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?

The spirit of the community

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Shopping district Noordse Bosje

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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!

Twitter Isn’t Journalism

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I Am Majid Social Media Campaign

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BusinessWeek has an interesting article about Twitter Isn’t Journalism. It relates a bit to the last post which makes it quite interesting to put it in context. It containts an historical perspective containing several examples of use of social media in the past during journalistic coverage. Poor news coverage and difficulty in verification of the sources create a contrast with the speed of the newsfacts, illustrative links and (new) sources and perspective to a story. It makes an interesting read. The conclusion, which is that journalists have to learn how to deal with Twitter and alike media, is easy to conform!

Needed a plane crash to Twitter

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Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 (1b)

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My Twitter account exist for a couple of years already. I registered 11 July 2007 and made a couple of updates. From time to time but not extremely regularly. My eyes opened for Twitter on that Wednesday, 25th February. I was working in my house and as usually, I had my phone switched on and looked at Twitter from time to time to see what happens, not really expecting something. Until I saw at about 10.45 a tweet like: ‘Who is that guy – never active on Twitter and now he’s telling a plane crashed’. Because that appeared to happen: a Boeing 737-800 of Turkish Airlines, TK1951, litterally dropped outof the air just before the regular landing. I relived a bit the ‘sensation’ when the planes flew into the New York towers – what will happen? So I kept a closer eye on the streams, More people joined in and confirmed. First retweeting the ‘unknown’ guy but later also adding more. Like there’s no information at Schiphol Airport except that more or less all flights were cancelled or diverted (in that way, Schiphol doesn’t seem to learn as when something happens, the information still is not there). Tweeps added images. But still no ‘confirmation’ from the ‘old’ media. In the traffic jam near the accident, some people took pictures as they were waiting, standing still in the queue. It took the traditional at least one hour and a half to communicate something happened, and relied on the press conference for more information. I know it by then. Twitter has won the battle. For speed, and for information. That was the moment I really saw the value of this medium – and as well the limitations of the regular media in these kinds of emergencies. Where was De Telegraaf – normally very fast in coverage and close to the place of the accident? What are all those journos doing? I know it is a discussion but always when something happens, it’s Twitter that beat the news. The plane making an emergency landing on the Hudson river. The Egypt revolution. This week, a fire in Lemmer at the Polem factory. First pictures and a bit of useful information: it was on Twitter. BNR Radio, one hour later, talked about ‘fat black smoke taking the air’. By that time, this was not the case anymore. The fire was not under control yet but not that fierce as it was. The traditionals were late. And, unfortunately: this is often the case. Journalism can’t beat Twitter in speed, but it will do in depth. Well-documented. For fast and emergency information, Twitter is number one. And I think this should be used more in communication. In crisis situations, Twitter should be the first aid in the tool kit. To inform people. The few ones that may actually see that tweet will RT it, I’m sure. Information get spread fast – and that’s needed in those situations. The established media should make use of this more often. It will empower them.

Filtering through loads of information

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Emergency "Twitter was down so I wrote my...

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Just as I was aware that Mashable is going to make it easier tho literally channel its information that you probably think it’s too much already, I saw in this collection the pointer to a way to make the Twitter stream more consumable. For the Chrome browser, the ‘6th Sense extension‘ has been launched which sorts out the information in the timeline on twitter.com and presents it for the last 24 or 48 hours not in chronological, but in relevance order adding a tab to the site. I probably have to test this however I do not use the twitter.com site too often. I will try it though

Twitter and media – what’s up doc?

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Twitter Inc HQ

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Twitter and media have in a way a weird relationship. They are linked to each other but i have the impression that media professionals (I mean: news media professionals) have difficulties to make the combination. Twitter is fast and impulsive, whilst their traditional, quality product is sometimes too deep to suffer of the fast and superficial tweets. Yes, journalists may use twitter to source (and nine other ways) but in general they are not the most active users. Some of them, even editors in chiefs, have difficulties getting a substantial followers base. I like to dig into this matter and if you feel like, if you have any tips to share: let me know!

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