sree sreenivasan

Columbia Journalism Professor
Poynter Visiting New Media Professor
WNBC-TV Tech Reporter
http://www.Sree.net
http://www.SreeTips.com


News Orgs Take Social Media Seriously by Hiring Editors to Oversee Efforts

I am watching with interest the rise in the number of journalists with the title of social media editor (or something similar) within news organizations. This signals how seriously media outlets are taking social media, thinking about it strategically and incorporating it into workflows and overall output.

In recent weeks, I have had the chance to interact with several folks with such titles. Getting to know them and what they are dealing with and thinking about has been fascinating. In the weeks and months ahead, I will try to share some of that here and in my workshops.

If you want to get a sense of what these folks are reading/sharing, please take a look at the Twitter list that I created at http://twitter.com/sreenet/socmedia-editors. If you are not on Twitter, just bookmark that page and check in every once in awhile to get a flavor of what they are up to. Some have the words “social media” in their title, others are called things like community manager (Hello, Matthew Simantov); communities editor (Hello, Mathew Ingram); audience interaction producer (Hello, Eric Kuhn).

I met many of those folks through the convening efforts of the dynamic Jennifer Preston, the first social media editor at The New York Times (and an adjunct professor at Columbia J-school). She’s gotten many of us together on e-mail (old technology that still works!) and in person. Others I know through other avenues, including Mathilde Piard, a recent student of mine who even more recently became social media manager for Cox Media Group.

This week, the Associated Press announced that Lauren McCullough, who had been doing a lot of the social media thinking there, has been promoted to a new job, leading one of the four components of the new AP “Nerve Center”:

Lauren McCullough, who has led The Associated Press’ efforts to engage social networks, has been promoted to manager of Social Networks and News Engagement at the new AP Nerve Center. …

McCullough will head the Social Network Center, one of four components of the new headquarters center in New York. She will direct the work of editors there and around the company in pursuing journalistic material from social networks, promoting AP’s presence and content on social networks, and providing feedback to news managers on topics of high interest on social networks.

McCullough also will continue a lead role setting standards and practices related to social networks, reporting to Managing Editor Lou Ferrara.

“Lauren brings experience in social networking across formats that will enable the AP to grow in this new frontier of journalism. She understands the value of newsgathering within the social networks, as well as the need to have a voice within them,” Ferrara said.

Asked about the role, McCullough wrote to me, via e-mail: “AP recognizes the role social networks play in how the world shares information. We have exciting things planned for 2010 and I’m looking forward to helping to lead the charge.”

I gather the Nerve Center (great name!) has these four components:

  • The News Center, run by Sally Buzbee (former Middle East bureau chief)
  • The Standards Center, run by Tom Kent, former foreign editor and longtime Columbia J-school adjunct professor
  • The Production Center, run by Erin Madigan
  • The Social Network Center, run by McCullough

That means that one of the biggest, most sophisticated media organizations in the world has identified social media as one of the four most important parts of its operations and put a 27-year-old in charge. Think about that the next time you hear someone dismiss social media as frivolous and a waste of time (as I continue to hear, from some veteran journos to younger ones as well).

Another criticism of social media is that it’s only a young person’s game. But here’s a recent status update I put on my SreeTips Facebook page, where I share tech tips:

SKEPTICAL ABOUT TWITTER? HATE IT? Then please read these two essays about the value of Twitter: Vivek Wadhwa in TechCrunch (also ran in WashPost.com): http://bit.ly/wadhwatw + David Carr in NYT cover essay: http://bit.ly/carrtw (both are extremely busy, not-young people who have found value in Twitter)

You can read my thoughts on the three main reasons journalists need these skills via the syllabus and notes to my five-week Social Media Skills for Journalists course at Columbia J-school.

Your thoughts are welcome below, at @sreenet or sree[at]sree.net. And don’t forget to follow that list of social media editors that I follow. Read more

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Archived Chat: How Can Twitter Best Practices Help Me Teach Journalism?

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In this week’s live educator chat, Columbia University’s Sree Sreenivasan provided various examples of best practices in Twitter and explained how these best pracices can help journalism educators in their teaching.  

Sreenivasan pointed to “Twitter Guide for Newbies and Skeptics” as a good resource. For links to additional resources, click on the replay below.

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&task=viewaltcast&altcast_code=181fd7b767″ >How Can Twitter Best Practices Help Me Teach Journalism?</a> Read more

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MyYouTube

I recently sent around a YouTube video I had created about one of my journalism heroes, Reggie Stuart, corporate recruiter for McClatchy. You can see the piece and video about Stuart at this link – or just watch the video below.



Bill Mitchell
, editor of Poynter Online, had a suggestion:

What would you think of doing next week’s Web Tip pegged to this item — a how-to that explains what you used to capture the video, how you uploaded it, how you embedded the YouTube code in your blog page, etc.
RELATED RESOURCES

Read all 300+ Web Tips since Sept. 2001.

Web Tips by e-mail:

Click here to receive (sent Thursdays at noon)

 

It’s the kind of basic skill more and more in our audience(s) are looking for, and I think it would have equal relevance to editors (charged with getting people to do this kind of work) and to reporters (who need to learn the hands-on)…

I have learned to obey Bill’s gentle suggestions, so here goes.

What might look like a complicated product is relatively straightforward, once you know the steps. That piece was executed using a combination of tools and free software that are easily available. Newsrooms around the country use these or proprietary versions of them.

THE VIDEO PART — SHOOTING IT: The first task is collecting the video. The usual way is to use a video camera, then plug it into a computer for editing. Instead, I used my Apple MacBook ($1,299 for the black version, $1,099 for white), which comes with a built-in camera and microphone. I set it up in front of Stuart as he spoke, adjusting for the right height. A more sophisticated setup would have included a separate mic, but I just used the built-in version.

THE VIDEO PART — EDITING IT: The free iMovie HD program that comes with the MacBook allows you to capture the video and then edit it with minimal training. I basically spliced a couple of separate bites together, and using the transition and titling tools, was able to make the short video.

THE YOUTUBE PART: Sure, YouTube has millions of viewers, but all those viewers need content to, well, view. So the service makes it really easy to upload videos. Once you have your content ready, putting it up is similar to attaching a file within e-mail. Following the instructions here, I gave it a title, a description, tags and a category and then was able to upload the video. Depending on the time of day, there’s a delay of 10-30 minutes before the video shows up online. But once it’s up, you can e-mail the link to your friends or even embed it onto another site or blog, as we have done here for this WebTip. (Every YouTube video has a section where the embed code is available for you to take and put elsewhere).

This ability to embed the video on other sites is a key reason for the success of certain online videos. Embedding means more sites will be willing to post the video, because it allows visitors to see the video without leaving the site they are on. And since it’s still played off YouTube’s servers, there are no bandwidth costs for individual sites.

ALTERNATIVES: You can use a video camera or a cheap webcam (many are less than $30) to shoot the video and free software such as Microsoft Moviemaker (free on Windows XP) or the new-ish online video editing site, Jumpcut.com to do simple editing.

RESOURCES:

[This is, of course, just a start. Share your ideas - see YOUR TURN section below.]

Ellyn Angelotti, Poynter.org’s Interactvity Editor, points out some useful suggestions that have been recenly made on the Online News e-mail discussion lists that she hosts. (You can see all the lists and sign up here.)

Here are the highlights:
- Robin Miller, Editor-in-chief of Open Source Technology Group, made the observation that there are now more than 150 ad-supported video-hosting services.

- Clyde Bentley, associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, mentioned the system used there that is very much like YouTube, but is a closed system.
http://mymissourian.com/

- Kevin Anderson, editor, who blogs for Guardian Unlimited, shared that Motionbox allows users to upload and tag video clips as well as make simple edits through the service provided by the site.
http://www.motionbox.com/

- Brightcove is an option I know of that many organizations have looked into as an alternative to YouTube.
http://www.brightcove.com/

Here’s some more info about Brightcove:
Launch a Channel: http://corp.brightcove.com/content_owners/
Brightcove Support & Tutorials: http://studio.brightcove.com/
Brightcove Blog: http://blog.brightcove.com/
Syndication Overview:
http://corp.brightcove.com/affiliates/overview.cfm

YOUR TURN: Share your tips for newcomers to online video creation by posting in the comments section or by e-mailing poynter@sree.net

Sree’s Links
See details of SAJA Convention & Job Fair in NYC, July 12-15, 2007

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Tracking Media Changes

RELATED RESOURCES
Featured Links:

2006 Edition of Save This Tip: Sree & Jon

Read all 300+ Web Tips since Sept. 2001.

Web Tips by e-mail:

Click here to receive (sent Thursdays at noon)

 

Keeping up with all the media changes around us isn’t easy. For years, I’ve kept a set of old-fashioned files, filled with clippings and Web printouts. I also kept some files on my computer that I would send around when reporters would call to ask about new-media developments.
 
Recently, I have taken another approach. I now have an easily accessible Web page where I have been adding articles for my students and me to read. I have been told it’s useful by folks who have seen it, so I am sharing it with you.
 
Go to SreeTips.com/landscape.html and you will find a link to a continuously updated list of stories about various aspects of the news business. Topics include the future of newspapers, online video, new journalism ventures and much more. I have also created a list of Web sites I read regularly, along with a collection of stats. This is very much a work in progress, so I would love feedback and your own link suggestions.
 
You will notice I use Google Docs to maintain the list. My next column will be a detailed look that service. If you have thoughts about it, let me know.
 
YOUR TURN: Send sites you like to me at poynter@sree.net (include your name, affiliation and city), and I just might run one in a future column.

Sree’s Links
See details of SAJA Convention & Job Fair at Columbia & CUNY, July 12-15, 2007

See details of SAJA Conevention & Job Fair at Columbia & CUNY, July 12-15, 2007 Read more

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Photoshop Alternatives

I am a fan of Adobe Photoshop, the powerful image-editing software that graphic designers love. But I find myself using it less often than I used to. In fact, my usage has fallen off dramatically. The main reason is that I find I often don’t need all the firepower it has to offer.

Most of the time, I am just doing some simple cropping and resizing of photos. To use Photoshop, which takes (what feels like) a long time to load, seems like overkill. Besides, I often need to do some image editing while I am away from my main office computer, the only one of my three computers that even has Photoshop on it. And the reason most of my computers don’t have the program is that, at $649, it’s too expensive. Even the much cheaper and less powerful Photoshop Elements, at $99, feels like overkill most of the time.

I have been increasingly relying on free, Web-based photo editors that require no downloads and can be easily accessed just about anywhere in the world. They mostly work the same way: You go to the site, upload the photo you want to edit (or put in the photo’s URL if it’s already online somewhere) and then make the changes to the photo right away on the screen. You can then download the photo or e-mail it. They almost all allow you to crop, resize, adjust brightness and contrast, etc.

Just yesterday, I was asked to e-mail a certain-sized mug shot for something, and I was easily able to do so. You don’t have to be a Web producer or photojournalist to find this useful. In fact, some Web producers and photojournalists will find these tools too simplistic for their more sophisticated work.

There are plenty of free, Web-based photo editors, and I haven’t quite settled on one just yet. I jump around the following:

Here are some blog posts that compare several of the programs: on SmileyCat and Digital Inspiration.

I would love your help in assessing which of these is the best. I am leaning toward Picnik and Snipshot right now, but please send in your comments and thoughts here.

If you like using a desktop-based editing program, but can’t afford Photoshop, here are some alternatives:

UPDATE: Several folks wrote in via e-mail to suggest that I also alert you to Picasa, a free, desktop-based editing software program, owned by Google (no Mac version yet).

YOUR TURN: Send me sites you like at poynter@sree.net (include your name, affiliation and city), and I just might run it in a future column.

Sree’s Links

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Save This Tip, 2005

Time for the annual year-end roundup
of our favorite Web Tips. The idea is to put together a list of
the most useful tips, Web sites and columns from the past year so that
you can have them all in one place. You’ll find mine below. Jon Dube’s
favorites, in Part II of this column, are here.

A big thank you and season’s greetings to Poynter readers. We
rely on you for tips and feedback to do our work (speaking of readers,
please join the 100+ of them who are helping with the Web Tips Frappr
Project details below).

Here are my favorite tips.

Improve Your Work:

Sites & Services:

Reporter Resources:

Don’t forget to check out the 2004 (Sree|Jon) and 2003 (Sree|Jon) editions of Save This Tip.

If you’re into year-end lists, you need to check out one of my favorite compilations, the annual list of year-end lists that’s running on Fimoculous.com (in 2004, the list had 550 lists and is well en route to a similar number for this year. I wrote a column back in October 2003 about my love for lists).

Your turn: send me sites you like at poynter@sree.net (include your name, affiliation and city)

NOTE: WEB TIPS FRAPPR PROJECT – Help us create a collaborative media project by joining 100+ of our readers at http://www.frappr.com/poynterwebtips.

When you get there, click on “add yourself” on the right of your screen.

If you live in the U.S., put in your name and zip code. Attach a
photo (if you wish — optional!). Remove the “Create a Frappr Account
for me” (if you don’t want one) by clicking on checkbox. Hit “Add Me.”

If you live outside the U.S., put in your name, then click on “Not
in the U.S.? Click Here.” Start typing your city and a menu with your
city should show up. Attach a photo (if you wish — optional!).
Remove the “Create a Frappr Account for me” (if you don’t want one) by
clicking on checkbox. Hit “Add Me.”

We’ll watch this little project grow in the months ahead. Meanwhile, I am still working on my follow-up column about Social Networking for Journalists and looking to connect with readers at LinkedIn.com.

Sree’s Links

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Save This Tip!

We let 2006 slip by without doing our annual roundup of our most useful tips, Web sites and columns. To make amends for that, let’s start the year with some useful lists.


RELATED RESOURCES

2005 editions of Save This Tip: Sree | Jon

2004 editions of Save This Tip: Sree | Jon

2003 editions of Save This Tip: Sree | Jon

Read all 300+ Web Tips since Sept. 2001.

Web Tips by e-mail:
Click here to receive (sent Tuesdays at noon)

Here are some of my more useful Web Tips columns:

Some of Jon’s picks:

Here are some other lists worth checking out. 

If you’re into year-end lists, you need to see one of my favorite compilations, the annual list of dozens of year-end lists that’s compiled by Fimoculous.com (here’s 2005 and 2004). I wrote a column back in October 2003 about my love of lists).

Your turn: send me sites you like at poynter@sree.net (include your name, affiliation and city) Read more

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Tracking Books

We’ve all heard about authors obsessed with the Amazon.com rankings of their books — some who go as far as temporarily manipulating the rankings by buying copies of their own books in bulk. But non-authors are often interested in book rankings, too (or else we wouldn’t have so many kinds of bestseller lists).

The standard Amazon rankings that are updated hourly are interesting, but not very useful. (Below you will find some links that have more information — including critiques — about the rankings themselves.)

I want to tell you today about TitleZ.com, a site I have been using to track books I am interested in. It takes Amazon’s rankings and tracks them over a longer period of time. Think of it as way to go beyond the bestsellers, to the slow sellers and the barely sellers. Here’s the description, from the site:

TitleZ provides:
  • Data: Instantly retrieve historic and current sales rankings from Amazon and create printable reports with 7-, 30-, 90-day and lifetime averages
  • Trends: Easily see how topics or titles perform over time; measure the competition; understand what’s hot
  • Insight: Improve decision-making; know what to publish and when

I use it to keep an eye on a dozen books or so, constantly adding and removing titles. It also has a handy feature that lets you pick a few titles and do direct comparisons of the sales, say, the previous week or month.
 
The company has a detailed description of how it can benefit various categories of users (publishers, authors, journalists, etc).

The service is free during the current beta testing period. I am not sure when that runs out, but depending on what they charge, I would consider paying for it.

Yes, this still has many of the underlying problems of the Amazon rankings themselves, but is a good example of how existing information and data can be used in new and interesting ways.

Some resources on Amazon rankings:

UPDATE: Reader Karen Shanley, author of Dogs of Dreamtime, writes with another suggestion:

TicTap is a similar site that offers even
more goodies. It’s a free service, and
there are no plans to change that. Not only can you compare
books, and track any individual book over a range of time, but you can
type in a Zip Code to see how the book is selling in that area.
It’s not just for books, though any author or book tracker will find it useful. You can even access it on any mobile device.


YOUR TURN: Tell us what you think of TitleZ, TicTap or the Amazon rankings. Please post your feedback directly onto this column’s feedback page or e-mail me at
poynter@sree.net.

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Sites We Read

I am often asked for a list of Web sites I read. I am equally curious about what some of my friends, colleagues and readers read, so I thought I would turn this into a group exercise. I will, starting today and in occasional future columns, describe a site I read multiple times every day. I will try to mix it up so there are both blogs and other kinds of sites. One thing you can be sure of: each is a site I read at least twice a day, unless I am on vacation or in a place without connectivity.

And I would like your help. If you know the site, please add your feedback, good or bad. In addition, please submit your must-read sites either via e-mail to me or in this feedback area attached this article.

To start us off:

RegretTheError.com: This is a blog of corrections compiled from around the media world. Sometimes funny, sometimes scary, always fascinating, this site is one of my first stops every day. Some days I stop by three or more times. Among the interesting things to note is the number of mainstream publications without corrections policies or listings. I first learned about it in this 2004 Poynter posting by Steve Outing:

All Errors, All the Time

It’s been said by many people that blogs are forcing traditional
journalism to evolve and improve. One way this is happening is with
blogs devoted to watchdogging the media in general (e.g., CJR Campaign Desk) and individually (e.g., ChronWatch).

Here’s the latest example: Regret the Error,
a new blog devoted solely to reporting on newspaper errors. The site’s
mission: to “report on corrections, retractions, clarifications, and
trends regarding accuracy and honesty in North American media.”

YOUR TURN: Please share your reading lists by e-mailing me at poynter@sree.net (with your permission, I will share them here or in a future column) or by putting in your comments directly into this feedback page

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LinkedIn, Anyone?

 

[After a summer hiatus, WebTips is back. Please send in your tips and
feedback.]

Like many journalists, I like to think that I am not just in the journalism business, but that I am also in the connecting business — helping various people find and connect with one another. These people can range from reporters looking for additional sources after they interview me, to students looking to be introduced to editors in certain news outlets, to random requests over the transom.

Connecting people, however, is a dicey game. Every time you connect a requester and a requestee (are these real words?), you are putting your own reputation on the line. If the requester asks to be connected to a certain kind of requestee and the person you connect him or her to isn’t appropriate, you have wasted the requester’s time. Similarly, for each connection you try to make of a requestee, you have to be sure it’s a worthwhile connection and that the requestee won’t end up irritated with you for sending along someone less than professional.

So why take that risk every day, as I do? There’s something nice about making the right connections. Besides, I have come to look upon it as part of of my job.

I used to rely exlusively on e-mail to make these connections, but for more than a year now, I have been depending on a free social networking Web site called LinkedIn.com. Social networking sites, such as a MySpace, Friendster, etc., have a less-than-stellar reputation these days, so describing LinkedIn as “MySpace for professionals” does not make it sound appealing — but that description is appropriate (I thought of calling it “MySpace for adults,” but that makes it sound like something else altogether). Social networking does have its uses (see my November 2005 column on this subject) and I think LinkedIn is the most useful of the lot when it comes to making professional connections.

You first create a free account, then fill out a profile of yourself and then explore the “find people” space to see which of your contacts is already in LinkedIn. Then you can ask them to connect with you. Once they do, they become your “first-degree” connections and their connections become part of your network, as “second-degree” connections.

The connections of those second-degree folks become your “third-degree connections.” All of this is done through the system. My math’s no good, but it adds up fast. As of this writing, I have 317 direct connections; 43,000 second-degree connections and 1.4 million-plus connections in my network. I can search my network and contact anyone on it, but the reason the system works is that I can only connect with my direct connections directly. Everyone else has to be connected through the folks I know. They hear only from people they already know directly. So it’s basically friends — or acquaintances — making the initial connection.

Here’s an example of how I use it. A couple of months ago, a Japanese journalist came to interview me for a story about the American media. At the end of the interview, she asked me if I knew a certain well-known, veteran journalist. I said that I had met him a couple of times, but didn’t have his direct e-mail. So I looked in my LinkedIn network to see if someone in my direct contacts knew this person. Sure enough, someone did. With the Japanese journalist shoulder-surfing, I wrote a note to my contact, asking him to pass on the request for an interview via the LinkedIn system. I told my interviewer that this process could take a while and that it may not work at all. Turns out by the time she returned to her hotel, my contact had forwarded my request and the veteran journalist had written back a nice note I then passed on to her: “Sree… just tell her to contact me at [ ___ ]. If I can spend any time with her, I will. I should warn you though that I’m traveling a lot this month and may be hard to pin down. Let’s try, though.”

Several important things about this example:

  • That veteran journalist happened to have a LinkedIn account. 
  • If he hadn’t had an account, I would have looked in my network for
    someone else who works at the same company and try to get a contact
    that way.
  • The forwarding system ensures that someone like him can only be contacted by someone he already knows (and who made the judgment call about whether to forward my note or not). 

LinkedIn is particularly useful when you are looking for a job. Knowing someone who works in the same division of a company you are interested in can help you get background information or get your resume to the right person. Nowadays, when someone asks me for contacts at a media outlet, I tell them to join LinkedIn, connect with me there and search my contacts. They use the system to send my contacts a message via me. I then judiciously decide whether to forward the message or not. I have declined to forward messages in some cases when the contact would not be appropriate. In the old days (i.e., last year), I would have just c.c.-ed my contact and the job seeker. I still do that, on occasion, with very good friends, but this way is better so that the contact can decide whether he/she wants to respond, without the job seeker automatically getting hold of his or her e-mail address.

I asked several LinkedIn users to share their thoughts, and I am reproducing some here. (Because many of these comments are in some ways employment-related, I’m keeping them anonymous to protect the identities of the folks who responded to my queries.):

  • I use it all the time and think every journalist can find good contacts there. It is also less rude than just e-mailing someone you don’t know directly.
  • I use my profile page with all my work experience listed instead of creating my own Web site and online resume.
  • I don’t know about the New York “market,” but it’s really taken hold
    here in Silicon Valley. When someone requests help or tells me about
    looking for a job, my first comment is “Get on LinkedIn if you’re not.”
  • I hire all my new freelancers this way.
  • What I’d like is the ability to do multiple profiles/pages. For example, my day job is as a tech writer, but I am also a media person and an activist. I’d like to be able to separate those, yet not try to have three accounts.
  • I was first getting contacted by people I wasn’t interested in, but lately the connections have been very useful.
  • We all know social networking trends [tend toward] younger [audiences,] but since I’ve joined LinkedIn personally, I really see the divide now. After I explained how the more friends you have, the more it helps you, one [person] said to me last night, “I can see how it would be useful, but if I sent that to my friends, they wouldn’t know what to do with it.”
  • It’s pretty good. It’s very useful for going beyond corporate directories. Anybody who works in the corporate world should have it — definitely. Let’s see, I usually link in about 2-3 times per week and it really helps in networking.
  • Totally useless. I get inundated with the equivalent of spam from headhunters who want to network with me. As far as my friends go, they usually send me e-mails directly when they need help. I’ve found that this is more of an “ego” tool for techies who want to make it look like they know a lot of people.
  • Was intrigued by the idea … but found the system difficult to use… I’d periodically get an alert that someone had found a connection to me … but, to look up details of who it is, I need to enter my user name and password which did not work; retrieving password also was difficult … The idea is certainly powerful … but execution is poor.
  • My new boss at [ ___ ] got his job here by networking on LinkedIn. Our CTO is on LinkedIn and my boss “cold-called” him on LinkedIn. I haven’t used it enough to comment on it. However, knowing that my boss checks it regularly, I would hesitate to put a resume on it.
  •  Perhaps you could devote part of a column on how to manage such accounts. I was invited to join the network of a friend, and did so. Now I’m getting invitations to contact networks from people I don’t know inviting me to connect. Typical invitation reads: “I’ll recommend you to the people I know, if you’ll do the same for me; and I’ll pass on requests to you from people I trust. Please do the same.” My problem is I don’t know these people and they don’t know me. On what basis  do I vouch for them — or they for me? At the same time, if I came to know them, they might indeed become people I trust and whom I’d be happy to vouch for. I don’t want to offend them by declining their invitations (especially since, if I decline, they will not be allowed to invite me again). So, how do people handle this kind of situation?

As you can see, especially from the last comment, there is confusion about how this kind of service works. As with any new-ish concept, it might be hard to grasp till you try it for a while. Yes, you might get contacted by people you don’t really know. But you can easily decline those invitations to be added to their networks. I get, perhaps, two requests a month from people trying to randomly generate more connections. I just ignore those folks.

Here’s a more detailed response from someone who was once a LinkedIn skeptic and now calls herself a “LinkedIn poster girl”:

I joined LinkedIn when I entered business school. I received a number of invitations from classmates, but never paid much attention because the invites were from casual acquaintances. When a friend invited me, I reluctantly joined, and added the 10 other requests as links and thought that was the end of that.

A year later, just prior to graduation, I received a note from the CEO of [ ___ ] asking whether I would like to consider a job there. It was a bit of a surprise, and given my suspicion of the legitimacy of LinkedIn and the timing (I was in Basel at the time, negotiating my employment with a major pharmaceutical company), I wasn’t sure whether it was worth my time.

Out of curiosity I did answer him, and met with him the following week, and as you can see from my business card, I did end up going to [ ___ ]. I became a believer in LinkedIn and promptly added everyone in my Rolodex, and got nearly two dozen other job offers until I put a note on my profile saying that I am NOT looking to leave my company.

So that’s my experience… I’ve definitely become the LinkedIn poster girl. I recommend it to everyone, but I think it works for technology-based fields much better than others.

She’s right: people who work in tech use LinkedIn a lot more than others, including journalists. But I believe that as media professionals learn to use the system, it can work well for them, too. Is it perfect? Of course not. But I think that it’s something we should all be familiar with, at least.

You can see my public profile here and sign up for a free account off that page or by just going to LinkedIn.com (feel free to connect with me there, too).

YOUR TURN: Please share your experiences with LinkedIn and other social networking sites by e-mailing me at poynter@sree.net (with your permission, I will share them here or in a future column) or by putting in your comments directly into this feedback page.

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