Archives for category: Social Media

Web users are facing an identity crisis. As the public – readers, potential employers, coworkers – continue Googling each other to learn more about who they’re reading, there’s more potential for spoofing.

Daniel Schawbel on Social Media Today wrote a post with some solid advice about claiming your name on popular social networking and blog sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress.com.

Though the idea of staking a claim on myriad plots of Web territory seems daunting, we journalists are in a business where credibility, trust and reputation do matter.

It’s worth thinking about. And if this sounds familiar, it’s cause this subject has come up before.

The two big national stories today have been Pope Benedict XVI’s public event in Washington and the Democratic candidates’ debate in Philadelphia.


TV and cable coverage of the pope has overshadowed almost everything else. But looking at Google Trends, it appears the debate is the more popular topic nationwide.

Tonight’s hotly anticipated faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. The local station will have a live webcast of the debate and a chatroom going. CBS 3 will also host a chatroom. ABC News will have a live blog. If NBC and Fox are planning to do more than post stories and video, they’re not making it obvious.

Sites driven by newspaper content are live blogging. This includes Philly.com, the very funny Philadelphia Will Do blog on Philadelphia Weekly, and possibly The Triangle, the Drexel University student newspaper.

But the most interesting discussions will likely be the ones outside the media spotlight. There are chatrooms on Webchattr and Culturekitchen, and of course, there’s the tweet stream.

Let tonight’s battle royale begin!

If you’re on Facebook and you’re interested in the Online News Association conference in September, join the growing Facebook group.

This year’s conference promises to have more hands-on workshops, more networking opportunities, a backchat channel, and more discussions about the business side of the news business.

Full conference details can be found on the conference website.

By the way, if you like the logo above, kudos go to Scott Johnson, Associated Press Multimedia art director.

Didn’t make it to the Journalism 3G symposium in Atlanta? Catch up on what you missed.

Georgia Tech has posted videos of the talks and panels, and links posted by conference attendees.

Down in Miami, people are recovering from a massive power outage.

Now that the power’s back to most of the city, I expect We Media Miami will be kicking off.

In addition to scanning Twitter and following Web posts by other attendees, conference organizer iFocos has an embeddable widget that carries the latest from the official blog.

Not a bad way to spread the word.


Starting Friday, journalists and researchers from all over will gather at Georgia Tech for Journalism 3G: The Future of Technology in the Field.

Though there hasn’t yet been a lot of discussion on the group’s CrowdVine site, a look at the member list shows a wide swath of interesting minds and movers who are pushing online journalism to be more than just text + photo + video + comments.

According to the conference website, there almost 220 people have registered. If you can’t make down to Georgia, you can watch the live webcast starting Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. ET

Steve Outing, “Stop the Presses” columnist and online media consultant just launched a new site aimed at those looking for ideas to increase news website readership and make money.

Not all of Outing’s recommendations are earthshaking, but the comments will probably prove to be the true goldmine.

On a post about showing the numbers associated with “most emailed” stories to show weight and scale in addition to popularity, commenter Dave Bullard notes that the numbers are also a form of audience approval. Bullard writes:

“Perhaps you find a place on the home page for comments from readers, as in, ‘This is a great resource! Beats the paper six ways to Sunday. Keep up the good work!’

“Rotate those comments, and reinforce them by sending the commenter a little piece of branded swag.”

The editorial side might hate it, but think about the last time you went to a movie because your newspaper’s reviewers gave it a thumbs up.

Get in on the ground floor and join in the discussions.

In January, an ad on the Poynter Online CareerCenter that gave me a jolt:

Poynter Online Ad

The New York Film Academy and NBC News have teamed up for a one-year training program: “Learn Digital Journalism.”

The promotional video is exciting, sexy. And it makes me wonder if I should celebrate, because somebody finally gets it, or if I should cry, because, like all film school advertising, it makes getting the gig look so easy.

Producing broadcast-quality video for a TV network is expensive, but producing it online has become less so, with the advent of prosumer hardware, and high-quality editing software.

Why was this course put together? What would the students learn? What did it mean for camera operators already in the business?

My phone calls to the school went unanswered.

For some outsider perspective, I talked with Jim Long, a veteran NBC cameraman based in Washington and the blogger at Verge New Media.

Though Jim said he knew little about the film school program, he could offer me his thoughts about the lowered barrier to entry and the challenges broadcasters face on the Web.

But first, he wanted to be clear: these were his personal opinions, and he was not in any way speaking for NBC.

Broadcasters, I observed, have been looking for ways to increase their online revenue through their strength, video. But running a television operation, especially a network, is expensive. Not only are there high capital costs, there are pesky personnel costs.

“At some point I think we’re going to have to examine paying gazillions of dollars to the people who are in front of the camera while decimating the ranks of people behind the camera,” Long said. “You’re going to be left with robotic cameras and highly paid talent and nothing in between, and I don’t think that’s a good strategy.”

These new digital journalists could fill the hole, I suggested.

User-submitted video footage has proven to be an effective way to cover breaking news. News operations nationwide are using user-submitted videos as a way to retain viewers and to cut costs, among other goals.

CNN’s I-Reports is one high-profile example, but local stations are trying it too. All that video, however, has to compete with all the other video available on the Web.

“Broadcast is based on the economics of scarcity. They’ve got to learn how to make a play in the economics of abundance,” Long observed.

So how will offering a one-year course in digital journalism change online broadcasting in general? Stay tuned.

Twitter’s spreading … or should I say, its use among mainstream journos is spreading. In today’s NYTimes.com, Noam Cohen describes how political reporters from Slate, Time and AFP (among others) are using the site to send on-the-scene descriptions from the campaign trail.

The 140-character limit is giving rise to the return of telegraphese, Cohen notes. He also observes that tweets sometimes have unintended double entendres. As Ana Marie Cox of Time.com cautioned:

“If you only Twittered and only read Twitters that would probably be a bad thing.”

But would it? After all, so many users embed links and have the “follow” feature turned on, it’s possible get the bigger picture on any subject the Twitterverse is talking about.

Twitter, the microblogging, social IMing, blog marketing, watercoolerish communications site, has been creeping into mainstream consciousness this year.

I used it in October during the Online News Association conference to live-broadcast proceedings for people who couldn’t make it to Toronto.

Though I’m sure I wasn’t the first to do it, I felt like I was. “Twitter? What’s that? Why bother?” was the common response when I asked people to follow me.

Since then, however, people seem to have grokked Twitter’s value. You see more people tweeting conferences and more people and news outlets putting their stories and blog post pointers online.

But perhaps the real power in Twitter is in speed and community. Not only were media outlets able to broadcast breaking news updates, non-media people also sent updated, on-the-scene information. Talk about crowdsourcing:

  • Benazir Bhutto’s assassination: Several Twitter feeds broadcast word of the initial bombing, but first word of Bhutto’s injury and eventual death came from BreakingNewsOn, which claims to be “your most credible Twitter news source.”

    It appears BreakingNewsOn does a lot of wire and presser crawling, but the founder, Michael van Poppel said in an interview he’ll have a website soon and intends to form partnerships with news outlets to provide constant breaking news feeds. Established media who want the breaking news space to themselves had better have a plan in place.
  • San Diego wildfires: Though ably covered by KPBS, Nate Ritter, a web consultant based in San Diego, also blogged and tweeted real-time, getting his message out to several hundred followers (and possibly more lurkers).
  • Police and fire response: A few police and fire departments have made their feeds public, including the Franklin police in Massachusetts and the L.A. Fire Department. Maybe not so interesting, but it could be a useful source.
  • Traffic: Everyone wants to know how their commute will go. Drivers in Honolulu post updates to KokuaTraffic.com, which get fed to a Twitter feed. (“Kokua” means “help” or “assist” in Hawaiian.) SacTraffic keeps Sacramento, Calif., drivers updated on the latest traffic incidents reported by the California Highway Patrol.

    Even fliers can get information on the latest airport delays. Chicago’s O’Hare International, LAX, the New York area and Paris’ Charles De Gaulle all have feeds, though I’m not sure who’s providing the info. More airports can be found via on_The_Road, though not all of the feeds appear to be routinely updated.

As more people make Twitter an everyday part of their lives, news gatherers should think about how best to incorporate it into their strategy, both for source hunting as well as information dissemination — and make sure to grab logical usernames before someone else does.