First APOC Class!

Posted: January 19, 2010 in Entertainment, Research, Social Media, Social Network, Television, Websites
Tags: , ,

Welcome to my year long journey through graduate school at USC’s Annenberg Program for Online Communities! APOC is a one-year graduate school program in new media, Internet marketing and online social networking sites. All year long, I’ll post highlights from my classes, current events that pertain to digital media, technology, branding and marketing and info on upcoming classes.

Monday, January 11, 2010: Our first speaker was Jeff Cole, the Director of the Center for the Future of Digital Media at USC. He gave us an overview of where the media stands today and where it’s headed in the next several years. Since I’ve work in the media for the last twenty years, I’ve seen none of his data surprised me, but three things he said stood out:

  1. “The word “engagement” is the future of advertising.” I sincerely believe that companies must create ways for their customers to interact with their products and services. If companies continue to just put brand/image/topical messages out to the people without the interactivity, they won’t be successful long term.
  2. “Fifty percent of people occasionally go online from their bathrooms.”  People are now taking media with them everywhere and being mobile is critical to any marketing strategy.
  3. “Branding is more important than it’s ever been.” I’ve been pushing and fighting for brand positioning in every news product that I’ve ever promoted.  Companies must have strong, quality brands that cut through the clutter if they are going to succeed.

Haiti Earthquake: I first heard of the earthquake in Haiti in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday, January 12, 2010. I was flipping through the channels in my hotel room and CNN was covering the story. I immediately went to my computer, and once again, social media became a part of the story. The first pictures from the disaster appeared on Twitter and Facebook, and thousands of updates were posted every minute on these two sites. These pictures quickly appeared on the broadcast networks, cable news channels and local TV stations. The first live interview I saw with someone who was actually in Haiti was an aid worker who happened to have a satellite connection in his home and was doing the interview via Skype.  This should serve as a signal to the broadcast and entertainment industry that social media is not only here to stay but will continue to be a viable source where people go to get news and information. On Wednesday morning, I read a story from a newspaper reporter online that stated how ‘different the social media contributions were because they were unfiltered by editors.’ This is true but it’s still the news and information that people seek. Media professionals can’t keep trying to put social media in a different category than what it is: another source of news and information that people want.

Text Fundraising: How far we’ve come! It used to take days to put together fund raising efforts for disaster relief. Now we can set up a mobile account take text donations almost immediately. Within hours of the earthquake, Musician Wycleaf Jean was on CNN, asking viewers for a $5 donation by texting ‘yele’ to 501501. (Now he’s underfire for the distribution of these dollars.) Other campaigns hit the air, including one set up by the Obama Administration: text ‘Haiti’ to 90999 which is being promoted by everyone in the TV biz and in PSAs with Michelle Obama.  According to Tech Crunch, $5 million dollars was raised in the first 24 hours of setting up the 90999 and as of January 15, 2010 at 3pm, over $10 million had been raised with more coming in. Tech Crunch also listed the other text campaigns set up to help Haiti:

Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross

Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee

Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada

Text YELE to 501501 to donation $5 to Yele

Text RELIEF to 30644 to get automatically connected to Catholic Relief Services and donate money with your credit card

Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way

Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation

Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International

Next week’s class: No class today due to Martin Luther King Day, so more on our second class next week!

Final thought: I’ll always end my blogs with a cool stat, website or tidbit that I learned that week. This week’s cool website is the final project of former APOC students Kaywan, Katie, Marguerite and Yan. Check out It’s a street style online community that focuses on showcasing the individual style of Los Angelinos in their neighborhoods through photos, videos, articles and an interactive map. By this time next year, I’ll be sending you a link to my final project in the APOC! Strap in, kids – it’s going to be a great year!

  1. Carrie says:

    Fantastic!! Great start – can’t wait to follow along this year!

  2. clintschaff says:

    Thanks for pulling those great points from Cole’s remarks — I’d forgotten that quirky ‘net-in-the-bathroom factoid. And way to shout out the crew — way to build community! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s