Case Study: Invisible Children

The Invisible Children non-profit organization was formed in 2004 by filmmakers Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole in San Diego, CA. Their aim was to arrest Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) guerrilla, responsible for war crimes, kidnapping of children to train as soldiers and sexual exploitation. The Invisible Children initiative comprised of films documenting their travels to Northern Uganda where they heard accounts of children who had been kidnapped by the LRA. It motivated them to screen their films at churches and schools across America, targeting youth to advocate for these children by raising awareness and donating money. As the films gained recognition they raised millions. They have followers on many popular Web 2.0 media sites like: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, Youtube, and Pinterest. Through likes, shares, and hashtags they gained momentum. Their widespread online presence helped them in hosting a Global Night Commute in 2006, representative of the night walks children of Uganda took to escape the grasp of the LRA. Approximately 80,000 people participated in the event in 130 cities. Another film launching their Kony 2012 campaign was presented on Youtube and went viral with 120 million views in its first week. Teens and college students across the U.S. were encouraged to contact 20 culture makers and 12 policy makers to promote their cause and stimulate action in congress. They also sold Ugandan made merchandise and tool kits to raise funds. If awareness is what they were after, then the campaign is still considered to be one of the most successful outreach initiatives emerging on the internet.

The weakness in their social-media and film based strategy is that they needed to capture their young audience’s attention in a short amount of time and give them a call to action. The problem with this is that they took a complex subject and over simplified the complexities that surrounded it. There was quite a backlash from human rights activists who pointed out that issues involving guerrilla warfare, governmental systemic corruptions, and lack of border security in the invaded countries were not being presented. Some even believed that their social media strategy created “slacktivists” who are not actually contributing to the cause and are instead just spreading the word without researching the topic first. They pointed out that only 30% of their profits directly impacted the Ugandan children and the rest was used for films, travel  and salaries. Jason Russell, a co-founder of Invisible Children, stated they are an advocacy group not an aid organization. However there was still criticism over their lack of work with humanitarian groups in Africa and unlike other social media activism arising out of Egypt, Sudan, and Libya in this case it was middle class America speaking for Africans that created some animosity. Suggesting they were out of touch, some brought up the fact that the LRA was down to a few hundred soldiers and had migrated to other surrounding countries like South Sudan, Darfur, and Republic of Congo where they only had some flare ups. As well as stating they needed to make Kony famous because of his supposed anonymity however the LRA had been terrorizing villages in Africa since 1987. There was an arrest warrant issued to him and other LRA leaders by the International Criminal Court in 2005 and the U.S. began cooperating with the Ugandan government for Joseph Kony’s arrest in 2008. Finally in 2010 President Obama sent 100 military advisors to train African forces in the affected area. So to say that he was unknown was overstated. Yet another question was once Kony is arrested what is their next course of action?

The internet has the power to showcase good as much as it does bad and with all the adverse reactions came a mental breakdown suffered by Jason Russell as a result (the infamous TMZ video). It further served to diminish their credibility but it did not take away the fact that their organization stood for a good cause however wavering it was. They were able to take the criticism and turn it on its head by forming allegiances with African humanitarian groups, passing bills in congress, creating rehabilitation centers for displaced families, and radio networks to alert citizens of LRA activity. Their goal to disseminate the LRA is quite a heavy feat which they continue to strive towards even as their income has decreased and a once passionate popularity has died down some. They since have launched the Fourth Estate Summit, a world-wide human rights activism conference. Looking ahead they are rebranding, restructuring, and branching out into campaign consulting.

Their Facebook page with 3,312,347 likes and Twitter (where #stopkony emerged) with 263,000 followers are linked to one another. Not very active on Google+, with their last post being from June 27, 2014. Their Vimeo channel with 4,252 followers and Youtube channel with 255,753 subscribers has videos uploaded 2-3 times per month promoting their new endeavors. They even have a Pinterest page! Their content seems to be fairly uniform and consistent with their appeal to youth by posting inspirational quotes and even pop culture references like the one on FB about the Mockingjay: Part 1 premiere. They draw people in with stylized images and the feeling of activist rebellion, like their new tagline indicates: “jump first, fear later”. They also have a website where they explain the cause, what they are doing to accomplish their mission, and what you can do to help.

From what it looks like on their website their team is comprised of what they call an “advisory council” whom I imagine maintains their operations on social media. From a public relations standpoint it seems that they have done a good job of recovering from the negative reactions and received it as constructive criticism. They should highlight the work that is being done in African countries where they are working with grassroots organizations to attempt to reconstruct lives of those displaced people. On their website they acknowledge the complexities and try to give context however I think they need to have a very clear mission statement so that their goals are not lost in the many sub-pages of their sleek web design.

– Lauren Gutierrez

Cloud Based Services: Google Drive

First let’s look at the cost, Google Drive’s first 15GB are free to anyone with a Google account and as the storage space increases so does the price, ranging from 100GB for $1.99 to 30TB for $299.99. For the consumer user who also wants access to Google Apps for Work the cost is $5 per month. For business there is Google Apps Unlimited which includes the ecosystem of all Google Apps for Work like mail, calendar, and drive with unlimited storage at only $10 per user per month. There is also the ability to add storage space for specific users ranging from 20GB for $4.00 to 16TB for $1,420.00. It can store media of any format like word documents, photos, pdf’s, videos, and audio files. They even have the capacity to create and convert media to a Google formats.

As for security, Google Drive has data centers disbursed around the world and only accessible by them. The data stored is yours and is only viewed by them to acquire statistical data on how their services are being used and improve the quality of those services. Spam and malware is blocked, cookies can be blocked, and there is two-step verification for logins. Users can enable Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) for secure communication and connections. Their privacy policy also states that the data is confidential, secure from viewing by other Google customers, and complies with the Federal Information Security Management Act. It also supports Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act (HIPPA) and other protected health information through a Business Associate Agreement.

Google Drive’s features include their native media formats, namely docs, sheets, and slides. They perform on a web-based cloud, but the drive can also be downloaded onto your desktop or other devices and update automatically. They offer 24/7 support, sharing permissions, and third party integrations.

I selected Google Drive because I use it on a daily basis for personal use and work. I really like its features and the ecosystem it has created to make it easy to access everything you need in one place.

– Lauren Gutierrez

SWOT 2.0 | SLCC.edu

SWOT 2.0 | SLCC.edu

SWOT 2.0 | SLCC.edu

by studioWord

The Influencers

Captured  by the Internet Archive 1,005 times between Jan. 1997 and Oct. 2014, SLCCs online presence appears to have grown substantially. First recorded by the Internet Archive’s WaybackMachine on 10 December 1997 (http://www.slcc.edu/), its debut featured a tiled SLCC logo, gray schema, a Presidential Welcome, block-style menu buttons, a Novell GroupWise search engine, and lots of links. Social media had no discernable presence. 

SLCC.edu’s early editions offered a two-page scroll whereas today’s presentation is a consolidated landing page of visual elements linked to additional content.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 4.03.20 PM

slcc.edu (1997)

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 4.03.39 PM

slcc.edu (1997)

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 4.21.57 PM

slcc.edu (2014)

SWOT | SLCC 2.0 Tools & Strategy

Strengths SLCC employs a wide gamut of 2.0 tools, variety and strategies devised to create positive potential to engage and connect learners with internal or external opportunities to achieve objectives using or benefiting from, SLCCs diverse competencies and resources. Aggregative RSS is also used.

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 4.39.01 PM

Weaknesses possibly exist in growing reliance on high-speed Internet while younger generations are increasingly eager, prepared and even attuned for Web 2.0 or 3.0 and beyond, and as such, all too happy leaving others behind. Accessibility, privacy, security, uptime and reliability (continuity of service) continue to plague web platforms.

Opportunity is widely evident in SLCCs use and incorporation of Web 2.0 which appears far-reaching in all of its efforts to provide life-long learning and educational opportunity to the community it serves.

In fact, with regard to SLCCs overall 2.0 approach, opportunity is so openly abundant that one of my instructors advised us on the first day of class, “You can do my entire course on your phone.” This seems increasingly true as I am able to take just about any class online.

Threats are identifiable as any external developments that impede achievement of a goal. I think growing dependence-related and retention issues challenge educational institutions as a whole when it comes to web-based learning. Likewise, ‘reluctance issues’ continue to concern institutional learning.

Though Web 2.0 offers unique opportunity, it is as yet no substitute for in-person interaction. Likewise, ever-changing technology, its rate of acceptance or rejection also represent possible threats.

SLCC 2.0 SM

A strong 2.0 SLCC presence can also be felt in a very collaborative upload-edit-and share sort of way on sites like Vimeo, YouTube, Blogger (e.g., The Fountain) and WordPress.

SLCCs dynamic 2.0 applications, read/write tools and stratagems engage internal and external publics alike using integrated web pages, linked content, library and support services, directories and social media channels found on but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 9.35.32 AM

SLCC – YouTube

SLCC Voices on Vimeo

SLCC Voices on Vimeo

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 5.04.42 PM

SLCC Twitter

2.0 Implementation

2.0 deployments are coordinated through the Department of Institutional Marketing and Communication’s Interactive Services.

As such, Interactive Services is responsible for www.slcc.edu (external) and MyPage (intranet) website design, maintenance, accessibility and metrics analysis. The team also provides training and technical support for CMS users.

SLCCs Social Media Coordinator creates the College’s social media strategy, manages the social media pages and helps the College progress in the latest digital technologies. Video services include all aspects of post-production videography, audio, effects generation and graphic support for presentation/video media. (SLCC.edu)

My only recommendation for strengthening or changing strategies for an institution would be to continue balancing Web 2.0 offerings equally with equal in-class options. According to one faculty perspective, “face-to-face is the best way.”

Anthony Green and Circa Survive

Anthony Green is a very good and successful musician. He is the lead singer in a band called Circa Survive, and he also does his own stuff under his own name. He’s been doing music in Circa Survive since 2004, and has been doing his own stuff on the side since 2007. In 2004 Circa Survive started up a website that was very simple and only had a picture of the band and a little paragraph on what they ere doing. Later in 2005 they put on an email sign up on their web page so that fans could submit their email address and receive emails about what was going on with the band. As time went on they added more to their website and changed it as well. They started to add some flash video clips and more pictures. And as the web got better with more things you could do on websites, they started to add a lot more, and started to make it look really appealing to go to. Now days they have a really nice looking website. Anthony Green didn’t get a website up for himself until May of 2013. By this time the web was quite advanced and his first website was really nice looking, and is still the same looking website this day.

When Circa Survive first started on the web they didn’t have a lot of information on their website.  And as they started to add more, it got a little confusing and felt like they were trying to make the website too nice that it was kind of hard to know where to go on it. But now days they have a really nice website that is quite easy to use. One thing I have noticed in the past couple years is their social media usage. A few years ago they didn’t use facebook or twitter very much at all even though it was very much available. But in the last couple years they have been really good at social media and posting a lot. Now days they post little videos to instagram of each show they do, they always post info on shows or things the band is doing on twitter and instagram. Social media is a great strength of theirs now days. And they post things at the right times as well. They don’t ever post things in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. They’ll post in the morning and throughout the day. If they are on tour they will always post an announcement of the upcoming show the day before the show and then the morning before the show to get the word out. And then they will post a little edited video and retweet some pictures the next day after the show. And even Anthony Green is really good with using social media. On his own personal account he posts a lot about his family which is always neat to see from a musician. I’ve been following Circa Survive and Anthony Green for many years now on social media, and I have noticed that they are the ones that post on all their social media accounts. They don’t have a manager who does it for them, which is cool to me because I feel more connected to them personally as a fan.

Using Web 2.0 to Get Noticed and Succeeding: Miley Cyrus

For my case study I decided to choose a celebrity who has made a huge dent in society recently, and has been all over the media throughout the last year or so. I chose Miley Cyrus simply because if anyone has evolved using Web 2.0 or social media it is this lady.

  1. This was probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen to see her website evolve so much just from 2006 to now. In the early stages of her site and career her site was mainly focussed on the idea that she was Hannah Montanna from the Disney Channel and the only options were to subscribe to a newsletter. Her present day website is filled with provocative photos of herself with her new style and image. She is obviously using Web 2.0 to her advantage to gain peoples interest in herself even if she is doing it in the wrong ways. She’s still gaining a ton of traffic and followers to her pages.
  2. She has many strengths to her newly modified website and social media accounts. She, as many other celebrities have turned to posting and doing provocative content and this in turn is interesting and humorous to those who follow her. By doing things that are normally not okay she is gaining a huge strength. A weakness that her sites could have would be that it is only appealing to a certain demographic or a certain type of people. Not everyone wants to see Miley Cyrus naked with emojis over her photos. That’s just not for everyone.
  3. Miley is a celebrity so she can be found on all forms of web 2.0 and almost every social media platform or application you can think of. I personally have checked her Instagram feed and she is what we normal users like to call a hyper poster. She literally posts a photo every single hour and it is of useless content that no one really cares about but a million people end up liking.
  4. She uses these platforms almost constantly.
  5. I believe that her personal social media accounts are ran by Miley herself and not a social media manager or a social media team. Although, she may have a team managing her followers and her personal image, even though they are doing a horrible job at maintaining her personal image.
  6. I think her ultimate strategy is to be the craziest person on the web so people continue to talk about her. There’s no such thing as bad press apparently.
  7. I think she is the queen of getting noticed on the web and in general. Her strategy is obviously working and doing everything she wanted and planned, if anyone wants to up their follower count or clicks to their pages they should definitely consider getting tips from Miley because no one does it like her.

It is simply as easy as dropping and dragging: DropBox

Cloud-based storage with Dropbox a viable contender against its competitors

by Michael Hawker

Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage service, and one that I personally have used (which is why I am highlighting it here, and I even learned more about it than I had previously known).

It really is as simple as dragging and dropping files.

There are no file size restrictions, and free storage is available up to 2 GB. This means anyone can at least try Dropbox without cost. The paid Pro plan is $10/month for up to 500 GB. Some other cloud-based storage service plans cost the same for only 250 GB or 100 GB.

Dropbox supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, as does other services, but Dropbox also supports Blackberry and Kindle Fire. So for those wishing for more storage on mobile devices, Dropbox is an excellent option.

Dropbox is relatively easy to use. It works equally well on both PCs and Macs. I have both and have used both. There are a few choices for users:

1) Files loaded onto its cloud storage are available from Dropbox’s website. I have not used the website before, and I have read reviews that it is not so hot.

2) Files may be dragged and dropped into the storage (or off the storage) using a desktop application.

3) Files may also be transferred by using the mobile apps

I personally use the desktop application, which does require the downloading of their program. It simply places an icon on the desktop. Files are easily moved back and forth from/to the Dropbox storage by simply dragging and dropping to the icon, or by clicking open the icon to get files from the cloud.

If the user is working as part of a team, perhaps up to 50 users, there is a “Teams” plan with centralized billing and administrative tools. It starts at $15 per month, starting with 5 users. For work groups, and especially those transferring large files and for short-term projects, this could be a super and cost effective feature.

Dropbox offers an incentive that if you recruit a friend to use Dropbox, the original user gains 500 MB extra storage per friend, and up to 16 GB total (32 referrals). This is an excellent feature and one that is smart from Dropbox to offer.

For security, Dropbox uses 256-bit AES encryption and transfers files through a secure tunnel using SSL/TLS protocols. I do not know how it compares with other cloud-based security measures.

Users must have credentials, such as a password, so some of the burden in security does rely on safe password protection measures (frequently changing passwords and using ones that are “strong”).  In October, there was an attempt by hackers to obtain information, images, and allegedly millions of usernames and passwords, but Dropbox investigated that the stolen credentials were from other services’ sites. Dropbox was proactive by resetting all the credentials for its users. The incident clearly suggests that hackers will stop short of nothing to obtain information and any user must be aware of those risks.