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Posts Tagged ‘social sharing’

The Big Roundtable’s Social Media Experiment

The BRT wants the stories it publishes to be "surprising" and ambitious - and for them to be read widely.

The BRT wants the stories it publishes to be “surprising” and ambitious – and for them to be read widely, of course.

Longform startup The Big Roundtable (BRT) recently commissioned three college students to put its assumptions about social sharing to the test.

The challenge? Taking one story, one month and whatever techniques they could think of (legal, of course), the three undergraduates were tasked with the challenge of racking up the most unique page views.

Said BRT Founder Michael Shapiro on the pub’s blog, ”The contest was inspired by this simple, painful realization about the patterns in our traffic: there are none.”

Having struggled with pegging what makes people click — and how to get them to a place where they’re able to find stories — BRT noted high traffic numbers when its pieces were linked in other publications’ stories, but acknowledged that stories they thought would take the Internet by storm didn’t turn the results they anticipated. They wanted some answers.

BRT, led by Shapiro, editor Mike Hoyt and publisher Anna Hiatt, was formed in mid-2013, and is based on the idea that writers should be directly connected to, and supported by, their readers. Backed initially by a successful Kickstarter campaign, BRT has since been publishing quality longform (5,000+ words) pieces, some with media partners like Buzzfeed and Longreads, enabling authors to be paid via reader donation. Additionally, a “reader’s circle” receives 1,000 word samples of potential BRT content, so it’s not just the editorial team making calls on what gets read.

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How Users Find, Share and React to News on Facebook

pewfbook2The Pew Research Center has released a study, in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, on how Facebook users interact with news on the platform.

The study found that while the majority of users still flock to the social media site to check up on family and stalk photos of their high school classmates weddings, this inevitably leads to news sharing. However, 16% of users reported being bothered when contacts post the news, even more bothersome are political agenda comments.  Read more

Ready to Share: Packaging Your Digital Content

Chris Johanesen of Buzzfeed says that publishers should ban slideshows. Can we get a round of applause? They are remanants, like pageviews and the ‘like‘ button, of the beginnings of everything digital. Nothing fills me with a sense of dread more than clicking on a link and realizing there are ten, 30 page slideshows at the bottom of the story. It’s why it’s hard to read certain sites.

And of course, slideshows and the pageview complex go hand in hand. Johansen writes that you can’t trick people into sharing content, which is how Buzzfeed considers engagement. Which is sort of interesting in that, while also ploys to get readers to click through and add to the tally, slideshows are also perfect packages of content to share. Like silly lists.

Sometimes, content is made for slideshows. A collection of really great photos, be it of a newsworthy event or a fashion spread, that enhance a story is one. But who has a staff photographer anymore?

Other kinds of niche content will still exist in slideshow form as long as we’re clicking though on desktops, too. I’ve recently made grilling a bit of a hobby and when I’m browsing for ideas, I click through Food and Wine collections, in the same way my grandmother used to peruse her tattered recipe box.  Maybe they’re tricking me into monetizing their site for them, but there’s something inherently ‘browse-worthy’ about food and restauarant pages, much like travel.

As our content all ends up mobile, we’re going to have to be more innovative about packaging it. Even good tablet versions of good magazine just replicate the print version of the magazine, like Wired or the Atlantic, with some extra features and links. Meanwhile, content like this spread here, should just be one colorful, interactive page on the web, sort of like it used to be in the magazine.

Slideshows, and lists, will only die when mobile content really subsumes your desktop view. Do you think slideshows are ever anything but a way to garner pageviews? Are you encouraged to create them?

Photo c/o The Huffington Post

A Consideration for Digital Reporting: Who Posts Political Stories to Social Media?

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.

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BO.LT and Pinterest: Beyond Sharing, Organizing

In the age of information inundation, being able to organize content in a meaningful way is one thing that can save us from getting lost in the deluge—that feeling of indiscriminate interestingness the Internet affords. Or perhaps it’s just indiscriminate curiosity. Whatever it is, users are increasingly interested in not only sharing content, but organizing it. Perhaps that’s why Pinterest has been so successful—a social media site that allows people not only to share the images they find interesting—but to organize the vast depository of visual information. That means different things for different people. While in the U.S., Pinterest users are overwhelmingly female, with interests like crafts, fashion, and interior design; users in the U.K. are mostly younger males interested in public relations, SEO, and venture capital. That’s good news for Pinterest, suggesting room for expansion into other demographics. Read more

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