The organization is using the Instagram account for building their brand image. The use of hashtag  such as  # Monuments has been very beneficial in covering the events among the audience groups.

The unique selling proposition ( USP) of the organization have been the posting of unique images such as Beautiful pics of sunset , Grand Canyon,  brave pics of firefighters etc. Its very interesting to know that how the other news agencies   such as CNN , Washington Times, Times of London etc are using the social Media as a source for relevant inputs in their news items. The speaker was very particular about sharing his 4 and half years long experience about the Social Media. His personal experience was that the ' content is the king.' He further stressed upon that proving those kind of content to audience which they can not find anywhere else. That was the crux of the content issue which are the driving factors for pulling the audience towards the department social media sites without much efforts. This can be easily done if we could identify our target audience carefully. This is, in fact, the fundamental for formulating any policy or strategy for any organization. The audience could be easily associated with the content if the content are full of videos and photos which makes the content lively and attractive. The time is another crucial factor which was told as indeed the essential ingredient for successful implementation of the Social Media strategy.

The speaker further clarified that the strategy must be in synchronous with the goals of the organizations. The DoI has been using the social medial as a plat form to reach out not only to the maximum number of people but also with the other stakeholders such as Scholars/ Experts and other Scientific communities, Environmental group, Energy group etc. The organization have been using the different social media platforms for the different purposes. This is the key for the any organization  intended to achieve certain objectives.

The one of the success factor for the department must the provisions for the dedicated staff for the managing the various activities systematically. For example, it was shared that a team of 5 member is working for this purpose only each one as strategist, managing engagement, videographer, event photographer and content specialist. The site development work was locked after by the contractor.
Another interesting brought to our notice that content was mixed in nature and it was further amplified with the help of the content shared by the public during the contest organized for various purposes.

It appears to me that organization is not very systematic in record or archiving amazement. However, the use of the consultant to operationalize the social media  strategy found very useful. Sometimes it may be necessary to get outside support specially when the internal capabilities may not be up to the mark.

Please continue writing about your views and comments......

           This Week at Interior February 20, 2015          
The Planned Parenthood is a very illuminative case for me and it gives a perspective about how social media strategy and tactics could play an important role in terms of delivering a vital message to the public. Komen’s position is a kind of excellent `don’t do’ list for the ones who has a management role in an institution. Among all, their ignorance of the power of social media is the most significant point for me. Although they made some efforts in terms of social media and they mainly rely on traditional media channels and press releases. Of course at the end they lost battle because they had to fight in a battlefield that they don’t know. On the contrary Planned Parenthood has long been surviving in this territory. They know their audiences, how to reach out them, how to mobilize and engage them into their cause, how to create content and push them. They’re so prepared that they even have story bank to use in need of emergency. This makes it very clear to me that there is no way to avoid social media even you don’t know or want to be a part of it. That’s why every agency prepare themselves to this new reality and welcome it.

Addition to other points we mentioned in the class, another noteworthy take away for me is the need to formulate, express and deliver a message competently and consistantly. Komen coldn’t create a clear and honest message. They moved in a zigzag manner. In my country we have a saying meaning of which is like “If the first button is wrong later is evitable will be wrong”. If you don’t position yourself in a right way it’s impossible to reach and engage your targetted supporters. As a matter of fact Komen’s donations had doubled from the previous year and its single day contributors had also increased but McGhee expressed concern that the supporters were largely supporting what they perceived to be an anti-abortion decision, not Komen’s mission. So the way they present their message resulted in touching unplanned and unintented audience.

Monday, February 23, 2015

#BringBackOurGirls campaign

In preparation for our next guest speaker, please review the following social media sites and articles and post your questions in the comments:

Here are the sites and links to review:

  • Website:
  • Facebook page:
  • Twitter account:
  • Instagram:
News coverage: 

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I was too surprised to learn that nearly all American public organizations have used social media as tools of communication and civic engagement.  Because believe or not, none of Vietnamese public local and national public institutions uses social media officially. In contrast, with democratic movements all over the world, especially the Spring Arabs, Vietnamese state agencies used to unofficially block and censor social media as a mean of prevention. Vietnamese used to cross the firewall, change their DNS code or utilize other technical tools to surf Facebook or other social media platforms.

That was several years ago. Recently, some Vietnamese senior officials have opened to learn about social media, including its strengths and weaknesses, specifically the strategy and tactics to construe the disadvantages of social media to the socio-economic development. Many of top leaders have admitted the inevitability of social media, and officially using social media is the essential adaptation to the global and technological age.

To lighten this new perspective, last month, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has publicly said that the government should use social media to engage 90 millions of Vietnamese citizens. “You are all on social media, checking Facebook for information. What should be done to have correct information?” Nguyen Tan Dung reportedly told officials. “It’s impossible for us to ban it.” He added that the government “must give correct and timely information to guide opinion. Regardless of what is being said on the Internet, people will believe when there is official information from the government.”

Vietnamese social media users welcomed the statement zealously, not because from now on, they can surf social media freely, but they can get official information and communicate with governmental agencies. And they are looking forward to a near future, when all local and national organizations set social media one of their communication strategies.

--- Trang DANG ---


  • Digital Advertising has also been witnessing a steady growth. The online advertising market in India to touch Rs 2,938 Crore.
  • e-commerce in india is expected to reach $24 billion (Rs 1,07,800 crores) by the year 2015, which explains the emphasis on E-retail stores like Flipkart and Myntra etc. and the inclusion of buy button in social networks such as Twitter & Facebook 
  • Facebook is the most browsed social network on social media with a large base of 100 Million users, clearly it is not fading away anytime soon in India. More than 80% of those users access Facebook via their mobile phone.
  • Total Twitter users in India are 33 Million and from this base 76% of users access it via their mobile phone.
  • LinkedIn has 26 Million India users, of the total 300+ Million users.
  • Of the total chunk of 70 Million total users in Pinterest, 5.5 Million comprise from India.
  • Instagram the usage is more dominated by men in comparison to women; ratio being 75/25. It shows only 1/4th of the women population in India are on Instagram, looks like selfies are more appreciated by men than women!
  • The most shared type of videos is film or movie trailers.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Social Media Strategy at Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood the Women's Reproductive Rights Organisation utilised Social media to its full advantage in furthering its cause and countering opposing forces. Some of the salient features of its Strategy are
1. Initial Phase(2002 - 2011):

  • In this phase the organisation formalised its presence in the various Social Media Sites like Facebook(2004), Twitter(2006), Youtube(2005) and through emails.
  • E mail was the primary source through which the organisation communicated with its supporters.
  • It was more oriented towards disseminating information.
2. Present Phase(2011 onwards)

  • The impending defunding vote in the Senate(2011) led to a rethink of the entire Social Media Strategy.
  • Planned Parenthood realised the importance of channelising the passion of its supporters and using it creatively in its favour using Social Media.
  • Promoted supporters to re mix and re post messages and stories in their own way which led to lot of innovation and continuity.
  • Stressed on constant communication within the organisation as well as with the supporters.
  • Used Search Engine Optimisation to direct traffic towards their Social Media Sites.
  • Innovations like Videos making fun of themselves and Photos of Celebrities supporting their cause continued the interest of the supporters.
  • Managed the challenge of engaging new supporters who were tech savvy and content creators with the organisation's  own professional goals along with the existing supporters who were primarily women between 18 - 45 years of age.
3. Tussle with Komen(Nov, 2011 - Feb, 2012):

  • Having a proactive Social Media Strategy with primed  and engaged supporters because of previous Crisis management experiences helped immensely, as the campaign took off immediately. Within minutes of the Associated Press Story Release, Planned Parenthood was able to tweet to thousands of its supporters with  a message and a link to the Press Release.
  • Planned Parenthood decided on a multi pronged strategy of breaking news, educating its supporters and advocacy for its cause.
  • Planned Parenthood kept a steady focus on engaging and uniting the supporters (since the supporters  wanted to do something to show their support) . They asked them to increase funding to replace the cut in aid from Komen. They further asked the supporters to do whatever was meaningful.
  • Having creative supporters helped. As the traffic increase virally on their Social Media Sites the organisation directed them to independent blogs run by supporters such as Zandt on Tumblr. This managed to give the impression of a responsive organisation which was interactive Plus led to amplification of its campaign.
  • Planned Parenthood had organised a bank of experience stories before hand. This came in handy for posting novel content and keeping up the interest quotient.
  • The staff tried to respond to nearly all the traffic with suitable responses and for this they effectively used reposting and retweeting to cut down their workload.
  • Tools like 'Promoted Tweets' were used to spur conversations.
In the end Komen was forced to back track and withdraw its decision to cut funding primarily because of the Social Media Storm it had created indirectly.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Social Media Strategies with Veronica McGregor

Veronica McGregor
We had the pleasure of meeting Veronica McGregor, News and Social Media Manager NASA Jet Propulsion, via Skype on Wednesday, February 11th. Transitioning into social media when the journalism field took a hit in the early 2000’s was what led Ms. McGregor to lead this social media expedition and venture into uncharted waters with NASA. These are the top 10 managerial takeaways of our discussion:
  1. Make sure your audience is well-versed in how and why you do things the way you do.
  2. Include a “Call of Action” in posts, be prepared to interact with audience as comments flow in, be consistent, and post regularly to keep followers engaged.
  3. Make every post count by being creative and catchy; do not use a shotgun approach as followers will experience posting fatigue.
  4. Negative posts are sometimes best handled by supporters of your mission. Some people are not going to change their minds, but it’s important to lead them to the correct information.
  5. Check out terms of service when deciding which social media platforms to embrace and ask for renegotiations to better align with your organization’s mission.
  6. Do not use same devices for professional and personal social media accounts; run posts past other people in order to check links and catch typos.
  7. Not all social media accounts have the same types of followers so segmentation is important when posting; using analytics to reach the correct audience is vital.
  8. Finds ways to get followers to interact with each other and become advocators for your mission by hosting events and “live” social media sessions.
  9. Give enough information to audience to make them feel empowered enough to go out and share it in order to eliminate rumors, conspiracy theories, and hoaxes.
  10. Move followers to different platforms as well as getting them to advocate for new programs through new “handles” or “pages.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Social media are such great achievement of mankind’s intelligence, and a very effective tool of the individual or institution’s activities in getting connected and promoting their images. However, be careful or you can easily get addicted to surfing social media websites.
 Several months ago, when I was busy with last semester’s final exams, I also got addicted with news feeds attached to Facebook. For some reasons, several newly established were added into my liked pages, and new posts were automatically displayed in my Facebook homepage. To make things worse, these posts were all “cabbage news” about social scandals, showbiz, new fashion styles or some dirty political maneuvers, which are too tempting to read. And as like propagation mechanism as the social media is, one post would take you to a wide range of other posts.
And can you imagine the consequences? After 30, or even 15 minutes studying, I couldn’t help picking the cell phone up, surfing Facebook to see if there were any new stories posted. And again it took me more than 30 minutes to read over all new posts, which were longer than my studying time. Oh my God, such a time consumption. I tried several ways, including taking the study very seriously or leaving the cell phone out of my hand’s range, but it couldn’t help!
One day, deciding to edit my profile, I just went through the list of my liked pages. I realized that there were a number of liked pages that I never liked, or knew about them. It might be added automatically to my list when I opened the link on my friend’s page. Among those strange pages, of course there are some “cabbage” news pages, which distracted me from studying for so long. Without hesitation, I removed those pages from my pages.
Unexpectedly, the tempting news feeds have never appeared on my Facebook page since then, and saved a lot of time for me!
That is my own experience. If you are addicted to social media pages and can’t do anything to abstain from it, just do what I did. Check your news feeds and followings to make sure that there’s nothing tempting and distracting.
But just do it in busy time. If not, enjoy the superior that social media brings to us.

--- Trang DANG ---