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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

Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS]

Posted on : 25-03-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

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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 ratio is better.

In the age of micropublishing, how many people are actually reading what you tweet or share on Facebook? And more importantly, how does the click-per-share ratio compare between the two very different social platforms that are utilized by millions of users every day for consuming and sharing content?

These are questions that keep social media strategists awake at night (or maybe just me). So at Mashable, we decided to take a look at our own data and see how user behavior compares between Facebook and Twitter, the two social media sites that generate the most referral traffic to Mashable.com.

After pulling three months worth of our social data and calculating the click-per-share (CPS), it appears that users on Twitter are more likely to share an article rather than read it, whereas users on Facebook click on more articles than they share. According to our social data, Twitter received roughly 0.38 clicks per tweet, whereas Facebook received 3.31 clicks per engagement (the number of times people posted a Mashable link to Facebook through an action on a social plugin or through a Wall post). This would mean that a Facebook action gets roughly 8.7x more clicks than a tweet.

Read the full article at Mashable.com

New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community

Posted on : 01-02-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Twitter

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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 platform.

On Saturday, just before the start of my Social Media Skill for Journalists class began, I tweeted asking my followers what advice they would give to new Twitter users. After getting some great responses, I’ve highlighted some of the best answers below.

Emily Bell on Protecting Sources in a Networked Journalism Environment

Posted on : 13-01-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media

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After writing a piece that looks at the broken legal system in regards to social media and subpoenas recently, I got a great response from Emily Bell, director of the Tow Digital Center at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I’ve updated the piece to reflect her thoughts, but also wanted to share her full reaction here. She addresses the increasing challenges of protecting sources and journalistic work in a networked environment:

“I think that evidently Twitter has behaved as honorably as it can in the circumstances, but its reactions are those of the existing management in a specific set of circumstances – there is no set of standards or codes which oblige Twitter to behave as well as it did. What has to be troubling in all of these instances is how things could be different if circumstances or ownership changed. there is already so much data on those systems, and how many people really understand that they don’t own that material?

I would imagine that after Wikileaks, investigative journalists would keep most if not all of their interactions away from social media platforms, if they hadn’t already. These are not secure, and never will be, as they are governed by commercial rules and, in some cases, shareholders whose primary interest is not journalistic.

One of the more problematic areas is that of course in the future potential whistleblowers are unlikely to be versed in data security and the policies of individual networks as some journalists, and treat private systems for messaging as just that, without realising that their data might be given up quite easily.

In thinking about the future of the press, it is important to think how we can protect sources and this kind of communication in a digital and networked environment. It is important that the future free press also allows participants some kind of control over their identity and data – I guess that is the huge challenge for journalism in an age when tools wil increasingly be distributed.”

Excerpt: Investigative Journalism in the Age of the Social Web

Posted on : 24-11-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools, Trends

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This is an excerpt of my most recent feature on Mashable.com. Read it in full here.

Investigative JournalismIn a society that is more connected than ever, investigative journalists that were once shrouded in mystery are now taking advantage of their online community relationships to help scour documents and uncover potential wrongs. The tools and information now available to journalists are making the jobs of investigative outlets more efficient.

The socialization of the web is revolutionizing the traditional story format. Investigative reporters are now capturing content shared in the social space to enrich their stories, enabling tomorrow’s reporters to create contextualized social story streams that reference not only interviewed sources, but embedded tweets, Facebook postings and more. Journalists are also leveraging the vast reach of social networks in unprecedented ways. In many respects, social media is enabling watchdog journalism to prosper. Here’s how.


Distributed Reporting


On the social web, investigative journalists are tapping citizens to take part in the process by scouring documents and doing shoe-leather reporting in the community. This is advantageous because readers often know more than journalists do about a given subject, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

“That was always the case, but with the tools that we have today, that knowledge can start flowing in at relatively low cost and with relatively few headaches,” Rosen said. Rosen admits that we are just starting to learn how to do this effectively, but there are certainly some great experiments being done.

Talking Points Memo Muckraker had success with this approach by having its readers help sort through thousands of documents pertaining to the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s controversial firing of seven United States attorneys in 2006. TPM provided clear instructions to its readers to cite specific documents that included something interesting or “damning.”

Even though they had hundreds of readers contribute in the comments, it’s important to remember the often invisible factors that contribute to that success. The site’s readers had a shared background knowledge because they had been following the story as Josh Marshall and his team developed it over months of reporting. They were also motivated to show that the attorney general had done something wrong, Rosen pointed out.

A similar example on a grander scale is that of The Guardian deploying its community to help dig through 458,832 members of parliament (MP’s) expense documents. They’ve already examined roughly half of those, thanks to the 27,270 people who participated. The Guardian rewarded community participants by creating a leader board based on the quantity and quality of their contributions and also highlighting some of the great finds by its members.

Read it in full here.

Top 20 Sites to Improve Your Twitter Experience

Posted on : 25-07-2010 | 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

5 ways to embed your tweet

Posted on : 04-05-2010 | 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.

10 Commandments of Twitter Etiquette

Posted on : 07-04-2010 | 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.

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

Posted on : 12-03-2010 | 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?

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

Posted on : 19-02-2010 | 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 : 08-02-2010 | 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.