Social Media: News about social media that matters to journalism. Written by Jeff Sonderman. Suggest a story.

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How to do Twitter research on a shoestring

Twitter’s increasingly influential role in journalism has prompted an accompanying upsurge in academic research, particularly around the ways in which journalists and media organizations have integrated Twitter into their norms and practices.

With 500 million tweets a day, Twitter offers researchers a potentially deep and rich stream of social media data. However, unlike historical newspaper content, which is readily available via library microfiches or databases like Lexis Nexis, much of the historical data on Twitter (what’s called the Twitter firehose) is walled off in costly private archives.

Information may want to be free, but accessing and analyzing that information can be costly.

The Library of Congress signed a deal with Twitter in 2010 to build an on-site research archive but that system has still not been finalized.… Read more

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

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How Muck Rack’s social media tool lets journalists track content sharing

Muck Rack

Here’s a handy social media tool you might not be aware of: Muck Rack’s Who Shared My Link feature. Simply paste any link, and it shows you how many times it was shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. There’s even a button for your bookmarks bar so you can instantly see social shares for whatever page you’re on.

Sara Morrison wrote about the feature last year for CJR. As Muck Rack CEO Gregory Galant told her: “Since pageviews are known only to the publishers, who usually embellish the numbers before releasing them, ‘shares’ is one of the few metrics that are public and equal across the Web.”

Muck Rack announced on Tuesday that it added the ability to generate PDF summaries of how a link performed on social media (you have to be a Muck Rack Pro member or a verified journalist to access the PDF reports — and a list of Muck Rack users who shared your link).… Read more

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Friday, Mar. 14, 2014

Shown are the main offices of the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper in San Francisco, Friday, March 13, 2009.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

S.F. Chronicle social ‘boot camp’ changing culture, practices

The 148-year-old San Francisco Chronicle has invested in an off-site incubator for its journalists to learn about and experiment with a variety of digital tools, including social media. PBS Media Shift explored goals of the “boot camp” in January.

Now that the effort is underway, I reached out to Marcus Gilmer, newsroom social media manager at the Chronicle and Sfgate.com. (He and I worked together at the Chicago Sun-Times last year.) Gilmer joined the Chronicle in December and has spent time at the incubator teaching social media skills and tools to reporters and editors. (This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)… Read more

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Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

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Mental Floss a big winner after Facebook’s mysterious ‘high quality’ algorithm change

When Facebook announced in December that it was altering its News Feed algorithm to focus on “high quality content,” speculation centered on which sites might be in danger of excommunication as Facebook took aim at the viral bubble.

Was BuzzFeed’s silly clickbait a target, or would the site’s growing commitment to real news and longform save the domain from banishment? (It’s doing just fine.) What about Upworthy, the viral site that ruled Facebook in November with its widely mocked and mimicked “you won’t believe ____” headlines? (Business Insider declared it “crushed” after a December traffic dip, but a wider view of Quantcast data leads to a less dramatic conclusion.)

Meanwhile, some sites stood to gain, and one winner seems to be Mental Floss, a source of eminently shareable trivia, historical facts and answers to hundreds of questions you didn’t know you had.… Read more

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Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2014

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3 ways Facebook’s Paper app outperforms other news aggregators (and 3 ways it doesn’t)

Paper, the first app from Facebook’s Creative Labs available now for iPhones, could challenge Flipboard, Zite and Feedly in the business of aggregating news on mobile devices. Not only does it beautify your Facebook newsfeed, but it also links to content from major news sources in various sections like Headlines (news), Score (sports), Exposure (photos) and Planet (science and sustainability). Here are some reasons Paper might be the news reader for you (or not):

Pictures feel bigger (but not always better)

Almost all screens, from movie theaters to TVs to computers to tablets, are horizontal for a reason (tablet users seem to prefer the landscape orientation to portrait, but of course it’s used both ways). So it’s often frustrating to view our horizontal world through the tiny vertical window of a phone.… Read more

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Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

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3 lessons from BuzzFeed’s Twitter swarm during the Golden Globes

BuzzFeed wants to own the Twitter conversation when events of national interest take place, and Sunday’s airing of the Golden Globes gave the social news site another chance to hone its craft.

I spoke with BuzzFeed social masters Mike Hayes and Samir Mezrahi via phone about their strategy for covering awards shows and Super Bowls. Here are some lessons:… Read more

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Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013

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Viral strategy behind WaPo’s Know More blog won’t blow your mind; read this anyway

A two-month-old viral blog by The Washington Post (y’know, the venerable 136-year-old newspaper and venerable 17-year-old website) seems to have tapped into the shareable content trend of the moment.

And even if viral content’s a bubble bound to burst — thanks to Facebook interrupting its business model via algorithm changes or otherwise — the Post hardly has much to lose if Know More, a Wonkblog spinoff, doesn’t work out.

But if BuzzFeed and Upworthy manage to maintain full steam ahead, so too should Know More, which has adopted many of the two viral sites’ strategies, including engaging images, click-bait headlines (not necessarily pejorative), and a social media presence summed up in three words: Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.

“The most obvious similarity there is in targeting Facebook rather than Twitter,” said Dylan Matthews, the main reporter behind the blog, via phone.… Read more

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Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

Twitter, Time team up for ‘person of the year’

Time | Twitter

Seven years after bizarrely naming you its person of the year for your ability to, I dunno, tweet and stuff, Time wants you to help with its selection this year. And it has formally enlisted Twitter as your official means of weighing in:… Read more

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Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013

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Twitter’s custom timelines won’t kill Storify but could become robust filters

Twitter announced Tuesday a “custom timelines” feature that seems to mimic many of Storify’s functions. But is it a Storify killer?

All Tweetdeck users will soon be able to drop individual tweets into a “custom timelines” column with a name and short description. Then, those curated timelines are publicly accessible and can be embedded and shared. … Read more

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Friday, Nov. 01, 2013

Globe and Mail falls for hoax tweet, falsely reports ex-NSA chief’s death

A fake tweet by a Twitter account resembling that of the popular site Breaking News led at least one news organization, the Globe and Mail, to falsely report the death of ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden at today’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

The apparent hoax account @HeadIineNews, which only showed one tweet at the time, looked like Breaking News’ @BreakingNews account, which has more than 6.3 million followers. The fake account used the same profile photo as Breaking News, and its Twitter handle substituted a capital “I” for a lower-case “L” in @HeadIineNews.

John Stackhouse, the Globe and Mail’s editor-in-chief, tells Poynter via phone that the “embarrassing” mistake was an occasion to reiterate the newsroom’s policies for verifying breaking news. “It was an unfortunate human error made by people not following the practices and procedures we have in place,” he said.… Read more

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