Social Media in Higher Education

By Josh Lawson | @JoshKLawson


Social media can be a hard concept to grasp. Most people say you need to be a master in something before you try to teach it to others. That way you can reword difficult concepts to students who don’t understand it. The medium of social media is constantly evolving and expanding. It’s often used in higher education to offer social CRM, but for students. It humanizes professors and can give a sense of ownership on the content we create.


The fact that social media is changing means that whoever teaches it needs to evolve with it. The platforms will change, but the basics will always stay the same, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a time-consuming industry. You constantly have monitor several different account and hashtags, learn everything that changes with each update, and experiment with new features that each platform offers.

Many students, faculty, and sometimes even professionals have no idea how to use any aspect of social media. This means there is a huge disconnect between the brand and the consumers. The most successful accounts on social media platforms are those who show the most personality in their content, have a social CRM strategy, and act like an actual person instead of a computer generating lackluster content.


Someone who teaches social media needs to have an excellent grasp on every concept surrounding the different platforms, rather than just the numbers and analytic data about them. Yes, that information helps, but not as much as hearing what it’s actually like to work in the industry using those tools and those platforms.

The information learned from someone who has professionally worked in the social media industry is invaluable. Those skills cannot be learned anywhere else. There is something completely different about learning vicariously from someone’s experience than learning from a PowerPoints and TEDtalks without trying to explain those any further.


The skills learned with social media are based in customer service, public relations, journalism, and ethics. We learn these skills leading up to this course, or at least some of those skills. We don’t need to be learning the data and statistics for these platforms, but rather we need to be learning how to use social media in the real world.

Journey to the Center of Memes

Joshua Lawson | @JoshKLawson

The definition of a meme is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. It originated in the field of psychology, and the internet has adopted it and changed the meaning while also embracing the previous definition.

We now live in the digital age. A wealth of knowledge is at our fingertips and fits in the palm of our hand. But, instead of using that tool to learn more about the world around us we use it to spread ideas of what we perceive as funny. Some people create their own memes to share with the world, and others just look at them and laugh. picture2

The definition of memes has expanded beyond intangible thoughts, to ideas that people can see and share. They allow people to experiment with different social cues, expand problem-solving skills, and adopt different social identities as a form of improvisation in relationships. Creating memes has become a new learning activity as

Creating memes has become a new learning activity. Users have to comb through different news outlets, trending RSS feeds, and other relevant content to create a meme that other people find funny and conveys the emotions they wanted. But that doesn’t all memes are good.picture3

Some memes have malicious intent. Some memes use images they don’t have permission to use. Before you make someone into a meme, just, think if you’d be ok if it happened to you. Think if it would affect the image, or personal brand, of the person in the meme. Overall, think before you post. You may think you did all your research, but always double check.

Fake News – Yup

By: William Branch

The election was an interesting one to say the least. Trump’s, excuse me, president-elect Trump’s campaign has set precedents; resulting in an apology from The New York Times, as well as amazement from multiple news outlets and political pundits. Reasons were given as to why everyone credible seemingly got it wrong.

Recently there’s been another finger pointed.

Towards fake, internet news site.

Fake news sites similar to the ones seen on Facebook feeds and Google result’s page (example below).

Photo Cred: Facebook


Social media is rife with unverified, and unsubstantiated information. Misinformation shared from person to ‘like-minded’ person resulting in a one-sided narrative. Commonly referred to as the ‘Echo Chamber Effect’, it is the process of individuals gathering news from other likeminded individuals online or off, further enforcing their own narrative resulting in a skewed-view of facts and opinions.

It is what led many to believe and share false stories posted as news from “hoax-writers” such as Paul Horner and hoax-sites such as the National Report. Buzzfeed reported in an article October of this year on the increase in false or misleading information on Facebook Pages. With the alarming number of occurrences where inaccurate information or outright lies are shared as truth it is very disconcerting to know that people are frequently being duped into believing such nonsense.

To combat the problem Google and Facebook recently announced that they will be putting a ban on fake-news content.

As reported by The New York Times on November 14th, Google plans on fixing their AdSense System algorithm to analyze sites based on “automated and human reviews” in order to restrict pages that “misrepresent, misstate or conceal information”. Facebook will update its Facebook Audience Network policy to place a restriction on fake news sites, specifically.

All in an effort to quell the furor around the hand fake-news sites had in ‘potentially’ influencing the election.


Wingfield, Nick, Isaac, Mike and Benner, Katie. “Google And Facebook Take Aim At Fake News Site”. TheNewYorkTimes, 14 Nov. 2016. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.

Dewey, Caitlin. “Facebook Fake-News Writer: ‘I Think Donald Trump Is In The White House Because Of Me’”. WashingtonPost, 17 Nov. 2016. Accessed 18 Nov. 2016.

Spectacles by Snap Inc

Written by: Hailey Turner

Snap Inc has officially started selling Spectacles they had announced earlier this year. Spectacles are sunglasses with a camera attached to the corner allowing for filming hands free. The glasses are being sold for $130 from vending machines being placed in select/unknown locations. With the purchase you also receive a yellow case/charger for these.


Photo Credit: The Verge 

A few specs about Spectacles

  • Battery lasts about one day
  • Can charge in the case throughout the day
  • Colors: Black, Teal or Coral
  • Plastic material
  • Work with both Apple and Android

To start filming a video the user must double tap the side of the glasses which will film a 10 second clip, this can be extended by tapping on more time filming a total of 30 consecutive seconds. One of the key features is the circle led light on the outer corner. This led light, can show how much battery the glasses have and lights up when filming is happening. Spectacles then can send the video to Snapchat on your phone in the ‘Memories’ section where you can then add filters or text and send to friends your your story.

This kind of technology is intriguing. It will be interesting to see how Spectacles with be revived into the world. I believe these being used in to creative interesting/exciting content but by a very small and select group. Personally, I do not like someone to have the ability to film in a discreet way in day to day life, I think this could cause confusion and lead to some being uncomfortable. Although the led light is there, I wonder how visible it is in direct sunlight or how noticeable it actually is. I will be very interested to follow this further and see how and if Spectacles does catch on.

These glasses are innovative, creative and unique and I believe these kind of innovations will be necessary to stay relevant in the social media driven world.


Instagram’s trying to compete with Snapchat.

By Jennifer Becan

Will it work? I don’t know.

According to an article by Adweek, Instagram is bringing people’s stories to the Explore tab. This will allow users to view stories from people they don’t already follow.

Image from:

Instagram is obviously trying to emulate Snapchat’s live stories in some way, and I can’t help but wonder why. Didn’t they already copy Snapchat when they introduced stories in the first place? Couldn’t they try for something a little more original?

On top of this, I also wonder how many users are actually interested in watching stories from people that they don’t already follow. I wouldn’t watch them. Then again, I don’t really watch Instagram stories from people that I follow in the first place.

On the other hand, according to Instagram, “more than 100 million people visit Explore every day to discover photos and videos from people they don’t yet follow.” I wouldn’t have guessed the number was that high. Additionally, there are many articles that argue Instagram’s stories feature, while a knock-off, is better than Snapchat’s.

Instagram’s bringing stories to the Explore tab could be a huge success. People could love it and go there for hours of entertainment.

Even with these points in mind, I’m still not sure how successful this will be for Instagram. Snapchat was there first. People know that and can see what Instagram is trying to do. Don’t get me wrong though, I love Instagram. It’s just that Instagram is typically for posting pictures, and that’s why I get on Instagram. To look at pictures. I don’t go to Instagram to view stories; that’s what Snapchat is for.

My guess is, people will use this for a couple of weeks just because it’s new and then return their undivided attention to Snapchat. Buy hey, I could be wrong.

Trump’s Social Media is Just as Embarrassing as his Personality

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Republican nominee Donald Trump was intentionally trying to lose the election. On a regular basis, his Twitter personality goes completely against what you’d think anyone trying to get a decent job would say, much less the largest job in America.

During the first presidential debate the most re-tweeted post was an old tweet of Trump claiming that global warming was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

The four-year-old tweet became relevant when Clinton accused Trump of denying climate change. Of course Trump said that she was wrong, as he did many times throughout the debate. That’s when tens of thousands of twitter users shared the old post, proving that he had contradicted himself.

You would think that a man who is so quick to accuse his opponent of being incorrect would spend a few minutes fact checking his own social media accounts. The fact that they were posted in the first place is embarrassing enough, but the real suspicion starts to build whenever we see that so many of these embarrassing statements were never taken down.



This isn’t the only time Trump has embarrassed himself on social media. The man has a long history of ridiculous claims, slander of popular icons, and outright neglect to appear professional.

We have to know that a campaign as big and expensive as Tump’s would include staff committed to his online image. This staff would obviously have the time to clean up his social media presence, or rather make it appear exactly how they want to.

The question then becomes clear. Why would Trump intentionally sabotage himself?

I can’t answer this question, but I can say that it points to larger forces at work. America has never seen a political candidate like Trump before. His strategy appears to be completely backwards to most. We wont know until November if it worked for him, but we may not ever know whom it is truly working for.

To see more social media embarrassments from Trump click here.


Photo source

Social Media at the Tower

I think we can all agree that social media is taking over our lives and so quickly. Every day we see more companies and businesses having a greater presence on social media platforms such as twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I am currently an intern in the Marketing and PR department of Reunion Tower in Dallas, and it amazes me at what a huge part of that is social media. It takes a special strategy to effectively execute this, you have to always keep the brand personality in mind, and know when it is appropriate to use it. My bosses are so good at automatically knowing when to use the ‘voice of the ball’ and I am also quickly learning.
There are many interesting techniques I have learned while on the job, a lot which come from the ‘behind the scenes’ side. As users we become accustomed to the user friendly format, and getting to see the fun data such as engagements and insights is so much cooler in my opinion. (I know what you are thinking, how cool can it be?) Getting to see all the effect your posts make, and the number of engagements you receive shows you what is working and what you should do differently. I have got to closely work with The Richards Group, since we are a client of theirs, and they have taught me step by step how to retrieve this information and it is fascinating, and super simple.
As the intern a duty of mine is to gather all this information from three of our platforms and transfer data to an excel so we can get a visual of our social media growth. At the company we offer season specials so it is great to see which ones are most effective and what interests our followers. I think it important to have some knowledge of this fast growing trend, and this course is going to be so beneficial for that.