UCB Communications Discussion


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Our readings this week discuss two concepts related to the way that messages are popularized in our culture. “Social currency” refers to our willingness to share ideas, brands and campaigns across our social networks. We are more likely to share when a message strikes an emotional chord.

Your task for this week is to identify a company or organization that you believe has been wildly successful or a wicked failure at understanding the power of social currency and emotion. You may focus on one or more of the organization’s messaging campaigns.

Write a 2-3 paragraph post where you identify the company, describe their campaign, and explain why you believe it was (or was not) successful. Refer to the course readings from this week to support your claim. As part of your post, it is your turn to start putting these ideas into practice. Propose one compelling headline you believe the organization should add into its social media campaign. Describe where the headline should be used (which platform) and why you believe it will be successful.

When you respond to others, think critically! Even if you love someone’s idea, what questions can you ask to help extend their analysis? What suggestions might you might to improve their headline?

Create a new thread using your name and your compelling headline. For example “Megy Karydes – When College Students Rule The Internet.”

Read Contagious, “Emotion,” (pgs. 93-124). In this chapter, Berger describes the way that emotion shapes and influences the ways we read and interpret messages. Understanding this connection between emotion and interpretation is essential to developing effective social media content. Before you begin reading, quickly brainstorm a list of emotions. Think beyond the obvious list; when have you looked at a social media post and felt: irate, envious, perplexed, confused or proud?

Read Likeable Social Media, “Share Stories (They’re Your Social Currency!),” (pgs. 171-181). We’re wired for stories. This chapter shares stories that might be right under your nose as well as discuss other ways to tell stories, including the use of photos and videos

Read Erich Jaochimsthaler’s 2017 article in Adweek titled “The Power of Social Currency. (????????)” Consider how the emotional appeal of particular social media posts encourages users to share with their friends, fans and followers. This piece is also available as a Word doc here:

Read The ZEN of Social Media Marketing, “Online Marketing Basics,”(pgs. 1-16). Social media managers cannot succeed simply by knowing how emotions impact users. Communication professionals also need to know how to leverage different social media platforms to achieve their desired outcomes. The ZEN of Social Media Marketing goes beyond the basics of why it’s an important piece of a communication pro’s toolbox and explains the methodology behind each platform using the ACT acronym: Attract, Convert and Transform.

Read Olafson’s (2021) post, “How to Use Pinterest for Business: 8 Strategies You Need to Know (????????),” One recurring theme throughout this course is the importance of choosing the right platforms for your communications goals. Throughout the semester we’ll review strategies for thinking through how theories about social media apply to particular use cases. Read Olafson’s piece and think about the following questions: What kinds of organizations can benefit from a Pinterest page? How can you create an emotional appeal through Pinterest?

Read Libert & Tynski’s 2013 piece, “Research: The Emotions that make campaigns go viral (????????)” from the Harvard Business Review. Libert & Tynski connect emotions to the business concept of virality. As you read, consider your own experience with social media. We know that web communications are dynamic and ever-changing. Can you think of other ways to make a social post go viral? Pay particular attention to their ideas about headlines. It will form the basis of this week’s discussion post.

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