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Reflection: Looking Back at My Year in the Social Media Command Center

Hello, everyone! This is Joseph. Tomorrow marks the end of my time working in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center here at the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information. It has been a fun and intellectually thrilling year (not to mention the odd circumstances that we all currently find ourselves in) but as the curtain falls on my time in the center, I thought I would use my final post to reflect on the things I’ve learned during my time here in the hopes that it will be useful for someone else who may just be starting their work here.


  1. Know what the system can and cannot do. Social Studio, a Salesforce product, is at the heart of what makes the center so special. Very few other universities have this technology which makes CCI a stand out in social media research. Social studio can allow you to see trends across numerous platforms–especially Twitter–but it is not all seeing or knowing. Certain social media platforms like Facebook and the products under the Facebook umbrella are not available due to privacy rules. Also, the center can only provide you so much older data. After a few months, it is exceedingly difficult to get your hands on what people have said online. However, it is a great tool for when something is in the middle of happening. Like any system it has other limitations but all in all Social Studio provides you a glimpse into a world that most people throughout academia and the world will never get to see. Thanks, Adam Brown!
  2. Spread the gospel. As someone working the center, you are an ambassador of sorts for all the great things the center can do for you and your research. Tell students, faculty, and other stakeholders throughout CCI  all about this great resource because they are the chosen people (people outside of the college do not get automatic or even necessarily eventual admission to use the center)! If anyone has an interest in social media and the role it plays in life, business, politics, sports etc., this is a great opportunity to play around with some fascinating data. But people likely won’t know unless you tell them so let it be known.
  3. Follow your passion. Each center worker this past year has been awarded a great deal of lee way in writing posts related to our interests. One of my great loves is politics because I think it helps bring people together in the name of needed change. Many of my posts have utilized Social Studio to see what people are saying on Twitter or in other information sources about political candidates, issues, history, etc. I feel that this might get other thinking about the wide variety of ways that they can use Social Studio to bring attention to an issue or genre they value. If you get the chance to have your say, you should say what the data tells you. Social Studio speaks with an honest if not always clear voice. Let it help you tell the story you think needs to be told.


Thank you for the chance to reflect as well as the chance to serve this past year. I look forward to seeing how the center evolves from here and how all of us can use it to move forward with our research, teaching, and service agendas. On behalf of everyone here at the Social Media Command Center, thank you for being part of this great opportunity. The next generation of the center’s leadership look forward to meeting you in the fall. In the meantime, Keep safe, physically distance, and keep posting! 


With best wishes and hope for a quick rise of a new, socially-together normal,


Picture of Joseph Winberry