Social Media Tools


Social Media Tools

                        There are a variety of impactful social media tools available for media creators. Many of the tools are resources that people use daily such as blogs, texting and photo sharing websites. A media creator needs to have an understanding of how all the tools work, who the tools may target, and what type of content needs to be created for the tools in order to leverage the goals and gain a maximum impact.

The first tool to be examined is an RSS feed. An RSS feed stands for Real Simple Syndication (, 2016). In this tool, one subscribes to a website and receives updates from that website, typically via email. The website suggests several websites to both gather RSS feeds and a tool that will allow one to receive RSS feeds via email from a given website.

NetVibes was one RSS feeder examined (NetVibes, 2016).   This is a website that is useful to collate feeds. When first examined, this resource was not user friendly and navigation was not innate. A secondary source was found to explain how to use NetVibes and why to use NetVibes ( Esegulov, 2006). Esegulov’s article explains how one can make one start up page on NetVibes that contains all the news feeds from your favorite websites so one does not have to visit each website individually. After reading this article, it is apparent how this tool can be used to collate current feeds from multiple sites that may relate to a given topic on one page. Below is a screenshot from the homepage for NetVibes.


Another type of RSS tool that will be even more useful for an individual creating their own website is feedblitz (, 2016).   This is a tool that one can create an RSS feed to be pushed out from your website to emails. This is a paid resource, but for a creator that wants to get news stories out to consumer frequently, it would be a worthwhile spend. If one ones to leverage an RSS feed they need to be willing to have meaningful news items frequently to push to the public.

QR codes are another useful tool for media creators. The QR is a barcode that one can scan with a smartphone and will direct the user to a website, phone number or email (, 2016). These QR codes can be useful to create a link to information on a poster, business card or on anther website.   It is important to make sure this code links the user to a beneficial, actionable piece of information. An example would be a poster for web resource displayed at a conference with a QR code to link the conference attendee directly to the resource.

An example of a website where one can create free QR codes is Kywa (, 2016). Below is a screenshot of this website. It is very easy to use and free to create a static code. For example, if one wants a QR code with a static link to a website, they simply enter in the desired website as noted below and this website creates a QR code with a link to the website. This website does charge to create other types of QR codes for items such as contact information and coupons.


A mashup is a third useful tool. A mashup combines data from more than one source into a single tool ( This resource is very beneficial is one has a website and they want to have a map embedded on their website. For example, if one creates a website for a store that has multiple locations, one can use a mashup tool to create a map on their website with all their store locations.

An example of a website that will help with the mashup, is Zeemaps, 2016). This website is straightforward and one can manually add addresses, as in the screenshot below, or if there are many addresses to be listed, a spreadsheet with the addresses can be uploaded.


A creator of media that wants to get out important messages needs to be savvy and leverage all the resources available to them to get out messaging in the appropriate way to the appropriate people. People tend to rely too heavily on tools they are familiar with such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but other tools can be useful to get different types of messages out tin unique formats.


Resources, (2016) New Media Resources Retrieved January 25, 2016 from

Esengulov, A. (2006) What Is NetVibes? Retrieved on January 26, 2016 from

Feedblitz (2016) Retrieved on January 25, 2016

Mashable (2016) Retrieved on January 27, 2016 from

NetVibes (2016) Retrieved on January 26, 2016 from

Zeemaps (2016) Retrieved on January 26, 2016 from



Comm 510: Oconee County

Oconee County Observations

                        On-line blogs can serve as an source of information. Often a bloggers can supply advice, reviews, opinions, information or news. When utilizing a blog as a source of news or information, one needs to view the blog with critical eye to determine a basis and assess its accuracy. One trend in digital media is citizen journalists frequently contribute to blogs. A citizen journalist can write very good, accurate stories, but they can also write stories that may not hold up to current ethical standards.

An example website to asses is the Oconee County Observations website (Becker, 2016). This is a blog created by Lee Becker. Lee Becker has a PhD in mass communications. He is a professor of journalism at University of Georgia. He has won several awards and has published multiple papers (Cox International, 2016). Based on these credentials he should be considered a professional journalist instead of a citizen journalist. It is interesting to note his area of interest is how media can affect labor forces.

Dr Becker’s blog, the Oconee County Observations, is a news blog about the county he lives in, Oconee county. Much of the content is reporting news about land grants, local government actions and votes in the local commission. Interestingly, the titles of the blogs do reflect some of Dr Becker’s opinions. These include titles such as “funding Unclear”, and Plan Uncertain”.

It is apparent that Dr Becker may not agree with what his county commissioners are doing. He is very clear on his information about the blog that this website is his opinions, but he does strive to be accurate. He does post responses to his blogs from officials. In many ways, he does strive to be accurate on this blog. The one issue is that he may have a conflict of interest in his reporting (SPJ, 2014). He has a personal stake in what happens in the county where he lives, so it may be difficult to be unbiased when he does not agree with the commissioners.

Most people would hold Dr Becker up to higher standard since he is a professor. They may not look as his blog with quite as a critical an eye as they would if he were a citizen journalist. This opens up issue that a citizen journalist probably needs to be more vigilant about details and facts to be held in the same regard as a blogger who is a professional.

The rise of blogs written by both citizen journalists and professional journalists has led to a new rapidly evolving resource for people. As media consumers, the message needs to be “buyer beware” when assessing blogs from both sources.




Becker, L. (2016) Oconee County Observations Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from

Cox International (2016) Dr Lee B. Becker retrieved on January 18, 2016 from

SPJ (2014) SPJ Code of Ethics Retrieved on January 18, 2016 from

Comm 510: News, Mistakes and Errors

Mistakes, False News and Errors

                        When an important news story is breaking, everybody either goes on-line or turns on the T.V. news to see what is happening. People want to know what is going on, if they are safe, and what is coming next. They do not want to wait and hear all the details tomorrow morning. In today’s world, there are multiple 24 hour news stations and they need news to report all the time due to consumer demand.

Sadly, this culture has led to press reporting false information in important news stories. One example is the Boston bombing. At one point, news sources reported an arrest had occurred, and this was not true. This led to the FBI criticizing the press (Carter, 2013). This is an example of the “report now, apologize later” trend in the media. Even though this trend has become common, one needs to consider if it is ethical.

The first thing listed in the SPJ Code of Ethics is that journalists should take responsibility for the accuracy of their work and verify it (SPJ, 2014). Reporting false information, such as in the Boston bombing example, is not having their work verified. The Code also says that speed should not replace accuracy (SPJ, 2014). So, again, in the 24 hour news culture, items still need to be verified. Just by reviewing false news reports in the past several years, then looking at the Code of Ethics, it is easy to come to a quick conclusion that these practices are not ethical.

Further research into this “report now, apologize later’, culture may lead to a much murkier conclusion. The consumers of news are demanding to have answers, and have them now. Most viewers will change the channel if news outlets are just reporting nothing when an important story is breaking. They will turn on one that is releasing new facts. Based on this consumer pressure for news 24 hours a day, one needs to consider if there needs to be a new Code of Ethics. Perhaps, a new Code of Ethics needs to be created to reflect changes in social media (Buttry, 2010). In this updated code, journalists can report things seen or reported on social media, but with clauses such as “unconfirmed reports” , “social media is saying” and other qualifiers so the consumers knows these may not be verified facts.

In this new media culture, the responsibility to confirm what they are seeing is a fact, is on the consumer. Certainly, journalists, need to do their due diligence, but the burden has changed. Children in schools should be taught how to critically evaluate things they see on news and social media. The public needs to look for “qualifier” in press stories and consider the stories. This burden of checking is now on the consumer due to changes in reporting that have been driven by consumers. The need for instant, 24 hour news has pushed the media into a new world.


Carter, B. (2013) The FBI Criticizes News Media After Several Mistaken Reports or Arrest Retrieved on January 10, 2016 form

Buttry, S. (2010) Journalists Code of Ethics: Time for an Update? Retrieved on January 10, 2016 from

SPJ (2014) SPJ Code of Ethics. Retrieved on January 10, 2016 from

SNHU Comm 510 Post 2: Sources, Credibility and Social Media

Sources, Credibility and Social Media

Social media is an excellent resource to connect people and allows everybody to be contributors to online media content. The nature of the web allows people to post about any subject they are interested in, but it does not make them an expert. Social media has also allowed false stories to be posted and shared. As people see the same information repeatedly, they tend to think it is true. With the speed that media works, sometimes false information can make it to news outlets and be reported to the public as news. An example is in 2012 a blogger posted that the South Carolina governor was going to be indicted on fraud charges, but it was not true. The blogger just recently apologized, but it was too late for the elections (Hall, 2013).  If a reader of this blog had critically evaluated the sources, they would have uncovered the truth.

One needs to critically examine blogs and articles before they accept the details in them as fact. Providing an example of how to evaluate an article’s source may explain the process further. There are several ways to evaluate the credibility of web resources and they include examining the author’s credentials, seeing if the author has peer reviewed articles, examining what organizations the author is associated with and looking at what type of website is the article posted (Montecino, 1998).

The article evaluated is a December 2015 Huffington Post article titled “Inside a Chinese Coding Boot Camp” (Sheehan, 2015). This is a news article about how there is a movement in China to teach students to learn to write code for programs. The article discusses how the current Chinese educational system and government support memorization as the primary form of learning, but writing code is a different skill. The author of this article is Matt Sheehan. Researching this author online on a Google search, one finds that he is from the US but has lived in China for the past five years. He is a regular contributor to the World Post and has a blog about China (China file website) He is a freelance journalist with a degree in political science and a translator. Most of his publications are in the Huffington Post and he does not have any peer reviewed articles (LinkedIn). Based on the information about the author, he does appear to have advanced knowledge and understanding about China. He appears to be a regular news contributor. This author is a credible source for this article.

Another component is examining the website on which this article was posted. This article was found on the Huffington Post website. Researching Huffington Post, one finds out that the website is a news aggregator and a blog (Wikipedia). News from “non-professionals” such as bloggers may or may not be as accurate as information from journalists. As mentioned above, researching the author is key to determining if the blogger has appropriate credentials. The news aggregator portion of Huffington Post most likely will have more authority on subjects (Monetcino, 1998). One may want to consider if an article on Huffington Post is a blog or a news story. In this case, the article researched was on the World Post News portion of the Huffington Post. The World Post strives to post news articles from both known and unknown journalists to help people get a world view (The Guardian). Since this article is in this section, it can be considered a reliable news story.

This article is a reliable resource on China based on research. Reaching this conclusion took a moderate amount of time and lead to reading many different online resources. This highlights, that as a consumer of the web, it is not simple to determine a blog or articles credibility. If one is a journalist, it is their responsibility to do due diligence and complete this research before any information is released to the public as fact.


China File website Matt Sheehan Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from

The Guardian World Post News Website Launches. Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from

Hall, R. (2013) Idiot Blogger Finally Apologies for false Report He Posted in the 2012 Election. Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from

LinkedIn Matt Sheehan Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from

Montecino, V. (1998) Helpful Hints to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources. Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from

Sheehan, M. (2015) Inside a Chinese coding Boot Camp Retrieved on December 30 from

Wikipedia. Huffington Post Retrieved on January 5, 2016 from