10 Reasons NOT to Count on Your Facebook Group

This blog is a  page of  Cartoonist Guide to the Society of networks; a project I did with the support of the Arabic Network for Human Rights. The guide is basically a range of social media solutions supported by tutorials, all are to support the professional development of cartoonists, comic artists and illustrators … will write more on this very soon.

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Your Media< 10 Reasons NOT to Count on Your Facebook Group

1- You’re visible ONLY to Facebook members
Your Facebook group probably  have hundreds or even  thousands of members, but all of them are Facebook users, non-members do not have  access to what you share with the group.

2- Face bookers cannot search  your work easily  
Members of your Facebook group could spend a lot of time on the group looking for a specific cartoon they like, unless you arranged your work in Facebook albums. This requires that  instead of just publishing your  drawing on the group’s wall, create an album that identifies it (ex: Politics, Black and White, Portraits…) upload the drawing to this album and share the link on your group’s wall.

Although these albums help with the browsing of your work, they are not a good solution for categorizing the images, as one drawing could belong to many albums. For instance, a portrait for the prime minister fits in Portraits, Politics, Black and White… but you can only have it in one location.

3- Your work is owned by Facebook
Facebook owns the right to sell your work, even if you delete it from the social network or suspend your account. Read this paragraph from its Terms of Use:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it

4- You don’t have reliable indices of interesting drawings for  members
People on social networks are not giving all the time, they are not interactive with all the content of this social website, which means that Likes and Comments you get on your work do not express  its real popularity. An answer to a question like ‘what is the  most popular pieces of my work ?’ is not easy if you depend only on the feedback you get in your group.

5- You get irrelevant content on the group wall
Your Facebook group is meant to provide your cartoons, professional updates, events you are attending and to host discussions around all these. But if you checked its Wall now, you could find irrelevant content published by  members, which in a way  affects the visibility of what you publish.

6- Facebook groups are meant to be ‘a closed space for small groups of people
Facebook  developed the group’s facility as ‘a closed space for small groups of people’, and the developers there tell you that according to what they have done, ‘ The most useful groups tend to be the ones you create with small groups of people you know’.  Thus, you are using the wrong method to promote your work and get more fans!
Remember:  when a group reaches a certain size, some features are limited!

7- You set conditions for people to check your drawings
Practically, there are two conditions set for anyone wants to become a member of your Facebook group; the first is to be a Facebook member and the second is to be invited, either by you or another member.

8- You’re likely to lose some members when the group becomes more active
According to Facebook, there are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages) and an average connection to 80 community pages, groups and events. There is a lot of user-generated content in this popular network, which makes them passive to some content. Your own uploads to your Facebook group could be a part of this passively received content.

In other words, when you or any other member post something to the group, the rest of members receive notifications by default, which is likely to end with no attention towards the new post because the members  already have a lot of things to look at. And if they are receiving many notifications from the same group in a short time, they might consider leaving the group.

9- Your work is displayed according to Facebook decisions
Facebook is not a photo sharing website, images are a part of the social atmosphere it means to build. Therefore, it does not give the user many options for viewing an image. The Facebook viewer is the only way to see photos, graphics and cartoons. If Facebook happen to change the mood of displaying the images, your cartoons will be shown the way Facebook decides.
10- What you share with the Facebook group could possibly be circulated within Facebook only
You may have seen these buttons before, on websites, Blogs, Flickr… and other web pages, these sharing buttons facilitate sharing the content on other social sites, they are absent on Facebook.

Facebook is a wonderful network for sharing and circulating content among a wide audience, but unlike many other networks, Facebook keeps its content with no options to facilitate its spread outside it.

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How BCU Students Use Social Media

Not a long time after offering a social media consultancy audit for a Chinese students in BCU , and helping her with expanding her social circle and job haunting, I spotted  Mark’s tweet  of some interesting figures on how students are using social media, the statics are based on a questionnaire taken by more than 300 media students in BCU a few months ago.
Yet to be published, the results of this survey showed that  Facebook is the most popular network for them; as 70.5% of those who taken the survey check their accounts more than once a day, followed by YouTube (28.4%) and Twitter (26.8%) as the three are the most visited on a daily basis.
The popular, easy and interesting networks are the most likely to have more members of the BCU media students, what points that my using Facebook groups within the solutions I delivered to my client was a good idea, however suggesting a not-very -popular network like Internation was a little tricky.
Keeping in touch with friends is the main goal for them, as 98% of the participant students opted for it as their first purpose of using social media; actually 49.7% of them use websites recommended by their tutors and 36.6% uses the networks recommended by industry contact. My client tends to avoid friendship requests from people she haven’t met in person, unlike 38% of the students who participated in this questionnaire, who would accept friend/connection requests from people you have never met offline.
On the professional level, 47.7% use social medium to finding a placements or a job, 66.3% have their CVs or work samples online (Mahara  and Linkden are topping the list) 52.6% of the participants managed to connect easily with industry professionals through social media ; as 19.5 % followed/befriended industry professionals through social media, and then applied for media placements or jobs with them through other means, especially emails and phone calles. Nevertheless,Twitter, Mahara and Linkden were cited by the majority of students as the most useful networks for connecting with professionals.
These figures tell that I should have spent more time with my client on her linkden profile, giving advices on how it could be upgraded, updated and promoted, whereas, it was a good decision to let the client learn more about Twitter and how to be used for job haunting.

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Reflections on Videos of 5 Women

In my last blog, I embeded  videos of five women from different parts of the world, all are (or had been) living away from their home countries. Basically, I was investigating the way they utilized social mediums in their expatriation experiences, this was an attempt to assess a social media audit I offered to Joyce He;  a Chinese student in the UK.

I think the 5 women I interviewed have similar circumstances to my client, as Kara and Arzuwere expats for study, Aoife and Anya‘s technical skills are close to He’s.  Like my client, Aoife created her Facebook account while she was away from home, her and Rebecca are now based in countries where the spoken language is not their mother tongue, as Joyce He. Moreover, the interviewees are at the age of my client (28) as they are re between 23 to 31 years old.

Looking at the interviewees’ goals of using social networks in travel, we find the main motives are:

  •      Staying connected with family and friends at home for  cheapest cost
  •     Travel planning in a way that helps them to mingle in the new cities
  •     Networking in the new cities and making friends with locals

Joyce He wants to connect with her people at home, however she found that the Chinese alternatives for social networking sites are working well for that. One of He’s goals that almost none of the interviewees mentioned is to be visible to employers. Meanwhile Aoife decided to use Twitter for self-publicity as a freelance journalist, He still not sure if she wants to learn how to use a new network and to which extend this is going to be helpful.

Internet censorship in Chinamight hinder Joyce He integration in the social media sphere , as it keeps her unfamiliar with the most popular webistes, such as Youtube, Flickr and Twitter, what affects her interactivity level in the networking sites, in other words, she might be a consumer more than a user. For instance the Chinese student would prefer uploading a video on Tudou rather than Youtube, as it’s the option she is more familiar with, what restricts its views to Chinese speaking, whereas she can log to others videos on Youtube. With Arzu, the situation was reversed; she was using Facebook when moved to Turkey,   in a time the number of Facebook users there was pretty limited.

A problem that could pop up for an expat who uses social media to facilitate their social  life, is meeting differences in the social behavior of people from other cultures, meanwhile Kara  thinks the cultural differences are the reason, Aoife thinks the age gap is what makes her get some sorts of interactions she is not used to, such as expressing feelings on public (on Facebook wall) instead of privately .

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Women Expats’ Experiences with Social Media

A couple of weeks ago, I offered a social media audit to a Chinese student in BCU, who wanted to grow her social life in the UK and become more visible to employers.  A few days ago, I was in a workshop with a number of internationals, some of them lived the experience of being an expat, I spoke with 5 women about the ways they used social media to support their lives away from homes.

1– Anya (Canada)
Anya uses Facebook and My Space for her travel planning, by extending her network to the friends of her friends who live in the city she is visiting or moving to, and then she meets them in reality. Anya uses social media  to plan out her accommodation and network, what spare her of living the tourist life.

2-Arzu (Azerbaijan)

This Azerbaijani woman focuses on using Facebook for her travels, as she considers herself one of the first users of Facebook. Arzu finds this social network really helpful in keeping her connected with old colleagues and fellows in the countries she stayed in, also in finding school friends and maintain her family ties. Arzu pointed to Facebook as a source of news, which her international friends share

3- Rebecca (USA)

During her stay in cities in three different continents, Rebecca used social networks to make friends and to find out about cultural events and getting around the city she moved to, as well as to communicate with friends. In Berlin, she got to be a part of a community of English-speaking expats.

4- Aoife (Ireland)

She opened her Facebook account after moving to Palestine in 2008, especially for following the coverage of demonstrations and marches she attended, Aoife found Facebook useful in networking with internationals as well as local activists in the Palestinian Palestinian territories. After moving to Nicaragua, the Irish journalist is planning to create an account on Twitter, only for professional goals, as she is to be a freelance journalist in Central America.

5- Kara (USA)
Kara uses her accounts on  social networks to keep in touch with friends at America and stay connected with family. However, she thinks that keeping in touch all the time with people from home all the time distracts her feelings of being in a different country. Kara thinks that using social networks for making new friends is more useful than mere message exchange with the people she already knows; she used Couch Surfing for her stay in India and got to make a friend through it.

However, the young American educator is conscious with some challenges in keeping up a cross-culture friendship using social media, she gives the example of one of her Arab peers, who used to show a high interaction on her Facebook activity, to show his friendship, but Kara didn’t feel comfortable with it, especially if it comes from people she is not very close to.

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My Social Media Audit Winner

In We are What We Tweet conference, a raffle was drawn for a MiFi and seven free social media audits provided by MA Social Media students (myself included). The winner to whom I should offer the service is Joyce He; a Chinese business student in BCU.

Initially, He mentioned she wants her prize to be a session on how to create a personal website, what gave me the impression of being a musician or a designer, as people in creative industries are the most likely to need personal websites; to expose their portfolios and work samples, but the service I offered to Joyce was totally different!
When I met  He, we started  a friendly chat to break the ice as well as to see the things she is doing and how social media can support them. The Chinese student told me she doesn’t really know what social media means, and that’s why she attended We are What We Tweet , accordingly she doesn’t have expectations from social networks.
At the same time, my client had a negative prejudice on social mediums; she was telling me about a girl committed suicide because of a relationship she built on Facebook, confirming that there are many similar incidents; what made He herself doesn’t accept friendship requests from people she doesn’t know personally even if they have  friends in common.

My first task  was to dislodge this misconception for socializing through the social network, He is on Facebook but not a frequent user, I kept giving her examples on how the social network benefitted me and my friends, and showing her the Facebook accounts of  some of Chinese friends. The second task was to identify her goals of this social media audit. I spent with my client around 80 minutes, around 60 of them showing her how Facebook could help with enhancing the social life for an expat and help with  job haunting; explaining how Twitter works and what she can get from it for the career development  and introducing her to  Internations, a network for expats around the world.

After delivering this service, I was thinking of what I’ve learned from He, I think the main experience I got was how to present the social networks to someone who doesn’t trust them and with limited technical knowledge.

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Did Social Media Supported or Drived the Egyptian Revolution?


A presentation I gave in Re:Publica11 in Berlin

It was live blogged here  by my amazing friend JillianYorck

Find more about the event under this Twitter hastag (#rp11)

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Social Media, Mainstream Media and the Egyptian Revolution Coverage

This is a presentation I gave in We Are What We Tweet

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View more presentations from Noha Atef

According to the agenda you’ve got, I’m going to talk on how I have been following the Egyptian revolution through social media as a UK resident, and on the way mainstream media used social networks for their coverage to the 18 days of national wide protests in the most populated country in the Arab region.

First, I’d like to brief you on the media scene in Egypt before the January 25th, I’m not going to mention figures, just a photo that was published in the biggest and oldest Egyptian newspaper, Al Ahram, a state run newspaper.
The photo is for Hosni taken at the launch of the latest Middle East peace talks – but with Mubarak switched to the front of the procession.

Fifteen years ago, such photoshopped picture would be just consumed by the newspaper readers the media meal and digested, but in 2010, as social network are accessible from offices, homes, and from mobiles in our pockets, it’s not at all difficult to notice the difference and tweet it, then the story make it to the media of everywhere in the world. When our friend spotted the difference and tweeted it, he was actually assessing mainstream media, making a story out of it and broadcasting it, using social media in the three stages.
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Over the revolution, the scene was like this; like the right half of this screen shot form Aljazeer English. In the first of April, while Tahrir square in Cairo was loaded with at least one million protestors, Egypt state TV was showing this scene (Photo) claiming the protests are over, and ‘normal’ life is gradually back!

At that point, I had the options of watching the revolution through the Internet, TV or the press. And I believe all of you had the same options. I don’t have a TV honestly, but I used to watch the reports of different TVs on Youtube, on the next day, and most of the time, I was frustrated! Mainstream media with whatever limit of professionalism it has, is eventually owned by a person or a group who have interests, their interests are translated into ‘Editorial Policies’, the editorial policy is a key element of professionalism, if a newsroom doesn’t have it, it’s not professional, and if it does have, it means it have certain interests that regulates its maintenance.

I don’t mean hear bad intention or a sort of conspiracy theory, but media people are not as informed as they are on the ground…. Let’s watch this short video from CNN, and find out the mistake they did…
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So, the iconic TV (CNN) couldn’t distinguish Egyptian flag from the Iranian one, the funny thing is that both American and Iranian media were trying to draw the same portrait for the uprising, as an ‘Islamic revolution’, that is lead by islamists, making use of the prayer protestors were performing in public, whereas praying on the street is a cultural thing, people tend to pray in public in Mubarak era, actually the act doesn’t point a thing except that common people are taking part on the protests

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The contrast we all should be aware of, between mainstream and social media just gives reasons, to keep an eye on the popular social network, to compare and verify.

At the same time, mainstream media is watching social media as well, it has been using it as a source of news, Aljazeera and CNN, may be more others,  dedicated a slot in their news services to the updates coming from Twitter, Youtube, Bambuser and other social networks.

Journalist who were on the ground, have been using Twitter to spread the updates,  Sharif Adul Kuddos (Democracy Now), Nick Kristof (new York Times) and  Anderson Cooper (CNN) were the most popular media people to follow.
Also, using social platforms, major broadcasters including the BBC and Aljazeera have been providing a continuous live feed of events, Twitter activity and official press reports that keep coming in. Aljazeera, illustrated its source (Twitter) by creating a dashboard shows the average number of such tweets per minute for each country. It also shows a visual representation of the hashtag usage in each country getting the most attention in the Twittersphere.

An finally, taking the whole of social media shining as topic, building arguments such as “Facebook Revolution”, “Facebook Changed the  Regime” and “A Facebook led Revolution”, which still not understandable for me .

However, I cannot deny the way people utilized social media for mobilization, connecting each others around the country and to spread their words. The Internet was the platform everyone needed for being heard, even those who had never got online; they believed in online media’s capability of taking the truth to the world.

It was not surprising that a month after the revolution, the number of internet subscribers and social media users went high (Slide with the figures after and before)

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