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Is Grasswire, a “Real-Time Newsroom,” a Better Version of Reddit?

GrasswireIt’s no secret that the Internet is often a hotbed of misinformation in the wake of a breaking news event, particularly during horrible disasters involving multiple deaths, such as the Sandy Hook shootings. And social media is often a conduit for the rapid spread of fake facts and those terribly convincing photos that circulate around seemingly without end.

But a new service called Grasswire plans to be a “real-time newsroom curated and fact checked by everyone.” Covered by PandoDaily’s David Holmes recently, the Android app and website seeks to rectify all the wrongs people (including journalists) have Twitter have committed in spreading non fact-checked information on social media by ensuring it doesn’t keep happening. The platform is reminiscent of Reddit, Holmes notes — only Grasswire’s verification process is a bit more in-depth.

“…Instead of simply upvoting or downvoting, users can click “confirm” or “refute.” The confirmations and refutations stick with each post so that when the link is shared to social media, whatever factchecking is in place goes along with it. That way, even if a Grasswire link to a false claim is tweeted out or posted to Facebook, once its been refuted all subsequent retweets and posts will surface that factcheck,” Holmes explained.

Honestly, I think Grasswire’s idea is a huge step in the right direction. As more social media outlets surface, and user bases rise, citizen journalism is becoming more mainstream. On the one hand, it’s great. An engaged citizenry that reads and shares the news and seeks to inform their followers of what’s going on in their towns, states, country, the world?

Read more

The Twitter Feature to End All Twitter Corrections Mishaps for Newsrooms

twitterIf there is one thing I do over here, it’s complain about how news outlets correct themselves, rant about the ethics of reporting news on Twitter, and wonder about best practices on social media. Now, Twitter has added a feature where you can embed a tweet within a tweet, and my head has exploded.

This changes everything about the do’s and don’ts of reporting breaking news and correcting yourself on social media. It still has to be done manually and only from the desktop version of Twitter or the official iOS and Android apps. But it’s easy: you copy the entire url of the tweet you want to embed, add a little comment, and voila: the original tweet is there. Read more

ClearVoice Measures and Scores Writers’ Social Influence: How Do You Rank?

imageAnalytics are either your best friend or your worst enemy. And now, there’s a platform to not only track how your work is being shared, but will give you a score. I hate to compare, but ClearVoice, launched in June, is basically a Klout for digital journalists. Anita Malik, Vice President of Content Operations for ClearVoice, says:

There was nothing out there to score content creators and look at what authorship was doing out there in the marketplace and going beyond Google authorship to give brands and publishers a real view of what writers are able to offer in levels of expertise, who’s improving in what area, and who will give them a good voice for their audience.

It works like this: you do a search for your name and the platform pulls up all the indexed sites that you’ve posted on. You claim your work, create a profile, and voila. You have a ClearVoice score. The hope is that you can use that to coerce and editor into paying you more, find more tailored gigs if you’re a freelancer, or just brag to the guy in the next cube that you rule. It’s really up to you how you use it.  Read more

Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Which Tweet Wins? See If You Can You Out-Predict A Computer

If you work in social media, or any online media site really, for very long, you learn that it’s hard to predict which post or piece of content will go viral. That doesn’t stop people from trying.

The latest attempt? The New York Times has the details on a collaboration by three computer scientists who developed an algorithm that, with relative accuracy, can tell you which of two tweets to the same content by the same user will more likely be reshared. This is how those developers explain their project:

… [W]e take advantage of the surprising fact that there are many pairs of tweets containing the same url and written by the same user but employing different wording. Given such pairs, we ask: which version attracts more retweets? This turns out to be a more difficult task than predicting popular topics. Still, humans can answer this question better than chance (but far from perfectly), and the computational methods we develop can do better than an average human …

How is that possible? A huge body of data to pull from. In A/B tests, it predicts which tweet will be more popular correctly 67 percent of the time, compared to the 61 percent of tweets more likely to be retweeted that humans guess correctly, according to the NYT. Before you get too depressed, read the full article to see why your computer won’t be replacing you or your social community manager anytime soon.

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Then just for fun: The NYT’s The Upshot takes this idea one step farther and put together this fascinating 25 question gut check to see if YOU can beat their algorithm and predict with more success whether one tweet will go viral or one tweet will go silent.

It’s harder than it sounds! I got 15 vs. the computer’s 19. So what do you get?

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