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Journalists and Social Media

Hey everyone in South Florida, I'm on a panel this evening in Fort Lauderdale hosted by the Social Media Club of South Florida. It's about how traditional media (I guess that's me!) uses social media.

Smc_palm copy Other attendees include some folks from The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post, NBC Miami.com, CBS 4 and my buddy Trina Sargalski, who helps produce the local public radio program Under the Sun that airs on WLRN 91.3 FM, where I also do some work.

We'll be talking about how we all use social media to do journalism -- how it's changed our daily lives as well as that of our news organizations.

For more information, you can RSVP here. Hope to see you there - bring lots of questions!


Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 10:54 AM on July 14, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

MJ vs. Obama on Facebook today: guess who wins?

MJ R.I.P. When Michael Jackson died, Internet traffic surged such to the extent that it almost crippled many social networking sites -- Twitter, for example, had to disable its "trending topics" feature (a search function that lets you know what the hot topics are on Twitter at the moment) for a while to keep things going.

So perhaps it's no surprise that Facebook is telling reporters that as of today, the day of Michael Jackson's memorial service, his fan page now probably has the largest single following of any public figure on the Internet, eclipsing President Barack Obama by more than one million fans right now. UPDATE #2: When I checked on it, the page had almost 7.5 millions fans (full dislosure: I'm one of the half a million people who fanned the page on Tuesday). Facebook's Brandee Barker tells me that 6 million of those people have joined since June 25, when he died.

Facebook also says the free Michael Jackson glove gift is the most popular its ever had, with more than 800,000 given away.

They're tabulating numbers so they can do a comparison on Michael Jackson's activity during the memorial service to Obama's inauguration. UPDATE #2: Facebook put out some numbers Tuesday afternoon, saying that about 1 million users posted roughly 800,000 status updates related to the live online broadcasts by CNN, E! Online, ABC and MTV of the memorial service.

That compares to 1.8 million Facebook status updates that had the word "Obama" in it the day of his Presidential Inauguration.

Facebook wasn't able to provide comparison numbers with how many people viewed both the inauguration and the memorial service on Facebook.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 04:16 PM on July 7, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Starting dialogue on Twitter takes work

This week, Poked reader Bob Knotts wrote in with this question about dialogue on Twitter:

I've had little luck (OK, none) in starting a dialogue with fellow Twitterers. I comment on some of their posts and retweet (RT) others. Our material is interesting, I think. It does often draw comments on Facebook. I get the feeling that so few people actually READ tweets. I'm amazed when I read about companies that get great responses from Twitter. Any suggestions?

Twitter has a myriad of purposes for many people: Some use it for personal chats with their friends, others use it to share information or connect with like-minded strangers. We've seen companies use Twitter most effectively to promote sales, brands or as a customer service tool.

With that in mind, we tracked down your business' Twitter account and we noticed a few things you can do better.

Take the time to properly use the reply function in Twitter so they can see you're responding to them. Use the @ symbol before their username. (That's how people identify themselves, and how they know you've mentioned them, even if they don't follow you.)

Twitter can be difficult to handle if you're just using Twitter's website to see conversations. There are plenty of free third-party applications you can download like Twhirl or TweetDeck. Not only do they help track people who mention your Twitter account, but they can also track topics or conversations you might want to jump into.

Finding those conversations helps you meet people who are talking about things that are important to you. Follow them, and you'll have a base of folks with common interests -- and people who are more likely to want to engage in conversations with you.

Finally, when you are sending out tweets, make sure you're actively reaching out. Don't just push out a link -- explain what it is or ask for feedback.

There's a lot of noise on Twitter, and it gets louder the more people you follow, so it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. We find there are times that get noisier than others -- especially from late morning through afternoon, during the week.

That's also a good time to post, because the more eyes that are on, the better chance you have of someone stumbling across your tweet. This is all the more reason to make sure what you say has value.

If you're having netiquette troubles, you can find us on Twitter through our real life names, @NialaBoodhoo and @BridgetCarey. If you're old school, you can drop us a line at Poked@MiamiHerald.com.

Posted by Bridget Carey at 03:54 PM on July 6, 2009 in Twitter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Self-imposing limits on social networking sites

Everyone's always talking these days about doing less with more -- or really, doing several people's jobs at once because so many others have been laid off. That does make workplace productivity more of an issue. Which brings me to a site I came across recently that can help monitor how much time you spend on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. It's a Mozilla Firefox plug-in called Leechblock -- and if you worry you waste too much time online -- this might work for you.

Here's how the developer himself described it: "LeechBlock is a simple productivity tool designed to block those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day. All you need to do is specify which sites to block and when to block them."


It really is that simple. You can specify, in sets, which sites you want to block - you can set a time limit (say, no more than 10 minutes every hour) or block access to the site for a set period of time (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday). Either way, it will block you out of the site after you reached that period.

I installed it a week ago to test it out. So far, it seems to be working fine. I'm not at my desk that much during the day, but I imagine this is a perfect way to police yourself if you are -- or if you're just curious exactly how much time you're spending on various web sites.

I'm curious to hear from other folks out there if they use this or other tools to minimize time spent online -- and maximize productivity --  during the day.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 08:11 PM on July 5, 2009 in Facebook , LinkedIn , MySpace , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook unveils new privacy settings

Hip, hip hooray! Facebook just announced a new series of privacy settings that will give users much more control over who can see what on Facebook.

Basically, their new Publisher Privacy Control will allow you to choose, each time you publish, exactly who sees it. They're rolling it out slowly, to a small group of users, but it will soon be available to everyone.

Facebook's New Privacy Settings Here's how Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly described it in the blog post: "For example, you may want to make some posts available to everyone, while restricting others to your friends and family. You should be able to make that decision every time you share something on Facebook, and soon you'll be able to do this."

We're thrilled. Finally, you choose, each time you post something, if this is something you want your coworkers, family or friends to see without having to mess around in the confusing privacy interface. You will even be able to send things directly to just two or three people's walls. And, if you're the type of person, like Bridget and I, who have created "groups" of people, this makes those groups suddenly much more useful.

Boca Raton-based Multiply already had this option since 2004 - Bridget wrote about it back in May for its redesign. (If you want to read Bridget's whole post on it, it's here.) Here's an image what it looks like when you upload something to Multiply:

Multiply privacy

It's not the first time we've seen similarities between the sites. Multiply's CEO Peter Pezaris says they had a news feed before Facebook launched its own version. 

Either way, we think it's great that Facebook has acknowledged what a pain their privacy settings have been to use. We're sure this will be a learning curve for most users, as well, considering some people still can't figure out the difference between a wall post and a status update.

We're looking forward to using this feature - and wondering how well it will work to keep certain parts of your Facebook life private.


I spoke with Michael Gersh, Multiply's COO and co-founder, who talked about how the social networking site has had this privacy feature since it launched in 2004. Multiply's audience tends to be families, aka the "Digital Moms," who want to post high resolution photos of baby's first bath with close connections. He said because of that, connections on Multiply have always been set up so they go into categories, like business contacts or family -- meaning not everyone is a "friend." And you can see what friends of friends have publicly posted without connecting to them.

"Facebook added a lot of features after we had it," Gersh said, adding regardless if Facebook modeled it after them or not, "people look to others for innovation."

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 02:50 PM on July 1, 2009 in Facebook , Privacy settings , Security , Status updates | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

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