Articles about "RebelMouse"


How news orgs are using RebelMouse for blizzard, Fashion Week

Hunkering down for an anticipated blizzard is taking on new meaning for newsrooms experimenting with RebelMouse. The snow may be calling the shots. That isn’t stopping social media editors — many of whom also happen to be new to RebelMouse — from learning as they go.

There’s a RebelMouse page for Vine videos about the storm, for example. And Digital First is using RebelMouse to embed updating coverage with the hashtag #dfsnow.

NPR Social Media Product Manager and first time RebelMouse user Kate Myers aggregates tweets from a curated list of member stations and “reporters in the path of the storm.” Myers knows that vetting reporters according to geographic location and NPR affiliation does not guarantee the content will be topical but she is “going through and taking off unrelated things” retrospectively.

NPR is curating forecast information, video and photos, including community photos, on RebelMouse.

When Jeff Sonderman reviewed the RebelMouse platform for Poynter last June, he focused on its potential as an aggregation tool, likening it to Storify and Pinterest. Sonderman encouraged experimentation and highlighted the then-nascent platform’s ability to “populate a Web page.” Fast forward to now.

If you haven’t seen  The Wall Street Journal’s RebelMouse page for New York Fashion Week (NYFW) or their previous Davos coverage, you are missing out on some of the most rigorous and vital social beat reporting experiments in digital journalism.

The NYFW coverage, according to Liz Heron, Wall Street Journal’s Director of Social Media & Engagement, is “to cover a specific event, rather than as a ‘front page’ for an ongoing topic.” The RebelMouse strategy employed for both Davos and NYFW, according to WSJ social media producer Elana Zak, “uses Twitter lists and hashtags to collect the best tweets.”

“Since we have so many different reporters and editors covering Fashion Week,” explains Zak, “we worked with RebelMouse so that we could insert our Fashion Week Twitter list into the backend and then filter by hashtag.”

Filtering by hashtag automatically translates to a “reporter or editor’s tweets only showing up when they are tweeting specifically about #NYFW,” Zak says. The Journal used the same process for Davos.

This year, the Journal used RebelMouse, among other things, to cover Fashion Week. Last year, the Journal experimented with Pinterest and Instagram during Fashion Week.

Aware of the unique abilities offered by deadline-driven social and multiplatform beat reporters, RebelMouse tutorial pages source popular digital newsroom experiments (e.g. reactions to Time’s Person of the Year selection) in explainer posts, like one on how to customize embed codes.

RebelMouse also recently added CNNMoney social product lead Niketa Patel as Director of Content. Patel sees her new role as an opportunity to “empower journalists and editors to think creatively when it comes to using RebelMouse to showcase stories and user generated content.”

Social media managers and digital editors who choose to automate the integration of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Vine and Pinterest and bring over pre-existing communities from other platforms may find the general FAQ board helpful. It speaks to all levels of users. Questions range from site logo integration to aggregating Posterous and Weebly. More industry specific assistance is available in the FAQ for publishers section.

Ernie Smith, who uses RebelMouse to curate Digitslam, prefers the platform to Storify because he feels Storify is “too much work for the payoff.”

Smith, like Sonderman, draws parallels between Storify and Pinterest. Despite the characteristic traits RebelMouse shares with its closest cousins/competitors, however, Smith feels the platform “offers something lacking from the other curation platform [because] it works well automatically, but can be manually tailored.”

It is worth noting that Smith’s RebelMouse board — exclusively dedicated to reporting the numbers — is the product of the minimalist social platform aesthetic Smith has been pioneering since 2009 when he founded Short Form Blog.

Ernie Smith uses Digitslam to document the news in numbers.

Also worth noting is that Smith, who describes his Web development skills as “basic,” customized the CSS code to get the page to be consistent with the house style he created for himself “through years of work.”

Users expecting this level of elegance from the current trove of RebelMouse provided templates may end up disappointed. Yes, RebelMouse offers some design customization options. Coding neophytes such as yours truly, however, found the feature clunky and prohibitively limiting.

Not unsympathetic to the anguish of the coding dilettante, Smith concedes that “the design is OK,” but the site’s design capabilities are “not at the level of its competition.”

Another weakness — discovered while compiling research for this article — is the challenge of referencing and integrating boards that are being continually updated.

This is not a limitation if dynamic boards are preferable. If you want a static archive however, a screenshot, PDF or JPG uploaded to a platform like Pinterest is the more reliable way to ensure consistency.

“One of the big strengths of using RebelMouse is that it is built to always stay fresh,” says Zak. “The tweets and Instagrams are coming in at a real-time speed and the page updates automatically, so it is always topical. As long as you have people tweeting about the topic, your page won’t be dull.”

Zak also points out that “RebelMouse is pretty good at avoiding duplicated tweets and Instagrams. But if you want to add an article or a YouTube video [that hasn't been tweeted], that requires adding it manually.”

As the snow continues to fall, Myers continues to experiment. As Vermont Public Radio is in the path of the storm and in the middle of a pledge drive, Myers had to manually delete a #PearWatch post  to keep the page topical. The platform’s unique ability “tell an ongoing story as it is unfolding” however, is worth it, she says. Read more


5 ways to use social media curator RebelMouse

Almost six months after RebelMouse launched, the service is finding a home in the digital journalist’s toolbox.

If you haven’t heard of it before, here’s what RebelMouse does: You connect your social accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.) and it creates a web page that features the latest content you’ve shared.

Many journalists have created RebelMouse pages that simply aggregate their own stories and photos, and some news organizations are using it in more advanced ways.

Here are a few examples of how it can be used.

Reuse your live-tweeting efforts. Feed your tweets or an event hashtag into a RebelMouse page, and embed it on your site. It’s a great way to extend that coverage to non-Twitter users.

It’s more elegant than simply embedding a Twitter widget. And compared to the nearest alternative, Storify, RebelMouse can be automated and its presentation places the focus on the content that you share, rather than the format in which it’s shared.

“I used RebelMouse on Election Night and on debate nights during the 2012 elections,” Huffington Post senior editor Craig Kanalley told me. “I tweeted the best things I was finding from around the Web in terms of coverage, including the best photos and what other news organizations were doing, and it turned into a nice hub highlighting coverage. … It’s a really nice alternative ‘live’ platform outside of live blogging and live video.”

Curate a big story. You can feed tweets from a hashtag or a Twitter list into a RebelMouse page to automatically curate coverage of a major event. Or you can have those tweets saved as drafts that you pre-approve before they appear on your page.

Create a social dashboard for your organization. KING-TV in Seattle uses a RebelMouse page to aggregate all the photos, videos and links from all of the station’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts.

TechCrunch uses it to power CrunchScroll, a social hub that collects all the site’s stories and tweets from its writers:

Create more interesting topic pages. Salon’s elections coverage topic page:

Patch used it to aggregate all of the election coverage from its many sites:

Let it power your homepage. Ok, most news organizations won’t go this far. But video news startup NowThis News has turned its entire homepage over to an embedded RebelMouse site.

NowThis News videos are published primarily to social media services and to its partner site BuzzFeed, so the organization’s own website is a bit of an archive. RebelMouse provides a dynamic, automatic feed that captures all that social activity for Web users.

All these examples take advantage of a few of RebelMouse’s distinguishing capabilities:

  • It can bring multiple social networks together in one space.
  • It can make all that work you put into social networking accessible to people who don’t use those networks.
  • It can be as automated as you want or as manually curated.

That last one is especially important, Niketa Patel, social media product manager at CNN Money, told me. If you want to hand-pick the stories that show up on your RebelMouse page and tweak their headlines, photos and descriptions, you can. And if you want to set it and forget it, you can.

In today’s newsrooms, all resources are scarce. But time is among the scarcest. So a tool like this that can operate hands-off is very valuable.

A RebelMouse site takes only seconds to create. And each RebelMouse user can create multiple sites, which creates possibilities for customized uses. A journalist, for example could use a RebelMouse page to curate content to accompany one specific story. Then the next week, create a different one for something else.

Experiment and tell us what works for you.

Earlier: RebelMouse launches || Related: Twylah is another tool for making a Web page from curated tweets. Read more


The media’s best of 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, journalists are looking back at the biggest stories and events of the year. We’ll be collecting them here, using Rebel Mouse.

As I write in a separate story about Rebel Mouse, the platform can:

  • bring multiple social networks together in one space.
  • make all that work you put into social networking accessible to people who don’t use those networks.
  • be as automated as you want or as manually curated.

Our list below is manually curated.

If you see an end-of-year list we should include, please send a link to Read more


How journalists can use RebelMouse to craft Web content from social media curation

If you mashed up Tumblr, Pinterest, and Storify, you’d get something close to RebelMouse.


The new Web service, whose namesake mascot could be the mutinous younger brother of Mighty Mouse, uses the links and photos you share on Twitter or Facebook to populate a Web page.

The product’s raison d’être goes something like this: 1) Everybody wants to have a website 2) Nobody knows what to put on their website because they use social media now instead of blogging 3) So why not use your social media activity to power your website.

For an individual journalist, RebelMouse can build a website that harnesses all your social media curation work into a Web product (see mine as an example).

You can imagine how a prolific, Twitter-centric journalist like NPR’s Andy Carvin could fill a page with news.

For a news organization, RebelMouse could also be a tool for aggregation projects. One page could represent all the content your news staff is tweeting. Another one could pull in content from a hashtag for a crowdsourcing project.

Visually, RebelMouse looks a lot like Pinterest. Functionally, it is in the same product space as Storify, but different in key ways:

  • More permanence. Whereas you might build a different Storify each day, RebelMouse is set up more as a lasting presence that updates over time.
  • More automation. RebelMouse can be totally hands-off, automatically updating with everything that is tweeted by a certain user or hashtag. Alternatively, you can have RebelMouse save all imported items as drafts so you choose which ones it uses later.
  • No embedding, yet. I’m told it will eventually be possible to embed your RebelMouse stream elsewhere, but it doesn’t seem to be a launch feature.

Pricing is extremely affordable — free for basic usage, and if you want to use the site at a custom domain name (instead of it’s $3 a month for an individual or $3 a week for a company.

The product creators include ex-HuffPost co-founder Ken Lerer and CTO Paul Berry, under their Soho TechLabs incubator. I’ve been trying it myself, and it’s worth experimenting to see what uses you can come up with. Read more