December 28, 2007

Sneaky ways to start social media at work

Social media certainly is the hot topic and Bloghound: The Foghound Blog takes time to give us 10 ways to persuade the boss to do it.

But that's not going to be my problem, since the days of having a boss are numbered. (I am thinking about how online media sites might use.)

But let's start with a look at those 10 tips.

Here's a summary:
1. Start small, quiet and don’t call what you’re doing social media, Web 2.0 or any of the phrases associated with losing control. Be sneaky: The Foghound suggests doing a podcast, for example, but calling it a series of interviews to start.

2. Host a thought leadership community, with editorially independent bloggers who are influential in your industry.

3. Show the value to search, emphasizing how having valued content helps people find you.

4. Link to the strategic innovation and customer agendas for your company.

5. Watch your competitors, and share what they are doing with executives.

6. Make sure you know how things - visitors, downloads, etc. - are measured.

7. Do a weekly email digest of the most relevant blog posts in your industry for your boss and other execs

8. Create a private online community of customers and prospects.

9. Do a small, 6-month test that is reasonably budgeted and appealing. (Belive the hint of avoiding a company blog as the first effort).

10. Stay grounded and don’t get infatuated.

OK, I really boiled this post down. Go see the original for more explanation.

A tip of the hat for saying thanks

The Social Media Explorer had an up-and-down-and-up experience recently after trying out a social media site centering on travel.

It all started when Jason Falls dropped by to check out a travel site. He wrote a couple of reviews and this week he got an email inviting to him "come" and get a small token of appreciation.

But he got to the designated site and learned he didn't qualify. Oops.

Wait, next up he gets another email apologizing for a glitch that erroneously kept him from the prize. So he tries again. Now, we'll have to wait and see if he gets the hat. Meanwhile, he's happy.

See, Mom was right. It never hurts to say thank you. Only let's make sure you can deliver when you offer.

A word for everything

Direct from a website, a word some of us need to remember ... twurt: A verb (used without object)

Origin: mashup of the words "tweet" and "blurt"

Definition: The act of posting a written statement on Twitter that you wouldn't say outloud or in "present company".

FAQ's: Why twurt and not bleet?

Because a bleet is what a goat does and goats don't use Twitter, silly.

visit the site to see some twurts :)

And I will try to remember there is no reason to share some things, even at 2 a.m.

Actually, today was a good learning day. I learned how to find the permanent address of a Tweet (hint: click on post time. Example Dumped H20 on verified bills. Oops 1 minute ago from web Try it over on

Plus I know why the RSS feed from a news blog to Twitter stopped. Hint: It had nothing to do with a gag order, just another firewall issue with twitterfeed.

(Better hint: Don't create passwords while taking pain pills, 'cause even if you write them down you may not be able to remember/read them later. Ouch.)

My brain freeze lifted on the 140 Club. Silly, that is the exact limit of a Tweet. Some folks want to use all 7 tiles in Scrabble, others want a Tweet exactly 140 characters. (not one of my goals).

Last, but not least, I figured out how to get Tweets as an RSS feed. I have found I like getting Facebook statutes for friends that way. Soon I hope to see if that is a good way to get Tweets.

Now if I could figure out why some folks follow my Twittering and why the iPhone wants it to be twided when I want it to be twitter I could sleep at 2 a.m. (sure).

Wise words stick around

It's always fun to find an old posting that stays relevant for a long time .... say 1997 to today? Doc Searls is one of the folks who has done this repeatedly. He shared some insights over on Jeremiah Owyang's Web Strategy post on Facebook and pointed us to something he wrote in 1997 on Steve
Jobs and Apple.

Take a moment and think about these two phrases:
Necessity is the mother of invention
Inventions mother necessity

and then head over to read both posts.

Meanwhile, I'm going to think about the Five People I Want to Meet in Heaven (to borrow a title.) Or would I know I am in heaven if Doc Searls, Dave Winer, Jeremiah Owyang and Howard Rheingold were together? (Don't worry the lineup will change another day - I'm cleaning an office out and running across lots of memory triggering items.)

December 27, 2007

What every good journalist needs to do, but won't

The folks who need to read Howard Owens' survival tips most probably don't know how to find his blog. But I really like his suggestions. Of course, Howard put the suggestions in business language, calling them objectives for today's non-wired journalists. (Even offers a prize, so tell your non-wired friends.)

I like this approach as it is faster then my 'educate gently' philosophy. Or is it called teachable moment? Either way, it takes a lot longer to encourage folks to use Yahoo alerts and Google search announcements if you just show them when they have an immediate need, or how to use Twitter when they want to follow Black Friday sales ,or use Bloglines or Google Reader to track experts for a developing story or expertise.

I know I have encouraged at least three top editors to get Myspace pages, have at least one editor with a FaceBook account, and another spending his vacation creating his very first web page.

Of course, a CEO's challenge to have newspaper folks befriend him seemed to inspire a rash of friending but I have backed off on that. (Who would believe that two more people on FaceBook would have the same name, and some didn't like the requests from strangers.) It has been fun to watch the pokings, pages, and other networking spread through FaceBook.

But if you toss in $$ like Owens or even follow his suggestion to make them steps your Manage By Objectives in 2008, I can see where progress would come along faster.

Mindy Adam's likes most of Howard Owens's recommendations:
Journalists everywhere need to quit whining and go into action. Howard Owens has issued a challenge for all your non-networked friends — you know, the ones who never read any blogs except Romenesko or Shop Talk. The ones who don't know how to work their digital cameras — or worse, don't even own one. Yeah, you know who these people are. They're all over your newsroom.

She suggests we "Print it out for them if you have to!" and tells us why:
  • They could save your friend's career.
  • They could open new doors.
  • They could make your friends love
    journalism again, the way they used to.

She's not crazy about "messing around with Facebook andMySpace." (My suggestion is she needs to use them more and she'll understand why journalists need to know their way around.)

But Adams does say she hopes that everyone gets into blogs and RSS feeds, "essential components of my daily work."
"I am continually shocked when I meet journalists who say they don't readblogs. It's inconceivable."

Read the rest of her reasons over on her blog.

Unfortunatley, I think Owens and Adams are preaching to the converted. It will be hard to get some folks ever interested.

Need more convincing. Amy Grahan wraps everything nicely online. Her biggest gripe is that the challenge should be available to those not working for news organizations because:
"Personally, I don't see the point of that, since so many of us are independent -- and more will become independent (by choice or not) as the traditional news business continues to erode. We may end up working alone, or in co-ops, or for whatever replaces Google, who knows? I think an important part of this process is envisioning the role of journalism and journalists not only separately from news organizations but in developing a contingency plan for continuing journalism in an increasingly likely future where news orgs have largely ceased to exist."

I also like the link to Digital Native 'cause that's a whole another post someday.

(PS: Over on at least one Michigan newspaper is quite honest in a description for a multimedia specialist, reminding you that the person will work with techies to non-believers.)

December 26, 2007

Three outcomes for investigative reporting?

You still can comment on a draft chapter on blogs and investigative reporting over on the Online Journalism blog. The blog - and post - is written by Paul Bradshaw. He suggests three paths for the future of investigative journalism.

Bradshaw suggests these ways:
1) Mainstream media can use investigative journalism to provide a distinctive product and prevent the readership migrating elsewhere online.
2) News organizations with declining budgets but a commitment to public service may outsource part of their investigative work to take advantage of their brands and experiences. One possible outsourcing would be to use "crowds," ie. the public and/or experts in the community to help look at something.
3) Foundations and reader donations will increasingly support investigative journalism as an important contribution to society.

Bradshaw says, for now, he expects the third solution to be the most popular and most likely.

Foundations and private support for investigations (as well as local journalism) is exactly what Dan Gillmor proposed in September in this piece.

What do you think? Will we see more groups like the nonprofit group Pro Publica forming? (That link takes you to a New York Times article about the group.) Can Pro Publica, now found at, succeed?

December 25, 2007

Andy Carver back, more on blog anniversary

Sometimes, it is fun to look back at the old days. I enjoyed reading Andy Carvin's nostalgic look; partially because I remember those edweb days. He calls the entry "Learning to Embrace My Inner Blogger," partially because of all the attention being paid to blogs in honor of the 10th anniversary of the word "blog.

I never thought of him as a young kid just out of college. I always pictured him as a wizened man, a professor type who got the job of his dreams through public radio. I was sad that I lost track of him for a few years, but the circle isn't broken and all of a sudden I was running into him everywhere. Now, a senior strategist for online communities at NPR I still think he has a dream job.

By the way, NPR celebrates the 10th anniversary of the naming of blogs with a timeline and a week-long series, on the evolution of the blogosphere, the language and culture of blogs, and out how blogs are changing our lives.

December 23, 2007

Blogger: "I'm feeling a little dirty"

Blogger Tara Hunt effectively expresses one of the problems I've had with crowdsourcing when she asks "Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me" in a recent post.

Hunt says:
"I started to feel a little dirty…a little used…a little like cheap labor, replacing people you probably laid off or decided to save money on not hiring because you were getting so much great value out of my time."

I'm not sure exactly what started the rant on (I love the URL), but it is worth a visit to her blog. She leads us to a few more sites and shares her insights on why good crowdsourcing requires reciprocity.

Her feelings are similar to something that perplexes me about volunteers. Are people giving service and time for free what a company should pay for?

(I am thinking about this more and more as non-profits hear I'll soon have "lots of extra time" on my hands as I leave the newspaper/online venture I've worked with for 29 years. Oh, the dreams dancing in their heads as they seek to make sure I have lots to do, a web site here, a contest there, a class over there.)

Do volunteers give a nonprofit an advantage for success that "regular" companies can never achieve?

Will crowdsourcing or sites using only content generated by users help to eliminate more paying jobs for those with journalism or media degrees?

I see big advantages in involving communities in generating content about so many subjects. I just worry about the long-term effects and wonder if we have thought this all the way through.