The Dose - by on Monday, June 8, 2009 12:41 - 0 Comments

Monday Dose of social media: Spymaster a model for news orgs?

Spymaster Twitter Game: The Complete GuideSpymaster is an interactive, Twitter-based game. While the game is still in a closed beta, it’s an excellent example of the power of social media and what can be done with just 140-characters.

I recommend that news orgs take a long, hard look at Spymaster and monitor it over the next few months. These are the kinds of experiences that news orgs will need to create in the coming years.

The idea that someone could make a in-depth game/interactive experience out of 140-characters is astonishing, but it proves yet again that limitations are sometimes strong fuelers of innovation.

Twitter to create verified accounts — In the wake of the Tony La Russa lawsuit over someone impersonating him on Twitter (and countless other who have been impersonated), Twitter is going to introduce verified accounts this summer.

News orgs like @latimes (which was squatted on for awhile) can rejoice. This should help further cement Twitter as a legitimate news and conversation source. There are many accounts on Twitter that people aren’t sure if they are real or not. That kind of ambiguity (and lack of trust and transparency) was not benefiting Twitter.

Twitter and social media allow for direct communication with fans and people — This probably isn’t good news for news orgs who have always traded on access to sources, but it’s good for just about everyone else. Athletes in particular are embracing social media as a way of connecting directly with fans:

Cyclist Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) announced his son’s birth in 140 characters. And now people are buzzing about recent tweets by basketball icon Shaq (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) directed towards Orlando center Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward).

The plus side of Twitter and social media for news orgs is that it allows direct communication with fans of news. Reporters can now easily interact with people, and that interaction might be a new revenue stream moving forward. Shaq in particular offers a lot of examples of how news orgs and journalists could use Twitter and social media to directly connect with people.

Palm Pre: A launch guide — The latest high-profile smartphone was just released over the weekend, and it’s another platform that smart news orgs will be looking into.

I wouldn’t jump into Pre app development just yet (less than 100,000 of them are in user’s hands), but it’s probably the first legitimate competitor to the iPhone. Any smart news org (in a large enough market) already has an iPhone app or two out there. At the very least, a smart news org has a mobile (non-WAP) optimized Web site.

A good optimized site will greatly enhance the user experience for mobile users with devices like the Pre and iPhone. The mobile Internet is exploding, and there is money to be made on it.

Google debuts Chrome for Mac and Linux — Google’s Web browser has finally made a non-Windows appearances, albeit in a “developer’s preview.”

Chrome is not ready for mainstream consumption on OS X or Linux yet, but it is a browser to look out for. It especially excels at running Web apps like GMAIL and Google Docs. It’s the safest, most secure browser out there. All this ads up to Chrome being a browser that could help make content producers more productive.

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About was a grant-funded journalism project that studied how journalists used social media and other Web tools to improve beat reporting. It ran for about two years, ending in the fall of 2009.

New content is occasionally produced here by the this project's former editor Patrick Thornton. The site is still up and will remain so because many journalists and professors still use and link to the content. offers a fascinating glimpse into the former stages of journalism and social media. Today it's expected that journalists and journalism organization use social media, but just a few years ago that wasn't the case.

About the Author of this post
Patrick Thornton is the editor and lead writer of BeatBlogging.Org. He is @pwthornton on Twitter.