Social media are for business

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Social Media Club

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I just remembered when during the Social Media Club meeting one journalist was saying not to believe the internet would be there in a couple of years time this myst have been naivity or was he just closing his eyes as a change was imminent? Media are business nowadays and nobody can hide from that fact. The numbers are convincing enough – and business is about numbers. Media are business – so about numbers.

The romantism of working in media will be diffent in the near future. We don’t work on a typewriter for a long time and the print is not made with lead shapes anymore. It’s getting to be about people and people only. The distance that existed traditionally between the journalist and the audience is to disappear, we will work in the centre of the society, surrounded by people who are our sources and the audience at the same time. Get used to it. It’s the only way.

Facebook as a journalist tool

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New York Times

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It was weird to see a job ad for a journalist advocate working for Facebook, to promote the use of Facebook under journalists. Did reporters not discover the networking site yet? For years, the social media site is known for its benefits. In 2009, Mashable already wrote about the opportunities to find leads for an article, to find sources to get information and a two-way communication tool to reach an audience. Nothing new… also not because one year earlier, already was described how a journalist found a way to make scoops using Facebook as a platform of preference.

In the time of Web 3.0, where many journalists still seem to prefere their notepad and pencil over the computer and the internet for professional use, Facebook (among others) is a good platform to integrate and create groups and interaction. Hanging out on Facebook must lead to stories, is a quote that can be found in several places.

So why would Facebook need a journalist to be a journalist advocate? Why don’t reporters find Facebook? It has in a way the agility of Twitter in the perspective of speed – and at the same time, the functionality of LinkedIn with groups for special knowledge. And it is quite easy to connect with people. I just wonder why this should be brought under the attention of the professionals. I’m curious how you as a journalist think of Facebook. I like it for several purposes. Hanging out, hearing about new professional developments, to name one example. How do you think of this?

What’s wrong with Social Media?

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Social Media: Changing Business

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This time I keep it to the point, and dedicate my words to 10 Popular Misconceptions about Social Media. Especially people working in media seem to have difficulties really understand their meaning.

  1. Lunch and other irrelevant talk – there are so many people with their preferences that there is enough to share. What is irrelevant for you may be important to know for some-one else. There’s also a ‘mood’ indicator!
  2. Twitter as a business doesn’t make money so isn’t a viable business – there are more businesses that don’t make money and still are significant. The value of Twitter is based on the number of users quite important.
  3. LinkedIn is for business, Facebook for personal contacts. Some-one missed out here on the business cases now made on Facebook. Why do you think businesses are creating Facebook pages? To reach their client base and perhaps even give service or a branding.
  4. Social networks are time consuming – I just twitter wherever I am, whenever I do. Just need an internet connection on the phone. Some people do not understand that even the time that a computer needs to start up, find a servcr or a file, can be used to communicate. So it can make lost time useful.
  5. Sharing is for exhibitionists. Sharing is a gift and can help other people. I like helping other people, don’t you really? And of course, I like to show when I am doing fun things. Not that weird…
  6. 140 characters is not enough for meaningful messages. It forces you to trim the message down to the point. This is an important skill.
  7. You can’t make money on Twitter. I know quite some businesses that make a lot of money on Twitter. Twitter helps my business… don’t you think my follower base of more than 2300 does not have potential? Wine merchand @slijterijmeisje makes a significant part of her revenues on Twitter – and if there was nothing to earn here, we would not have that many spam messages either.
  8. Does age matter? Simply said: no.
  9. Information overload. It just compacts the information and helps it channel. I don’t mind.
  10. It’s just for nerds and geeks. Don’t think so – judge for yourself.

It’s easy to take a mickey out of social media. It’s there for stay and as you see here: social media is more or less put on Twitter. You can reach a lot of important people for business through LinkedIn, access information using Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and Twitter contacts – just mention #twitterhelp if you have a question to answer! If people don’t see the point in social media, it just characterises themselves. Just see and use them as a tool. It will broaden your world and push you forward. Maybe not immediately but you will get there.

The spirit of the community

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Shopping district Noordse Bosje

Image via Wikipedia

A personal story this time. Through Twitter, I came in touch with a former colleague – a photograher of a weekly newspaper where I was the editor in chief (Stadskrant Veghel). Years ago. Through the Twitter connection we said hello but it was for me the incentive to invite her for a cup of coffee. Fixing a date is the next challenge, so she came up with a meeting of the Social Media Club in the region, SMC0413. This was good as for me, it was an incentive to meet other people, like a girl I used to play squash with and other former colleagues. And of course, I could meet new people with one common characteristic: social media.

It was a great meeting and I wondered if there was a Social Media Club in the region where I live. Yes, Amsterdam but the waiting list of their meetings usually is longer than the available space. A no-go. Then Hilversum, the media city of The Netherlands. None! I couldn’t believe it. So I made a call on Twitter for social media people around the city to join SMC035 – and we created a LinkedIn group SMC035. As more or less immedately, I found people who wanted to help giving the SMC 035 a shape. I was amazed that on the first day the LinkedIn group was created, we got about 16 members, actually (over the week-end) the number is 24. And quite some of them like to help organising the events. This is a good spirit, that’s what I like about social media: getting things done, spontaneously, and with other people. Everything is possible as long as you are open for it!

Journalism 2.0: Social Media Ethics

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Image representing Nathan T. Wright as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

In the slideshare presentation¬†Journalism 2.0: Social Media Ethics, Nathan T. Wright gives some cues on how to judge and work with sources from social media. This subject is actual as in this kind of cicumstances, social media give often more information. Think of the revolts in Egypt, the news about the Christmas lights at Harrod’s in London, plane crashes and other accidents. The reliability of the sources need checking, probably even more then usual. The challenge is often to find the right person who is a source, place the message in context of what happened. Checking twice or more often is the rule here. Nathan gives some useful handles, also on how to judge images that may be manipulated.

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