Kevin LokerKevin 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.
Even if you think they’re dying, newspapers have something your Twitter stream doesn’t: hierarchy of what’s important to read.
Story “weight” is intuitive on paper. There’s what’s above-the-fold, and on top of that, there’s clear positioning of pieces, with one more prominent than another. There’s differences in headline size, perhaps subheads. In some cases, there’s teasers to other stories to read once you’re inside the paper. When you get to the actual stories themselves, often times there’s another indicator: length in inches. Design works to show your eyes where to go, and what is editorially important to look over (perhaps over cereal, or a cup of coffee).
Home pages replicate this idea in part. Article pages are getting better at this, or at least people are making a case for it. Apps for tablets often do this as digitally close to a newspaper as possible. But social media doesn’t really replicate the “story weight” capability of a paper at all.
If you’re a journalist (and especially if you’re a political journalist), a new stat worth knowing about social media usage came out a couple days after last week’s piece on “The Twitter Narrative,” a look at who is on and uses Twitter.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s “Social Media and Political Engagement” report, just 28 percent of American social media users have “used the tools to post political stories or articles for others to read.”
Interesting on its own, but better with context. What’s the percentage of “social media users” in America? According to Pew’s report, it’s 60 percent who use “social networking sites” (categorized as Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+) and/or uses Twitter. In other words, it’s 28 percent of only 60 percent of Americans who are the ones sharing the political links you see during your daily reporting activities. Doing the math, that’s under 17 percent who are social media-sharing the political links you eat and breathe.
It’s increasingly rare (at least from a digitally entrenched perspective) to imagine a journalist watching a presidential debate without simultaneously watching his or her tweets. This is certainly fine, and in many cases, helpful. But with CJR’s recent piece on “pack journalism” and in light of some recent studies on Twitter makeup and preferences, I figured it’d be good to review a handful of the findings together and what they may mean for journalists.
The larger aim is that a thorough understanding of the Twitter community – placed at least in the back of one’s head – could help one from being heavily influenced by that scary hive-mind (if it’s true), and regardless, put into perspective the general sentiments that may soak in when one repeatedly scans TweetDeck.
Understanding the community in any medium you regularly use, not just Twitter, is a good practice. There is always a filter bubble wherever we engage online—we tend to regularly admit that, and some of us take steps to pop it by whom we follow and what we search for. The recent findings I’ve compiled about Twitter, however, seem of a particular importance, for they shed some light on what may be a wider filter bubble (“filter fish tank”?) of what is increasingly many journalists’ anchor.
My favorite part of the comment section of YouTube is the ability to link a timestamp (say “0:31″) to a particular point in a video, letting someone just click on the “0:31″ in blue and see, in full, the point you’re referencing.
It’s a great way of adding context to your comment, but unfortunately, it currently only works in the comment section itself. Discussing the contexts of a particular moment in YouTube videos, however, can also be advantageous for your journalism.
In my searching for other possibilities to add video context to journalism, I stumbled upon TubeChop—I suggest you give it a try.