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April 17 2012


Wisdom from Instagram’s ‘must-follow’ photographer

In his year and a half on Instagram, Richard Koci Hernandez has carved out a niche as a must-follow street photographer, accruing more than 100,000 followers. Slate’s Heather Murphy interviewed him and interspersed his reflections here with a selection of his “yawnographs” —...

February 28 2012


Everything Pinterest and Tumblr Users Need To Know About Copyright Law

If sharing something “feels” wrong, it probably is, says Timothy C. Bradley, an attorney with Coats & Bennett, PLLC in Cary, N.C. who specializes in intellectual property matters. From ReadWriteWeb: “If you know something is illicit, such as a link to an illegal download of an...

December 01 2011


Jonah Peretti’s secrets to making content go viral

Few people know as much about making content go viral on the web as Jonah Peretti, Huffington Post cofounder and BuzzFeed founder. He’s turned doing so into a science, and at Business Insider’s Ignition conference this week Peretti shared his best tips and tricks for making content go...

August 28 2011


NYC, nonprofits try crowdsourcing storm damage

NYC has set up a website for residents to submit damage reports for the city from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. A number of non-profits have teamed up for a similar initiative along the entire East Coast.

So far the NYC map mostly consists of reports and photos of trees knocked down, along with a few power outage and road closure reports. As a result it’s not particularly useful to most residents unless you happen to live nearby some of the damage reported. It’s a good idea though, especially if the city uses it to help respond to damage.

On the NYC Severe Weather site the city says, “Let New York City and fellow New Yorkers know about weather conditions and service disruptions in your neighborhood. Share map points, photos, videos, and comments about Hurricane Irene. This is an information sharing site. NYC will not take action with regards to any posts, but will use the information to inform the City’s response to the hurricane. Because conditions are constantly changing during a storm, NYC will not verify the accuracy of these reports. To submit a formal service request to NYC, use 311. For emergency assistance, call 911.”

You can see the NYC crowdsourced map and info here, as well as submit reports yourself.

Another crowdsourced map, this one for the entire East Coast, was pulled together “to help ordinary people help themselves” by a group including CrisisCommons, CrisisMappers, Geeks without Bounds, GIS Corps, Humanity Road, Info 4 Disasters, Standby Task Force Volunteers, Tethr and Ushahidi. Their map has received more submissions but because it’s covering such a large area.

This is a great way to use the web in storms such as these and I’m frankly surprised more municipalities haven’t tried doing so. Media sites have been doing this for years during storms, especially in local areas, although generally using more rudimentary tools such as message boards, blogs and email.

This format works much better but to be really successful they need to be publicized more, in advance of the storm.

August 27 2011


The 5 best hurricane tracking maps

Poynter.org examined all the major hurricane tracking maps online and says the five best are…


June 06 2011


SEO science decoded: The Periodic Table of SEO

Search engine optimization — SEO — seems likes alchemy to the uninitiated, but there’s a science to it. Search engines reward pages with the right combination of ranking factors. To help demystify what seems murky and inexact science to many, Search Engine Land has created a wonderful  “Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors.” Click on the charts below for the condensed and full PDF versions.

May 15 2011


A highly recommended social media guide

One of the better collection of social media links and tips online is this page from Columbia Journalism School professor and Dean of Student Affairs Sree Sreenivasan, who organized Social Media Weekend this week at Columbia University. The page includes everything from tipsheets to videos. And part of what makes it so useful is that he is continually updating it, so that while many online guides quickly become out-of-date, this one’s usefulness continues to evolve along with the social media world.

April 17 2011


Seth Godin: 6 lessons for media publishers

In a world of information overload, Seth Godin says, how much reader attention you can earn and keep is far more important than how much content you create. From an interview with Godin, Ken Doctor has extracted six lessons for media publishers, including the following…

In describing his new project with Amazon, Domino, Godin says, “The only asset we care about is attention.” You’ve got to ask, he says, “What are you doing with the attention you have?” That’s a highly relevant question. In print, news publishers used to engage lots of reader attention, gaining four hours or more per month of attention (reading time) of 40%-plus of the households in their markets. Online, most news sites have gotten 10-15 minutes per month of reader engagement, reader attention. The tablet, and e-readers, offer new opportunities in treating this attention deficit disorder, with the early signs showing more attention spent. Innovative approaches to publishing — what you offer, how you offer, how you package, how you engage readers — can be the best medicine. “It’s a huge opportunity for journalists. They can be the “concierge of attention,” he says, as editors point to the best, most useful content, their own or others.

Turn strangers into friends: “I paid Time Inc. $2 to read about the causes of the Civil War,” says Godin. “There was no invitation to join a community or join a discussion. I’m a stranger again.” Godin’s point is that each reading experience is a potential beginning of a relationship, of engagement, of asking for — and sometimes getting — more attention. Ironically, Time, Inc. and other publishers have been highly vocal about getting customer data and retaining the customer relationship, as they create sellable products for Apple’s iPads. Yet, gaining data on subscribers is one thing, but one thing only; there are many ways to engage readers, developing and nurturing relationships that could mean lots of sales in months and years ahead.

April 13 2011


8 must-read tips on making Facebook posts super effective

Buddy Media has developed an invaluable guide on when and how to manage your Facebook Wall posting. The guide answers such questions as, ”What time of day is best to post?”; ”How often?”; and  ”When are fans most likely to engage?”

Among the specific tips:

  1. Keep posts short. Posts 80 characters or less have an engagement rate that’s 27 percent higher
  2. Don’t use URL shorteners. Engagement rates are 3 times higher for posts that use a full URL.
  3. Posts that end in a question have a 15% higher engagement rate
  4. Post outside business hours. Most posts are between 10 am and 4 pm. However, posts outside of those hours had engagement rates that are almost 20% percent higher.
  5. Post on Thursday and Friday. Engagement rates on those days are 18% higher than other days of the week. Sundays are also above average. This varies by industry however – read the full report for details by industry.

You can download the guide for free here.

February 26 2011


10 Notorious Google Bombs

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow noticed something weird this morning. When he searched for “murder” on Google, the second result was for the “Abortion” entry on Wikipedia. “However you feel about abortion, this Wikipedia page is pretty clearly not the second-most relevant document regarding murder on the entire English-speaking World Wide Web,” Doctorow wrote before calling on the Reddit community to help.

– The Atlantic.

November 14 2010


25 New Tech Trends You Need To Know About

Here is Business Insider’s list of the top 25 tech tips, trends and megatrends: what’s new now, what will be new tomorrow and what you can expect to grapple with even farther down the road.

The Future-Proof Entrepreneur: 25 New Tech Trends You Need To Know About.

October 18 2010


10 secrets of Facebook’s News Feed

How does the social media giant decide who and what to put in your feed? The Daily Beast’s Tom Weber conducted a one-month experiment to break the algorithm, discovering 10 of Facebook’s biggest secrets.

September 21 2010


How technology is transforming journalism education

PBS MediaShift has written an excellent series looking at the way that journalism education and training are shifting. “Beyond J-School” examines how journalism education has had to change with the times, and includes two audio podcasts (with journalism profs/innovators), a video show, a post on teaching social media, a story about a “Journalist Law Program” and a look at how some students created their own mini-media empires while studying at college — no J-school necessary.

Here are all the features in the series:

How to Teach Social Media in Journalism Schools by Alfred Hermida

5Across – Beyond J-School, a video roundtable show hosted by Mark Glaser

Revamping J-Schools in Australia to Bring in Citizens Agenda by Julie Posetti

How to Conquer Journalism Students’ Fear of Technology by Jen Lee Reeves

Business, Entrepreneurial Skills Come to Journalism School by Dorian Benkoil

4 Minute Roundup – Helping Journalism Students Get Tech Skills by Mark Glaser, with guest Jen Lee Reeves

Spending the Summer in Journalist Law School by Nick Baumann

How College Students Became Mini-Media Moguls in School by Dan Reimold

Columbia, Medill Training New Breed of Programmer-Journalists by Craig Silverman

4 Minute Roundup - NYU’s Jay Rosen on Rethinking J-Schools by Mark Glaser, with guest Jay Rosen

NYC J-Schools Take Divergent Paths on Training, Hyper-Local by Davis Shaver

August 12 2010


Six digital trends to watch

Edelman’s Steve Rubel and David Armano have identified six digital trends and how organizations should address them.

Here is a brief summary of the trends, from Armano‘s blog, followed by their full presentation.

  1. Marketing in the age of streams
  2. Your customers, consumers and employees are no longer only visiting static Web pages but participating in conversations which increasingly occur off domain in “streams” flowing from Facebook, Twitter and even apps. In order to catch them, you must be highly relevant in their streams.

  3. The Googleization of media
  4. Quality Content and potent social connections in addition to traditional keywords are influencing how visible you are to the search engines. Everyone is media.

  5. The data decade
  6. Data is increasingly becoming available to anyone and everyone. From it we can derive insights into behaviors. We must become “data junkies” to fully harness this trend.

  7. Business becomes social
  8. Moving from designated spokesperson to employee engagement at scale—business itself is beginning to look more social as organizations start to engage all stakeholders in open and mutually beneficial ways.

  9. Location, location, location
  10. Where you are is becoming the new what are you doing as multiple platforms begin to adopt the new geolocation status update generating new kinds of data.

  11. Private becomes public
  12. Despite privacy concerns, applications and behaviors which support social sharing are still going strong as what is considered private becomes re-defined as we continue engaging in networks.

August 02 2010


7 tips on increasing traffic and engagement using Facebook

Facebook recently analyzed how the 100 top media sites are using its social plugins, as well as the pages of several top media organizations and the stories they posted, including their content, types of status update, and time of day. Among the findings were that certain ways of implementing the new Like buttons, such as including thumbnails of friends, could result in  3-5x greater click-through rates.

Facebook’s Justin Osofsky outlines in more detail what Facebook found and best practices in 7 areas:

  1. Driving audience and traffic through implementing the Like button. Websites experienced 3-5x greater click-through rates on the Like button when they implemented the version that includes thumbnails of friends, enabled users to add comments (which 70% of top performing sites did), and placed the Like button at the top and bottom of articles and near visually exciting content like videos and graphics.
  2. Driving audience and traffic through Publishing to users through Pages and Like button connections. In our analysis of stories published by top media organizations, we found that (a) stories involving emotional topics, passionate debates, and important sports events have 2-3x the activity of other stories, (b) status updates which ask simple questions or encourage a user to Like the story have 2-3x the activity, and (c) stories published in the early morning or just before bedtime have higher engagement.
    1. Increasing engagement by implementing the Activity Feed and Recommendations social plugins. Sites that place plugins above the fold and on multiple pages receive more engagement. For instance, sites that placed the Activity Feed on both the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites with the plugins on the front page alone.
    2. Increasing engagement by using Live Stream for live events. The Live Stream box, as notably implemented by CNN for the Obama inauguration, can create engaging experiences on partner sites. For instance, during the World Cup, there were over 1.5 million status updates through the Live Stream box on media websites such as Univision, TF1, ESPN, Cuatro, RTVE, and Telecinco.
    3. Increasing engagement by creating timely pages. In addition to analyzing engagement on stories, we also examined the effect of creating focused sub-pages and found that they can have substantially higher engagement. For example, stories published from a World Cup-focused Page of one major media company had 5x the engagement rate per user than stories from the company’s main Page.
    4. Increasing engagement by using the search API to create highly engaging visualizations that draw on status updates from Facebook users who share their posts publicly. The New York Times created an engaging visualization around the World Cup which sized players based on the frequency of public status updates. Your site can do the same through any topic of your choice, and show the buzz around everything from news items to events to local debates.
      1. Seeing what’s working with Insights. Finally, media organizations can understand their customers better through Facebook Insights. For example, one major German news site found Insights to be particularly helpful when it was trying to engage a younger audience online. Insights helped them optimize and understand the activities that continued to engage this audience.

        Below is a video of a recent presention from Osofsky about publishers can use Facebook’s technologies.

        May 05 2010


        10 things your grandmother can teach you about social media

        socialmediatoday says the same personal qualities and social skills that you  learned growing up are what will make you successful at social media.

        Among them:

        • Mind your manners. Social media is still social. Even though we are interacting in a virtual space, the same traditional social rules, laws, and faux pas still apply. If you act like a jerk, don’t expect many friends..
        • Send a thank you card. People still appreciate being appreciated. It really doesn’t take much to convert an acquaintance to a friend, which will offer exponentially more value. A simple thank you, or any genuinely human interaction of gratitude goes a long way towards this goal.
        • Keep your elbows off the table. Acting respectfully in front of others proves that you value them, which will usually make them value you more. And in social media, it’s all about value.
        • Turn your music down. Don’t contribute to the noise. Listen to whatever you want in your own personal space, but when your personal preferences start to become a distraction to others, people will tune you out.
        • A man is only as good as his word. The currency of social media is trust (or social capital). And if people can’t trust you, you have no value to them.
        • Think twice before you speak. You can always say something, but you can never take it back. Especially in social media where everything you say can be heard by anyone, forever, there are just too many “finites” to not reconsider everything you say before you say it.

        May 02 2010


        How 50,000 Sites Are Using Facebook’s Social Tools

        More than 50,000 sites have installed its new social plug-ins, such as the “Like” and “Recommend” buttons. There are three main ways sites are using the new tools, ClickZ says.

        • Instant Personalization: Facebook’s select partners Pandora, Yelp, and Microsoft’s Docs.com have been serving first-time and repeat visitors personalized experiences based on their profile data – if they arrive logged into the social site.
        • Social plug-ins + “Login with Facebook”: Some of the data that can be accessed via Instant Personalization is also available to non-partners using the plug-ins and “Login with Facebook.” This includes always public Facebook profile elements like name, profile photo, gender, and current city – along with other set-to-public information.  … Companies such as Levi’s are employing social plug-ins in conjunction with “Login with Facebook,” which is similar to the two-year-old Facebook Connect in terms of how it bridges the gap between sites and Facebook…. So when users visit Levi.com while logged into Facebook and enter the jeans company’s “Friends Store,” they will see their Facebook friends’ upcoming birthdays – along with their names and profile pictures – unless those individuals have customized the birthday setting in their privacy controls.
        • Social plug-ins only: Most of the 50,000 sites fall into this category, Lucich said. Sites like WashingtonPost.com – as well as bloggers and other small sites – have incorporated the plug-ins to increase traffic, but aren’t using “Login with Facebook,” she said. In short, visitors to those sites – who arrive while logged onto Facebook – can click “Like” buttons to express themselves. Their “Likes” appear on the third-party site and in their activity feeds at Facebook.com, while they also can view what friends are “Liking” or “Recommending.”

        January 06 2010


        ONA, Berkman Center partner to offer legal assistance

        To help Online News Association members find free or reduced-fee legal help, the Online News Association is partnering with the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society on its new Online Media Legal Network (OMLN). Staffed by lawyers with extensive backgrounds in intellectual property and media law, OMLN provides independent journalists access to high-quality free or reduced-fee legal work, qualifying them for assistance, helping them identify their legal needs and matching them with participating attorneys.

        December 24 2009


        The 2009 list of lists

        Once again Rex Sorgatz has gathered the definitive list of all lists for the year — check it out at Fimoculous

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