What the Poynter Institute's Tedx seminar taught me today about social media and journalism
How small is the world of social media and journalism?
When Burt Herman, inventor of the online platform Storify, took the stage at the Poynter Institute's Tedx forum today to talk about curating content, he pulled up an amazing display of a guy who posted tweets documenting the vociferous break up up of a couple sitting near him in restaurant.
That series of tweets attracted the attention of highly-trafficked sites such as Buzzfeed and Gawker; someone gathered all the posts into this Storify post.
And the guy who wrote that post, Andy Boyle, used to work at the Tampa Bay Times; because I know Andy, I was following his Twitter account when he first published all these tweets and I saw it all happen in real time.
That's how small this world can be, thanks to online media outlets which pull the world into you cyberspatial backyard.
"Anyone in the world can be a reporter," said Herman (@burtherman), a former journalist who ran the Associated Press' bureau in Korea before inventing his cool new platform. "But not everyone is a journalist."
That's just a taste of this daylong seminar, featuring folks such as New York Times media critic David Carr, Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith, Columbia university professor Sree Sreenivasan and WFTS-Ch. 28 traffic reporter Meredyth Censullo, among many others.
Here's a few more things I learned today about social media and journalism:
*Look at the every Tweet you post through the eyes of your boss -- and your boss's boss.
*Be a signal tower of excellence -- don't be afraid to retweet stuff that's good, even if your competitors did it.
*As Facebook and social media bring more traffic to websites than Google, news outlets -- like the Tampa Bay Times -- need to focus less on Search Engine Optimization of content and more on making sites Facebook-friendly.
*Facebook is for your heart, Twitter is for your head.
*Don't worship hierarchy; people can bring good ideas no matter what their job title is.
*News is still the killer app; it's nice to add context and interpretation but the world points to your door when you break big news.
*Hashtags can make tweets a little more permanent; puts an electric fence around a subject so you can read it later.
*Social media's dirty secret: Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media.
*Make stuff. If it sucks, try something else.
But despite all those awesome lessons, it was mostly just fun to spend several hours surrounded by fellow geeks for social media and journalism, willing to discuss hashtags and Tweetdeck with the same energy they can debate notions of objectivity and what makes a great scoop.
Straight up news geek heaven.