Category Archives: Tech Trends and Analysis

My Analysis on Social Media and Technological Trends

What I’m reading: Creatively Canceling School; The Future of Organic on Social Media

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Hello from snowy West Virginia!

We’re facing over a foot of snow here for sure. Our driveway is measuring 18 inches! Though I’ve got a ton of projects to work on and a puppy who is getting restless since the snow is too tall for her to get outside (see Instagram photos on the column on the right, and below), I want to take a quick minute before strapping my snowshoes on to share a few articles from around the web.

Just for Fun

Well, school is canceled for us today. Though the announcement from Shepherd University wasn’t quite as creative as the Durham Academy’s cancellation in Durham, NC.

Continue reading What I’m reading: Creatively Canceling School; The Future of Organic on Social Media

What is The Future of Content Marketing in 2014?

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As I discussed on this blog, 2013 was to be the year of content marketing. (Here are all my posts on content marketing)

Recently, Gary Shirr (@ProfessorGary) brought up an interesting point in a discussion post he made to the Teaching Social Media Marketing LinkedIn group I’m a part of. It got me thinking quite a bit.

Continue reading What is The Future of Content Marketing in 2014?

The Super Social Super Bowl? Great Reads You May Have Missed

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Another week is almost over.  This weather has really made it challenging to get in the flow of the semester. Classes were canceled on Monday, and school didn’t open until Wednesday at noon. I want to take a quick minute to share some great reads from the week:

Super Social

The big talk this week has, of course, been about the social media and the Super Bowl. Here are a list of great articles I came across about how brands used social media for the big game:


PRNewser’s Study: Doritos, M&Ms, and more score perception bumps with super bowl previews – As we know, brands now release their big super bowl ads before the game. What is the effect? This article explores.



Fast Company had a great article looking at Audi’s plan for the big game. While many were talking about the dog commercial, what went unnoticed by many was Audi being an early adopter of using Snapchat for advertising. From the reactions I saw via Twitter, people seemed to enjoy Audi’s Snapchat photo memes.  Missed them? They were only around for 24 hours (unlike the 10 second limit for interpersonal messages). These messages were unbranded, and not related to cars. Here is one review. Personally, I applaud Audi for trying something new and different!

Winners and Losers

But the big question is often who are the “winners” and “losers” after all is said and done? Opinions of course vary, but you’ll see some trends emerge on these articles.

PR Daily’s “Social media ups and downs for Super Bowl advertisers” –

Marketing Land’s “25 Most Fantastic Social Media Updates From Brands During the Super Bowl

And The Metrics?

Here are some interesting stats from AllTwitter, including noting that game-related Tweets increased by 800,000 from last year.

And Media Bistro put together an insightful infographic of the social chatter, including a look at sentiment for different brands.

So what was my favorite Super Bowl ad? Putting everything aside, I have to say… Radio Shack’s #InWithTheNew 80s giveaway.


Talk about the 80s in your ad (oh, nostalgia! My love for the 80s is only eclipsed by my love for the 90s), give away a table-top Pac Man arcade (I spent many of my high school years saving up for one of these only to never get a chance to buy it!) via Twitter to increase engagement, and you’ve got my attention. Doesn’t that make them the big winner? No. I’m not sure what Radio Shack’s future is… they tried to rebrand themselves to “The Shack” just a few years ago. And I honestly don’t know how long they’ll be around. But I loved the commercial… but it looks like despite my Tweet, I didn’t win that arcade game.

Maybe next year!

That’s all for now! I am hoping for warmer weather and less snow in the coming weeks. Though if my WeatherBug app is correct, I won’t get what I wished for. 😛



More on Google and News Releases; New Google Tools; The Death of iGoogle

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It has been a very busy few weeks here. Good news: It is Friday and time for another web roundup! And I will be turning in my mid-term tenure review portfolio today! wahoo!Scout on the stairs

Great articles from around the web:

Recently, the great blog SpinSucks posted an article reminding practitioners about the recent changes from Google that can have a negative impact on your news release. Here are their tips on how to avoid a Google penalty! I wrote about this several weeks ago if you care to learn more about the WHY behind these needed changes to news release writing online.

Wendy’s Hilarious and Clever Social Media Campaign – Here’s a great article about the latest from Wendy’s – a series of nonsensical soap opera style videos with real user tweets as the script. Absolutely clever. Absolutely hilarious. Check them out!

And, since I like to talk about cool tools for both in the classroom and for productivity for professors, here is a great list of 14 Google tools you may not know existed. While I knew a many of them, I found some cool new tools from this list, some of which are useful in the classroom – like Google’s NGram viewer that would be great for infographics! Btw, I’ve got a few more productivity post tips in the works.

How Social Media Killed iGoogle – Do you remember the customizable landing page? I do. I never got into it. This post helps me understand why – information gathering via social media, including incidental exposure, has killed the personalized portal.

Lastly, happy to see, though I suppose you already knew this 😉 – more professors are using social media in the classroom to teach.

How would you use iPads in the classroom?

Recently, another faculty member and I secured funding to get 10 iPads for our department (6 minis and 4 retinas). While we have some great plans on what we’d like to do with the iPads, I’d love any ideas and suggestions you have on how we can maximize our use of the iPads for learning. What creative ideas and suggestions do you have for using iPads in the classroom? If you’re using iPads in your classes, how are you using them? What has your experience been like? Please share your comments below, via Twitter, or G+. Thanks so much!

Scout update!

Lastly, a quick update for the Scout fans! Scout is growing up so very quickly! I have lost count of how many weeks old she is now, but she’s 27 pounds (she was 14 when we first brought her to the vet a few weeks after we got her).

We’ve spent a lot of time training her (I highly recommend The Power of Positive Dog Training) and taking her to a “puppy kindergarten” class. She recently passed her first puppy class, and we are hoping to enroll her in the next stage. She has been a joy and I have learned a lot – it has been a growing and learning experience for me!  A few weeks ago, we traveled to Pittsburg for a work function for Kelin. During that time, Scout got a chance to visit the breeder where she came from. She got to see her mother and sister. You can follow Scout on Instagram! Scout was confused by  her first Halloween, barking at the children! But she soon settled in. Thanksgiving will be fun!

The fascinating origins of the iPhone and Twitter you didn’t know

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What is the story behind great technological innovations?  What was it like for those involved in making them? What were the struggles? The “aha!” moments?

I recently came across two great articles from the New York Times Magazine that tell the story (both myth and reality) of two of the biggest innovations in recent history: the iPhone and Twitter.

I share a lot of content across the social web (follow me on Twitter 🙂 – @mjkushin). But I want to take a moment to share these in depth articles on my blog and talk about them a little bit because they are two of the most insightful and enjoyable reads I have come across in months. While both are a bit long, I strongly encourage you to take time and read them.

Now I’ve been a Twitter user for several years. But I’ve never owned an iPhone. In fact, the iPhone came to be when I was in grad school and though while all my friends back home who were working had one, I couldn’t justify the expense on a TA’s stipend.  And besides, I grew up a Windows kid ever since we got our Packard Bell 486 back in the early 90s. While I use a Mac now, I wouldn’t say I’m a full-fledged Mac fan.  But the iPhone story below really gave me new respect for the innovation that was the iPhone and just how groundbreaking it truly was. It has been a few short years and we take for granted the multi-touch, the great picture, and the ability to do so much with a little computer in our pockets. But it wasn’t always that way…

“And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’” From NYTimes Magazine tells the stressful and secretive story of the invention – from concept to reality – of the iPhone through the eyes of Andy Grignon, an iPhone engineer. It is a lengthy and thorough article that tells the story about the launch of the iPhone by Steve Jobs at MacWorld in San Fran, 2007.  It is absolutely fascinating to see the guts and forcefulness of Steve Jobs. Though the audience probably never realized it, the iPhone presented at MacWorld barely worked. So how did they make it happen? You’ll have to read the article to find out.

All Is fair in Love and Twitter” from NYTimes Magazine is the story of a simple idea – a service that allows people to share what they’re doing right now. That idea became Twitter, which we recently heard is going public. What you may not know is that Twitter exists perhaps because another company failed, a podcasting company called Odeo. Interestingly, this also has to do with Apple… but I’ll let you read the article to find out.

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did. These histories, and though recent that’s what they are, area fascinating!

– Cheers!


photos: top – Creative Commons wikipedia | copyright Twitter

The Link Schemes Change by Google: Why I Am Not Afraid!

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I recently posted on the impact the change to Google’s link schemes is having on what we should teach students about writing press releases for the web. But what does this change mean? There are some concern around the web that this is going to have a very negative impact on PR. There again, some seem to be completely ignoring this issue.

Here is my reaction.

(Note: I should have more clearly emphasized in my original post that this lesson extends beyond press releases into other online articles distributed on other websites – like online article marketing campaigns and widespread guest blog campaigns).

Is Google’s update to its link schemes the beginning of the end of PR as Foremski warns?

Clearly this update places greater importance on creating compelling content that folks want to share organically, or to use Google’s terminology “naturally.”

Will this change devalue the press release? From my standpoint as an educator: Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. I don’t think you should be either.

I like Jason Kintzler’s view on the subject in 5 Ways Google Just Helped the PR Industry (And I like what his team is doing at PitchEngine. Maybe that’s why we are using PitchEngine for our social media release assignment). Particularly, I like his point on engagement – that relevant content is content that meets what an audience is looking for which increases the likelihood that it will get shared. But he also warns that unless folks “wake up” (his terms) “they will be replaced by other seemingly unthreatening parts of marketing and communications.”

So why am I not worried?

Because the savvy strategic communicators you and I are seeking to educate are storytellers, not press release machines. They are creating content for an interactive and interconnected multimediascape that users will find, enjoy, and want to share, naturally.

Wherever communication industries are going or not is fine with me. And I think it should be with other educators as well.

That’s because I believe If someone is going to come along and lead communication and relationship building online, it is going to be the type of student I and many others want to teach. That is what excites me about students. They aren’t afraid. They learn, adapt, innovate, and are not confined by “how something has always been done.”

I believe our goals as educators should be to strive to prepare ourselves and to help our fellow educators prepare our students to be the ones with the skill sets to lead that wave, whatever it is going to be.  I don’t know everything, things keep changing, and I’ve got a ton to learn! Isn’t that empowering and motivating?

I am not one for “how it has always been done.” And I know of a ton of educators who are they same. They are the folks bravely driving innovation and new ideas, experimenting, thinking about what’s around the corner, and not afraid to take risks and learn from them. The dozens of educators I have met, follow online, or otherwise observed (such as wonderful Promising Professor presentations at AEJMC!) are not stagnant. They are passionate about change.

Whether this or any future change by Google or some other entity means the press release has less value than ever or not, it shouldn’t matter if we 1) are adaptable and innovative educators, and 2) are teaching our students to be strong writers for the web with an eye for engaging content.

Maybe what I’m trying to say is, what an exciting time it is to be an educator!

I hope you all have an amazing semester! Today is our first day. I look forward to learning from you and growing over the coming months!

Next week I will share how I am teaching writing press releases for the web as part of my Writing Across Platforms course.

photo credit: jonrawlinson via photopin cc