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Tumblr logoTumblr has been an underused instrument in my social media toolbox.

It’s easy to justify ignoring a tool you know is useful, because you have so many tools to use and so little time. But I want to keep learning about social tools and I sort of need to for my job. So it’s always kind of nagged at me that I haven’t done more with Tumblr.

I gave it a try three years ago during the Super Bowl with a Tumblr on trivia about Super Bowl quarterbacks. Somehow that topic caught my fancy back in the 1970s, when I noticed that six of the first eight Super Bowls were won by four different quarterbacks from Alabama (Bart Starr twice and Joe Namath) and Purdue (Len Dawson and Bob Griese twice). So I spent the day of the Super Bowl (maybe the day before, too; I can’t remember) tumbling about Super Bowl quarterback trivia. I don’t think anyone noticed. I got more response to a few tweets this year about quarterback trivia. And besides, that’s kind of a one-day blog. Or at best a couple weeks a year. How could it catch on?

Tumblr works best with visuals and I wasn’t posting photos or gifs of the Super Bowl quarterbacks, just questions. So that was a bust, but I kind of got my feet wet.

I used visuals and was more persistent with my DFM Engagement Tumblr, but again, I saw no sign that people were actually engaging with it or reading it at all. (We’re still engaging; maybe I’ll catch it up sometime and give it another try.)

Colleagues were having success with Tumblr. Ivan Lajara’s News Cat Gifs went viral. Martin Reynolds does a nice job with Rules of Engagement. Buffy Andrews promotes her novels. Zack Harold tumbls his adventures. Mandy Jenkins tumbls her cats and other stuff. But I was pretty much AWOL when it came to Tumblr.

I was amused/flattered by our CEO’s recent reference to me as our newsrooms’ Educator in Chief. Then this week, I was called a honcho and a news futurist blogger (guilty). So I decided to have some self-indulgent Tumblr fun with how the Internet refers to me, noting that I’ve self-inflicted some unusual  titles (with a prod from another CEO).

Please check out Buttrynyms and let me know what you think.

I will try to make it more funny than boastful. I won’t include all of Mimi’s references to me (I make it into her tweets often), though I used a few when I was getting my initial posts up last night.

I welcome your advice. How do I make a Tumblr blog successful? (What is success?) How do I Tumbl better? Where are the best posts with advice for journalists using Tumblr?

I don’t know how often I’ll update (the Internet isn’t talking about me constantly, fortunately). Occasionally I’ll dig up some past references in an attempt to keep it fresh. And maybe I’ll finally master Tumblr.

 

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I’m in Regina, Saskatchewan, today to lead a social media workshop for the Saskatchewan Media Guild.

I’m delighted to be working with my old friend Don Gibb, Canada’s leading writing coach. We tag-teamed four regional workshops for the Canadian Association of Newspaper Editors starting about a decade ago, but I think the last time we worked together was 2006 or 2007.

While I won’t be talking only about Twitter today, the most helpful links accompanying today’s workshop are from my #twutorial series.

Here are the slides I’ll be using in today’s workshop.

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buffy book author2smallThanks to Buffy Andrews for this guest post, which discusses different ways to promote your work. Buffy’s promoting her new novel (congratulations on getting that published, Buffy!), but you could use some of the same tools to promote an enterprise project, a special story, an event or your own career and portfolio of work.

Here’s Buffy’s post, with a note by me in italics.

ginamikecoverWhen my debut novel, The Yearbook Series: Gina and Mike, was published, I shared the news via various digital platforms. Of course, I did the usual Twitter and Facebook, but I also employed some other tools that you might not be quite as familiar with.

RebelMouse

I love RebelMouse. It’s a great way to aggregate content from your social streams, including Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, blogs etc.

I created a RebelMouse page for “The Yearbook Series.”

“The Yearbook” RebelMouse page features:

1. Pins from “The Yearbook Series” Pinterest board. (via an RSS feed)

2. Tweets with the hashtag #Yearbookseries (set up to post automatically)

3. Posts that I manually add from various sources by inserting the url

4. Quotes from my book

5. Review snippets and links to reviews

6. Link to book on Amazon

and more

It’s a pretty robust way of curating and sharing content around a particular theme or event and its embeddable feature allows you to embed in a blog post or article web page. I also did one for the 150th anniversary of The Battle of Gettysburg and one for Authorbuffyandrews.

Pinterest

Buffy Andrews

Buffy Andrews

Pinterest is a visual bulletin board. Users pin things they like onto topical boards. (I have 123 boards!)

Authors can create a Pinterest board for each book. I did this for “The Yearbook Series.” They can also create an author board. I have one of these, too.

One way to share content about your book is to share the pin via Twitter or Facebook. You can also share the pin by sending it to friends and followers by hitting the “send” button and then adding either their name or email address. It also gives you the option of adding a message.

I did this for “The Yearbook Series” and added a note that I was sharing my new book and that I hoped they would check it out. Of course, the pin linked to the book on Amazon.

A Pinterest board for your book could include:

  • The book cover
  • Quotes from your book
  • Review snippets

You might even want to pin photos that relate to your character (ie. the little black dress she wore in Chapter 8 or the hotel where she married in Chapter 24).

Buttry note: My wife, Mimi Johnson, created a Pinboard to promote her novel, Gathering String. She did not use quotes or review snippets (though she might steal that idea). But she did pin photos and other images that illustrated aspects of the book.

TIP: To convert text to an image, I suggest using Quozio. You simply highlight the text and after several simple steps you have a visual element to pin (or tweet or share otherwise).

I recommend dragging the Quozio bookmarket to your toolbar so when you want to change text into an image you can do so quickly.

Remember, too, that if you do an rss feed of your Pinterest board on your RebelMouse page, the content on this pinboard will show up on RebelMouse automatically.

Storify

Storify lets users create stories using social media. Sources include Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Tumblr, SoundCloud and others.

You can embed your Storify in three different formats or styles (the default setting, grid and slideshow). I use the slideshow embed the most.

You can also export the Storify as a downloadable PDF. And you have the normal social share buttons.

I did a Storify for The Yearbook Series and included tweets, various links, etc. Then, I embedded the Storify on my blog and on the RebelMouse Yearbook Series page.

For more tips on promoting your book (or any content) , visit Buffy’s Write Zone post.

In the companion post on her own blog, Buffy explains how she used NewHive, YouTube, Tout and SoundCloud.

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Update: Now the #twutorial slides are on SlideShare’s “most popular” page, with more than 14,000 views.

SlideShare ranks way behind Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and lots of other social tools in the social media pecking order. But some slides I posted there last week (above) got more views than all but one blog post I ever wrote. And a slide show I posted last year got more views than any blog post I ever wrote.

My experience with SlideShare shows how even second-tier or third-tier social tools offer important engagement opportunities that journalists, educators and trainers should keep in mind.

I am as likely as anyone to make fun of PowerPoint presentations. I’m more likely to be annoyed by someone who reads his slides to me than I am to remember a speaker’s slide presentation. I’ve never browsed SlideShare myself to look at others’ slides and I seldom browse very far into a deck when I find one online with a blog post or linked to from a tweet or Facebook update. I’m not the audience of SlideShare, but I certainly am a user.

I believe in results. And SlideShare metrics show that slides work for some people. So I keep using slides in my workshops and SlideShare keeps showing those slides to far more people than my workshops reach (my 130 presentations and other documents have more than 220,000 views on SlideShare). (more…)

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I led a workshop on using social media today for the Daily Times in Farmington, N.M. We won’t cover Twitter today (except for some comparisons with Facebook) because I’ll be doing a workshop on Twitter tomorrow.

Here are some links relating to today’s workshop:

Facebook news-feed changes mean newsrooms need new engagement strategies

Correction on AP photos: Newsrooms don’t have rights to post them on Facebook

Pottstown Mercury’s wanted-poster-style Pinboard is resulting in arrests

I’m starting to like Pinterest: a digital scrapbook (but potentially a baseball card collection)

How journalists and newsrooms can use Pinterest

Helpful links for learning and exploring Pinterest

Google+ Hangout helps with video interviews

Curation techniques, types and tips

Mandy Jenkins’ Journalists, meet Google+

Mandy’s Intro to Facebook for journalists

Here are the slides I used in the workshop (I didn’t get through a couple of them):

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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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Update Sunday: I have added some further comments and videos of the panel at the end of this post.

Update: I embedded some tweets since originally posting this.

Walking to the Online News Association Friday morning in San Francisco, I tuned in using Twitter to the Associated Press Media Editors conference in Nashville. The contrast was striking.

At ONA, I attended an enlightening presentation Thursday night on best practices for journalists, based on hard data analysis. Friday morning I read a tweet from an Associated Press executive that reflected ignorance and generational stereotypes.

I’m sure the tweet that sucked me in wasn’t representative of APME, but it did highlight a disturbing divide that persists in journalism today.

My friend Joe Hight of The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com tweeted:

I was pleased to read in other tweets that some at APME and other editors disagreed with Sidoti, AP’s political editor (political editor!):

Before commenting, I need to note that I wasn’t in the room and didn’t hear the statement or the context. But tweets from other APME members reported the same point from Sidoti, including a lament that these young slacker journalists were using social media in favor of “shoe-leather” reporting.

My response from San Francisco: What valuable journalism tool isn’t a time suck? Cellphones, data, documents, interviews, writing, thinking, verification of facts, shoe-leather reporting. Every damn one of them is a time suck. And good journalists manage their time well to do those things because they are essential to good journalism.

(more…)

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Update: Bill Keller has responded. Please read his response at the end of this post.

I don’t care that Bill Keller hates doesn’t like social media. What annoys me is that his lazy reporting is making him a bad example of old-school journalism.

I am of Keller’s generation, less than six years his junior. I understand about shoe-leather reporting. Like him, I’ve been doing it for decades. You do a lot of phone interviews, sure, but you also get off your ass and see things firsthand, so you can write with authority.

When I covered agriculture for the Kansas City Star, I walked wheat fields with Kansas farmers, trying to learn their business so I could report it accurately. When I covered religion for the Des Moines Register, I accompanied missionaries to Venezuela so I could understand firsthand their mission work, their Pentecostal fervor and the disaster for which they offered relief. As a reporter for the Omaha World-Herald, when I told the story of twin girls being rescued from near-death, I walked the alley where they were found nearly frozen and I asked medical workers to re-create the scene in the emergency room, so I could tell the story accurately. I’ve gone to prisons, Indian reservations and devastated communities because it was important to understand the topics I covered.

Keller knows, I am sure, that you need to get firsthand knowledge to report authoritatively. He could top my stories of firsthand reporting many times over. I don’t think he won his Pulitzer Prize for coverage of turmoil in the Soviet Union by sitting in the Moscow Bureau of the New York Times. Oddly, you don’t even have to get off your ass to gain some firsthand knowledge of Facebook. But for some reason Keller thinks it’s good journalism to write about Facebook without bothering to use it or learn its culture.

He wrote a column about Facebook Sunday, but the most recent entry on his Facebook page is from last Oct. 13, when he changed his job in his profile from Times editor to columnist. In eight months, he hasn’t posted a link or a photo or status update. His other October update generated 51 comments, none of them from Keller. If he’s not even joining the Facebook conversation, it’s clear his understanding of Facebook is based on reading and interviewing other critics, rather than firsthand experience and exploration. But you know what he did Sunday? He wrote about Facebook. (more…)

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When should journalists use their personal social media accounts and when should they use the branded newsroom accounts?

An editor raised those issues in an email (edited lightly to avoid identification, because I welcome private requests for help, even though I sometimes address the issues publicly):

Some of my staff members — copy editors who also do reporting — have been finding that crowdsourcing on our newsroom’s Facebook and Twitter accounts has been very useful, as would be expected. But, at times, they say, there can be so many reporters and editors doing it that their questions get lost in a sea of posts, all of which are almost always quality. They say they sometimes can have better luck posting crowdsourcing questions to their private Twitter and Facebook accounts, which means their sources have been gravitating toward those accounts and not the official branded accounts.

A concern raised among some editors is that these private accounts don’t give our official sites the hits and exposure they could if the groundwork was done through the official accounts. In addition, the private accounts and all the new followers staffers generate through their work here would go with the staffer should they leave.

It’s hard to find a best practice for how other papers handle this. This harkens back to the day when reporters on the cutting edge of technology initially used their private email accounts before newspapers caught on and got people their own company email account.

Anyway, I hear wisdom on both sides. Just wondering if you had thoughts that you wouldn’t mind sharing. Hope that isn’t asking too much. I read your blog routinely and find it very helpful and interesting. (more…)

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Thanks to Jeff Edelstein of the Trentonian for showing a good way for journalists to use Klout.

I have wavered in my views on the value of Klout.

I think you can overdo metrics, especially when you are measuring the wrong things. But I do think we should try to measure the results of our efforts. And Klout tries to measure influence in social media. (more…)

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An email (slightly edited) from a Digital First Media journalist last week raised a couple questions I hear frequently relating to social media:

I asked an important question at a staff meeting today, and the city editor suggested I e-mail you. It has to do with tweeting and/or posting opinions.

As a reporter (I know, you like the term journo), it is ingrained in me not to reflect my opinions. Last weekend, I scanned Twitter off and on and found many news outlets tweeting about the Occupy Oakland protest going on. A TV van was damaged, a flag burned at City Hall, etc.

My first impulse was to tweet my personal gut response: that I didn’t understand protests and flag burning in my generation and I don’t now. I also wanted to tweet that once Occupy got violent, that ended the argument for me.

But I had misgivings about whether I should post any kind of opinion at all, so I refrained.

So, is there a guideline about this? I thought about asking via Twitter, but obviously that wouldn’t work. (more…)

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Facebook engagement doesn’t mean just posting links and questions on your own page. Good journalists should be reaching out to the community on other pages.

In a recent email, Toni Sciacqua, Managing Editor – Digital at the Daily Breeze, Press-Telegram and Daily News in Southern California, shared a great example of Facebook engagement:

I wanted to share a big social media aha moment we had recently at the Daily Breeze that illustrates how listening to and engaging with the community can pay off in building a new audience and help us address issues the community is talking about. (more…)

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