#bsocials18 semester-long project team assignment

Assignment Overview

This multi-part semester-long assignment is going to provide you with the opportunity to begin to learn what it is like to work for an organization that helps non-profits while working with a non-profit organization as they seek to improve their online communications. That is, your project team will exist as subsection of the larger Beautiful Social enterprise, in which you will create social structure that allows for open, honest communication and feedback. Throughout the semester your team will revisit it’s goals and values so they are evolving as your project and team evolve. The assignment will challenge you to improve your knowledge, skills, and comfort levels in each of the five course objectives: collaboration, effective communication, engaged citizenship, reflection, and risk-taking.

While working as part of your subsection — or team — you will complete various readings and projects that will lead you up to the final deliverable for your client and, importantly, help you better understand the work that goes into being part of an organization that values collaboration, integrity, curiosity, experimentation, online engagement, open access to information, and education. That is, an organization like Beautiful Social.

The following sections may be completed concurrently, depending on the due date. The concurrence is designed to simulate real-world projects, which more often than not overlap. The sections are:

Developing an Identity

The first step is for your project team to develop an identity that will guide you through the work you complete over the course of the semester. To develop your identity, complete the following:

  • Create a team-specific hashtag to be used across social media spaces.
  • Articulate the why? for each member of your project team and how that why connects to this class and your project.
  • Compose a Project Team Promise that will guide your team collaborations this semester, which includes each of the following collaboratively composed parts:
    • Vision: collaboratively written statements about what your team will be doing and creating (don’t just write, “We will make videos; rather write what you hope those videos will achieve and how you want them to look, etc.)
      • Your vision statements should embody, in part, the 5 Course Objectives: Collaboration; Effective Communication; Engaged Citizenship; Reflection; and Rick-taking
    • Goals: a collaboratively written statement which outlines the steps needed to ensure the Vision is achieved (don’t just detail the assignment due dates; also think about what must happen in your group in order to make the vision a reality)
    • Declaration: A series of individual statements composed by each team member that describes skills and roles that team member will bring to the project to ensure the vision becomes a reality)
    • Integrity: Using the reading by Christensen as a guide, I would like each team member to compose a statement in which they describe how they will ensure they are “being a person of integrity” (p. 16) in all work they complete and activities they perform for their group. I’d also like each team member to compose a statement that describes how they would like their colleagues to address them if they are not living up to their Declaration or Integrity statements.
  • Using the Calendar your fellow set up, add all due dates and in the description, list some specifics about the assignment and the URL where the assignment can be found. All deadlines can be found in on the Major Assignments and Course Calendar pages (note that depending on a team’s progress, deadlines may change).
    • Be sure to continue to add to your Calendar as team-imposed deadlines emerge and site visits are scheduled. The more organized you are, the more successful your team will be.

By establishing the above, my hope is your team will have a cohesive identity which will afford the collaboration and reflection necessary to succeed during the semester.

Post all of the above to a shared GoogleDoc in the folder created by your Fellow. Share the GoogleDoc with beautifulsocial [at] gmail [dot] com, as well.

Due date
Tuesday, 1/30 by 11:00pm on the shared GoogleDoc

Documenting Your Project Team’s Story

This part of the assignment is essentially the Social Media Documentary Assignment, but there is a section for it here, as well, so you are certain to connect it to your team project.

Each of your team members should make part of your declaration to be a Team Documentarian. In that role, each team member should document your team’s in and out of class activities via photo and video on Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks, if you so wish. Be sure to use the #bsocialf17 hashtag.

The more you document, the more reflective and creative your group will be throughout the process, and the more creative your final Documentary video will be.

Due date
Start now and end the last day of the semester.

Background Research & Social Media Analysis

This part of the assignment will challenge your team to research your client so you have a thorough understanding of their mission and goals, as well as others in the field who are doing similar kinds of work. When considering similar organizations, you may not find organizations that do the exact same thing. That is fine. Look to other organizations that are working in similar ways or with similar goals.

There are three parts to the assignment. Part 1 is to be completed before your first client visit. Part 2 is to be completed during and written up after the visit. Part 3 is to be completed a few weeks later.

Part 1: About Your Client

Review client’s mission statement, website, and social media platforms (if they have them).

  1. What is your organization’s mission statement? How are they bringing their mission to life?
  2. What concern or problem is your organization designed to help solve (such as, homelessness, violence against a particular group, animal abuse, etc.)? Do some research online (you might need to use the library databases) and find 3 articles that discuss the concern on a local level—that is, confined to Philadelphia. The articles can be scholarly or news-related. Write a 100-word summary of what you have learned, including statistics that help illuminate your point.
  3. What social media are they using and why? When thinking about social media, include video and audio. Since they are most likely posting to a social media space, like YouTube, video is a form of social media. So, too, are blogs and web sites. Indeed, most public media coming from organizations are social in nature (including email, newsletters, flyers, etc.)
  4. Who is the target audience for each social media platform? Do the people who follow them align with their target audience?
  5. How did you come to your conclusions? You might consider creating a flow chart that goes from the mission to the audience. Or the social media to the audience. There can be multiple routes to similar audiences.

Industry Standards and Best Practices

  1. Go back to the Aaker and Smith article we read for February 1. Choose one of your client’s social media spaces and analyze it in terms of Aaker and Smith’s Characteristics for Effective Social Media Campaigns. For each of the characteristics, state if your client is successful, somewhat successful, or not successful and why. Be specific and provide examples.
  2. Investigate what other non-profits doing with similar kinds of work by considering:
    1. Who are the top 3 organizations most similar to your client/organization that are using social media most effectively? Why? How did you determine the top organizations? Based on what evidence/data?
    2. What are the top 3 organizations doing? How are they doing it?
    3. Why do you (or others) think it is effective? (Evidence. Evidence. Evidence.)
    4. Include screenshots, images, etc. to show best practices.

Part 1 Due Date
Due in a detailed and aesthetically pleasing Background Research GoogleDoc in the Drive folder your Fellow created at least 5 hours before your first client meeting. Share the GoogleDoc with beautifulsocial [at] gmail [dot] com, as well.

Part 2. What Does Your Client Think?

During the Client Visit
As a way to help you with your first client visit, I’d like you to engage them in a discussion that covers the following:

  1. Thinking about Sinek’s Golden Circle, ask your client what they believe their why is. That is, what do they believe at their core that then leads to their how and what? Try to come to definitive answers to the why, the how, and the what.
  2. Discuss the project specifics. Come with a list of 5 – 7 questions you have based on your Part 1 background research or about the project itself.
  3. Who is their target audience for each of their social media platforms: web site, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. How well do they think they are doing in reaching their target audience? Don’t be critical and don’t offer suggestions now; this is an info gathering exercise. If they don’t have social media platforms, talk with them about who they’d like to reach if they could.
  4. If there is time, ask the people with whom you are meeting to share why they are involved with the organization.

The day after your client visit compose a professional thank you note that your Fellow will send to the client that includes a short summary of the work you’ll be doing for them this semester. Also confirm any future event or visit dates.

Writing it All Up
Write up your client visit experiences, including answers to each of the 4 questions above. Is there are direct connection between their why, how, and what, and their mission statement and practices? Note any possible disconnects between what the client might perceive about their social media use and the realities of that use. Come up with 5 questions you still have moving forward.

Part 2 Due Date
Due 2/15 by 11:00pm in a continuation of your Background Research GoogleDoc.

Part 3 Social Media Analysis (to be added)

Blogging for the Beautiful Social Web Site

Each project team will be responsible for composing ONE creative, engaging, thoughtful, and reflective blog posts for the Beautiful Social web site. Your blog posts should reflect on your activities as a team, showcase something your organizations successes in social media, or discuss an important issue facing nonprofit organizations similar to your organization.

Your posts should include a mix or alphabetic text, still image, and video, and contain links when links are appropriate. Do not just create a bunch lists. The posts should be written in such a way that celebrates Beautiful Social activities and ideas. Remember, you are not just students completing assignments; you are representatives of B:Social. Take pride in what you are writing. They should be between 500 and 700 words with significant multimedia. (If you prefer, you can make a video that we can upload to the B:Social YouTube page instead of writing.) Please see these B:Social blog posts composed by students as exemplars:

IMPORTANT: Decide as a team which members will be responsible for writing and the blog so there is no confusion over who will be doing the work. You might assign a few to do this post and few to be responsible for the Client Case Study, which is due later in the semester.

Due dates: 

All blog posts are due on Tuesdays. Your Fellow will comment on the blog post by the immediate Friday morning. All changes must be made by the following Tuesday. Your Fellow will schedule the post to appear the following Monday at 11AM, which is the optimal time for blog posts to appear.

  • 2/20: Upper Darby
  • 3/6: Ubuntu
  • 3/6: Juvenile Justice Center
  • 3/27: Providence Center

Social Media Takeover

Karen and Lizzy

Over the course of the semester, each team will take over the Beautiful Social Instagram feed to highlight the work they are doing with and for their client. The content can be photo or video, but it must be consistent with the Beautiful Social aesthetic: Inkwell filter, with added or reduced Vignette, Shadows, Highlights, and Brightness, as appropriate.

The goals are to reveal what happens behind the scenes of Beautiful Social, contribute to the feed’s feel-good vibe, and help our clients see how Instagram can be used well and creatively.

Some specifics:

  • Each team should post at least 1 – 2 times per day for the week they are posting, with only 1 the last day in the morning in which you sign off in some fun sort of way.
  • Latergrams are perfectly fine, so be sure to document what you are doing throughout the semester that way you have a host of material when your week arrives to combine with immediate photos
  • You can post things that seem mundane, such as meeting to get work done, completing readings, etc. The goal is to make transparent the work we do, and that kind of stuff counts as the work we’re doing.
  • At least 4 (or 5, if a group of 5) posts should tell a compelling story, as those by Jedidiah JenkinsRuddy Roye, and others we have read about
    • each group member should create 1 of the 4 or 5 posts
  • Post portraits and profiles of each team member; telling a compelling story about that member that includes at the very least, their Why? Imagine these to be part of a Humans of B:Social series. Add the #humansofbsocial hashtag
  • Add your team hashtag, #bsocials18, and any other hashtag you think important
  • Tag and @mention people and organizations, as appropriate

Takeover Weeks

  1. Upper Darby: Thursday 2/8 – Wednesday 2/14
  2. Providence Center: TBD based on yet to be determined group schedule
  3. Juvenile Justice Center: TBD based on yet to be determined group schedule
  4. Ubuntu: Thursday, 4/12 – Wednesday 4/18

Client Case Studies

I’d like you to make a Client Case Study, which will be featured on the Our Work page of the Beautiful Social web site:


Your case study should be modeled on the ones already posted on the Our Work page and include a mixture of alphabetic text and visuals. It should have the following section headings:

  • CLIENT, where you discuss the organization and who the organization serves (75 words)
  • CHALLENGE, where you discuss what needed to be created (100 words)
  • STRATEGIC THINKING, where you discuss how you approached the work and what social media and/or non-proft (or other, like design) theories you looked to when creating your content (150 words)
  • RESULT, where you discuss and showcase the results of your work (125 words)

Your case study should include high resolution images of you interacting with your client (if you had the opportunity) or of your team working on the project.

Steps to Complete the Work

  1. Create a folder in a shared team GoogleDrive space and compose the written part of the case study. Do not rush this part of the work. Since the length of each section is no more than 150 words, it is more than usually important to pay extra attention to each word chosen and each sentence composed.
  2. Paste into the document URLs for any videos you would like included.
  3. Upload to the folder all images you would like included. You should have one very large image that will serve as the header to the case study (as on the Our Work page) and other smaller images
  4. Share the whole folder with beautifulsocial@gmail.com by the due date below.
  5. Your project team fellow will upload everything to the Beautiful Social web site.

Due Date

  • 5/1 by 11:00pm

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