Mobile and Social Media Opportunities

“This is a major curriculum challenge for media educators because change requires faculty buy-in and various levels of time-consuming approvals. So, we are not exactly a “just-in-time” environment. On the positive side, this gives us some time to avoid costly errors by jumping into empty pools.” -- Jeremy Lipschultz, New Media Academic Summit White Paper (2009), p. 14.

Click here to download and view the White Paper

The mobile media revolution places a chunk of the Internet in the palm of your hand. The iPhone, which has driven the push toward touch screen technology, prompted many new applications beyond mobile media extensions of traditional mass media access. While print media and international DTV access are noteworthy developments, it is social media that has the power to transform interaction.

Clear Channel Omaha's Matt Tompkins spoke to my Online Media Students

Facebook's update of the iPhone application offers nearly full Web features -- friend news feeds, inbox, chat, events, photos, notes and more. As the availability of 3G and wireless hot spots broadens, this makes possible real-time updates from events. We all have the power to shoot photos and videos for immediate posting on the Web. Move over traditional news media. The flow of information has again quickened, but this time it is not just about speed.

The constant and rapid flow of social network information also produces instant analysis -- even some informed conversation. While the cable channels limited "experts" to a select few sound bite artists, social networks offer a broader range of experiences that are not as biased, to name a few, by:
  • geography
  • educational background
  • age
  • income
  • political orientation

University faculty have a responsibility to guide students and develop instructional models for effective mobile-social media.

Powered by the context of personal histories and relationships, opinions here resemble the classic 18th Century coffee house conversation rather than the over-generalized "public opinion" industry. For example, tolerance for President Obama's speech to school children seemed to have its origin in some of the Facebook polls and commentary. By the day of the speech, armed with the released text a day before, key Republican opinion leaders supported it as a positive.

Maybe we can construct an environment that moves beyond petty exploitation of the political conflict narrative and toward real change.