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July 10, 2014 / Gina D.

Ways to up your game on Twitter, Facebook

podiumRecently, I was asked to give a little impromptu advice to a group of journalists who had recognized their team’s need to elevate their participation in social media, but were unsure what steps to take to do so most effectively. In recapping my suggestions, it occurred to me that what’s good for the few was probably just as well shared with the many, even if only to re-affirm fundamentals.
In general, current best practices for all forms of social media recommend posting images. It’s more commonly perpetuated in Facebook best practices, but it’s also helpful for Twitter, especially if your publication’s links don’t post a hed/blurb embed, or “card.”
Almost as if it were planned this way, DFM had a live-chat this a.m. about best Twitter practices for journalists, and seems to have played right into some of our discussion.
In terms of increasing reach on Twitter (Klout will kinda help you unofficially monitor that, as will Tweetreach), in addition to tagging individuals, I would encourage using topical hashtags (#immigration, #crime, #economy, hashtags corresponding with electoral districts, etc.). If you’re not sure what might work best, a useful tool to find hashtag trends or just hashtags in general, is twXplorer, a tool developed by Knight Lab.
For operations that struggle with time management (so basically everyone), I would also recommend everyone sharing access to any key accounts (wisely) in order to help perpetuate the stream of content and discussion there. Twitter is constant, and to make a dent there, you kinda have to be as constant a participant as possible. Seems daunting if not impossible, but if you share the effort and use Tweetdeck, managing all those accounts — and keeping yours active — will be a snap, especially since you can also use it to set up timers to deploy tweets strategically. (If you’re looking for a mobile version of a multi-Twitter app, since Tweetdeck doesn’t have a mobile version, Tweetbot is a good one. It’s not free, but it’s a good app, and well worth the few bucks, especially if you’re trying to manage multiple accounts on the fly.)
Speaking of strategic tweeting, there’s a tool called Buffer that you can plug your social accounts into that will help you identify what times are optimal for your account/s. It usually picks your four best times; obviously you would want to populate more than that. You can also use Buffer to time-deploy tweets, though I like Tweetdeck better for that purpose, personally.
And despite all the Twitter talk — and I definitely wouldn’t want to discourage that effort — it’s worth remembering that it’s not unusual for your publication to see much more engagement (and page views) from its Facebook audience.
Maintaining a Facebook page, too, can be a group effort in order to share the load — and allow different voices into the mix. Tagging and hashtagging apply there as well, though there are differing schools of thought out there about how useful either of those things actually are. My philosophy: It doesn’t take a lot of extra time to do it (especially if you’re taking advantage of the ability to time-deploy posts), and it at least offers potential for further reach, so… I’m a fan.
The other benefit to having posting ability is that it generally comes with access to your page’s Facebook metrics, too. It’s not the same as page views, and certainly doesn’t translate into such, but it’s never a bad idea to see what sorts of things are getting the most attention.
March 17, 2014 / Gina D.

Social Media Search training: Don’t just BE on social media — USE IT.

SHERLOCK BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH In February, I delivered Social Media Search training to newsroom folks around the Los Angeles News Group in my role as its Emerging Platform Director.

(In case you left your journalist title decoder ring at home, no, I’m not in charge of bossing around the “2001” monolith. Instead, I’m responsible for mobile and social media for our nine newspaper websites, as well as related staff development — until some other sort of platform emerges. Then I will probably be responsible for that.)

The notion for this training actually started almost a year ago, when I was invited to Facebook’s L.A. headquarters to see a demo — and discuss — Facebook’s then-unlaunched search feature.

Read more…

February 4, 2014 / Gina D.

Facebook Paper: News you didn’t choose

Facebook, you are one tricky bastard.

Took a few minutes on a pretty busy Monday to download the social media giant’s new app — Paper — so I could run it through some quick paces, gather some fast intel, and see if any of my hopes and fears had come true. Whether I accurately articulated my predictions enough in my previous blog post about Facebook’s Paper, my first impressions are that it’s pretty much exactly what I expected.

And then I freaked out — because I forgot to mute my phone and the initial launch automatically rolled an interactive full of voice commands that scared the crap out of me.

But that was only the beginning of my annoyance.


Read more…

January 31, 2014 / Gina D.

The Great Facebook (Paper) Freak-Out

cracked-facebook-logo[WARNING: Hyperbole ahead…]

On Feb. 3, life as you know it will never be the same. That’s when you can download Facebook’s Paper app for your very own, and begin to wonder when all news apps will look and feel this way.

Until they change it. And then add more ads. And then start hiding everything your third favorite magazine posts. (It’s Facebook after all.)

But seriously.

By all accounts (and pretty much everything else I’ve read and seen so far), the UI is pretty sweet, favors photos and videos even more than Old Facebook (too soon?), and puts users in control of their incoming content.

Of course, it’s that last bit that has everyone in the news biz concerned. Read more…

January 8, 2014 / Gina D.

Storify your Touts!


I don’t know exactly how I ended up the keeper of this valuable information, but I assure you I’m not the source of the content. I tried to find an email that would clue me into the source here, but to no avail. Probably lost in last year’s shift to corporate Gmail, but my Spidey senses tell me it came from Tout itself. But let’s get on with it…

If you’re familiar with Storify (I’m a big fan myself) and jumping on board with Tout (or vice versa), you’ll definitely want to bookmark this page, or stash the directions (and file) somewhere handy. (If you’re neither or just entirely lost at this point, well, that’s a blog post for another time.) Read more…

November 25, 2013 / Gina D.

Warning: Dissecting social media virality may require protective headgear

Unintentionally at the core of a conversation about how the whole freaking planet came to know about #SFBatKid is Fast Company’s mention of a PR agency’s mobilization of “6,000-plus network of paid influencers.” I barely noticed, but I wanted to make sure others didn’t get hung up on it… IRONY!!!

So, I have to be honest here. I found this Fast Company folo on #SFBatKid while fishing around for something interesting to post via Buffer, a social media client I’m experimenting with — currently my biggest motivation for posting anything to my social media accounts in the last couple of weeks. In an attempt to run Buffer through its paces, I have been slowly escalating my “Buffer-ing” — and social media posting volume — while trying to figure out whether I want to try it out on our news group’s 27 core social media apps. (Answer: YES. But I’ll blog about that at another time. …Should I say “Buffer” again? It gets me nothing.)

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about what helps social media posts get attention, and while I think it’s been a long-standing good practice to use questions, this Nieman Lab article on social media sharing practices reaffirmed that asking questions was still a good practice — that keeping it simple was key, and that anything “emotionally charged” will also help.

So that’s what I did. Read more…

October 8, 2012 / Gina D.

ONA12 Unconference panel: Are social media companies writing about themselves practicing journalism?

Are journalists hired by a company to write about that company — or its products/services — producing journalism, or is what they’re doing more accurately described as marketing?

An exchange at one of the a.m. ONA ’12 Unconference sessions — “Is Tumblr the new Time Inc.?” — struck me as quite the philosophical one-two punch. An audience member posed the original form of the question above, which I’ve paraphrased to add context, and it struck a nerve with panelist Jessica Bennett, executive editor of Storyboard, Tumblr’s… ‘zine? Is that term still in use, or am I just showing my age? Oh, and BTW, Facebook has one, too: Facebook Stories, which was also represented on the Unconference panel, despite being absent from the session’s submitted title.

People working for a company writing feel-good stories about using the only product produced by said company… seems like a no-brainer: marketing, it is. But hold on a second — I’m not done yet.

Read more…

July 12, 2012 / Gina D.

Digital journalism workflows: A wordsy graphic

As my ideaLab project unfolds, I have also been educating Esri about our workflows — current, theoretical and otherwise. Thinking through those processes led me to this rather simplified take, both in content and presentation, about how our content evolves: Read more…

July 6, 2012 / Gina D.

Social media underground: Digg-ing into the likes of Reddit, Fark, etc.


I’ve long thought there’s a way for newspapers to tap the audiences in what I call “underground social media” — Reddit, 4chan, digg, Plurk, FARK, others — and I’ve been chewing on this blog post about it for some time.

For those who aren’t familiar, these are forums for interaction via user-generated refers to existing content produced by others… Less geeky translation: Social media consisting mostly of links and +/- reactions to said links, for the most part. I’ve seen them called social readers, aggregators, social bookmarks, social discovery sites and even just “internet services.”

I’m calling them “underground” since they’re wildly popular but rarely come up in daily conversation. “So, I was on Fark the other day, and came across the most hilarious post.” Uh, no. You post the link, often with a wisecrack, and move on with your life, barely noticing the obvious url branding.

So I started noodling around this post a couple months ago when I, ahem, stumbled upon a use of Reddit I’d never seen before: the Reddit list as survey.  Read more…

June 14, 2012 / Gina D.

What should a curation team do? (A response)

If you don’t already know, Steve Buttry and Mandy Jenkins blogged on Wednesday about the creation of a curation team for Digital First Media. Rather than immediately releasing an official job description, as you would with traditional job openings, they instead asked for input into what a curation team should do, via Twitter or in comments in their respective posts. They also invited responses via blog posts. (Ahem.)

Typically, I’m all over these kinds of online conversations, hashtagging my ass off. Not yesterday. First, because Wednesdays are the days I’ve set aside to work on my ideaLab projects, so I spend them on the Esri campus, semi-out-of-reach of what’s happening in the newsrooms and other realms of our organization. It helps me focus on what I’m trying to learn and do, and is also a bit of a courtesy toward the Esri staffer who has spent his Wednesdays at my side, teaching me about some aspects of data I never really took the time to learn; showing me the ropes and some snazzy features of Esri’s fairly robust programs; and setting up meetings with other Esri personnel who have an interest in what news organizations today need — and what they want.

Consequently, I didn’t hashtag any of my tweets #dfmcuration. In fact, pretty much the only tweeting I did Wednesday was for the weekly #dfmchat, and for my weekly Esri Instagram journal of sorts.

The other reason for being off-grid in this case was that I wanted to develop a real answer on my own. I didn’t even read the full blog posts about this job until just a few hours ago, and I still haven’t yet looked at a single comment or tweet on the matter. Perhaps that’s folly, but I just felt like I needed the isolation on this answer, at least initially. (If I change my mind on anything, I’ll note it at the bottom of this post.)

I promise I’ll make up for all of that in the next couple days. And beyond.

So here’s what I came up with: Read more…

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