Wick Communications

Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

Facebook and us

In Social media on 26 Oct 2017 at 2:37 pm

As Halloween approaches, there is a lot of fright over Facebook. Last week, The Guardian ran a story about tests at the social media giant that included the subhead, “New system could destroy smaller publishers if implemented…” (Apparently, Facebook is experimenting with shifting “non-promoted,” meaning non-advertising posts, off the news feed and onto some secondary feed where no one will ever see them. That would leave your news feed to be all ads and those things your friends post.)

Apparently, when implemented in Slovakia, publishers saw their reach drop 80 percent.

Meanwhile, the CEO of an interesting journalism collaboration startup called Hearken said we should not rely on Facebook anyway if, you know, we want to make money.

We all post to Facebook in a variety of ways. Most of us bought into the idea that we should “go where the eyeballs are,” which in the 21st century is Facebook. I myself have argued that smart publishers want to be seen and that means posting on our platform as well as being thoughtful about all the other ways we can promote our journalism — including Facebook.

The problem is that we have increasingly turned over the means of distribution to companies with their own agendas. When we post to Facebook, we give a third party our analytics. We give up the opportunity to differentiate our product from everything else on Facebook. We train our readers to go there first. And we give engagement to a third party. … Read the rest of this entry »


Too much tweet?

In Social media on 28 Sep 2017 at 2:04 pm

The journalism world is atwitter this week with news that Twitter is doubling — doubling! — the number of characters allowed in a tweet.

What you read there is 136 characters. It’s essentially an old-school tweet. Do I need more space?

Adding characters to the tweet just so characters can ramble on is, of course, a blaspheme. As journalists, we are the most loyal users of the phone-friendly platform. And, as journalists, we know that shorter is better — even if we don’t always practice what we preach. For, I believe it was Shakespeare who held is iPhone X in the air in order to get a better signal in the stuffy Globe Theater to tweet, “Brevity is the soul of wit!” #PlaysTheThing #WhereForOutThou @juliet.

In all seriousness, I think we journalists like Twitter so much, in part, because it forces concise expression and we’re trained to be good at that. Fast and succinct are two words we appreciate perhaps more than the average bear.

Nonetheless, this week Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey caved to the long-winded and announced that his maligned platform was testing 280 characters. Why? Well, whatever he says, the reason is because the social media giant has sort of stalled. He’s trying to see if he can interest more people by allowing, well, more.

Great. There goes one of the last bastions of the edited word.

By the way, do you use Twitter? I like it a lot. It’s easy to follow local schools, first responders, area legislators in order to get a first head’s up. And as a news consumer, once you get the hang of what can feel like an archaic system of @ symbols and #s, you can follow breaking news like never before.

Most Wick papers use it to broadcast breaking stuff and local sports scores. Wick editors @hr_epetermann1 and @brandonbowers are two of my favorite follows because they have mastered the right voice for the platform and they post interesting stuff.

I’d be interested in knowing what else you do with it.


Twitter strategy? What’s that?

In Social media on 4 May 2017 at 12:49 pm

So, what is your Twitter strategy?

If you are like me, “strategy” is just another word for “posting whenever I get around to it.” Which doesn’t seem very strategic, does it?

Last week, the good people at Huffington Post announced they were rebranding a bit and redesigning their digital footprint. Editor Lydia Polgreen talked about it in a very thoughtful way here.

Part of what she said was, “Facts and truth are basic elements of the news. But they alone are not enough. Emotion, humor and empathy are also essential ingredients of journalism that helps you know what’s real…”

She is definitely on to something. One way her organization is tackling the problem of inserting voice into its reporting is with a new Twitter strategy. … Read the rest of this entry »

When tweets misrepresent

In Social media on 4 Nov 2016 at 9:30 am


For some time now, I’ve noticed reporters inserting tweets into their digital copy or referencing them in print. This is fine and often tweets are newsworthy. Look no further than the current presidential campaign for evidence of that.

However, I’ve also noticed reporters using those tweets in place of reporting. Take, for instance, the image above, which came from an ESPN story about the New England Patriots trading linebacker Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns earlier this week. The writer was looking to understand what other players thought of it and stumbled on the tweet you see, which is from former teammate Chandler Jones. We are led to believe “Shheeshhh” is some kind of comment on this trade because … well, I don’t know why.

The L.A. Times drew on angry social media rants after Beyoncé had the audacity to sing on the Country Music Awards the other night. In a way, this allows the writer to seek opinion beyond the usual suspects or the reach of her Rolodex, which is good. But it also creates a false narrative. Would whomever is behind @torimarie25 really suggest Beyoncé “go home” if asked by a reporter? Would that Facebook commenter really say, “SHE DOES NOT BELONG!!!”? And would she scream it like that? Should we allow her to say why she thinks that?

Most of us have had occasion to write things on social media we’d like back, things we would never say if asked for a reasoned opinion. I think when we use social media to look for the most outlandish opinion, we are doing a disservice to the truth and finding an artificial way to create divides between people who may be rational and more nuanced than they seem in 140 characters.


The return of gatekeepers

In Social media on 19 May 2016 at 3:40 pm

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.42.33 AM

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the uproar over Facebook filtering its News Feed differently for liberal and conservative readers. There was even talk that the social network was excluding some conservative chatter. This has been swirling around for at least a couple weeks, and really, how could you be surprised? The algorithm is designed to give you what you want, whether its sushi over hamburgers,  Trump over Clinton.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal released a tool that allows you to see what arch conservatives and progressive liberals see on their Facebook News Feeds at any given time. Some found the difference unnerving.

Earlier this week, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was meeting with conservatives to unruffle feathers. Perhaps there will be some tweak to the math that makes more people happy, though I don’t know. I kind of doubt it. Do most liberals really want more Trump news on their social network? Are your conservative friends eager to scroll past Bernie Sanders every day?

A week ago, I attended a symposium that included a panel discussion with executives from various news organizations. One of those execs was longtime newspaper man Peter Bhatia. The Facebook thing came up and he quipped, “Oh, look at that. The gatekeepers are back.” To which all us old grizzled news hacks chortled because we remember being ridiculed for daring to be the gatekeepers for our readers. … Read the rest of this entry »

Take a Twitter Moment

In Social media on 8 Oct 2015 at 3:17 pm


This week, Twitter just couldn’t stop making news. First, it announced founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey would take the job fulltime. Then it dropped Twitter Moments.

If you want to know more about Dorsey and what he means to the social network platform, you should read Nick Bolton’s book, “Hatching Twitter.” We’ll all just have to see what Moments ultimately means for us.

Here’s what we know: Twitter has hired curators (those people we once called “editors”) to assemble interesting tweets from across the world on trending topics. These are Moments that are available when you enter the app and touch the lightning bolt at the bottom of your Twitter mobile page. Read the blog post for a primer.

What does it mean to journalists? Well, I’m not sure. It is a good way to keep up on user-generated content on a variety of stuff that may touch on your coverage area. It may also suck traffic from Facebook Instant Articles and even traditional media websites. If there is an earthquake in China today, god forbid, where would you go to find out about it? I might go to Twitter Moments for news stories, photos from amateurs at the scene and who knows what else.

Dorsey is charged with growing an already huge audience to Twitter. This development may help. Wired magazine calls Moments “Twitter’s most important new feature ever,” a way for non-users to finally “get” what Twitter is about.

Take a look. Imagine a time in the not-too-distant future when you can create your own Moments about local events. The future of news is here and keeps evolving.


Is Twitter going long?

In Social media on 1 Oct 2015 at 12:29 pm

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 11.32.09 AM

The tech news site Re/code is reporting sort of breathlessly that Twitter is losing its 140-character limit in a move that will allow long-form content and change our relationship with the social media giant. (If you don’t already, you should know about Re/code. Great contributors and there is probably not a better way to keep up with Silicon Valley.)

I actually thought this was coming all along. It’s been talked about for years. Now the new interim CEO is charged with drumming up millions more users and some think that the pool of potential players is lessened by the limit. There is no official word on the change nor any indication of when it might occur.

Me, I like the limit. It causes me to think about how best to deliver the message. As it is, it’s differentiated from Facebook. If I can post at whatever length I like and attach photos and the like, I don’t understand the unique value proposition any longer.

Perhaps I’ll get it when I see it.

If you aren’t in the Twitterati, I strongly suggest you give the platform another look. It really is a great way to follow people on your beat, track real-time breaking news and just keep up with trends and things that interest you. I like it a lot more than Facebook, personally. (Follow me @wicknews!) … Read the rest of this entry »

Covering #blacktwitter

In Social media on 9 Jul 2015 at 3:35 pm

black twitter

Yet another example of Twitter’s relevance to the journalistic enterprise surfaced recently when the Los Angeles Times confirmed that it was hiring a reporter to cover “Black Twitter.”

Before we go any further, let me try my hand at a bit of impossible definition. Black Twitter is a shifting group of African-Americans on Twitter who together tend to comment on matters of race, discrimination, dissent – and everything else. There is a growing understanding that a fleet of thoughtful, smart black people are finding community on the social media platform and together they are trendsetters. The #blacklivesmatter hashtag is only one example of how folks have coalesced around a theme and created a newsworthy conversation.

A leaked memo from the Times suggests that new reporter Dexter Thomas also will be seeking other online communities, such as “Latino Tumblr” and “Black Medium.”

I wouldn’t focus terribly much on the two-word mash-ups. (“Grandma Facebook,” anyone?) The point is that big news organizations are increasingly understanding that social media is a place to find news in addition to a distribution mechanism.

One of the ways community newspapers differ from social media is in the way we generally define community. For us, it’s most often a geographical construct. If you live in Douglas, Ariz., you are part of that community. But if you are a Latino with a smartphone in Douglas, your community may be other Latinos from around the world. These aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. Look for points of intersection. … Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s get pinning!

In Social media on 12 Mar 2015 at 2:13 pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 11.11.25 AM

Danielle Burleson wears a lot of hats in Green Valley and Sahuarita. She sells advertising, she helps with marketing, she does some payroll and she is the social media expert as well. In other words, she is a model modern professional with a range of nuanced skills that evolve daily. She has a growth mindset.

This week Digital Sales Manager Jim Keyes was singing her praises for the way she had transformed her news organization’s Pinterest presence. The Sahaurita Sun had gone from a handful of Pinterest followers at the first of the year to more than 4,500 in just a couple months – all because Danielle used her insight and passion to develop an audience on that platform.

So what’s Pinterest and why should we care? Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to bookmark visual images that appeal to them. Those images can be “pinned” to “boards” that are organized around specific interests – food, fashion, Arizona tourism, whatever. Users then follow boards that interest them, and pin stuff from those boards on their own boards, creating a viral effect.

It’s not a way to push links. That said, Danielle says to be sure to include your Web address in your pins so that readers know where to find you. That Web address is sure to bring more clicks to your website and that drives advertising and all that that brings. Using Pinterest is all about engagement and finding people where they are. Danielle says she thinks of Pinterest as a very intimate, family-friendly network. … Read the rest of this entry »

Link in to more sources

In Social media on 4 Sep 2014 at 1:40 pm

linkedin pic

Are you on LinkedIn? Many of us are. And if you aren’t allow me to introduce you to a tool that every professional should use in the year 2014.

One incomplete way to think of LinkedIn is as an online database of resumes. The company thinks of itself as much more than that. It wants to be a social network on par with Facebook and Twitter and a place where working people connect and interact. So let’s say it’s both of those things, each useful in its own way.

If you don’t have an account, make one. Go to LinkedIn.com and follow the prompts. It will be a trip down memory lane as you attempt to remember when you worked where, the date that you graduated college and all the rest. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know all that stuff now. Get it started and come back and add stuff. (While you are there, search for me and ask me to add you to my connections!)

If that was the end of it, it would be useful enough for journalists. You could develop an endless Rolodex full of contacts. Once you connect with friends and colleagues, the experience deepens. You can recommend each other, endorse peers for certain skills, and find others based on current connections. … Read the rest of this entry »