So much newsroom progress, still working on it

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the progress of my newsroom with social media. Too long, really. When I started this blog, social media was in its infancy and getting reporters on board with it was like pulling teeth. Nine years and two corporate owners later, social media is now a company-wide priority focus for our digital strategy. It’s a good thing we’ve had exposure to it for so long because we’re in an excellent position to do some great work.

I’ve been promoted to something called an ‘Audience Development Editor’ and my primary focus is to find ways to grow our digital audience. An ‘Audience Development Coordinator’ has been added to the staff (which is basically just someone replacing me in my old job) who handles the day-to-day social posting.

I still work with the reporters to get them to post how I want them to – sometimes it’s still like pulling teeth to get them to come on board with what I need them to do. We have 5 news reporters and 3 sports reporters. Four of the news reporters have worked here longer than I have (I’m in my 12th year here) and entrenchment is one of my battles. One reporter is a fresh-faced, just-out-of-college who’s been steeped in social media for a long time and understands its importance. She’s excited about it. She enthusiastically sends me ideas for using tools like Storify and Spotify playlists and Timelines and sometimes I just want to weep at her excitement for these things I love.

A lot of times I feel like the entrenched reporters don’t take what I love to do seriously because they just don’t get it. They’ll tweet – because they have to thanks to orders from on high – but they’re not good at it. They don’t take any time to learn how it could benefit them.

So that’s frustrating for us.

Some of the things we’ve implemented to try and impress upon them the importance of all this social stuff:

  • Installed Chartbeat on two monitors in our small newsroom so everyone can see how our website is doing in realtime as well as see latest tweets/FB posts. – Successful.
  • Bought 2 iPads for the newsroom to use when covering meetings or other events. – They are not used enough.
  • Working on getting dual monitors for all of the reporters so that they can run Tweetdeck  during their shifts – So far 2 reporters and the city manager have the monitors. Only one uses it for Tweetdeck. The others just like the extra screen real estate.
  • My audience guy and I attend every morning reporter meeting and talk to the staff about our successes in gaining traffic (popular FB posts etc.) as well as share a social media tip every morning.
  • Facebook boosts for news stories. We had mostly been using our FB boost budget to promote revenue stuff like contests, but we had a corporate visitor the other day who said it would be beneficial to up the budget as much as we can, and start doing one-day-ish boosts of news stories that are doing well on social. So I’ve been doing that for the last week. Definite improvement.

I’m sure there’s more but I need to wind this post up. The tl;dr version of this post is we’ve come a long way but we still have a ways to go.

Funny story about sportsball

Today I saw on twitter that Hillary Clinton will be making her VP announcement via a text alert to her supporters. Later in the day, I saw this:

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Excitedly, because I had been waiting all morning for this so I could post updates on all of our social, I told my audience guy that she’d done it. As I prepared to retweet and set up Facebook posts, my audience guy goes, “Stop! Stop! Don’t post anything. It’s a joke.” Apparently, Jim Harbaugh is a football coach of some kind and the tweet was Onion-like.

I had no idea. I do not pay attention to the sportball things. Thank goodness audience guy does or I’d be in a world of mocking from our readers right now.

Should we give up YouTube?

At my small-ish newspaper, my department is trying to decide whether to keep using YouTube as a host for our videos, or if we should fully switch to NDN, which gives us revshare when our videos are using by other media throughout the NDN network.

Personally, I hate to give up YouTube simply for ease of use. I don’t know that we can monetize our videos on YouTube (we don’t have a big enough traffic draw to make it worthwhile.) My job is to think about the social implications of giving up Youtube and so far, I can’t really think of any apart from ease of use (being able to post directly from phones during breaking news etc. Easily embeddable within stories)

Would love any kind of feedback on this topic…

Tweetdeck

First Twhirl, now Tweetdeck is kaput. I’d *just* gotten used to running multiple accounts in Tweetdeck, and now I’m reading that Twitter will no longer support it, all my reporters in the newsroom use it, and now none of them can get tweets to load, I can’t post tweets and it’s just useless to me now.

I don’t want a web-based Twitter client. It’s just another tab I’d have to keep open and flip over to to check. With a desktop client, I can glance on it on my second monitor and keep an eye on the three main accounts I run every day as well as my set searches. No extra clicking or tabbing.

Does ANYONE have suggestion of a desktop client for Windows XP (I know, I know. But my company is slow to migrate to newer versions of Windows) that works like Tweetdeck (or Twhirl for that matter)?

EDIT: HUGE thanks to Mark Luckie for helping me figure out I was using an old version of tweetdeck, and that it’s actually NOT going away, and he helped me make my reporters happy, so yay! If anyone else has this problem, This is the direct link to download the latest version as of 7/26/13.

RIP Twhirl

Let me tell you why I loved Twhirl: I could run multiple accounts in separate windows and monitor their feeds at a glance. No tedious signing in and out constantly on the web, no trying to figure out how to do that in Hootsuite or Tweetdeck (if anyone knows if this is possible, please leave me a comment.)

As part of my job here at the newspaper, I need to monitor our Twitter accounts, some small business accounts, and then I usually have my own account open so I can watch for social media stories I might be interested in. Twhirl let me open each account in a little messenger-like window that I could run on my second desktop screen, and I could just glance over and skim them at will.

And now, because of Twitter’s API change, Twhirl is totally dead. And I am left to flounder a little bit as I change my ENTIRE social media routine at work to find something that works for me. Thanks Twitter.

Yes, I know I can tweet from multiple accounts in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. But I can’t monitor those accounts’ feeds in it as far as I can tell. So if ANYONE out there knows of a tool that works like Twhirl (and didn’t get buggered by the API change) I am begging you to pass the word around and let me know.

Social Media “Guru”

I came across a post on Tumblr from Wil Wheaton that talked about how social media “gurus” are pretty much just money-grubbing gits who fill your head with terms like ‘Klout score’ and ‘brand’ etc when in fact, social media isn’t that hard and you don’t have to pay these doofuses money to be involved in it.

I mostly concur.

Here’s the full quote:

“Social media ain’t that goddamn hard, people. You know how, like, you’re a person who walks around and talks to people at the mall, or at work, or at the dinner table? And how it doesn’t behoove you to be a total fucking asshole there? Do the same thing online. There! Ta-da! I just saved you from hiring a social media guru who will take your money in order to infuse your social media presence with the rank snot-curdling odor of sour douchebaggery (“brand!” “platform!” “Klout score!”). Also: piss on anybody who wants to take your money to give you 10,000 new “followers” in the blink of an eye. Five hundred awesome followers are better than 10,000 non-followers carved out of the quivering meat-gelatin that is digital spam. Now, if they’re offering you 10,000 artificially-intelligent hunter-killer robots, hey, hook me up.”

This is “Bullshit Social Media Services” from 25 Things Writers Should Beware by Chuck Wendig. It is applicable to more than writers. (via wilwheaton)

and here’s my take on it:

An excellent comment that I, as a social media editor, mostly concur with. However, while I don’t deal with celebrities in social media, I do deal with local small businesses, as well as readers (I work for a newspaper) who constantly tell me they just “don’t get it” and would rather pay someone to worry about it for them. OR they simply don’t have time to manage their social media presence. In that case, I’ll happily be paid to manage your presence for you.

What I won’t do is give a toss about raising your Klout score (I despise Klout and its ilk), or treat your account like a brand, or behave like a douche. If you like, I’m happy to just train you on how it all works (it really isn’t rocket science. I don’t know why people make it harder than it is.) and let you run wild on your own if you prefer.

What I will do is infuse your account with a personality. I run multiple Twitter/Facebook accounts for my newspaper and I do it all manually. I crack jokes with our readers. I used to do Haiku Tuesdays and tweet the headlines as haikus. I handle incoming news tips. I help people who didn’t get their paper that day and want to bitch about it. I’ve been doing this for years and I’m pretty damn good at it.

If I’m tweeting for your small business, I won’t automate your tweets. I won’t ignore customer queries or complaints. I will pimp your latest project/special but I won’t be spammy or douchey about it. I will be a real person managing a new avenue for customer or fans or whatever to access you.

I’m not an expensive ‘consultant.” I’m not a “guru.” But I do know what the hell I’m doing and I can explain it to you so that you understand it, or if you don’t want to bother, I can manage it for you. That’s what I do. I do enjoy helping people understand how powerful social media can be, especially for small businesses. I dig seeing that moment when they realize it’s more than just telling people what you had for lunch. It’s like seeing that click when you finally grasp a difficult math or science problem.

If that makes me a pretentious douchenozzle in the social media world, well ok. I’ll live with that.