Facebook vs Twitter as journalistic tool?


Since I wrote the posting below partly about the brand new Facebook page “Journalists on facebook” and finished that part with the sentence: “I’m pretty sure that many journalist now will take the oppertunity to use this possiblity, to get more out of their daily work.” There’s been a lot of buzz regarding Facebook vs Twitter as a journalistic tool.

Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, says that the page has been created: “to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories. And that “the Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people.

I believe he’s spot on, but… I do respect the critics. Among other I got an e-mail from Daniel at Newsy.com who recommended me to see the video about the topic Facebook vs Twitter as a journalist tool.

The news anchor Jim Flink at Newsy, says:
“So, could Facebook challenge Twitter in the battle for reporters’ hearts? One blogger says – probably not:
“Twitter allows you to order the account you follow into lists so you can have all the information about one subject on the same feed while Facebook imposes on you the feed of every journalists you will follow, no matter the subject they are working on or they are specialized in.”

Gigom’s Mathew Ingram suggests the company might have to alter its image a bit to make this work.
“…many users still likely think of Facebook as a place to socialize rather than be informed — a place to play games … not necessarily a place where journalists are active. Those things may not be mutually exclusive, but it’s going to take some work to make them feel like they belong together.”

I do agree. But my point of view is that both services has some left to prove to be kick ass tools for journalists, and their audience in particular.

I would say that the biggest headache right now for both this services, within this matter, is that most people has only one newsstream (or wall) for all their interests, topics, networks, etc (discussion in groups excluded). And most of the people is as a matter of fact interested in several topics and member of many communities. Do you really want the latest news from the revolution in Egypt on the same wall as where my cousins birthday party shows up? I don’t. And these lists feature is too… time-consuming. The same applies for Twitter. Ranking system, like Facebook Edgerank, might make the updates more relevant, but doesn’t solve this problem.

Personally, I love my Google RSS Reader with an extensive but careful selection of sources (social networks included)  in combination with Flipboard.

B t w – what happened to the service “LinkedIn for Journalists”? What I can see is pretty much no more… Or it ended up as a tiny group.  And LinkedIn Today…? Well – we won’t start our days with that kind of news aggregator, do we?

To be continued.

First radio reporter using iPhone as primary field recorder


Journalism has truly turned up side down. And I think that’s just great. I just ran into a few great examples of that:

First of all check out the WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein, who has replaced his heavy radio equipment on an iPhone. He’s writing about this interesting change in MediaShift. And it’s truly inspiring. In particular for those who want to go out on the field to cover, create, and distribute remarkable stories direct to their audience. It hasn’t been easier than now.

Neal describes himself in his Twitter bio as follows:
“Believe I’m first major market radio reporter using iPhone as primary field recorder.”

And he says:
“Now, with the Apple iPhone 4 and several apps, I can produce intricate audio and video reports, broadcast live, take and edit photos, write web content and distribute it through social media from a single device.”

“With the VC Audio Pro app from VeriCorder, I can quickly pull cuts, edit and assemble audio wraps, and adjust volumes on a three-track screen similar to the popular Adobe Audition used in many newsrooms. The amount of time saved by not having to boot up the laptop and transfer audio has been my single greatest workflow improvement. The finished report that used to take 30 minutes to produce and transmit can now be done in 10.

This is a rundown of all the key ways he’s using on and with his iPhone.

Neal Augenstein hasn’t a journalist page – yet. But Nicholas D. Kristof has. He’s one of the top journalists that might got inspired of the possibilities that Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, talking about on the brand new Facebook page “Journalists on Facebook”. The page has been created: “to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories.”

Justin says that “The Page will provide journalists with best practices for integrating the latest Facebook products with their work and connecting with the Facebook audience of more than 500 million people.

I was actually one of the first to like that page, now one day later, they are ten thousands of journalists. And all of them are now asked to create professional pages on Facebook, for both reach and interact with their audience, listen to them, work with them, get ideas for articles of them, and so on. Some of them might already have done that, like Nicholas D. Kristof, that already has more than 200.000 “fans”. And some of them also bring their page to their newspapers bylines like Robert Fisk at The Independent. Why not?

I’m pretty sure that many journalist now will take the oppertunity to use this possiblity, to get more out of their daily work. Some of them will be CNN journalists if they haven’t already joined “the Facebook revolution”. And the media itself is no exception… Look at NPR or the very small local news blog Rockville Central.

When I talked to Nick Wrenn, vice president of digital services for CNN International, during the conference Social Media World Forum, in London, he said that Facebook is an equally obvious that common source of information and meeting point. But he would rather emphasize CNN’s iReport and Open Stories as the public Forum for meeting, collaboration, and sharing, between CNN journalists and their audience.

Journalists loves your homepage – but not your newsroom


Yes – Journalists do love your homepage – but not your newsroom. 9 out of 10 are using the homepage in their research. But they can’t find the newsroom. And when they do, it’s not up to date.

It’s pretty clear that the company homepage no longer is, or at least should be, the hub of their communication. We do know that people hanging around all over the web, the social web in particular, where they connect with and get inspired och informed by others. Therefore it’s extremely important for companies to meet, connect and socialize with their audience wherever they are aswell.
But – so far – the homepage still is one of the most natural and common way to get information from the company. This applies to journalists in particular.
According to PRWeek’s Media Survey 2010, 93% of the respondent journalists were using the company home page during the course of their research for a story. Only Google Search were more common, and a not-too-wild guess is that they used Google to find website, don’t you think?

PRWeeks Media Survey 2010

Bulldog Reporter – TEKGROUP International – 2010 Journalist Survey on Media Relations Practices, confirm these facts:

“The importance of corporate website and online newsroom as a preferred source of information for journalists continues over the past year, with nearly 97% of journalists indicating that they use such sites in their work. Nearly 45% of respondents report visits more frequently than once a week, and more than 84% report a visit at least once a month. Busi- ness journalists make greatest regular use of corporate websites and online newsrooms, with 59.2% report- ing visits more than once a week; and fully 87.4% of business technology journalists report such visits once a month or more. The most avid users of corporate websites are online journalists, almost 75% of whom visit corporate websites or online newsrooms once a week or more frequently.”

TEKGroup International Journalist Survey 2011

In previous studies by TekGroup International, they found out the Top 10 Reasons to have an Online Newsroom:
1. Journalists expect a company to have an online newsroom
2. Journalists believe that all companies will have an online newsroom
3. Journalists visit company online newsrooms often to very often
4. Journalists visit both large and small-to-medium sized company online newsrooms
5. Centralized location and 24-hour access of press materials
6. Control and delivery of corporate message
7. Measurement of communication efforts
8. Media request management
9. Social media interaction

This leads us to understand how important it is that the website has a full-blown press room. And just because we would understand what a full-blown press room is, they also examined that matter and came up with Top 20 Elements to have in an Online Newsroom:
1.    Searchable Archives
2.    PR Contacts
3.    News Releases
4.    Background Information
5.    Product Info/Press Kits
6.    Photographs
7.    Help/FAQ
8.    Crisis Communications
9.    Events Calendar
10.    Executive Biographies
11.    Media Credentials Registration
12.    Financial Information
13.    Info/Interview Request Form
14.    News Coverage
15.    Video
16.    Social Media Page
17.    RSS Feeds
18.    Audio
19.    Blog
20.    Twitter Feed

Unfortunately “more than 57% of journalists generally agree that it’s difficult to find press materials that address their interests. What’s more, almost 42% of respondents generally agree that it’s difficult even to find organizations’ online newsrooms.”, says TEKGroup.

TEKGroup International Journalist Survey 2011

And we do know that small to medium sized companies, in particular, are often lacked of resources to create newsroom of these kind. But…

Not anymore. Mynewsdesk has created – and now launched –  a hosted newsroom solution which let you create one of these “full-blown press rooms” both on Mynewsdesk as your homepage, without any developers. Yes – with no technical skills – you can easily set up them by yourself. And – yes – it does include most of the elements mentioned above.

Our marketing department has written a few words about this on their blog. Check it. And try it.

Please note that the studies above are biased. After all TEKgroup International is an “Internet software and services company, develops Online Newsroom and E-business software solutions for the public relations industry”. But, my experiences make me to believe that these reflects the realitiy.

Communication a huge and confusing melting pot


Everybody in communication business talks about it everywhere! The new and ever-changing communication landscape has turned the media industry on its head. The confusion is now complete. Much of what we have learned and become accustomed to is no longer valid. This applies particularly to media, journalism, public relations, marketing, and sales. The professionals within each of these fields are either desperately holding on to their old identities, or are groping around for new ones.

The role of journalists is questioned. Previously clear concepts such as “journalist” and “journalism” have become blurred. The same goes for “media”. What is a media today? And “PR” … what is PR? It’s obviously something else today than it was yesterday. And what about “marketing”…

“Markets (and marketing) are conversations” as the Cluetrain Manifesto puts it. Conversations are based on relationships. Just like PR. Because PR’s is all about relationships, right? It’s all about relationships with both the market and those who influence it, including journalists. However, since all consumers now have access to almost exactly the same “tools” and methods as traditional journalists, it seems like the market has in some way also become the journalists. The market represents a long tail of new journalism and new media that perhaps has the greatest influence on a company’s market and might perhaps be their key opinion leaders. “Put the public back to public relations!” as Brian Solis put it long ago.

People have started to talk to each other in social media at the expense of, or sometimes in tune with, traditional media. They’re no longer writing letters to editors. They would rather publish their news ideas directly on the Web. Media consumption, and production, publishing, packaging and distribution in particular, have rapidly moved in to the social web. And both the PR and Marketing communicators are following, or are at least gradually beginning to do so.

As the market moved to the web, and the web has become social, marketing communication has become “social” too. Companies have started to talk directly with their market. And I mean “talk”, not pushing out information. Campaigns with no social component become fewer and fewer. “Monologue” ad banners, with decreasing CTR and increasing CPC, are becoming less acceptable. Google revolutionized with Adwords, Adsense and PPC. Press releases written by former journalists synchronized with Adwords and presented as text ads, turned things upside down.

Aftonbladet has been very successful with advertorials where only a small ad-mark distinguishes the ad from an article produced by journalists. This method is about as successful – and deceptive – as “product placement” in TV and film. That method has gone from small product elements in parts of a program to a complete sellout of the entire series or film. (In Sweden, think Channel 5’s Room Service and TV4’s Sick Sack.) But what can the television business do when the consumer just fast-forwards past the commercials, or worse still, prefers looking at user-generated TV like YouTube?

What will newspapers do when consumers ignore their banners? They will convert advertising into editorials. Or vice versa: they will charge for editorial features and charge companies to publish content on their platform, without involving any “investigative” journalism.

IDG calls their version of this “Vendor’s Voice”, a medium where companies publish their “editorial material” (it used to be called press information) directly on IDG.se and its related websites. The service is conceived and hosted by Mynewsdesk. It works pretty much like the Apple App Store; it is possible for any media to set up their “channel” (the media) on Mynewsdesk, promote it, and put a price on its use.

Essentially, when companies publish their information in their own newsrooms via Mynewsdesk, they can also easily select any relevant channels for the information in question. The service still has the internal working title “Sponsored Stories”, which today may seem a little funny when that is the exact same name Facebook uses for its new advertising program, where a company pays for people in its network to share information about that company with their own friends.

Isn’t that pretty much what PR communicators strive for? It’s in the form of an ad, but this type of advertising is simply bought communication – just like some PR seems to be – with the purpose to “create attention around ideas, goods and services, as well as affect and change people’s opinions, values or actions…”

But the press release… That’s information for the press, right? Or is it information that is now a commodity, often published in the media, directly and unabridged, much like the “sponsored stories”? Maybe it is information that can reach anyone that might find this information relevant. They might not be the press, but they are at least some kind of journalist, in the sense that they publish their own stories, often in same media as “real” journalists, in platforms created for user-generated content.

Everything goes round and round: side by side are readers, companies and journalists. All collaborate and compete for space and reach.

The causal relationship is as simple as it is complicated. People are social. People are using the Web. The Web has become social. People meet online. The exchange is rich and extensive. The crowd has forced the creation of great services for production, packaging, processing and distribution. These are exactly the same building blocks that have always been the foundation for traditional journalists and the media’s right to exist. Strong competition has emerged, but there is also some  interaction and collaboration.

People have opted in to social media at the expense of the traditional media. They rely on their own networks more and more, which has forced advertisers to find a place in social media too. Traditional ads are replaced by social and editorial versions that are designed to engage or become “friends” with your audience, talking to them as you would talk to friends.

The media are in the same boat and are becoming more social and advertorial. Users are invited to become part of both the ads and the editorials. UGC (user-generated content) is melded with CGC (company-generated content) and even JGC (journalist-generated content). Journalism goes from being a product to being a process characterized by “crowd-sourcing”, before ringing up the curtain on a particular report or story. As the newspaper Accent writes on their site:

“This is a collection of automated news monitoring that we use as editors. The idea is that even you, the reader, will see and have access to the unsorted stream of news that passes us on the editorial board. Please let us know if you find something important or interesting that you think we should pick up in our reporting. ”

This is similar to how companies today present their increasingly transparent and authentic communication in their own social media newsrooms, where the audience is invited to contribute their own experiences and opinions, and partly acts as a source of story ideas for journalists.

All in all, it’s a wonderful, fruitful, but oh-so-confusing melting pot.

People 2.0 shot Mubarak down


I had a speech yesterday for Svenska PR-företagen in Stockholm, Sweden. I talked about the ever-changing media landscape and what that means for the PR industry. I told the audience it’s not about web 2.0, it’s all about people 2.0, which is a powerful combination of the the social web and people. Exactly what we now see in #Egypt.

“Yesterday, after 17 days of protests, former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak gave a speech to the Egyptian government that made it seem like he would not be stepping down.” says Techcrunch. And like Alexia Tsotsis, I do think the fall of Mubarak was the combination of these to factors; people and the social web.

Alexia Tsotsis, Techcrunch, says:

“Pulling a country of 82 million people, around 17 million Internet users, 60 million cellphone subscribers, 7 million home phones, and 5 million Facebook users offline essentially created the largest flashmob ever, with around 8 million protesters in the streets across Egypt today according to reports. Says Zohairy, “Shutting down the Internet was the most stupid move this regime has taken. It gave the revolution huge media attention that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.””

But, indeed, most of all it’s about people and their call to action. As Devin Coldewey wrote in Techcrunch aswell:

“Twitter and Facebook are indeed useful tools, but they are not tools of revolution — at least, no more than Paul Revere’s horse was. People are the tools of revolution, whether their dissent is spread by whisper, by letter, by Facebook, or by some means we haven’t yet imagined.”

But unlike Devin, I do think that the social web is a tool of revolution, even if tons of revolutions did appear without that, for an example the fall of the Berlin wall in German.

Take a few minutes to take part of that moment of history and compare that to what happened with Mubarak:

Bli lika (a)social som Telia på 20 min


Huruvida ett företag har en blogg, finns på twitter och Facebook säger inte ett mycket om hur bra de är på att bygga goda relationer med sin marknad och målgrupp. Det ger möjligtvis en indikation på att ambitioner finns men inte mer än så. Det är snarare hur väl företagen och dess målgrupp lyckas kommunicera via dessa tjänster, som kan ge indikationer hur bra de är på PR. Därför blir jag återigen så förvånad när jag ser tendenser på att folk i branschen fortfarande tror man plötsligt blir social bara för att man “finns på” Twitter.

Jag syftar på Episervers undersökning av sammanlagt 40 svenska företags hemsidor där de flesta företagen inte kunde svara “ja” på fler än max fyra av nedanstående 13 frågor. En av “vinnarna” var Telia som kunde “ticka av” (som Telias kommunikationschef uttryckte det) nio av ovan nämnda 13 kriterier.

  1. Finns blogg?
  2. Finns forum/community?
  3. Finns ”Följ oss på twitter”?
  4. Finns ”Detta sägs om oss på twitter”?
  5. Finns ”Följ oss på Facebook”?
  6. Finns ”Detta sägs om oss på Facebook”?
  7. Kan man dela innehåll via flera kanaler?
  8. Kan man betygsätta innehåll?
  9. Kan man ange favorit (gilla)?
  10. Finns film/webb-tv?
  11. Finns chat/automatiserad chat/webbrobot?
  12. Kan man maila via mailformulär alternativt mailadress/er?
  13. Finns telefonnummer

Kommunikationschef, LG Wallmark, var därefter snabb att utse Telia som vinnare i kundrelation på sin egen blogg med rubriken “Telia bäst i Sverige att använda sociala medier för kundmötet på webb”. Om jag inte hade känt LG en smula, och vetat att Telia faktiskt är rätt bra på att hålla en hyfsad kontakt med sin målgrupp på några av webbens mer sociala plattformar, så hade jag bara fnyst åt uttalandet. Men jag tycker trots allt att rubriceringen är en smula förhastad. För – som sagt – inget av ovan nämnda kriterier säger hur bra ett företag är på “att använda sociala medier för kundmötet på webben”.

Värt att nämna är att MyNewsdesk i dagarna har skapat förutsättningar för vilket företag som helst att inom loppet av 20 minuter bygga upp ett “social media newsroom” som uppfyller majoriteten av ovan nämnda kriterier, till en mycket blygsam kostnad.

Och – nej – det gör dem inte heller särskilt sociala – hux flux. Därför är rubriken på detta inlägg lika förhastat fel som LG’s. Men förutsättningarna att bli duktig på att skapa relation med sin målgrupp har aldrig varit så bra som nu. Upp till bevis.

Från mediadatabas till nätverk


Efter att ha föreläst vid sex frukostseminarier i Stockholm, Göteborg och Oslo för sammanlagt hundratals kommunikatörer, så är det ett par frågor som sticker ut ur mängden och som de flesta av åhörarna tycks vilja få svar på:

Hur ska jag lyckas identifiera och kommunicera med hela den nya och brokiga skara människor som har inflytande på mitt företags marknad?

Jag svarade att det kanske de varken kan eller bör göra, åtminstone inte hela skaran, då det finns risk för att de då tar sig vatten över huvudet. Men jag rekommenderade följande:

Gör ditt företag extremt tillgängligt och transparent. Se till att all information om förtaget och dess verksamhet når ut i alla relevanta sammanhang, där din målgrupp förväntar sig att den ska finnas, inte minst när de söker efter den. Lyssna på din omgivning, hjälp den, och skapa förutsättningar till självhjälp. Och fokusera dig på den exklusiva skara som har störst inflytande på din marknad.

Beroende på vilken verksamhet deras företag bedriver är en hel del av de sistnämnda sannolikt journalister, men bli inte förvånad om majoriteten av dem återfinns bland deras kunder, branschkollegor, anställda, partners, återförsäljare, leverantörer, m fl.

Ben Cotton på PR-byrån Edelman Digital i London skrev nyligen ett blogginlägg där han tipsar oss om tio gratis verktyg för att finna inflytelserika människor. Gissa en gång om något av tipsen omfattar någon mediedatabas i traditionell bemärkelse? NOT. Tjänsterna är av typen sök och nätverk med webben som spelplan. Och fler tips av liknande slag finns. Jag gillar dem alla, även om några inte funkar i Sverige. Men om jag känner typen Ben rätt, så organiserar han dessa människor i något CRM-liknande system för bearbetning. I bästa fall med några sociala plug in’s. Det gillar jag inte. Jag förordar nätverket framför CRM’et. Dessutom så tycker jag att Ben förbiser en viktig faktor; att den som ger är också den som får. Det räcker inte med att hitta dem, du måste bidra med något. Ben snuddar förvisso vid frågan, när han poängterar vikten av att bara prata med dem som är engagerade och intresserade av dig. Men vaddå “prata”? Utöver Ben m fl’s tips så skulle jag vilja lyfta fram kraften i att förse målgruppen med verkligt värde; intressant och relevant information, tips, hjälp, nyheter, med utgångspunkt ifrån vad du lärt av den. Materialet driver trafik. Bland trafiken finns fans. Några av dem är dina viktigaste opinionsbildare. Vig en del av ditt professionella liv åt att serva dem. Och – gör det i ett nätverk.