Friday, April 24, 2015

Time-Outs for Bad Tweeters

Fake and inappropriate accounts can generate a lot of upheaval, especially when it comes to those that mimic organizations and spread the wrong information. Twitter has announced that it is changing its policies and is “aimed at finding, flagging and deleting harassment or abusive material.” Twitter has know engaged in locking accounts for a short time in order to reprimand users who do not follow the rules.

Twitter has also shifted its violent threat definition from "direct, specific threats of violence against others” to “threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others.” Having the ability to limit the reach of the inappropriate tweets that are dispersed can greatly affect the amount of incorrect information that is being disseminated to millions of users on a daily basis.

It is unsure as to how automated the flagging of abusive content will be, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Making it inconvenient for users to post unsuitable information by having them wait for their lock down period to end could put a damper on their efforts.

In addition to this change, Twitter has now made it so that direct messages can be sent to users from users that not necessarily follow the receiver of the message. The abusive tweets might shift and users could potentially start sending inappropriate messages to other users more frequently since there is no follow needed to start a conversation. It seems like the goal is to make Twitter a safer atmosphere for those who want to converse on the issues they are passionate about. I guess only time will tell in regards to whether these new policies will in fact bring that result.

For more information check out this article

Crowdsourcing's Secret Weapon: Pictures

Crowdsourcing is something that is relatively new and has been able to help a lot of organizations fund programs that probably would not have received funding otherwise.

This article from Forbes speaks in regards to the importance of pictures when one enters the crowdsourcing realm. As the article puts it “images dominate effective online communication.”

The sites which help with the curation of images are:

Instagram – Estimated to have about 300 million users, and the numbers seem to increase just as fast as the daily upload of photos. This platform is best when it comes to hitting the 16-24 age demographic and taking the opportunity to provide candid pictures of things such as “travel, food, and entertainment.”

Facebook – With over a billion users, Facebook is a powerhouse when connecting with those of all ages. Statues aren’t the only thing that people are posting anymore. Pictures on Facebook seem to be more “family focused” and “brand-driven photo contests” as it is very easy to share photos on this platform.

Gurushots – “An actual photo-contest website.” This site invites users to post pictures and they seem to be of better quality in comparison to those posted on social media accounts. Gurushots is a free-to-low-cost way to finding pictures that already have the approval of the target market as the audience is engaged by voting on which pictures they think are the best.

Flickr – Stock images will not be found here. Flickr “offers you a deep reservoir of original, engaging, and thought-provoking images by people who love photography.” There are categories to help navigate which types of pictures you are searching for to make it easy to find one that best fits your tone.

Displaying user-generated images builds a genuine relationship with your followers so they can connect better with your organization. If you are asking your followers for images don’t forget to include detailed guidelines as well as a “terms of use” statement so they know that the images they are submitting could be publicly.

Social Media in Kyrgyzstan

Image result for social mediaSocial networking has rapidly become an important part of our social life. It reveals the world to a man, and a man to the world. Various tools of social media eliminate interpersonal barriers and provide unlimited opportunities for communication. Today people are experiencing inevitable changes in the way they communicate with each other. Communications in social networks have become much more intense, time has shrunk, and we gained a quick access to the hearts and minds of people in every corner of our planet.

Social networks have become a new progressive stage in the development of not only the communication between people, but also in the fields of marketing, advertising, trade, economics, public administration. Social networks can not only work in the entertainment or commercial purposes, but also to improve the health and living standards. Most importantly, they are increasingly affecting the decisions to acute social problems of mankind.

Today, the number of Internet users is exceeding 70% of the population of Kyrgyzstan. According to, the top 10 most visited websites in Kyrgyzstan include 6 popular social media tools.
  • ·
  • · – Russian site for classmates
  • · – Kyrgyz web-forum and social media site
  • ·         My world, – Russian site
  • · -
  • · – Russian version of Facebook
These 6 SM include 2 world-known, 3 are russian sites, and only one of them is local kyrgyz website. Twitter and Instagram attendance rate is at only 26 and 28 respectively.

Social networks in Kyrgyzstan are mostly used for communication with family, friends, regardless of age. Government agencies have recently started using SM. Most of them launched their pages in social networks, but there are no special programs on implementation of social media in the Government as a mean of communication and public engagement, as it is common in the United States.

Volunteerism and Social Media

Using social networks to engage those around the community to volunteer, spread awareness or donate can be very vital when it comes to nonprofit organization. Social media is a great way for users to broadcast what they are passionate about and it is up to the nonprofit to find those users and introduce them to their mission.

Building relationships with “followers” not only builds relationships with that follower, but also adds an entire new audience when this follower starts to share the content posted by the organization. Most people like to volunteer in groups so allowing them the opportunity to recruit volunteers for you is key. Making volunteering a fun and bonding experience for those that attend will drive more volunteers to the organizations. Posting pictures of volunteers on social media also gives the space for those volunteers to share all the fun they had at the organization.

Volunteers are highly depended on due to the constraints of the budgets that nonprofits have to deal with, so recruiting people with talents that can lessen the strain on nonprofits can be most beneficial. Volunteers can spread the great things that your organization does which could bring potential sponsorships and other donations. Social media can be the springboard for gathering talent especially when it comes to curating content. Volunteers can be used as a catalyst for converging disparate content and supplying it to nonprofits so they can disseminate the information that pertains to their mission. Social media brings together the mission, vision, and its volunteers with the click of a button.

Check out this article for more information

Back to the Basics: Twitter

Twitter was the first thing that we discussed in our class and some organizations need to rethink their position when adding new accounts into the mix.

Currently there are about “6.5 million registered Twitter users who send nearly 58 million tweets per day

The article labeled these top 5 tips:

1. Choose a "handle" – Thinking of a handle that accurately describes the mission along with being easy to search so it brings users to the organization’s page and gives them the chance to follow.

2. Sign up for a Twitter account – Signing up for an account is as easy as entering your name, phone number and a password. Having multiple accounts is easy due to the accessibility of switching between handles. 

3. Write your profile – Having a strong profile that describes the mission of your organization in the 160 characters provided. Also, organizations can add their website to steer more traffic and raise awareness/donations. If the website is too long there plenty of free services to shorten the URL so it is more manageable for the profile. 

4. Choose and add a profile image – Adding the logo of your organization as your profile picture in order to add credibility to the Twitter handle as there are many accounts that are not real. 

5. Search, follow, and watch – It is important to search key words that best align with the organization to generate content and as well as to discover users that might be interested in what you do. 

Check out this article from the Huffington Post for more information.

Twitter to block abusive accounts

There has been trend to post abusive comments on the social media. Now Twitter has decided to block those accounts that have posted abusive comments. Twitter has revisited is violent threat policy which will include now “threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others", as against the earlier policy of "direct and specific" threats of violence.  Twitter authorities have admitted that its previous policy was narrow and it was limited only to act on certain kind of threatening behaviour. As per the decision of the authorities they will ask the person to first delete the tweets. If the person is not able to do so his/her account will be blocked. They are also introducing a product feature that would identify the suspected tweets and limit their reach. However, it will not affect the ability of the individual to see the tweets, which they desire or they are following. Often celebrities and famous personalities receive abusive posts on the various social media platform. Further, many people due to this abusive threat avoid expressing themselves. The twitter has taken a step in right direction but how effective it would be can’t be said. On the individual front the best way to deal with abusive post is not to respond to the post. Once the poster realizes that you do not bother to the post he/she may ultimately lose his/her interest.  However, if any person believes that he is in physical danger then in that case the best way to report local authorities with proofs such as print outs of the post, screen shots etc. Always keep the things documented. 


Pinterest - place to discover and share idea

For the first time I heard about Pinterest during my visit to California State Library where I learned about their website and the social media accounts they have. They had a direct link to Pinterest account -, so it was pretty easy to reach and discover a new social media platform. There were a lot of different digital collections of visual materials. Later I created my own account on Pinterest, but had little time to learn about its features and forgot about it for some time.  During my class on Social media in the public sector I found out Pinterest to be one of the most fast growing and powerful social media platforms to date.

Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you – this is how Pinterest markets itself. This is what Wikipedia says about this tool: “Pinterest is a web and mobile application company, which operates an eponymous photo sharing website. Registration is required for use. Pinterest is a free website that requires registration to use. Users can upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g., videos and images) through collections known as pin boards. Pinterest acts as a personalized media platform. Users can browse the content of others on the main page. Users can then save individual pins to one of their own boards using the "Pin It" button, with Pin boards typically organized by a central topic or theme. Users can personalize their experience with Pinterest by pinning items, creating boards, and interacting with other members. By doing so, the users "pin feed" displays unique, personalized results”.

According to the survey by Pew Research Center in 2010, there are 28% of adult internet users or 22% of entire adult population in USA who are actively using Pinterest.  There are more female users on the site; with 42% of female Pinterest users compared to 13% of male users in 2014. Pinterest remains popular among younger generations, there was an increase by 11% comparing to the last year. The table below shows analysis of Pinterest users by Pew Research Center:


In my opinion, Pinterest could serve as a great tool for libraries and archives which digitize visual materials and make them available online. Pinterest allows storing and organizing materials into different digital collections and easily sharing it through web-sites and other social media platforms. According to , U.S. military organizations like the US Army, Navy and National Guard have their own Pinterest profiles. Some local governments are also trying to use Pinterest in their practice.

Growth of Social Media in India

It has been interesting to learn more about social media this semester, especially with the added perspective of my colleagues from around the globe.  Our group project research for the Food and Drug Administration in the state of Maharashtra, India, has been particularly illuminating. I have been able to see some key differences between efforts to integrate Web 2.0 and social media platforms in the US and developing nations.

First, although India has some of the highest growth rates in the adoption of PC and mobile computing, currently, the majority of that growth is focused in the major urban areas, while the rural areas lag far behind.  As a result of this technology gap, there are some real hurdles to overcome if an Indian agency located in rural areas wishes to use social media platforms to reach out to its stakeholders.

The good news is that these trends are projected to change over the next few years as internet users in India will be older, more rural, more gender balanced and more mobile.  This means that agencies using social media tactics to interact with the public will be able to reach a much larger, more diverse audience than they currently can.

Of particular note, our research has indicated that it will be important to craft creative messaging that appeals directly to female users, as some of the more traditional gender roles mean that women are the primary consumers and purchasers of household goods.  So, for the Maharashtra FDA, this means that messaging concerning food and drug information should keep their female followers in mind.

Police Brutality Exposed by Social Media.

The prevalence of social media and the ubiquity of smart phones with cameras are two emerging trends that are combining to illuminate an increasingly negative trend: videos of police officers using excessive force on citizens which, recently, have had fatal consequences.  From across the nation, we continue to see videos of police shooting an unarmed man in the back, asphyxiating a helpless man on the ground, and knocking a woman out in front of her six-year-old daughter.

So the question must be asked: “Are incidents of police violence truly on the rise, or are more of these incidents being caught on video, and then spreading like wild fire on social media platforms?”  It has been notoriously difficult to get reliable figures on incidents of police violence, as police departments are notoriously loathe to share that information.

So, some interesting new technology is allowing citizens to create digital maps that show where these violent incidents occur as well as the prevalence of these incidents by municipality, county, etc.  This site: shows some of the work that is being done.

This site shows the prevalence of botched paramilitary raids by police who use tanks and heavy weaponry to confront and terrorize unarmed citizens:

Organizations such as Hands Up United are trying to raise public awareness about police brutality, and are skilled in using social media to inform the public and to recruit supporters.  Although some of the pictures and videos they distribute are quite graphic, they do represent the truth: American citizens are being abused, beaten and slain by police officers who have chosen to forsake their vows of Protecting and Serving.

How the Mayor of Ithaca Reaches Student Population on Social Media

Ithaca, NY is a small city located in Central New York that sits on the southern short of Cayuga Lake, which is one of the Finger Lakes. With Cornell and Ithaca College both within the City boundaries, nearly half of the population in Ithaca, NY consists of students. For a local government, this means communication with these individuals needs to be particularly strategic, since this demographic of individuals communicates in distinctly different ways. Naturally, one of the best ways to reach these individuals is through social media- but simply establishing a presence in this arena is not sufficient enough. According to, millenials rely on social media for their main source of news and updates. They do so using platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

A review of the City of Ithaca's social media strategies shows that Ithaca is communicating to their student population in a very unique way. Instead of reaching them through their City accounts, they are reaching them through Ithaca Mayor, Svante Myrick. Myrick, appears to be the preferred source of Ithaca news by this demographic judging by the likes, follows and shares he has received on his accounts. While it's reasonable to assume that some of Mayor Myrick's success in this area is somewhat attributed to the fact that he's also a millenial Myrick was born in 1987), I feel that there are a number of key things that local governments can learn from him.

Mayor Myrick maintains an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page. He has been on Instagram since February 2014 and has 2,111 followers; on Twitter since September 2008 and has 10,800 followers; and on Facebook since 2005 and has 7,529 followers. Mayor Myrick’s content primarily focuses on updating the community on major events in the City. This includes anything from promoting events like the Spartan Race, sharing photo updates of fire damage to a local landmark, or spreading the word about a campaign to turn a parking space into a park. The most interesting thing to be noted about Mayor Myrick’s approach is the language that he uses. It is rare to see him us “promotional” style language that is brimming with exclamation points. The posts include short sentences and casual language, like “come check it out” and “who’s in.” It is this kind of language that best reaches millennials, according to According to this source, “short, sweet, and to the point is best.” It appears that this strategy is working well for Mayor Myrick, as his posts are frequently liked, re-tweeted and shared by individuals who identify as currently attending colleges in the area. 

Nonprofit Uses Crowfunding To Help Raise Money for Those Without Power

Crowdfunding: “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet” (

In recent years, we have seen numerous crowdfunding websites pop-up across the web. They include, and Unless you've lived under a rock, you've heard of these websites being used for everything from raising money for a bus attendant (which gained momentum on an international level) to helping raise funds for people who recently suffered a fire (a more local-level example). 

Recently, an Austin based nonprofit has established a crowdfunding site that serves the sole purpose of providing energy assistance for individuals who are unable to pay their power bills. The site, called Gridmates, allows philanthropists to donate "energy credits" to residents of the Community First! villages. The Community First! village is a "27-acre community that will house some 250 chronically homeless Austinites" ( The village includes multiple "micro-homes" which are small-scale homes that have rents of $120-400 a month. 

Gridmates allows members of the community to support individuals in these homes by assisting with the energy costs of these microhomes. By purchasing "energy credits" via paypal or credit card, 100% of donations on Gridmates go towards helping to pay for the utility bills of these homes, which is about $2.50 per day.

To learn more about Gridmates and the CommunityFirst! village, check out this article in

Social Bakers - social media statistics

Social bakers, is a Czech-based company that provides social media network statistics and analysis from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube, helping companies monitor the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. They offer analytic tools that give customers insights and enable them to monitor social media profiles, by using performance indicators to track key influencers, analyze engagement rates, measure fan growth, etc.

The platform is one of the world's leading providers of statistical data and analytics of Facebook pages, allowing getting detailed reports on the activity on any page of the world's largest social network, including the official resources of world famous brands. Customers are mainly large brands, most of them located in the US. But they are expanding their customer footprint all over the world.

It's easy to add social media accounts to see the statistics and dynamics of the pages both of their own and of other people and organizations, including competitors. To do this, it is required to input the page in social bakers. Key features and functions of this service include simultaneous monitoring of several pages, easy access to all the necessary statistics and customizable interface.

Inputting a page is pretty easy, it only needs to type the name of a page or a person in the search box and the system will find and offer several pages at social media to include into the system for monitoring - Facebook, Twitter or others. Next, select the count and select industry. Industry has several under names, and so it is required to be specific group. For example, if you are inputting a page of local government, first choose Society, and then choose Governmental in the menu. Last click you have to make on Monitor this page. Then you will see a message that your request has been sent, and after a few hours you can see the statistics of this page and compare with other similar pages.

It is very easy and convenient to see the rating of social media across countries and industries. Here is snapshot of the US governmental organization’s Facebook accounts, based on the number of fans.

In order to better understand about Social bakers, open an account and try it online  at . This is a really good tool for analyzing social media, planning and management of one’s own marketing campaigns

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First social media page of Vietnam’s public sector: grand opening, small follow-up

It has been nearly three months since the inauguration of the Facebook page of Vietnamese Minister of Health. Since she was the first high-level official officially using social media to connect with public, the public has expected that the Health Minister will set a milestone in Vietnam’s old-fashioned public administration. To come up with such expectation, it seems that the Health Minister needs a well-designed social media strategy, rather than a grand opening but small follow-up like the current fanpage.
The Facebook page was created in late January 2015, representing the voice of the Ministry of Health in relationship with the public. Immediately, it attracted more than 80,000 likes since Vietnam public was exciting to use social media, which has been quite popular in the country, to connect with the Minister. For the first two months, the content strategy aims at “updating information about public health, medical issues and receiving information or complaints about heath care service”. The “push” tactics have been used to deliver information to the public, and as a result, the public was informed about latest news and policies in medical area on time. Some significant achievements were made, and the Minister was praised for appropriate responding the comments, quick solving the complaints about notorious public health care service, and even calling for helps with the poor.
However, it seems that the Minister does not have a professional social media team, and this will negatively affect the efficiency of her social media activities. She is handling the page by herself, and cannot respond or get updates from the page after 11:00. Normally, the frequency of professional news, updates and comments are during the working time. Even though the posting policy says that all comments will be responded after 11:00pm, the audiences can wait, but the crisis or emergency cannot. For example, if a comment about a reportedly bribe to get a slot of health checking in a public hospital is posted in the morning or noon, it will attract a lot of rising voices and criticism about the notorious health care service in the country. Once responses from the authorized person come after 11:00pm, it will be too late to stop the scandal from wide spreading.
Furthermore, since there is no professional social media team to help the Minister in administering her Facebook account, the grand, successful opening is resulted with small follow-up. While in the first 2 months, she keeps posting at least one time a day, the number of post fluctuates from several times a day to one for several days. The content strategy has been changed also, from updating the Minister’s activities, medical information, new policy or humanitarian calling on, or answering to common questions just sharing information from other newspapers. This content change is easily realized by the audiences, and may affect their interest in the page, and drive them out of the page. It will also negatively affect the engagement characteristic and viral outreach of the page.
In conclusion, to actively maintain the Facebook page of the Health Minister and make them a spearhead in Vietnam Public Administration Reform, a social media strategy for the page is needed. The strategy should include goals, potential audiences, content strategy and posting policy, including both time and administration of posting. Some tactics should be used, especially pull strategy to get more audiences and stakeholders engage in. Personnel recruitment holds no less importance and should be taken into account for sake of a more active social media platform of a public manager.
----Trang DANG----