Friday, June 24, 2016

Did You Forget to Submit a Proposal for the #TXSocialMedia Conference?Find Out More!

If you are looking for the best, cost-effective, energy-filled conference filled with ideas that you (or your organization) can implement IMMEDIATELY, you NEED to register for the Texas Social Media Conference!

This conference is essential for social media content generators, social media researchers, small businesses, and others who are genuinely interested in learning more about social media for work and/or life.

This is the 6th Annual Texas Social Media Conference and we are excited that this will be the biggest and best year of the experience! 

Get involved and prepare to attend this year's conference!

1 - Submit a Proposal (Deadline - July 15th)

2 - Register for the conference (Various Deadlines - Register Early)

3 - Share Conference Info with Others!
Did you forget to register for the Texas Social Media Conference? Nov. 4th in Fort Worth! #socialmedia #research http://www.txsocialmedia.org/

4 - Attend a #TXSocialMedia Chat!
Join our weekly #TXSocialMedia chats on Thurs 8pm CDT on Twitter! Search for the #TXSocialMedia hashtag! Here is a list of our topics:

We cannot wait to meet you at this year's conference! If you are interested in sponsoring this year's conference, please express your interest here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17iI6heS-O1aPUfBv0D93UEynlx4TbWMyZLBpqYkaypw/viewform

If you have any questions, please contact us - texassocialmediaresearch@gmail.com.


The Texas Social Media Research Institute (@TSMRI)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

New Social Media Research

Cover of The Journal of Social Media in Society

The editors and review board for The Journal of Social Media in Society are excited to share the latest issue with you.

Vol. 5 Issue 1 - Spring 2016

Pin it for Yourself: Women’s Health and Fitness Content on Pinterest
   by Lindsey Conlin, Dylan McLemore, Xueying Zhang, Bijie Bie,    & Kim Bissell

Evaluating Podcast Compositions: Assessing Credibility, Challenges, and Innovation
   by David R. Nelson & William V. Faux II

University Students’ Perceptions of Social Media as a Learning Tool
   by Laila Al-Sharqi & Khairuddin Hashim

Creating “Spaces” for Professional Development:  Education Organizations’ Use of Facebook
   by Christie Bledsoe & Jodi Pilgrim

Social Media in a Subjective-science Mode: The “Facebook Likes” Study Reconfigured with Self-reference 
   by James C Rhoads, Dan B Thomas, & Bruce McKeown

Factors Affecting the Adoption of Social Network: A Study of Facebook Users in Bangladesh 
   by Jannatul Ferdous Bristy

Facebook and its Disappearing Posts: Data Collection Approaches on Fan-Pages for Social Scientists
   by Erick Behar Villegas

A Mixed Methods Examination of 21st Century Hiring Processes,  Social Networking Sites, and Implicit Bias 
   by Troy Elias, Laurie Honda-Phillips, Megan Kimmel, & JungWon Chun

Rumor Has It: Examining the Effects of Facebook Addiction on Political Knowledge Gullibility
   by Cynthia Nichols, Lori Melton McKinnon, & Anna Geary

Social Media “Teleco-presence” Theory of Identity
   by Kehbuma Langmia

The Journal of Social Media in Society is blind peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal that accepts scholarly articles and book reviews. The journal is devoted to scholarship and commentary on social media and its impact on society. The objective of JSMS is to advance the study of social media with current literature based on theory, research and practice from all methodological frameworks. The journal welcomes papers on all aspects of social media, such as interactive online platforms and mobile technologies used to connect, share, discuss, and collaborate.

The publisher of JSMS is the Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI), a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fighting Blog Burnout

It happens during the lifespan of every blog; you run short of ideas. You begin to feel...burned out. Parched. Exhausted. Mentally drained. This can be a particular danger when you blog about social media.  After all, what could you possibly say that hasn't already been presented in a listicle, a meme, or an article summary posted on that popular news blog?

                                                                Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Here are some ways to get your blogging mojo back.

1.  Announce a blog hiatus.   If network TV shows can go on hiatus, then so can your blog.  Pick a pre-determined length of time, and post an announcement. For a more personal touch, let people know the reason for the hiatus, such as an upcoming launch, a family emergency, or just because you need a break.  Chances are you are not the only one who is overloaded out there, and people will appreciate your transparency.  Be sure to re-direct to the main page of your website, and/or your email list sign up page, if you have one.

2.  Solicit and schedule high-quality guest posts. This can be done in conjunction with your blog hiatus (see #1) if you like. This strategy works best when you do it several months ahead of time. Be sure that you keep your quality standards high-- don't just use guest posts as filler. You can find guidelines on how to get guest posters here.

3.  Run a Boolean search in Google News.  Boolean searches, which use conjunctions such as AND, OR, NOT, are named after the mathematician George Boole. You can use them to search out the latest social media news by pairing them like this: "Pinterest OR Instagram OR Facebook OR Twitter" can be typed into Google News for the latest developments on any of those platforms. You can substitute keywords for your industry to get news.

4.  Try something new.  Be a guest on someone's podcast, let a college student interview you as part of an internship, add yourself to HARO (Help A Reporter Out), jump onto Periscope to see what other people are up to, or take a class that has no relation to your blog or industry whatsoever.

5.  Pull the plug.  Perhaps you never had blogging mojo to begin with, and you only started a blog because "everyone" said you had to have one. If you dread posting , people can probably sense that. Consider repurposing your blog content in other mediums, and then post an announcement that your blog is no longer active so that people won't wonder what happened.

6.  Write a love letter.  Post a paen to your favorite blogger in your industry -- preferably not the one of the top three people who is praised constantly, but hopefully someone that is higher up the ladder than you. Make sure the praise is sincere, and that you enjoy writing the post, regardless of how many views it gets or whether or not you get a comment from the subject.  Remember how great you felt the last time you received an unexpected but sincere compliment? Pay that feeling forward.

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

Thursday, May 5, 2016

App Review: Stay “Cloze” With Your Contacts

Welcome to the latest installment in our "All About Apps" series.
What is Cloze?

Cloze App 
Cloze is an app created to help alleviate the stress of managing all of your interactive contacts. Its basic role is to compartmentalize all of your emails, phone calls, meetings, notes, and social media with regards to the people you come into contact with. It then sorts and automatically keeps track of information for its users to keep them prepared. It’s multi-functionally on different platforms including an app version for phones and tablets or a login for the computer.

This app was created in 2012 by Dan Foody and Alex Coté out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their goal with the app as they put it was to “…unlock your “relationship gold.” They want the app to give you the best and easiest relationship with your contacts. Does this app do that? Read further down to see my opinion on how this app helps you stay “Cloze” with your contacts for real or if the name is just an incredibly good play on words.

What Does Cloze Do?
When you first get the app you are able to log in either with your Twitter, Google, Facebook, or email. I opted to login with my Google account and it was a simple login because I didn’t have to enter all of my information. Just like that Cloze automatically complied all of my emails together and started developing contacts with the people I had emailed the most. From there I was able to add my social media accounts and notes to my Cloze account and it continued to organize all my data. I could log in and out easily and I felt that my information was safe because it always asked me for my permission.

What’s the Functionality?
Within Cloze there are numerous functions that could be accomplished depending on what you decide to buy. When I downloaded the app it was completely free and that included an email manager, organization of my contacts, a search system, and a social media option. Along with that came a 14-day free trial to all the options that Cloze could do including call history, tracking, follow-up reminders, calendars, signature analysis, morning briefings, and merging, integrating and syncing of just about anything.

Photo by Madison Stout; used with permission
To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed because it was like an information overload and I wasn’t even sure where to begin. After monkeying around with it, the app consistently became easier to function because individual compartmentalized sections organized everything for me. I determined it could plan social media posts, organize the importance of my contacts, easily stay connected, and track a timeline of my work. Cloze also sent me notifications regarding events I had, projects I was involved in, and if I had scheduled any social media posts it notified me when it was published. A negative side to Cloze is that it was difficult for me at times to locate a particular item I was trying to find.

What’s My Bank Account Going to Look Like?
After my 14-day free trial was up, Cloze notified me and asked if I wanted to keep my upgrade “Cloze Pro.” If I didn’t keep the upgrade they would switch my account to strictly the free stuff. Cloze Pro is $13.33/mo. with the bill coming annually or you can pay $19.99 per month. There is also a business option that caters to keeping employees in sync. Cloze Business is priced the same. At first I thought that the price was a little steep. But when I really thought about how it was about $160 annually to basically organize my whole life (business and personal), it didn’t seem so bad and my opinion was changed.

What’s In It For Me?
Being a college student I found that this app isn’t for people my age. The average college student doesn’t have enough relationships and contacts to have an app to keep them all straight. So I didn’t really find it useful. But, people who work in a job where they have relationships with numerous clients and employees will find the most value out of this app. You will have a way to simplify your multi-faceted ways you communicate with people, and better enhance your projects, social media and communication if you are willing to pay the price.

All in all I think that this app lives up to its punny name and I think that it’s worth the time, money and storage space if you are looking for something to help you track your contacts and communication. I don’t see this app fading away with the new digital age. On the company’s blog, employees are continuing to make better changes to streamline the app and make it more efficient to compete with the society’s needs and it seems to be paying off.

If you are interested in obtaining the app you can find it on the app store for iPhones, iPads and for Androids. You can also start an account at www.cloze.com.


Madison Stout, from Ponder, Texas, is studying agricultural communication at Tarleton State University. You can message her at madisonstout01@gmail.com.

The Texas Social Media Research Institute (TSMRI) is a group of faculty, staff, and students at Tarleton State University with a mission of conducting social media research; sharing social media best practices; and providing social media education for students, non-profit organizations, state agencies, school districts, and higher education institutions.

Contact us:
Texas Social Media Research Institute
Follow Us on Twitter - @TSMRI
Call Us - 254-307-8211
Join Us for Our #TXSocialMedia Weekly Twitter Chats on Thursday Nights at 8pm CDT

Monday, May 2, 2016

App Review: Get Chatty with GroupMe

Welcome to the latest post in our "All About Apps" series.
GroupMe is a group chat application that allows a large amount of people to communicate in one connected group message. It usually depends on who you ask or how old they are whether group messages are a good or bad thing. With such a wide variety of cellphones available and their different forms of messaging, it can make group texts sometimes impossible. I am a loyal iPhone user and I know from experience how frustrating it is to have a group text of other iPhone users and being unable to effectively chat because of that one person who uses an Android.

Screenshot of GroupMe
GroupMe makes it possible for all kinds of cellphone users to have the perfect outlet for chatting about anything and everything. I have used this app for several years and I find it easier than using just the standard messaging app on my iPhone. This app is unique because in most group chat applications there is a limit to the number of people who can be in a group message. With this app you can literally have as many people as you want. Now that doesn’t mean you can go crazy and have over 1,000 people in a message, but if you want 200 people in a message then by all means go for it.

This app was founded by Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci in 2010, and it was inspired by a project that was created at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. After its first year of life this app was so successful that in 2011 it was adopted by Skype and has been thriving ever since.

In my experience with this application I have gained a moderate understanding of its features. One of the features that I like the most is that you can control the notifications that you receive. If you are in a group message and are overwhelmed with the number of notifications, and just want a break, then you can temporally silence that group message.  I think this is what really sets it apart from the standard messaging app that comes with a phone. Sometimes my group messages are just too much and I wish I could silence it without totally removing myself from it, and thankfully, that is possible with GroupMe.

Another remarkable feature the unique set of emojis that can be used in messages. From the standard face images to a dog on a surfboard, there are enough emojis for you to effectively express what you are feeling. I think these are so much cuter than what comes with your iPhone.

GroupMe emojis

This app is also not limited to your location or the device you are using. Don’t have a reliable cell phone connection? You can use GroupMe from your computer and all you need is a good WIFI connection and you’re ready to chat.

GroupMe is a reliable and easy way for anyone with a large “squad” to keep in touch and in the know of what is going on. This is app is available for download at https://groupme.com and is free in the app store.

About the Author: Heather Sims is senior speech communication major at Tarleton State University located in Stephenville, Texas. She can be contacted at heather.sims@go.tarleton.edu.

References: https://groupme.com/en-US/about retrieved on March 18, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

App Review: Pushbullet - Surprising App to Sync All Your Devices

Welcome to the latest edition of our "All About Apps" series!
In today’s digital world we have phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc., and there are times that we will need to charge our phone or we are not near it. Now imagine, you are at home or work and an important text message, email, or call comes and your phone is in other room or in your desk; you missed it because you were not aware. This happens to people more often that you think and now there is an app that can solve this problem for you called Pushbullet.

Screen shot from Jenniffer Cox
Pushbullet is a service that allows you to connect all your devices and essentially make them one. From seeing your phone's notifications on your computer, to easily transferring links, files, and more between devices, Pushbullet saves you time by making what used to be difficult or impossible, easy. With headquarters in San Francisco, Pushbullet was founded in 2013 by Ryan Oldenburg, Andre von Houck, and Chris Hesse. According to Pushbullet, it originally started as a side-project that bridged the gap between our phone, tablet, and computer so they would work better together.

What services does Pushbullet offer?
Pushbullet is genius when it comes to making all your devices work together. Pushbullet can:
Send text messages
See your phone’s notifications
Follow interesting things
Send links
Chat with friends
Send files

All of this can be done from your computer or tablet without having to locate your phone and the other party will never know that you reply to them from your computer. It is very simple to use and would be great for anyone who uses the computer a lot.

Pros and Cons
Pushbullet is great in my opinion when it comes to syncing all your notifications and SMS messages to your laptop or computer. When you get a text message, a box will pop up and just like messenger for Facebook it has a chat head. The chat heads are great and are only available via the computer. This app is not quite perfect; it does have some issues with updating the text messages on Pushbullet with what is on your phone. I have chalked it up to a bug in the system as here lately they have been experiencing issues with their server. However, with most apps that you get, there will be a few bugs and Pushbullet developers are very quick to fix the problems.

It is worth it?
Yes! I feel this app is great to use and will continue to be useful. The free version is great  to use unless you decide to text more than 100 times a month from your computer or tablet. The best thing to do would be to try out the free version for a few weeks before you decide to get the paid version.
In all honesty, I have been using Pushbullet free version for a month now and I am on the computer a lot, so I wouldn’t benefit from Pushbullet Pro as I am not sending over 100 text messages from my computer. However, this is a great tool to have on a business computer so you are not always checking your phone for that important text message.

What’s the Cost?
Pushbullet has a free version and a paid version. The free and paid versions of  differ in many ways.
Chart created by Jenniffer Cox
Pushbullet Pro is $3.33 a month if you pay yearly, which ends up being $39.99 per year. However, if you want to pay monthly for it then it will be $4.99 a month, which all transactions are paid with credit card or PayPal.

Where is Pushbullet?
First off go to https://www.pushbullet.com and setup an account. The next thing you will do it download the apps for your phone, tablet, or computer. After that there will be some basic setups for your device and then you will be ready to go.

About the author: Jenniffer Cox is a senior business administration major at Tarleton State University. You may find her on Twitter @jkjenn1980.

All Images © 2016 Jenniffer Cox

Pushbullet. (2016). About Us. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
Pushbullet. (2016). Pushbullet - Your devices working better together. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
Pushbullet. (2016). Upgrade to Pro | Pushbullet. Retrieved March 20, 2016.

Monday, April 25, 2016

App Review: Tweetbot - Tweeting Outside the Box

Tweetbot is an app for Twitter only available for iOS and Mac devices. Essentially, it combines what all other Twitter websites and applications do (such Klout) and puts them together. It was $4.99, which I thought was a little ridiculous when the Twitter app is free, but it does have some interesting features I did not know I needed. You can see activities such as how many people your tweet reached that day and over time. One of the features I did like is how it tells you who follows and unfollows you daily. There are a few different versions depending on which technology you’re using (for example Mac or iPad) and you do not have to be a certain age to use it. The creators of the app are Tapbots, who have also made one other app called Calcbots, which is for unit conversions.
Image by Aissa Martinez created using Canva 
To be honest, Tweetbot in my opinion is a little out of date. I downloaded Tweetbot 4 for this review. Recently, the Twitter app has made many improvements and now with the same features as Tweetbot, but you save $4.99. Some of the newer features on the Twitter app are the analytics, and being able to switch between accounts. It only takes the Twitter app two clicks to switch between different accounts. In addition to being able to switch from different accounts in Tweetbot, you can also change  information (pictures, cover photo, bio, etc.) and follow and unfollow different accounts. Once again, all of this can be done from the Twitter app. The app features would work better for businesses because they can track their new followers and who unfollowed them.

I think that this app would be interesting after first purchasing it but I do believe the shiny will wear off once people see the app is so similar to the Twitter app. There is not much in it for me. Even though I run a few different Twitter accounts, I find the Buffer app to be better. The Buffer app is the most comparable app and  I prefer Buffer because you can schedule tweets but still see analytics. Not only do they let you schedule, they give you the best time for you to tweet and ideas on what is popular to tweet based on your accounts.

Overall, Tweetbot was an account that was easy to access and navigate. This app is not too different from the Twitter app itself and you can do almost everything and have the same features on the Twitter app. I was disappointed that I wasted almost $5 on this that I could have spent on a Little Caesars Pizza. Shortly after writing this review, the price increased to $9.99.

About the author: Aissa Martinez is a junior communication studies student at Tarleton State University. She works part time as a tour guide, as well as an intern and social media coach for the Texas Social Media Research Institute.
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