Results tagged “social media”

Reddit for Journalists

Three speakers at news:rewired talking about use of Reddit in journalism, moderated by Mark Frankel, assistant editor, social news, BBC

James Cook, Daily Dot

James cookThere's two main tasks:

  • Finding new stories
  • Sharing stories

How do you get started? Sign up. That allows you to start following what you're really interested in. Reddit is made of communities of interests: subreddits.

How do you do Reddit wrong? Don't identify yourself. Reddit is great at identifying who you are - and if you're pretending to be someone else, you'll be busted. Be honest about who you are. Be honest and you'll get good results

How about promoting your story? Look for who has been sharing your stories. Chances are someone has already done it. If it's there, leave a comment saying you're the author and asking for feedback and questions.

If they haven't - well, the temptation is to post your own. And that is fine. But gaming Reddit isn't. OnGamers was banned for Reddit for doing this, and lost 50% of their traffic overnight. Here's a rule of thumb: no more than 10% of your links should be to your own stories.

Taylor Swift by Eva Rinaldi (used under a Creative Commons licence)

Big surprise of last week: Taylor Swift had some really interesting thoughts about the intersection of tech and commercial art in a piece for the WSJ:

There are a few things I have witnessed becoming obsolete in the past few years, the first being autographs. I haven't been asked for an autograph since the invention of the iPhone with a front-facing camera. The only memento "kids these days" want is a selfie. It's part of the new currency, which seems to be "how many followers you have on Instagram."

Fascinating point, and a very rapid cultural shift.

Here's another:

A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers. I see this becoming a trend in the music industry. For me, this dates back to 2005 when I walked into my first record-label meetings, explaining to them that I had been communicating directly with my fans on this new site called Myspace. In the future, artists will get record deals because they have fans—not the other way around.

Will we (or have we) seen this happen with journalists? I've noted that a friend of mine joining a national newspaper seems to be good for several thousand Twitter followers right off the bat, which is the inverse of what Taylor is talking about here. But if we postulate that online publications might evolve into aggregations of their journalists' combined followings, that might set the value of a journalist - and their social skills - at a premium.

Photo by Eva Rinaldi and used under a Creative Commons licence

Second video of the day:

It's rather ironic that it hit the web a few days before the news that Facebook is running experiments on our emotions.

There's a whole bunch of interesting research to be done on constructed identity using social networks, and I bet every single person on here is guilty of it to some degree. I very rarely see the sadness and difficulty of people's lives reflected in social networks - so much for radical transparency, huh?

However, Facebook's approach here is just uncomfortable. As Mary puts it:

Where things get rather concerning is the part where Facebook didn’t bother telling any of its test subjects that they were being tested. The US has a few regulations governing clinical research that make clear informed consent must be given by human test subjects. Informed consent requires subjects to know that research is occurring, be given a description of the risks involved, and have the option to refuse to participate without being penalised. None of these things were available to the anonymous people involved in the study.

Consent matters, people.

Verification is so very hard

Google Concept (not)

Take a look at this video:

Pretty clearly a concept video done by some students, right? That information's all there, including the account name on Vimeo. Even the most cursory of verification checks would show that up.

So, it's not like anyone would publish it as a real Google concept without doing the 60 seconds of checking needed, right?


Google+ Insights

Remember all those tech press stories declaring Google+ dead after the departure of Vic Gundotra?

This happened a week ago:

Many of you have asked for more data about how your social content is performing and who your audience is on Google+. So starting today, we’re offering all Google+ pages access to Insights reports. Insights provides key info that helps you tailor and optimize your Google+ content, including:

  • Visibility: All time total, photo, and post views, and how page impressions have trended over time.
  • Engagement: Which types of posts are getting the highest level of engagement on Google+.
  • Audience: Get an overview of your follower demographics.

And then yesterday, Google+ premium happened:

Apps customers have long been able to host Hangouts with up to 15 people, but now the sessions will be available in HD-quality — together Google believes that will “save time and money”. Premium also enables more granular privacy controls, letting Google+ users set their posts as restricted to their domain (thus visible to colleagues and employers only) if they wish, or hide their profiles from public searches.

There's a full break-down of what's being offered on the Google Enterprise Blog.

These are not the moves of a company winding down a product.

Beware online journalists who report or repeat rumour and speculation as if it was fact…

Declan Curry

The above photo was circulating Twitter yesterday, and at least two media outlets - Romenesko and FishbowlNY - ran it as an example of a BBC captioner having a bad day.

They found the image and they ran with it. They didn't contact Declan or the BBC. And today, they're both apologising.

As it happens, I was at university with Declan - we worked on Imperial College's student newspaper Felix together. I'd seen the photo before - when he posted it to Facebook, sharing a joke he'd written himself. Yup, the caption was by him - and was the best part of a year old:

click on the comments link to see the discussion

And there we have it. Two media outlets turned their journalistic instincts off when presented with something fun on social media, and made fools of themselves.

You don't get to stop applying the basic techniques of journalism just because you found something on social media. Verify, check, double-source. Or you'll be apologising to your readers - or your editor - pretty quickly.

Why social media feels so much less exciting when it's established:

Open systems start with no hierarchy, so they look like meritocracies at first, but network effects mean newcomers create a hierarchy, often without even meaning to. We will never return to a Twitter where there's little difference between newcomers and the old guard.

The form of the piece is an good old fashioned "it's not fair" - but it captures why the excitement and potential many find in the early days of a new tool often fails to come to fruition, as new hierarchies start to establish themselves.

This, I think, highlights one of the big challenge to journalists of the 21st Century. People are starting to associate the writing style we've been taught - CSWE, for Clinical Standard Written English, as the author defines it - with lack of openness. The legacy of social media is a different standard for the kind of language that makes writing appear trustworthy:

And nowadays -- this is where things get interesting -- people who write in CSWE actually mark themselves as untrustworthy by doing so. Because the new usage, call it Modern Written English, is everything CSWE is not: first-person, colloqiual, breezy, open, and personal. That's what readers understand and trust. But if you write like a high-school essay, or the Wall Street Journal? That is now a big red flag. Your readers don't know you ... but they do know that you have deliberately hidden who you are, by donning that mask called CSWE. And on some level they do not like it.

This doesn't mean that journalists need to adopt the tone of a Reddit poster - but it does mean we need to start challenging some of our assumptions about what constitutes a professional writing style.

Interesting column from John Gapper in the FT today. Here he's talking about Jonah Peretti, founder of Buzzfeed:

His insight was that sharing works differently from search. Search is a way to discover information, whereas sharing is prompted by emotion. People read all kinds of material but they mostly share stories or videos that create positive reactions, such as laughter; or actively negative ones, such as anger.

Well worth a read - even registering to read - if only to get to the final line, with which I heartily concur.

(Full disclosure: I worked on a project for the FT over the summer, alongside Neil Perkin and eConsultancy)


Fascinating exploration of the motivation and results of sharing things like photos of food on Twitter:

There is a wealth of information out there for the interested. Knowledge opens doors. Never underestimate the power of small talk. Rapport is how humans sync with one another. The foundation of effective communication.

And small talk leads to big talk.

Why do we tweet what we eat?

See Also: Today's XKCD.

I read this:

This kerfuffle at the Smáralind shopping centre near Reykjavík, Iceland, last weekend isn't because One Direction are in town. It's because of two stars from Vine, the six-second video-blogging site.

Then I did this:

Vine has been through its maturing period and is rapidly making its way into the "interesting" category...

My top 10 tweets of 2013

What can we learn from this?

  1. Mocking social media gurus is really popular
  2. Humour generally goes a long way
  3. People like shared pain - like the treatment of freelancers
  4. Liveblogging and exclusive interviews still carry value.

That's all good news, I think.

Cliff Watson:

You see, we’ve come to define “social” in unintentional Orwellian double-speak. “Social” has come to mean the exact opposite of what it’s meant for centuries. Instead of actual interaction and communication, we define “social” as once- or twice-removed ego validation through button-clicking.

When we've come to understand "social" as meaning "corporate-mediated communications, within defined parameters, interruptible by branded messages", one is rather tempted to despair about humanity…

However, it makes it rather plain that the clock is ticking on "social" as we know it right now, and that's a good thing. I've just seen a community I'm a member of almost wiped out by a single troll and some automatic button-pushing at Facebook. That's no way to build a sustainable set of relationships.

Storyful Logo

I missed this last week:

Accelerating News Corp's digital transformation and video strategy, the company has acquired Storyful, the world's first social news agency.

Storyful, of course, are a brilliant lot, who have made the skill of verifying stories and media found on social networks into a commercial art form. The vast sea of material now available to us as journalists on social media is a huge, and still largely untapped for finding, exploring and illustrating stories. And precious few news organisations have take the skills needed to do that seriously.

Looks like News Corp just started taking it very seriously indeed...

Storyful's post on the story is on their blog. A real range of comments on the post.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Allegedly Gary Vaynerchuk hadn't slept for two days before his talk at LeWeb. I well believe it given how rambling it was. This isn't a conventional chronological liveblog, as I've tried to gather together his thoughts into subject groups...

Go deep not wide

Everyone cares about dumb fucking data. It doesn't matter how many followers you have - it's how many that care.

If the founders of are watching: fuck you. He bought an ad from them on an e-mail newsletter that went to 2m people. He got one order. Breadth doesn't matter - depth does. Worry about open rates, about clicks.

The Secret of Snapchat

What snapchat is not about is impressions, it's about attention. Whatever you do, the number one thing you have to do is tell your story to someone on the path of making a decision. To do that, you need to get their attention.

Gary can't make something trend on Twitter any more. But he can on Snapchat - by sending thousands of message on Snapchat, by hand. He does wonder if they have any good product people left, based on how shit the last update was. Still, many of the recipients then posted the photo he sent to Twitter with the hashtag he asked them to use.

He thinks Snapchat will go one to many eventually - especially if they want to monetise. They tried with Stories - but it's shit with a shit UI. No-one has figures out how to monetise one to one yet. There might be a $20 a year app that's one to one that might work because it's such a great experience.

Snapchat is a utility to get someone's attention in a very noisy world.

The Agency Dictator

He's built an agency from 20 people to 300 in the past two years. He has no HR manager - he instills the culture through dictatorship, and choosing the hiring. They've fired some talented people because they weren't wiling to be the culture fit he needs.

The entrepreneurship bubble

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur now. The number of Ivy League students I see thinking they're entrepreneurs, then see them crumple the first taste of adversity they get. For every Instagram, there's 5 million Instashits. We're not in a financial bubble. This is not a cycle - this is the beginning of technology eating everything in our lives. But there is a bubble of entrepreneurship.

Living in a social era

He lives his life as if he's on the record all the time. That's a decision he made the moment he had a measure of internet fame. It changes how you behave - and more people are going to think that way. We all under-estimate how much the world is actually going to change. We'll all be flabbergasted by what it becomes in the next 15 years.

The Big Social Mistakes

People use social wrong - they blast out links to elsewhere. Do your storytelling on social media. Look at the 10 hashtags that are trending and being creative around that- it's 7000% better than truing to create your own. A woman on Pinterest has an intent or an openness to buy. On Facebook she's looking to be informed. Don't give her the same photo in bot places. Stop linking your Twitter and Facebook. It doesn't fucking work.

The stream on Twitter has become so busy that people miss things. You shouldn't worry about tweeting things more than once. If you put out quality content, people will be less worried by it than seeing 10 pieces of crap content from someone else. People need escapism and entertainment. The things on the front page of your phone are the single biggest gateway to the psychology of out society.

Other stuff

  • He's a big believer in free: give, give, give and then you earn the right to ask for something.

  • 90% of people who speak give the same presentation for three years. He'd rather do all Q&As

  • If we went in a time machine and showed people bottled water - and that people paid for it, they wouldn't believe it. It took packaging and storytelling. If you can do that with water, you can do it for anything.

Guy Kawasaki and Loic Le Meur

Liveblog of Guy Kawasaki talking on stage at LeWeb 10.

A few years ago people were predicting that MySpace would be the operating system of the internet. Now Facebook is close to that. Would you really have invested in Twitter 7 years ago?

Predicting the future is impossible. If you want to leave people doubt that you're an idiot - don't predict the future, because it will leave no doubt that you're an idiot.

Guy loves the idea of bitcoin, because it isn't in the control of Goldman Sachs!

Guy on Social Media

Guy has a team helping manage his social media presence. His approach is different from most social media "experts" - it's a marketing platform for him, not a friend-building one. He's married with four children, he doesn't need any more friends. He doesn't want to be your friend. But he does want to provide you with great content.

Look at TV stations: if they provide great content 365 days a year, they get to do a telethon. If he provides great content, he gets to market stuff to. Buffer allows him to schedule things to post to all the different social networks. He reads the comments, and if there's a reply, it's him, not the team.

Guy Kawasaki at Le Web 10He repeats his tweets four times, eight hours apart. He gets four times the clicks as a result. Look at TV news: they repeat stories all the time. You can't assume people will scroll back to find your tweet. Why just four times? If Guy had a really organised mind, he could create eight links and monitor eight links. But he's probably pushing the edge even for him. He's probably breaking Twitter's ToS already... If people see his tweet twice - they've been on for 16 hours! That says more about them than him.

Guy on entrepreneurship

The most important thing an entrepreneur can do is build a prototype. Not a PowerPoint, not a Pitch. A Prototype. Most plans, forecasts and pitches are total bullshit. They all say roughly the same numbers.

The number two piece of advice? Create a product or service so great that the US industry wants to copy it. That's so different from the French version of service x.

Don't expect your customers to fill in loads of information to get access to a free service. Would you do that? No? Why would they, then? Build something you want to use. Don't go to a conference, listen to 50 year old white men tell you what to build. Create the product you want to use, and hope like hell you're not the only two people in the world who want it.

Investing is - and should be - a local phenomenon. There are so many ways we can lose money at home, why would you want to fly half way around the world to lose money? The ideal number of times you should use the world patent in a presentation is one: "we have a patent pending". Your defensibility should be your passion, your skill and your silliness to change the company to make it work. Create a company and make it scale.

There's nothing he's really looking for right now - but that doesn't stop him falling in love with products, like he did Google+:

If you fall in love - truly fall in love - you'll try to make it work. You don't say to the person "I will continue the relationship if you move to where I am". That's not love. If you're in SF and you want to invest in Paris, you encourage them to create a Delaware corporation and have an SF HQ, leaving the programmers in Paris.

Investors should be race blind, gender blond, sexuality blind and even nationality blind. Just look for a great frickin' prototype.

Mathew Ingram responds to Farhad Manjoo on how telling teenagers' use of tech is:

[...] teens and twenty-somethings are good predictors of technology's future, even if the services or apps or hardware they prefer at a specific point in time don't become a "winner" in market terms. And that's why companies like Facebook -- and investors who hold shares in them -- should be concerned when they see younger users dropping off or adopting other services.

I'm not sure that I entirely agree with either of them - Manjoo is pretty clearly accurate when he points out that some major trends that do come to pass aren't led by teenagers, and it's not just the financially gated ones either - Twitter is one example of a service that has traction but which teens came to late, if at all.

But equally, Ingram is correct in saying that the behaviours of teens are more telling than the services they use. Teens' use of Bebo and MySpace in the mid-2000s heralded the rise of Facebook rather than a growth in the two sites they were using at the time. The trend was telling, rather than the sites.

So - look at teens' usage of disparate tools to maintain a loose, non-centralised network as the key message of today's situation, not at the particular services they're using to do that with right now. Indeed, if anything, this promiscuous use of a variety of tools makes it less likely that any one will become significant in the long-term - as swapping out any element of their social toolbox becomes significantly easier than it was in the centralise social network era.

And, of course, once their parents figure out they're doing it, that's exactly what they'll do. Snapchat's in the papers. The clock is ticking...

Twitter welcomes careful curators

Twitter launches custom timelines:

Custom timelines are an entirely new type of timeline -- one that you create. You name it, and choose the Tweets you want to add to it, either by hand or programmatically using the API (more on that below). This means that when the conversation around an event or topic takes off on Twitter, you have the opportunity to create a timeline that surfaces what you believe to be the most noteworthy, relevant Tweets.

Looks almost like a shot across the bow of Storify. If you're using it to curate Tweets and nothing but, you can now do it natively within Twitter - and do so without replying on a third party. That said, Storify has much more power than that, as a genuine multi-platform curational tool.

Neville has created a good example of it in use.