Easily Integrate These Wall Street Journal Articles in Your Class
Wannabe Cool Kids Aim to Game the Web's New Social Scorekeepers
by: Jessica E Vascellaro
Feb 08, 2011
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Social-networking

SUMMARY: People have been burnishing their online reputations for years, padding their resumes on professional networking site LinkedIn and trying to affect the search results that appear when someone Googles their names. Now, they're targeting something once thought to be far more difficult to measure: influence over fellow consumers. The arbiters of the new social hierarchy have names like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitalyzer. Each company essentially works the same way: They feed public data, mostly from Twitter, but also from sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, into secret formulas and then generate scores that gauge users' influence. Think of it as the credit score of friendship.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This article introduces IT professionals and students to a developing type of social networking app that can be used to identify and target individuals who are influential in IT circles.

1. (Introductory) What do the companies Klout, PeerIndex and Twitalyzer do and why would an individual care about being included in the services these companies are providing?

2. (Advanced) How did Casie Stewart, a 28-year-old social-media consultant from Toronto earn the title of "networker" and what was the results of her getting that recognition?

3. (Advanced) When Gabriel Elliott was seeking more traffic to his marketing blog, "The Internet Vision," how did he attempt to dissect Twitalyzer and what results did he find?

4. (Advanced) According to Klout employees what is "the one-night stand" and what did Klout do about it?

Reviewed By: Scott Robert Homan, Purdue University

Regulators Want Phone Subsidies Shifted to High-Speed Internet
by: Amy Schatz
Feb 08, 2011
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com

TOPICS: Government Policy, Telecommunications Law

SUMMARY: Federal regulators launched an effort to overhaul an $8 billion federal phone-subsidy program Tuesday, saying the money would be better spent on funding Internet service. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to propose shifting the fund's subsidies to high-speed Internet instead of phone services over the next few years. FCC officials said it makes more sense now to use the money for broadband, since those lines could also be used to offer Internet phone services to consumers.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This article will introduce IT professionals and students to the federal phone-subsidy program and how changes to it might help increase broadband internet access to some individuals and communities.

1. (Introductory) What is the purpose of the United States federal phone-subsidy program? When was the program originally created and how large is the fund today?

2. (Advanced) What changes to the United States federal phone-subsidy program does the Federal Communications Commission seek to make? Do you agree that theses changes should be made and who do you think it will benefit the most?

3. (Advanced) Why is it necessary that as part of the effort to update the federal phone-subsidy program the FCC will try to overhaul related rules for how telecommunications companies reimburse each other?

Reviewed By: Scott Robert Homan, Purdue University

Fast Way to Gripe About (or Praise) Service
by: Katherine Boehret
Feb 09, 2011
Click here to view the full article on WSJ.com
Click here to view the video on WSJ.com WSJ Video

TOPICS: Business Practices, Customer Service, Customer-relationship management

SUMMARY: Tello (Tello.com), a new website and mobile app that encourages users to chime in on their customer-service experiences, good or bad. Businesses, or specific employees at those businesses, can be rated with a thumbs up or thumbs down and a detailed comment. Tello was released in the Apple App Store this week. It's currently available for use at Tello.com, on other devices via mobile browsers at m.tello.com or as a native app on Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Tello's founder and CEO, Joe Beninato, said an Android app is due out this spring.

CLASSROOM APPLICATION: This article introduces a new app that helps individuals rate customer service experiences. Teachers can use this story to facilitates discussion about the creation of the app and how the information provided by its use can be used by organizations.

1. (Introductory) What does the new app called Tello do and why would an individual want to use it? How can Tello be downloaded and what hardware is needed to use it?

2. (Advanced) How does Tello's narrow scope frame the use of the app and do you consider it a limitation? Would you use the Tello app? Discuss the reasons why you would or would not use it.

3. (Advanced) How does Tello use the GPS function built into most smart-phones?

4. (Advanced) What new features are expected to be released soon with Tello? If you owned a business that had a high customer service function such as a restaurant how would you react to the emergence of this new app?

Reviewed By: Scott Robert Homan, Purdue University

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