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Kevin Loker

Kevin Loker began writing for 10,000 Words in 2010 as a junior in college interning for The Washington Post. He took a break to finish his studies (in anthropology, with a focus on a technology and culture), but returned in summer 2012 to blog about technology trends and journalism, doing so outside of his day job as Digital Coordinator with the Online News Association. Email Kevin at kr.loker[at]gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @kevinloker.

A Trend to Watch: ‘Reader-Aware’ and ‘Responsive Content’

Right now we’re focused on responsive design. Perhaps after that comes responsive content.

If you’re a reader of Nieman Reports, you’ll remember the cover story from early this fall, “Breaking News: Mastering the Art of Disruptive Innovation in Journalism.” Nieman Fellow David Skok along with James Allworth co-wrote the piece with Clay Christensen, one of Harvard’s brilliant and popular business faculty.

One of Christensen’s main areas of academic focus is the concept of disruptive innovation and competition in business; this widely-shared article applied Christensen’s analysis – which has helped revitalize numerous businesses before his years academia – to the news industry, where an understood problem is figuring out how to survive and how to thrive.

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A Journalist’s Quick Primer on Who Uses Cell Phones (and How)

A big push in journalism right now? Mobile. An important piece of information for knowing how to make a good journalism strategy for mobile? How people actually use mobile.

There are many types of “mobile” out there, of course (mobile phones, yes, but also an increasing amount of tablets and the like). But the Pew Internet and American Life project just compiled much of its research on cell phone usage and demographic statistics into one handy location. And because the cell phone is still the major mobile device, I thought it might prove helpful to highlight some significant stats as they relate to journalism strategy.

Many of these stats may at first seem most helpful to those dabbling in the business of journalism, but knowing them could also benefit to the savvy journalist. Some stats may be promising for your strategy; some may be a reality check. In any case, “knowing your audience” (and source) is always important, as we have blogged about heavily as of late.

The connected world is not quite flat. It’s worthwhile to have a baseline of probability for content success or finding the right social voices in a pinch.

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With ThingLink, Interactive Images in Tweets

We’ve given ThingLink a lot of love here at 10,000 Words, but the easy-to-use interactive image-maker merits another post because of its new functionality: working on the Twitters.

Users can now share an image on Twitter complete with any created ThingLink meta-data, and it’s all accessible in the tweet itself. That means that, for better or worse, a new level of engagement and storytelling is possible right in the platform of Twitter. A user doesn’t have click to a new page to see  a ThingLink’d image. And a tweet can now contain a short bit of text, an image and several, several links.

Here’s an example of a popular White House photo making its way around the net this weekend. You’re probably already seen it. If not, I explain using ThingLink’s own features.

Here’s that image ThingLink’d and working directly in a tweet: Read more

Instagram, Like Other Social Media, a ‘Police Scanner’ for a Demographic

Instagrammed screenshot of a picture of SnapRecognizing a new tool at The Boston Globe is a gateway to worthwhile discussion on social media strategy: not everyone likes, has access to or uses the same digital thing. And that’s great for journalism.

Journalism.co.uk has a nice read on the wall-o-local-Instagram pics that the Globe is test-driving in its newsroom. Appropriately named “Snap,” the project is a result of a partnership with the MIT Media Lab, and it displays every local Instagram image on a big map of the area. Neat on its own (i.e., worthy of an Instagrammed pic of its own), and notably, it’s also being used for helping find sources for local stories.

There’s definite newsroom utility to display social media data like this on a map. You naturally are exposed to events, with pictorial evidence, that you may not have otherwise paid attention towards. And you can can pinpoint where that action is happening. That’s practical on a day-to-day basis, and particularly helpful during event like Hurricane Sandy, where much is going on and you’re looking to move your reporting fast. It’s clearly a useful tool (and if it isn’t yet clear, I’d certainty love to play with it.)

What I think is worth noting beyond the obvious ingenuity, however, was the main story that according to the article Chris Marstall, creative technologist at the Boston Globe, actually produced during Hurricane Sandy. After spending “about eight hours staring at Snap” during the storm, this piece says that Marstall didn’t know what story to pick up and write. “Eventually I figured out that the interesting story to tell was that everybody was staying home and getting drunk in their apartments, doing a lot of day drinking,” he said.

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Retweeting Without Reading? Yeah, It’s Happening– and It Affects Journalism Strategy on Twitter

Worth noting for journalists looking to measure engagement on the Twitters: your retweets aren’t necessarily your click-throughs, and the two unfortunately may have almost no correlation either.

Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella analyzed 2.7 million tweets that contained links, and his findings show that the retweets and click-throughs had only a sad Pearson’s correlation coefficient of .038. More vividly (and perhaps this is a stat that’s easier to understand), an entire 16.12 percent of the link-containing tweets Zarrella analyzed generated more retweets than clicks.

Digesting those stats, that means your assumptions are probably right when you notice a weirdly fast retweet, or see a RT of something that you already recognize as not true: Zarrella’s study implies many people tweet a link without even clicking on that link.

Forget about “RT are not endorsements.” RTs may not even be an acknowledgement that a particular link was clicked, let alone read.

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