Recent posts in my Social media Category

January 28, 2013

Vine - social networking’s newest “Minimum Viable Product”?

Is video-loop sharing app Vine the most high-profile experiment yet with the concept of the “Minimum Viable Product”?

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If you can’t see the point of Vine, maybe that’s because you only see the output?

There is already a lot of grumbling on the net that new video-loop sharing app Vine is ‘pointless’. Perhpas the point isn’t necessarily the output alone…?

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January 25, 2013

You can’t please all the commenters all of the time

The Guardian swapped flat comment threads for ‘nested’ ones. The Manchester Evening News swapped ‘nested’ for flat. Guess what happened next…

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January 17, 2013

Was the Guardian right to open comments on their Vauxhall helicopter crash live blog?

The Guardian’s website has been no stranger to controversy over the last couple of weeks, and yesterday was no exception, with the decision to have comments open on the live blog of the unfolding reporting of the helicopter crash in London.

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January 4, 2013

Three things I thought were interesting about Menshn

At the risk of just turning into a linklog to Matt Andrews’s blog, he wrote a great post this week about trying to set aside the British curse of negativity. During the course of it he spoke about his own reaction to Menshn, and it has prompted me to dig this unfinished blog post out of the “drafts” folder.

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December 7, 2012

“The philosophy of” - Dave Wyllie at news:rewired

At news:rewired, Dave Wyllie of talked about the duty of care the service had to the citizen eye-witness sources it uses. Here are my notes

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December 6, 2012

“Curating social media during Hurricane Sandy for the Guardian” - Katie Rogers at news:rewired

At news:rewired the Guardian’s Katie Rogers was talking about how the US arm of the paper used social media to cover Hurricane Sandy as it landed on their New York doorstep. Here are my notes from her talk.

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November 9, 2012

Guardian comment system changes: The perils of designing for all users, not just the vocal ones

The Guardian are currently trying out some changes to their commenting system. Like most changes to a major website, the backlash amongst some users is very, very vocal, and everybody gets to watch.

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October 14, 2012

The vexing issue of managing football comments on a newspaper website

On Friday I was involved in a Twitter conversation with Guardian journalists Sean Ingle and Sid Lowe about the value of comments underneath football stories on newspaper websites.

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August 12, 2012

The “User generated content Olympics” - 2008 style

Services aggregating social media around the London 2012 Olympic Games remind me of a service I created in 2008 to grab pictures and tweets from the Beijing Olympics - Fansivu.

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July 25, 2012

Is Godzilla destroying journalism?

I recently appeared at an event entitled “Is social media destroying journalism?”. Here is the essay version of what I said on the night. Featuring a certain B-movie favourite...

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July 18, 2012

“Sweat the 1%” - what newspapers could learn from Facebook Marketing London

On Wednesday I was talking at Facebook Marketing London 2012 about the Guardian’s Facebook app, and I’ve put together a collection of things I’ve previously written about the app. Here are some of my notes from what I saw on the rest of the day.

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July 5, 2012

Neal Mann & Simon Rogers on social media and datajournalism at Activate

Neal Mann and Simon Rogers appeared on the same panel at the Guardian’s London Activate Summit, talking about some of the ways that digital technology has changed the way that they carry out their roles as journalists. Here are my notes.

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June 13, 2012

My quick opinion of the Times Opinion on Tumblr

The Times new Opinion Tumblr doesn’t signal a retreat from the paywall - if anything, it potentially raises the “value for money” that customers think they are getting.

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May 30, 2012

Give share buttons their due - they do change user behaviour

There’s a really interesting post by Oliver Reichenstein doing the rounds at the moment entitled “Sweep the Sleaze”, about why sites should remove share buttons from their pages. If you haven’t read it, you should. And then come back and read why I don’t agree with it.

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May 14, 2012

The Premier League finale brought out Twitter’s churlish side

The climax of the Premier League brought out an astonishing display of churlishness amongst non-footie fans on Twitter.

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May 8, 2012

The ups and down of Facebook Social Reader traffic

There has been quite some hoo-ha on the web suggesting that Facebook “Social Reader” apps are dying, based on a piece written by BuzzFeed’s John Herrman - “Facebook social readers are all collapsing”. I worked on the Guardian’s app - here’s my take on it.

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April 18, 2012

The Guardian and @911tenyearsago - several months on

Live tweeting the demise of the Titanic in real-tile seemed acceptable, yet a few months back the Guardian was severely criticised for taking a similar approach to tweeting the events of 9/11. Here are some thoughts on why that earned criticism and why it was right for the tweeting to be halted.

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April 3, 2012

Sunny Hundal, Adrian McShane and Paul Gesiak at Hacks/Hackers London

Last week was the monthly Hacks/Hackers London meet-up hosted by Joanna Geary and Jonathan Richards. I’ve already posted my notes from the opening talk about Hailo. Here is what I jotted down from the rest of the evening.

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February 18, 2012

“Pinterest is dead / over-valued / causing divorces” and other assorted forthcoming memes...

A quick glimpse into the future and some of the blog posts and stories I expect to see written about Pinterest in the coming weeks and months...

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February 17, 2012

“Social media optimisation” - Q&A at news:rewired

A couple of weeks ago I was part of a panel session talking about social media optimisation at news:rewired. I was talking about the Guardian’s Facebook app, and the rest of the panel consisted of Darren Waters from MSN, the BBC’s Chris Hamilton, and Nate Lanxon of Wired. Here are some points that came out of the Q&A that followed the talks.

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February 16, 2012

“Watch this (social) space...” - MSN’s Darren Waters at news:rewired

At news:rewired, MSN’s Darren Waters discussed how, with limited resources, MSN were adopting a human social media voice, and reaping rewards in increased user engagement.

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February 15, 2012

“Twitter did/did not break news” is the new “bloggers vs journalists”

I tweeted today that “Twitter did/did not break news” is the new “bloggers vs journalists” - a tired old trope that gets periodically trotted out. It was this dreary ReadWriteWeb piece about the origins of news of Whitney Houston’s death that provoked it. News breaks for the user where they first find it - and that isn’t a broadcast network anymore, it is a real-time peer-to-peer one.

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“Less is more - social media at the BBC” - Chris Hamilton at news:rewired

A couple of weeks back I was at news:rewired to talk about the Guardian’s Facebook app, as part of a panel discussing social media optimisation. Here is the first of my set of notes from the other talks making up the panel - Chris Hamilton, Social Media Editor at the BBC.

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February 14, 2012

“Social media, investigative journalism, ethics and security” - Nicola Hughes at news:rewired

As part of news:rewired earlier this month, there were workshop sessions on skills like SEO and datajournalism. Leading one of the sessions was Nicola Hughes, aka DataMinerUK, teaching people how to use social media for search. Here are my notes from a session that raised interesting issues of ethics and security for investigative journalists using social media.

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February 8, 2012

Three things adults need to know about teens, Facebook and privacy

Last week at news:rewired I was talking about the Guardian’s Facebook app. During the Q&A after my talk, the topic of privacy cropped up several times, especially with regard to younger people using the Facebook platform. Here are three important things that I think adults should know about when they are discussing privacy amongst teenagers.

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February 7, 2012

“Did we get something of journalistic value?” - Liz Heron on social media success at news:rewired

Last week Liz Heron gave the opening keynote address at news:rewired, explaining some of the social media work that the New York Times does, and offering some advice for those who are also involved in doing it. These are my notes from her session.

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February 3, 2012

“The Guardian’s Facebook app” - Martin Belam at news:rewired

At news:rewired today I was part of a panel discussing optimising news sites for social media. I talked about the Guardian’s Facebook app. Here is an essay version of the talks.

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January 30, 2012

Frictionless or not, on Facebook or not, people love to share on the web

The release of 60 new apps that employ Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” has sparked another round of internet debate about the value of the functionality. Here’s my take.

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“Slow social media” - This is my jam

At the Guardian, most days we have a five minute talk about something digital during morning conference. Often it is our own products and services we showcase, but sometimes we talk about something outside the building that has caught our eye digitally. Last week I was talking about This Is My Jam.

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January 26, 2012

“Pulling the news from the social media noise” - Storyful’s Markham Nolan at #cmLDN

Last night I went to the Community Managers meet-up in London. Markham Nolan was talking about how Storyful sources social media content from accidental citizen journalists.

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January 23, 2012

Happy “Community Manager Appreciation Day” 2012

Today is “Community Manager Appreciation Day”. If you’ve ever taken part in online community, used UGC for research or entertainment, or chased up story leads from comments left across the web, you probably owe it somewhere to an unsung community manager. I’m not normally a big fan of organised recognition, but I believe, especially in the news space, that community management is a dangerously under-valued skill.

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January 11, 2012

SEO is dead. Again.

The launch of Google’s “Search, plus Your World” launch has started a round of people exclaiming that SEO is dead. Again. I’m trying to find out exactly when the fatality took place - and the earliest claim I can find is March 2005.

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January 9, 2012

Don’t expect the IOC to understand social media at the London Olympics - their website lives in 2009

Paul Adams, an ex-Googler now at Facebook, has written a great blog post about why the announcement that volunteers at the London Olympics won’t be able to use social media is not just King Cnut-like, but a missed opportunity. It is no surprise the IOC doesn’t understand social media.

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Social media stories with happy endings

Everybody loves a social media story with a happy ending - by which I don’t mean that PR stunt about that other Martin guy. Here are two that have caught my eye over the last few days, involving a student trying to get an internship, and the Muscatine Journal in Iowa.

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January 6, 2012

Blog comments - a pause for thought

Mathew Ingram wrote yet another great post on GigaOm the other day entitled “Yes, blog comments are still worth the effort.” He was responding to what is beginning to seem like a trend for bloggers deciding not to have comments on their site. I’m one of them - and here’s why I need a break from them.

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January 4, 2012

Editing the Guardian’s Facebook ebook

Over the holidays the Guardian published the second ebook collection that I have edited them. Following on from “Who’s Who: The Resurrection of the Doctor”, I’ve tackled “Facebook: The rise and rise of a social media giant”. Here are some notes on the editing process of the book.

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November 9, 2011

An A-Z of journalism Twitter etiquette

There are a limited number of letters in the alphabet, and so, with the suggestion that journalists should be using “NT” to demonstrate a neutral point of view when retweeting, I thought we should just go ahead and define the entire alphabet of inept journalistic use of Twitter etiquette all in one go.

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November 7, 2011

Why are men such cocks on the internet?

Here is a miserable set of reading if you: 1. Like the internet. 2. Are a man. 3. Would prefer it if you lived in a society where it wouldn’t be acceptable for someone to threaten your mother, sister or daughter with rape and sexual violence for the dreadful crime of expressing their opinion on the internet.

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October 24, 2011

Chris Sumner on Twitter tracking at Hacks/Hackers London

Here are my notes from Chris Sumner’s Hacks/Hackers London talk about using tools to map social networks across the web, and what that means for information security and digital journalists.

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October 12, 2011

Reaction to the Guardian’s Facebook app

It is just over twenty days since we released the Guardian Facebook app. I’ve been engaged with a lot of conversations with people about it on Twitter over the last couple of weeks, and I thought I might put down a few thoughts on the app, and some of the reaction to it.

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September 18, 2011

Comment is free...but trolling is sacred

This week I braved the potential troll hordes of the interwebs with a piece for Comment Is Free about the trolling phenomena, commissioned as part of our coverage of the prison sentence given to Sean Duffy for some unsavoury internet posts mocking the deaths of teenagers. Given the subject matter and the potential audience, I think I got off quite lightly in the comments, especially after it ended up with the headline “All you trolls out there – come out and explain yourself”.

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September 2, 2011

How digital transformed the news cycle - and what you can do about it

This is an essay version of a talk given at last week’s Hacks/Hackers meet-up in London. I presented eight things that I believe news organisations need to stop doing, start doing, or do better, in order to cope with the way that digital has transformed the news cycle.

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September 1, 2011

“Don’t be a dick” - the golden rule of news website comment threads

I happen to think that if you take most community management guidelines or blogging and commenting guidelines for staff, they basically boil down to “Don’t be a dick”. In fact, I think there is quite a simple flow chart to follow if you find yourself on the wrong end of a moderation decision on a news website.

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August 24, 2011

Let’s train journalists for the future, not for the past

I’ll be speaking tonight at the London Hacks/Hackers meeting, and one of the points I’ll be making is that the digital publishing revolution is a perpetual revolution, one that requires constant learning. That section of my talk is partly fuelled by how angry I was made yesterday by a piece in the Press Gazette, which suggested that editors do not value digital media skills.

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August 13, 2011

The BBC Twitter picture copyright storm reminds me why I’m glad I don’t answer emails for the BBC anymore

Today there has been a Twitter-storm over an email sent from the BBC to Andy Mabbett. He had complained about the BBC’s use of pictures from Twitter, and the reply he got seemed to suggest that the BBC considered anything posted via Twitter to be in “the public domain”. The response was clearly wrong, and at odds with the BBC’s own guidelines about the usage of social media. Several BBC staff responded on Twitter and in the comments on Andy’s blog post. I have some sympathy with whoever wrote that original email.

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BBC stance on Twitter pictures is at odds with their own terms and conditions

There has been quite a fuss today about a BBC response to a complaint by Andy Mabbett. It implies that the BBC believes all material posted via Twitter is copyright-free and in the public domain. This approach is at odds with their own terms & conditions of use.

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August 2, 2011

“Community management in the newsroom” - The Guardian’s Laura Oliver at Hack/Hackers London

I’ve said on many occasions that I am genuinely baffled how so many news organisations seem to think they can grow an active community on their website, without investing in any community management. At the Guardian we have several people in a role called “community co-ordinator” who fulfill this remit. One of them, Laura Oliver, spoke at the last London Hacks/Hackers meet-up. Here are my notes on four of the key points that Laura made in her talk.

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August 1, 2011

“Inviting bots and citizen scientists into the National Maritime Museum” - Fiona Romeo talk at the Guardian

Fiona Romeo, Head of Digital Media at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory recently visited the Guardian to give us a lunchtime talk last week about “Inviting bots and citizen scientists into the museum”. It was fascinating - and delightfully geeky.

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July 27, 2011

Did the BBC really “lose” 60,000 Twitter followers?

Over the last couple of days there has been loads of attention to a blog post entitled “How the BBC lost 60,000 Twitter followers to ITV” by Tom Callow on The Wall. Last night he tweeted: “TweetReach tells me tweets about my blog on the BBC's 'lost' followers reached over 1.3 million people via 1,100 tweets!”. Which is all well and it true?

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July 11, 2011

Benji Lanyado on TwiTrips and technology at the Guardian

Over the last few months we’ve been holding a series of talks at The Guardian for staff around the theme of “digital”. Recently it was the turn of Benji Lanyado, who has made a name for himself as the Guardian’s travel writer who goes on #TwiTrips. He arrives in a city, and then relies on people tweeting him with tips and directions to find hidden gems and the things that the locals recommend.

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July 6, 2011

Behind the scenes on the CNN studio tour in Atlanta

Whilst I was in Atlanta I took the opportunity to take the Inside CNN Studio Tour, and was interested to see how an American news operation gets presented as a tourist attraction.

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June 28, 2011

“Social by design” as a disruptive force - Paul Adams at UPA 2011

Paul Adams opened the UPA conference in Atlanta with a keynote talk that looked about how the web is being rebuilt around people. With a liberal dose of Facebook’s “Social by design” mantra, he explored the nature of our offline social networks as humans, and the differences between strong, weak and temporary ties between friends and people. Here are my notes from the session.

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June 26, 2011

Steve Buttry on what the reaction to Gene Weingarten’s column tells us about the Washington Post’s brand

I don’t very often post to this blog just to write “Yeah! What he said”. But this is basically just that...

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June 22, 2011

6 key points from a Twitter conversation about comments on news sites

Yesterday I got involved in a long Twitter conversation about anonymous and pseudo-anonymous comments on news websites involving Adam L. Penenberg, Mathew Ingram, Anna Tarkov, Amrita Mathur and Brad King. It was kicked off as people responded to this piece on the issue by Mathew at Gigaom. I’ve tried to sum up the six main points I was making in bursts of slightly more than 140 characters, and I’ve tried to interweave some of the conversation.

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June 13, 2011

“Forgetting in the digital age” - Viktor Mayer-Schönberger talk at the Guardian

Just recently at the Guardian we were visited by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance & Regulation from the Oxford Internet Institute. He was talking about “Forgetting in the digital age”, and how “digital permanence” was a problem for humans and society. Here are my notes from the session.

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June 9, 2011

“Robots and Weavrs” - David Bausola, Dan Catt and Meg Pickard at FutureEverything

Whilst I was at FutureEverything I did a video interview about the panel session I was on, and when asked what I hoped to get from the festival, I blurted out “Giant robots smashing up the city skyline” or something to that effect. The actual robot count at the event was very low, but a couple of talks did at least have robots in their titles or subject matter. Here are my notes from talks by David Bausola and the Guardian double-act of Meg Pickard and Dan Catt.

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June 8, 2011

Do psychics now pose just as big a threat to journalistic verification skills as social media?

The “Texas mass grave” that wasn’t demonstrates that the rush to get a story on air before it has been fully verified isn’t just something that happens when news is being broken on social media.

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June 2, 2011

Thinking "Beyond comment threads" at #mojo

As I blogged earlier in the week, on Saturday I was at Kings Place, not for work, but to attend the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Jam. Once the ideas generation got underway, I ended up on a team with Nicola Hughes, Jonathan Austin, David Asfaha and my colleague - and it turned out later judge - Daithí Ó Crualaoich. We ended up pitching four ideas around the theme of community.

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May 29, 2011

Paul Lewis, Alastair Dant & Jonathan Austin at the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Jam

On Saturday I spent the day in the Guardian’s offices as a guest at the Knight-Mozilla News Innovation Jam. As a preamble to the actual brain-storming and designing, there were talks from Guardian journalist Paul Lewis, interactive technologist Alastair Dant, and the BBC’s Jonathan Austin. Here are my notes.

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