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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.

Facebook graph search

I’ll admit that from a user’s perspective, the notion that everything you make public — or SOMEONE ELSE makes public about YOU — on Facebook can be beyond scary. At the same time, for a journalist, this provides a wealth of opportunity to scan a lot of user-generated content to find things out. Get leads. Ferret out sources. And so on.

Twitter advanced search

But if you’re gonna talk about Facebook graph search, you might as well keep going onto other related social search tools. So I pulled together some basic Twitter advanced search tips, too.

Of course, in the middle of my training tour, Twitter actually made its search tool (and a lot of its other profile features) a whole lot easier. It still doesn’t really make it easy to broaden the location you’re searching, which is something we find pretty handy out in the L.A. area, where 15 miles doesn’t begin to encircle our coverage area.

GILLIGANS ISLAND -- THE REST -- THE PROFESSOR AND MARY ANN

And the rest…

Since I was going to be making the rounds, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to expose our news gatherers to a few other streams (LinkedIN, Reddit, Google Plus, FourSquare, etc.) worth venturing into, if only as a last resort.

Lots more out there

Mandy Jenkins and Robert Hernandez unleashed their own Social Search presentation at NICAR 2014 — and the world — not long after I finished my training circuit. And it folds in quite nicely here as it features a lot of items I hadn’t covered in the depths of my own presentations.

If you’re interested in flipping through a few more slides, there’s more than a few extensive collections of social search pro tips and case studies in Mandy Jenkins’ SlideShare stream.

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