Updates now on Twitter

Beginning in August 2010, updates for “All the News” will no longer be posted on this blog. Instead, they will be sent via my Twitter account (thomlieb). They will be marked with the hash tag #allthenews. You can either follow me on Twitter to get all my journalism-related updates or search Twitter for that hash tag. (Please note that occasionally you might find other Twitter accounts using that hash tag. In fact, if you find an interesting update I encourage you to post it with the hash tag #allthenews.)

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BusinessWeek.com sees social media as key

In an interview with econsultancy.com, BusinessWeek.com Editor in Chief John A. Byrne discusses the site’s strategy for engaging readers. Byrne says that “We have one overriding goal: to have the deepest and most meaningful engagement with our audience than any other business site in the world. … We see engagement as core to what we do and how we do it.”

In the interview, Byrne makes it clear that the days of one-way communication are over:

Journalism, by and large, has been a product produced by writers and editors and delivered to an audience. That was fine when there was no technology to allow journalists to engage in an ongoing dialogue with readers and to allow for true collaboration between the writers and the readers.

What journalism needs to become is this digital age is a process that embraces and involves your audience at every level, from idea generation to reporting and sourcing and finally to the publication of the article when the journalism then becomes an intellectual camp fire around which you gather an audience to have a thoughtful conversation about the story’s topic.

If done well, that conversation, orchestrated by the writer or editor of the article, has as much or more value to a reader as the journalism itself.

Byrne notes that BusinessWeek.com has 28 blogs and more than 60 Twitter accounts, and cites a favorite example of how one of his writers used social media to great effect:

[S]enior writer Steve Baker … wrote one of the very first articles in the mainstream media on Twitter. But rather than writing that story and delivering it as a finished product to our readers, he engaged the audience in a novel and creative process. He tweeted the topic sentences of his story and asked his followers to tweet back the sentences they thought would logically follow his.

Steve used his blog to report on the back-and-forth of this process to make it accessible to a broader audience who could participate via Twitter or Blogspotting, Steve’s blog on our site.

The result of all this was a much better story on Twitter based on engaging his audience in the reporting of the story.

Abandoned blogs and one-Tweet wonders

Debate rages about how “sticky” social media are. While it’s one thing for the average person to abandon a blog or Twitter account after an entry or two, that’s a practice that journalists should not emulate.

Writing in Salon.com, John Swansburg and Jeremy Singer-Vine look at the phenomenon of Orphaned Tweets:

After examining some 300,000 Twitter accounts, a Harvard Business School professor reported last week that 10 percent of the service’s users account for more than 90 percent of tweets. The study dovetails with recent analysis by the media research firm Nielsen asserting that 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Both findings suggest that, thus far, Twitter has been considerably better at signing up users than keeping them.

Meanwhile, the same thing happens in the blogosphere, as Douglas Quenqua notes in “Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest.” He writes:

According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.

The take-away lesson for journalists here is that persistence and engaging writing are the only ways to make your blog or Twitter feed a success.

How does your “social media footprint” compare?

Boris Epstein is CEO and Founder of BINC, a Professional Search Firm that specializes in the Software Marketplace.  He poses a question that more employers are starting to consider:

If all else were equal, like education, work history and general skill set, and I had to evaluate the social media footprints of two candidates to determine which one of them I would contact, which one would I contact and why?

With the amount of information available online to employers, job seekers should not only be conscious about what they post, but should also be actively networking and leaving their own “social media footprint”. The practice is not limited to the unemployed, establishing and maintaining your online persona is a good habit to get into.

Companies today are looking for well-rounded people that can integrate well with their team both professionally and socially. Epstein highlights key points and outlines his criteria for comparing equally skilled job candidates.

Twitter and ABC create a Tweetable news show

Mashable.com reports that ABC News has created the first hybrid television news -Twitter blend — not as odd as it might first appear. The network’s Nightline news program and anchors are going to host a weekly online news program — called NightTline — that uses Twitter for debate and questions.

According to ABC, the show will take on Nightline’s Face-Off model, which pits two opposing sides on an issue that an ABCNEWS anchor provides and moderates. It’s a model that causes a lot of heated debate and verbal exchanges, perfect for an easily-distracted online audience….

Twitter will be integral to the entire show. There will be a Twitter widget that allows viewers to chime in on the discussion or ask questions during the debate. The Nightline anchors will also use Pixel touchscreen technology to display and interact with the debate occurring on Twitter.

Journalists’ guide to Twitter

Leah Betancourt of Mashable.com offers a rundown of the many ways in which journalists have been incorporating Twitter into their work. Betancourt surveys how journalists use the microblogging site to gather information, see what other journalists are reading and talking about, follow groups, track topics in real-time by keyword and much more. Essential reading for today’s journalist!

Guidelines for journalists using social networks

Increasing use of Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites by journalists has some news organizations setting ground rules and others just taking a wait-and-see approach, reports Editor & Publisher. Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, told E&P: “I have asked people to use common sense and respect the workplace and assume whatever they tweet will be tied to the paper….Even when they are tweeting personal information to their followers, they are still representing The New York Times.”

The Wall Street Journal’s guidelines for social media use were regarded by some as completely missing the point of social Media. BeatBlogging.org noted:

This memo should have been titled the 1990s newspaper refrain of the decade, “Don’t scoop yourself!” But this is the Web. No one seriously talks about scooping themselves anymore.