Spring 2015

For the Spring 2015 semester, assignments, announcements, and other course materials will be posted to the course Google+ community (requires a Google+ account and membership). The course syllabus can be accessed here.

Vine video challenge: Dept. of Communication and the Arts

Seton Hall University students in COJR 3002 (Special Topics: Social Media in Journalism and Public Relations) for Spring 2014 were given the challenge of producing a 6-second Vine video. The objective: to publicize or promote some aspect of the Department of Communication and the Arts — either the overall department or a specific program, organization, course, etc. The students also selected the top videos. Here are the results:

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In-class: Google Map (4/14/14)

Maps can be an important part of a social media strategy, especially for events or organizations where location is important. Here are some examples of the use of maps to help tell a story:

Shootings and car carjacking related to the Boston Marathon bombing

Locations of hurricane evacuation centers


This in-class assignment is worth a total of 10 points.

1. Create a Google Map and then embed it in a post to your WordPress blog – 5 points:

The map must contain these 3 points. For each point, include a brief sentence of description. Please use the colors indicated for the markers:

  • Where I grew up (blue): The city where you grew up, or a city where you have lived.
  • Interesting city (green): The most interesting city you have visited (it could be a place where you lived or where you went on vacation).
  • Dream city (red): A city you haven’t seen but would love to visit or live in.

Give your map a title (Change “Untitled map” to an actual title) and a brief description. Also, change “Untitled layer” to something more useful (such as “Cities”).

To make your map embeddable, click the green “Share” button and make sure “Who has access” is set to “Public on the web”  with access “can view.” Next, click the folder icon on the left of your map and select “Embed on my site.” Copy the HTML code.

Create a short WordPress blog post with a title and brief introduction (can be just a couple of sentences) and the map embedded. Embed the map by pasting the HTML code into a line all by itself as you write your post. Preview your post to see how it looks. If the map looks weird (or if all 3 cities don’t fit within the map), you might want to tinker with the HTML code and change the “width” number near the end of the code to a smaller number such as 550 or 500 (instead of 640). This might cause the map legend to disappear, but it might make it easier to see all 3 cities within the embedded map.

Publish the post to your blog.

2. Repeat the process again for the class collaborative map, “COJR 3002 Cities.” Again, add the three cities to the map. Use a blue marker for the city where you grew up, a green marker for the interesting city, and a red marker for the dream city. This map is a little different, however. It is divided into three “layers” — cities where we grew up, interesting cities, and dream cities. You will first need to select the appropriate layer on the left before you add each city (or it may end up in the wrong layer). Also, you will need to add your name to the title for each of the cities so that we can distinguish your cities from everyone else’s. For example, the title might say “John: South Orange, NJ.” You can use my format as a guide. Again, give each city a title and a brief sentence of description. This time, you don’t have to create a blog post. Just add your information to the map. – 5 points

Monday’s class (4/14/14)

Don’t forget that the Vine video challenge (Challenge 9) is due by noon Monday. After you have created and posted your Vine, you need to post a message to the Google+ community with a description of the video and a link to it. We’ll watch the Vines in class on Monday and crown winners!

The reading for Monday is on “numbers and maps,” including geolocation and web analytics. There will be a quiz, and the quiz might be a bit tricky. Make sure you understand the differences between some of the web metrics discussed in the reading, such as pageviews, visits, and unique visitors.

See you Monday.

Challenge 10 – Using Storify as a curation tool

This challenge is due by noon Monday, April 28.


This challenge asks you to use Storify to curate social media content related to an event or topic in the news. You will create a story on Storify and write a short blog post with a link to the story.

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In-class: Storify examples

1) Twitter scavenger hunt

2) Twitter chat

3) Brand/company — General Electric

4) Charity/organization – Scope Charity (Anti-Bullying Week)

5) Breaking news – Ft. Hood shooting

6) Two versions of news story (Obama’s State of the Union address). Which one is better? Why?

NBC News version

DePaul University journalism student’s version

Spring14 Challenge 9 – Vine video

This challenge must be completed, and a link to the Vine video must be posted in a message to the Google+ community, by noon Monday. April 14.


You will create and share a Vine video to promote or publicize some aspect of the Department of Communication and the Arts. You will link to the Vine video in a post to the Google+ community.

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Monday’s class (3/31)

Ashley Manz, a 2012 Seton Hall PR graduate, will speak during the first half of class on Monday. She will have lots of insights and personal experiences to share on how to use social media in the PR and business world, and how to measure its success. Be prepared to ask her questions. I may also have you live-tweet her talk.

The reading for Monday is on photo and video sharing. See the schedule for details. There is a strong likelihood of a quiz on Monday.

Don’t forget that the live tweeting assignment (Challenge 7) must be completed by noon Friday, April 4. If you haven’t already, please email me to let me know what event you intend to live tweet. Also, send me a DM on Twitter after you are done tweeting the event.

The social media release (Challenge 8) assignment must be completed by noon Monday, April 7.

Spring14 Challenge 8 – Social media release

This challenge asks you to create a social media release using the Pressitt website. It is due at noon Monday, April 7. The details of the assignment are in this word document: Challenge 8

Comparing the value of social media platforms

I’m forwarding this post from Google+, which contains a good chart put together by AdobeCMO comparing the value of the leading social media platforms in four areas: search engine optimization (SEO), brand awareness, customer communication, and traffic generation:

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