10 excellent articles I read in February

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Wham! What was that? That, my friends, was the second month of 2016 flying by – even with an extra day this year, it was gone in a flash. All of that means it’s time for another roundup of great stuff that I read over the past 29 days.

Before I get stuck in to this month’s list, I feel like I should give a guinea pig update, given how awful January was. Thankfully, I’ve still got both of them, although Rodney did have to have emergency surgery earlier this month. Who would have thought such little creatures could cause you so much worry? In other news this month, I got to photograph one of my all-time favourite bands – Slipknot – for the very first time and then, the very next day, my new band Wave played its first show.

So, all in all February kicked January in the nuts and then pointed and laughed while it writhing around on the floor.

Annnnnyway, onto the list – some great links to check out here, please give them your time.

  1. Digital Identity Development is a Process (by Eric Stoller on Medium)

For the second month running my friend and Iowan fountain of wisdom Eric Stoller makes my list. This checklist of how to build your digital identity is fantastic, whether you’re a social media noob or whether you are an absolute master of all things digital, theirs is good stuff to be learnt here.

Key quote:

Forever Memory: Whenever I’m giving a presentation, I consistently emphasize the concept that once you post something on the Internet, it’s there floating around on the web for all time. Even if you delete what you just shared, there’s a good chance that it’s been captured or cached.

Read it in full

  1. LinkedIn: Slovenian club sign right-back after posting advert (by Matt Davis, BBC Sport)

Forget private jets, Harry Redknapp and frantic fax machines on transfer deadline day, just use LinkedIn instead! That’s what Slovenian football club NK Domzale did when searching for a new right back – their advert was viewed 232 times, received 150 applications and resulted in them signing Spaniard Alvaro Brachi. For all that is wrong with modern football, this story made me smile.

Key quote:

The club’s PR officer Grega Krmavnar told BBC Sport: “NK Domzale only has a small budget, we do not have the money to buy the biggest player.

“We needed a replacement and could not find one in Slovenia and had no other choice of players. LinkedIn was just an idea from our head coach Luka Elsner, so we decided it would be a good way, so Elsner decided to post it on the site on his profile.”

Read it in full

  1. So long social media: the kids are opting out of the online public square (by Felicity Duncan, The Conversation)

There are plenty of articles out there in the digital sphere about whether or not those ‘youths’ are deserting public social media in favour of private, messaging style networks, but this piece on The Conversation particularly stood out. As Felicity points out, things like the permanence of some social networks and the fact that your gran might be your latest friend request on Facebook could be pushing people away.

Key quote:

The great promise of social media was that they would create a powerful and open public sphere, in which ideas could spread and networks of political action could form. If it is true that the young are turning aside from these platforms, and spending most of their time with messaging apps that connect only those who are already connected, the political promise of social media may never be realized.

Read it in full 

  1. How social media can help universities in times of tragedy (by Donna Talarico, The Guardian Higher Education Network)

Much as it is not something you would want to think about, tragedies can happen and, if they do, social media can prove itself as a vital communications tool. This very well-written piece looks at how the death of a student can be handled and gives you some very useful tips, just in case the worst happens where you work. In fact, a lot of this article is solid advice for crisis communications in general.

Key quote:

In a time of crisis, the campus community will want information — so give it to them. Without an official announcement, people are left to speculate, and misinformation can circulate on channels the university cannot control. Getting in front of the story prevents…an information vacuum.

Read it in full 

  1. Snapchat for Mass Communication – A case study (by Richard Eccleston, LinkedIn Pulse)

Of all the newer networks out there, I’ve certainly seen Snapchat’s name bounced around more than most of the others, and there are plenty of ‘how to’ guides to pick from. However, there aren’t quite so many practical guides, which is why I really enjoyed Richard’s write up of how the West Midlands Police dipped into Snapchat – using their target demographic to help them set the account up too. This is a great summary that will undoubtedly give you a few ideas.

Key quote:

So, let’s start by answering the obvious question… why on earth would a police force be interested in using Snapchat? Well, the answer to that is quite simple… We already had more than 250,000 followers across our Facebook and Twitter channels, but we simply weren’t reaching out to ‘the kids’. Our analytics showed that only the tiniest percentage of our followers were 13-17-years-old – and attempts to encourage younger audiences to follow us on Facebook / Twitter were simply deemed ‘uncool’.

Read it in full 

  1. How to deal with negative or inappropriate comments on social media (by Emily Taylor, comms2point0)

Dealing with negative comments on your social media channels can be tough, especially when (and yes, I’m generalising here) senior officials see the negative comments, take offence and deem it to be a reputational risk. However, by dealing with negative comments in a human way you can actually give your organisation’s reputation a massive boost. This snappy list of tips is an excellent cribsheet to keep to hand and help you to decide how and when to respond (or, indeed, when to let your community do it for you).

Key quote:

Sorry isn’t an admission of guilt. A negative commenter is unlikely to expect an apology and sometimes that is enough to appease the situation and have a more measured conversation about the issue. If you are apologising, ensure that you have a solution or tell the person that you will get a response from the right person (particularly the case for our corporate page as we get asked about a lot of very different things.)

Read it in full

  1. Are you in a relationship…with the Library? (by the study blog, University of Warwick Library)

Now, I know I have a vested interest in this because the team at the Library here at Warwick are colleagues of mine, but I love how they approach social media. Their twitter feed is brilliant – a stellar example of building a community by having a conversation with them, rather than shouting at them – and this Valentine’s Day blog post really made me chuckle. It also features the word ‘bae’ and gets away with it. No. Really! If you’re writing footnotes more than you write love notes, this piece is for you.

Key quote:

It’s quite possible that you’re in a relationship with the Library. Don’t fear though, this is a partnership to be embraced and revered, for no other partner will treat you so well: be there for you on a rainy day, provide you with the support that you need and turn a blind eye to how many of those custard cremes you’ve eaten in the past hour.

Read it in full

  1. Facebook to open up Instant Articles: What publishers need to know (by Patricio Robles, eConsultancy)

With the exciting news that Facebook will be opening up its Instant Articles feature to everyone from April, you can expect to read plenty more pieces about them over the coming weeks. This concise but useful offering from eConsultancy was the best I’ve seen so far in terms of getting your head round what Instant Articles and how they might affect you – I’m absolutely fascinated to see how different publishers end up using them.

Key quote:

While Facebook says that Instant Articles are not favoured and won’t affect organic reach, many publishers will no doubt find Instant Articles attractive because it could help them better tap Facebook’s massive audience. Of course, they should also consider that by handing their content to third-party distribution platforms like Facebook, they’re arguably making themselves more dependent on these increasingly powerful platforms.

Read it in full

  1. Can Yik Yak Be more Than a Hotbed of Hate? (by Erin Nederbo, Sprout Social)

I must admit, I’m getting a little tired of reading articles about Yik Yak that only want to hate on the anonymous, geocentric platform – yes, there have been issues, but it ain’t all bad. I’ve seen plenty of heart-warming stuff on Yik Yak at Warwick (and, admittedly, some plain hilarious stuff too) and I’m of the opinion that Yik Yak still has a great potential for good. This piece doesn’t shy away from some of the negative bits, but also brings you some positive stories about Yik Yak too, including the campus community that flooded Yik Yak with uplifting quotes and the couple of found love on the Yik.

Key quote:

Whatever the approach, administrators should acknowledge and embrace Yik Yak, as students grow more vocal and active.  Contrary to all the hysteria and hype, the app presents a rare opportunity to strengthen a campus community both on and offline, ensuring the herd is heard—right out in the open.

Read it in full 

  1. This column will change your life: Helsinki Bus Station Theory (by Oiver Burkeman, the Guardian)

Something different to finish with this month – there is theory claiming that the secret to a creatively fulfilling careers lies in getting your head around how Helsinki’s bus station works. I won’t do it justice by trying to summarise it here, so just read the article instead – it’s certainly an eye-opener.

Key quote:

A hundred self-help books urge you to have the guts to be “different”: the kid who drops out of university to launch a crazy-sounding startup becomes a cultural hero… yet the Helsinki theory suggests that if you pursue originality too vigorously, you’ll never reach it. Sometimes it takes more guts to keep trudging down a pre-trodden path, to the originality beyond. “Stay on the fucking bus”: there are worse fridge-magnet slogans to live by. Just make sure you take it off the fridge when your prudish relatives visit.

Read it in full

What are your favourite reads from February? Feel free to leave me some links below, I’d love to read them!

*Photo from Cornell University Library, accessed via The Commons on Flickr: http://bit.ly/1OL2Gad

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