This is a new feature on BeatBlogging.Org where I share the links of the stories that I’m reading. This will be different than The Dose of social media, as these stories aren’t just social media related. Also, I’m thinking about doing a once-a-week social media roundup too.
I never thought I’d say this, but we need to look at some of the innovative things that government is doing.
In a recent post for Poynter.org, I looked at NASA’s internal employee social network, Spacebook. The core behind the idea is to create a more collaborative culture at NASA. And why not?
The Web has made collaboration easier than ever before and that’s what Spacebook is hoping to tap into:
The network allows NASA’s estimated 18,000 employees, regardless of where they’re stationed in the world, to interact and collaborate.
The site gives employees the ability to change their status on their profile pages, share files, friend other NASA employees, follow their friends’ activities a la the Facebook news feed, join groups that interest them and more.
Spacebook asks users to list their areas of expertise, which NASA is hoping will make it easier for employees to find colleagues when they need to collaborate or ask questions. Linda Cureton, chief information officer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the blog Space Marauder that Spacebook is an asset to NASA in this down economy:” ‘With the constraints we’ve had in hiring and our workforce issues, you want to know who knows what, such as experts on batteries or encryption,’ Cureton said. ‘There may be certain skills, abilities and talents that exist throughout the center, and you want to be able to tap into that knowledge to know areas of expertise of people.’ “
So while, yes, as a former government employee, I’m a bit stunned to say that news organizations should be looking to government for innovation, I’d dare say there is more innovation going on in government right now than at traditional media outlets.
Now a site like Spacebook may be overkill for smaller news organizations, but I can see it helping out larger companies that have multiple offices and bureaus. What about a company like Tribune? Couldn’t an internal social network help get people from different newspapers together on company-wide innovation efforts?
Why not? Tribune needs it.
Most newspapers have virtually identical commenting system to one another, but why is that? Shouldn’t there be more variety? The Washington Post developed a new commenting system, WebCom, that is radically different from what other news organizations are doing.
The Post is hoping this new Flash-based commenting system will help spur better discussions. Take a look at the new system and let me know if you think it will foster better conversations. I have a feeling that some people will really like it, while others will be completely disoriented by it.
I did an in-depth write up of WebCom over at Poynter, but here are some key take home points about the new commenting system:
Watch the video below for a walkthrough of WebCom:
Not all URL shorteners are created equal, especially if you’re shortening URLs for work.
What good is it to shorten a link if it doesn’t work for end users? That will deprive you of page views and frustrate users (potentially losing customers). Speed and reliability matter.
Twitter and social media users know how important URL shorteners have become. Without URL shortening, Twitter and other microblogging services would be much less functional. Many journalists and news organizations are sharing links via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others. For these people and companies, URL shortening reliability is very important.
Royal Pingdom did a great study comparing the speed and reliability of URL shorntening services. Key findings:
Our funding has officially run out, which is why things have been quiet on here lately.
I still have some more content coming and some house keeping to take care of. We are looking for new partners (particularly academic institutions), and are working on some things behind the scenes. It could be awhile before we have funding or backers again, but in the meantime, I’ll try to keep the light on here.
The site itself and all its content will remain up indefinitely, and there will be new content appearing here, just on a slower time frame.
Thanks for everyone who read the site and helped us report. BeatBlogging.Org has been a great success because of you.
I want to share with you a project I’ve been working on, and why I think it illustrates how engagement and interaction are coming to all old medium platforms.
Since earlier this year I have been helping best-selling thriller author Joseph Finder with his social media strategy for his new book Vanished and the book’s main character, Nick Heller. Heller is on Twitter and Facebook (Facebook is an experiment that we just launched this week, while we have been using Twitter for months). But he’s not just tweeting lines from the book or providing a Twitter novelization, but rather Heller’s Twitter account is a complimentary experience to the book that is centered around engagement.
I believe that within a generation it will be expected that characters like Heller will interact with users. The days of one-way experiences are coming to an end. Think of the generation after mine that has grown up with both the Internet and social networks. Do you really think they content with the same products that my grand parents loved? Doubtful.
We really wanted to create an experience for people:
Here are some sample tweets of Nick’s that show the range of what he tweets about:
A response to a question about Heller’s life:
I’m a private spy, @Battleborne. No kids or wife. Not sure if I’ll ever settle down. Too busy with work, investigating firms, politicians…
Got a phone call from my Nephew Gabe. My brother is missing. His wife is in the hospital with a concussion.
Non-shocker of the day: Louisiana ex-congressman William Jefferson convicted of bribery in freezer cash case:http://bit.ly/creOQ
Helping out servicemembers (Heller is ex-military, so he’ll tweet military-related tweets and links for people)
ATM news (Heller requently tweets about the lack of safety at ATMs)
Apparenty arming an ATM with pepper spray is a really bad idea: http://bit.ly/bhB58
High Fructose Corn Syrup, just like sugar, with an extra bit of Mercury thrown in for extra goodness: http://bit.ly/J1Sah
I encourage you to follow Nick Heller on Twitter (@NickHeller) and give me feedback. I’d love to hear what you think.
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:
TwitViewer is a scam. DO NOT use the service — Twitter, 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.