Staying Abreast of Social Media Trends with Mashable and SocialTimes

Do you wonder where you’ll find the time to stay technologically current while tending to all the other topics involved in teaching bcomm? If you’re like me, you use most of your energy and ingenuity just trying to figure out how to teach the fundamentals effectively.

But let’s face it: nowadays, skillful and appropriate use of technology, especially social media, is a bcomm fundamental. Integrating this topic into our courses has become an imperative, not an option.

This means that we need to stay abreast of current news, research, and commentary regarding social media and other communication technologies. And that’s where Mashable and SocialTimes can help.

Mashable, as its website states, “is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology.” It is the go-to source on these topics for ABC News, CNN, and other respected news outlets. For this reason, the top stories will often be politics focused or otherwise not terribly relevant to bcomm, but often, the news will relate to us—as with today’s article on a Missouri law forbidding students and teachers to be friends on Facebook.

But you can also browse the topics under the “Social Media,” “Tech & Gadgets,” “Business & Marketing,” and other tabs to find more bcomm-specific news. And of course you can search the site by topic. For example, a search for “business presentations” brings up “The Most Popular Presentations of 2010,” a report on the most-viewed slideshows on (the two most popular: “Social Media for Business,” with–perhaps surprisingly–82 slides, and “Steal This Presentation,” a presentation about giving presentations).

SocialTimes is a site I stumbled across when doing some Web searching. According to, it has only about 6,000 visitors a day compared to Mashable’s millions, so it’s a much smaller player. But it’s also more focused on social media and seems to be run by a more “hip” crowd than Mashable. You get a better sense here of what’s popular among young adults, which can help you stay in tune with your students and sometimes even ahead of them.

The top stories on the home page tend to be about new apps, but you can find more bcomm-related articles under the “social media,” “mobile,” “marketing,” and “business” tabs. The top story today under “mobile,” for instance, is a report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project on college students’ use of phones, the Internet, and social networking. Under the “business” tab, it’s “How to Craft the Perfect Modern Social Résumé.”

If you like, you can subscribe to these sites via an RSS feed, email, Facebook, or Twitter and quickly review their latest news. That’s not a bad investment of your time in this increasingly tech-mediated discipline.

How do you stay abreast of bcomm-related tech news? If you’ve got a good information source, please share it.

2 thoughts on “Staying Abreast of Social Media Trends with Mashable and SocialTimes

  1. A site that I use is Erik Qualman authored
    Socialnomics…how social media transforms the way we live and do
    business, and has created the site that is current, “hip” “cool” and “awesome”. Eric has also developed several
    videos that students really enjoy and these videos can be linked
    from his site. The one about Facebook is particularly fascinating.

    Additionally, the case studies link provides timely scenarios for use
    in the classroom. From these and current events I occasionally have my students do a twitter exercise in which they must write a message
    from the standpoint of a CEO to clients and customers. These messages usually are part of a damage control problem and a persuasive writing assignment.

    For a real interesting study of social media I have used the Domino’s Pizza story from North Carolina in which employees created a You Tube video that the CEO had to reply to in literally hours because the video had gone viral and severely impacted Domino’s reputation and sales.

    The interesting part of this story is that Domino’s did not have a social
    media presence until this video surfaced, and then was forced to deal
    with the issue on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.

    Another real time marketing and communication study is how
    Oakley was able to capitalize on social media when it provided
    sunglasses to the trapped Chilean miners in the 2010 story.


    • Thanks for the information and the suggestions. We definitely need more cases like these to address contemporary issues in business communcation. Other interesting cases include Nestle’s responses when Greenpeace essentially comandeered Nestle’s Facebook page to protest Nestle’s harvesting of palm oil in Indonesia. Another interesting case is one where a Mayo Clinic physician from Latvia publicly stated that he would not likely be able to give the same quality of care to Russian patients as he would to other patients. The commentary on Mayo’s Facebook page was incredible. Both cases offer students the opportunity to assess the effectiveness of each company’s response.


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