News for Digital Journalists

Posts tagged with: Social Media

March 01, 2010

Pew: How cell phones, internet have turned news into a social experience

In the last few years, the social aspects of news have shifted from the sidelines to center stage, thanks to the evolution of internet and mobile technology. A new report from the Pew Research Center’s Project on Excellence in Journalism explains how this works. See: How internet and cell phone users have turned news into a social experience

A few highlights…

  • Popularity: “The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day and now ranks just behind TV.”
  • Portability: “33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones.”
  • Personalization: “28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them.”
  • Participation: “37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. ...More than 8 in 10 online news consumers get or share links in e-mails.”
  • Socializing: “Getting news is often an important social act. Some 72% of American news consumers say they follow the news because they enjoy talking with others about what is happening in the world and 69% say keeping up with the news is a social or civic obligation. And 50% of American news consumers say they rely to some degree on people around them to tell them the news they need to know.”

The mobile aspects are especially interesting. About 80% of American adults have cell phones, 37% of them use their phones to acces the net. Just over one quarter of all Americans (33% of US cell phone owners) get at least some news via cell phone today. Here’s the kind of mobile news they get:

  • Weather: 26%
  • News and current events: 25%
  • Applications for news content: 18%
  • Sports scores and stories: 16%
  • Traffic: 13%
  • Financial: 12%
  • News via e-mail and text messaging: 11%

The complete report is available online.

April 27, 2010

Mobile social networking: It’s big, it’s business, and it may not be what you expect

If your news org is trying to catch up with mobile media (and you should, there’s not much time), then consider social media as a crucial part of your mobile strategy. A new study from Ground Truth (a mobile measurement firm) claims that when people use the mobile web, more than half their time there is spent on social networking sites. And surprisingly, Facebook is not the most engaging mobile social networking site…

In a press release, Ground Truth VP Evan Neufeld said, “Facebook and MySpace may be the most addictive pastimes on the PC, but sites like MocoSpace and AirG command more attention on mobile phones. For example, each MocoSpace user spent in excess of an hour more on the site than did the average Facebook visitor during the week. This data points to the fact that there is a whole universe of media properties advertisers need to consider that have to date been largely ignored. It also demonstrates that traditional media companies that are not focused on the Mobile Internet (both browser- and application-based usage) risk losing market share to leaner, more mobile focused companies.”

...If you haven’t heard of MocoSpace and AirG, and if you’re wondering why Ground Truth’s report doesn’t mention Twitter, it helps to understand that the mobile metrics service Ground Truth sells (which is the basis of the numbers in this report) only measures traffic to sites accessed via a mobile web browser. It does not measure social networking conducted via mobile apps, and it does not measure activities that don’t require a mobile web browser (such as text/photo messaging or e-mail). Therefore, this study does not address how people use their cell phones overall—just how they spend the portion of their mobile time they spend using a web browser.

MocoSpace and AirG are popular mobile services that delivers chat, link/media sharing, and more via mobile web browsers. These services have millions of users worldwide because they work well on lower-end “feature phones”—not just higher-end, costlier smartphones with unlimited data plans. Since these services have been totally focused on the broadest possible mobile market from the beginning, often people who mainly access the web via computer (or who rely mainly on smartphones) haven’t heard of them. But they are big—and worth a look when forming your mobile strategy.

My guess is that Twitter wasn’t mentioned in this report, even though it’s very mobile-friendly (that 140-character limit exists so tweets work via text messaging) because most active Twitter users don’t post or read tweets via the Twitter web site. Third-party Twitter applications (web or mobile) are much easier to use. So don’t read this study and assume that Twitter is not a key mobile social media service. It is—but just not one that Ground Truth can measure well.

June 01, 2010

Online reputation management: New Pew report

If you’ve been following or covering the recent Facebook privacy settings flap, you may wonder “How much do people really care about online privacy? What do they want to protect?”

Aside from not wanting your boss to learn via Twitter that you’re chilling out at the beach despite calling out sick, or not wanting to advertise your recent diabetes diagnosis while shopping for new health insurance, reputation management is perhaps the main reason why many people care about online privacy.

A new report from the Pew Internet and American Life project offers data on reputation management and social media…

Read the report summary, or download the full report, to learn how Americans are managing their online reputations—and the tradeoffs inherent in their decisions about what to make public or keep private.

July 20, 2010

Facebook’s Zuckerberg in ABC News Interview

ABC News’ Diane Sawyer may be a latecomer to Facebook - she set up her page just days ago—but she’s right on time to score a rare TV interview with the social network’s 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg. The exclusive one-on-one interview airs July 21 on World News with Diane Sawyer.

Sawyer’s apparent skill at getting where other journalists can’t (she broke news back in 2006 reporting from the secretive world of North Korea) has served her well here. She’ll report from Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto for Zuckerberg’s first such high profile sit-down since a 2008 segment with 60 Minutes.

Zuckerberg is widely expected to use the opportunity to share some astonishing news, per Mashable and the UK’s Independent and others—Facebook is likely to hit 500 million users sometime this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. It was just in the 100 million range at the beginning of last year.

While the appearance may provide good PR for Facebook, the half-billion landmark won’t likely keep the tenacious Sawyer from digging into questions about Facebook’s controversial policies around user privacy. And perhaps also up for discussion will be why the hugely popular site ranks so low in consumer satisfaction, per a benchmark index out this week.

August 27, 2010

Older Americans flocking to social media, says Pew

Today’s typical social media user may be grayer than you’d expect—perhaps as gray as a typical newspaper reader or public radio listener.

According to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in the past year social networking use among Americans age 50 and up nearly doubled—from 22% to 42%. Half of internet users age 50-64, and a quarter of users 65 and older, now regularly use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr…

“Although e-mail continues to be the primary way that older users maintain contact with friends, families and colleagues, many users now rely on social network platforms to help manage their daily communications—sharing links, photos, videos, news and status updates with a growing network of contacts,” says the report.

The report also notes that older internet users also tend to like online news: “76% of internet users ages 50-64 get news online, and 42% do so on a typical day. Among internet users ages 65 and older, 62% look for news online and 34% do so on a typical day.”

If older adults are a key part of your news organization’s core audience (which is true for most news orgs), consider ways to use social media to deepen and extend your connections with this demographic. In addition to reaching out online to older parts of your community via social networking sites, also consider integrating social media more thoroughly on your web site—and promote and explain your social media efforts more often in print or on the air.

If your news org has been lagging on social media so far, this research could provide even more impetus to get more active in social media. Also, if you’ve assumed social media appeals almost exclusively to younger audiences—think again.

September 10, 2010

Upcoming events: Community news in Chicago, media law in Atlanta and Web 2.0 in New York

Three notable events come up later this month - from an intimate get-together for community news publishers to the crowds in the sprawling halls of Web 2.0 Expo, with a meeting of media legal minds in between.

(HT to Webb Media Group)

September 20, 2010

Deadlines near for early registration at SPJ, ONA

Conference pre-registration deadlines are approaching for several worthwhile gatherings, including SPJ and Online News Association.


October 04, 2010

Social media focus for Blogworld summit in Las Vegas

If you’re trying to get a handle on the business of social media, you might check out the Social Media Business Summit, part of the upcoming Blogworld & New Media Expo 2010 coming up in Las Vegas Oct. 14-16.

The social media summit, which has a marketing-oriented focus, features more than two dozen sessions running the gamut from basics like a social media “glossary” review and developing a social media policy, to more advanced fare like social media “return on investment” and social media and search.

Meanwhile, Blogworld is expected to bring thousands of attendees, drawn by more than 200 speakers, 150 sessions and 100-plus exhibitors. The gathering’s conference tracks feature dozens of sessions and keynoters covering the latest trends in blogging (including one session on investigative reporting for bloggers), mobile, podcasting and video blogging.

Register here or check out the pricing packages. If the entry fee is too steep, you can also follow the goings on via Twitter at @blogworld & #bwe10, and on the Blogworld blog.

November 22, 2010

USC Annenberg Launches Digital Media Innovation Lab

A newly launched center for media technology innovation has big ambitions—by putting its findings to work in the field quickly, it hopes to help tackle the marketplace dilemmas that now rack the media industry. The Annenberg Innovation Lab, announced Nov. 17 by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is positioning itself as a kind of MIT Media Lab 2.0, i.e. not just as a showcase for cutting-edge digital tools, but also as “a bridge” to outside businesses that can apply its work directly.

A key factor in the lab’s promise to bring technologies to market comes in the form of support from big corporations like IBM, Verizon, Levi’s and Mattel, which have reported pooled $1 million in initial investments in the lab. With that backing, the lab says it will focus its work in areas like semantic search for investigative reporting, multimedia e-book advances, social networking platforms, interactive TV applications, 3D storytelling tools and portable digital devices for production, distribution and monetization.

Collaboration will be central to the lab’s efforts - it plans to tap students and professors from USC’s business, engineering and film school. “The lab is a meeting place, a hub, where a lot of different kinds of people are coming together to think over the horizon but in practical terms about new kinds of digital tools for creating and disseminating information,” said long-time journalist Roberto Suro, a journalism professor at the school and the lab’s managing director.

The lab’s director will be entertainment industry veteran Jonathan Taplin, while creative director will be Erin Reilly, a virtual learning and digital media expert. Find out more on the Innovation Lab’s web site, or read coverage of the launch in this L.A. Times story and this report from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

November 30, 2010

Diversity and social media virtual summit, Dec. 4

Social media is where all kinds of voices can be heard—so could this yield a “democratization of storytelling?”

On Saturday Dec. 4, starting 11am CST, students from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas will host a free online summit exploring the theme: Telling Stories of Diversity in the Digital Age...

Simran Sethi, a KU associate professor of journalism who teaches Diversity in Media, will start the summit by highlighting “the ways in which journalists and nonjournalists are participating in a broader range of storytelling through the use of Twitter, blogs, Facebook and other digital platforms like the iPad.”

Other speakers will cover several topics, including:

  • Social media and the notion of a post-racial America
  • Women in new media
  • Global social media: Giving us a voice, or limiting whose voice is heard?
  • Different voices, same technology

For the complete schedule of events, see the Summit Facebook page. This event is co-presented with UNITY: Journalists of Color.

Video will be live-streamed from the home pages of UNITY and the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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