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Read this post in Russian, translated by Google. Читать этот пост на русском языке, перевод Google.

Twitter is an excellent crowdsourcing tool.

An email from Jim Cremer, who’s team-teaching a class with me at the University of Iowa next semester, asked if I could geotag my tweets. Our course will teach students how to develop iPhone applications and Jim wanted to show a current course something about geotagging. He thought some geotagged tweets from Siberia would be fun to show students.

I had seen that Twitter was going to be adding geotagging soon, but didn’t know whether it was available yet. I had already left Siberia and was in St. Petersburg. I would be leaving shortly for a walking tour of the city. To tweet without outrageous international data roaming rates, I would need to use the hotel’s free wifi. (more…)

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Some people who don’t use social media see it aPatrick Devlins self-indulgent and trivial.

They haven’t experienced the way that people have reached out through Twitter, Facebook and blogs to comfort my family after the death Wednesday of my nephew Patrick. They haven’t experienced how his father, John, shared the story of Patrick’s final months on CaringBridge with hundreds of friends, family and caring people he’d never met.

Social media are just communication tools. They aren’t inherently good or bad, frivolous or serious. When my father, Patrick’s grandfather, battled prostate cancer 31 years ago, people used the communication tools of the day – telephones, greeting cards and stationery – to express their support and encouragement during the fight and their sympathy after it ended. Generations before that used telegraph, quill pens and other tools. (more…)

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I woke up in the middle of the night and was having trouble getting back to sleep, so I checked Twitter. “Earthquake” was a trending topic, so I clicked.

Hundreds of tweets reported an earthquake in Indonesia, causing buildings to sway in Jakarta. Twitter was reporting location, near Java, and magnitude, 7.3, and reporting on a tsunami warning. Not a peep from Google News or AP. When I searched “earthquake” in Google News, I got older quakes. (more…)

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Whatever your business or profession and whatever social tools you are using, these tips apply in most social media situations:

  1. Decide what your goal is in using each social media tool and reassess from time to time how well the tool is serving that goal. (more…)

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If you still think Twitter’s all about what-I’m-having-for-breakfast, you probably weren’t following the @StLukesCR Twitter feed this morning and early afternoon:

Surgery tweet

That was the fourth 0f 126 tweets in a live twittercast of a robotic surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids Monday by Sarah Corizzo, media relations specialist/writer for St. Luke’s, author of the @StLukesCR Twitter feed. (more…)

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I’ll be teaching Using Social Media for Business three evenings this week, Tuesday through Thursday at Kirkwood Community College (the Marion center). I think you can still register for the course.

The first night, we’ll have a brief overview of why social media are an important development in digital communication and their roots in other forms of communication. Then we’ll spend most of the evening learning about Twitter. Participants will launch their profiles in Twitter, start following people and start learning how to us Twitter in their businesses.

The second evening, we will cover an overview of current social media tools and then split the rest of the evening teaching them Facebook and LinkedIn. Again, they will start their profiles and begin using them for business.

The final evening, they will learn how to create and use a Ning network. They also will spend some time learning to use a social-media tool of their choosing, then report to the class on what they learned and how they might use that tool.

This post will be my tips for getting started in Twitter. It is an updated version of the tips I provided in April for my Twitter for Dummies workshop for Edge Business Magazine. (more…)

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In the spirit of social media, I asked my tweeps for their advice on using social media for business.

I’m teaching a course, Using Social Media for Business, starting Tuesday evening at Kirkwood Community College. I think you can still register for the course. I know a lot about using social media for journalism and I’ve learned a fair amount about using social media for business as well. But I knew the people I follow on Twitter would know way more than I do. So I asked them (I edited their email messages to me slightly; I did not verify statements they made about their businesses or their us of social media): (more…)

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I was busy enough in June that I didn’t take time to blog about an interesting social-media experience. But when a similar thing happened this week, I decided it was time to take note.

I can’t recall how I first learned about TripIt, though it probably was from Mark Briggs, who was my first TripIt contact. I had already joined Dopplr, a travel-oriented social tool co-founded by my friend Dan Gillmor (who was a reporter assigned to me at the Kansas City Times before he became a new-media star). I travel a lot, so I figured I would try them both out and see which one I liked better. (more…)

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I have commiserated and shared advice recently with some friends who lost their jobs as the newspaper industry contracts. Other people who still have jobs are in the same situation I often find myself: trying to develop relationships with potential sources, partners, clients or vendors.

My first advice in either situation: Check out and update your digital profile. This is a good idea for any journalist (or workers in many other fields). Even if you’re not trying to find a job or develop business, someone may be checking you out: sources; people you just met at a conference; someone considering you for the fellowship you just applied for.

Whatever the context, if I want to learn about someone, I am going to pay more attention to what I can find about that person online by myself than to what he or she sends me or tells me. So you should investigate your online profile and see how you look to others. (more…)

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Update: These tips are more than two years old. I recommend reading my Updated and expanded Twitter tips for journalists.

Journalists need to use Twitter. I know it has a silly name and that makes it easy to make fun of. Jay Rosen suggests we think of it as mindcasting. Jill Geisler muses that journalists would have reacted better if it were named “teletype” or “wireservice.” Too bad. Bulldog editions had a silly name, too, and we still took them seriously.

I don’t know how long Twitter will remain important and useful for journalists in the swiftly changing digital world. But right now a journalist who doesn’t use Twitter is running a huge risk of missing something important.   (more…)

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