The Dose - by on Friday, July 31, 2009 11:26 - 1 Comment

Friday Dose of social media: Curate the real-time Web

Best Practices for Businesses on Twitter — Twitter has released a blog post detailing best practices for business on Twitter. It’s well worth your time to check out. Some take home points:

  • Think about Twitter as a place to build relationships
  • Understand the real-time nature of Twitter
  • Before you set up measurement tools, focus on the quality of your engagement, and use your gut to check how things are going. How’s the feedback and interaction with your followers? Are you responding to most or your @messages?

TwitViewer is a scam. DO NOT use the serviceTwitter, on its Spam update account, said this, “If you gave your login and password info to TwitViewer, we strongly suggest you change your password now.” Let me repeat, do not use TwitViewer and be very cautious of any site that wants your username and password from Twitter.

69 percent of adults don’t know what Twitter is — From my experience, most people have heard of Twitter, but that don’t really get what it is at all or why it is useful. Some think it’s just like the Facebook status update (it’s not), while others think it’s a way to talk about what you eat (could be).

This problem is compounded by the fact that many of the big name, celebrity users are very poor Twitter users. Sure they have lots of followers, but they are very poor role models for new users.

One of the most interesting tidbits of this study is this: “20% felt Twitter was only for young people.” It’s funny because Twitter is not popular with tweens and teens and is doing so-so with college students. Twitter is popular with professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s. I’m not sure why this misconception exists, but Twitter is one of the least ageist social networks out there, and there are plenty of successful older Twitters.

Jon Gruber on paywalls — When one of the smartest Web writers and technologists around writes about a topic, it’s well worth reading. Some key parts:

The consumer psychology of web subscriptions for news just doesn’t work out. It’s right there in the language we use to talk about newsstand prices for print periodicals: per copy. A dollar for a newspaper or a few bucks for a glossy magazine feels like a fair price for a copy. Trees have been cut, presses have been rolled, trucks have been driven to get that copy into your hands. Even subscription pricing for printed newspapers and magazines is always stated in the context of how much you can save compared to per-copy prices at the newsstand.

What feels like a fair price for a copy of a web page, on the other hand, is nothing. They’re just ones and zeroes.

Newsstand and subscription prices have never been the main source of revenue for newspapers anyway — advertising is. But they can’t make as much money from web advertising as from print for several reasons. Pre-Internet, newspapers had inordinate control over the supply of news, and therefore over the supply of advertising, and they grew fat on the profits.

Read the full post. Trust me, it’s well worth your time.

Social Journalism: Curate the Real-Time Web — Publish2 released new tools to allow users to curate the real-time Web:

What’s Social Journalism?  It’s what you do when you gather information in social media channels and then report it to your readers.  Watching a Twitter #hashtag for posts related to a critical local issue or big event, then publishing them in a roundup or sidebar on your news site?  That’s Social Journalism.  Scanning YouTube for the latest video from a protest, county fair, or city council meeting?  That’s Social Journalism.

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  • Steve Cusumano

    Re: the misconception that Twitter is only for young people, I see a few reasons non-Twitter users would see it this way.

    For starters, the language of Twitter (i.e. tweeting) is a little too cutesy for most, it just sounds like a little kid’s toy, not a powerful network for seeing what people are discussing at any given moment.

    Secondly, one of the key traits of Twitter is the ability to update anywhere via a text message on your cell phone, and texting more often associated with teens than adults.

    Thirdly, and this goes back to the premise that most adults don’t fully understand what Twitter is and should be used for…if they view the service as a means to share mundane details about your day-to-day (like what you’re eating), that kind of time-waster is probably viewed by adults (who have jobs) as something they can’t afford…but their unemployed kids can.


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.