Problems With Social Media Networking For Business: Part Two

Once a business owner understands the basics of social media, the next challenge is implementation. The challenge here is making, then learning to manage, the commitment to consistent engagement.

First, you must understand three basic points for successfully implementing social media:

1. Social media does not operate in a vacuum in and of itself.
2. Social media was not initially intended for commercial use and contains inherent etiquette protocols that must be followed.
3. If you’re a business person serious about using social media for business, you must first prepare.

OK, to elaborate on these points:

1. “Social media does not work in a vacuum… “
This means you can’t just create your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, abandon them and expect this to help your business. Social media involves “socializing” with people.

Social media accounts help you communicate and engage in conversations with your prospects and customers. Once you begin talking with people, to walk away is rude. This applies to social media just like in the physical world. Thus, you can’t simply establish the (social media) accounts. You must engage in them, WITH your followers and friends. Consistently.

YOUR CHALLENGE
This certainly can be a challenge for busy, business people. How are we supposed to fool with that stuff everyday while trying to run our businesses?

It’s a challenge that business owners typically either foresee and decide to avoid by not involving themselves in social media at all, or don’t foresee and become overwhelmed because they don’t know how to manage it once they get started.

The thing is to realize that social media is the new marketing ingredient that can’t be ignored. It can make your marketing efforts much more economical and effective once you understand and embrace it.

YOUR SOLUTION
The solution is to PREPARE, PLAN and SCHEDULE your business time with social media. That preparation includes creating profiles and content in advance and selecting options that “automate” the process for you. An obvious, highly effective and increasingly popular option with “in-the-know,” savvy business owners, is outsourcing. Dedicate staff or hire social media consultants to get the job done for you or a social media coach to work with you.

In any case, at this point, if you’re in business, your business must be involved in social media or your business will be left behind.

POINT NUMBER 2: “Social media was NOT initially intended for commercial use… “
OK, since social media was all about the “socializing” online and building of like-minded communities where people could congregate, share and have a good time online, nobody wanted to see commercials or anybody trying to sell them something in those spaces. They still don’t. But information and creativity are highly sought after.

All these people in all these online social “communities” are still human, they still live in the physical world and they are all, still consumers. So, while it’s rude to push sales in social networks, it is understood that people do want and, subsequently, buy things. The trick is to “inform,” serve and provide. THIS is how you engage in business using social media. You have to BE there with your prospects and customers.

ANALOGY
Imagine, if you’re at a party and someone at the party mentions that they are looking for a plumber… and you happen to BE a plumber, then it’s OK to promote your service. Isn’t it?

OK. Let’s look at another analogy. You’re at the bookstore… and the woman standing next to you asks you if you know a good recipe book because she can’t decide from all the titles in front of her. On talking with her further, you discover more precisely what she needs and you are very knowledgeable on the subject. Consider that in this instance everyone in the book store more than likely has an interest in books. Everyone standing in the cooking section with you and your new acquaintance is interested in cooking. You’re there too and you just happen to be author of a series of cookbooks. NOW, you can see when it IS OK, expected and WANTED– for you to raise your hand and say, “Hey I’m here and I have what you need!”… can’t you?

SOCIAL NETWORK ETIQUETTE
This accepted behaviour is opposed to simply joining a social space and beginning to list your sales “specials.” Proper social network etiquette is simply, sharing, befriending and serving. This is “engagement,” and yes, you can do it through your business.

With social media, you need to be there -or at least- show up on a regular basis. Join the conversation and contribute either, expertise, information or resources. This is how you and your business gain. It’s relationship management and strengthens incrementally, over time.

CONTENT IS SOCIAL GOLD
One of those resources is the practice of providing “content” for your audience. This dramatically speeds up the process, and increases your credibility and your edge over industry colleagues and competitors. Providing content allows you to increase your visibility, appeal and VALUE that ultimately results in increased business. This way, you’re not struggling to have one-on-one conversations with everyone in each of your social networks, instead you’re engaging with them by providing them something they need and/or want. Done correctly, sharing your content builds your friends and followers trust, that you’re the person -or your company is the business- they should do business with.

OK. POINT 3:
“The serious business person must first prepare to use social media for business… ”
As with anything else, preparation is ‘a good thing’ that improves your efficiency and chances of success. Preparing for social media for your business includes the following:
1. You should have a marketing plan already. Now you need to at least outline where your new commitment to social media falls into that mix. If you haven’t done this, get it done first.

NOTE:
If you’ve never done this or need a “quick-start” strategy, simply list all the marketing methods, outlets and media you will be deploying, then schedule when you will implement each and their respective costs.

2. Write a “key person” bio and a business profile. Edit each one of these pieces so you end up with at least three versions including 200-word, 500- character and 200-character versions.

3. Write your business tagline.

4. Conduct keyword research then list your keywords so that you have those –READY– to place in the keyword and/or “tag” sections of your accounts.

5. Write a brief “keyword-rich” description of your business. Include what you sell, who you provide it for and the benefit. Again, create multiple versions so that if you run into word count limits, you already have it PREPARED.

6. You’ll want a company photo of the owner/president or the representative of your choice. Understand that social networks are about people. If you don’t do this, you’ll greatly diminish the opportunity to present your business as “transparent” and build long-term trust. Thus, your business needs at least one face. Have it ready for your social network accounts.

7. Company logo.

8. Produce an initial introductory press release that can be provided at a moment’s notice if need be. Don’t attempt this if you don’t know what you’re doing. Pay a freelance publicist or journalist to write it for you. Format it for e-mail and PDF so you may use it as necessary, when necessary. This business “content” is an extra option that places you ahead of most. On occasion, review this release, edit and update as necessary to keep it current.

9. Prepare a selection of photos and images you can use when needed. These might include customer logos if your business services or sells to other businesses, or photos of your retail space, office building, and products. You get the idea. If you’re a photographer or designer produce a digital portfolio for immediate presentation when requested.

10. Because you actually ARE in business to sell something, prepare your sales materials specifically for online “social response.” Produce your product or service list. Include features, benefits and pricing. Create your contract or invoice forms. Last but not least, produce the sales “pitch.” Again, if you aren’t skilled at writing (sales) copy, hire a professional copywriter. At least understand that this material is best written by marketing and sales pros NOT journalists. It’s a completely different discipline. Even better, hire an SEO copywriter. If you must do it yourself, before you begin, use Google to research copywriting, sales copy and writing for SEO.

11. When you are engaging with your prospects and customers in your social networks, your ultimate goal to gain the sale, is to send them to your business destination. While they’re online, and you are holding their interest, you need to be able to send them to your Web destination. Thus, you should have your Web site up and running BEFORE you go full speed ahead with your social media marketing. Not only does this enhance your credibility, it also allows you to transact business online which, as a business person, is the whole purpose for your social media engagement.

NOTE:
This online business “transaction” isn’t necessary a purchase, it could be having your prospect print out a coupon to come to your real-world location.

12. Content is the primary driving force that gains you friends, followers and customers. Make producing content for your social networks on a regular, consistent basis part of your business. Basically, online content is:

• posts
• articles
• photos
• audio recordings (podcasts and Webinars)
• video

NOTE:
Those are the essentials. Additional content you can produce and use includes but is not limited to:

• surveys
• press releases
• tutorials
• advertisements
• testimonials/reviews

BOTTOM LINE
Using social media to drive people to your Web site, what you can do from there is only limited by your imagination or lack of information (a.k.a. knowledge). Bottom line with all of this is to PREPARE and KEEP LEARNING and mastering your social media skills for business.

Media Law and the Rights of Women in India

Introduction

Women’s rights, as a term, typically refers to the freedoms inherently possessed by
women and girls of all ages, which may be institutionalized, ignored or illegitimately
suppressed by law, custom, and behavior in a particular society. These liberties are
grouped together and differentiated from broader notions of human rights because they
often differ from the freedoms inherently possessed by or recognized for men and boys,
and because activism surrounding this issue claims an inherent historical and traditional
bias against the exercise of rights by women.

Issues commonly associated with notions of women’s rights include, though are not
limited to, the right: to bodily integrity and autonomy; to vote (universal suffrage); to
hold public office; to work; to fair wages or equal pay; to own property; to education; to
serve in the military; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital, parental and
religious rights. Today, women in most nations can vote, own property, work in many
different professions, and hold public office. These are some of the rights of the modern
woman. But women have not always been allowed to do these things, similar to the
experiences of the majority of men throughout history. Women and their supporters have
waged and in some places continue to wage long campaigns to win the same rights as
modern men and be viewed as equals in society.

Evolution of women’s rights in India

Position of women in ancient India

The position of women since long has been pitiable in all aspects of life and her
subjection by males has been throughout a matter of history. She could not feel
independent, and act as so, barring a few exceptions.

The women in Vedic period enjoyed equal status with men and independence in action.
Not only they had the place of honour, but were entitled to participate freely in social
activities. They were allowed to pursue the academic attainments and shared the family
life with full vigour. They were free to select their conjugal partner and exercised free
will in entering into the matrimonial bondage.

The privileges that women enjoyed in the Vedic period were short lived and the position
of women began to decline from the latter Vedic period onwards. Post Vedic period saw
the emergence of Manusmrithi. The injunctions of Manu merged the wife’s individuality
with that of her husband and recommended strict seclusions for women and rigorous
discipline for widows. While glorifying motherhood and allowing women all freedom in
the management of the household, he permitted child marriage and polygamy. In the
Dharma-shastra women are unambiguously equated with the sudras. Even the Gita
places women, vaisyas and sudras in the same category and describes them as being of
sinful birth. Moreover women lead a life in abject misery. The women were denied the
right of equal opportunity in the field of education as well as in employment. The
inhuman system of .Sati. was prevalent as a compulsory custom. Widows were not only
precluded from remarrying, but they were also not allowed to live after the death of their
husband. There also existed the system of Purda, were the women had to cover her face
and body with a robe when she was to be seen in public. These were not only deprivation
of the rights of women but were also social evils which plagued the ancient Indian
society. The other evils which affected the women in ancient India were child marriage,
female infanticide, Dowry system etc.

During the British rule, many new rules were being legislated to abolish certain social
evils which have direct impact on the rights of the women. Many social reformers during
this period including Raja Ram Mohan Roy worked hard for the abolition of the system
of sati and reinstated in its place the right of widows to remarry. More emphasis was
given to provide opportunities for improving the plight of women like improving
opportunities for female education etc.

After Independence, most of the social evils like Sati system, child marriage, female
infanticide etc which affected the rights of women adversely were abolished. More laws
were enacted to provide women equal status with man in the field of education and
employment opportunities, laws were also enacted for preventing discrimination against
women on the basis of gender. Constitution of India also provides for provisions in order
to protect the rights of women. Reservations were made in the public sector to increase
the ratio of women population and to bring it in par with the male population. The Indian
penal code has also adopted stringent measures to deal with crimes against women. Penal
punishments were incorporated for dealing with the crimes of rape, marital violence
against women, prostitution etc. The Dowry Prohibition act also provides for punishment
in giving and accepting of Dowry. Recently a bill was enacted to prevent harassment of
women in their work places.

International conventions for the protection and promotion of women rights

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

(CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an
international bill of rights for women. Consisting of a preamble and 30 articles, it defines
what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action
to end such discrimination.

The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion
or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or
nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital
status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental
freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of
measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
To incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish
all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against
women; Establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection
of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination
against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men
through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public
life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health
and employment. States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including
legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human
rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention is the only human rights treaty which affirms the reproductive rights of
women and targets culture and tradition as influential forces shaping gender roles and
family relations. It affirms women’s rights to acquire, change or retain their nationality
and the nationality of their children. States parties also agree to take appropriate measures
against all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of women.

Countries that have ratified or acceded to the Convention are legally bound to put its
provisions into practice. They are also committed to submit national reports, at least
every four years, on measures they have taken to comply with their treaty obligations.

United Nations Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict

Bearing in mind the need to provide special protection to women and children belonging
to the civilian population, solemnly proclaims this Declaration on the Protection of
Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict and calls for the strict
observance of the Declaration by all Member States:

1. Attacks and bombings on the civilian population, inflicting incalculable suffering,
especially on women and children, who are the most vulnerable members of the
population, shall be prohibited, and such acts shall be condemned.

2. The use of chemical and bacteriological weapons in the course of military operations
constitutes one of the most flagrant violations of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the
Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the principles of international humanitarian law and
inflicts heavy losses on civilian populations, including defenceless women and children,
and shall be severely condemned.

3. All States shall abide fully by their obligations under the Geneva Protocol of 1925 and
the Geneva Conventions of 1949, as well as other instruments of international law
relative to respect for human rights in armed conflicts, which offer important guarantees
for the protection of women and children.

4. All efforts shall be made by States involved in armed conflicts, military operations in
foreign territories or military operations in territories still under colonial domination to
spare women and children from the ravages of war. All the necessary steps shall be taken
to ensure the prohibition of measures such as persecution, torture, punitive measures,
degrading treatment and violence, particularly against that part of the civilian population
that consists of women and children.

5. All forms of repression and cruel and inhuman treatment of women and children,
including imprisonment, torture, shooting, mass arrests, collective punishment,
destruction of dwellings and forcible eviction, committed by belligerents in the course of
military operations or in occupied territories shall be considered criminal.

6. Women and children belonging to the civilian population and finding themselves in
circumstances of emergency and armed conflict in the struggle for peace, selfdetermination,

national liberation and independence, or who live in occupied territories,
shall not be deprived of shelter, food, medical aid or other inalienable rights, in
accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child or other
instruments of international law.

United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women

The declaration mainly aims at protecting women from torture. For the purposes of this
Declaration, the term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence
that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering
to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty,
whether occurring in public or in private life.

Article 2

Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the
following:

( a ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including
battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence,
marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women,
non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

( b ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general
community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in
educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

( c ) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State,
wherever it occurs.

The Declaration aims at making the world a safer destination for women and to enjoy
their rights without any encumbrances.

ACLU Women’s Rights Project

Since 1972, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project has worked to empower women and
advance equality. Many people, before and since, have contributed to our effort.
The Women’s Rights Project focuses on four core areas:

Employment

WRP advocates on behalf of low-wage immigrant women workers, works to eliminate
welfare disparities, and seeks to end workplace discrimination.

Violence Against Women
WRP is committed to advancing battered women’s civil rights, assisting women in their
efforts to keep themselves and their children safe, and challenging the housing and
employment discrimination experienced by so many battered women, especially low income and women of color.

Criminal Justice
WRP addresses the harms to women and girls caught up in the criminal and juvenile
justice systems, including their conditions of confinement, and the impact of sentencing
and incarceration policies on women and their children.
Education

WRP is dedicated to ensuring that public schools do not become sex-segregated and that
girls and boys receive equal educational opportunities.

Legislations in India for the Protection of Women
The major women specific legislations in India are the following:

The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956- The Immoral Traffic act aimed at
preventing immoral activities using women. It provides punishment for women
trafficking, carrying on the business of prostitution, keeping a brothel etc.

Role of Media in the protection of women’s rights

Media plays a very important role in creating awareness among the women community
about their inherent rights, which they were deprived of for many centuries. Media plays
the role of a saviour in whom the power to protect and enhance the rights of the women is
arrogated. Media through its visual broadcasting should project the abject and miserable
lives and living conditions of women in rural India. More documentaries and screen plays
projecting women.s rights should be aired through visual media. Media plays an
important role in coordinating the activities of social workers who play an important role
in striving to establish women.s rights. Print media through various journals meant
exclusively for women entails a place in this men dominated world. Media has certain
forums specifically for the promotion and advancement of the interest of women folk.
Media through its various agencies helps to agitate and voice against any intrusion into
the rights of the women. In the modern age crimes against women have also became very
rampant, media was an active tool in voicing against such acts and bringing such illegal
acts to the eyes of the concerned authorities and thus keeping the issue as a hot spot
which requires urgent attention. Media also acts as an effective tool in educating people
against the commission of such atrocious acts against the women community and thus
preserving their purity and sacredness. Media also through various debates and
discussions help the legislators in identifying new areas for legislating laws for the
protection of women.

Negative effects of media on the rights of women

Media has both positive as well as negative effects on the rights of women. Media has
been a cause for the increase in infringement of the right to privacy of a woman. Media
through obscene publication and visual presentations have demeaned the dignity of
women in the modern society. Modern films tend to glorify violence and as a result
infuse such ideas in the minds of the youth. Media has played a significant role in the
promotion and circulation of pornographic materials which in turn will result in
trafficking of women, flesh trade etc. Media is a corner stone in shaping the lives of the
new generation, as majority of the modern generation are glued to them. Media through
films and publications tend to drastically revolutionise the minds of the people without
their knowledge and awareness. Hence there has to be a strict check and control on the
contents that are aired and published through the media. It was this concept which paved
the way for the development of media laws.

Media laws and its Evolution in India

In India the Press is free but subject to certain reasonable restrictions imposed by the
Constitution of India, 1950, as amended (“Constitution”). Before the impact of
globalisation was felt, the mass media was wholly controlled by the government, which
let the media project only what the government wanted the public to see and in a way in
which it wanted the public to see it. However, with the onset of globalisation and
privatisation, the situation has undergone a humongous change.

Before the invention of communication satellites, communication was mainly in the
form of national media, both public and private, in India and abroad. Then came the
‘transnational media’ with the progress of communication technologies like Satellite
delivery and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), the outcome: local TV, global
films and global information systems.

In such an era of media upsurge, it becomes an absolute necessity to impose certain legal
checks and bounds on transmission and communication. In the due course of this article,
we would discuss the various aspects of media and the relevant legal checks and bounds
governing them.

Historical Perspective of Mass Media Laws

Mass Media laws in India have a long history and are deeply rooted in the country.s
colonial experience under British rule. The earliest regulatory measures can be traced
back to 1799 when Lord Wellesley promulgated the Press Regulations, which had the
effect of imposing pre-censorship on an infant newspaper publishing industry. The onset
of 1835 saw the promulgation of the Press Act, which undid most of, the repressive
features of earlier legislations on the subject.

Thereafter on 18th June 1857, the government passed the .Gagging Act., which among
various other things, introduced compulsory licensing for the owning or running of
printing presses; empowered the government to prohibit the publication or circulation of
any newspaper, book or other printed material and banned the publication or
dissemination of statements or news stories which had a tendency to cause a furore
against the government, thereby weakening its authority.

Then followed the .Press and Registration of Books Act. in 1867 and which continues to
remain in force till date. Governor General Lord Lytton promulgated the .Vernacular
Press Act. of 1878 allowing the government to clamp down on the publication of
writings deemed seditious and to impose punitive sanctions on printers and publishers
who failed to fall in line. In 1908, Lord Minto promulgated the .Newspapers (Incitement
to Offences) Act, 1908 which authorized local authorities to take action against the editor
of any newspaper that published matter deemed to constitute an incitement to rebellion.
However, the most significant day in the history of Media Regulations was the 26th of
January 1950 . the day on which the Constitution was brought into force. The colonial
experience of the Indians made them realise the crucial significance of the .Freedom of
Press.. Such freedom was therefore incorporated in the Constitution; to empower the
Press to disseminate knowledge to the masses and the Constituent Assembly thus,
decided to safeguard this .Freedom of Press. as a fundamental right. Although, the Indian
Constitution does not expressly mention the liberty of the press, it is evident that the
liberty of the press is included in the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19
(1)(a). It is however pertinent to mention that, such freedom is not absolute but is
qualified by certain clearly defined limitations under Article 19(2) in the interests of the
public.

It is necessary to mention here that, this freedom under Article 19(1)(a) is not only
cribbed, cabined and confined to newspapers and periodicals but also includes pamphlets,
leaflets, handbills, circulars and every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of
information and opinion:

Thus, although the freedom of the press is guaranteed as a fundamental right, it is
necessary for us to deal with the various laws governing the different areas of media so as
to appreciate the vast expanse of media laws.

Regulations in print media
The Freedom Of Press and the Freedom Of Expression can be regarded as the very basis
of a democratic form of government. Every business enterprise is involved in the laws of
the nation, the state and the community in which it operates. Newspaper publishers find
themselves more .hemmed in. by legal restrictions than many other businesses do .
despite the fact that the freedom of press is protected by the Indian constitution. The
various Acts, which have to be taken into consideration when dealing with the
regulations imposed upon the Print Media, are:

_ The Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 . This Act regulates printing presses
and newspapers and makes registration with an appointed Authority compulsory for all
printing presses.

_ _The Press (Objectionable Matters) Act, 1951 . This enactment provides against the
printing and publication of incitement to crime and other objectionable matters.

_ _The Newspaper (Prices and Pages) Act, 1956 . This statute empowers the Central
Government to regulate the price of newspapers in relation to the number of pages and
size and also to regulate the allocation of space to be allowed for advertising matter.

Regulations in broadcasting
The broadcast media was under complete monopoly of the Government of India. Private
organizations were involved only in commercial advertising and sponsorships of
programmes. However, in Secretary, Ministry of I&B v. CAB1, the Supreme Court clearly
differed from the aforementioned monopolistic approach and emphasized that, every
citizen has a right to telecast and broadcast to the viewers/listeners any important event
through electronic media, television or radio and also provided that the Government had
no monopoly over such electronic media as such monopolistic power of the Government
was not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution or in any other law prevailing in the
country.
This judgment, thus, brought about a great change in the position prevailing in the
broadcast media, and such sector became open to the citizens.
1 (1995) 2 SCC 161

Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 basically regulates the operation of
Cable Television in the territory of India and regulates the subscription rates and the total
number of total subscribers receiving programmes transmitted in the basic tier. In
pursuance of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2002, the
Central Government may make it obligatory for every cable operator to transmit or
retransmit programme of any pay channel through an addressable system as and when the
Central Government so notifies. Such notification may also specify the number of free to
air channels to be included in the package of channels forming the basic service tier
film . India is one of the largest producers of motion pictures in the world.
Encompassing three major spheres of activity . production, distribution and exhibition,
the industry has an all-India spread, employing thousands of people and entertaining
millions each year. The various laws in force regulating the making and screening of
films are: –

The Cinematograph Act, 1952 . The Cinematograph Act of 1952 has been passed to
make provisions for a certification of cinematographed films for exhibitions by means of
Cinematograph. Under this Act, a Board of Film Censors (now renamed Central Board
of Film Certification) with advisory panels at regional centres is empowered to examine
every film and sanction it whether for unrestricted exhibition or for exhibition restricted
to adults. The Board is also empowered to refuse to sanction a film for public exhibition.
In K. A. Abbas v. Union of India, the petitioner for the first time challenged the validity of
censorship as violative of his fundamental right of speech and expression. The Supreme
Court however observed that, pre-censorship of films under the Cinematograph Act was
justified under Article 19(2) on the ground that films have to be treated separately from
other forms of art and expression because a motion picture was able to stir up emotion
more deeply and thus, classification of films between two categories .A. (for adults only)
and .U. (for all) was brought about2.
2 AIR 1971 SC 481

Advertising
Advertising communication is a mix of arts and facts subservient to ethical principles. In
order to be consumer-oriented, advertisement will have to be truthful and ethical. It
should not mislead the consumer. If it so happens, the credibility is lost.

In order to enforce an ethical regulating code, the Advertising Standards Council of India
was set up. Inspired by a similar code of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) UK,
ASCI follows the following basic guidelines in order to achieve the acceptance of fair
advertising practices in the interest of the consumer: –

· To ensure the truthfulness and honesty of representations and claims made by
advertisements and to safe guard against misleading advertising;

· To ensure that advertisement are not offensive to generally accepted standards of public
decency;

· To safeguard against indiscriminate use of advertising for promotion of products which
are regarded as hazardous to society or to individuals to a degree or of a type which is
unacceptable to society at large; and

· To ensure that advertisements observe fairness in competition so that the consumers
need to be informed on choices in the market places and canons of generally accepted
competitive behaviour in business are both served.

Media laws and its relation to the Rights of the Women

Media Law has its applicability in ensuring and preserving the rights of the women.
Media has been regulated with regard to its right in publishing and broadcasting by
enacting the media laws. These laws have a direct impetus to the protection of women.s
rights. Media Laws through its enactments regulating the print media takes away from the
press the absolute power vested in them previously. Media laws protect the women.s
right by preventing the print media from publishing articles and journals that goes
detrimental to the interest of the women folk and intrude their privacy.

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Great Social Media Manager

A great social media manager is, as Ron Burgundy would say: “The balls“.

It’s an undisputed fact that every business needs to be active in social media. The ever-changing demands of the modern day consumer requires brands to think fast and adapt quickly in order to stay one step ahead.

The role of a social media manager has appealed to the mass generation of socially-active internet users. It’s hard not to. Especially when some might think that you can earn big bucks from posting Facebook updates. Hardly.

Being a social media manager is kind of like being a stand-up comedian. You have to quickly understand your audience and your engagement with them is vital. In order to accomplish this, you need to know if the audience is laughing at your jokes and you need to know this in real-time. If you can do this, then you have already won the crowd.

So, how do you become a social manager? More to the point, how do you become a great social manager?

The answer will be surprising to some. Firstly, you have to want it. Second, you have to love it. Third, you have to learn it. And even if you tick all these boxes, you should ask yourself: “Am I a social person?” If the answer is no, then becoming a social media manager is probably not for you…

So let’s take a look at the stats.

  • LinkedIn shows 57,910 results for “social media manager”
  • Social media has now overtaken porn as the number 1 activity on the web
  • 97% of all consumers search for local businesses online
  • 71% of consumers receiving a quick brand response on social media say they would likely recommend that brand to others
  • 93% of marketers use social media for business
  • In terms of difficulty of execution, nearly half (49%) of B2B marketers put social media marketing at the top, followed by content marketing (39%), SEO (26%) and mobile (25%)
  • 77% of B2B marketers use a blog as part of their content marketing mix
  • On average, 25% of marketing budgets are now spent on content development, delivery and promotion
  • 78% of small businesses attract new customers through social sites
  • When asked to rank their company’s social business maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, more than half of global business executives gave their company a score of 3 or below

But the statistic that is most relevant to this article is:

  • Just 12% of those using social marketing feel they actually use it effectively.

Being a social media manager brings with it some key benefits within a freelance setting. The most recognisable being the fact that you are your own boss. You make the decisions and answer to no one. You send the invoices and you set the policies. Heck, you could sit in your underpants all day on the computer if you wanted to.

The other is money. It is an in-demand role, but one that companies are still struggling to come to terms with. Some companies realise and understand the value social media could bring to their enterprise and are willing to invest heavily in robust social media campaigns. Being your own boss, you can decide how to set your costs and price accordingly.

Another attractive reason is the low barriers to entry. With low start-up costs and plenty of online resources (like this one!) to rapidly decrease the learning cure, anyone can launch a freelance social management business within a short space of time.

I’ll tell you my story shortly but first, let’s explore the essential skills you’ll need to become a great social media manager..

Fundamental Skills:

Marketing Knowledge

You should have a good grasp of the basic marketing principles. Some education in marketing would be beneficial, but otherwise you can find many quality resources online.

Experience

Your experience doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to life experiences. Have you managed your own social media profiles for a while? Do you know how to effectively maintain your own social accounts and understand what clients expect?

Sociable

I touched on this at the beginning of the article. If you are not a sociable person – someone who doesn’t like communicating much and isn’t very outgoing, then becoming a social media manager just isn’t for you. Sure, you can hide behind a keyword and monitor for a while, but clients will usually want to meet, speak on the phone, or have Skype sessions at some point.

Project Management

You don’t have to have a Prince2 certificate, but you do need to be able to manage projects and your time well. It’s typical for social media manager’s to work with multiple clients at any one time. Keeping tabs on everything is important so that it doesn’t get overwhelming.

Technological

Social media exists online. Therefore, you need to have a certain degree of computer literacy. Having good knowledge of social technology will enhance your services and ensure you are keeping up to date with the latest social trends and developments.

Interpersonal Skills:

Communication

It kind of goes without saying that if you’re going to be representing a company and engaging with their customers, then you will need to have strong communication skills.

Personality

Companies tend not to want to hire people with no personality to act on behalf of their brand. It doesn’t resonate well with them, or their audiences.

Responsiveness

I’ve touched on this a few times – social media is very fast-paced. Imagine if one of your social assignments was largely focused on customer service and you didn’t respond to customer complaints or queries for weeks. People online want rapid responses. Being able to fulfil these needs can stand your client (and you!) in good stead.

Entrepreneurial

To become a social media manager in a freelance capacity, you have to be a self-starter. You should be willing to go the extra mile and take a few financial risks along the way. If you don’t land a job that pays enough in one month, how will this affect you?

Multitasking

A great social media manager must be able to effectively carry out a wide range of tasks.

Organisation

You should always be very well organised when delivering social media management services. I use all kinds of traditional tools like calendars, white boards and task lists to keep myself organised. I also use many online organisational tools, such as: Thunderbird for accessing all my email accounts in one place, Dropbox to easily share documents with clients and bookmarks to keep track of all the websites I frequently visit.

Strategic Thinking

Being able to think campaigns through before they happen and sometimes thinking outside the box when needed, are great asset to have as a social media manager. Clients tend to want to know how you will do something before letting you do it, so being able to present a clear and concise strategy is essential.

Flexible (with travel)

Contrary to popular belief, a freelance social media manager has to leave his office sometimes! If this is a problem for you, then you should think about starting another profession. Nearly every sizeable project I undertake involves multiple meetings with the client. You should have reasonable pitching skills, as you may be required to sell your services face to face too, before being hired. You may even opt to take on in-house work.

Wider Skills:

Copywriting

Every good social media manager is a great writer. Writing forms the foundations of many aspects of online marketing, be it creating ads, writing blogs, engaging with customers, scripting sales copy or writing press releases.

Graphic Design

Pretty much all social media platforms provide the functionality to customise the interface and incorporate your own branding. If you are sharp with Photoshop (or similar design software), then you are in a good position to offer these services as part of your social media package. Similarly, creating content such as infographics, banners or images is standard practise for a social media manager.

Advertising

Every social media manager should have sound knowledge of advertising. Be it Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or banner advertising, you should know the ins and outs of each discipline and understand how to optimise each format.

PR

Public relations is closely tied to social media marketing, in the sense that both involve managing the spread of information between a business and the public. You may start out not needing to have a deep knowledge of PR, as it is typically managed by larger brands who have an interest in persuading stakeholders, investors or the public to maintain a certain point of view.

Statistical

Everything in marketing should be measured. You should periodically measure and analyse your social marketing performance and produce reports to your clients to demonstrate your value.

SEO

Understanding how social media affects search engine optimisation will ultimately improve campaign performance. In 2012, there was an average of 5,134,000,000 searches on Google every day. If you think SEO doesn’t matter to your social activities, think again.

Traditional Marketing

Even though you generally won’t be involved in traditional marketing practises while undertaking a social media management role, you should understand how both forms of marketing affect each other and how each can be best leveraged to complement the other.

Video Editing

This will probably be the least used of your wider skills, but nevertheless it can assist you in your social marketing positions. I’ve had a few clients that required presentations or demonstration videos to be edited before being used within their social media campaigns. I’m for sure no expert, but having a reasonable level of knowledge in using Windows Movie Maker (or similar video editing software) can turn that video file straight from the camera into a beautiful, YouTube-ready video.

Even if you possess all the necessary skills to become a social media manager, there is still scope to improve your services by using different social tools and software. I’ll quickly recap on two different pieces of software I use that may help you in becoming a great social media manager:

  • Hootsuite: I wrote an in-depth review of Hootsuite on my blog that also includes a video tutorial which should provide all the information you will need to know about Hootsuite.
  • BuzzBundle: This is my favourite and most valued piece of software I’ve ever used. I use it mainly to find keywords around my content subject from across a huge range of blogs, forums and social sites and stream all this information back to me in one interface. I can then see who is discussing my topic and jump straight into the conversations to add my two cents.

What You’ll Be Expected To Do…

So, what does a social media manager actually do? As you can probably tell by now, the role of a social media manager is diverse. It’s not a case of “Well, I post updates to Facebook.” Here are a few general activities that social media managers will be expected to execute:

Strategy

You will be required to formulate campaign and platform specific strategies that meet the business objectives. You will create actions plans, content calendars, set metrics and KPIs, undertake various research activities and perform different types of analysis.

Content Creation

Content creates the foundations of any marketing campaign. How you decide to execute your campaigns will depend on the different forms of content you produce. As you would have no doubt already heard from someone, content is king. Believe them.

Community Management

Managing accounts also means managing communities. You should be the go-to person when representing brands in social domains and continually reach out and engage with your audiences. You will need to constantly strengthen social relationships in order to develop long-lasting followers.

Audience Building

Marketing to the same people over and over will not widen your scope and social reach. You should be increasing readership and your level of influence within your target audiences.

Customer Service

Many companies use social media as an instant channel for customer service. You will have to be responsive and helpful in your social activities, regularly being the first point of contact. You will be representing the brand and managing their customer perceptions.

Measurement

Every effort that consumes investment will need to be measured and analysed. I’vve previously written tutorials that demonstrate how you can set up your Google Analytics account on my blog.

Reporting

Once your efforts have been measured and analysed, your clients will want to understand how their investment has performed. This can take the form of visual aids for meetings or digital reports. Reporting is a key ingredient of any social media manager in order to prove your worth and demonstrate the value you have added to the business.

How I Became A Social Media Manager

I’ve been active in social media since July 2007. This was before the time of all the latest social marketing tools and software that nowadays are ingrained into all social marketers everyday life. Resources or tutorials weren’t as widely available that could help speed up the learning curve.

I did find an online course that looked pretty good in teaching me how to turn my social skills that I had been practising on my own accounts into a fully fledged business. I invested £600 on this online course to learn the basics and now that some years have passed, I can look back and say the value wasn’t all that great, but the ideas were there. It pushed me to think outside the box and motivated me to start my trajectory towards becoming a social media manager.

So before I had decided to turn my love for social media and networking into a freelance opportunity, I attended Brunel University where I completed my BSc and MSc in Business Management. It was at this time when I jumped on board with the poker boom and started playing online cash games and tournaments. Poker really helped me to develop my own time management, money management and analysis skills. I always knew I wanted to start my own business so this was a good platform to get my feet wet. Throughout my time playing poker, I was always engaged in online social discussions and even wrote a few guest posts for poker sites.

Before I knew it, I was a fully-fledged freelance social media manager…

So to kick-start my freelance social media work, I joined a bunch of freelance sites like Elance, oDesk and Freelancer. I still use some of them today.

After a few years of freelancing on small one-off projects and developing my social marketing acumen, I was hired by an online business services company to run their social media campaigns, as well as handle all their own clients social marketing campaigns. I still work with them today, which just shows the power of forging good working relationships.

I managed to attract clients in most months for the next few years and each project ended up being pretty diverse from the next. This allowed me to develop wider skills that I have since found almost a necessity in order to provide a well-rounded social media marketing service. I mentioned some of these wider skills required to become a great social media manager towards the middle of this article.

I also kept maintaining and building my own social media profiles. It’s important to practise what you preach and showcase your expertise on your own domains. My social profiles have regularly attracted clients, which keeps work coming in and builds up my networking potential.

I have been writing on my blog for a few years, but only recently updated my site. My own social activities also serve to build traffic to my sites, where I generate passive income. I like to “listen” to the social environment and engage with people who are already looking for my content. This serves well in building and strengthening connections, as well as attracting targeted traffic.

I have also been a keen guest blogger. I believe that writing articles for other relevant blogs only serves to increase your scope and exposure. Once or twice, I have had my articles featured by online magazines and publications, which was always nice.

Keeping my ears to the ground and getting myself ‘out there’ was one of the things I promised myself I would do, even though I knew the vast majority of my time would be spent in my home office. I tried to regularly meet up with business connections and clients to make sure they could match an online persona to a real life face. The vast majority of the time, I even managed to remember my business cards!

A strategy I’ve always tried to employ while freelancing is to try and turn one client into three. What I mean by that is word of mouth is the most powerful advertising there is. People do act on solid recommendations that their friends make. I found that taking as basic an approach as asking clients at the end of projects if they knew anyone who could benefit from social media marketing, worked out surprisingly well.

As social media is such a dynamic environment with start-ups booming and busting every few months, I knew that it was essential to keep up to date with social developments. Every so often, a client would ask me to set up profiles or campaigns on sites that some social media managers would have never heard of. Keeping tuned in enabled me to have at least some knowledge and experience in using these platforms, which dramatically lowered my learning curve and ultimately lead to better performing campaigns.

Around a year and a half ago, I decided to broaden by service offerings and set up a web design company with my business partner. “Thinking Forwards” was born in the summer of 2012. Websites and social media go hand-in-hand, so this enabled me to up-sell my services both ways.

So that brings me loosely to where I am now. Just to be clear; I have never used paid advertising or SEO for my own benefit while being a social media manager. My progression came solely through content marketing and guerrilla marketing tactics.

To Summarise On How I Became A Social Media Manager:

  • Joined freelance sites
  • Practised what I preached and actively maintained my own social media profiles and blogs
  • Kept consistently networking and building my contact lists
  • Continually created my own content on my own sites
  • Took my content straight to prospects
  • Proactively kept asking if people needed my assistance
  • Guest blogging and featured articles
  • Attended networking events and met up with clients and business contacts
  • Tried to turn one client into three
  • Kept up to date with new social networks and developments
  • Started other initiatives where social media services were complementary
  • Never turned down any work or networking opportunities
  • Worked long hours, sometimes for small rewards, to build reputation, authority and presence

I thought I would leave you with some final advice from things I have learnt from my own experiences being a social media manager.

Remember that…

  • Sometimes you won’t be right for a project, even if you think you are
  • It’s OK to work for less than your desired amount, if the benefits warrant it
  • You won’t win every contract, so don’t beat yourself up if you get turned down
  • Things change really quickly in social media, so you will have to continually adapt
  • You never know as much as you think you do!

Starting a career in anything takes time and effort. If you think it’s easy to become a great social media manager, then think again…

I wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

Mainstream Western Media Stages “Blemishing China Marathon”

If you Google “China” or “Olympics” on any given day in recent months, with the exception of the few weeks China was stricken by deadly earthquakes, you will be overwhelmed by the shower of negative coverage from the mainstream Western media against China and its hosting of 2008 Beijing Olympics.

For months leading up to the Beijing Games, China has been put under the Western microscope with accusations and complaints against the country and its government sweeping across all terrains, from big political issues such as Tibet, human rights, protest rights, press and religious freedom; to social problems including air pollution, government relocation of Beijing residents; to conspiracy stories about special visual effects of the opening ceremony and ultra performance of Chinese athletes; and to more trivial displeasures about losing a pair of expensive sunglasses, difficulties to access Olympic Green, English standard of volunteers, and over-eagerness of residents to help the foreigner visitors. The list goes on and on.

As if that is not enough, an NBC correspondent went on a live TV hunt for Chinese foods in Beijing. Let’s take a look at what she found: giant scorpions, lizards, silk worms, seahorses, iguana tails and dung beetles. Other Western reportors also cited rabbit head, pig brain and animal penis. Being a native of Beijing with 20 plus years of living there and a food lover myself, I have little knowledge where to look for these exotic things, not to mention ever eating them. Come on, China has a civilization of 5,000 years – Western reporters can’t be seriously thinking about portraying the Chinese as barbaric aboriginals or man-eating cannibals, right?

In fact, Dave Barry of Miami Herald admitted to a blog “beijingboyce.com” that “The Chinese people I saw all seemed to be buying things like lamb kebabs and fruit. On the other hand, the people gathered around the centipedes and scorpions on a stick were, in almost every case, tourists or American TV reporters doing fun features on weird Chinese food…. The Chinese don’t eat scorpions. They feed their scorpions to TV reporters. I would not be surprised to learn that the Chinese word for scorpion is “TV reporter food.”

Granted, China is not completely innocent from many of the aforementioned allegations and criticisms, but it is neither an evil host which deserves no credit at all. As the world’s fastest growing economy and one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, there has got to be something positive to report on.

You can be easily frustrated, however, if you are looking to read something more positive or, at the least, constructive about the country and its hospitable people. Sure, there is always the official Xinhua News or China Daily one can read for a change, but any praise from self-proclaimed independent and objective mainstream Western media is surprisingly hard to come by.

Meanwhile, for average Westerners, it is hard not to be misled by the drowning negative coverage on China. A homemaker in the US told reporters that she does not want to “legitimize the Chinese government” by supporting the Beijing Olympics.” Didn’t President Bush just open a bigger US Embassy there? What are we talking about here exactly? I am as puzzled as an Atlanta man who demanded an online answer for not seeing Russian tanks there.

As much as I disagree with President George W. Bush on many things, I have to applaud his recent TV interview in Beijing with NBC in which he stressed that the US and China as two very different countries and cultures are bound to have agreements and disagreements on a range of things, but it is important to have a constructive relationship which will help each other communicate disagreements.

Wow, how I wish that he had possessed this wisdom before starting the Iraq war – lives of estimated 1.2 million Iraqis and 5,000 US soldiers could have been saved.

Should the 2008 Olympics be awarded to Beijing in the first place?

Although the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games is coming up in a matter of few days, the arguments surrounding if IOC had made a mistake in letting China host the 2008 Olympics and if China had fulfilled its relevant promises seem to have just started.

Why pick a heavily-polluted country that is dictated by “free market Stalinists” which suppresses human rights, religion and press? China broke its promises to IOC for all of these areas, charges the mainstream Western media.

However, according to the IOC, its mission is “to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic Spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play – Olympic Spirit strives to inspire and motivate the youth of the world to be the best they can be through educational and entertaining interactive challenges. Olympic Spirit seeks to instill and develop the values and ideals of Olympism in those who visit and to promote tolerance and understanding in these increasingly troubled time in which we live, to make our world a more peaceful place.”

Does China deserve to be awarded the hosting right of Olympics? Apparently, the Chinese people said a loud “yes”. The whole world witnessed how much grass-root support China got from its people when it applied for and won the hosting right of the event.

As a country with more than one fifth of the world’s population – should it not be given a chance to host one of the many games? With 1.3 billion people not represented, can any Olympic Games truly promote its mission of “building a peaceful and better world with mutual understanding”? That is why the IOC made its decision and it is undoubtedly a correct one.

By comparison, I have serious doubts if the mainstream Western media truly understands and honors the spirit of Olympics – questioning China’s legitimacy to host such an international event only gives away its arrogance, self-righteousness, entitlement and cultural supremacy in international affairs.

If the mainstream Western media is still the true believer of human rights and continues to uphold the universal belief that “all men are created equal”, it should acknowledge the birthright of any country including China, for hosting the Olympic Games.

While China needs improvements in many areas as every other country on this earth does, the changes and progresses made by the country in the past 30 years are unmatched in the its own history, which can not be hidden from view by the mainstream Western media.

China should not be forced to make any concessions or promises to any interest groups in order to be “bestowed” the hosting right of Olympics, thanks to the downfall of colonialism and imperialism! The country’s pursuit of reform in all domestic political and social-economic fronts, including but not limited to human rights and freedoms of its people, can and should only be driven by desires of its own people, rather than being imposed on by external forces.

In addition to disputing China’s hosting rights, the mainstream Western media also has aired many conspiracies about China’s intention for hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Show of power? Self-interiority? Promoting China’s development path to replace the US model? Bla, bla, bla….

We all are humans and predictably we all want similar things in life at the end of the day. Splendid displays, inflated egos or decorated ideologies can not replace people’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter and healthcare.

For hundreds of years, the Chinese people have craved for a peaceful environment where they can focus on making a better living for themselves rather than laboring for self-serving emperors or greedy foreign opium traders. They have been quite successful in the past three decades and now they simply wanted to party and celebrate with the world through Beijing Olympics. Is that so hard to understand?

Why is the mainstream Western media so angry with China?

In his recent article “Are the Media Being too Mean to China?” published on slate.com, Prof. Tim Wu of Columbia University wrote that “China’s idea of what makes for a better Olympics for foreign consumption-tightened security and cleaning up marginal elements-is exactly what makes Western reporters crazy.”

While Prof. Wu’s observation only touched on one of the surface symptoms that irritated the mainstream Western media, it does shed some light on the current tension. What he described is in fact a cultural difference in how the Chinese and the Western people receive and entertain their guests. But the root of problem is the ethnocentric mindset of the Western reporters to the cultural differences and their entitlement that things should only be done in their ways.

Similar examples are abundant, whether it is about different ways under which Chinese and Western athletes are trained or about how they differ in keeping their personal appearance or etiquettes. I am particularly disappointed with Prof. Wu’s comments that “China doesn’t have the manners and grace of the richer countries, even if it has increasing economic and political clout.”

While making noises during eating is a taboo in many Western cultures, being openly confrontational in social interactions is a sin in many Asian cultures. These are simply cultural differences that should not be judged as superior or inferior, or we risk entering the boundaries of cultural supremacy.

Unfortunately, it is this arrogant mindset that has led the mainstream Western media to judge China by its own culturally biased standards and self-centered expectations. It is not a surprise they drew the conclusion that China broke its promises for hosting Olympics, an allegation China has denied.

What followed was an irrational unleash of anger by the mainstream Western media towards China in an attempt to force the country into the direction the Western media desired to see. The collective media assault on China, however, is more based on self-interests and ethnocentrism, rather than fairness, objectivity and independence which the mainstream Western media often preach.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

A recent issue of Newsweek carried an article, “Rise of the Sea Turtles”, that found “Westernized Chinese people” tend to be more resentful to the West. Although I wasn’t particularly impressed with its analysis of the root causes, the article does provide us with a good pointer to an emerging trend.

I can probably qualify as one of the “Westernized Chinese people” the article was referring to, although I prefer to identify myself as a Chinese American after becoming a naturalized US citizen for many years.

I think it is unfair and simplistic to conclude that the “Westernized Chinese people” are more resentful to the West, because the situation is far more complicated than portrayed. The resentments, in fact, are not the towards the West in its entirety but more targeted at the double standard and intolerant attitudes often adopted by the mainstream Western media and Western governments towards China and other non-Western countries. “Westernized Chinese people” tend to be elites who are educated in the West and their advanced training and intellect make them independent thinkers. They are sensitive towards the hypocrisies of the mainstream Western media which scrutinizes China with one set standards while closing its eyes to the same problems at home.

No one person or one country is perfect and the Bible tells us that everyone is a sinner. If we (Americans) can allow ourselves make mistakes and accept skeletons in our own closets, why should we dissect other countries under our tinted lenses and punish them for not satisfying the standards that even ourselves often can not meet?

We should pursue “constructive dialogues” rather than endless “regime changes” by using force – ironically both strategies were supported by President George W. Bush. I salute his newly-found wisdom which helped him reach a peaceful resolution with the North Koreans and hopefully the same can be done with the Iranians.

If we desire international solidarity against terrorism, why is the mainstream Western media always so reluctant to condemn those who terrorize China? Read its coverage of recent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and you know what I am talking about.

If the mainstream Western media wants to be the role model for its Chinese peers, why does it conveniently distort facts, use phony pictures and brush away people who have different opinions and deny their right to have their voices heard? A Chinese American confronted a CNN journalist a few months ago in LA when she and many other pro-China protestors were denied chances to be interviewed, the journalist responded harshly – “don’t tell me how to do my business!”

We teach every citizen in the West to respect laws and regulations, yet the mainstream Western media participated in cheering the illegal protests and vandalism in Beijing.

Personally I had a painful experience demonstrating on London streets in 1989. It was cold in that morning and I stepped out of the picketing line for a few minutes to get some desperately-needed sunshine. I was subsequently handcuffed by force and arrested by the London police. When my petite wife disputed their action, she was also handcuffed and arrested. We were locked into separate cells for hours with no food and water, not to mention access to a phone and legal advice. We were only released after the demonstration organizer intervened and after being forced to sign the British equivalent of confession statements.

If being out of the picket line for some sun is a crime that deserves to be handcuffed and thrown into jail in London, why should the Chinese be criticized for expelling illegal protestors in Beijing who purposely climb lamp-posts, buildings and advertising billboards to display unauthorized banners?

Why should an American “pastor”, who proudly vandalized the two Beijing hotel rooms and then cowardly sneaked away, be cheered as a “righteous protestor” by the mainstream Western media?

If a Chinese protestor goes to the 2012 London Olympics to protest against the British suppression of Northern Ireland and hang banners on the Big Ben – can he or she count on the mainstream Western media for for the same “heroic” coverage? Should we also question the right of London for hosting Olympics and its commitment for press freedom if its police arrests the protestor?

Food for thought – “Do unto others what you wish to do unto yourself” (Confucius) and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone!” (Jesus)

Is Western-styled press freedom what China needs?

A highly-respected US scholar once told me that the Western media is founded on the spirit of challenging authorities and it is the media’s job to be cynical, vigilant, critical, defiant and negative.

I am a strong believer of the fundamental principles on which the US political system is founded. Besides many merits of the system, media stands out as an indispensable component designed to supervise, on behalf of the public, the three branches of the federal government. This is almost a perfect setup except three potential flaws – firstly, there is no mechanism in place for the supervision of the media itself; secondly, there are serious conflicts of interests between the two contradictory roles of media both as a representative of public interests and, at the same time, as self-serving profit-making enterprises; and thirdly founding media on the basis of cynicism and negativity has its own social costs.

For media to fulfill its role to supervise the government, it needs to serve public interests, rather than its own interests. It needs to be unbiased, objective and independent.

Nonetheless, it is well-known that the mainstream Western media has long blended its role for public welfare with relentless pursuit of ego, power and profits. As the world enters the information age, the mainstream Western media has become a new rising superpower with ever-increasing influence on domestic and international politics, economy, social structure, value systems and people’s everyday life.

Does Americans really have as much freedom as the mainstream media would like us to believe? As the mainstream Western media pursue freedoms in other countries, Americans are losing so many freedoms that once made them so proud.

In the past few decades, America has experienced a string of serious challenges and setbacks including the breakdown of family/social structure and value systems, falling religious influence and freedom, popular abuse and dependence of narcotics and prescription drugs, rising violence across the country, escalating racial tension and police brutality, widening gap between the rich and the poor, dropping standard of literacy and basic education, failing healthcare system that denies coverage of 23 million Americans, and a tendency of resolving international disputes with “regime change” by military force rather than diplomacy, violations of on constitutional civil and human rights under the cover of anti-terrorism, to name just a few.

Our children can no longer walk to the school bus by themselves for fear of drug pushers and child snatchers on the way. By the time they arrive in their schools, metal detectors await for them in some inner city schools. They have to leave their bags in lockers and no colored drinks are allowed for fear of bombs. Their teachers are not allowed to mention any religion or teach morals in schools. Even “Christmas trees” must not be called “Christmas trees” but “family trees”. They have to go through evacuation drills often to remain vigilant because school shootings are spreading. Now people are even more scared because a school district in Texas took the lead to allow teachers carrying guns to the classroom. But can we trust the teachers? Do we have to outsource our teachers from India or China one day?

As an American citizen, nothing is more valuable than my voting right. But even that has depreciated. Why? Because the mainstream media is not doing its job of dissemination of objective information. Instead it confuses me with a constant stream of selectively edited, distorted and manipulated information in order to advance its own preferences, agendas and commercial interests.

Let’s take a look at the tainted media pictures of presidential candidates. John Edwards is a wife cheater, but that has been kept from the public until now; Hilliary is a liar who believes she is entitled to be the President and her husband Bill is hostile to the mainstream press; John McCain is a patriot but a war monger who knows nothing about economy; and finally Obama, alas, is actually a celebrity, radical of racial politics, Muslim (not that there is anything wrong with it) and “Anti-Christ”! For God’s sake, stop harassing me with all this sensational talk designed to boost ratings and I want to vote for Paris Hilton, but unfortunately she is not on the ballot. So my pathetic one vote looks quite useless, well, at least for now.

Moving back to topic of Beijing Olympics. A Western journalist was quick to point out his disagreement with the slogan, “One World One Dream”, which is meant by the host nation to stress the commonalities all peoples share. Nevertheless, this reporter chose to emphasize the different values he has from the Chinese host.

Fine, let’s talk about the differences. If the mainstream Western media can acknowledge that peoples on this earth are different and that there are vast differences between them in the geographic landscapes, population structures, social-economic hierarchy, cultural values, beliefs, religions and ideologies, it should not be difficult to appreciate that their political, legal and media systems also need to differ from each other to accommodate for the specific needs of each country. It is dangerous to assume the systems of the West are somehow superior which can be transplanted to other countries.

Does China need a Western-style media system? I doubt it. While fundamental Western media principles of cynicism, defiance, negativity and confrontation may or may not work well in the Western cultures, they most-definitely will not be successful in the Chinese cultural environment which values hierarchy, harmony, benevolence and tolerance among people.

However, it is the Chinese people who should decide eventually what political, economic and media systems are the ones they need. I have faith that with five thousand years of civilization, China has the wisdom to draw from the strengths of the West, avoid its fundamental flaws and ultimately develop a positive-spirited media system with Chinese characteristics that is built on the basis of upholding public welfare and interests.

Final conclusion

By blemishing a hospitable nation, which worked hard and sacrificed dearly to be a good host, mainstream Western media only exposed the self-interest and ethnocentric facets of itself to the whole world. Such irrational and frantic behaviors will only serve to bolster more media scrutiny by the Chinese government, further alienate the Chinese people and erase any remaining credibility and relevance of the mainstream Western media in the post-Olympic China.

I love the motto of Beijing Olympics – “One World One Dream” – the dream of the Olympic Spirit under which all peoples of the world will be united with mutual understanding, friendship, solidarity, fair play and tolerance to build a peaceful and better world together.

PR Agencies and Social Media: 4 Tips to Power Social Brand Building

The Importance of Social Media for Public Relations

PR professionals today are using social media to either supplement or add to their existing strategies, signaling an evolution in the role of PR over the last few years. Public relations specialists were among the first few to understand the power of social media, making them leaders in the social space. Along with handling website content, more and more PR pros are responsible for their company’s and clients’ social media presence. The gradual shift towards, what industry experts call ‘the social media release’, indicates how the traditional long form press release is changing. According to David McCulloch, director of public relations at Cisco Systems, “The press release of the future will deliver its content in text, video, SMS, microblog and podcast form, to any choice of device, whenever the reader decides, and preferably it will be pre-corroborated and openly rated by multiple trusted sources.”

eMarketer expects PR as well as ad agencies to witness an increase in their social media revenue in 2011. Findings from a joint study by the Transworld Advertising Agency Network and Worldcom Public Relations Group show:

• In 2010, 28% PR firms said that between 15-33% of their revenue came from social media.
• This number has grown by 44% in 2011.
• The study indicates that, when compared to ad agencies, the PR industry is more effective in leveraging social media.

The Road Ahead…
Industry research firm IBIS World has predicted the factors that are likely to fuel the growth of PR firms in the coming years and the expected rate of growth.

• PR firms are expected to grow at an average annualized rate of 5.7% to $12.8 billion from 2010-2015.
• This spurt will be attributed to the increase in demand by companies who want PR firms to handle daily interactions with consumers and the press on their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
• The recent shift from traditional media to more direct media (social media) will result in PR firms specializing in or launching divisions devoted to blogs, social networking sites, mobile media and podcasts.
• Over four-fifths of PR firms are anticipating an increase in digital and social media work in the future.

Whether it is consulting with clients from the agency point of view or working with an in-house team, PR agencies need to be social media ready. Position² lists a few guidelines that will help your agency survive and stand out in the digital space:

1. Making a Pitch
Social media has given a whole new meaning to the concept of ‘pitching’. While the idea of e-mailing a press release to journalists, editors and bloggers is not completely obsolete, it is easy for the readers to hit the delete button and forget about it. Incorporating social media in your PR strategy will ensure your pitch is heard above the din. In order to effectively use social media in your PR pitch plan, we recommend a few points that can be added to your ‘to do’ list:
o Avoid the Fancy Stuff:

Too much information laced with fancy catch phrases like ‘cutting-edge, mission-critical applications to improve business process, etc’ can put off readers. Keep in simple.

o Getting your Tweets Right:

If you are planning on using Twitter to make a pitch, keep in mind, you have 140 characters to get it right. According to Nicole VanScoten, a public relations specialist at Pyxl, getting your tweets right leads to high response rates than e-mail.

o Don’t Spam them:

Whether its journalists or bloggers, no one likes to receive random tweets or Facebook messages. It would be a good idea to learn about the journalist or blogger before reaching out to them. Read their Twitter profile or personal blog to find out if these are the contacts that need to be targeted and then make your pitch.

o Build a Relationship:

Once you have figured out your contacts list, the next step is easy. Building a relationship with a journalist or editor involves getting on their radar. What you can do is a) check out their Facebook page and comment on the posts you like b) retweet their messages and c) comment on a blog post. This will ensure your presence on their radar, even before you decide to make a pitch.

Here’s an example of a good pitch made by a PR professional to a marketing blogger:

For PR pros, using social media to make a pitch saves time as well as money, besides yielding much higher response rates.

2. Delivering Value to Clients
The last 2-3 years have seen PR agencies don an entirely new role in organizations. A large part of a PR specialist’s job involves educating clients on the benefits of social media. Handling a company’s or a client’s account these days includes everything from building brand loyalty to promoting and monitoring content on various social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn). In order to be a successful, we believe a PR firm should deliver value to its clients. Here are a few simple suggestions:

o Creating Content:

PR companies are expected to be experts when it comes to writing. Therefore clients expect your agency to figure out how to turn a boring announcement into interesting content. This could either be a campaign or a company blog. Churning out good content will not only get the required media coverage, but will also help generate leads.

o Identifying the Influencers:

Identifying and developing relationships with the ‘influencers’ in the PR domain is an added advantage. Instead of simply looking for bloggers and journalists who are magically expected to create buzz and drive sales, it will be wiser to:

o Determine who the real influencers in a noisy market place are. This can be done by connecting with reporters, bloggers and journalists who cover the topics that are closer to the market your client is interested in.

o Keep in mind, the size of one’s audience does not always translate into influencer popularity.
o Engaging and Monitoring Conversations:

Social media monitoring and engagement is vital for any PR agency that wants to deliver value to its clients. Brands understand that they not only need a social presence, but are also keen to work with PR agencies to know what is being said about them in the market. By using social media monitoring tools such as Brand Monitor, you can:

o Measure your influencer scores: Social media monitoring tools make it easy to identify journalists and bloggers with high influencer scores.

o Handle Crisis Situations: By keeping a watch on blog conversations, twitter messages and Facebook posts, your agency can help identify signs of trouble. Following this, you could either diffuse the situation yourself, or alert your client asking them to respond as necessary.

o Measure the consumer sentiment for clients’ brand (s) and products (s) and quantify impact.

o Measure the connection between press releases and news coverage with social media activity.

o Assess the effectiveness of your communication strategies.

o Provide you clients with domain expertise based on the data obtained.

o Measure detailed metrics such as popularity, share-of-voice etc.

When videos of rats running around at a Taco Bell outlet in NYC were posted on YouTube, owner Yum Brands saw its stock sink to an all time low, with customers doubting Taco Bell’s hygiene standards. Within hours, duplicates and versions started multiplying. Customers looking for reassuring information from the brand had a hard time finding it. Although Yum Brands’ PR team was not entirely ignorant (the CEO posted an apology on YouTube), monitoring the situation better and engaging with customers in real-time could have averted the PR crisis.

With the public relations industry evolving rapidly, the need to monitor social media channels has never been more important. According to Daryl Willcox, founder of PR industry information firm Daryl Willcox Publishing, listening is a critical part of social media strategy – a proactive process as much as a reactive one. A survey by his company indicates that almost 60% of PR agencies and departments that monitor social media channels spend less than two hours a week doing so. These statistics indicate the growing need for PR companies to monitor social media.

3. Sorting Out your Social Media Toolkit

With so many social media platforms to choose from, how would you know what’s best for you? As professionals in PR domain, it’s not always about putting a PR pitch on Twitter or Facebook; the social media platforms with the most value must be used to connect with a client’s target audience and should function as a meaningful place for brands to connect with journalists, bloggers and consumers. We believe that each social media tool has its own benefits, depending on what your agency wishes to achieve.

o Facebook & LinkedIn:

While Facebook and LinkedIn are almost perfect for establishing and maintaining relationships with media, these tools are slightly more personal than Twitter. It would be wise not to start sending friend requests to every reporter possible. After using Twitter to initiate a friendship with a journalist or a reporter, you can then follow this up by connecting with them on Facebook or LinkedIn.
If you are looking to increase engagement or reinforce your brand’s reputation for value, then Facebook is the place to be. For instance, when the Healthy Choice brand aimed to grow its fan base and increase engagement, the company decided to target its huge Facebook fan base and launched a progressive coupon on the Healthy Choice Facebook Page. This was supported through a variety of PR tactics. Efforts by the brand’s PR team resulted in the Healthy Choice’s Facebook page growing from 6,800 to nearly 60,000 fans. The PR team also distributed over 50,000 buy-one-get-one-free coupons.

o Twitter:

Twitter is a great tool:

o If finding influencers in on your agenda: What you can do is look for influential blogs in your industry, subscribe to them and start following the authors on Twitter.

o For connecting with other independent PR professionals: This will help establish valuable relationships with other PR agencies and professionals. By using Twitter, you can connect with the rapidly growing independent PR community to exchange advice, references, and suggestions in general.

o For Increasing Tweetability: Writing a headline with ‘tweetability’ in mind can influence the number of tweets or retweets your press release registers. This will help get your agencies or client’s name noticed in the social web. While writing a tweetable press headline you must: a) keep it short enough to include a Twitter handle and link b) ensure that the company or product name is in the beginning so that it does not get cut off c) add relevant keywords to make it searchable d) and keep it attention-grabbing enough to generate retweets.
o Blogs:

Blogs can be useful for sharing multimedia content and news that does not always require a press release, but is important enough to pique the interest of the media. Blogs are beneficial:

o If you have a small budget, but want to influence your customers and increase readership.

o For creating a sense of community with your present and future potential clients and customers.

o For providing valuable content to your clients or their customers instead of simply advertising to them.

o For publishing successful case studies; this will also help build your brand.

o For designing campaigns for your clients.
When the BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel in New Hampshire decided to use social media to stand out in the digital space, the hotel partnered with agency bobdonpaul. The agency’s PR strategy involved selecting one ‘resorter’ from several entries and allowing him to blog and post videos (in addition to other social media activities) about his experiences. The campaign was a success and saw 20% increase in hotel bookings in a month.

4. Measuring ROI
How can you tell if your public relations efforts in social media are working? To determine the success of your PR strategy or programs, we suggest measuring the return on investment (more appropriate in case of PR- return on efforts). The benefits of measuring ROI include:

o Knowing if your efforts are generating the desired results.
o Helping you decide if your current strategy needs to be reworked.
o Bringing about positive changes in popularity and online traffic.
o Helping your client make informed buying decisions.

How to calculate your social media ROI?

o Assess you reach: Evaluating how many Facebook fans or Twitter followers you have. How many ‘likes’ has your Facebook page registered.

o Tracking how many ‘likes’ on your clients’ Facebook page are actually converted to sales.

o Comparing Results Before and After Launching Social media initiatives: Has your newly launched Facebook page or your new twitter account make any difference to your brand’s reputation online?

o Listen, Measure and Engage: Social media monitoring tools like Brand Monitor offer you a platform to listen, measure and engage with customers across the social web.

Conclusion

What gives the modern PR firm the edge over its yesterday’s counterparts is the fact that today’s public relations professionals are more open to syncing social media with their existing strategies. Whether it’s in-house assignments or working for external clients, PR agencies understand that surviving in the digital space is centered on getting their social media strategy right. While mass social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will continue to be important to a certain extent, niche, industry-specific networks are expected to be of greater value in the future.

In the next five years, the most important tools in PR will be monitoring and measurement tools. PR specialists, as well as their clients, will be more concerned with what happens after a message is out there. We expect PR companies to not only dedicate a budget for their social media efforts in the future, but also hire social media specialists to handle their client’s social media activities. The social media world is dynamic; however, the job of the PR person remains the same: generate positive coverage across media to help build brands. It will be interesting to see how PR pros in the years ahead will leverage the power of social media to do what they always have been doing; communicating and connecting.

Future Jobs in Advertising Will Be Dominated by Media – Polish Up Your Media Resume!

Jobs in the advertising industry declined during the recession of 2008-2010, but now appear to be increasing again. Looking at the advertising jobs of the future, we believe media will dominate job growth. Available jobs will involve media planning, buying, and sales for both traditional and new media. Integrated communications will be key.

In terms of job opportunities, there are three basic functions which media professionals perform to connect ad messages with target markets: media planning, buying, and sales. To prepare for an advertising job, job seekers should develop a good understanding of media planning, media buying, and media sales for both traditional and digital media. (The future is integrated marketing and media.)

1. Media Planning

Media planning is the process of developing an effective media strategy and action plan involving use of both traditional and digital media.

The planning process first begins with an analysis of the marketing situation. Then, second, based on marketing priorities, media objectives are formulated that detail exactly what the media plan is supposed to accomplish, for example, including the definition and prioritization of target audiences the media plan must reach.

Third,strategies are formulated which will most effectively accomplish the media objectives. Finally, based on the media strategies, a detailed tactical plan is developed.

The media strategy and action plan incorporate the right media classes, the right media vehicles, the right geographic markets, the right timing, the right budget, the right number of advertising exposures, in the right media contexts, and so on. In so doing, media planning contemplates how traditional, digital, alternative, and marketing services media can help best address marketing problems or capitalize on marketing opportunities.

The end result of the process is a media plan, often called the tactical plan. The media plan details the recommendations and detailed rationale for all media activities and spending. For example, the plan may propose the use of magazines as the important medium for some particular advertising. The recommendation would include how much money should be spent in magazines vs. other media, in which months or weeks ads should be scheduled, and, of course, which specific magazines are most cost effective and best meet the magazine selection criteria.

Of course, media plans must also include other proposed media/marketing activities such as geographic market areas which should receive supplemental media spending, how often the consumer should be reached with advertising, as well as how the advertising should be scheduled throughout the year or planning period.

A media planner is someone who develops or supervises the development of media plans through a rigorous media planning process. The media planner may occupy any level in the organization; responsibility, not title, defines the job.

Now, imagine that you are a media planner. You have $3 million to market your product to male beer drinkers. An analysis of media alternatives for reaching this audience suggests these three potential strategies.

1. If you bought one:30 spot in the Super Bowl for $3 million, you would reach almost 33% of male beer drinkers all at the same time.

2. If you bought fifteen:30 spots on male-oriented, primetime, network TV programs, you could reach 65% of male beer drinkers more than once with 35% of them reached at least twice.

3. If you spent half your budget for display ads on male-oriented websites and the other half in men’s magazines, you would reach 63% of males twice each, on average, but in different media contexts.

Question: Which option would you choose? Why?

2. Media Buying

Media buying is the second type of job available in advertising and the advertising media area. People who buy media are simply called media buyers. Media buyers may be generalists or may specialize in buying specific media: broadcast or print or digital.

After the media plan has been approved by the client, the media included in the plan must be purchased from the media sellers. Buying is the process of identifying the preferred media vehicles, then negotiating with selling media to reach a satisfactory price and other important terms and conditions. The transaction is called a media buy, and the person who negotiated the transaction with the seller is called a media buyer.

Typically included in the list of negotiable items are price, additional time or space units, positioning of the ad or commercial within the media vehicle, inclusion of higher quality and more effective media vehicles, and value added features such as billboards (broadcast), turnkey promotions, merchandising assistance, programs to involve sales force and customers, and so on.

You might be a buyer with a budget and instructions to buy a specific display ad on the home page of a major search engine, for example. You find that the budget is sufficient to buy an ad on the home page of either AOL or Yahoo but not both. You therefore ask each of the sellers to submit a proposal, and you negotiate with both of them until one offers you desirable inventory at an acceptable price. After negotiating with the sellers, you may then select the seller with the lowest price or the best additional enticements. When you have completed the transaction, you have done a media buy!

3. Media Sales

Media sales or selling is the third category of advertising media jobs. All media have sales people who work on the local level selling to local businesses or on the national level selling to national advertisers and advertising agencies. In addition, opportunities exist in media representative firms who often represent media companies in the key markets of the countryt. For example a television station in Hoboken may hire rep firms to do their selling in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Detroit — or where ever.

What is important here is that media sales will likely be the largest employer of people in the advertising industry, and could be considered by those who have interest in advertising, professional selling and has accrued a little bit of experience in the agency business.

If you were the media seller for AOL in the example above, you might propose a media package consisting of X number of clicks to AOL for the one-time-only price of $5 million. But the Yahoo sales rep would be doing the same thing! Your job would be to come up with an offer better than Yahoo’s, including a final price and any other terms and conditions that would induce the media buyer to keep negotiating with you until you can reach a contract.

Media sales persons are usually called media representatives or sales reps. Sales reps may work for the medium (e.g., AOL) or for an independent firm that represents several non-competing media. Sellers communicate with buyers by phone, face-to-face in person or video conference, by mail and e-mail.

Social Media Advantage For Brands

Social media has become mainstream and as someone said: every media becoming social. I always think some brands and their attitudes to social media, content marketing, management. It is clear from every angle, except from view, that most brands are overlooking the “social” in front of the social media. This is what sets social media apart from other kinds of media. To excel in social media, you begin with cultivating a social media mindset. Most have not understood what this platform offers.

All that we are currently doing is majorly titled toward social media abuse which is based on advertising and shameless ego promotion. This affects corporate brands more though.

Most have concentrated mainly on mainstream traditional media. They have neglected or can we say they are unaware that the only way to survive in this time is a two-way communication media which embraces not only the traditional but online media platform. As we know, the current trend today is for brands to first learn about their brides-customers, get their attention through the use of social media platforms like blogging, Youtube, Xing, Facebook, Del.ici.ous, Bookmarking, RSS, Podcasting, videocasting, Wikis among many other available online media.

The evolution of these new media has opened up opportunity to seek opinion, interact, court, date and offers irresistible proposal that will hook the bride. Today customers are no longer buying one mode fits all offer by the traditional media. Some corporate brands here seem to hinge non-participation in online community building on such excuses that we are not yet online, neither are there recognized consumer fora which have major convergence of consumers online. Also no regulatory authority here pays attention to or gives any attention to whatever they have to say can. They also claim that online forums here have no impacts on corporate performance. Some also claim that social media is alien to us. My answer is that social media is not alien. The fact remains that many things had been part of us only that we do not accurately labeled them until the westerners help us out.

The idea of social media, content marketing is rooted in cultural rituals where a couple gets engaged before they could start dating. The process require that suitor’s intention has to be established through family contacts, integrity checked and a cogent promised is made that he is interested in a serous relationship and not flings. Without these background checks, no one officially allows the intending couple to start dating. If this is violated then, the bride to be would be disciplined.

Drawing a parallel in this ancient ritual, the customers want the brand today to show that what matters is her, not money making. The customers want to be sure that out of arrays of suitors-products, services- your brand can take the initiative of starting a conversation, the customer wants to be sure your brand is not just flirting, looking out for short flings but a real relationship that will enhance her lifestyle. Brand through social media, content and social marketing set up a bate by loading the right words in their contents to convince, educate, entertain the bride that they are out to make her life better even before selling anything.

Customer wants to see how much of your intellectual property will be made available without charges. The customer wants to find out you are a giver. One of their love languages is gift sharing. A giver without string attached always takes the show. Social media, content marketing requires a lot of commitment. It takes time before social media and content marketing make huge impact. Any brand that can show high level of commitment in social media will always carry the day.

Typical case studies of brands with efficient use of social media include Tony Hseih. Tony followers in Twitter today is over one forty million. Hseih is the managing Director of Zappos.com. Tony through his ‘tweet’ has course to meet with customers at a bar while many in his position will rather hide under the guise of busy schedule. Tony uses Twitter to build interaction with customers; he uses twitter to solve problems for clients. The strength of Tony Hseih and Zappos communities has been used to strengthen relationships with Zappo’s brand offline. Zappos client freely gives their ideas on what they want. This aids, leads to co- creation of brands products, services.

As busy as Richard Branson of Virgin group is, he also maintains a twitter account. He has used his twitter account to answer questions from angry customers as well as virgin potentials. The virgin group also has an integrated website that allows news update, blog among others. Southwest Airlines has used social media to build strong connection that impacts on the brand’s offline interaction

A good example of the use of social media to spread messages and connection was recently demonstrated by Michael Jackson’s personal doctor. As we are all aware, it was once insinuated that he killed Michael Jackson through drug overdose. About a week ago, he used YouTube video to spread his part of the case. This video spread across the internet as well as mainstream media. Popularity of virtual community has been soaring high with more people paying attention from academics and marketing communications practitioner discussing it in advance countries, yet Nigeria brands have assumed ‘I do not care attitude’. Nations and brands are not considered backward just because of their location but based on attitudes, disposition to the use of technology that will aid progress. Building emotional connection, loyalty with the brand is becoming an easy thing through social media.

Social media has become a great platform to identify with, interact, communicate brand element. This often starts in online forum and lead to offline beneficial relationship. Today, nearly three billion of the seven billion potentials are now connected in social media platforms. Agreed the ratio is still slow here but the number is increasing daily. Through social media brands can ignite confidence in the hearts of the bride, build thought leadership. Your brand competitors may have better product, services but will surely lose out to you if you can build strong connection with them before you ask them to buy through massive advertisement.

If your brand can give away enough information, answers to concerns and prove that you are on the verge of seriously neglecting your own best interest, of tight schedules, in order to serve these greedy, needy brides that desire your brands become more open, honest with them which is the essence of social media. Social media do not allow cover ups, unnecessary protection of corporate brand’s failures. I am of the opinion that if our banking industry’s Managing Directors have been active in social media, there is possibility of gaining public sympathy instead of this anger, tantrum they are now receiving from various angles. Their followers would have been able to defend them and take appropriate position that may have given them soft landing in this trying period.

Since our brands have concentrated on one form of media, mainstream, tell me why should their brides not block out their useless bragging through advertising? Tell me why is it difficult for brands n our environment to see handwriting on the wall that their brides now desire their authentic voices that are not coloured with jargons of self- serving moneybags? The brands’ brides are now also afraid; skeptical of marketing. Why should the brides be loyal when the element of trust is shaking?

Having established that let us now examine proper way of participating in social media which is now being exchanged for web.2.0. For brands to actively participate in social media, brands need to observe, listen, find clients’ hibernating medium. In doing this, brand should first define its social media strategy through careful evaluation of brand’s resources, analyze the target audience, and identify objectives. Having done this, brand must carefully pick or access platforms that fit their goals. This will inform the decision to run a blog or just to participate in other forums like Twitter, Facebook, discussion board, social media bookmarking, stumbleupon among others. Be sure you know that such platforms are used by your niche audience. Identify the top influencers of your industry online through recognitions given to their opinions, comments, awards etc.

To do this effectively, brand may consider creating the position of community or social media/knowledge management manager or hire consultant who has track records in skills like community management, online reputation management, monitoring, tracking, podcast, video cast, web links etc. These skills do not require a programmer’s knowledge and in actual fact, they are used by customer relations, brand, and Public relations experts. The only requirement is passion that is backed with proven results. The said manger or consultant must also understands forum rules, reputation software, know how to distribute contents without creating offense as this may be counter productive. Great ability to create qualitative content for blogs, create profiles and claim such blogs in online directories is also essential. Social media, content marketing, management is seen as collection of open-sourced, interactive and user- controlled online application used to expand the experiences, knowledge and market power of the users as participants in business and social processes, the social media landscape is basically about conversation before any marketing campaign.

Brands must therefore consider Rajesh Setty’s suggestion that it must demonstrate that your brand cares, is curious to find out what is the concern of the customers, contribute, make sure the content is worth their attention, clarify issues, build conversation that will lead to strong relationship, bring in a lot of creativity, demonstrate the brand’s character and values cherished, build community, tribe, brings change, instill courage and be highly commitment to a cause its believe in.

Let me conclude this piece by highlighting how brand can start participate in social media and content marketing. Content marketing is an art of understanding what your customers’ want, need to know and the science of delivering it to them in a useful and compelling way. The content has to be engaging in a useful and compelling way. To start, the brand has to build trust and credibility. This is huge work. This becomes easy if your brand can take time to listen to customers first. By that brand discovers their problems and the content is therefore tailored to provide solution.

Avoid talking too much about your brand or your expertise as much as I do know the fact that your brand need to establish the line that your brand is worth their attentions. This can make your brand’s efforts become suspect. Your customers want educational content without initial marketing spin. The content also has to be compelling, entertaining to earn the scarcest entity on the wed- time/patience. Great content must guides, clarifies, enlightened and connect. The language of the content has to be in tune with your industry. Contents that solve problems drive traffic and increases sale rate.

Social media and content marketing make your clients see your brand as unique resource, trusted advisor and a brand that makes them look good. This will make them to gladly exchange their money and loyalties for your commitment to the relationship. When you have so much to give, they will not wait to tell others about your brand. There are some other factors that come into play here but let us conclude today’s piece by saying that brand has several opportunities when it annexes the two way communication of mainstream and evolution of new media.

Media Monitoring – What it Is, What it Does, How to Use It

Media monitoring is the process of carefully reading, watching or listening to the editorial content of media sources (including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, broadcasters and the Internet) on a continuing basis and of identifying, saving and analyzing content that contains specific keywords or topics.

Monitoring the News Media

Monitoring editorial content of news sources including newspapers, magazines, trade journals, TV and radio stations is by far the most common type of media monitoring. This typicalls is called “news monitoring”.

Most companies, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations (e.g. hospitals, universities, associations, etc.) and individuals such as authors and celebrities utilize media monitoring as a tool to identify mentions of their organization, its brands, and executives in news media. Some organizations also deploy media monitoring tools to track the success of their news releases, to find information about competitors and specific issues relevant to the organization, to benchmark performance against competitors, to manage corporate or brand reputation, to gather industry intelligence, to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of corporate communications, to identify new business opportunities, and other purposes.

In addition to monitoring news, many organizations now also monitor social media on the Internet, tracking word of mouth mentions about their organization in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, message boards and forums. This is commonly known as social media monitoring, word-of-mouth monitoring, or buzz monitoring.

Media Monitoring Profile & Search Terms

The monitoring process starts with the search profile and the search terms or keyword(s) or keyword phrases. The search profile contains the service terms: the media to be monitored, the type of articles and/or mentions to be delivered, the time period of the monitoring, and the method of article delivery.

The search terms are those key words or phrases that must appear in the article such as the name of the organization or its affiliates or brands. An article containing a key word is usually referred to as a “clip” or “clipping,” “news clip,” or “press clipping.” The clips are delivered either physically by mail or as a digital file, usually via e-mail.

While some organizations use in-house staff to monitor news and social media, most companies and PR agencies outsource the function to commercial services. The commercial services can usually provide more comprehensive media coverage than in-house staff using online news monitoring tools such as Google News. Commercial media monitoring services often deliver better results at lower cost than the actual labor costs of in-house news monitoring with staff.

Media Monitoring History

Media monitoring started in the 1800s as press clipping services. Press clipping services (called “press cutting” in Europe) employed human readers to scan articles in printed news publications looking for the key words of multiple clients. The readers marked the keywords in articles, then used razor blades to cut out the marked articles, put the clipped articles into client folders and delivered the clips via mail to the client. Most press clipping services served a limited geographic area – one country, for instance – and monitored publications in only one language. According to studies by GE, Kodak and other organizations in the 1970s, the human readers typically missed 30 to 40% of articles containing clients’ key words, largely because the readers were quickly scanning the articles for multiple clients’ keywords, not actually reading the articles word for word.

Broadcast Monitoring Services

In the 1950s, specialized broadcast monitoring companies started to monitor TV news broadcasts for mention of their client company key words. Initially, the broadcast monitoring companies used humans to watch programs, write abstracts of the content and log mentions of clients’ key words. The development of Betamax and VHS videotape recorders, along with closed caption text for hearing impaired, enabled the broadcast monitors to record the programs and use software to search the closed caption text for clients’ key words.

In the United States, that closed caption system is still in use although computers (not videotape recorders) are now used to record the programs. In countries that do not have closed caption text embedded in the TV broadcast signal, broadcast monitoring companies now often use speech to text software to create a character-based document which can be searched for key words. Closed caption text and the latest generation speech to text software are each about 70% to 80% complete and accurate.

Online Media Monitoring

The growth of the Internet and World Wide Web in the 1990s gave rise to online media monitoring services with automated processes to monitor online news. The online services deploy specialized software called robots, bots or spiders running on high-powered computer servers to quickly scan the new editorial content of online news sources and social media and to index all the words in the news content and social media postings. Once the software has compiled the content, it identifies all articles containing each client’s search terms (keywords or phrases) and then automatically clips and delivers those articles or social media postings to the client. Unlike human readers in old-fashioned press clipping services, software seldom misses valid articles because it reads the entire article word for word.

Advantages of Online News Monitoring

The commercial monitoring services offer multiple advantages when compared to old-fashioned print-based press clipping services or in-house media monitoring by staff.

Today, with rare exceptions, every print publication publishes its editorial content on the publication’s Internet Web site. By monitoring print publications on the Internet (World Wide Web), online media monitoring services can monitor news media sources in all countries in virtually all languages. Online news monitoring services currently monitor between 20,000 and 50,000+ online news sources in multiple languages. Many of the online monitoring services utilize embedded translation software to include instant software-based translation of foreign language news clips.

Whereas the old-fashioned press clipping services required 2 to 3 weeks to deliver clips, online media monitoring services deliver clips overnight as a standard service and usually offer near real time delivery at additional cost. Most clips are delivered by e-mail in text or HTML format but other delivery methods are available including RSS feeds, XML and PDF via FTP transfer. The daily e-mail reports enable executives in client organizations to keep up-to-date with a fast and comprehensive overview of how their organization is being portrayed in the news and social media. The daily e-mail clip report also can provide early warning of brewing issues and problems.

With the use of Boolean logic in client queries, online media monitoring services can meet very specific and specialized media clipping requirements with great accuracy. Instead of delivering “all mentions” of a specific word, the media monitoring service can deliver a specific subset of articles and postings such as:

(Orange OR Sprint) AND (mobile OR phone OR cell) AND NOT -fruit OR Julius OR Crush OR “track and field” within 25 characters.

Because online media monitoring services deliver clips as digital computer-based files, clip storage, management and distribution are far more easier than with old-fashioned paper-based clips. Most online services store each client’s clips in a digital online archive that is available at anytime from anywhere by anyone the client authorizes. Using standard database methods, clients can easily organize and manage their clips in the online archive. Most digital archives include keyword search capabilities – that is, clients are able to search their digital clip book for any key word or phrase. Most of the digital archives also make it easy to circulate clips via e-mail to others within the client organization.

Social Media Monitoring

While news is clearly the core content to monitor, most organizations now recognize the growing importance of monitoring social media such as blogs, message boards, forums, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and video sharing sites such as YouTube. What is published or uploaded in these online social media sites has gained significant credence and influence. As a result, monitoring social media for criticism and complaints is now crucial to protect corporate and brand reputation – and to better understand what consumers think about the organization, its brands, and its customer service.

It’s possible, but inefficient, to utilize in-house staff to monitor social media using free online social media search engines. For the most part, however, social media monitoring services are more comprehensive and more time-efficient.

Most news monitoring services offer separate or integrated social media monitoring services. As in news monitoring, the key is comprehensive monitoring across a wide range of social media, especially blogs, message boards, forums, complaint sites and Twitter. With over 50 million blogs worldwide, it is not sufficient to monitor only the so-called “influential” blogs. It’s crucial to monitor as many blogs as possible because it’s impossible to predict where critical information will surface. It’s also important to use key words on a continuing basis to monitor social media. Monitoring social media sources for criticism and complaints can be especially effective as a customer service tool – correcting problems and issues and earning the customers’ gratitude before complaints spread virally.

Media Monitoring Summary

Most commercial media monitoring services are subscription based with a monthly fee for on-going service. While some services – usually ones that evolved from old-fashioned press clipping services – charge an additional fee for each delivered clip, most of the newer online services do not have per clip fees. To better understand the quality of each service and the differences in services, it’s best to use multiple services on a free trial for a few weeks before committing to purchase.

In summary, monitoring news and social media is a vital function to track news release placements, identify other mentions in the media about the organization, manage corporate and brand reputation, monitor competition, stay current on industry issues and other purposes. Commercial media monitoring services, especially online services, offer superior results and lower costs than in-house monitoring by staff.

© Copyright 2010, CyberAlert, Inc.

Article may be reprinted in whole or part with proper attribution.

Delegated Media Regulation Within the Context of Broadcasting in South Africa

Introduction

This paper discusses the concept of delegated media regulation within the context of broadcasting in South Africa. It briefly discusses the history of media regulation during the apartheid period; the transformation of broadcasting media from an authoritarian government, to a liberalised media, the impact of the transformation with regards to internal media policies; focusing mostly in broadcasting media policy. The paper will then discuss the formation of independent regulatory agencies by government as delegated bodies; to monitor broadcasting media. These include the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993 (IBA), the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and the merger to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA), and the existence of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA). In discussing these bodies, the paper will look at the role played by these organisations in regulating broadcasting media, and the impact they have in the development and monitoring of broadcasting media.

Brief History

Apartheid affected every single aspect of South Africa, including the media. Laws that regulated the media were tailor-made to restrict freedom of expression and subject the media to the extremes of the apartheid government. Before the rise of democracy, South Africa showed essential features of aristocracy; which consisted of whites, Indians and coloured people nominated to the legislative assembly. The ideology of apartheid brought division among the South African society along racial lines. The divisions in society and domination of the majority by the minority were reflected in policy formulation; which included stipulations that restricted the media (Fourie, 2004: 168). This was evident as the government exercised its powers in the broadcasting media. When the SABC was established in parliament, it was said to be the public broadcaster; but this was not the case. Because of political philosophies related to the political values of the society and those in power at the time, the SABC was the state broadcaster and not a public broadcaster; and as a result was said to be the apartheid state’s most powerful propaganda tool Dennis Jjuuko (2005: 3).

According to Jjuuko “The assumption to political power by the National Party in 1948 meant the Afrikanerisation of the SABC, which was achieved largely through controls of the board.” Jjuuko continues to say that during this time the SABC had to play a “significant role in the politics of the day, with no space to make independent editorial decisions.” This particularly had a negative impact on the importance on the SABC’s internal policies. As a result the SABC was referred to as “his master’s voice”, as it gave the government a platform to articulate the apartheid ideology, to control the people of South Africa; particularly blacks.

In support of this argument, one of the main laws that restricted media freedom was the one that reduced the broadcast/publication of activities of anti-government black groups. Fourie (2004) argues that from the apartheid laws “one can deduce that the public interest was very narrowly defined. (That) Many laws/policies of the apartheid regime only made provision for the interest of the minority and the security for their dominant position.”

Even though freedom of speech was in the constitution, it was not enshrined in the Bill of Rights, thus media freedom was not guaranteed. According to Fourie government/external policies forced the media to operate in a very restrictive legal framework; with more than 100 laws that restricted the conduct of journalists as well as media content. Government had the right to ban publications and to insist on the approval of media content before publication. This made the reporting of misconduct of government officials very difficult; and criticising the state was out of the question.

2. Transformation of broadcasting media
The transition to democracy during the mid 1990s raised questions on how to transform the media as an organ of “racist ideology into a forum of the advancement of national unity and equality” (Ashley Dawson). The transformation of the media incorporated issues of deregulation, liberalisation, diversification, industrialisation, convergence and privatisation. Also to be taken into account were economic issues, social and/ cultural issues, which include nationalism, local languages and cultural diversity; political issues-focusing on freedom of expression and freedom of speech, as well as the control and regulation of the media.

Early 1990, the National Party saw itself being influenced to take a liberal policy route in its broadcasting policies. This was due to the formation of a Task Group which was led by Professor H.C Viljoen, on Broadcasting in South Africa. The findings of the Task Group were not at all in favour of the apartheid government broadcasting policies. The recommendations were of a programming that “would cater for all sections of the general public” (Jjuuko, 2005). In a place of serving government, the SABC was to serve the public. The findings were clearly influenced by a functionalist paradigm and not power as was the case before.

Early 1994, the National Party (NP) and the African National Congress (ANC) agreed for the “SABC not to be used as a tool for political abuse” (Berger, 2004). Pressures rose as media practitioners were threatened by police and political activists, trying by all means to interfere with internal media policies and decisions. Media freedom was then enshrined in the constitution, as the right to information and freedom of speech.

Internal media policy
Internal policy can not be excluded from the external policy framework, for it is always formulated within the parameters of the external framework. This is due to the link between the media, economic and political structure of a country. Fourie (2001:190) states that “Internal media policy formulation takes place within the structure and operation of a medium itself. (And that) Gatekeepers are generally responsible for policy formulation on this level.”

A new political dispensation in South Africa impacted on the internal policy formulation of South Africa’s public broadcaster. There were also changes in the legal framework in the country, as the media could not broadcast nor publish certain information. “The unbanning of political organisations and political leaders in 1990 had an immediate impact on media internal policy” (Fourie). This was due to the fact that the apartheid news policy specified that the SABC would not offer a platform to opposition parties (Fourie, 2001). After 1990, the media experienced a more liberal working environment as the laws that restricted the media were amended; living more room for internal media policy.

As media democracy was in transition, government saw a need to delegate control to independent regulatory bodies to deal with media policy. These independent bodies would perform duties of allocation of frequency spectrum and licensing, the monitoring of broadcasters’ compliance with licence conditions, including content issues and competition, as well as protecting and upholding the editorial and programming independence of all broadcasters. All these changes were inevitably going to have an impact on both the power and importance of internal media policies over government external policies in both print and broadcasting media.

3. Independent regulatory bodies

3.1 SATRA – IBA – ICASA
Fourie argues that “The narrow articulation of the public interest by the previous government was also clearly reflected in telecommunications policy formulation and the implementation of this policy under apartheid.” As in broadcasting and print media, freedom to better services and access to this sector featured strongly in its policy formulation; also the application of universal service as a policy instrument reflected the historical inequalities of the South African society (Fourie, 2001).

The rise to democracy saw South Africa taking cognisance of the international trends; which included the deregulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting, and the phasing out of monopolies. Also technological developments which include convergence between broadcasting and telecommunications impacted on the regulation of both sectors.

The emergence of the first democratic elections in South Africa also lead to the transformation of the SABC as a public broadcaster; thus the formation of the Independent Broadcasting Act (IBA)1993, and the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of 1996. SATRA was established as an independent body to regulate the telecommunications industry. Also as the independent regulator SATRA had to balance the interests of consumers, and the stakeholders in Telkom as well as the market participants. The formation of these two bodies was due to the need to ensure the development of the media in areas of public broadcasting, commercial and community broadcasting, and lastly to guard against internal media policy.

As part of the transformation the IBA called for the Triple Inquiry, which stated that the independence of the media is a central public principle which ensures editorial freedom (Triple Inquiry Report, 1995). In 1995 the government indicated that it “fully recognised and accepted the role of the media to be a critical commentator on government activity in the country” and that “the media should be beyond the control of government” (Johnson, 1996: 297, sited in Steyn).

The IBA was subsequently merged with SATRA in 2000 to form the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The merger was to ensure effective and seamless regulation of the telecommunications and the broadcasting sectors as well as to accommodate the convergence of technologies. Through the formation of this independent regulatory body, it was then decided that editorial independence together with internal media policies were of outmost importance; that the broadcaster (using the SABC as an example) should safeguard its editorial independence to ensure its credibility as a national source of reliable and regular information.

As the democracy years rolled over, successive ministers of communication attempted to claw back some of the forfeited control over electronic communications, and correspondingly reduce some of the independence for the players involved. This trend has also been in broadcasting. “Government has felt that SABC has been law unto itself in deciding how to deliver on, and be accountable for, its legally enshrined mandate” (Berger, 2005). This is what led to the introduction of editorial policies in the SABC, which was initiated by the Broadcasting Amendment Bill of 2002. In embracing the importance of these internal media policies; parliament declared the independent regulator ICASA; which works at arms length from the government to approve them.

ICASA derives its mandate from ICASA Act of 2000, the Independent Broadcasting Act of 1993, Broadcasting act of 1999, and Telecommunications Authority Act of 1996. ICASA’s mandate includes the regulation of broadcasting in the public interest, and to perform adjudication functions. As part of delegated media regulation, ICASA works hand-in-hand with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa. The BCCSA was set up by National Association of broadcaster of Southern Africa in 1993 to adjudicate and mediate complaints against broadcasters/broadcasting licence holders.

ICASA also ensures fairness and diversity of views broadly representing South African society. One of its objectives is to ensure that in the provision of broadcasting services, the needs to language, cultural and religious groups, and the need of educational programmes, are taken into consideration (ICASA Position Paper 2000). It also promotes and encourages ownership and control of telecommunications and broadcasting services from historically disadvantaged groups. Again ICASA works with the Media Diversity and Development. Agency which also ensures the empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups.

3.2 The Media Diversity and Development Agency
After the 1994 democratic elections, the media in South Africa was still not reflective of the country’s diversity. The legacy of apartheid still played itself in various spheres of society, including the media, where the nature of the public discourse was shaped by patterns of ownership and control, such that the poor and disadvantage remained marginalised. The White Paper on Broadcasting Policy, 1998 concluded that, “Society benefits from free, independent, and pluralistic media.” It was then decided that a supportive policy environment was required; and in achieving this Government committed itself to corrective action.

This was due to the need to rectify the wrongs inflicted by apartheid in media development and diversity. Government took an initiative to set up an independent agency that will address problems of the media development and diversity in the country and provide assistance through loans and subsidies to the marginalised groups (MDDA position paper, November 2000). The MDDA’s mandate is to promote diversity and development in print, broadcasting and new media. It works with bodies dealing with Telecommunications, licensing and film. Also develops policies that are informed by ongoing research and evaluation.

4. Conclusion
It is of common knowledge that freedom of expression is one of the hallmarks of democracy; which requires a media that is free from state control. Before the democratisation of South Africa, the South African government was empowered to control the media, to limit free speech as it pleased. During this time newspapers were closed down, and anything that seemed to be giving voice to the voiceless, being a novel or a film, it was banned. Press freedom was at this time described as having “its left leg in plaster, its right arm in a sling a patch over the left eye, deafness in the right ear, a sprained ankle and a number of teeth knocked out” (Joel Merwis, 1979, in Berger 2004).

In redressing the historic imbalances caused by the apartheid policies, government saw it necessary to free the airwaves by delegating media regulation to independent bodies. This was and still is a way of ensuring democracy in the media sector. The telecommunications Green paper stipulates that, “telecoms is an important means of building democracy by giving citizens access to the information and telecommunications services that enable them to participate effectively in the decision-making process of society,” thus the formation of SATRA to guard against government interference.

ICASA and the MDDA also work hand-in-hand to ensure that “the central public interest principle in broadcasting is that of universal access, that there is a diverse range of language, religious, and cultural programming,” (MDDA, 2005). One can conclude and say the independent regulators are working towards harmonising dysfunctions; which can include opportunities for small media companies, challenges or problems around media policies to improve the functioning of broadcasting media as a whole.

Proto-Virtual Reality and Social Media

Embodied in statements like “let’s take a break”, “perspective psychology”, and “a government of citizens” is a complexity which often escapes popular media. Yet as media develops with the convergence of social media and technology conglomerates which harvest the new-found knowledge of brain functions, genetic dispositions, and artistic preferences amongst other things equally related, there is also a new-found tendency to elaborate social media capacities to encompass something which is more cognitive, which has direction, or even a form of psychological function. By all meanings of the terms, these are not senses that are merely blasé.

The opportunity for the newfound convergence between chemical reality and technological reality, now in its infancy, but now also at a meaningful stage which I call the Visual Horizon or Informational Event-Horizon, is presently that of visual and other media—known sciences such as statistics and mathematics—which are nonetheless authentically integrated with aspects of the human mind. These integrations or ‘impertures’ (a word I define as ‘implicit aperture or meaningful indentation’) have a potential for magic, not just because media offers what is commonly called ‘media-magic’ but because of the aforementioned convergence between the realms of media or media-chemistry—qua psychology—and brain science.

What I would like to do is open the door for psychological media, not as ardent film-making, or even cultivating media databases, or working on media-processing applications, but instead, the specifically magical application of highly specific usages of context for the sake of perspectival advantages. Furthermore, I will not leave it to your imagination to determine what I mean by magical media, perspective psychology, citizen-as-government, or taking a break. Instead these terms will be re-interpreted to connote something more meaningful for the media. More meaningful re-iteratively, upon their own context of perspective psychology, citizen-as-government, taking a break, or magical media.

First, consider open-endedness. To some extent it has been over-used. The media, by-and-large (I’m thinking of commercials during the SuperBowl) relies on a closed network of assumptions about what the consumer sees, hears, and interprets. This closed set of assumptions is a function of the open-endedness for the consumer. If it were not open-ended, if the consumer could not be by turns an Atheist, a bulemic, or the President, their specific approach to the SuperBowl would not have the same appeal. Clearly there are other options, but it is hard to reach for them. In the case of the expression ‘taking a break’ the SuperBowl offers one option, while determining a large fixed set of dimensions offers another alternative.

For example, in the context of complex media, what if ‘taking a break’ is a user-defined ‘location’? This offers the possibility of stretching the psychological imagination about what it linguistically means (and ultimately what it means to the consumer). Furthermore, what may be added to a concept of location is that it does not have to involve physically re-locating someone. It could be a change of information, visuals, or even chemistry. Additionally, these categories which replace location are interchangeable and inter-penetrating. If chemistry is a function of visuals, visuals can be used to cheaply simulate chemical location. These chemical locations then map not only to biological, genetic, and personality-testing quadrants of information, they also map to specific types of media.

Now let’s look at another example. “A government of citizens” can be translated several ways, such as “population”, “centralization”, and “government-as-citizen” and “citizen-as-government”. However, what does this say about media? This is not always obvious. But recently, social media has stepped in to provide a metaphor for social responsibility and public or citizen-consciousness. Clearly then, in this case there are three agents: [1] citizen, [2] technology, and [3] government. The interesting factor is that citizen might signify technology by offering specific applications which are a function of his or her own brain, and perhaps in that context he or she is the rightful authority over a specified area of intellectual property. This is like citizen-as-self-government. Furthermore, the corporatization of media institutes a kind of centralized government in highly mobile products, which may not even exist in the same country in which they were produced.

Interpreting from what I take to be the relatively dry context that I have described so far, the citizen-application-government paradigm can be extended further in the context of social media, when the media is a function of neurology, image parsing, and personality. I don’t mean a government role for media as much as I mean a vast relativism about what it means to be a media citizen. Clearly media not only alienates dysfunctions, but integrates functions, Thus there is an opportunity for government, media, and personal images to integrate in terms that are parsable by a computer. This in turn means more systemization in the standard and extended significance of images and other forms of media, not only to integrate within the context of media productions, but also to integrate in the context of computer functions. Beyond that, there is a recursive capacity to re-integrate ‘media-functions’ into functional concepts of citizen and government, presumably as agents-within-the-media.

The last term I mentioned initially was perspective psychology. Clearly the aperture here is through a convergence between variety-as-spice and the scientific advances which promote media and systems functionality. By turning this insight into a circle with ‘media-functions’ and ‘user-defined locations’ there is an implication that science itself is one of the standard apertures of media. There is also the implication that disciplines such as science will be open to a lot of user-generated content, along the lines of social media. There is an opportunity for the use of mass psychology combined with computerized interpretation to yield functional results.

Or, ignoring science for the moment, there is a direct potential between ‘media-function’ and concepts of psychology. Perhaps branding is not what I mean. Perhaps there is a different concept than branding which would serve a function for social media. For example, consider relativized brands. There have been signs of additional user-defined branding of personal products, particularly at that advent when users define entire systems for themselves (say, aesthetically, or etc.). These systems which the users define connote in their best form, actual authorities on media. Therefore, a number of conclusions follow: [1] Media will have localities of psychology, which are effectively user-defined. If users do not find they can own these locations, they will find a way to delegate the responsibility on someone else, including individuals, governments, or corporations. This is a real social psychology moment. [2] Emotions, under the authority of psychology, will largely define the nature of location, and hence information. Consequently [3] Systems will be a function of chemistry, and relatedly [4] Society will depend upon a meaningful science of media.

Here I have defined a number of distinct areas which may affect the future of media. These implications are metaphysical, but strangely localized. They are scientific, but highly personal. They are technical, but they implicate the world. Surely the future of media will benefit by considering this sort of tractatus that I have discussed, orienting the media towards those specific problems which affect the integration of mind, matter, and politics. It is these areas upon which the future of social media impinges.