schedule – before Spring Break

The schedule for Spring 2017 is as follows. Due to the nature of the subject-matter, required texts and videos are subject to change.


THE PLATFORMS: history, key concepts & sites


a_sunflower-editedWeek 1 • introductions & course overview • Jan. 9 – Jan.15

Do getting started (by Sun. 11:59p)


Week 2 • key concepts & history • Jan. 16 – Jan. 22

Boy Headphones Telegraph Device Black And WhiteRead/view –

  1. The School of Life “What is History for?” 4:13M (2014) video
  2. Wikipedia “Timeline of Social Media” [skim only – for reference] (2016) wiki
  3. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication “Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship” [2 sections only: ‘Social Network Sites: A Definition’ and ‘A History of Social Network Sites’ 2nd through 4th pages] (2007) scholarship
  4. Natural Interaction Group “Technological Determinism” (2016) blog
  5. Latour “’Where Are the Missing Masses?’ The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts” [intro paragraph and first long paragraph only p. 151-152] (1992) chapter
  6. NYTimes “Online and Scared” (2017) article
  7. Your own credible source on what factors caused the rapid rise of social media

Post reading response 1 (by Mon. 11:59p – extended to Fri.)

Attend class – discuss readings, do Canva activity

Submit Blog #1 (by Sun. 11:59p)Scan your social media accounts for evidence that social media technology is a result more of technological determinism, social determinism, or a combination. Consider the posts in a historical context. For example, what would a visitor from 1995 think of posting to 800 Friends: “Dinner with my love. Pinot noir, salmon & asparagus :)”? Imagine explaining why/how that would be socially acceptable or relevant to the audience. Examine Latour’s seatbelt example. Who/what is in control of social media in these situations? Use at least one screenshot or other visual in your post. Add a category to your post: Blog #1.


VIRALITY: users & content


Week 3 • virality research • Jan. 23 – Jan. 29

Read/view – 

  1. Image result for i don't always memeScientific Report “Competition among memes in a world with limited attention” [abstract, introduction, and discussion only] (2012) scholarship
  2. Journal of Marketing Research “What Makes Online Content Viral” [abstract and Marketing Implications section only] (2012) scholarship
  3. Scientific Report “The Simple Rules of Social Contagion” [abstract, 1st para intro, and discussion sections only] (2014) scholarship
  4. Entrepreneur “The 7 Factors That Make for Viral Content” (2015) article
  5. Buzzfeed’s “The Most Viral Content of 2016: 30 Examples of Insanely Shareable Content” (2016) article
  6. Your own example of an interesting meme or viral content (post link or image in your reading response or separate Facebook Group post)

Post reading response 2 (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings and sources you identified, dissect popular memes, identify subjects for Blog #2

Submit Blog #2 (by Sun. 11:59p) – Instructions: Identify a social media star (e.g., a Kardashian-type, Jenna Marbles, Ingrid Nilsen, et al) who is popular based primarily on his or her social media activity (i.e., not as a musician, actor, or politician). Write a brief case study that 1) links to the source; describes its platform, audience demographics, and reach; objectively describes characteristics of the subject’s social media content; analyzes the elements that you believe make the subject successful. Why does this content spread? Option: Work with a partner on the same social media star. Write individual posts on different aspects of the subject. Add a category to your post: Blog #2.


Week 4 • case studies of viral posts and popular users • Jan. 30 – Feb. 5

Image result for selena gomez coke

Record-breaking Instagram photo

Read/view –

  1. Your choice of an article on viral social media from The Atlantic
  2. marie claire “It Girl Inc.: How Much Money Social Media’s Biggest Style Stars Really Make” (2016) article
  3. Entrepreneur “’Alex From Target’ Quits Cashier Gig to Pursue Movies, Music and National Tour” (2015) article
  4. Just Creative “15 Proven Tricks for Writing Viral Content” (2016) blog
  5. One of these recent articles or videos on how to make a viral video
  6. Kim Kardashian West’s Twitter feed (2017) tweets (I’m sorry for any brain injuries that this may cause)

Post reading response 3 (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings, present case studies from Blog #2, create-a-meme in-class team competition

Submit Blog #3 (by Sun. 11:59p) – Instructions: With a partner, create one piece of viral content for a specific social media platform (e.g., Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), with the purpose of encouraging college students to detach from their phones occasionally. Use the readings (particularly the Just Creative article) as guides. Post the content to the appropriate platform and monitor the action. Write ONE post (with both partners’ names) describing 1) how you made design choices based on the readings, and 2) the engagement with your content. How many times was it reposted, commented on, viewed, etc.? Add a category to your post: Blog #3.


Week 5 • case studies of iconic marketing campaigns • Feb. 6 – Feb. 12

oreoRead/view – 

  1. Digital Strategy Consulting “Viral Video Marketing Case Studies: the 25 Best Virals of 2015” (2015) article – skim
  2. Mediakix “Influencer Marketing Case Studies” (2016) article – skim
  3. DreamGlow “11 Awesome and Inspiring Facebook Campaigns” (2016) article
  4. Forbes “The Secret of Wendy’s Social Media Success: Massive Stupidity” (2013) article
  5. Social Media Week “The Top Ten Most Embarrassing Social Media Fails from 2015” (2016) article
  6. Ted Talk “How to Make a Splash in Social Media” 4:26M (2009) video

Post reading response 4 (by Mon. 11:59p) 

Attend class – discuss readings, present results from Blog 3, identify subjects for case study/critique

Submit case study/critique (by Sun. 11:59p)


PERSONAL: identity & relationships


Week 6 • impact on identity • Feb. 13 – Feb. 19

whoamiRead/view –

Be sure to review the note in each item that specifies what section to read from each text. It’s not as much reading as it might appear.

  1. Current news about research in social media and identity [pick one article to discuss in reading response] (2017) search results
  2. Pew Research Center “Social Media Update 2016” [skim as resource] (2016) research
  3. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence “Analyzing Personality through Social Medial Profile Picture Choice” [abstract and conclusion only] (2016) research
  4. Ted Talk “The curly fry conundrum: Why social media “likes” say more than you think” 9:51M (2013) video
  5. Personality and Individual Differences “The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates” [abstract only] (2015) scholarship
  6. PloS One “Personality, Gender, and Age in the Language of Social Media: The Open-Vocabulary Approach” [abstract only] (2013) scholarship
  7. Memory “Externalising the autobiographical self: sharing personal memories online facilitated memory retention” (2016) abstract
  8. News Media & Society “The spatial self: Location-based identity performance on social media” [only abstract and examples … Search “for example” Ctrl-F … you will find 8 instances to review for context to subject … interesting observations] (2015) scholarship
  9. Body Image “Social comparisons on social media: The impact of Facebook on young women’s body image concerns and mood” (2015) abstract
  10. Health “Really Narcissists?” (2017) article
  11. selfiecity [specifically, “Findings” section … play with “Selfiexploratory” tool … You can also check out a related site, inequaligram, optionally] (2017) research site
  12. Boston Wellness “Accepting Facebook Friend Requests Is Good for You, Study Says” (2016) and the abstract/findings of study the article describes, “Online social integration is associated with reduced mortality risk” (2016) – note the differences between the description of the study and the actual study
  13. Enter your name in FamilyTreeNow site

Post reading response 5   (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings, question your identity, evaluate credibility of research

Submit Blog #4 (by Sun. 11:59p) – Instructions: Review your own digital footprint. Write a post that critically evaluates your online presence and activity in light of the readings. To see Facebook activity, you can use this link. Include the following:

  • a brief summary of the social media accounts you have for personal use, not professional
  • an evaluation of what you feel your profile photo on one or more of the accounts says about you, particularly based on #3 above, including why you chose the photo – dig a little (say more than “it was flattering”)
  • a review of your last five or so posts/updates where you generated the words and/or images, which did not have an explicit call to action or were shares, prior to this class – analyze what you expected to achieve through your postings – ex. why did you post a note about how you were feeling to 800 people?
  • screenshots or links where appropriate
  • any other analysis or commentary about your digital presence based on the readings above
  • Optional: If you want to sacrifice your privacy, you can go to StatusHistory and it will tell you how many times you’ve posted to Facebook, as well as how many comments and Likes you’ve received, along with your top 10 Likers/Commenters. Or you can go to VonVon to generate a word cloud based on your most used Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter words.

Add a category to your post: Blog #4.


Week 7 • impact on personal relationships • Feb. 20 – Feb. 26

social-media-and-datingRead/view – 

  1. Computers in Human Behavior “The function of self-disclosure on social network sites: Not only intimate, but also positive and entertaining self-disclosures increase the feeling of connection” [abstract and introduction only] (2014) scholarship
  2. Study “Executive Summary – Society’s New Addiction: Getting a “Like” over Having a Life”
  3. Social Media Collective “The Oversharer (and Other Social Media Experiments)” (2011) blog
  4. NYTimes “The Unspoken Rules Kids Create for Instagram” (2017) article
  5. Your own scholarly article, study, or research on the impact of social media on personal relationships published 2014 or later

Post reading response 6 (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings, develop list of social media norms of behavior

Submit Blog #5 (by Sun. 11:59p) – Instructions: Do a social media breaching experiment with a partner and post about it. Do this:

  1. Identify an unspoken rule or norm related to social media use (e.g., not Liking photos posted years ago or replying to political posts with comments about color theory). See “The Oversharer” blog above for ideas.
  2. Think of how to violate or breach that rule on a specific social media platform (i.e., how you can break the rule).
  3. Design and conduct the experiment using both of your social media accounts.
  4. Do the experiment at least ten times each to collect data on what happens when the rule is violated.
  5. Write one post identifying both partners that describes your experiment, why you chose that rule or norm to violate, and the results. What happened when you violated the rule? Was there one kind of response or did everyone act differently. How did you collect your data? Then offer some analysis. Why do you feel that people behaved the way they did? What does this say about how or why we interact the way we do online?

Add a category to your post: Blog #5.


Week 8 • personal branding for career development • Feb. 27 – Mar. 5

animatedRead/view – 

  1. NPR “Using Social Media, Students Aspire To Become ‘Influencers’” 3:17M (2017) podcast
  2. Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick The Art of Social Media, p. 1 – 70 (2014) book
  3. Google Images samples of coordinated and clever profile images (2017) search results
  4. Marketing Tech “The 2017 Social Media Image Sizes Cheat Sheet” blog (reference only – exclude from reading response)

Post reading response 7 (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings, work on personal identity project

Submit personal identity project (by Sun. 11:59p – extended to Friday, March 10)


ORGANIZATIONAL: marketing, PR & crisis management (cont.)


strategyWeek 9 • platforms and content • Mar. 6 – Mar. 12

Read/view –

  1. Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick The Art of Social Media, p. 80 – 129 (2014) book
  2. Journal of Interactive Marketing “Popularity of Brand Posts on Brand Fan Pages: An Investigation of the Effects of Social Media Marketing” (2012) abstract
  3. Ted Talk “Improv Everywhere: Gotta Share!” 3:20M (2011) video
  4. Hootsuite “How to Create a Social Media Strategy” (2016) report
  5. Hootsuite’s sample strategy (for reference – no need to include in reading response)
  6. Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. “Airline Tweet Support: Comparing Airlines’ Customer Support on Twitter” (2016) study
  7. One of these articles (post link and comment in your reading response)

Post reading response 8 (by Mon. 11:59p)

Attend class – discuss readings, identify/discuss organization for social media strategy assignment

Submit Blog #6 (by Sun. 11:59p) – Pick an organization similar to one that you plan to select for the social media strategy assignment (i.e., if you’re planning to develop a strategy for the ERAU Communication Program, select a similar Communication program at another university). Review its social media content over the past three months on the major social media platforms and any information or news you can find about its particular strategy. Write a post that briefly describes the organization, its target audience, strategy (if available), and 5-10 of its most recent or notable posts. What kind of response does it receive from its audience? What’s the overall tone of its posts (informal, humorous, authoritative, etc.) Would you do anything differently? Include screenshots and links where applicable. Add a category to your post: Blog #6.


spring-breakSPRING BREAK • Mar. 13 – Mar. 17


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