This evening there was some buzz about Newsweek’s Tumblr, after Nieman Lab tweeted about it. Its design is quite nice and it includes a lot of content that is curated outside of Newsweek. A few news orgs included their Tumblr links, including Minnpost and Nieman Lab. Both of the accounts mostly serve as feeds for tweets and posts. Sound familiar?
University of Minnesota researcher Christine Greenhow and her team released their findings based on analytics of interaction with The Minnesota Daily Facebook Application today. For those new to the project, it was a Knight Foundation funded application built by NewsCloud in collaboration with The Minnesota Daily, a college paper I was editor of last year. This wasn’t the only application built by NewsCloud, but one that focused on a niche geographic area and topic: news and issues surrounding the University of Minnesota community.
Some of the key findings are echoed in a recent post by Steve Rubel who wrote a post about the next great media company won’t have a website, but will likely be an application or some form of publication directly on a social site. The key things that stand out to me is that the Facebook application was not only able to attract “influentials” to engage and participate but that “as a vehicle to express opinions, stay informed, and connect with a local community, social media publications like The Daily may have an advantage over traditional news sites.” The best part is that this source code for the apps is open.
If you’re interested in the research, check out the full summary of the findings here (PDF). The data backing these findings up will be released later. Or here is an excerpt below:
1. Correlations between visits to social network sites and visits to news Web sites, as well as other online behaviors, suggest the potential of integrating applications like The Daily into young people’s online social networking routines.
2. As a vehicle to express opinions, stay informed, and connect with a local community, social media publications like The Daily may have an advantage over traditional news sites.
3. Interest in The Daily application’s focal topic — University of Minnesota community issues — increased. Daily users mostly used the application for what it was intended, namely, to engage them in campus-related issues.
4. The Daily application attracted a base of users who were already active in the community. The profile for these users and the high rate of viral invites, suggest that social media publications such as The Daily might not only attract “influentials,” but that these highly connected individuals will also invite their friends.
5. Examination of digital literacy practices reveals Daily users engaged in scanning stories rather than reading in full. Users participated in a range of non-school online reading and writing activities via social network sites, suggesting the potential for future applications.
Here is a live chat that I participated in today at the Columbia Journalism School. We had Mashable’s Co-Editor Ben Parr come speak about the importance of social media in today’s world. A good thing to read through on his thoughts.
One thing that stuck out to me was that Parr thinks that we may be making money through “Facebook credits” in the future and that will be a form of social currency. He didn’t elaborate, but certainly a fascinating concept. Read more about his ideas below:
At the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism we are lucky to have access to some great minds in the media industry, including Ken Lerer, the co-founder and chairman of The Huffington Post, who is teaching six sessions on media entrepreneurship. On Tuesday, Lerer used the first session to outline the five points he wants to focus on.
I think that all of these are quite important to the media industry moving forward and wanted to share them with you, along with a few others that he pointed out during the discussion with journalism students. However, starting an online journalism site is not easy, despite how-to guides making it seem that way sometimes. Most of these are trends that Lerer himself and others are seeing in online journalism. One reason being is that there may be some opportunity to add other topics. So, if you think there is something very important missing, please do share.
1. The Shift From Mainstream to Social Sites
This is pretty self explanatory. “Content companies have to get into the social business or fall by the way side,” Lerer said. He also talked a bit about how some news organizations are taking advantage of this by integrating social tools into their sites, such as Huffington Post using Facebook Connect. Read my recent post for Mashable on 7 Ways To Make News Sites More Social. I think this needs to not only go one step further, but perhaps there is a possibility that some of these social sites may eventually provide CMS for publishing.
2. Advertising Effectively
This is a bit of a difficult topic. How to fund the work that takes place in journalism is a much debated topic. However, Lerer said that he thinks advertising is the big money maker. It hasn’t quite caught on on the Web though, or at least people aren’t willing to pay as much for online ads. However, making money off social sites will be the next big business on the Web. You have to think of your future customers, Lerer said. Paywalls? Lerer thinks it is “insane” to fight the link community. He said that he think that news sites will end up offering some content free and require subscription to view certain parts content on the site.
3. Local Content
Lerer continues to be a firm believer that local will be the next big thing. It hasn’t advanced as quickly as some anticipated and there is no big business model for it yet. Yet Lerer is optimistic. “You’re going to see local explode,” he said. He said if he were starting another Web company, it would be something with local. The key is looking at a market and asking yourself what is missing or what could be covered better? What service can you provide that another site is not doing well on or doing at all?
Without community on a site, it is likely that will not be as successful as you would hope. Lerer said for a content site, community is hugely important and should not go overlooked. Some sites have great content, but little community and lose out on traffic as a result and in search rankings.
5. Citizen Journalism and User-generated content
Also, trying to figure out how the relationship between staff journalists and contributing citizen journalists should function is another thing to figure out. There are no clear-cut answers but I think that more journalists will first start out by contributing to a site as a citizen before getting hired on staff. The best will still rise to the top, if not more so than today.
So how does video fit in? Lerer said that he thinks video is the future of the Internet, or at least there will be a lot more of it on content sites in the future. There is a spectrum with Hulu on one end and YouTube on the other. One is high quality and longer pieces, but costs a lot to produce. The other is usually not as good of quality, but is usually very cheap to produce. The key is figuring out where the middle is.
7. Content is King
This goes to a point made earlier: What kind of content does a market area not have? Or perhaps you could do a better job producing that content and providing a place where the community is stronger or delivering it more efficiently. Whatever it is, Lerer said ultimately content is king.
Below are the other key points that will be outlined in future sessions, but ones that the discussion didn’t go into. I will make sure to touch on these more in the future:
- How to make traffic go viral (SEO, etc).
- Social and real-time distribution
- How to raise money to start you business
So what’s missing? Would love to hear it in the comments.
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.
But 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.