Thursday, October 31, 2013

Claire Ebben - Assignment #3 Social Media Marketing Analysis

Facebook Page: Coca-Cola
Page Description: The Coca-Cola Facebook Page is a collection of your stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today.
Popularity: 74,896,915 likes, 610,672 people "talking" about it

The Coca-Cola Facebook page is hugely popular. Over 74 million people have liked the page, allowing Coca-Cola access to these people's news-feeds, updating daily so that Coke becomes a part of their everyday lives. The page is a great social marketing tool because it is a way of making a large corporation like Coke to seem more accessible and personal to the consumer. The page features posts of Instagram pictures, such as one post that features a woman eating at a table, with the caption "Thumbs up if you're enjoying those leftovers..." continued with "...with a side of Coke!" printed on the picture. This can be seen as an example of effective social media marketing because not only is the post being utilized as a kind of print ad to associate eating food with drinking Coke, it also invites people to "like" the post, therefore generating popularity for the post and the page itself. In this way it is both the Coca-Cola company and the consumer who are working together to advertise and market the brand of Coke over and over.

The page is very successful in its different features. Coke employs both premiums and participation together through "America's Favorite Park" contest that they held earlier this year. Consumers were invited to have meet-ups in different parks in cities across America where Coke would be given out for free. The winning park received a $100k grant from Coke to restore or maintain the park. This enables consumers to engage directly with the product and actively participate in its promotion. Another feature on the Facebook page is a customer service portal in which customers can have a dialogue about Coke. On the page, there are many posts of a photo in which there is a blank space, asking fans to comment what they believe the missing word should be. For example, there is a post that says "I'd trade ______ for an ice-cold Coca-Cola right now!" inviting the users to share what they were "trade." There are many posts like this one, encouraging people to say positive things about Coke's different products. Another feature on the page is content flow. The page is updated daily, ensuring that the people who like the page already will be updated, but also encouraging people to like new material that will then be placed on non-fans news-feeds, hopefully garnering more people to like the page and increasing its popularity. One feature that the page does not have is user-generated content. All of the posts are clearly professional photos or generated material from Coca-Cola, demonstrating that the company wants to maintain authority on the page. However, the page admin does tag certain fans in each post, giving some sort of personal user interaction on these posts.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Assignment 3 - Chris Larson - Social Media Marketing Analysis

Bush's Bean's Facebook Page
Likes: 129,000; Talking about it: 1,680

Bush's Beans is probably one of the more popular brands of canned bean products, but that certainly isn't due to their Facebook page. While it certainly attempts to fulfill some of the qualities that signify appropriate use of Facebook for branding, it fails to construct an attractive and engaging social media presence. This is best demonstrated by the behavior of its contributors. While some comments say that they love the product, most mention how a user found mold in the can or a vole leg or how Bush's Beans uses GMOs in their products. This was Bush's Beans's only attempt at creating a customer service "portal" and it was relatively ineffective at that. The reason being that they only responded to the "vole leg" complaint and did so by urging the user to send their issue to a separate online customer service form, so even then they aren't completely utilizing Facebook in that respect.

In relation to the other factors, Bush's Beans does post new material daily, but it is mostly not engaging (different meal combinations, pictures of their product, etc.). At times they do try to encourage participation by asking a question, but these are rather infrequent and thus encourages little engagement. User-generated content isn't prohibited, but it is sparse as there is not any real incentive for people to post pictures of themselves or anything related. As for premiums, there are no mentions of any coupons or giveaways by the company itself. The only mention is in a comment that one user left after she asked for coupons. So premiums are only present when initiated by the user. In essence, Bush's Beans is an example of what companies should not do with social media marketing as it does not encourage user generated content, makes a marginal effort to increase site participation, provides no premium offers, posts unengaging content, and limits the use of the site for customer feedback.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Laura Bolton - Assignment #3 - Social Media Website Analysis

Company: TechCrunch
Social Media Platform: Facebook page
Likes: 863,000; 63,000 “talking about this”

            TechCrunch is an online news source that focuses primarily on technology start-ups, however also reports on mainstream, corporate companies such as Apple and HP. As a relatively new, company based in San Francisco, TechCrunch is very active in most social media websites – Facebook as their most prominent platform. 863,000 is a competitive amount of likes, however the ratio between posting-likes and the page as a whole is around 1:10000. Since the postings are mainly articles and videos, there is little room for audience participation or user-submitted content. It seems that the page is more of an extension or call-to-action for Facebookers to visit The page is also lacking in premiums (not one contest exists), which perhaps explains this as there is no incentive for people to like to photos, videos, articles etc. Participatory content is also low in numbers - for example, “what would you hack if you could?” is a form of participatory content; it encouraged 31 people to comment, however, this is still insignificant to the 800,000+ likes. There is no customer service portal, but due to the news (as opposed to product) nature of the company, customer service isn’t especially essential, say compared to Apple for example.

On the other hand, I’d say that the content flow is excellent. On average the past week, there has been around 18 new pieces of content per day. Videos, articles, current market trends, and hashtags are constantly being posted around the clock and this variety of content makes the posts less repetitive and the user doesn’t always know what to expect. Recent tech news, TechCrunch event updates, how-to guides for new products, are all just a few of the types of content, and I think the company does a great job, especially compared to its competitors such as the Verge, in generating new and engaging content every hour of the day which permeates in the 800,000+ likes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Claire Ebben - Assignment #2 Internet Crime

Amanda Todd was a young Canadian girl from Vancouver who was the unfortunate victim of cyber-bullying, and more specifically, being threatened over the Internet. As a young girl, Amanda surfed chat rooms and was coerced into flashing the camera on her computer. A short time later, a man contacted her via Facebook and threatened to send the topless photo to everyone she knew if she didn't send him more pictures. He also knew her address, where she went to school, and names of her friends and family. Regardless of her response, the picture was sent to many people, causing Amanda to develop severe anxiety and depression. After changing schools, the man contacted Amanda yet again, causing her to lose many friends and become bullied at school, once even being beaten by a group of classmates. A month after posting a YouTube video recounting her story, Amanda regrettably committed suicide, leaving many concerned about the effects of cyber-bullying and Internet threats. 

This crime was clearly a result of dissociative anonymity in the criminal who threatened Amanda. The disinhibition due to the sense of anonymity and the disconnect between actions online and in the real world contributed to the criminal's confidence in confronting and threatening Amanda. This man would not have necessarily been able to threaten her on the street in the same way that he did over the Internet. This is a result of the anonymity of the Internet, and hiding behind one's online identity. In this way, the man's threats to Amanda took place solely over the Internet, and were therefore in some way "disconnected" from the actions that the man could take in the real world. This crime was also a result of dissociative imagination in Amanda, as she entered the chat room to make friends online. Dissociative imagination is the perception that actions on the Internet are not "real" - and that any actions on the Internet do not have consequences in the "real world." In Amanda's case, it could be argued that posing for the photo felt safer because she could not see the people she was talking to, and was alone in her room at home. Therefore, her inhibitions were lowered, allowing herself to become the victim of a total creep. In the real world, it is highly unlikely that young Amanda would have taken a topless photo out in public, or even in a more comforting setting in the real world. Therefore, by having this disinhibition, Amanda unfortunately set herself up to become a victim. 

Taylor Jones; Assignment #2: Analysis of an Online Crime

On October 2nd, the Internet drug trafficking site Silk Road was shut down and it’s founder Ross William Ulbricht was arrested.  The site was an online platform that connected drug dealers with buyers. More recently, the site went beyond narcotics and also became a hub to solicit computer hackers and purchase illegal firearms. In order to remain anonymous on the site, users are instructed to download software called Tor, which conceals their identity by routing their traffic through different computers. The Silk Road is operated under what is known as the “Deep web”.  The “Deep Web” consists of websites that cannot be found through normal search engines and can only be accessed through Tor.  It is estimated that Ulbricht as made close to $80 million since the conception of the site.

In Suler’s  “The Online Disinhibition effect”, he cites six different factors that help to explain to variance in self-disclosure between online and in person activities.  I believe there were two factors in play with the Silk Road case. From a user perspective, I believe dissociative anonymity was at work.  With software like Tor, in some ways users were able to essentially create a new identity that was completely different from their true personas. Tor gave users the freedom to say and do things that may not normally do because there is no direct connection to their daily lives, in this case that was the buying and selling of drugs.

Similarly, I believe the actions of the creator of the Silk Road were driven by invisibility.  While the Silk Road was in operation, Ulbricht participated in an interview with Forbes magazine only under the condition that it was done on his own terms---through the Silk Road.  Ulbricht went under the name “Dead Pirate Roberts”. I found it interesting that Ulbricht was so confident in his invisibility to do such a high profile interview, it’s clear that his motivation came from the fact that no one could see him.
Delaney Brown - Analysis of an Online Crime

Article Title: “Viagra spam industry earns Russian crime gangs tens of millions a year”

This summer, Russian prosecutors linked four Russian men: Igor A. Amrtimovich, Paul Vrublevsky, Dimitri Amrtimovich, and Maxim Permakov to a multimillion dollar Viagra-spam industry that is persistently infecting computers around the world today.  This spam-bot program, most likely created by Artimovich, preys upon computers with weak virus protection and sends them multiple invitations to purchase counterfeit male enhancement products.  The owner usually cannot trace where the spam came from nor do they know that their entire computer is being compromised.  Spamming has been a source of revenue (about 60 million a year) for Russian criminal gangs.  For the longest time, Russian officials would not made the attempt to convict spamming specialists because their efforts tend to affect Americans the most.  When the same spamming companies started flooding Russian websites with activity and eventually shutting them down, officials finally took interest into the problem.  Three of the men have denied the charges with the claim that their computers contained planted evidence while Permakov admitted to his involvement in exchange for a suspended sentence.

This case is an example of John Suler’s concept of “Dissociative Anonymity” because these four Russian spammers never had to give away their identity (and used this as an incredible advantage) as they were scamming people all over the world.  As victims were opening up invitations to purchase “Viagra”, there was almost no way that they could track down the spam origins.  Additionally, the Russian spammers’ actions could not be completely linked to their everyday lives.  They could convince themselves that the action of selling and spamming fake Viagra isn’t a part of their real life self at all.  This might be why most of the convicted men were so quick to state that they are being framed with forged evidence.  They might not be able to process that their Internet lives are directly related to what happens in their real world.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Assignment #2
Melissa Russi

Hacker group in China linked to big cyber attacks: Symantec

A notorious hacker group working out of China known as “Hidden Lynx,” was recently reported to have taken apart in several cyber crimes. Hidden Lynx managed to break into networks, obtain important information, and reveal company secrets. It is believed that the Hidden Lynx organization includes around 100 expert professionals proficient in extensive knowledge and adept with certain skills used to breach networks and acquire top secret information. Hidden Lynx is said to have been involved with the 2009 Operation Aurora attacks in which the hackers broke into the Google and Adobe systems attempting to uncover emails and change source codes. Other attacks on behalf of Hidden Lynx include a breach at Cybersecurity and Bit9 firms. The report also revealed that Hidden Lynx was involved with the Voho campaign in which Voho attacked hundreds of finance, technology, and healthcare organizations.  

I believe these attackers were operating most under “dissociative anonymity” because working as a group behind computer screens they are less easily identified.  The hackers are associated as a whole unit under the name “Hidden Lynx.” Working as a unit, their names and identities are likely to remain anonymous. With this sense of protection, Hidden Lynx is able to be more effective in their attacks as their members are disinhibited from any sense of personal attachment to the crimes. They are free from any direct responsibility and do not have to own to anything they say or do. They are essentially able to completely separate their actions and names from the real world making them even more powerful while they operate online.

Becca Bressler - Assignment #2: Analysis of an Online Crime

Mean Girls

In the city of Baker, Louisiana, two teenage girls, Chantel Williams, 17, and Jasmine Montgomery, 17, were arrested and charged with cyberstalking. The juvenile victim filed a complaint with the Baker Police Department, indicating that two females had been sending her threatening messages via Twitter. The victim saved the messages, which were later shown to investigators. One of the tweets from Williams’ Twitter account was also sent to a third party, to whom she bragged about fighting the victim “Ima light that bitch up like the 4th of July…lol Ima shoot ha dumb ass.” She then dared the victim to come home, saying she (Williams) was going to put on her “fight clothes.” Another saved message shown to investigators came from Montgomery’s Twitter account (fittingly named @imBADD_yoo). Montgomery had been working with Williams to intimidate the victim into coming to the Baker area so they could fight each other. According to the victim, the abuse had been occurring for roughly two years, and influenced her decision to transfer out of the Baker School System out of fear for her safety.  Unfortunately, the physical distance wasn’t enough to stop the harassment.

            While several of the causes John Suler identifies in “Online Disinhibition Effect” seem like plausible motives, the factor of Invisibility, is what’s really at play. As Suler says, “even with everyone’s identity known, physical invisibility may create the disinhibition effect...Online text communication offers built-in opportunity to keep one’s eyes averted.” This is central to this case, because the victim knew her aggressors. They were acquaintances at one point until their relationship escalated into something toxic.  It seems far less likely that these young women would be so threatening to the victim when they passed her in the hallways of school, but twitter has provided a convenient cover for them to bully without the face-to-face interaction.

Chris Larson - Assignment #2: Analysis of an Online Crime

The wordy title of the article says it all, "How a Russian cybercriminal tried to frame me with a Bitcoin Heroin deal." The article appeared on The Guardian's website on July 31 of this year and it describes the rather peculiar harassment attempts by some devoted followers of cyber security journalist, Brain Krebs.

The crime began on a forum in which a user by the name of "flycracker" decided to make up a story about Krebs being a heroin addict and then started a "Helping Brian Fund" in order to create a Bitcoin wallet called "Drugs for Krebs" in which he would use the money raised to purchase 1 gram of "the purest heroin on the Silk Road" in order to "help" Brian with his withdrawal symptoms. . Flycracker managed to purchase twelve 100mg bags of heroin (the seller was offering a buy 10 get 2 free deal). He then told the other followers when the heroin would arrive and asked if someone else could make a call to the local police when it arrived in an effort to frame him. Krebs, being aware of the forum, alerted authorities in advance. And two days later he received a package, hand delivered by the local mailman, with a Chicago magazine and 13 packets of heroin taped to the back (the dealer threw in an extra bag for good measure).

It would appear that the disinhibition factors at work here include invisibility and asynchronicity, but, most importantly, dissociative anonymity. Flycracker was a pseudonymous online persona. The user behind the screen name was unknown and he knew this. As a result, flycracker felt a level of immunity because whatever he did could not be traced back to him. So if he wanted to ruin Brian Krebs life, he could do so and not have to worry that the cops would come busting through his front door. Without that anonymity, the risk of even conspiring to buy drugs online would be too high just to pull a sadistic prank on Krebs.

I also believe asynchronicity and invisibility also factor into this behavior but to a lesser extent. Given that flycracker had access to the Internet's black market, it is also likely that he is engaging in other illicit activity and if that is the case, it is less likely that being seen would stop him from say buying drugs. Anonymity would be of more value to an individual like that than physical presence or seeing the immediate consequences of his actions would. Thus, dissociative anonymity would be the main contributor to flycracker's behavior.

For those of you who do not know, the Silk Road is the black market of the Internet as it allows the exchange of illicit materials online. It was seized by the FBI earlier this week.

Michael Judy - Silk Road Shut Down

This morning, it was announced that one of the biggest internet-based black markets was shut down by the federal government.  The so-called "Silk Road" was an "ebay-style" marketplace for moving illegal items such as drugs, forged documents and hacking services.  It is estimated that over one billion dollars passed through the website over the span of it's two year existence. 

The 29-year-old website overseer, who was taken into custody on Tuesday, was "disinhibited" by, what John Suler refers to as, "Invisibility."  While operating the underground website, he went by the nickname "Dread Pirate Roberts," keeping his true identity a secret.  Furthermore, the website operated on what is called the "Tor" network, and used bitcoins as the primary form of currency.  This kept the website nearly untraceable and anonymous to the FBI.  Ironically,  however, "Dread Pirate Roberts" used his actual name and email while seeking tech support for his website, breaking his shield of invisibility and leading to his capture.

Gaby DiChiro - Assignment #2: Analysis of an Online Crime

In the article, “Recent Cases Involving Identity Theft,” Ryand pinpoints several crimes in which a suspect assumes the identity of another individual through the pilfering of confidential information. I chose to focus on the Maria Crane case. In June 2013, an unknown individual created a fake Facebook profile representing Crane’s personally owned horse supply business, requesting for donations to Crane’s horse rehab program. The funds were directly put into the fraudulent bank account. Upon detection of this fake profile, Crane was able to have it shut down immediately; however, the suspect remains anonymous.

The primary motivation for the suspect to perform these actions is Suler’s idea of Dissociative Anonymity. Suler says that “when people have the opportunity to separate their actions online from their in-person lifesytle and identity, they feel less vulnerable about self-disclosing and acting out.” In this case, the suspect was able to hide all of his or her own identity behind the name of another individual, inexplicitly disassociating his or her actions from their in-person life. By stealing the identity of the victim, the suspect gained a sense of self-protection and performed actions that he or she would not have done otherwise.