Thursday, May 30, 2013

WeChat as social media strategy for news

Once again I find myself learning new things from my students here in China. The social media marketing strategies they proposed in class included techniques and platforms I was ignorant of.

Their assignment was to recommend a strategy for a news organization or business that they would like to work for. They chose, among others, the Wall Street Journal, China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, Financial Times, Economic Observer, Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., Ikea, Whirlpool appliances, and Elle magazine.

Several of the marketing plans included WeChat, which is a free text- and voice-message service for cellphones. WeChat allows its 300 million users worldwide to connect with anyone in their phone's address book. It has added 100 million users since September.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What's stealing and what's fair use of web content?

Updated, with new information about Creative Commons, on 27 Sept. 2015.

During a class on how news organizations use social media, one of my students asked if it was OK to republish any photo that appeared on Facebook, Twitter, or Weibo, the Chinese Twitter. 

Ellyn Angelotti,
Poynter Institute
There is no simple answer to this question, but there are some guidelines, as I learned during an online webinar, "Navigating Copyright and Fair Use Issues in an Open-source World," offered on NewsU by Poynter Institute faculty member Ellyn Angelotti.  

The legal concept of "fair use" in the U.S. and many other countries means that copyrighted material can be reused or republished as long as it meets certain criteria, Angelotti said. Copyright aims to encourage creativity and innovation by protecting a creator's work. But it also aims to encourage people to transform the original so that it advances public knowledge or creativity. 

Some reuse is permitted

So, to answer the student's question, it is generally OK to republish a tweet in Twitter or a Facebook update within those social network systems. However, each social media platform has its own terms of use, which you should consult before republishing.