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Archive for September 29th, 2012

This is the third of three 2007-8 posts about social media I am republishing in connection with my address today to the Arizona Newspapers Association, which refers to the middle post. I have not updated, except to remove or update outdated links. The earlier posts included my first post about social media and my first post about Twitter. I think this one holds up better over time than the first two.

Here’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned about social networking: Connection grows from activity.

When I reached out to connect with people on Facebook, we connected. When I twittered a lot, people connected with me. When I joined Wired Journalists and formed some groups and started some discussions, other journalists joined the groups and started discussing journalism with me. When I started recommending friends on LinkedIn, they started recommending me. When I created a MySpace page and left it there without reaching out, only one friend and one jailbait spammer found me.

The thing I can say most certainly after a few months of serious social networking is that I know enough about it to know that I really don’t know much. The cliché of political campaigns (especially for the early losers) is that a campaign is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve run hard enough to recognize that social networking is a marathon where you sprint. And the finish line sprints faster, always staying well out of sight.

I’ll write separately about Facebook and LinkedIn shortly (I’m trying to learn to write shorter, more frequent posts). But my different experiences on MySpace and twitter will illustrate how activity leads to connectivity. (more…)

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At the Gutenberg Museum

I originally posted this Nov. 30, 2007, on my Training Tracks blog at the American Press Institute. Since API’s web archives are gone, I am reposting it here because it is part of a series of three blog posts from 2007-8, one of which I mentioned in my keynote address for the Arizona Newspapers Association today. It originally was published without photos (I don’t think we could publish photos in that blogging software, but maybe I just didn’t know how). I have updated the links and added photos. I’ve added one update in the text and a lengthy update at the end. I think this was my first blog post about social media.

Can a graying guy who can operate a typewriter, recognizes a pica pole and remembers the smell of molten lead figure out the social-networking world of Web 2.0? I’m trying.

In the last few months, I’ve been adding friends on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn and sharing (presuming that someone has actually found them) bookmarks on Facebook plunge. Almost right away, people started finding me. This time I wasn’t passive. I used Facebook’s search for college classmates and found a woman who had worked on the staff of the Daily Skiff with me more than 30 years ago at Texas Christian University. We quickly reconnected, exchanged catching-up emails and became Facebook friends. I also found a former city editor with whom I’ve been sort of out of touch and reconnected with some other former colleagues.

While I found a lot of professional acquaintances on Facebook, I also found personal evidence that Facebook participation still has a wide generation gap: Of my 14 brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, I was the second to post a Facebook profile. I quickly added my sister-in-law (the youngest of the 14) as a friend. However, I found 10 nephews and nieces on Facebook (interestingly, though, none of my three sons; I’m not sure what that says about them or me). I did not invite any of my nieces or nephews to become friends; I’d read or heard somewhere that the presence of old folks like me is taking some of the luster off Facebook and MySpace for younger users. And I’m curious how long (if ever) it will take them to notice me and invite me to be their friends (can an uncle be a friend?). (more…)

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I originally published this blog post Jan. 25, 2008, on my Training Tracks blog when I was at the American Press Institute. It’s no longer online there, but I have republished here, because I am referring to it in my keynote address for the Arizona Newspapers Association.

I have not updated my outdated and/or ignorant references to Twitter (I botched the 140-character limit; was very tempted to fix that huge error and the clumsy uses of twitter — always lower case then — as a verb). I did take out some outdated links (I may later add links to blog posts that are no longer available, if I republish them).

A couple months ago I wrote about my efforts to learn more about LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious and the world of Web 2.0. I’ll update you later on how those efforts are going, but right now I want to invite you to learn about twitter along with me.

As I mentioned in that last post, I’ve joined some social networking sites aggressively, trying to connect with people I know on them. I didn’t get twitter, so I joined it passively. It’s a site where you enter brief (240 characters or less) blurbs about what you’re doing. I didn’t get that. So I entered passively. My first twitters, Dec. 28 and 31 and Jan. 16, reflect that I didn’t get twitter and was waiting for someone to find me. And if they had found me, they would have been bored. (more…)

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This will be my keynote address to the Arizona Newspapers Association fall convention in Scottsdale today. I didn’t follow the script closely and I trimmed the court-liveblogging section for time, but this is the written version. I also will lead a breakout session on revenue-building ideas.

It’s kind of early on a Saturday morning to start thinking about the weighty matters of the news business, so I’m going to get us started with a little exercise. If you don’t feel comfortable with Twitter, please stand up (if you’re physically able).

OK, if you’re not comfortable using Foursquare, I want you to raise your right hand above your head if you’re already standing or stand up if you’re still sitting.

If you’re not comfortable with Facebook or Pinterest or Reddit or Banjo or Google Voice or Spundge or Storify or ScribbleLive or some other tool with an odd name that you’ve heard might be important, raise your left hand if your right hand is already up, your right hand if you don’t have a hand up and stand up if you’re sitting.

Now, if you’re not comfortable letting the public come into your newsroom every day and use your computers, browse your archives, drink your coffee, chat uninvited with your news staff and attend your news meetings, (in person or online), wave your right hand if both hands are up, put up your left hand if it’s not up yet, your right hand if it’s not up yet and stand up if you’re sitting.

OK, if you don’t feel comfortable with a future built on revenue sources beyond advertising and subscriptions, wave both hands if you’ve already waved your right hand, wave your right hand if both hands are up, raise your left hand if only your right hand is up and raise your right hand if neither hand is up and stand up if you’re still sitting.

Finally (no, I’m not going to make you jump): If you’re not comfortable with crowdsourcing, curation, live chats or user-generated content, clap your hands, whatever you’ve been doing so far.

OK, everyone sit down. Is there anyone who stayed sitting through this whole exercise and didn’t clap? Please stand. OK, you’re excused. You don’t need to listen to anything I’m going to say. But everyone else look around and identify some of these people. You might want to sit next to them at lunch or buy them a drink tonight and talk to them.

I’m going to talk today about what makes us uncomfortable as journalists and news business leaders. I’m going to talk about embracing your discomfort and working through that discomfort to find the hope and promise that lie on the other side.

My father was an Air Force chaplain and later an American Baptist pastor, so once a year he had to give what ministers call the “stewardship” sermon, preaching about the importance of tithes and offerings to support the chapel or church. His favorite line was: “Give till it stops hurting.” I’m going to steal and adapt that line from Dad today (I’m sure my sons have heard many lines that I stole from Dad). Here’s my advice from Dad filtered through my media lens: Journalists and leaders in the news business need to change till it stops hurting. You need to get comfortable in your discomfort zone.

(more…)

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