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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

Virality, SEO and its place in online journalism

Posted on : 14-10-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism

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Ken Lerer, chairman and co-founder of The Huffington Post, came for a second session on media entrepreneurship at Columbia Journalism School yesterday. This time he brought with him Jonah Peretti, also co-founder of HuffPo and BuzzFeed. This session focused on SEO and how content becomes viral.

One of the most interesting tidbits that Peretti and Lerer revealed was how they use real-time analytics to determine the performance of stories, and today Nieman Lab’s Zach Seward has more on how HuffPo uses A/B headlines to see how each performs. This allows the editors to react to performance of a story and edit a headline to make it more effective for its readers and the search engines too.

Peretti wouldn’t say what the secret is with virality and it’s difficult to gauge how readers will respond. But SEO is a combination of a well written headline (this includes multiple factors and is a post on its own), well tagged for search engines, writing with SEO in mind, and easily shareable for readers (social tools, etc.).

Advanced Facebook for Journalists

Posted on : 18-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Journalism school

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Sree Sreenivasan, my dean of student affairs and professor of digital media at the Columbia School of Journalism,  organized some great guests for a webcast today on how journalists can use Facebook. In fact, the Journalism School is teaching how to use Facebook as a tool for journalists, among other social media. The panel included:

Below is the webcast via Blogtalkradio. And also here is a short post from Ben Parr briefly mentioning what the conversation was about (why journalists should use Facebook, the new features, etc.):

7 ways to make news sites more social

Posted on : 16-09-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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This is an excerpt from a post I wrote for Mashable.com:

Journalism is supposed to be a conversation, but often news websites don’t provide the tools for that conversation to take place. Implementing social media tools and allowing readers to connect to the organization through Twitter, Facebook (Facebook) and other networks, can make it easier for users to engage with the news content and their community members. However, some fundamental tools that allow readers to share content through social media are not being utilized. A recent study that looked at almost 200 newspapers and TV stations with Twitter accounts found that only a third offered readers a way to share a story link using Twitter, while 80 percent provided a Facebook sharing button.

Making it easier for readers to comment, take part in live chats and in some cases even contribute user-generated blogs can enhance the conversation and strengthen the relationship between the news organization and its audience. Here are a few tips on how a news website can become more social and examples of how some news organizations are doing it. Of course this isn’t comprehensive, so we’d love to hear about some innovative examples and successes about your sites in the comments below.


1. “Connect With Us” Links and Directories


Though many news organizations have a social media presence, their websites often bury the links that would allow readers to connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Featuring these links prominently on a site can ultimately build a stronger presence on these networks and bring more traffic back to the site.

For example, CNN and The New York Times, news organizations that have a very large presence on social sites, do not feature easy-to-find links on the front page for users to connect. Of course these sites have a lot of content to feature, but offering those social connection links prominently can help create a lasting social relationship that brings readers back to the site.

Some news sites like The Wall Street Journal provide a Twitter link in their footer along with their other tools, which is a step in the right direction, but could be even more prominently placed. The Denver Post website includes a sidebar item titled “Follow the Denver Post,” which includes a link to its Facebook and Twitter pages and links to other connections.

Read the full post here.

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.