Featured Posts

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

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...

Read more

Vadim Lavrusik Rss

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

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

Tags: , , , , ,

8

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

Tags: , , , ,

5

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

Tags: , , ,

104

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

12

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?

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

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

1

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?

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

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

10

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.

Why Facebook’s Privacy Changes are Detrimental to Users

Posted on : 12-01-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media

Tags: , , , ,

4

Excerpt from a Mashable post that ran today:

facebook privacy imageThough Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that public is the new “social norm,” many members who use the social network for professional and business reasons have lost the ability to conduct certain actions privately as a result of changes made to the settings.

And despite this being a reflection and a catalyst of our social activities becoming more public through the likes of Twitter (Twitter) and other sites, not having the option to control certain aspects in some ways is detrimental to the way we use the site and has the potential to deter users from using the site freely.

Mashable.com website redesign: What do you think?

Posted on : 04-01-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Design, Social Media

Tags: , , ,

38

Mashable.com, the social media guide that I often write for, has released a redesign of its site today. The new design features a tweaked header with new navigation that is categorized in way that makes it easier to find specific topics. The homepage also gives more prominence to the trending story before a reader gets to see the most recent story.

A new sidebar feature highlights columnists like myself and recent stories they have written and updates in font styles make front-page posts more eye-friendly with a cleaner design. The preview of posts have been reworked, and the author image is posted below and we now can see how long ago the article was posted. It isn’t a huge redesign in layout, and I expected a bit more of a magazine-style layout, but the improvements are a nice update.

What do you think? What other changes would you make? (I will use feedback and send it along to those in charge of the redesign).

My biggest critique is that I think the “above the fold” space could still be utilized better to feature more content, though the site does a great job of featuring ways to connect with the site very prominently (something I cannot preach enough).

8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist

Posted on : 09-12-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

Tags: , , , , ,

3

Excerpt from my Mashable post today:

As the news industry looks to reconstruct its suffering business model, the journalists of today must reconstruct their skill sets for the growing world of online media. Because of cutbacks at many news organizations, the jobs available are highly competitive. News companies are seeking journalists who are jacks of all trades, yet still masters of one (or more).

2010 will likely be a time of transition as today’s journalists catch up to learn the multimedia, programming, social media, and business skills they’ll need to tell their stories online. These new skills are especially relevant to startups that are looking to hire multi-skilled and social media-savvy journalists. Below we’ve gathered some skills that are quickly becoming basic requirements for the journalist of tomorrow. These skills are presented in no particular order.

4 ways news organizations are using Twitter Lists

Posted on : 03-11-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Twitter

Tags: , , , , ,

7

Excerpt from my Mashable post from today:

Though Twitter Lists are new to most users, some news organizations are trying to stay ahead of the curve by taking advantage of the new feature and implementing it quickly. Whether by creating staff directories to make their journalists easier to find, or recommending tweeps to follow on specific subjects, Twitter lists are giving news sites the ability to curate news and further open up to Twitter users that can help them to gather news. News (news) organizations are beginning to learn the fundamental characteristic of social media: it’s social.