Women make up the majority of users on most social media sites, according to Information is Beautiful.
Here are some popular social networks with a majority of users being female:
- Flickr is 55 percent female.
- Twitter is 57 percent female.
- Facebook is 57 percent female.
- Ning is 59 percent female.
- MySpace is 64 percent female.
YouTube and LinkedIn have an equal ratio of males to female. Digg is the only major social network that is heavily skewed towards males, with 64 percent of users being male.
I have a lot of theories as to why there are more females on social media than men but nothing concrete. It’s clearly important, however, to understand the demographics of each social network, and news organizations — especially newspapers — have struggled for years to attract as many female readers/users as they do with males. Creating more social products can only help attract more females to news products.
Flickr zaps photos: Bad for citizen journalism — This troubling report about a user being deleted (and all his photos) without warning isn’t good news for Flickr as a tool for citizen journalism. The person and account in question was deleted because his comments were flagged by other users.
Fair enough right? Well no, not if there isn’t an appeals process.
Let’s say I post a bunch of comments critical to the current regime in Iran. The regime could have people systematically flag my comments as “abusive.” Enough flags and then my account will be deleted.
That doesn’t sound like a very good tool to use for citizen journalism, does it?
It seems logical that Flickr needs to add an appeals process. And even if a customer loses an appeal, they should be given a few days to at least back-up their photos from Flickr.
How LIVESTRONG Uses Social Media for Good #FindingTheGood — The Lance Armstrong Foundation is using social media to help bolster the foundation itself and also reach new people. In addition, the foundation’s use of social media has helped spread awareness about their goals.
For journalists, however, what’s most worth emulating is how the foundation uses Facebook and Twitter to create a community:
However, LAF probably spends most of its attention on its Facebook and Twitter communities, which serve as an extension of the organization’s mission of creating an atmosphere of support for those affected by cancer. The organization uses its Facebook fan page as a way to directly connect with cancer survivors on a personal basis, and encourages them to share stories on the discussion boards. According to McMillan, people on the site have come together and organically formed a support group. “People have been very awesome on Facebook,” she told me.
WARNING: Yet Another Twitter Scam Invades Trending Topics — This isn’t the first malware warning about Twitter we’ve had on this site, and unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be the last one we’ll be warning you about either:
Today is Alan Turing’s birthday, and there’s nothing unusual about “Alan Turing” being one of the trending topics on Twitter. However, if you aren’t careful, you might end up clicking the wrong link and picking up some malware along the way.
Now, malware is avoidable if you take precautions. Be wary of clicking on links in the trending topics area. You’ll notice that many people spam the trending topics. You might notice them posting a random string of popular people and phrases with some hashtags and a link: “Britney Spears naked Ed McMahon dies #IranElection Jon and Kate plus 8 http://fakelinkhere.com”
When people do that, they are just trying to scam the system and show up under the trending topics. They want you to click their links (at best just spam, but often far worse).
In particular, Mashable is warning users to stay away of low.cc and myworlds.mp links.
Run Well: The New York Times branches out into a web app to manage your marathon training — The New York Times recently created a new application, Run Well, to help people prepare for marathons:
It lets you choose an upcoming marathon to run and offers six training programs — from famous coaches including Greg McMillan and Jeff Galloway — tailored to a reader’s running experience. Once you chose a program, the tracker displays a full training calendar, a progress chart, and detailed information about each day’s run. You can log each day’s workout, adding any specific comments you’ll want to remember later.
I’m not a marathon runner, so I’ll skip talking about specifics of the app itself, but the idea itself is quite interesting. New York is home to one of the more famous marathons, and The Times has marathon and distance running coverage throughout the year. Creating an interactive application like Run Well could create a special bond with distance runners all over the world.
What can this tool ultimately do for the Times? First, and most importantly, it can help create a more loyal audience. Other news outlets also cover distance running, but how many others offer a valuable tool like Run Well for free? None, last time I checked.
Run Well, and products like it, are exactly the kinds of things that news organizations should be creating. Run Well makes perfect sense with the Times’s editorial product, and the Times maybe able to charge for Run Well in the future. I could also imagine a whole community springing up around this app on nytimes.com.
Technology Review: Wikipedia Gets Ready for a Video Upgrade — Over the next 2-3 months, Wikipedia will be adding video. Contributors will be able to add videos to entries on the site, which should further increase the utility of Wikipeida.
Ultimately, one of the main ideas is to “encourage content providers to put more video into the public domain via the vast online encyclopedia”
It’s starting to become a little ridiculous for people — many of them old-school journalists — to deny the power of Twitter, especially in light of what is happening in Iran right now.
I can offer no great insight into who really won the recent presidential election, but it is clear to everyone that many people in Iran are not happy and feel they have been screwed over. Again, however, it is social media leading the way for coverage. If you want to know what’s really going on in Iran, Twitter is the place to be.
Right now, four of the top trending topics on the service are IranElection (No. 1 right now), Tehran, Iranians and TwitterReschedules. The last topic is about how Twitter has rescheduled routine maintenance, as not to disrupt the current chatter about Iran. It’s a good thing that Twitter at least recognizes the seriousness of this situation, because many in at traditional media outlets haven’t paid much attention to this unfolding story.
The Iranian government controls the media. The BBC even believes that Iran is responsible for their satellite signal being blocked in the region. That’s exactly where a subversive social media technology like Twitter comes in.
Decades ago, a totalitarian government could have made it extremely difficult for the outside world to know what was happening in their country. To this day, North Korea and its internal workings are shrouded in mystery. State-run media can silence dissidents internally as well.
But no government has found a way to silence the broader Web. Sure China tries, but even the great firewall has great cracks. In Iran, we are seeing that the Web — and more specifically social media — cannot be silenced.
What makes Twitter such a subversive tool is that it is so hard to block and stop. Anyone with a mobile phone (and there are many more mobile phones than computers in the world) can post to Twitter. Those with more advanced phones can upload photos and text via the service. It’s difficult to stop millions of people from sharing their experiences via a network like Twitter.
Sure, Iran is trying to block all this information from coming out, but that’s far easier said than done. On the Web, even if the government finds a way to block a Web service, it won’t stay blocked for long. Alternative proxies and other workarounds quickly propagate throughout the Internet.
Beyond the merely technically is the shear scale of the problem for the Iranian government. There are lots of social media sites out there to try to block, and even if the government managed to block all of them, it would still have to contend with millions of blogs. The beauty of the Web is that it allows anyone’s voice to be heard.
For the real story, one needs to be on Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc. The mainstream media like CNN have been woefully inadequate in covering the turmoil (although they have been coming around). In fact, for most of the weekend, CNN.com did not feel the unrest in Iran was worthy of being the top story.
Ironically, it was Twitter users who slammed CNN the hardest. #CNNFail become a popular hashtag on the service as angry users slammed the network for taking such a caviler approach to this issue. Ever since then, CNN.com has taken a far more serious and in-depth approach to the upheaval in Iran.
Here is what some Iranians are saying on Twitter:
“I’ve learned something today. Americans DO care about the world outside America. Their media just doesn’t.”
“Non stop sound of shooting heard in Tehran.”
“Just saw pics of dead bodies. Bodies of young iranians. Got sick and cried for hrs.”
“Good night. viva freedom. viva truth. Hope a better coverage by media. That’s our only support.”
“I’m so tired and going to get some rest while I know there r people & students in streets fighting for justice.”
YouTube big in coverage too
Not only are people sharing powerful images and text via Twitter, but a myriad of user-generated video is appearing on YouTube. These are the kinds of video that traditional media outlets rarely get. These are also the kinds of video that the MSM may hide from the public because they are too raw (read: to real).
For instance, take this video of a crowd of protestors being shot at:
Here is another video of protestors chanting into the night:
Professional journalism bringing analysis, insight & context
There is, of course, room for professional journalists in this equation. Professional reporters can make sense of all these tweets, photos and videos. Professional reporters can also offer additional on-the-ground insight.
Beyond that, professional journalists can offer analysis and try to answer the why question. The ideal future of media involves a collaboration between citizen and professional journalists.
These are the kinds of stories you won’t find originating on Twitter:
- Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ordered an investigation into charges of voter fraud
- BBC Iranian affairs analyst Sadeq Saba looks at the key questions in the wake of the county’s bitterly contested presidential election result
- In Iran, an iron cleric, now blinking
- ANALYSIS – No-win situation for Obama team on Iran
All of these photos come via Flickr, another social networking site that is helping to spur this revolution.
White House Joins Facebook, MySpace, Twitter — Even the White House is on social media. Are you?
The official White House blog called the move White House 2.0:
In the President’s last Weekly Address, he called on government to “recognize that we cannot meet the challenges of today with old habits and stale thinking.” He added that “we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative,” and pledged to “reach beyond the halls of government” to engage the public. Today the White House is taking steps to expand how the Administration is communicating with the public, including the latest information and guidance about the H1N1 virus. In addition to WhiteHouse.gov, you can now find us in a number of other spots on the web:
If the government can embrace social media to be more open, anyone can.
Five terrific Twitter research tools — Twitter makes such a strong reporting tool preciously because it is such a strong research tool. It’s a great way to find news, see what people are saying and judge popular opinion. This article lists five Twitter research tools — outside of Twitter itself — that take the service to a new level.
The tools should take your tweeting to a new level.
Seven Totally Unique Flickr Search Tools — Not only is Flickr a great place to store photos, but it is also a great place to search for photos. Flickr also has a treasure trove of Creative Commons licensed photos that you can place on your blog or Web site. There is a problem, however. Flickr has billions of photos to sort through.
These seven search tools can make it a lot easier to find the photo you want. These search engines display photos differently, can search by colors in photos, can translate captions for you and more.