Social Media Report

18 Apr

To promote my blog I used many different social media tools and techniques. Some of these attempts to gain blog views were successful and some were not. The most valuable tool to me was Tumblr and Facebook while LinkedIn and Google+ were of less help to me.

One of the first steps I took to publicizing my WordPress blog was to go into the settings and authorized publicizing on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and messenger. That way when I posted a story it would automatically update my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn connections of the post. A critical step in this was to make sure when I was authorizing Facebook to allow WordPress to publish the post to the public and not simply people on my friends list. That way I could reach out to more people and anyone that searches my name will be able to connect to my blog.

After learning about Delicious in my advanced editing class, I wanted to add my blog as a bookmarked resource and see if the social sharing aspect of Delicious would increase my page views. I feel like the tagging feature and the ability to add my blog to a stack I had already created on feminism made this an extremely easy and effective tool. The stack I have on Feminism which my blog is added to has had 16 views. While this is not a huge number it is attention I would not have gained without the use of Delicious. Overall, I feel like using Delicious was a good and simple way to connect with more people online.

In addition to the automatic Facebook updates that WordPress generates for me, I created my own Facebook post to promote my blog. I would comment on related issues ask questions of my friends and link to relevant YouTube videos while at the same time mentioning and promoting my blog. Comments on the post I created would turn into debates, words of encouragement or simply likes that all indicated to me that this was a very effective way to generate page views and cultivate a following.

Since WordPress does not do automatic posts to Google+, I did post to my close circle of friends on Google+ once or twice. I do not know many people who use Google+ so I did not want to broadcast it across the whole site. I think that Google+ still needs to find its niche before it can become a really well liked and utilized tool so I relied very little on it to publicize my blog.

As for LinkedIn, I let WordPress’s automatic updates be sufficient for my use of LinkedIn. It shows potential employers the work I have done, and my quality as a blogger. I think professionally it is useful, but not particularly effective in gaining followers or readers. Still I think it is beneficial and I am glad the automatic updates were available and so easy to set up.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to gain followers is to take advantage of the people already using WordPress that are interested in the topics I am blogging on. The way to do this is through tags. The tags let readers know what each blog is about and people that track certain tags are sure to notice my posts eventually. I was sure to tag every post with the tags: #Feminism, #Women, #Reproductive Rights. However there were other tags that only applied to some of my posts so I had more specific tags for those posts, focusing in on politics, legislation, etc., depending on the topic.

Tags were also effective in my use of Tumblr to promote my blog. I am an avid user of Tumblr and I knew that I could use my knowledge of Tumblr to promote my blog in a valuable way. Since I already post on Tumblr about Feminism and women’s issues, I already had a built in audience of people of around 30 people that would be interested in what I had written on my WordPress blogs. There was an interest in this different format since most of my Tumblr post are originally created by others and are more image and video based than text. Along with my own followers, there is a huge community on Tumblr interested in my blog topic. So when I posted links to my stories and the first few lines of my stories along with links to my wordpress page, I made sure to tag the posts. That way I attracted readers that did not follow me on Tumblr but were interested in what I had to say.  I think using Tumblr to promote my blog was one of the most effective promotion tools I had. Friend on Tumblr would re-blog my links, introducing my blog to a whole new list of followers and my chance of getting readers would grow exponentially with each re-blog.

The final way I promoted my blog was through Twitter. Similar to my Facebook strategy I posted questions along with links. I attempted to create conversations with my followers and others on Twitter. I think that Twitter is really effective for getting the most critical points out in a very quick manner. I am not the most avid twitter user however; because I am prefer not to be so succinct in my writing. Nonetheless Twitter was a valuable resource for promoting my blog and I learned how to use it more effectively over the course of this project. I only have about 10 followers on Twitter, but many of them would re-tweet my tweets and help me to get the message out to other users.

Overall, I used many social media tools in the process of promoting my personal blog. I found some of these tools to be invaluable, mainly the ones I had already cultivated a following with. Other tools such as Delicious were effective as well, in their own way. All in all I think that my blog has gained a decent amount of notoriety due to my efforts and I am glad to have had this gained experience.

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Wordle tracks changes and shows trends

18 Apr

Over time, the key word choices made by President Obama in his State of the Union addresses have shown key changes in the direction of the country as well as his goals. Thanks to the tool Wordle , it is easy to look at the most used words in a speech, blog or paper. Using this tool I was able to pull out the key words from Obama’s three state of the union addresses.

During his first State of the Union address, Obama seemed to be focusing on the less solid concepts and rather chose to focus on words that would excite the American people and encourage them for the upcoming year. This strategy of encouragement without to many facts is reminiscent of his election campaign. He used words like “new” “now” and “people” often. This seemed to be effective in the past, since he is now the president and was giving this speech. So his reasoning behind sticking with that plan seems legitimate. Only, people had elected him and wanted solid change rather than the abstract.

I believe that is why Obama focused in more on solid issues and things to work on in his speech the next year. The economy was still not in a good place and people wanted to know what Obama planned to do about the issue. So, he responded to that demand.  For this speech the words he used the most were, ”people” “new” “jobs” “year” and “work”. He added in the specific issue of jobs started talking in timelines that are more relatable with his use of the word “year” and talked about the work that people are doing in America. This was an improvement on the precious years speech.

Finally, in the most recent State of the Union address Obama focused on issues that were important to his base. Obama knows it is an election year and he is making sure his supporters know that the issues that matter to them matter to him. He talked about “energy” “jobs” “right”. He realized that people are still concerned with the job market but that energy, oil and alternative energy sources are hugely important in the coming years and that these issues matter to the people that vote for him.

I think that Wordle is a great tool for journalist. It allowed me to find trends in what stayed the same and what changed year to year. Wordle is an effective way to quickly analyses a piece or collection of texts and distill the main ideas from it. This is useful to journalists for trend report, successive speeches, and for looking into the writings of people on trial and in the media. It is also a fun way to present trends in a format that appeals readers.  I can see many potential uses for such a tool.

journalism attempts to be entertaining while informing

18 Apr

Once of the core debates in journalism is that of entertainment versus quality. The debate about the about this rages on as the journalists and news corporations try to figure out just what they need to do be successful in the changing journalism landscape. Many believe that the way to be the most valuable product a newspaper can be, papers must focus on informing the readers about things they can act on. Others feel that the key is diversifying the way you disseminate information so that you can say informative things in easy and entertaining formats.

The actionable news theory is actually not all that new. It goes back to the reorganizing of the purpose of news after yellow journalism ran ramped. But with today’s entertainment loving world it is becoming a more critically needed form of journalism while at the same time it has become more difficult to convince publishers that this is a successful model. However, if you direct people to causes they care about and give them the tools they need to talk effectively and intelligently on these causes they will see the benefit in buying that paper and reading what those journalists have to say. The key to success with this method is to target people that already have an interest and mobilize them. The other key is to make sure that once you have your readers interested, you need to continue to be the leading source of information on this topic. Getting something wrong with readers that are actually repeating what journalists write to congressmen and senators can lead to some serious backlash.

The diversifying method is like being your own one-person news promoter and distributer. It is a smart way to give readers the information they need in a way they want. Blogging , broadcasting, tweeting and then creating a version for print is a lot of work, but it is becoming more common and is quite effective. When you give people stories in multiple formats it gives them choices and allows them to find out more information as they choose. People are more entertained when they can get their news in a format that interests them the most. People like blog formats since they can comment and interact but watching a story can create a better picture of hoe events unfolded. Giving options makes for richer better-told stories. However, the effectiveness of it does not change the fact that it takes a lot of work to keep up.

The news is something people will always need whether journalist try to produce a particular action from their readers or attempt to draw them in with useful diversity, news is going nowhere, journalist just have to find out the best ways to monazite it and the best way to get readers to come back to them.

New technology changes the way news is reported

10 Apr

Journalists are learning how to adapt to the new ways people consume news. While some media organizations embrace the new skills journalists acquire others are a bit slower on the uptake. Broadcasting out information to the masses is the business model that most of today’s publications were founded to do. Moving beyond the original one-direction news format and into the modern world of social journalism will be what keeps news alive.

Some companies have yet to understand what social media is all about. New social networking policies separating the personal from the professional are hindering journalists’ ability to connect with their audiences. Readers will go elsewhere for more personal, entertaining and relatable news. Media companies must step back and see the true benefits of allowing their journalist to utilize social networking sites for storytelling and news gathering before they are left behind. However, social journalism is moving beyond a simple online conversation with readers and writers. News stories are being developed and suggested posted and linked to not by journalist but by readers. The audience is now, more than ever able to tell journalists what they want to know about and where journalist can learn more about it. Online communities notice trends or issues that a journalists would not even know to look for and give leads and angles for reporters to look into. Journalists must learn to see the public as an ally, not an uninformed mass. The main function of journalist in the coming years is not gatekeeping but rather curating. Placing the story in context along with keeping up with breaking stories will be a large part of the profession. Even the most iconic new stories of journalisms past would be reported in a totally different way if they were being covered today.

Journalists need to learn the tools that are most effective for each part of the research and story-telling process and incorporate those tools into their routine. There are many sites out there for journalists to use, and many ways to use them. Discovering where to go for sources and what places are the best for finding photos is a process that journalists have to go through to keep up with the changing times. These changes are not simply an adjustment to the way news is delivered either. It is a fundamental shift in the way people understand news.  Journalists must take the information gathered from social media and be the organizer and the distiller of the information surge. Journalists are the missing ingredient that turn social media into news and news into social media.

Sometimes however, readers do not trust social journalism. Social journalism lacks the traditional faith that print and established news sources possess. With some key adjustments to an online news story, journalists can increase the faith their audience will have in the story.

Below I have posted a Google Trends search for “war on women” and a Google Correlation search for the correlation of “war on women” and “average teacher salary”.   The Google Trends tool keeps journalists informed on what issues are currently news worthy and times when they were newsworthy in the past. The Correlation search will help journalists discover related issues so they can tell the full story to their readers. “War on women ” was first mentioned in 2007 but has picked up significantly in 2011 and 2012. The fact that is correlates with teacher salary indicates that this issue is about equal right for women, including equal pay.

 

 

 

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Media Ride Along Report: Foodbeast

4 Apr

Foodbeast.com was created by Elie Ayrouth during his sophomore year at University of California-Irvine in ’07. He and his friends were big eaters and would refer to each other as “foodbeasts” when one of them would order an extravagant meal. He initially had his sights set on covering local food news on his blog. However, as he delved further into the “food culture,” he noticed he was on to something. There were not many other publications devoted solely to happenings regarding food. Ayrouth recalled that most people would get their food news through advertisements and brands’ websites. Foodbeast was a fresh way to neutrally report about all things food.

The blog has since expanded and is creating quite a stir among food lovers across the country. It boasts a homepage featuring the latest blog posts and many “channels” from which to choose to read from. Fast food, restaurants, sweets, food trucks, drinks, cravings, recipes, deals and products are among them. Essentially, the blog features any and all things related to food – from the extremely weird to the delicious.

The Foodbeast team consists of four partners – Ayrouth, Geoff Kutnick, Biz Dev and Rudy Chaney. The rest of the team is comprised of talented contributing writers from across the country.

Because of his background in web design, Ayrouth said it was pretty easy for him to develop the site. At first he didn’t want to put advertisements on the website because he “didn’t like the idea of cluttering what I felt was a simple interface.” As the site grew larger, particularly from exposure through sites like Buzzfeed.com, he decided to monetize the site using Google Adsense, as he felt it was the “most intuitive, unobtrusive way” for the site to start making money.

Aryouth also said that promoting the Foodbeast has come along pretty organically. They do not make it mandatory for their writers to promote their posts via social media; however, most of them wind up doing so anyway because they want exposure for their own articles, which in turn helps the site. They recently added a social media intern who’s job is to promote the featured posts on various social media other than the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter.

Kutnick, content director for Foodbeast, uses his background in public relations and marketing to get access to promotional products, which the site then uses to make humorous videos. Several of the videos, which they feature on their own YouTube channel, have gone viral.

Aryouth plans on focusing on the video element of the site in the upcoming years. The website plans to continue posting videos to YouTube to develop their current web presence. Another big change for the site will be the development of a community-based project to get readers engaged with the stories.

Since the site is growing Aryouth plans to hire more editorial staff in the next year. It is important to him that they keep the quality of the stories up even as the number of stories they produce increases.

With its unique subject matter and lighthearted storytelling, Foodbeast has come up with a recipe for success. The growing site is gaining fame around the web with its combination of news, entertainment and food which has led Aryouth to call his site the “TMZ of food.” Foodbeast is an excellent example of how to take something you are interested in and turn it into a profit. With hard work, savvy media skills and large appetites, Aryouth and team have created a true entrepreneurial journalism sit


Foodbeast Tumblr: http://foodbeastreport.tumblr.com/

Facebook’s value to journalism

3 Apr

Facebook is a valuable resource for journalists. Publications as well as individual writers can utilize Facebook to increase readership and get information to and from their readers. One of the best ways journalists are using Facebook is by connecting their publications to Facebook so when people read a story their friends on Facebook will see the story. It is safe to assume that if one person is reading it, some of their online friends will be interested as well. It is almost like having friends automatically suggest a story to each other. This social aspect makes consuming news more fun and interactive. Another way that Facebook is being used for journalism is by directly posting the links of stories as Facebook statuses. This is an even greater endorsement of a story because rather than it being automatic, this is someone actually instructing their friends to read an article. This is the method I use to promote my blog. I will post links to my stories as a status and ask friends to do so as well if they think the post is worth of a status post. This gets my stories out to people that are interested in similar things to me and my group of friends. But, I do not want any insincere endorsements, so I am careful not to force any of my Facebook friends to help promote me. It would be unethical to have someone saying they support something I wrote if they actually disagree with it. I also think that journalists need to be careful with what other things they post on their Facebook profiles such as photos and personal statues that they may not want associated with their stories.

So Facebook is a great way to spread stories across a group of like minded people. It connects you to a group of people likely interested in similar issues and topics. But journalists must be careful not to abuse their Facebook friends and to keep Facebook post professional and relevant.

My Storify story: http://storify.com/Megalina2008/women-and-the-2012-election

Bias slips in to journalism

3 Apr

Bias slips into everything journalists write. It is impossible not to let personal worldviews color a story. Journalists can only write based on the world they see around them and to think otherwise is somewhat naive. However, journalists should take great care to remove the bias when they notice it and to let their source, who will have different world views and their own set of biases, provide the basis for any story.

In a 2008 story in the Chicago Tribune, staff reporters Gerry Smith and Tina Shah referrer to the death of a pregnant woman, her husband and her son as the death of 3 people. The Tribune editor then posted a response to the story stating that it should have referred to the number of deaths as 4 since the woman was pregnant and the publication should be sensitive to the fact that some readers may consider a fetus a life. Finally, a Chicago media critic weighed in stating that the Tribune editor was practicing the very act he was saying he did not condone. The editor said that the fetus should have been counted as a life, not that it possibly should have been counted as a life. He was letting his own feelings on when life starts color this story.

I believe that the original way the story was written is acceptable. Currently, life does not start at conception according to the United States legal system. Also, the number three referred to the number of murders the man was being charged with, so the reporters’ use of the number is understandable. However, in an effort to be more clear, the reporters should have changed the headline and stated in the story the exact charges against the man, which include three counts of first-degree murder and one count of intentional homicide of an unborn child. The number of people killed could have been omitted from the headline in a tactful way. The headline could have stated “Grandpa Charged in blaze that killed his family” it may be less informative than the original headline, but it gets the point across and avoids the messy situation the original headline put the story in.

Overall, I think the editor needed to take a step back and consider his own bias before writing what he did about the story. I feel that the comments of the media critic were accurate. However, taking the feeling and opinions of others into consideration is an important aspect of journalism. A few small adjustments to this story would have satisfied both sides had they taken the time to consider the consequences before publication.