Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

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 »


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.


Broadcast your stories

In Online media on 5 Nov 2015 at 12:39 pm

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By now you know (because the helpful folks on the Wick Digital Team sent you an email last week) that BLOX allows you to “broadcast” your Web posts at the time that you update your site. This is great, and I hope it gets even better.

As you know, posting links and engaging chatter on Facebook and Twitter is time-consuming and often falls by the wayside when things get busy. It would be great if you could do that at the same time you are updating the Web, right?

Well, now you can through a newly enabled BLOX tool called Broadcast.

The digital team already described the process better than I ever could. In a nutshell, you find the Broadcast option under the “Other” tab toward the right of your asset. From there it’s pretty self-explanatory. Click Twitter and/or Facebook and write the verbiage you want to appear with your post. They will pick up the art that is already with the story.

We know both intuitively and through analytics that ever-more people are coming to our content through social media rather than by clicking on our homepage and opening stories. Friends share our Facebook posts. People from around the world see our Twitter feeds. It’s where our readers are these days. So we absolutely need to meet them there. It is no longer enough to update the Web and wait. You have to push this stuff through a variety of other channels that include Facebook and Twitter.

Broadcast can help. … Read the rest of this entry »

The evolution of comments

In Online media on 15 Oct 2015 at 2:40 pm

There are two seemingly incompatible trends going on in the publishing world right now. On one hand, there is a growing number of sites giving up on the idea of “comments” entirely (Wired has a good timeline on that). On the other — maybe as a reaction of sorts? — there is this movement to elevate the contributions of the people formerly known as “readers”.

So begins CUNY journalism student Pedro Burgos’ very insightful treatise on online commentary in a blog posted on Medium this week. His opening salvo is true and it’s been true for some time. From there, he makes some very savvy points, in my view.

Desktop vs. mobile: He maintains you can tell who is commenting on what kind of device by virtue of the length, paragraphing, spelling and so forth. A longer comment was almost certainly composed on a desktop. Which means it was likely composed by an “older dude.” He may be right about that, now that I think on it.

Commenting vs. emoji: Burgos suggests that the ballyhooed new emoji coming out from Facebook – angry faces, sad faces, etc. – may well stifle words on mobile. If you want to say something more than “Like” when you see that picture of your nephew, are you going to type out “Cute?” Or punch the “love” icon?

Should we curate better comments? And give these good commenters a role such as contributor? If so, should we compensate them? Good questions for which I don’t have an answer. … Read the rest of this entry »

Are hashtags #over?

In Online media on 11 Jun 2015 at 4:06 pm


Shadi Rahimi thinks an awful lot about #.

She is the deputy producer of engagement for Al Jazeera’s new social media and mobile-first project known as AJ+. She wrote an enlightening post for Poynter this week on a subject I have always found a bit vexing: hashtags.

Hashtags, of course, are a way to classify social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere that creates groups or strings of content that are searchable to anyone wanting to follow a particular conversation. Think #BlackLivesMatter. Rahimi traces the art form all the way back to 2007. We’re talkin’ pre-Snapchat! Now she wonders aloud whether the convention has run its course.

As with so many things, we in the legacy media are partially to blame for the demise of a good thing, apparently. That’s because we jumped into the hashtag game without really knowing what we were doing. We use them because we think we are being ironic (#sorrynotsorry) or just throw 10 of them at the end of a post hoping to catch as many eyes as possible.

Rahimi argues persuasively that overuse and misuse has made them harder to use and also less effective. They are no guarantee of engagement, particularly for lesser stories. Your locally generated hashtag or own invention is likely to be a waste of characters. … Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook is a double-edged sword

In Online media on 4 Jun 2015 at 1:52 pm
A new study suggests journalists should think carefully about their interactions on Facebook.

A new study suggests journalists should think carefully about their interactions on Facebook.

So says Jayeon Lee, an assistant professor of journalism at Lehigh University. Well. It’s a little more complicated than that, but journalists and Facebook are the key components of Lee’s new study titled, “The Double-Edged Sword: The Effects of Journalists’ Social Media Activities on Audience Perceptions of Journalists and Their News Products” as published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communications.

I have not read the full study, but I did read Natalie Jomini Stroud’s synopsis for the American Press Institute.

The research basically consisted of this. Lee created four Facebook profiles for a fictional journalist. The first was just links to two news articles. Comments appeared underneath and that was it. In the second, the “journalist” included a personal anecdote about each of the stories. In the third, the fictional journalist responded to each commenter, tagging each on Facebook. In the last profile, the journalist shared a personal tidbit and commented on each comment.

What did we learn? That readers in the study thought more of the journalist as a person if he self-disclosed some aspect of his life, but less of him as a professional if he commented on all those comments.

Huh. So what does that mean? … Read the rest of this entry »

Is it time to kill comments?

In Online media on 8 Jan 2015 at 11:41 am

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Is this the year we ditch online comments? Maybe.

I admit my first reaction was, “ah, hell no!” Why would we cede the back and forth, the communication, the connection to our readers? If we don’t do it, someone else will, right? Can’t we leverage that traffic to bring more people to our journalism?

Well … we’ve been trying.

Consider me agnostic on the idea at this point. And that’s a big leap from where I was even months ago, when I believed the social Web – Web 2.0, for crying out loud! – had the potential to bring journalism into the 21st century.

This isn’t just Clay on a bender. Rational minds are mulling the same topic. DigiDay outlined why some publishers ditched comments in 2014.

First, let’s acknowledge there is certainly value in the sturm und drang of reader participation. Just ask Facebook shareholders. Twitter, Yik Yak, Nextdoor, Vine – the industry that is harnessing that potential is exploding and changing daily.

Second, let’s stipulate that it’s a pain in the butt, particularly in a local context. Monitoring comments, deleting racism, participating in the debate, trying to get people to play nice… Add it up and it’s a full-time job. … Read the rest of this entry »

A reminder about social media

In Online media on 6 Mar 2014 at 5:16 pm
Thought this was sort of funny, courtesy socialmediatoday.com

Thought this was sort of funny, courtesy socialmediatoday.com

Any of us can make a mistake while using social media. It’s easy to tap out something on your snarkphone, er, smartphone, and later wish you had tapped out earlier. It’s also easy to inadvertently include your name and relation to your workplace when commenting on some websites.

In fact, that happened to Wick Digital Media Sales Manager Jim Keyes recently and he was kind enough to allow me to use his experience as an object lesson for the rest of us. Here he is in his own words:

I recently commented on a story in the local paper and really didn’t pay attention to the fact that Facebook sign-in postings show your personal information for all to see – with your title at your current position. More and more sites use the sign-in as their only procedure and not as an option.

A reader took this title representation on the site as me representing my company, Wick Communications, and was not happy that “Wick” was not characterizing his community in the best light.

Here are my lessons learned:

  1. To no longer post with FB sign-ins – as there does not seem to be a way to delete that title representation on one’s postings. This was misunderstood as a media company offering their official position on a topic – which was in no way my intention.
  2. Today’s world is so small and compact that one would never imagine an anonymous story comment could somehow get back to one’s employer. Pay attention to details. … Read the rest of this entry »

The digital difference

In Online media on 5 Dec 2013 at 5:46 pm


Does your website merely mirror your print product? Do you post headlines and links and little else on Facebook? Do you ignore platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Pinterest?

If, in all honesty, you can only answer, “yes, yes and yes” to those questions, you are actively aiming to lose the digital revolution.

This week, a smart guy named Alan Mutter (you can read his blog here) noted how one news outlet is taking a much more sophisticated approach to audience development and retention. I wish I could say the focus of his praise was a newspaper, but it’s NPR.

On his blog (in a post that was later reprinted in Editor and Publisher), Mutter notes that the first step for NPR was noting the different demographics that responded to differing platforms. He says that NPR’s average radio listener is 49 years old, while the average reader of the website was 40. It skews even lower for the podcast. The average podcast downloader is 36. That may seem relatively insignificant, but it’s not if you want to truly tailor your product to your audience.

NPR – which has always provided only a survey of the vast world around us – works hard to appeal to each separate demographic with appropriate platforms.

Whether you know it or not, your demographic split is probably somewhat similar. Some of our newspapers have recently done nonscientific surveying that shows newspaper readership is in its 50s and above. Nationwide research suggests newspaper readers are 58, on average; news website readers are 49, or there abouts. I think it’s reasonable to assume your readership follows that pattern. … Read the rest of this entry »

Find it in Facebook

In Online media on 8 Aug 2013 at 4:43 pm


If you are like your friends at the Half Moon Bay Review, you have occasion to contact people through Facebook. Sometimes you are looking for a specific person – the victim of a crime, say, or perhaps an artist in your community. Other times you are looking for some unidentified stranger. We used it most recently to try to find people in our area who have built elaborate “man caves” (you know, dad’s old study on steroids). We want to talk to them and photograph their play spaces for a magazine feature we’re working on.

You may be interested in going further, however. Facebook is the world’s leading social network; the figures I’ve seen suggest there are twice as many people on Facebook as on Twitter. It is, therefore, one of the best places to find all sorts of expertise and eyewitnesses.

Joe Galvin at Storyful.com has assembled some interesting tools that journalists might consider as they search for people on Facebook. I confess I was unaware of a couple of them.

I particularly like the tip about searching for “public posts” and am intrigued by the concept of paying a buck or so for inbox messaging. I suppose it might be worth it from time to time. … Read the rest of this entry »