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Facebook + Journalism 101Facebook + Journalism 101 Academia could be more social. So recently, I setup a Facebook Group for "Social Journalism Educators" to be able to connect and share resources around how they are teaching...

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My Next Chapter: Facebook JournalismMy Next Chapter: Facebook Journalism This was originally posted on my Facebook Page. Also, read CNN's coverage of my new role. ------ I am honored to announce that I will be joining Facebook as Journalist...

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Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS] Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook... This is an excerpt of analysis I recently wrote on Mashable about how our Twitter users interact with our content vs. those on Facebook. The result: Facebook's click-per-share...

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Facebook & Its Growing Role in Social JournalismFacebook & Its Growing Role in Social Journalism This is an excerpt from a post I recently reported for Mashable.com. Read the full piece here. A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The...

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New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the CommunityNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community For someone just starting out on Twitter, the social information network can be intimidating. It has its own language, limitations, and features that are very unique to the...

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Vadim Lavrusik Rss

How to: Create an online presence to develop your brand

Posted on : 08-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media

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An excerpt from a post I wrote for Dan Schwabel’s Personal Branding Blog, it is a good follow-up to a post I wrote for Poynter on using a blog to build your brand:

As an online journalist and news junkie, there are multiple platforms that I use in gathering news and digesting the plethora of information out there. Whether it is to keep up on my areas of interests (tech, social media, business models in journalism) or areas of news that I simply enjoy being informed about (local news, politics, Middle East, etc), there are plenty of options to find this news and keep track of it.

3346820651_55e14ff847But what journalists and other professionals often don’t think about is that these tools help build your online presence, which results in further shaping and developing your brand. And of course, there are various social sites and platforms that can help you achieve this (Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Delicious, Digg, FriendFeed, Publish2). Most of these are interlinked, allowing you to share and bounce around the different platforms, but of course there is a method to the madness.

Though I am not going to dive into the very details of each of these platforms and the best practices, the idea is to give you a crash course of how these influence your brand and online presence.

Read the full post here.

What news sites can learn from marketing campaigns: Previews and social media buzz

Posted on : 07-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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Last week I tweeted about winning a Samsung digital camera. I entered into a contest to win a dual LCD Samsung ST550 by tweeting a reply to @tapandtake, a Twitter account started to market the camera and generate buzz by giving 25 free cameras away. I did some digging on the campaign and looking it over and couldn’t find how they chose the winners, but it seems random.

The campaign appears to have started on July 31, 2009 (at least that is when the Facebook Fan Page was launched). Since that time the Facebook Fan page has 2,100 fans and a Twitter account with 2,100 followers. This is a great example of how previewing something before it hits the stores, or the stands could help generate buzz and excitement about a product. To me, that’s pretty impressive. Sure, the marketing campaign is giving away free cameras and so it will attract a lot of followers and fans just based on that, but the fan page is very active. The page is updated regularly and gets lots of comments and reactions from its fans. The Twitter account is the same, getting a lot of retweets and replies as well.

Tap and Take Campaign

The news could learn a thing or two from this. At my college paper, we would post previews of stories to the Web before posting the full thing. What’s interesting is that according to the analytics, the stories with preview posts would generate more views than those without.

It’s simple: with the fast-paced Web the stories were able to get more exposure on the site. But perhaps even more importantly, the same thing could be done with news organizations’ social media accounts. These should be used to interact with the audience, including making them feel valuable by offering them inside sneak peeks perhaps or simply the heads up that a specific story is coming out soon to build interest. This could result in a better return on pageviews. What other ideas could we take from such campaigns? Giving people an incentive to engage certainly helps.

Tips, tools to keep your Twits organized and noise to a minimum

Posted on : 31-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Tools, Twitter

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twitterTwitter is continuing to grow and sometimes it is difficult to keep the noise down. It can be an effective approach to follow everyone back that is following you. For example, it allows your followers to direct message you if they need to contact you and generally keeps accessibility and communication open. And I have been frustrated at times trying to contact someone on Twitter through a direct message but unable to because they weren’t following me (also an ever so subtle blow to whatever ego I have).

However, I myself don’t follow everyone back simply to keep the noise level on Twitter down. Technology blogger Robert Scoble recently unfollowed more than 100,000 people to start from scratch. It stopped his spam and he was able to start building a quality community.

I try to follow people that share similar interests and that add value to my network and the information I am receiving from them. While some use Twitter as a way to connect with their friends, I use Twitter as a way to soak in information from users that have similar interests in social media, journalism, technology and more. Yes, this does mean that I don’t always follow even my friends back. I keep up with my friends on Facebook. Twitter is a social broadcasting tool that I can use to see what exactly is the buzz during any given moment. It is a social RSS, a place where I can have a discussion about issues in technology and how it’s changing our social interactions and especially the journalism industry I am a part of.

There are some great tools out there that I have used to keep track of my Twitter followers and those I am following. There are also some common practices that each user should get used to, at least for now. I came across this great post on Mashable today about tools to analyze your Tweets, and there are definitely some useful ones on the list, which I will mention. Here are just a few tips I have gathered along the way (this of course is not exhaustive by any means, but perhaps still helpful):

1. Use Untweeps.com – This site allows you to connect to your Twitter account and filter the users you are following who are stale in activity. For example, you can select the option for Untweeps to filter only the people you are following who have not tweeted for the last 15 days or 20 days or 26. Whatever amount of days for you is far too long for a user to go without activity, you can have Untweeps reveal those users. You then have the option to unfollow these people. Some of these may be people that you value in your network, and you can opt out to uncheck them from the list of people you are unfollowing. I, however, like to follow users who are active and are constantly going to provide me with useful information and are always in the know. I use this tool regularly and you will find that it can trim down the number you are following by quite a bit. You can also use the tool to track who you have blocked, and more. Twitoria is another similar tool, but only shows those that are inactive.

2. Try Twitterless – This is a tool that gives you an update regularly of how many people have started following you and has stopped following you. You get a list of users that stopped following you. Unfortunately, the site is in beta and so it is difficult to know why they are unfollowing you, but still a helpful resource to track your network. It also graphs your history over time. Qwitter is another similar app that is supposed to notify you when someone stops following you as well as the tweet that may have caused it, but I have found it unreliable in notifying me.

3. Tweet Blocker – This is a great tool in blocking the spammers that are on Twitter, and now boasts having blocked more than 70,000 spam accounts. Twitter has been known to purge a lot of spam accounts all at once. So if you notice that you have lost a huge amount of followers, it is likely because they were all spam accounts. Tweet Blocker allows you to login and grades your followers – a lot of the times the accounts that are given an F, are in fact spammers. Other times they are just new users that haven’t tweeted much yet. If you don’t want to mass purge, you should at least try to keep up with your followers and if they appear to be spam – then block them. They aren’t helping your network. And remember, it’s not all about the numbers. It’s about the quantity of followers, but the quality.TweetBlocker

4. Use Columns in TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc.: This might seem like a simple thing, but is often an underutilized feature in these third-party apps that allow you to organize your network into columns. For example, you can have a general column, a column for what your colleagues are saying, a column for friends, etc.

5. Search for Twits by location and check on their grades: There are several ways of doing this. Of course, I don’t expect you to spend all your time checking all your twits’ grades in Twitter Grader, but the tool is useful. If anything, it is helpful in allowing you to determine who the big players are in your location as well. There are other location-based Twitter directories and searches like LocalTweeps, which allows you to search by zip. Or if you are simply curious about what’s being talked about in your location and would like to connect with some twits, check out NearbyTweets, which is more automated and visually appealing. These are especially useful for twits in a new location.

Update: ReFollowHere is a great site that has a lot of functionality that Jim Santori, publisher of the Mankato Free Press (Minnesota), pointed me to. I like the visual layout and the site gives you a lot of options to keep those you are following and those following you organized.

5 reasons why Twitter will continue to grow

Posted on : 04-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Twitter

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Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote for Mashable.com, which appeared today.

With all the skepticism of whether it’s just a social media fad and questions about how the company expects to generate revenue, Twitter has left many critics silent by continuing to grow. Though the company has made some improvements, including its recent redesigned homepage, many wouldn’t credit these changes with the successful growth of Twitter.

It’s all about the people and how the service has been put to use by the millions. Whether using it during their everyday lives, marketing a business or reporting on tragic events, users have shown the value of Twitter and will continue to contribute to its growth. Below are just five reasons why Twitter will continue to grow. Please add your thoughts below in the comments, as well as other reasons you believe Twitter will continue to grow.

1. Consistent growth:

The microblogging site reached 23 million unique users in June, according to Compete, which was a 16 percent growth compared to May. This doesn’t even include the millions that do not visit Twitter.com and instead use third-party services to update. The site has had a consistent growth, and we expect it will continue to do so for July numbers.

Read the rest at Mashable.com

Presentation: How journalists can use social media

Posted on : 24-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Social Media

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Today I gave a workshop to college journalists from around the country at the Associated Collegiate Press Summer workshops. The title of the presentation was supposed to be, “Beyond Facebook and Twitter: Using Social Media as a Journalist.” Well, below are the results of the powerpoint I made. Though the presentation was for college journalists, the same principles apply.

Many of the key points come from the a Mashable post that I wrote a month back, but expanded on some of the example quite a bit. I would love some feedback. The college journalists seemed to respond well to it.

10 ways universities are engaging alumni using social media

Posted on : 23-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Social Media

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Here is an excerpt from a post for Mashable.com today that looks at how universities are using social media to communicate with alumni.

Of course, helping former students stay connected is just one reason universities are turning to social media; fundraising is another, and there are many more. Below is a look at 10 ways higher education is harnessing the power of social media to engage alumni. Let us know of any other ways you have used social media to connect with graduates or your former classmates in the comments below.

1. Helping Alumni Find Jobs


Though a lot of schools offer their own database of jobs online, many universities are finding LinkedIn to be an effective tool to provide alumni with career resources. And in fact, using LinkedIn means the process is often very hands-off for the schools. In many cases universities create the group and allow the networking magic to take place, with alumni sharing job opportunities by posting information to the group and creating subgroups that are focused to specific career or regional alumni chapters.

Keidra Chaney, an emerging media specialist at DePaul University (@depaulalumni), said LinkedIn is by far the school’s biggest success with 5,500 members currently in their alumni network on the site, and about 100 new members joining weekly. Chaney said the community has active job postings for alumni on the hunt for work, and that most jobs are posted by other alumni. The most recent issue of the school’s alumni magazine actually focused on how alumni are using social media.

Read the full post here.

Live Tweets from Civic Summit Tweetup

Posted on : 15-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Uncategorized

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Hey all. The Civic Summit is kicking off tonight in Minnepolis, with many people already starting to use the designated hashtag #civicsummit. I figured I would use CoveritLive to aggregate the Tweets here for others to follow.

10 ways universities use social media to share information

Posted on : 15-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

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Excerpt from my Mashable.com post today that looks at how various universities are using social media:

Instead of focusing their attention on promoting information to mainstream media, some university public affairs offices are using the power of social media to engage the community directly. In many cases, social media tools like Facebook Pages have given universities an opportunity to speak to audiences on their own, reaching thousands of people interested in keeping up with news at the school and connecting with others on the social network.

University of Texas at Austin use of Twitter for emergencies.

University of Texas at Austin use of Twitter for emergencies.


Universities are constantly exploring new ways to use social media to fulfill their missions of engaging and sharing knowledge with their constituents. Below are just 10 highlights of how universities are using social media for public affairs. As always, please share other examples you have used or come across in the comments below.

The list includes things like emergency communication, Facebook office hours and more. Read the full post on Mashable.

The end of news websites? At least the way we know them today

Posted on : 08-07-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Online Journalism

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Excerpt from my post on Onlinejournalismblog.com:

The question is no longer just a hypothetical one. With increasing convergence between social media and traditional content, what is known as a traditional news website might not exist in the coming years.

Perhaps a revealing example is the creation of Facebook applications by a Seattle-based aggregator, NewsCloud, which received a grant from the Knight Foundation to study how young people receive their news through social networks.

With developer Jeff Reifman leading the way, NewsCloud has developed three applications (Hot Dish, Minnesota Daily and Seattle In:Site) that engage users in news content through linking to stories by providing a headline, photo and blurb. The applications also allow them to blog, post links themselves and much more – all while getting points for completing “challenges” that can be redeemed for prizes, which works as an incentive to stay engaged. Prizes include everything from t-shirts to tickets to a baseball game to a MacBook. Some of these challenges are online ones (sharing a story, commenting on content, blogging, etc.) and others are offline challenges (attend a marketing event, write a letter to the editor).

Read the full post here. It is a follow-up to a previous post on the Facebook applications.

Using CoveritLive for live chats, tracking twitter feeds and more

Posted on : 29-06-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools, Twitter

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I have seen it used many times before, but have never implemented it myself. I know the concept behind CoveritLive, a free and easy to use service that allows you to integrate a live chat onto your site or blog.

It also allows you to do much more, such as aggregating tweets. Greg Linch, an online intern @Dallas_News and new media brainchild for journalism, used it today to aggregate tweets from the Personal Democracy Forum 2009 in his blog. I figured I would give it a try by testing the service my self and aggregating the same feed (sorry if I stole the idea, Greg, but I needed something timely).