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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

Social Media Skills for Journalists Course and Community Engagement

Posted on : 09-08-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school, Social Media

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After its first year of inception, I am excited to be teaching “Social Media Skills for Journalists” course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. It is a five-week course aimed at helping “journalists use social media (including such social sites as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare, YouTube, among others).”

The course was developed by Sree Sreenivasan [Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn] and Adam Glenn[Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn]. Sree was one of my deans at the Journalism School who is a social media enthusiast. He is a believer that social media is an important part of storytelling. I’ll be teaching teaching two 5-week courses, and am joined by the awesome Zach Seward, Outreach Editor, The Wall Street Journal [Twitter, Google Buzz, Facebook, LinkedIn, About Me] and Jennifer Preston, Social Media Editor, The New York Times [Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn].

The course is aimed at teaching five key things:
* find new story ideas, track trends and sources
* publish real-time news updates and community engagement
* connect with readers and viewers in new ways
* bring attention and traffic to their work
* help them create, craft and enhance their personal brand

One of the key things that’s been updated in the syllabus is more emphasis on community engagement. This is something that I thought was missing as I graduated from the Columbia Journalism School and think it is an important aspect that needs to be part of the fabric of the curriculum. I am excited about this opportunity and hope to instill not just skills, but an experimental way of thinking about technology and its applications to journalism. Now is the time to innovate.

Would love to get your thoughts on the syllabus.

Top 20 Sites to Improve Your Twitter Experience

Posted on : 07-25-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Twitter

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This is an excerpt that originally appeared on Mashable.com. Read the full post on Mashable.

“140-character status updates to a network of followers.” That makes Twitter sound simple. But in fact, the social information platform has grown to be much more complex than its 140 character-limit suggests. The site not only connects people, but has also become an intricate information resource for everything from news to shopping deals.

Yet in many ways, the site’s actual functionality hasn’t exactly kept up with user interactions. Twitter’s interface has remained simple, which is why a lot of tweets take place through third-party sites and applications that make the experience more useful.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 third-party websites for making your Twitter experience more useful and easier to manage. Although this does not include the many desktop or mobile applications that are available for Twitter, we hope that it will make your browsing experience more enjoyable as you dive into the Twittersphere. We’d love to hear what’s missing from this list, including sites that you find useful in the comments.

Web Applications: HootSuite and Brizzly

With its recent update and HTML5 support, social media dashboard HootSuite has become one of the most useful Twitter web applications not only for individual users, but teams managing several accounts. In some ways, HootSuite has the look and feel of TweetDeck with the big differentiator of it being a web-based application, not requiring any downloads.

HootSuite enables you to update to multiple accounts at once, and supports Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare. Similar to TweetDeck, these features make the application useful for maintaining your overall social presence. Moreover, you can allow other users to jointly update an account, integrate Google Analytics for your stats and schedule tweets and updates ahead of time.

The HTML5 interface enables you to easily include an image or file with your update by simply dragging it from the desktop into the message box, which will automatically upload the file with an “Ow.ly” shortener for sharing. The fast loading of the dashboard is perhaps one of the most notable improvements, making the site more usable for users who manage dozens of accounts. If you don’t like Hootsuite, you should also check out Seesmic, which has a lot of similar features, but a different interface.

This is is an excerpt from an a piece that I wrote originally for Mashable.com. View the full list here.

Brizzly has a different functionality from Hootsuite, but may be more appealing because of its simple interface. Brizzly is specifically focused on Twitter and no other networks, which makes the experience somewhat less distracting. It also includes subtle, but worthy features like automatically expanded URLs, which shows you exactly where you are going if you click, and displays replies and direct messages in a threaded form, making it easier to follow the conversation.

Read the full post on Mashable.com

My next chapter: Joining Mashable

Posted on : 05-13-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media

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Today was my last day working at The New York Times, and in a little over a week I will start a new job as the Community Manager at Mashable.com. I am going to miss the brilliant folks I have gotten to work with at the Times, but am quite excited and honored to be joining the Mashable team.

At Mashable, I’ll be working directly with the CEO Pete Cashmore, Editor-in-Chief Adam Ostrow, and Managing Editor Sharon Feder, and will be responsible for engaging readers on-site and off, creating programs and strategies for making outreach more effective, cultivating an environment for a strong community, identifying emerging social platforms to build a presence on, and of course, writing.

I am excited about what’s taking place at Mashable, which recently celebrated its new headquarters in NYC (come visit me in Union Square) and is also partnering with my soon-to-be alma mater Columbia University Journalism School on a paid online video fellowship for j-school students that will begin this summer.

I’ll still continue to write on this blog every so often, but I hope you will continue to follow along as I produce content for Mashable.

The missing link in journalism curricula: Community engagement

Posted on : 05-12-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media

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Next Tuesday, I will graduate with a master’s of science degree in digital media from the prestigious Columbia University Journalism School. As I graduate, I have gained skills in reporting, video production, audio, editing, Flash, Web development (including five different websites), design and almost every other fundamental and new skill journalists need today. But one thing I still see missing from journalism schools around the country is coursework on community engagement. The philosophy behind the walls of many schools is still “we produce content, you come to us to consume.

At Columbia, the faculty quickly recognized the importance of this and this year started offering “Social Media Skills for Journalists” taught by my professor and dean of student affairs Sree Sreenivasan. It’s a great start and is teaching students to engage the audience like never before.

However, there are three components I think that are still largely missing from most journalism curricula today that could help in user engagement: learning the social media tools available for journalists to engage the audience, an understanding of what it means to cultivate community, and lastly a negative stigma to the use of data and analytics.

5 ways to embed your tweet

Posted on : 05-04-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Twitter, Uncategorized

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The Twitter Media blog announced Monday that it would release a tool that would enable users embed tweets more easily. Today it released a script that isn’t perfect called Blackbird Pie that allows you to get a code and embed a dynamic tweet without the post of a blog or article. It’s an alternative to taking a screenshot.

Despite buzz about the new feature (I think a lot of people expected it to be more widely implemented on the site), other sites have allowed you to easily get an embed code for individual tweets for some time, especially if you’re using a WordPress-powered site.

So Facebook is everywhere? Well, its content needs some context

Posted on : 04-28-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media

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Facebook has a problem: displaying user activity in a non-contextual way. Right now your recent activity displays on your wall whether you like it or not. For some people this causes dating problems, and others they simply take in bite-sized information about their friends friending so-and-so or “liking” this and that story without any contextual information as to why.

And now this interaction is available with content across the Web, such as liking or commenting on articles — something that news organizations like CNN and Washington Post have jumped on. The problem is the content lacks context. Similar to how Jay Rosen talks about news online needing context for us to better digest it, social media does as well.

Facebook needs a “social nut graph” – a way for users to provide their friends with contextual information about their recent activity. Something that is an optional way for users to include a bite-sized piece of information along with any activity before it is published. Or it should change some of the language in recommending posts, such as killing the “like” and using something more specific such as “recommend.” If we are truly in “the age of Facbeook,” then the social giant needs to do a better job of allowing us to creating contextual content.

CNN.com shows glimpse of Facebook’s new connectivity features (PICS)

Posted on : 04-21-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media

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Facebook is announcing many of its new features today, and some news organizations are wasting no time in integrating and testing them. Nieman Lab reported that Washington Post has integrated Facebook in a new tool that let’s users see how their friends have interacted with a story. It is part of Facebook’s latest push to be connected and integrated throughout the Web in a way beyond what Facebook Connect allowed.

10 Commandments of Twitter Etiquette

Posted on : 04-07-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Twitter

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In a lot of ways, millions of users have found Twitter as a useful tool. Take journalists, for example. According to a recent survey, 37 percent of journalists said they are on Twitter. It’s no longer a small tech company that is troubled by servers being down (keeping fingers crossed). Now your non-techie friends are using it. It’s referenced in commercials. It’s mainstream.

However, Twitter’s challenge is in helping new users see the social tool’s usefulness and getting them hooked. A big part of this is connecting new users with great people to follow, as recently attempted in Twitter’s homepage redesign. The early followers are crucial in determining whether a user gets hooked or not (a birdy from Twitter once told me). But for a lot of new users that are unfamiliar with the Twitterverse, it takes time to learn its etiquette.

A killer feature Facebook needs now: Video Chat

Posted on : 03-26-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media, Video

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Facebook is quickly becoming the primary social communication channel in our everyday lives. Yes, primary. We spend much more time obsessively interacting with people on Facebook than we do by phone and for some a life-line. I think that they could take it one step further by implementing video chat capability — a functionality that has garnered 521 million users for Skype (not the only reason for its success). Apparently last year Facebook began to include hints in its code that it may be implementing such a feature, but no news of it has been released since.

ReadWriteWeb has a great piece about the social needs that Chatroulette — the video chat site that pairs people randomly — fills for users: the craving for peeking, face-to-face online, control, and the “no commitment effect.” I want to focus on the need for face-to-face communication with people.

I don’t have the numbers for this, and if you have them I would love to see them, but anecdotally I have a lot of friends that are growing discontent with social networking starting to feel impersonal or detached, at least when it comes to conversations and chats on Facebook. Short, brief blurts of conversation back and forth with friends or family. Waiting for the slow reply as their friends multi-task. The conversation can be disjointed. This experience is of course does not represent a majority of the people out there, and I don’t really mind my experience on Facebook chat (or other chat service), but I can still empathize.

More people want a face-to-face communication, especially with family members who are far away. The default right now is Skype, but not everyone has the service, and some people use Google Chat’s video feature. Again, not everyone has a G-mail account. Imagine if Facebook had an option for you to chat with friend using a video chat feature.

Next, this could be integrated into its mobile application, allowing you to chat and communicate with friends on-the-go (of course this would require phones with two video screens). Not sure if the folks at Facebook are working on this already, but I sure hope they are at least thinking about it. Would love your thoughts on this. Here is an example of what it would look like (taken from Facebook chat and G-Chat and meshed together):

So what say you Mark Zuckerberg?

The Startup: Four Entrepreneurs Battle the Odds in Gotham

Posted on : 03-22-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : entrepreneurship, Journalism school, Online Journalism

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The Startup is a four-chapter video documentary with interactives on a young tech startup trying to make it in New York City. My colleague Alex Hotz and I followed the entrepreneurs behind TeamHomeField.com for the past four months as they develop and grow their web-based video application for sports teams. It’s being hosted on NYC30.com, but I wanted to feature the intro for the project here, which is included below and includes the likes Fred Wilson, Nate Westheimer, Charlie O’Donnell and more.

The intro briefly explores how the New York City’s start-up community is growing, evolving and becoming more collaborative. In 2008, 95 seed and early stage startups could be found in the Big Apple. In 2009 that number shot up to 150, according to Union Square Ventures. Many of these start-ups are technology focused, gaining prominence and growth in recent years. In many ways, the scene is reaching a new level, 3.0. This is the inspiration behind “The Startup” and its hosting website, NYC 3.0. The project was quite time-consuming and both Alex and I learned a lot. We hope you check it out at NYC 3.0 on our homepage. Also, take a look at the interactive timeline of TeamHomeField and a map of some of the tech startups in the city. This is the first project of its kind I’ve completed and have learned a lot about producing an in-depth multimedia piece.