Week 9: Midterm essays and cleaning up

March 7-20, 2018.

Goals / Tasks:

  • Solidify knowledge from the courses’ two first-half books via two “blog essays” that add up to a midterm exam (50 points).
  • Make contact with and meet a non-profit so you are ready to roll during the second half of the course.
  • Clean up the “getting techie” component of the first half: 1) join HootSuite or other scheduler and start using it; 2) spruce up / customize your WordPress.com blog.
  • Write up your first-half self-assessment memo and send it to me ASAP if you didn’t get it done last week.

Reading and Writing.

I’m combining these two because your midterm exam will take the form of two blog essays that add up to your midterm exam.  No flexibility in time here: if they aren’t done by March 20, they cannot be completed later. The information and knowledge you will be synthesizing are essential to the second half the course; that’s why there is no wiggle room.

Midterm Exam Essay 1:  Re-read the SMSG chapters on Blogging, Facebook, YouTube & Flickr, and Twitter.  Draw on those readings to formulate a general plan that you will take into your work for the second half.  Use SMSG to formulate an argument you will give to nonprofits for using blogs (because they won’t want to do it).  Clarify why and how they should be using  Facebook.  Evaluate whether you would recommend Twitter, Instagram, or even more use of Video via YouTube.  If there are strategies described in SMSG you disagree with, feel free to also engage those and explain why you might “break the rules.”  SMSG, for example, recommends that organizations be very careful with tools like HootSuite; Heather Mansfield says readers will recognize when your technology is posting, rather than you.  I have actually had pretty good luck counting down to events by setting up a daily post for African Soul, American Heart.  Readers “liked” those posts and interacted with them; I in-turn interacted with the people.  So this might go into my midterm exam: show non-profits how to use HootSuite to set up automatic posts, but make sure to follow up those automatic posts with responsive, human-touch posts.    I will be looking for some specific quotations, close paraphrases, page numbers cited, and foreword thinking planning.  I’d recommend a general introduction to your philosophy of social media (as developed by reading SMSG and working on this course) followed by how that philosophy will play out in blogs, Facebook, and other social media.  200 or so words about each for a post in the 600-1000 word range.

Midterm Exam Essay 2: Re-read Strategic Social Media and identify what you think are the 5 most important principles a non-profit organization needs to understand.  Please draw on multiple chapters because the book is offering a more cumulative argument than SMSG.  The others are trying to explain how you build community, then move that community into action, so make sure your selection of principles captures that process.   Use direct quotations, close paraphrases and cite page numbers as you are identifying the principles.  Support each idea with an implementation idea specific to social media use for non-profits. I’d recommend a very short summary of Strategic Social Media as the intro paragraph to this blog essay, and  followed by about 150+ words on each principles for another 600-1000 word post.

Although it is risky for me to let you share your exams with each other, please reblog your posts to the course site and share them on social media, just as you have been doing all along.  I encourage you to learn from the first few posts that emerge, but be careful not to plagiarize. I’d rather see you link to others’ posts and build on them, rather than pretend you didn’t read someone else’s post.

All mid-term exam posts must be reblogged by Tuesday March 20th at 11:59 pm.

Interacting and Getting Techie

The most important interaction this long, long week (includes spring break) should be with a prospective non-profit.  You need to touch base with an organization, explain your assignment, set up a meeting this week, spring break, or week 10 at the latest, and be ready to work regularly and effectively with this group during the second half of the course.

If you didn’t complete the midterm self assessment, please do so by Friday March 9.  Please submit a memo to me (via email) that functions as a self-evaluation or your work, that provides me with some data points, and that gives you a chance to make an argument for more holistic (and presumably better) grade.   Tell me:
  • About particularly ambitious posts: video posts, audio posts, mashups—posts that took considerable time and energy to produce.
  • Reposts or pingbacks you got–signs that others liked your work and shared it some way or other.
  • How many comments you received on a particularly active post, how many in total.
  • How many comments you posted on other people’s blogs, or what other strategies you used for driving traffic to your site.
  • Please also provide a screen capture image or other output that shows me your WordPress Stats: weekly visits, comments, etc..

Please evaluate yourself holistically: did you get more or less traffic and conversation than you expected? What would you say about the quality of your exchanges?  Overall, did you do excellent work, good work, adequate work, or inadequate work to be a successful user of Web 2.0 tools? What score would you assign yourself out of 50?


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