Social Media

Social media: How knowing how Jeff effs gives you a competitive advantage on social media

IMG_0546

Using social media properly means that a last minute dash to the story won’t happen to you.

Swearing. Your parents might have told it’s not big or clever … but when it comes to getting the most out of Twitter, a tactical use of f***, f***ing or s**t could take you a very long way. Joanna Geary, head of news partnerships at Twitter, proved two things when she spoke at the Revival of Local Journalism conference in MediaCity on Wednesday. The first was that the best way to keep a conference audience awake as they enter their post-lunch sleepy phase is to say the thing they least expect. The second was that to get the most out of Twitter, you have to understand the people you are following and how they use Twitter. Which is why a clever Tweetdeck column with a selection of choice words set up as the filter can be the difference between you spotting that first reference to a big story, and just being part of the pack: (more…)

Spin doctors and social media: Can public bodies be trusted to tell it straight?

Harsh but true … but how many public bodies are getting social all wrong?

There’s a theory, normally floated by press officers at organisations who feel they get a raw deal from the the local Press that they don’t actually need the local press any more.

The theory goes that, well, no-one reads local newspapers any more so they don’t have much impact and, well, there’s social media. We’ll talk to people directly! We’re the council/police/hospital, people trust us. And so on.

Previously, that theory didn’t involve social media, it was the rationale for creating council newspapers, with the added benefit of being able to spend tens of thousands of pounds of council advertising budget on getting a one-sided message across.

Now, however, that theory is bust. Reporters who previously saw their stories read by a diminishing number of newspaper readers now know the number reading them online is going up by the day. A story which begins life in a local newsroom can go across the country within minutes. Tesco knows this – which is why its marketing director tells his teams to take queries from local journalists seriously.

Social media is a two-way street for journalists. It makes it easier to get past the myriad of press relation regulations local public organisations have in place,  but it also gives those public bodies the chance to speak to people directly.

The question I want to pose is this:  Is that access to the public being abused?

(more…)

Tools for journalists: Playing with tame.it

While following coverage of the International Festival of Journalism in Perugia earlier this month, I noticed Journalism.co.uk’s Alastair Reid using tame.it, a rather fascinating tool for Twitter.

Tame.it since become one of those tools which is part of daily life without even thinking about it, largely because of this:

(more…)

Tools for journalists: Rediscovering Twazzup

twazzup

New social media tools come, and some go again. Some gain traction and then fall by the wayside when Twitter changes its API, others struggle to make ends meet and introduce subscription service, while others just get forgotten about.

For me, Twazzup falls into the last category, but having rediscovered it a couple of weeks ago, am finding that it’s still remarkably useful. There are a myriad of Twitter monitoring tools out there, some of which look very sleek, some of which are excellent. But here are six things which I think are behind my persistent return to Twazzup:

(more…)

Facebook for journalists: Hurrah! Facebook just killed the ‘like if agree’ thing

Google, as we know, works very hard to ensure its search results aren’t gamed by websites which have no right to be at the top of search results for any given term.

Google wants you to find the stuff you need easily, and for all the talk of what is and isn’t a trigger in the search giant’s algorithms, the principle behind it remains crystal clear: If your content appears to be valued (ie lots of people visit you, or link to you, or you exhibit signs of taking that content matter seriously, such as by updating frequently) you’ll get higher up in search.

If Google catches you gaming its search results  – such as through paying for advertorials containing links – it penalises you, and in some cases, the people who did the selling too. Here’s perhaps the most famous case involving Interflora. (I’d still pick them over Prestige Flowers, though).

Increasingly, Facebook is acting in a similar way as it seeks to keep the timeline you see as relevant to you as you want it to be. Lots of marketers are upset by the most recent change, which forces out fan pages unless people are organically interacting with them. However, this is good news for media organisations, who actually need to build loyalty to grow in the future. 

For Facebook and Google it’s about self-preservation. Attention spans online are short, especially when using a mobile, and being the ‘use that first’ website of choice is a status which must be treasured at all costs. People will move on if they aren’t getting the experience they want, and unless they’re moving straight to your news sites, that’s just as much bad news for you as it is for Google or Facebook.

So Facebook has announced another change: Killing off ‘like baiting’ – or the trend of encouraging people to press the like button for any reason other than because they actually want to like a post, such as a post making a statement and then asking people to like if they agree with it.

(more…)

Tools for journalists: Using Yatterbox for a different view on Twitter

One of the best things about Twitter – and there are many – is that it can give anyone a voice. That’s huge for journalists, turning Tweetdeck into a modern-day radio scanner, only tailored to just the bits you’re interested in, and involving many more people.

However, the downside to that approach is that it can make verification very hard. If you’ve got a Tweetdeck column, then you know you can see every Tweet which includes an important phrase to you, eg a place, but you need to be looking at it all the time.

To conquer that, you might  use a tool like Twilert ($9 a month to have every tweet involving a keyword which is important to you feels like a bargain) which will ping you an email whenever a Tweet containing an important word or phrase crops up. That solves one problem, to a point, but what about verification?

That’s where Yatterbox comes in. Aimed at people who spend their lives managing the reputations of brands, Yatterbox works on the principle that the Tweets some people write about a brand or issue have more impact that those written by others.

So it set about creating comprehensive lists of the people it feels have the greatest impact with their Tweets, and created three lists: Journalists, UK policy and EU policy. I suspect more are on the way. The help video which launches when you first sign up makes it very clear the aim is to help PRs keep track of what people PRs probably consider important are saying.

(more…)

Seen from afar: Tweets which made me think from #rethinkmedia

Birmingham at night….

Last week, Birmingham City University hosted ‘Rethink Media’. It’s always fascinating to follow conferences via Twitter, not least because it saves having to choose which sessions to follow if the organisers have gone for the many option approach.

Following the hashtag #rethinkmedia is never going to be as good as being in the room, although it does increase the chances of being closer to a power socket which you can call your own.

The upside of following a conference or event via Twitter is that you get to hear the opinions which often go through the heads of those in the audience but which don’t get shared during debates for many reasons. The downside is it can sometimes be hard to distinguish what is being said on the stage from the views of people in the audience.

Whether that’s too important, I’m not sure. However, I thought I’d try and stitch together some of the most interesting (to me) Tweets I saw from the event, most of which focus on social. The list isn’t meant to be a compilation of Tweets to document the whole day (you can find the live blog here), just some things which made me stop and think from afar:

(more…)

Perhaps the most important piece of academic journalism research this year

Reading journalism.co.uk at the weekend, I stumbled across a piece of research being carried out by the University of Central Lancashire.

It is being led by Amy Binns, a former Yorkshire Post journalist who is now a senior lecturer at UCLAN (and a former colleague of mine, but more about that in a minute).

The research focuses on online abuse journalists suffer as a result of comment threads being open under stories, and in the often anonymous world of social media, particularly Twitter.

Frustratingly, the survey attached to the study was due to close on Friday (March 14) but at time of writing appears to still be open. I would urge any journalist who is serious about social media and uses it regularly to get involved.

To me, this is potentially the most important piece of academic journalism research this year. A big claim I know, but here’s why.

(more…)

How Vincent Kompany, and a train of stranded passengers, demonstrated the need to be first, fast and accurate

I’m currently sat on a train on the way back from Birmingham. What should have been a 90 minute journey is coming in at just under three hours thanks to the gales currently battering Britain.

My train appears to be the last one running into Manchester tonight, with none coming out the other way, at least according to the very apologetic train manager on board our train.

There are lots of frustrated Manchester City fans on the train, having got on at Stoke and Macclesfield only to sit and wait, worrying they’ll miss the game.

Miss it, that is, until the rumour swept around the train that City’s game against Sunderland was being called off.

(more…)

Why good news is really good news for regional news … thanks to social media

In a world where page views, unique users and audience engagement are increasingly the most important metrics to news brands, it could be easy to just go where the fish are most likely to bite.

Crime shifts page views. Football shifts page views. Stories about things happening on Twitter and Facebook shift page views. Same too with weather, traffic and travel, and stories which begin with the headline ‘The most remarkable/stunning/unbelievable XXXXXX ever?’ The ? normally signifies the answer is, at best, maybe.

On this blog, I’m just as guilty of that, and I have a blog post to that effect coming up shortly.

Audience analytics can bring us closer to the audience than ever before, enabling us to respond to what they like by doing more of it, and at the same time doing less of what they don’t like.

(more…)