Assessment 3

News media and the rise of audience participation

Everything has changed. Traditional media is no longer the dominant source of news, information, entertainment, and advertising. Information gathering, content creation, and distribution is no longer a set of tasks reserved for paid professionals.

Technology and the internet have changed all that. Blogs, social media and copious apps and tools for content creation have changed all that. Subsequently, a new media landscape has emerged – one where the privilege of contributing to public discussion and debate and the power of publishing and broadcasting is afforded to many rather than just a few. All of this is particularly significant for those involved in the news media industry.

The new media landscape has led news media to update their distribution methods to suit modern media consumption habits and has caused the industry to accommodate the audience’s ability to interact with content and contribute to public discourse.

Global social media usage (May 2018)
Graphic: Jacqueline Wales via Canva.

In the past, traditional mastheads and programs have been able to command large, loyal and concentrated audiences. Today though, each media brand tends to be a broad but interconnected network across multiple platforms.

For example, Fairfax Media Limited’s Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) newspaper has the largest cross-platform readership (print, web or app) in Australia – 4.235 million in August 2017 (Roy Morgan, 2017). The reach of the SMH brand doesn’t end there though. The SMH owns multiple Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, including accounts for content and niche audiences tied to specific segments of coverage such as sport (@SMHsport).

@smh (1)
A snapshot of a few of the Sydney Morning Herald’s print, digital and social channels. Graphic: Jacqueline Wales via Canva.

This type of modern media network is commonplace today and, subsequently, journalists are having to produce more content. They’re also having to use social media to observe, listen, and interact with their audience; they’re required to manage and utilise the interactivity that these channels innately allow and encourage (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 16).

Some journalists aren’t convinced there’re benefits to this (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 91). I am compelled to argue the contrary having recently learned more about the complexities of audience participation and related concepts such as co-creation (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 104), cultural production (Hutchinson, 2017, p.6), and cultural intermediation (Hutchinson, 2017, p. 221). I now have little doubt about the importance of new communication theory for news media practitioners, particularly where audience participation and guidelines for best practice are concerned(Lipschultz, 2018, pg 72). In my opinion, knowledge of methods for encouraging and facilitating audience participation is important and news media practitioners will be better off if they learn to be comfortable with increased participation sooner rather than later.

Aus. social media usage (May 2018)
Graphic: Jacqueline Wales via Canva

Generally, those who were once powerful gatekeepers (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 349) are experimenting with audience participation and elements of it have become part of the media’s day-to-day practices (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 299).

Many news media organisations now encourage their journalists to use Twitter to share their work and to use the platform as a way to find information and sources (Lipschultz, 2018, p. 16). Many journalists can also be observed on Twitter making an effort to engage with their audience in some way (liking and retweeting comments, gifs or memes by their audience). Journalists also often include or embed tweets in online articles and blogs.

Monday night is a particularly good time to sit back and observe how the media and the audience can interact and various forms of audience participation.

From early in the evening, Australia’s avid news consumers can be seen commenting, reacting and conversing on Twitter about current affairs while watching ABC TV programs such as The Drum; the nightly news at 7pm; the current affairs program 7.30; Australian Story at 8pm; Four Corners at 8.30pm; and then the live panel discussion and audience participation program Q&A.

The Drum actively encourages people during the broadcast to converse on Twitter using its hashtag – #TheDrum.

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 6.07.18 PM
A screenshot of a tweet by The Drum promoting their panel and their hashtag on Twitter

 

Those behind the ABC’s nightly news broadcast and its current affairs program, 7.30, don’t explicitly tell viewers to interact on Twitter, but people do, of course: the hashtag #abc730 is primarily used by news junkies wanting to comment or react to what they’re watching. This hashtag is a prime example of Twitter users organising themselves around a hashtag in order to ensure their contributions are seen and that they can connect with others.

Practitioners associated with Australian Story and Four Corners frequently interact with their audience on Twitter. The official Twitter accounts for each of these programs (@AustralianStory; @4corners) consistently share their own content as well as interact with user-generated-content by Liking and Retweeting and Replying to tweets by the general public. The journalists and producers associated with these programs often do the same.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Q&A represents the ABC’s most effective use of social media and takes audience participation to a whole new level. It is an interesting case study: it demonstrates how social media can become a fundamental part of broadcast media.

The program is broadcast live with a studio audience and a panel of guests who are chosen by the ABC based on their position in society, their expertise and their relevance to particular topics. Though the program is centred around politics, the program frequently facilitates discussion about issues related to society and culture (Q&A, “About the show”).

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.16.59 PM
An example of 4Corners interacting with an audience member (Jacqui_Wales) on Twitter
Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 7.17.16 PM
An example of 4Corners interacting with an audience member (Jacqui_Wales) on Twitter

The program has always stood out because of its format – it allows members of the public to step into the shoes of the traditional gatekeepers so they can ask questions directly to elected leaders and other influencers. The public can submit questions prior to the show and ask their question (if selected) as a member of the audience (Q&A, “About the show”, para. 2). Questions can also be submitted as videos (Q&A, “About the show”, para. 13).

I suspect that Q&A’s relevance in today’s media landscape though has more to do with its use of Twitter than anything else. Twitter is arguably the best place to observe the type of discussion and interaction that can take place in an online community. The Q&A Twitter conversation is so comprehensive, an observer can grasp what’s being discussed – what panelists are saying on the program – and how people are reacting without watching the live broadcast at all. I for one often consume Q&A this way.

Having said that, one incentive for people to watch the program is to view the tweets that are shared by Q&A during the broadcast. These tweets appear at the bottom of the screen and are selected by the show’s producers, who are perhaps the only gatekeeper’s left in this context.

Q&A says that it selects just a few of the thousands of tweets containing the Q&A hashtag (#QandA) published during the program (Q&A, “Q&A’s Twitter Feed”, para. 3). Anyone hoping to get their tweet broadcast can adapt their tweeting habits to ensure their tweets are eligible though.

For starters, a tweet must be only 115 characters to be broadcastable. It cannot include attached media, links or emojis (Q&A, “Q&A’s Twitter Feed”, para. 2). Tweeters can also adapt their writing style to suit what the gatekeepers are apparently looking for – tweets that are interesting and new ideas to the debate (Q&A, “Q&A’s Twitter Feed”, para. 6).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having a tweet shared by Q&A may be exciting or validating for a user, but it’s the conversation that happens on Twitter around the hashtag that is most valuable, I believe. Everyone’s contributions give an observer a better understanding of the variety of opinions that exist in our society. It also allows us to learn about other’s ideas, experiences, and knowledge. In this situation, it seems the Q&A Twitter audience is participating in cultural intermediation, a concept described by Hutchinson (2017, p. 221) as a “process of audience participation that is built on key aspects such as knowledge and expertise exchange, social and cultural capital translation, and multiple forms of platform governance”.

The examples above demonstrate that audience participation can exist on a scale. It can be anything in between consumers interacting around professionally produced content of their own accord or it can be organised and encouraged. As someone who believes audience participation can be beneficial to journalism and its ultimate objective – to inform and educate the public – I hope to see more programs and content creators adopting some kind of audience participation strategy. Ultimately, in my opinion, any professional in the field of mass communications who remains reluctant to use social media to reach and interact with their target audience is doing themselves and their audience a disservice.

Reference list

Hutchinson, J. (2017). Cultural Intermediaries: Audience Participation in Media Organisations. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lipschultz, J. H. (2018). Social media communication concepts, practices, data, law and ethics (Second edition.). London, [England]: Routledge,Routledge Ltd – M.U.A,Taylor and Francis,Taylor & Francis Group.

Q&A. (n.d.). About the show. Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/about.htm

Q&A. (n.d.). Q&A’s Twitter Feed. Retrieved May 4, 2018, from http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/about.htm

Roy Morgan. (2017). Sydney Morning Herald is still Australia’s most widely read masthead and Australians continue to embrace the shift to digital news. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/7306-roy-morgan-australian-newspaper-readership-june-2017-201708101543

Sydney Morning Herald. (n.d.). Celebrating 185 years of the Herald. Retrieved May 7, 2018, from https://www.smh.com.au/interactive/2016/185-anniversary/index.html

 

 

 

Advertisements
Assessment 3

Social and Cultural Capital

Social capital is in essence, a glue holding the fabric of a community together. The development of social or cultural capital can take place in many different spaces, be they virtual or otherwise. In this instance, I will specifically discuss the nature of social capital as it relates to Social Networking Sites (SNSs) and their usage.

Social media such as Facebook and Instagram are platforms which allow for the sharing of information between networks. This includes the sharing of articles, commentary, pictures and video. SNS ‘allow users to construct public or semi-public profiles, articulate their social connections with other profiles, and navigate these connections over virtual space’ Boyd & Ellison in (De Zuniga, 2017).

In the context of social media, social and cultural capital is related to the inherent value one’s connections within various networks of personal relationships add to one’s life (De Zuniga, 2017). The terms were originally coined in relation to more traditional social interactions, and their application in social media has allowed for the understanding of somewhat different phenomena (Putnam, 2000). Within the context of social media, capital can broadly be defined as ‘the value derived from resources embedded in social ties with others (De Zuniga, 2017)’. Taylor (2013) maintains that the significant attributes of social capital are: ‘trust, shared norms and values, shared resources and knowledge, reciprocity, resilience within relationships, co-ordination and co-operation for the achievement of common goals.’ According to Chen (2017), social capital can be split into two distinct categories: bonding capital, which primarily takes place between family members and close friends, typically categorised by higher levels of trust and intimacy. In the context of social media, the exercising of these relationships are more likely to lead to greater levels of emotional support – as well as a lessening of isolation or loneliness. The second category is bridging capital, for instance between acquaintances or colleagues. Bridging capital is categorised by weaker, less personal, ties and the sharing of knowledge and information across these ties is one of the key ways in which social media can help develop social capital.

Theoretically speaking, by building social capital within a social network, a user should be able to generate opportunities beyond what could normally be done alone, by providing a platform for collaboration and communication (Lipshultz, 2017). It also allows the development of everything from enhanced social trust and political and civic engagement to strengthening ties which would otherwise remain weak; and facilitating collaboration without regard to geographic location or time limitations (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). Social capital creates a pool of knowledge from which we can all draw, but also creates opportunities for online business activities (Lin & Lu, 2011) as well as being a key variable when predicting political participation (Zeng, 2018). It must also be utilised in moderation. It is also possible to negate any social capital you are building by asking to much from your audience. If your social networking profiles are consistently asking or promoting without adding anything to the conversation, your social capital reserves will quickly dry up (Lipshultz, 2017).

A surplus of social capital has been linked to overall happiness (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). This is partially due to the fact that it is easier for some people to develop social capital via social networking sites than face to face, for instance teenagers (or anyone really) with low self-esteem (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). Such people may have difficulty creating the kind of large networks that social capital requires in more traditional settings. SNS allow for a different approach to relationship building, and, according to De Zuniga (2017), they have radically changed the ‘structure and nature of social connection’. In 2011, a survey concluded that 65% of online adults in the US use SNSs (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). Concurrently, participation in more traditional social activities, such as Rotary clubs and bowling leagues has drastically declined (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). However, through the use of SNS, the community building associated with social capital can still be developed – by encouraging ‘communication, identification and trust’ (Lin & Lu, 2011). The stakeholders in this development have changed. New stakeholders, often previously underrepresented have been able to develop social capital through a number of avenues, including virtual collaboration and networking (Fieseler & Fleck, 2013). So, while our methods and means of social interaction may have changed, at least partially in response to social media, the stockpiling of social capital continues, simply in a new form. Of course, despite the fact that social networking sites allow for a somewhat more level playing field for the development of social capital, there is always the risk of a dominance by professional actors. It is therefore imperative that users of social media be aware of the influence of corporations on social media. This is partially due to the ability that social media has to segregate a market into niche categories, meaning that conversation and the flow of information crucial to social capital can be hindered (Fieseler & Fleck, 2013).

My group decided to develop a campaign for the Global Women’s Project – a worthwhile cause, and one that could provide social capital to a number of key participants, including the charity itself, the women it assists as well as those we were able to theoretically encourage to donate. We chose to use cultural influencers in our project, primarily in recognition of the significant social and cultural capital which they wield. Our message was an important one, but not necessarily what one might consider ‘flashy’ or which might achieve widespread notice without its being championed by an intermediary. We devised a plan in which we would reach out to a number of women, all of whom had a significant number of social media followers, that we believed may be persuaded to take action if prompted in the right manner. Each of these women, we believed, had significant social capital to reach out to their networks, and in effect ‘spend’ their capital in a beneficial manner. By spreading the word about a worthwhile cause, we were also in effect making use of social capital and adding to the collective knowledge base. Additionally, the encouragement of women to actively participate in the campaign is a clear effect of social capital – as has been previously discussed, social capital generates an increase in political and civic engagement (Antoci, Sabatini, & Sodini, 2014). The attention brought upon the women which the Global Women’s Project assists, has also allowed for them to create their own cache of social capital, and to develop a greater network of support. Examples include the specific telling of one woman’s story – spreading knowledge regarding the day-to-day truths of women in Cambodia:

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 8.14.11 pm

In addition, simple acts, like adding a banner or frame to a social media profile photo, are new and developing ways in which social capital can be developed.

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 8.22.34 pm

Overall, social media has allowed for new avenues in which individuals and corporations can develop their social capital, primarily by being able to fully utilise what once would have been considered weaker ties as a form of bridging capital. It is primarily a positive force within social media, one that can allow for previously underrepresented interests having a better chance of reaching an audience. But its uses are not limited to philanthropic means, and social media is a key resource for anyone, be they an individual attempting to strengthen interpersonal relationships, or a business attempting to grow their market. It is, essentially, the value that any one person or business can derive from their networks, and you only get out what you put in.

References
Antoci, A., Sabatini, F., & Sodini, M. (2014). Bowling Alone but Tweeting Together: the Evolution of Human Interaction in the Social Networking Era. Qual Quant, 1911-1927.
Boggs, C. (2001). Social Capital and Political Fantasy: Robert Putnam’s ‘Bowling Alone’. Theory and Society, 281-297.
Boyd, D., & Ellison, N. (2008). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 210-230.
Chen, H.-T., & Li, X. (2017). The contribution of mobile social media to social capital and psychological well-being: Examining the role of communicative use, friending and self-disclosure. Computers in Human Behaviour, 958-965.
De Zuniga, H. B. (2017). Social Media Social Capital, Offline Social Capital and Citizenship: Exploring Asymmetrical Social Capital Effects. Political Communication, 44-68.
Fieseler, C., & Fleck, M. (2013). The Pursuit of Empowerment through Social Media: Structural Social Capital Dynamics in CSR-Blogging. Journal of Business Ethics, 759-775.
Lin, K.-Y., & Lu, H.-P. (2011). Intention to Continue Using Facebook Fan Pages from the Perspective of Social Capital Theory. Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, 565-570.
Lipshultz, J. H. (2017). Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics. London: Routledge.
Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone : the collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
R, T. (2013). Networking in Primary Health Care: How connections can increase social capital. Primary Health Care, 34-40.
Zeng, F. (2018). The Impact of Social Capital and Media Use on Political Participation of Urban Residents. East Asia, 23-41.

Assessment 3

Is internet can be trusted?

Name:Yuqing Zheng

SID: 480152873

Introduction

Traditionally, people obtained news and essential information from trusted sources such as journalists who had researched the stories and media outlets that followed strict protocols and codes of conduct and practice. However, the increased use of the internet and the introduction of social media has led to the menace that is fake news. While many benefits are accrued by users of the social media platforms available, there are drawbacks. Social media has enabled the quick spread of fake news with unreliable sources tweeting, publishing, sharing and consuming information that is inaccurate and erroneous. This paper is a discussion of the social media communication with a focus on fake news. It will critically analyze the occurrence of fake news on social media with examples and evidence. Relevant infographics and images will be added to help provide the reader with a vivid idea of the extent of fake news.

Fake News

According to Martina Chapman, a media literacy expert, fake news is stories, news, pieces of information that are created to misinform, mislead and deceive the readers deliberately. Most of the time, the motive behind the fake news is to influence the perception, affect the person’s decision, push a political agenda, gain profits from the circulation and cause confusion concerning various issues. The internet has provided a new and easier way of spreading information since there are no regulating standards on the platforms. Fabricated stories and news often appear to be true and accurate, and readers have a hard time telling the fake and the real. This lack of understanding causes people to continue spreading information that is untrue. Social media plays a primary role in increasing the reach of this type of stories.

Due to increased sensitization, people are slowly learning how to differentiate between fake and authentic stories on the internet. However, fake news has also evolved to the point where there are many different forms of fake news and also trusted websites are exploited such that other similar web addresses with fake stories are created mimicking reputable news and media outlets.  Other forms of fake news include clickbait, propaganda, sloppy journalism, misleading headlines, biased news/slanted news and satire/ parody. All these forms exist on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, WhatsApp and Redditt among others.

Clickbait

These are websites addresses whose motive is to increase traffic to their web pages, and they use adverts and misinformation to attract internet users and more so social media users to click on the sites. Stories under clickbait are deliberately fabricated they use headlines that grab the attention of the user (Rubin , Chen , & Conroy, 2015). These clicks and sensational headlines are done at the expense of the truth and accurate information. Below is an example of a clickbait that uses fake celebrity news to generate traffic.

Figure 1: Shows the clickbait concerning Kendall Jenner ( DiSilvestro, 2015)

屏幕快照 2018-05-04 下午5.03.32

Source: SEO Agency

Propaganda

Stories that are politically influenced meant to introduce a biased point of view and or with a political agenda comprises of fake news. ( Gentzkow & Allcott, 2017)

Figure 2: shows the propaganda on a fake website concerning Donald Trump and the former president, Barrack Obama. (Higgins , McIntire , & Dance , 2016)

屏幕快照 2018-05-04 下午5.03.47

Source: The New York Times

Sloppy Journalism

Poor journalism which lacks in-depth research on the sources of information is another contributor to fake news. Upcoming journalists are quick to publish their news as they want to be the first ones to have shared the news. Industrial rivalry and increased competitiveness is another reason for the increase in the publishing of unverified news sources.

Misleading headlines

Headlines that elicit emotion and pique the interest of the user/reader are exploited in fake news spreading. The headlines are often seen on the social media pages, and their links are made available so that they can be clicked on and create traffic on the sites.

Biased/Slanted News

Snippets of the story are displayed on the websites, and they are used to sway the public into believing and supporting one-sided stories. Bias is a primary component of these

Parody/Satire

Some websites are known for displaying fake news for entertainment, and they even have their own social media pages that can be visited by users for consumption of the fake stories. The culture of satire and making parodies is also observed don YouTube with channels dedicating to speaking and propagating satirical content that is untrue for the sake of entertainment.

Social media structure has allowed for the sharing of fake news with more forms being created as a way to fulfill the objectives of the creators or fake news. Advertising campaigns are also using the fake news tactics such as exploiting the curiosity of the user and using sensational headlines. These adverts and websites have a presence on the popular social media sites, and they can be able to continue the trend of fake news on these sites (Marchi , 2012). The other challenge facing the fake news trend is the lack of accountability with different parties blaming each other for the culture.

According to the World Economic Forum, the public is to blame for the spread of fake news. It is the responsibility of every individual to ensure that they are aware of the consequences of spreading and sharing fake news on social media. The implications of this understanding are finding the authenticity.

Figure 3: Showing the graph of the weight of responsibility of different parties. (Singer , 2017)

屏幕快照 2018-05-04 下午5.03.56

Source: World Economic Forum

While the other parties such as Google and the social media sites are faced with the responsibility of installing measures that help in tackling the issues, the biggest influence, and the direct solution would be if people can differentiate between fake and real news. Fact checking sites have been made available to the public, and they help in filtering out the fake news. Individuals are then expected to check the stories before sharing them and exercise critical thinking.  Digital media literacy can also be taught to people and especially to upcoming journalists who have to deal with the misconstruction of news and facts. Other ways of ensuring that the shared content is real and true is by checking personal biases that might prompt a quick share without analyzing the facts, taking a closer look at the website and whether it has been verified by Google, looking beyond the headline, comparing the source with other sources with the same story and recognizing jokes, satire, and entertainment stories.

These tips are meant to help the public know how to detect fake news and reduce its spread and particularly on social media which is the largest medium. Social media is a popular avenue for the sharing and publishing of fake news. The ease of interaction that has been provided by social media site is one of the problems contributing to the increase in fake news. Various fake news forms have plagued our society, and their effects are negative and far-reaching. The creators of fake news do so with different agendas and motives. Some of the motives include earn profits from the traffic on websites, influence perception, and decision making and also spread propaganda for political influence. Overall, the public has the biggest responsibility in dealing with the fake news. There are different techniques that can be used to detect fake news on social media. They include fact-checking, comparison with other sites, looking at the web address, looking beyond the headline, and recognizing jokes, satire, and entertainment stories.

References

DiSilvestro, A. (2015, September 16). Clickbait Pros, Cons, and SEO Considerations. Retrieved from SEO Agency: http://www.seoagency.com/clickbait-pros-cons-and-seo-considerations/

Gentzkow, M., & Allcott, H. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21-36.

Higgins , A., McIntire , M., & Dance , G. (2016, November 25). Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income.’ Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/world/europe/fake-news-Donald-trump-Hillary-Clinton-georgia.html

Marchi , R. (2012). With Facebook, Blogs, and Fake News, Teens Reject Journalistic “Objectivity.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, 246-262.

Rubin , V., Chen , Y., & Conroy, N. (2015). Deception detection for news: Three types of fakes. Association for Information Science and Technology, 1-4.

Singer , P. (2017, January 13). We need to do something about fake news. Retrieved from World Economic Forum : https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/dont-believe-everything-you-read-but-believe-this-we-need-to-do-something-about-fake-news

Appendix

Figure 1: DiSilvestro, A. (2015, September 16). Clickbait Pros, Cons, and SEO Considerations. Retrieved from SEO Agency: http://www.seoagency.com/clickbait-pros-cons-and-seo-considerations/

Figure 2: Higgins , A., McIntire , M., & Dance , G. (2016, November 25). Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income.’ Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/world/europe/fake-news-Donald-trump-Hillary-Clinton-georgia.html

Figure 3: Singer , P. (2017, January 13). We need to do something about fake news. Retrieved from World Economic Forum : https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/dont-believe-everything-you-read-but-believe-this-we-need-to-do-something-about-fake-news

Assessment 3

PR in the Digital Age

G.PRICE – SID: 440322803
Wednesday 5-8pm class
(Simple Extension Approval by Rachael Bolton – attached in document on canvas)

PR in the Digital Age

How Social Media has changed the way in which PR practitioners operate

The development of New Information and Communication Technologies (New ICTs), and, in particular, social media outlets, has undoubtedly changed the ways in which public relations (PR) professionals operate. As Motion et. al. note, “social media has opened up new possibilities and raised many questions for public relations practitioners and academics” (Motion et. al. 2015, p.1). Scholars in the field have highlighted through considerable amounts of research that social media is having a profound impact on public relations (Motion et. al. 2015). However, due to the complexity of the ever-changing media landscape, the extent to which social media is impacting PR is “not yet fully understood” (Motion et. al. 2015, preface). This essay will consider how changes in the reliance of social media in Western societies today have transformed PR practices. The essay begins with a brief discussion on the history of PR and the various traditional tactics utilised by practitioners. Following that, it identifies three key ways in which social media has led to changes in PR. Analysis of these changes highlights that while there is no doubt the evolution of Web 2.0 caused a shake up in the ways in which PR practitioners operate, the new reliance on social media in PR campaigns is leading to positive outcomes for both PR agencies and their clients alike.

The History of Public Relations and Traditional Tactics

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 11.07.46 pm
Edward Bernays
(Image: Edward Bernays College of Communication Management 2018).

 The notion of public relations was first established by Edward Bernays who is considered to be the father of public relations (Team Hallam 2015). From the early 1900s public relations featured “traditional tactics, such as traveling publicity tours” (Lipschultz 2017, p.118). Being such a broad concept, that can in turn be applied to a multitude of situations, there is no one universally accepted definition of ‘public relations’. However, this essay will use the Public Relations Society of America’s definition of PR which states, “public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their publics” (as cited in Smith 2013, p.27). Traditional PR tactics include media/press releases, event coordination, press conferences and publications. Additionally, as Lipschultz notes, crisis communication was an imperative aspect of traditional PR. Prior to the development of the Internet and then Web 2.0, traditional PR relied upon media outlets such as newspapers, radio and television to disseminate information to consumers, raise awareness of a brand, build trust and manage a client’s reputation (Lipschultz 2017). While these tactics were often successful in delivering key messages to an audience, the communication was one-way and attempts to measure its reach and the overall return on investment (ROI) was extremely tedious and time consuming.

Content – The Press Release
While the definition and overarching goals one hopes to achieve through PR have remained relatively unchanged throughout time, the introduction of social media has led to many transformations in the field of PR. Specifically, new ICTs have meant that PR relies less on “press releases and traditional media relations,” shifting its focus to “shareable online content…with a relatively new interest in the direct reach of a message” (Lipschultz 2017, p.110). Despite what Lipschultz stated however, press releases are still a commonly utilised PR tactic. Today, as Fennell notes, press releases can be published on a company’s website, and shared on their various social media channels (Fennell 2017). Thanks to developments in our current media landscape, the traditional “two paragraphs and a thumbnail picture in the weekend business section of a newspaper” can now be an engaging, digital press release that reaches a far greater audience and encourages participation in one way or another (Fennell 2017). The reduction of print media in society today can be attributed to citizens increasing reliance’s on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to provide them with their regular news updates. Accordingly, many companies now have a ‘newsroom’ or ‘blog’ section on their websites with links to various forms of content that engage the stakeholders of the company. These are the ‘new and improved’ press releases: “blogs, vlogs, infographics, videos and in-house interviews,” which are now replacing the traditional press release as tactics for sharing information and promoting key messages with target audiences (Team Hallam 2015).

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 10.20.36 pm.png
Snapshot of SANE’s Media Centre with links to all media releases and social media profiles (Image: SANE 2018).

Engagement
As noted earlier, prior to the introduction of the Internet, PR campaigns commonly relied upon strategies that involved one-way communication. The traditional press release and other publications invited engagement only in the sense that they included contact details for a media spokesperson or other contact person and perhaps encouraged the audience to ‘write-in’. Today, PR teams use various social media platforms to efficiently engage with target audiences and initiate conversation with influencers. Juxtaposing the traditional one-way communication tactics, modern PR is highly engaging, it is “clickable, downloadable…interactive” and encourages two-way communication all thanks to the developments in social media and Web 2.0 (Fennell 2017). Social media has even gone as far as transforming the ways in which a press conference is operated. While press conferences were already considered to be an engaging form of PR when time was allocated for questions from the press at the end, the contemporary press conference is commonly live streamed on various social media platforms allowing audience members to engage by commenting questions throughout the conference and having discussions amongst themselves in the comments section of the stream.

Measurement and Evaluation
The transformation from traditional to digital forms of PR has led to significant advances in the ways in which PR campaigns are evaluated and their success measured. PR professionals can efficiently calculate the ROI of their work, highlighting its reach and success through reporting the number of views, likes, shares, clicks, comments and reactions their content receives. Measuring and evaluating the success of one’s PR work has become even simpler with the development of Social Media Management Systems such as Hootsuite. Whereby PR professionals previously used a ruler to measure ‘column inches’ in newspapers and thus calculate the equivalent advertising value of the space and size of the coverage, Hootsuite and similar tools provide in-depth analysis of social media use and ROI at the click of a button. As stated on their website, “Hootsuite analytics provides us with tangible and quantifiable insights into the success of content and how we can reach new and existing audiences better” (Hootsuite 2018). PR practitioners can utilise tools such as those available on Hootsuite to measure the impact of their social media campaigns while additionally being able to efficiently create update reports for their client highlighting various returns on investments.

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 11.00.17 pm
Example of Hootsuite Key Metrics Report (Image: Hootsuite 2018).

 

To Conclude
While there is no doubt that developments in social media use have been beneficial for PR practitioners in a number of ways, one must consider the complexities its advances have caused. Of course, the changes in the media landscape have resulted in the need for new research to take place within the field of PR. As Lipschultz notes, “social media tend to blur the lines between PR, advertising and marketing” (Lipschultz 2017, p.126). With that said, this essay highlights a few of the numerous positive ways in which social media is affecting the work of PR professionals and their outcomes for both clients and consumers.  This unit of study has taught me a great deal about the nature of the ever-changing media landscape and the various benefits of social media for society today. The practical assessments along with the relevant readings and group discussions will be of significant benefit to me in the future as I finish my post-graduate studies and begin my career within the field of public relations.

 

Word Count: 1288 words

 

References

Breakenridge, D. (2012). Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional. 1st ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.

Edward Bernays College of Communication Management (2018). Who Is Edward Bernays?. [online] Edward Bernays College of Communication Management. Available at: http://www.bernays.hr/Home/Page/en-US?name=who-is-edward-bernaise [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Fennell, J. (2017). PR in the Digital Age: A Powerful Marketing Tool. [online] EVR Advertising Agency. Available at: https://www.evradvertising.com/2017/11/07/pr-digital-age-powerful-marketing-tool/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2018].

Hootsuite (2018). Analytics – Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard. [online] Hootsuite. Available at: https://hootsuite.com/platform/analytics# [Accessed 25 Apr. 2018].

Lipschultz, J. (2017). Social Media Communication: Concepts, Practices, Data, Law and Ethics. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Motion, J., Heath, R. and Leitch, S. (2015). Social Media and Public Relations. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Sane (2018). Media Centre. [online] Sane. Available at: https://www.sane.org/media-centre [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Smith, R. (2013). Public Relations: The Basics. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

Team Hallam. (2015). The Evolution of PR in the Digital Age. [online] Hallam Internet. Available at: https://www.hallaminternet.com/the-evolution-of-pr-in-the-digital-age/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2018].

 

 

Assessment 3

The Self-driving Car Dilemma

Introduction
We’ve always see it in science fiction movies that explore cars that could drive themselves from the famous Nightrider to the smart cars in Spy movies. As technology has continued to develop so has the possibility of this fiction becoming part of reality. With each year and technological development the reality of self-driving cars on normal roads becomes a closer possibility with companies like Fiat Chrysler and Google at the helm of the technology. The current situation has the car functioning in controlled environments but as well all would know the roads we drive on are anything but controlled environment where we as drivers need to make split decisions that are safest for us as drivers or sometimes these decisions are just flaws of human psyche. These same drivers at in charge of making decisions when it comes to crashes and accidents no matter who is at fault a decision was made. With the reality of self-driving cars an overlap between self-driving and human driven cars accidents will happen and this is where the ethical issues play out. What ethical decisions will the algorithm of self-driving car make?

Self-Driving Cars
The technology for self-driving car is here as they continue to develop the prototypes and tested in controlled environments. In the near future we’re looking at a transition period where slowly self-driving cars and human driven cars will occupy the same roads. Possibly what we’re looking at is “in 10 years, expect to see four-lane freeways with two lanes for self-driving vehicles whizzing along at 120 kilometres per hour, six inches apart, and two lanes for standard vehicles, with an 80kph speed limit.”(Cowan, 2017). The purpose for developing the self-driving cars is to reduce the number of accidents on our roads by eliminating human error. As human error accounts for 94 percent of accidents on the roads.

What are we exactly looking at with self-driving cars being on the road?
The removal of human error is one aspect of self-driving cars. Other expectation is a wireless network that allows communication between traffic lights and other cars that allows for safer roads and better traffic flow.(Cowan, 2017) The self-driving car without a doubt offers a host of benefits in the future with its development. However the clear problem comes when things have gone wrong and an unavoidable accident is imminent.

In one instance the self-driving car is reducing human involvement and therefore human error. However this is problematic one solution to these situations is the driver will need to be able to take over the car for that moment, yet studies have shown drivers behind the wheel showed a “false sense of security” and didn’t pay the necessary attention for this to be a beneficial response.(Solon, 2018) Another response is that cars will be programmed with an algorithm that will discern what the best course of action is a course of a “relative negative consequence” and choose the “least bad option”.(Cowan, 2017) What this development shows is ultimately a significant problem that needs to be addressed when it comes to self-driving cars. How and what choices should the self-driving car make? What roles do the human occupants play in self-driving cars if any? This problem can be best looked at analogously to the trolley dilemma.

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 11.38.56 pm<img
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtApzKnGU94&t=4s

The Trolley Problem
When examining the ethical dilemma of the self-driving cars, the Trolley dilemma is the most useful analogy. The trolley problem suggests that there is a Trolley on tracks a fork in the tracks on one set of tracks are five people and on the other is one person. In this dilemma we have the choice to pull the lever and the trolley will kill the one person or let it continue its course and kill the five. The other version of the trolley problem gives you the option to stop the trolley from killing five people by pushing one person onto the tracks that will slow the trolley down enough that it won’t kill the other five people. (Nyholm, 2016) This framework helps us understand the problems the manufactures are facing now. While human drivers can react to the event unfolding in front of them, manufacturers must create a blanket algorithm for all scenarios or take into consideration every possible factor.(Nyholm, 2016)

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 11.39.46 pm
Source: https://ed.ted.com/on/ZNWXLxDk

The Ethics
The ethics of this situation are complicated going forward in this discussion. On one hand we’re looking to the manufacturer’s behind this car to have a blanket rule or programming for every foreseeable incident. The other aspect is to still have human control when it counts. While human driving is better than the statistic show in the sense we don’t know the statistics for a human drivers lack of accidents.(Hancock, 2018)

Human intervention isn’t the answer due to the lack of focus that is caused by behind the wheel of a self-driving car even if their are a features to force a driver to stay alert, this doesn’t seem practical for the purpose of the self-driving car. The more likely case is the manufacturers and engineers now are in charge of creating algorithms that will give the best case possible. What we’re looking at is being a society that is ok with machines being programmed to kill. To develop algorithms that help teach machines to have perception and mechanical skills that were developed in us through evolution. To develop an algorithm that will be policy for all the cars on the road. (Himmelreich, 2017)

Thus the ethical problem faced by us is the position to make our own choices in light of an event is now being completed overseen by an algorithm. While the trolley dilemma is meant to have you make the decision in these situations its taken out of our hand. Its possible in these scenarios the cars algorithm chooses the pedestrian over the cars occupants or vice versa. In this instance the engineers who programmed this are they liable for manslaughter for implementing this programming to choose who to kill? In Germany one set of algorithm is currently implemented for self-driving cars: “the car must try to avoid collision, humans before animal and property, and it chooses who to survive without discrimination”. (Tuffley, 2017) While a good starting system its still problematic we still have no choice and in some cases discrimination is better when it comes to the young versus the old. This ethical problem continues to post a host of factors into how to choose, in what scenarios. People are less likely to get into a car they know will kill them but the if it protects the driver it still has issues of how does it determine who it can hit. If they’re jaywalkers breaking the law does that alter the cars trajectory? The amount of factors the algorithm needs to make are immense and the engineers behind it face many problems.

The algorithm takes the control away from us when it comes to making decisions. Much like how social media can evolve after one simple post that gets shared, trends and its original purpose can be obscured. Even if the original post had a positive image if the altered post trends our ultimate chosen message becomes lost and out of our control. This is the world of social media and is problematic when looking at how to promote SANE social media campaign. Our concept was to build SANE’s campaign through building a community by people sharing stories. However, the target audience are a vulnerable community with the stigma following complex mental illnesses, a wrong decision with these stories could leave someone open to abuse and its mediation could be taken out of our control. While we would have made the initial decision to post or drive the algorithm and people can take things out of our control when in key moments we need the control to mitigate disaster.

The Conclusion
We’re looking at a definite future of the self-driving car with murky ethics that are not clear going into the future. Where we have to let go of our control of our lives when we step into these vehicles and put our full faith into an algorithm that we hope will make the best decision. What decisions would you make?

http://moralmachine.mit.edu/

References
Cowan, Jane. Driverless cars: Everything you need to know about the transport revolution. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-11/everything-you-need-to-know-about-driverless-cars/8336322. Accessed 26 April 2018
Solon, Olivia. Who’s driving? Autonomous cars may be entering the most dangerous phase. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/24/self-driving-cars-dangerous-period-false-security. Accessed 26 April 2018
Hancock, Peter. Are autonomous cars really safer than human drivers?. https://theconversation.com/are-autonomous-cars-really-safer-than-human-drivers-90202. Accessed 26 April 2018
Himmelreich, Johannes. The everyday ethical challenges of self-driving cars. https://theconversation.com/the-everyday-ethical-challenges-of-self-driving-cars-92710. Accessed 26 April 2018
Tuffley, David. At last! The world’s first ethical guidelines for driverless cars. https://theconversation.com/at-last-the-worlds-first-ethical-guidelines-for-driverless-cars-83227. Accessed 26 April 2018
Nyholm, Sven. The Ethics of Accident-Algorithms for Self-Driving Cars:
an Applied Trolley Problem? Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. vol 19. Issue 5 (2016): pp 1275–1289

Assessment 3

Produsage and citizen journalism

MECO6936 Social Media Communication

Assignment 3 – Online Article and Comments

MIANMIAN LONG

SID: 470318117

Tutor: Cherry Baylosis, Thursday 3pm-6pm

 

Introduction

A vital shift has been seen in the Web 2.0 environment on the media, economic, legal framework and social practice, which is called Produsage. Produsage resolves the problem that the needs of industrial production should be converted to the needs of information production in web 2.0 environment. Meanwhile, it provides the new way to look for collaboration content creation and development practices in the technical information environments (Bruns, Axel 2007).

produser

The core concept
The concept of Produsage, coined by an Australia media scholar Axel Bruns blurs the boundaries between passive consumption and active production. It is hard to tell the distinction between producers and consumers or users of content, now that users play the role of producers no matter if they are aware of this role or not. (Wittke, Volker 2011)The hybrid term produser refers to an individual engaged in the activity of produsage.

Four distinct characteristics
Produsage features four characteristics: 1) Open participation and communal evaluation; 2) Fluid heterarchy through ad hoc meritocracies; 3) Palimpsesticunfinished artifacts in an ongoing process; and 4) Common property and individual rewards.(Axel Bruns 2008)swarming-in-research-work-7-728

1) Open participation and communal evaluation
The key of produsage lies in joint creation rather than individual work, therefore most contents are created by different participators. For one thing, produsage provides a platform for people to produce content in a team and embrace open discussion. At the same time, unlimited people could engage themselves in it and have free access to the content. The content quality would be improved while the outcome is examined continuously. According Burns, this phenomenon also makes a contribution to the society, with the depth of useful knowledge provided until now.

2) Fluid heterarchy through ad hoc meritocracies
Most participants also play the role as the producer with multiple skills and abilities. This also enables each producer to feel unlimited, to have the freedom to voice his ideas and to create anything because they have equal right of producing and drawing on the content. Also, the position of leader is continuously changing in community, since the power needs balance, which encourages other people make possible contribution to the society.

3) Palimpsestic artifacts and granularity
Axel Bruns came up with a new theory similarly to Palumpestic through illustrating different aspects of community to challenge the traditional views of production and consumerism. In his view, the producer needs to write, rewrite, updating and keep giving them suggestions to better the content. All users can make efforts to push any article on Wikipedia, because each of them can interact and cooperate with others , before having an access to the article and adding their contributions to the original work.

4) Common property, individual rewards
The relation between private property and public property in field of produsage was also illustrated by Mr. Burns. He states that participation in produsage is motivated by the ability of individual produsers to make to a shared purpose which is represented in the power of produsage to generate motivation among produsers and the content being worked upon remains accessible to everyone. To encourage a diverse community to contribute and join in produsage, inevitably, there are a few obstacles to their contributions. Plentiful and accessible existing content must be available for produsers to edit and contribute to, together with minimal obstacles which involve technical and legal restrictions (Axel Bruns).

 

The further application  in produsage – citizen journalism

 

The introduction of citizen journalism

We can see these four characteristics at work in a wide range of produsage environment and projects, especially in citizen journalism.

In JD Lasica’s famous description, citizen journalism is made up of a large collection of individual, “random acts of journalism”. And certainly in its early stages there was few or no citizen journalist who could claim to be a producer of complete, finished journalistic news stories. Massive projects like the comprehensive tech news site Slashdot emerged among communities simply out of the interest of sharing bits of news peopple came across on the Internet. This process is just like “gatewatching”,contrasting with journalistic gatekeeping, which demands   long hours and days following up the publicisation of the initial news item and this  attached equally importantvalue to these stories through wide discussion and evaluation (Dr Axel Burns Blog,2008).

 

A case study of Slashdot News

 

In the initial of produsage process, the beginning story is notimportant at all, even though it benefits the culture and information creation. But due to some reality factors, the focus of participants usually turn to updating story with unlimited process.  In Slashdot news, the story one could find easily around us ( both the original news and following discussion and comments in communities involved) is merely a rough-cut artefact of the  ongoing process. However, Slashdot retains to be a  representative news— keeping theorganisation of  content in reverse-chronological order, this unfinishedness stands out all the more in the way that some searching engines like Wikipedia do with news stories, and entries on news items,    taking the 2005 London bombings for instance, are changing andeven years after these news events(Dr Axel Burns Blog,2008).

This conceptualisation of new stories is no stranger in citizen journalism. The public discussion and evaluation play an important part in community. Although that is a slogan: “it’s essentially saying to audiences, “here’s all that happened today, here’s all you need to know – trust us” but it could matter much more. Provided that some new information come up, it would be a new independent story rather than a updating part of the former slogan .

The factor of citizen journalism development

 

Actually, the development of traditional news has been in a poor condition, because the news coverage needs continuous add new stories. In contrast, the existence of  produsage in citizen journalism helps deliver an continuous and gradual coverage of news developments in long run. this advantage attributes to the Internet’s features . Through the Internet, it is possible to link to old posts, related comments and stories, and also other resources coulc  be drawn on to create a joint, ongoing, evolving coverage of news.But this does not equal that every thing here is determined by technology. It is not hard to find that those traditional and industrial format of news production put more emphasis on separate stories for the content in various types of newspapers and that model is being replaced by an ambiguous, ongoing, yet equally effective way of coverage. (Dr Axel Burns Blog,2008).

The industrial news is outdated but produsage news  keeps updating and never gets old, which just needs to be brought to date and extended all the time.

 

Its wide use in our life and group/ How does it applied/ used in our life and group?

 

Instagram:

With the development of Internet and technology, Instagram  an application which consists of the function of sharing the photo and video on Internet go on virus over the globe. Users enjoy the images and videos on Instagram, meanwhile they create contents and set them open to the public or selected users.

In our group work “SANE”, we also put instragram as our first choice platform where we’d liketo attract more potential users to pay attention to our campaign and care about the patients plagued by mental illness.

Facebook, Reddit:

Some of this kind of media website illustrate the other occurrence of produsage. An Internet meme is created by a  certain user, which then is recreated by existing photos or videos that others have posted. So the producer takes part in the discussion, recreation and sharing this content to other users.

Conclusion

“Users are no longer passive consumers, but frequently express a desire to participate actively in guiding the development process for new and existing products” (Bruns, 2007). In a produsage process, consumers are cooperating, editing and extending on existed products which experience continuous revision and evolvement (Bruns, 2007). In this case, they could not be defined as products traditionally but only temporary artefacts, unfinished and evolving via times of revision (Bruns, 2007). The produsage also finds its existence in the form of citizen journalism, which benefits in all walks of life. People are able to share news at anytime and anywhere, but sometimes fake news would show unavoidable wide-spread because anyone can do it.

Reference

Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation. In Proceedings Creativity & Cognition 6, Washington, DC.

Wittke, V. and Hanekop, H. (2011). New forms of collaborative innovation and production on the Internet. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen.

Snurb.info. (2018). Produsers and Produsage | Snurblog. [online] Available at: http://snurb.info/produsage [Accessed 27 Apr. 2018].

Bruns, A. and Schmidt, J. (2011). Produsage: a closer look at continuing developments. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, 17(1), pp.3-7.

Bruns, A. and Stieglitz, S. (2013). Towards more systematicTwitteranalysis: metrics for tweeting activities. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 16(2), pp.91-108.

Assessment 3

Crowdsourcing in social media

Name: Pan Wang

SID: 470083477

Tutor: Kai Soh (Thursday 6pm — 9pm)

conception

Social media has recently played a critical role in the contemporary world, such as some natural disasters and tragedies like Florida school massacre 2018. During these moments, people were able to share information through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter about their personal experiences (Gao& Goolsby, 2011). In related to crowdsourcing, people who create and share their views or information on the social media become a new role in journalism industry—citizen journalists, Tewksbury and Rittenberg (2012) conclude: “The shift from a top-down media system to one that features more horizontal interaction of people and news represents the change in the relationship that citizens and others in a nation have with information.” Everyone has a chance to speak online, which represents a new way of free speech as well (Moyo, 2011).

The growth of citizen journalists enables normal people to use their mobile devices to provide information conveniently in a very short time. Research has shown that crowdsourcing like citizen journalists allows organizations to share information as well as collaborate, plan, and execute shared missions.

WechatIMG1

Interagency map works as an intermediary public and organizations.

Not only in particular events mentioned above, crowdsourcing is also a new model emerged in recent years which distributes problem-solving and production based on the Internet. The concept was coined by Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson in the June 2006 issue of Wired magazine, describes a new web-based business model (Howe, 2006). As Howe explained that “crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined network of people in the form of an open call” (Howe, 2006).

Citizen journalists can represent a type of crowdsourcing that benefits the future of social media. However, it also has many drawbacks when it highly spread all over the world. Unlike the relationship between employees and companies, citizen journalists are hard to control and regulate. Individuals are free to speak anything about what is happening while the contents they post online are hard to judge whether it is right or wrong (Marchi, 2012). Crowdsourcing in journalism accompanied with fake news, which easily misleads public. As Goodrich (2013) claimed that crowds are not seeking for cash or free product, but demanding satisfaction in some ways, whether it’s recognition, freedom or honesty.

 

Case study: Ushahidi (www.ushahidi.com)

 

What is the Ushahidi:

Ushahidi is an open source crisis map platform created to help the relief community enhance cooperation in 2007. As the creator of Ory Okolloh (2009) clarifies that Ushahidi, meaning “witness” in Kiswahili, describes itself as a tool for people who witness acts of violence in Kenya to report incidents they have seen. The mapping platform based on multiple sources such as phones, Web applications, email, and social media sites, unitizes crowdsourcing for social activism and public accountability to collectively contribute information, visualize incidents, and enable cooperation among various organizations (Jeffery, 2011).

图片 1

Ory Okolloh, the founder and executive director of Ushahidi, which crowd-mapped the post-election violence in Kenya. Photograph: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Using the Ushahidi platforms, users can report what they experience or witness online and pinpoint the incident on a map. A short message service is also offered to report across a four-digit phone number. The report relied on social media to spread information.

It was a platform alleviating violence in Kenya at the beginning, while it has redesigned by many registers on the website. The concept of Ushahidi is related to world software development, open source software enables volunteers to create the product and distribute it free to anyone, users can modify or change the product to meet their specific demands, and communities emerge to develop and support it. This self-organization of innovators contrasts with the traditional closed approach, considers innovation most efficient and successful when it is protected and managed by experts. Ushahidi designed by citizen journalists and programmers to collect data and make a visualized system, let people exchange information in reports, locations, categories would have combined in a map. 2010 Haiti earthquake is the first time that Ushahidi as a crowdsourcing tool using in practice.

Ushahidi and crowdsourcing:

The development of Ushahidi platform is a good example of crowdsourcing: blogging helps to raise awareness especially community awareness, translation enables a wider network of bloggers geographically and linguistically, clear and smart functions help people understand how to use it. These steps mentioned in Okolloh’s report as a guide for their upgrading, all of them are related to crowdsourcing methods.

Okolloh noticed that crowdsourcing has a risk as a social media tool, ‘Truth’ cannot be guaranteed while the idea of crowdsourcing is enough. The feature of the report is supervised by the power of the citizens themselves. For instance, someone posted a false report in some place some time, other resources would say that it is not happening in the area.

WechatIMG3 2

Crowdsourcing for Crisis Mapping in Haiti:

Users are able to upload information about the disaster by using social media immediately. Crowdsourcing data provides organizations to do the reaction at the very first time. A short message service was spread through local and national radio station in two hours, after the 2010 Haiti earthquake happened. It was borrowed from a volunteer who works for Tufts University in Medford. During the earthquake happened, the Haiti crisis map showed more than 2,500 incident reports. These real-time reports allow governments and organizations to identify and respond to urgent cases in time.

Crowdsourcing tools can also analyze all the information and data from emails, tweets and so on. Filter all the useful information for people who need them, divide messages online into different categories, remind organizations which part in the disasters should be concentrate on. Rescuing actions could be arranged in a smarter way to help people.

Liberia2011Screenshot

As users can use the map to ask for help by using mobile devices, which has GPS function shows accurate location. It will not only help rescuers to find their locations but also reflect the whole status on the map based on geo-tag.

Even though crowdsourcing applications can update disaster reports, filtering information and reflect locations, it has many drawbacks. The system can not efficiently be apportioning each response to organizations, there may be an overlap when resource arranged. At the same time, citizen journalists cannot always provide the right information to the platform, all of the functions mentioned above may be a misleading message. The disaster relief cannot rely on these inaccurate data even though no one uploads wrong information deliberately. In addition, privacy issues also will happen due to all the information is posted to the public, everyone can track the location so that the workers may be in danger as well.

Conclusion

In conclusion, with the development of the Internet and mobile technologies, crowdsourcing and social media offer a wide range of possibilities for online service in numerous fields. Crowdsourcing is embedded in social media and facilitates organizations to draw knowledge and resources from dispersing online citizens, which leads to competitive benefits (Korzynski, 2017).

A large amount of online users provides abundant resources and technology aids which is the main reason for crowdsourcing in social media. However, it also brings many issues especially in terms of accuracy and privacy. Any forms of online activities require careful planning, integration, and corporate alignment. The future of crowdsourcing in social media requires strict regulations, form a comprehensive filtering system to define content from online content is necessary as well.

Reference

  1. Gao, H., Barbier, G., & Goolsby, R. (2011). Harnessing the crowdsourcing power of social media for disaster relief. IEEE Intelligent Systems26(3), 10-14.
  2. Tewksbury, D., & Rittenberg, J. (2012). News on the Internet: Information and Citizenship in the 21st Century. Oxford University Press.
  3. Moyo, L. (2011). Blogging down a dictatorship: Human rights, citizen journalists and the right to communicate in Zimbabwe. Journalism12(6), 745-760.
  4. Howe, J. (2006). The rise of crowdsourcing. Wired magazine14(6), 1-4.
  5. Marchi, R. (2012). With Facebook, blogs, and fake news, teens reject journalistic “objectivity”. Journal of Communication Inquiry36(3), 246-262.
  6. Ryan Goodrich. (2013). What is Crowdsourcing. Retrieved from the Business news daily website: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4025-what-is-crowdsourcing.html
  7. Simon Jeffery. (2011). Ushahidi: crowdmapping collective that exposed Kenyan election killings. Retrieved from the guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/blog/2011/apr/07/ushahidi-crowdmap-kenya-violence-hague
  8. Okolloh, O. (2009). Ushahidi, or ‘testimony’: Web 2.0 tools for crowdsourcing crisis information. Participatory learning and action59(1), 65-70.
  9. Paniagua, J., Korzynski, P., & Mas-Tur, A. (2017). Crossing borders with social media: Online social networks and FDI. European Management Journal35(3), 314-326.