Amazon Help, Brewers’ Caitlyn Moyer have my social media trust

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When I reach out to brands or well-known individuals on Twitter or other social media, I don’t usually expect a response. Partly because I know that the brand or individual is probably is getting inundated with tweets and wall posts and it is unlikely they will see mine, and partly because I don’t want to get my hopes up. So when I do get a response, I am pleasantly surprised.

Amazon Help
This past weekend, I got one such response from Amazon’s customer service account, @AmazonHelp. I didn’t even tweet that account; I tweeted the main @Amazon account. But Amazon was doing some social listening and responded to my fun tweet:

amazon responds to me on twitter louis c.k.

I wasn’t making a complaint, I was simply making a fun observation and Amazon was agile enough to be fun as well. The fact that they are initialing their tweets is pretty cool, showing that there is an actual person and not a “robot” on the other end. However, if I go to the account, I can’t figure out who “CW” is, so they may want to address that.

Amazon has not just gained my trust through social — they have done that by delivering the products I’ve ordered correctly and on time. However, they do promote goodwill about their product (in this case, Amazon Instant Video) by responding to my tweets in such a fun manner. So essentially, their social efforts supplement and support their positive brand image, which will keep me patronizing their business (as if I could resist Amazon!)

Caitlyn Moyer (Milwaukee Brewers)
Another source I greatly trust, Caitlyn Moyer (@cmoyer), follows Steve Rayson’s social media trust formula to a tee. In case you forgot/don’t know it, it’s Trust = Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy / Self-Promotion.

Me in my Brewers baby bib.

Me in my Brewers baby bib.

Moyer is the Milwaukee Brewers’ director of new media. The Brewers and I go way, way back (see photo to the left).

Since I am geographically far away from my team (as I moved from my home state of Wisconsin to Florida several years ago), I rely on social media to follow how my team is doing, what’s going on with the players and what’s new at Miller Park (the team’s stadium).

When I’ve tweeted the team account, @Brewers, with a question or comment, I would periodically get a response from Caitlyn’s account (Helpfulness). I not only trust her because of her role with the team (Authority), but because of the great content she and and John Steinmiller (@jstein1981) produce on their “John & Cait … Plus 9” blog (Intimacy). (Notice the lack of self-promotion?)

Caitlyn’s responses to my questions cement my relationship with the team so that I may continue on as a loyal brand evangelist.

Here’s an example of a recent exchange between me and Caitlyn. I included her in my comment because I thought if the Brewers’ account didn’t see my response, she probably would:

caitlyn moyer brewers

Caitlyn Moyer of the Brewers responds to my question — pretty darn quick too!

I am grateful for the sources I feel I can trust on social media. The world is so big and it’s great that social media bridges that gap. Not everyone out there is fake on social media and it is possible to develop a trusted relationship without meeting someone in person.


A matter of trust: How to establish it (or break it) on social media

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Ouch, this is very true.

Trust is key, not just on social media but also in several other facets of life. Overall, I agree with Steve Rayson’s formula for social media trust presented in lecture:

Trust = Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability/Self-Promotion

But rather than talk about the factors I agree with, I would like to talk about two large pieces that need to be added to the equation.

Time. A source/brand/individual needs to become an established part of the conversation before I can trust them. I’m not going to automatically trust Joe Blow who just joined Twitter yesterday and has no profile picture. But if Joe Blow keeps putting out quality content day after day, year after year, he’s going to gain a following. And that takes time.

Accuracy (and a dash of honesty). Some may argue that this goes along with reliability; however, a source could be reliably inaccurate. Whether you’re talking about a news organization or a company, putting accurate information on social media is very important. When inaccurate information makes its way on to a source’s social media page, the information needs to be corrected as soon as possible (this is where the honesty comes in – own up to the fact you made a mistake). It is probably best to follow the advice put forth in Twitter’s Terms and Conditions: “think before you tweet.” Consistently putting out inaccurate information will definitely lead to a loss of trust.

With these two factors in mind, here is what my revamped formula social media trust would look like:

Trust = (Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability) x (Time2 x Accuracy2) – Self-Promotionx

Here’s my reasoning behind the formula: I think time put into social media and accuracy when using social media are extra-important factors, so I weighted them more heavily (by making them squared) in the formula.

Also, instead of dividing the amount of self-promotion an entity does, I subtracted it from trust. Let’s be honest: Our organization can have the best of intentions, but one of the main reasons we are all on social media is to promote ourselves on some level. Yet there are ways to promote oneself without being overt, so that is why I made it possible to multiply self-promotion to the x power.

I’m no math whiz, but without trust, love cannot blossom, many say. And don’t you want people to love your personal/professional brand? So don’t give people a reason not to trust you!

LinkedIn User Agreement: Encourages user accuracy, but does not guarantee it


Like the Terms and Conditions for its social networking brethren, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn’s User Agreement is long and chocked full of legalese.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn makes the severity of its User Agreement much more obvious to the user. It says “Note: You are entering into a legally binding agreement” (click screen grab below to see larger):


There’s no mystery with LinkedIn’s terms: You’d better be ready for a “legally binding agreement.”

The agreement goes on to emphasize accuracy and truth when creating a profile, both of which are commendable ethical standards to hold users to:

 … you promise that your LinkedIn profile will be truthful. … It is your responsibility to keep your LinkedIn profile information accurate and updated.”

LinkedIn also builds in the caveat that its services are only meant for users who are the “Minimum Age” or older, which differs from country to country; in China, the minimum age is 18 while it is 14 for the United States.

Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn warns users that the information they share on the web is never fully private, and to keep this in mind when it comes to business dealings:

Therefore, if you have an idea or information that you would like to keep confidential or don’t want others to use, or that is subject to third party rights that may be infringed by your sharing it, do not post it to any LinkedIn Group, into your Network Updates, or elsewhere on LinkedIn. LINKEDIN IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANOTHER’S MISUSE OR MISAPPROPRIATION OF ANY CONTENT OR INFORMATION YOU POST ON LINKEDIN.”

I am all for LinkedIn wanting to hold people to a high ethical standard by keeping their profiles up to date, and for keeping young children off of a service meant for adults. But there is no way they can enforce these standards all of the time. (Technically, even I’ve been in violation of the LinkedIn User Agreement. On some occasions, I’ve gone a few months without updating my LinkedIn profile after switching jobs.) The World Wide Web is too vast and wide to catch everything. So how can the company protect itself from potential unscrupulous characters?

By adding a statement like this in its disclaimer:


Yet the whole agreement itself still has the potential to be ignored. When one goes to sign up for an account, they are told that “By clicking Join LinkedIn, you agree to LinkedIn’s User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.” Many folks who are ready to sign up and connect with professional connections will probably just click the “Join” button and not think twice.

As a whole, social networks almost really need to hit users over the head with their terms and conditions, making it something people actually need to read carefully instead of being able to just check a box and move on.

Non-boring Terms and Conditions for Facebook & Twitter


google youtube facebok twitter amazon

Have you actually read the terms for any of these recognizable sites?

When I signed up for Facebook in 2005 and Twitter in 2008, I most definitely did not read the Terms and Conditions for either site. I was more concerned with becoming part of the conversation on each social network.

Most of us don’t read the fine print, whether it’s signing up for a social media site or signing an apartment lease, as it takes too long. Our instructor Justin Kings mentioned in this week’s lecture that he didn’t fully read all of the paperwork he was signing while buying a car and most of us can relate to this.

Length is a big thing I would change in re-drafting Facebook and Twitter‘s Terms and Conditions. Of course, I wouldn’t do away fully with the long documents full of legalese, as this can protect the companies in the instance that someone wants to sue them. However, I would make a more basic, user-friendly terms document that would provide a link to the full terms should someone want to read them.

I would also make the user agree to each term, paragraph-by-paragraph, to ensure they actually read them. (Of course, there wouldn’t be too many paragraphs.) I’m no lawyer, but here’s what I think the user-friendly terms should look like:

You promise to be an ethical Internet citizen when using our services. Bullying and spamming other users will not be tolerated. If you see other users engaging in such practices, please report it to us so that we may take appropriate action against that user including but not limited to termination of their account.

We will respect your privacy. We will not sell or share your information with third-parties without your consent. However, you must remember that nothing you post on social media is truly private. Even with privacy settings, your friends can still copy, download or share any content you post.

We are not liable for any losses, perceived or actual, from using our services. You are using our services “as-is” and agree to not hold us liable for any information you come across from using our site. Other humans are posting the information, so we cannot guarantee the authenticity of that information.

If you wish to no longer share your information with us, you may delete your account. It will take some time, about 30 days, for your data to clear out of our system, but once it does, we will not hold any more of your information. However, information that you shared with friends during usage of the site that was not deleted may live on.

This, of course is a very limited Terms and Conditions list, but I think it is a good jumping off point for Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to create a shorter, more user-friendly terms page that people will actually read!

Ethical social media: Minimize harm and build relationships

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ethics sign

Welcome to Ethics! Population: All of us (hopefully)

How would you go about solving an ethical dilemma? In this week’s lecture, our instructor Justin Kings proposed going through a three-step process to solve such a dilemma by asking the following questions:

1. What are your motivations?
2. What are the likely effects of the decision and who would be affected?
3. Where does my duty lie strongest?

I think these questions provide a great jumping off point in helping to focus on what is important in making the best decision. However, even after some self-examination, I still like to consult with a colleague or a friend when facing a tough ethical decision in work or in life.

Let’s put this process to the test with a dilemma that was proposed during the lecture. Justin showed us a portion of a panel discussion featuring Professor Norman Lewis, who posed this question: “Would you send a Facebook friend request to the friend of a murder suspect without identifying yourself as a journalist?” (see video below at 29:55)

As I go through the three-step problem solving process for this proposed issue, I’d like to keep care ethics (defined as ethical decisions which care for people and go toward building/strengthening relationships) in mind:

1. My motivation is to grab that “get” for my readers/viewers that they would only find from my news organization (and this interview would be a huge get). However, my motivation is also to minimize harm and I think the friend of this murder suspect would be more upset if she found out I was a journalist later on versus right away.

2. The entities affected by my decision to identify (or not identify) myself up front would be myself, my news organization, the community and the source (friend of the suspect). If I do not identify myself as a journalist up front, the source could decide to talk to me (or not). If the source does to talk to me, it would be a great scoop. Or, the source could become upset and instead talk to a competing news organization that is more upfront. The community could go without getting this additional information from the source, but that could happen whether I identify myself right away or not.

3. Above all, my strongest duty lies in serving the community, which the source is part of.

After going through the three-step process, I would talk to my managers to figure out the best course of action.

Here’s what I would most likely do: First, send the source a message on Facebook and identify who I am right away. If the source did not respond to my Facebook message, I would reach out to her by phone and in person in the spirit of care ethics to build that relationship. It’s best not to burn that bridge because while she may not want to talk at that moment, she may want to talk later on and I want her to talk to me.

The journey continues: My ethical quest and my future trip to England

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I think most of my classmates know me, but for those that don’t and for the rest of the Internet:

Hello from Florida! Amanda Winkle here! I’m entering the third semester on my journey through the University of Florida master’s in mass communications with an emphasis on social media.

I was transplanted to the Sunshine State as a teen and have been enjoying the snowless winters ever since! I still cheer for the Wisconsin teams (Packers, Brewers, Badgers and Bucks) but I also cheer for my husband’s beloved Jacksonville Jaguars.

Since our instructor Justin Kings is based in England, that has me thinking about my plans to take a trip to the UK upon graduation. Here’s why:

amanda and karen

My cousin Karen and I in 2006. We look NOTHING alike (insert sarcasm here).

1. I would really like to visit my cousin Karen, who moved to Oxford about two years ago after she married a nice bloke named John. I never got to visit her while she was living in New York City for school, so I’d love to see her and John now that they’ve settled into married life in England.

2. The Jaguars will be playing one game a year at Wembley Stadium through 2016, so it would be awesome to see my local team on the other side of the pond.

3. I love the Beatles, whether it’s their solo or individual work (I’m going to see Paul McCartney for the third time in June). I would absolutely freak if I got to cross Abbey Road like all the other tourists.

I could go on and on about why I’d be jazzed to go to England … but now on to ethics!

I’ve spent years working in newsrooms and to me, ethics has always been very important. Much of the public already has a mistrust of media because of a few occasions when journalists/news organizations have not held themselves to a high ethical standard, thereby tarnishing the reputation of the good guys.

There are very obvious rules to follow — don’t record someone without their consent, don’t accept gifts for the coverage of stories, avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, etc. However, the rise of social media has created a new set of questions — in what context is it acceptable to use a photo Tweeted by a celebrity? When it comes to picking up a viral story from another news outlet, is asking for permission necessary? And, the almighty question, at what point can you cite a story you see breaking on social media?

These are all questions many journalists face on a daily basis, and these questions usually have to be answered very quickly in order to move on to the next story. I’m hoping this class will help me answer those questions so I may continue to be a good newsroom citizen on behalf of my community.