Category Archives: Uncategorized

26 Things to Do on Facebook

Trend Tracker’s Twitter feed  got me interested in this article about businesses and how they should use Facebook and more specifically their fan pages. According to the article at there are 26 things to do. Some seem obvious (number 1 is Use It!) while others seem tricky or risky for businesses to do.

For instance:

  • 3. Be personal and informal – Your Facebook page is not your website. It isn’t ad copy. When you post updates, write the way you speak. You don’t want to be sloppy, but be conversational. Speak to your fans in the same way you would in person.
  • While I would probably want WaWa to behave this way on its Facebook fan page, would I want a law firm or other more “serious” business acting this way. What about media outlets l ike newspapers or news organizations? Do I expect different things from the New York Times as opposed to Atlantic City Weekly?

    Other suggestions are smart, (Advertise! Promote! Have contests!) but I wonder just how seriously businesses are taking these suggestions. Granted some may be taking risks, but I have a feeling most companies use Facebook to show they are relevant to the times and emerging social media.

    What do you think?


    How to Save Journalism?

    Have you read John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney’s article at The Nation about How to Save Journalism? You should.

    In it, they discuss different federal agencies and the work they have been doing in examining the problems in our nation’s newsrooms. Each agency has undergone investigations and have been discussing proposals that may help the newspaper industry. Within the next few weeks the FTC is going to hold hearings to figure out what they can do to eliminate the shrinking number of jobs there are at newspapers.

     In the third paragraph the authors bring up a great point, one that I’m surprised and annoyed that no one else has brought up before.

    the way the challenges facing journalism are being discussed, indeed the way the crisis itself is being framed, will make it tough for even the most sincere policy-makers to offer a viable answer to it.

    The authors point to the language used in many of these conferences and how the entire industry is being framed as obsolete because of the internet.

    The FTC’s conference is titled “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?” FCC chair Julius Genachowski explains the crisis as the result of “game-changing new technologies as well as the economic downturn.” The assumption is clear: it’s the Internet that’s the problem. But just as MTV’s debut pronouncement that “Video Killed the Radio Star” proved to be dramatically overstated, so is the notion that journalism’s disintegration can be attributed to a brand-new digital revolution or even an old-fashioned economic meltdown.

    Another interesting section chronicles the downfall of newspapers predating the surge in popularity of the internet. This hasn’t previously been discussed and really sheds some light on what has gone wrong.


    Ap Stylebook to Add New Media Entries

    If you aren’t as dorky as me (and really who is?) then you may not be aware of the AP Stylebook. A must have for all journalists, the stylebook comes out with a new edition each year and is the main source for usage, spelling, abbreviations, as well as other grammar/writing advice.

    Along with the rest of journalism, the AP Stylebook is changing and adapting to become more aware of new and social media. The editors recently announced that they will be adding a new section of the book on new media and social media for the 2010 addition that will be released in June.  Currently, the book has sections for business, sports as well as punctuation.

    I’m interested to see what the AP will and will not include in the section. It will be interesting to see how current the section will be, and if in future issues current entries will have to be deleted because of obscurity.

    Regardless, this is a big deal for the social media community, and geeks like me who can’t wait to purchase a new copy of the stylebook.

    The Future is Free?’s  Chris Anderson wrote a piece in 2008 entitled Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business.

    In the article he makes some great points, but at times his ideas seem wild and impossible.  While I realize that most content on the internet is currently free, I do not see how that is going to be possible in the future. With newspapers and magazines trying to be online only, how will they turn a profit if they do not charge for their content?

    Right now advertising online is not making the profit newspapers wish it was. Thus, newspapers cannot rely on that alone to keep a publication afloat.

    Perhaps the most interesting Anderson discusses is “Freemium”,  where:

     The traditional free sample is the promotional candy bar handout or the diapers mailed to a new mother. Since these samples have real costs, the manufacturer gives away only a tiny quantity — hoping to hook consumers and stimulate demand for many more.

    In the freemium model, that means for every user who pays for the premium version of the site, 99 others get the basic free version. The reason this works is that the cost of serving the 99 percent is close enough to zero to call it nothing.

    The example Anderson gives is Flickr and Flickr Pro. Users do not have to pay for Flickr but Flickr Pro costs roughly $25 a year. I understand this business model but how is that  going to work for newspapers or magazines, when the mere thought of paying for an online subscription makes people livid?

    As Anderson states in his article, information wants to be free and free is what we want information to be, so soon it will all be free online. This is a bold statement, one that I’m not ready to admit to working  just yet.


    Today Fiona Barnett, the Director of HASTAC Scholars and a Ph. D. candidate at Duke University,  announced that there would be a new Twitter account for HASTAC scholars. There already is one for HASTAC in general, but now with the scholar one information can be more organized and readily available.

    The HASTAC Scholars program has been doing a lot lately to make the program more visible in social media. There is a Facebook group and a listserv for members. Overall, it makes communication much easier.

    LA Times Releases New Social Media Guidelines

    Today the LA Times released a memo to their staff regarding social media, adding on to the guidelines they released in March. I saw this update through Trend Tracker’s update on  Twitter Here is what the LA Times added or revised.

    Social media networks – Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others – provide useful reporting and promotional tools for Los Angeles Times journalists. The Times’ Ethics Guidelines will largely cover issues that arise when using social media, but this brief document should provide additional guidance on specific questions.

    Basic Principles

    • Integrity is our most important commodity: Avoid writing or posting anything that would embarrass The Times or compromise your ability to do your job.

    • Assume that your professional life and your personal life will merge online regardless of your care in separating them.

    • Even if you use privacy tools (determining who can view your page or profile, for instance), assume that everything you write, exchange or receive on a social media site is public.

    • Just as political bumper stickers and lawn signs are to be avoided in the offline world, so too are partisan expressions online.

    • Be aware of perceptions. If you “friend” a source or join a group on one side of a debate, do so with the other side as well. Also understand that readers may view your participation in a group as your acceptance of its views; be clear that you’re looking for story ideas or simply collecting information. Consider that you may be an observer of online content without actively participating.

    Guidelines for Reporting

    • Be aware of inadvertent disclosures or the perception of disclosures. For example, consider that “friending” a professional contact may publicly identify that person as one of your sources.

    • You should identify yourself as a Times employee online if you would do so in a similar situation offline.

    • Authentication is essential: Verify sourcing after collecting information online. When transmitting information online – as in re-Tweeting material from other sources – apply the same standards and level of caution you would in more formal publication.

    Additional Notes

     Using social media sites means that you (and the content you exchange) are subject to their terms of service. This can have legal implications, including the possibility that your interactions could be subject to a third-party subpoena. The social media network has access to and control over everything you have disclosed to or on that site. For instance, any information might be turned over to law enforcement without your consent or even your knowledge.

    • These passages from the “Outside affiliations and community work” section of the Ethics Guidelines may be helpful as you navigate social media sites. For the complete guidelines, please see The Times’ library’s intranet site or, if you are outside the company network, see the Readers’ Representative Journal.

    Editorial employees may not use their positions at the paper to promote personal agendas or causes. Nor should they allow their outside activities to undermine the impartiality of Times coverage, in fact or appearance.

    Staff members may not engage in political advocacy – as members of a campaign or an organization specifically concerned with political change. Nor may they contribute money to a partisan campaign or candidate. No staff member may run for or accept appointment to any public office. Staff members should avoid public expressions or demonstrations of their political views – bumper stickers, lawn signs and the like.

    Although The Times does not seek to restrict staff members’ participation in civic life or journalistic organizations, they should be aware that outside affiliations and memberships may create real or apparent ethical conflicts. When those affiliations have even the slightest potential to damage the newspaper’s credibility, staff members should proceed with caution and take care to advise supervisors.

    Some types of civic participation may be deemed inappropriate. An environmental writer, for instance, would be prohibited from affiliating with environmental organizations, a health writer from joining medical groups, a business editor from membership in certain trade or financial associations

    While the entire new section of the guideline is interesting I think the most important part is: Although The Times does not seek to restrict staff members’ participation in civic life or journalistic organizations, they should be aware that outside affiliations and memberships may create real or apparent ethical conflicts.

    This idea is not often talked about, but is still important. Journalists have a professional life and a personal life which is often brought together through new media. Making the distinction between the two is often difficult and gets people in trouble. Often employees feel that their employer is restricting them and their social media use by regulating it.

    While these guidelines are good and are an improvement over the older ones I can’t help but wonder how often newspapers are going to have to update their social media guidelines. I can’t help but think it’s going to be every few months, or at least as fast as the technologies advance.

    For a complete guide to the LA Times Ethics Guidelines you can visit their website.

    New HASTAC Forum

    Today a new HASTAC forum was announced. It’s called Grading 2.0: Evaluation in the Digital Age.

    The abstract for the forum says this:

    As the educational and cultural climate changes in response to new technologies for creating and sharing information, educators have begun to ask if the current framework for assessing student work, standardized testing, and grading is incompatible with the way these students should be learning and the skills they need to acquire to compete in the information age. Many would agree that its time to expand the current notion of assessment and create new metrics, rubrics, and methods of measurement in order to ensure that all elements of the learning process are keeping pace with the ever-evolving world in which we live. This new framework for assessment might build off of currently accepted strategies and pedagogy, but also take into account new ideas about what learners should know to be successful and confident in all of their endeavors. 

    While this topic isn’t something I’m particularly interested in, I am excited to see what people come up with. It will be intriguing to see where the professors on HASTAC will take this conversation. I’m also hoping that standardized testing is talked about thoroughly, as recently there has been much debate about how they help prepare students and how they gauge intelligence. Specific studies of the SATs and GREs would be an interesting topic to look at.