GalleyCat FishbowlNY FishbowlDC UnBeige MediaJobsDaily SocialTimes AllFacebook AllTwitter LostRemote TVNewser TVSpy AgencySpy PRNewser

Archives: June 2011

On Facebook, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Occasionally new research related to social media comes out, and really shakes the industry to its core.

That happened last week, with new research from Facebook research company PageLever.

In business settings, the goal for Facebook Fan Pages tends to be to grow the membership consistently over time. The more fans or Likes you have, the more valuable the page is to the company’s business objectives.

This new research suggests that as a Fan Page’s membership grows, engagement and page-views-per-member shrinks.

Read more

Standing Up for the Journalism Degree: It Is Not Useless

Last week, the Business Insider ran a post disparaging the values of a journalism degree. In “Degrees Are Useless And Other Tips For Aspiring Journalists,” author Jean Prentice writes, “anyone who has graduated from journalism school and gone on to work in the industry can tell you that a degree in journalism is useless.” She argues hard work and experience are what will land you a job after graduation.

She is not alone in saying journalism degrees are useless. In April, journalism topped the Daily Beast’s list of 20 Most Useless Degrees. Journalism doesn’t pay well and your student loans may very well be greater than your first salary as a reporter. But who goes into journalism thinking they will make a six figure salary? Being a reporter is tough, no doubt about it.

Yes, it’s true hard work and experience are important. But Prentice is incorrect in saying that all J-school grads would say their degree was a waste. A journalism degree is in no way useless. Read more

Social Media and Online Community Posts From Around The Web

Every Friday I post links to a few of the blog posts that I read during the week that I found interesting and insightful.

Included in this week’s round-up are posts that discuss how to prioritize social media metrics; the value of raw data in overall marketing strategy; the other things to look for in Facebook fan engagement; and best practice for keeping the discussion going in an online community.

Read more

Tool of the Day: Google Public Data Explorer

Last week, we talked about the Google Chart Wizard that allows you to create detailed charts and graphs. Google now has a new tool called the Public Data Explorer which combines the power of the Google Chart API with publicly available datasets. Here’s an example:

The Google Public Data Explorer uses datasets from organizations like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Office of Management and Budget from the Executive Office of the President. As you can see in the above chart, data can be filtered and animated across whatever factors are available in the dataset, and even supports geo-location. Organizations can upload their own datasets using an open source XML-based metadata format called the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL). Example datasets and full documentation about DSPL are located at Google Code.

Visualizations of public data like this can add great context to news stories, and the embedded charts and links update automatically to share the latest data available from the dataset. The Google Public Data Explorer is a Google Labs project, so it is still a work in progress. You can give your feedback at the Google Public Data Explorer Group if you have any feature suggestions.

Standalone Hyperlocal Website Rockville Central Moves to Facebook

This gives new meaning to the term “Facebook post”.

I recently visited Rockville, MD and learned about an interesting development that the city has done with their hyperlocal city website Rockville Central — they have migrated operations from a standalone website to a Facebook page. Their standalone website remains as an archive of past posts, but as of March 1, 2011, stories, photos and more can be found only at their Facebook page. At a time when news organizations are strategizing their online strategies, is Rockville Central’s big shift a bold move or a big mistake?

Rockville Central Migrates Fully to Facebook

Facebook’s online ubiquity cannot be ignored. As of 2011, there are over 500 million active Facebook users, and half of them are logged into the site in any given day. Facebook users are more trusting than others, according to a study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. On Rockville Central’s announcement post, founder and publisher Brad Rourke summed up the reason for the move quite succinctly:

Some time ago, we initiated Rockville Central’s Facebook page, and this has grown to become its own robust space for comments and participation. What’s more, in examining our traffic logs, it is the most important source (after Google) of traffic to the site.

We believe that this suggests that Facebook is where people, by and large, have decided to go for their first-stop online community activities. Which begs the question: Why have a separate site, and try to drag people away from Facebook? Why not go where they are?

A quick glance of Rockville Central’s Facebook page shows that they post their news stories as notes on Facebook, allowing fans of their page to comment, like, and share these stories on their respective pages. Using Facebook’s Insights feature, Rockville Central can measure their level of engagement with their fans and post interaction. Fans can also post to the page, turning it into more of a community bulletin board. The page also has custom tabs for the upcoming election season and a welcome tab for new fans. So far, the move looks like it has been good for Rockville Central.

What do you think? Should news organizations start considering migrating their online presence from standalone websites to Facebook pages? Do you think this strategy will work for long-term reporting?