Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Do we need social media editors?

In Online media on 30 May 2013 at 4:41 pm

social media

One of the biggest buzzes from the news media world this week came from BuzzFeed and the virtual pen of Rob Fishman. Essentially, he argues that we no longer need folks who are focused entirely on feeding the social media beast.

I agree, and I agree with his reasoning as well.

There was a time when dinosaurs ruled the mainstream media landscape. Even five years ago, many in positions of power at newspapers and other news outlets didn’t see the logic behind social media. They didn’t think that reporting the news had anything to do with having a conversation with readers. Until recently, they argued that only snarky twentysomethings had Twitter accounts. They didn’t understand the potential of Pinterest. Many even barred folks in the newsroom from using Facebook.

It didn’t take long for those of us who remain to understand that this was shortsighted thinking. The fundamental purpose of what we do is communicating truths to the masses and, therefore, it makes sense to go where the people are.

In 2013, there is general agreement that we must be a part of social networks in order to succeed and stay relevant. Now, virtually everyone in every newsroom participates in Web updates of one kind or another. Ad reps are quick to work Facebook and Twitter to look for leads and to help clients make the most of their advertising. Publishers are actively engaged in integrating all these things together.

We don’t need one social media evangelist these days because he would be preaching to the choir at this point.

I suspect this is just one thing we have learned in the very new brave new world we all live in. Just as it once made sense to segregate online and print operations, it used to be that working social media was a one-man job. No longer.



Of budgets and busy work

In Online media on 4 Apr 2013 at 4:23 pm

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 5.03.51 PM

I am a big fan of Steve Buttry, the news guru at Digital First. He has a long history in the news business and is one of our industry’s most important multi-platform evangelists. I almost always agree with him. But this is ridiculous.

OK, I take that back. His head and heart are in the right place. He’s just over-thinking it, in my humble opinion.

As he says in his blog post, he was asked to consider how best to reflect digital opportunities on today’s story budgets. This is an interesting and important topic. I can’t say that I have given it appropriate thought and I’m glad Buttry brought the issue out in the open.

To back up a moment, most of us have some kind of story budget. The best of those probably emerges from a weekly meeting and lists fairly specific information about upcoming stories. I like ours at the Half Moon Bay Review to include a slug (file name), likely length in print, day it can be expected, a best-guess lede, the name of the writer and plans for art. I think all of those items are important for planning purposes and allow the editor to give necessary feedback on the front end, before crummy stories come over the transom on deadline.

Buttry is suggesting taking that much farther to include plans for publishing across digital platforms. I applaud the idea … even if I think he has made planning an end in itself.

He suggests creating a spreadsheet with 22 additional columns. That’s right – 22 additional columns. All of them relate to digital publication, on Google+, on Facebook, over email alert, and on and on. … Read the rest of this entry »

Calling all citizens

In Online media on 9 Aug 2012 at 3:40 pm

Last Friday morning, Justin Lloyd Abrahamson ran out of time on the Glenn Highway between Wasilla and Anchorage, Alaska. After fleeing police and leaving his burning car on the road, he was shot and killed while threatening officers with a bat. It was nearly the morning commute, and thousands of Mat-Su Valley residents count on the highway as the only way to get to work. Enter Mat-Su Frontiersman Editor Heather Resz, who was waking up and preparing for the day. As she checked her overnight email, she considered how to cover the day’s big news, when there was n o.

A day later, Heather sent me an email describing how she went about solving that coverage riddle. Luckily, she had a trick up her sleeve. Here’s Heather’s account. – Clay

I’m writing the 44th version of a breaking news story that started when I checked my email around 6 a.m., Aug. 3.

A man fled in a vehicle when police tried to stop him. It was the second time in two months he would face failure to stop at the direction of police officer charges. And it would be his last.

He didn’t use his turn signal, led police on a 30-mile chase and then, when his car caught fire, he fled on foot. When he stopped to brandish a bat at troopers, he was shot and killed along the Glenn Highway.

This tied up traffic for hours because there is only one road to Anchorage, where a third of our population works. From 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. the highway was closed heading north. One of the southbound lanes also was closed where the suspect’s car caught fire and burned. … Read the rest of this entry »

Follow up on Facebook

In Online media on 12 Apr 2012 at 10:00 am

I’m sure you heard about the recent killings in Tulsa, Okla. Three people were killed and two others shot in what appears to have been a racially motivated series of shootings. Police have now arrested two men, saying that the guys may have been motivated to kill when a black ex-con shot the father of one of the men two yeas ago.

Just terrible.

At this writing, we don’t know what evidence the police may have had to make the arrests, but we do know that the police looked into the suspects’ Facebook pages. And you can bet reporters did too.

A Facebook post recently caught the attention of reporters in San Francisco when a bicyclist accused of plowing into a crowd and killing a pedestrian posted an account of the incident on his own Facebook page. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the post hours after the incident.

So how do we feel about this? Is social media fair game for reporters? I think it depends. … Read the rest of this entry »

What works on Facebook?

In Online media on 3 Feb 2012 at 9:49 am

There has been a lot of chatter in recent weeks about how best to engage readers via social media. Before I write another sentence let me make perfectly clear that I am no expert in a media landscape that seems to change by the day. I’m merely one man with some observations born of experience – observations that have been validated by new data from Facebook.

Most of you are now using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest or some other social media platform I haven’t even heard of. You may use them to share pictures of your children, connect with old college friends or spy on your ex. Hopefully, you are also using it to engage with your readers. If not, the boat to the 21st century is leaving without you.

In September, Facebook launched a new “subscribe” feature. It allows folks to find public figures and follow their posts without “friending” them. The difference may seem a little esoteric, but it simply means you needn’t get NBC’s Brian Williams to accept your friend request to know what he is posting to subscribers. Facebook says thousands of journalists have taken advantage of the tool and it is starting to understand what it means to those who do.

Facebook says journalists who enable subscriptions have seen a 320 percent increase in traffic since November. Facebook also reported some trends in the way journalists are using the social network and the tricks of the trade that work. Directly from Facebook: … Read the rest of this entry »

Telling stories on Facebook

In Online media on 4 Aug 2011 at 2:52 pm

I think I’ve mentioned before that former Half Moon Bay Review reporter Nick Casey is currently employed by the Wall Street Journal and stationed in the newspaper’s Mexico City bureau. Consequently, he’s been reporting on some gruesome things of late.

This week, he posted a really arresting photo album on his personal Facebook page. It is a collection of 34 black-and-white photos he took in Acapulco while traveling through the city with another journalist. Each one is captioned and, taken together, the stark photos and Nick’s words tell a terrible story.

  • “Children in Acapulco don’t grow up without seeing the dead,” reads one caption.
  •  “In three dog-food bags were the bodies of three men, chopped up and thrown on the city’s main overpass with a message from a gang,” reads another that is embedded in a terrifying photo.
  •  “This boy was killed after gunmen came onto a public bus and shot him,” reads another.

Some of the photos are not suitable for a general audience. Then again, it’s only through reporting like this that the rest of us understand the true nature of the problem that concerns us all. … Read the rest of this entry »

It’s called ‘social’ for a reason

In Online media on 22 Apr 2011 at 8:44 am

I read a post by social media expert Deb Krier recently that pleaded with us to put the social back in “social media.” I agree and simultaneously acknowledge that that is easier said than done.

At the heart of the plea is the concept that Facebook and Twitter and even to some degree blog posts are intended to be a back-and-forth conversation and not a one-way street. President Barack Obama said as much during his appearance at Facebook this week:

“… historically, part of what makes for a healthy democracy, what is good politics, is when you’ve got citizens who are informed, who are engaged. And what Facebook allows us to do is make sure this isn’t just a one-way conversation; makes sure that not only am I speaking to you but you’re also speaking back and we’re in a conversation, were in a dialogue. So I love doing town hall meetings. This format and this company I think is an ideal means for us to be able to carry on this conversation.”

Obviously, any president has an agenda and he intends to use the social media platform to his benefit. But one hopes he is being truthful and that he finds value in hearing from constituents, too. We should be similarly savvy. (Incidentally, Half Moon Bay city leaders this week balked at starting a Facebook page because, more than one City Council member said, they didn’t want to hear negative comments from constituents. Which is crazy.)

Because you want to grow a conversation, it isn’t enough to automatically shuffle your links onto Facebook. You have to engage your friends, just as you would if they were sitting in the same room with you. I’m still learning how to do that myself, but here are a couple thoughts … Read the rest of this entry »

Practice what you teach

In Online media on 14 Apr 2011 at 2:59 pm

Jennifer Paull, a senior at the University of Missouri majoring in convergence journalism, gives her school a gentle poke or two for its use of Facebook … or lack of use, really.

In a report posted on PBS’s MediaShift site, Paull notes that some of the biggest names in college journalism instruction aren’t exactly raking in the Facebook friends, and they aren’t providing much of interest to the friends they have. This, despite a constant drum beat over the importance of social media in college journalism classes.

“When comparing these schools, it was pretty clear the size of the program and the national reputation were not necessarily representative of how social media savvy they are,” Paull writes.

Why is that?

Paull notes that, “updating Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis requires more time and resources than are currently available…” Sound familiar?

Incidentally, have you ever wondered why you want Facebook friends or “likes?” I have. It takes time to update, as they have noted at Missouri. The content you post there can actually divert readers from your Web site, the place your advertisers want to see eyeballs. And using the platform requires a fairly sophisticated touch. I think Facebook readers want a conversation and not simply links to your stories. … Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook friends

In Management on 8 Oct 2010 at 8:01 am

In Sunday’s New York Times, there was a story about a pair of Facebook friends. The story begins:

Every Monday, a bit before 10 a.m., Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, dashes off a quick e-mail to her boss, Mark Zuckerberg. “We have a routine,” Ms. Sandberg says. “I e-mail, ‘Coming in?’ He replies, ‘On my way.’”

The story goes on to say the two executives — two of the most important personages in Silicon Valley — huddle for an hour on Monday mornings and again on Friday afternoons. They discuss big picture things. They also keep each other grounded. The article states that the two superstars of the Internet age provide each other with perspective that sycophants won’t touch. And because they meet regularly, bad blood never has a chance to boil. I bet they are honest with one another and that they share gossip, bad news, their fears and an occasional joke… Read the rest of this entry »