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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

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.

A wordcloud of Pew’s State of the News Media 2010 Report

Posted on : 03-15-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

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I took the excerpts from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism “State of the News Media 2010” report and inserted them into wordle to get a word cloud of the text. It’s interesting that “pay” comes up as one of the dominant words. I am guessing it will be a theme for this year.

Here are a few takes on the report for you to digest:

Who will take the lead in location-based wars? CNN thinks Foursquare

Posted on : 03-12-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media

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With South by Southwest Interactive Conference beginning, there’s been a lot of talk about who will take the reign in location-based services and apps. With Twitter rolling out its new geotagged tweets and Facebook on the verge of allowing users to share their location, the spotlight and pressure seems to be on the likes of Gowalla and Foursquare. Both have rolled out some significant updates recently, but who will take the lead?

CNN thinks it will be Foursquare. I was interviewed for the article and had these thoughts:

“I think it’ll be a while before it really reaches a mass audience,” said Vadim Lavrusik, a tech journalist, social-media consultant and graduate student at Columbia University.

“For us techies, we sometimes tend to exaggerate how quickly these things are going to grow because everybody in our circles is using it. But that doesn’t mean the general public is using it.”

Still, he said many of the criticisms he’s heard about Foursquare are eerily similar to the ones he heard from people saying Twitter would never take off.

“People say, ‘Why would people want to know where I’m at? Will my friends actually come and join me if they’re on it?’ ” he said. “I say, ‘If they’re on it, yeah, they will.’ “

Would love to hear what you think?

Socially Edible: Let’s roll location-based gaming, restaurant reviews and online ordering into one

Posted on : 03-09-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : entrepreneurship

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Here’s an idea that Shane Snow and I have had for a site and I’ve been meaning to share it for quite some time. The basic idea is to solve a problem in location-based restaurant information apps and websites: fragmentation. The rough name we were throwing around was Socially Edible (sociallyedible.com).

Let’s create a one-stop shop that combines online restaurant reviews (Yelp), location-based social gaming (Foursquare), and online food ordering (SeamlessWeb), and sprinkle in some journalist-produced restaurant reviews to create a connected user experience for foodies.

Why not start with a specific location, say, New York. These features with the combination of social media and mobile technology would make it easier for New Yorkers to get food news and information on the go, as well as the ability to order from our site.

A person looking to get some information on a restaurant can not only read what a reporter has written, but also what website users are logging in to say. On top of that users can also see what the buzz is on social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) through trending topics as well as specialized social sentiment reports for each restaurant page (perhaps by using social media mining software?). In addition, users can explore new restaurants in their area by searching with their address or zipcode and browse through search results on a map or list.

NYC 3.0: Kommons looks to challenge Twitter for trustworthy news in real-time

Posted on : 02-19-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Online Journalism

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This was originally published on NYC 3.0, a project that covers in tech start-ups in New York.

Cody Brown, founder of Kommons and NYU Local.

Cody Brown thinks he may have stumbled across the “holy grail” in news publishing.

Brown, a senior at New York University and founder of NYU Local, is embarking on a new venture called Kommons. Kommons is a real-time news platform that’s intended for users in specific communities. He’s starting with NYU.

“It’s a culmination of everything I have learned in media so far,” Brown said. “Kommons is a quest for the holy grail in media.”

How it works

The Twitter/Wiki-like platform is in its very early stages and Brown is looking to shape the product through private alpha testing in the coming months.

From a demo of the product you might think that Kommons is a “lite” version of Twitter. But make no mistake, it’s functionality and purpose are quite different.

Let’s not get too excited about Google Buzz just yet

Posted on : 02-08-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Search, Social Media

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Update: Here is a Mashable post that highlights the release of the new feature.

Google is making a move into social media with a new status feature that it will launch for its Gmail users, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Though the Web is a buzz about the possibility and implications this new feature, which aims to showcase the statuses and content sharing of Gmail users in a similar stream like Twitter, there are several factors to consider before we draw conclusions – especially ones that pronounce this being a future competitor to Facebook or Twitter.

Previous attempts

First, let’s remember Google’s last mostly failed attempt at creating their own social network: Orkut. Okay, perhaps saying it is a failure is an overstatement, but the site has only been able to cease a large market of users in Brazil, and most recently Facebook has been moving into that market. Orkut’s overall traffic, however, has continued to decline, and that likely is reflective of its user-base as well.

Second, Google tried to make Google Reader more social by adding follow features, similar to Twitter and other social services that mostly haven’t had the effect people anticipated. From my understanding and observations, people have stuck with other services that include those similar functions.

Why this time might be different

However, this time it might be different and the implementation of a social stream may actually catch on this time. Why? A couple of simple reasons:

  1. User-base: According to the report, Google is not only introducing the feature to an existing base of Gmail users (37 million unique visitors in July). That’s a lot of users that the feature could attract. Google could potential grab users that want all their social interaction in one spot.
  2. Third-party integration: The stream of status updates and content would include Google-owned applications like YouTube and Picasa, as well as the potential for third-party applications as well. If Google decides to integrate other services, it has the potential for being a one-stop shop for social Google users, an attempt similar to Friendfeed.

Conclusions

Apparently Google may announce these features tomorrow. The details might give us a better idea of what the implications these features might truly have. My take is that Google may have learned from it’s past mistakes and will continue to strive to provide a one-stop shop for its users.

My guess is that the features will make some of our networking with users more effecient, but not necessarily replacing our use of other status-updating or content distributing social services like Facebook or Twitter. People don’t want another social network, at least most don’t. They just want what is already there to be improved. Perhaps Google Buzz can do that.

Nonprofit journalism startups’ executive pay: How much is too much?

Posted on : 01-22-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Online Journalism

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Bay Area News Project’s CEO Lisa Frazier has a $400,000 salary, which reminds me of the news and criticisms about Paul Steiger getting $570,000 to run ProPublica. This begs the question: how much is too much in the pay of top execs at nonprofit journalism startups.

A lot of the defense for such high pay is that these are people who are very qualified and some earned much more at previous jobs (where they also managed larger operations). Look at the many startup models where the CEO or founders don’t get paid all that much until the model is proven sustainable financially. Why should journalism startups be any different?

Why the Tablet won’t save the print industry

Posted on : 01-17-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Tools

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Update: My friend and colleague Shane Snow has a funny comic on this same topic.

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have seen several articles calling Apple’s Tablet the “savior” of print media and similar prophetic names. However, I am still somewhat skeptical that the Tablet will have a substantial difference in helping the print industry. I want to outline a few reasons why I think it could help, but also why I am quite skeptical.

Create your own newspaper (err aggregator) using NewsCred

Posted on : 01-14-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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After two years, NewsCred relaunched its website today to give users the ability to create their own customized newspaper – without the paper.

Basically, the site allows users to create their own edition by aggregating news, images, search for key terms, and videos. It’s another tool for personalized news, putting it in a easy-to-read fashion, but not different from the likes of other readers or aggregators out there. The unique aspect is that this site brings in original content into the mix. Users can write their own “editorials” or blog posts.

The customization seems to be this site’s appeal. You can create your own design style, and users can also follow other NewsCred publishers’ newspapers in true Twitter fashion. The design, however, seems to not be as customizable as some platforms, which may be a strength and weakness.