The name’s Po. HuffPo.

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Huffington Post, being an internet news site anyway, milks social networking sites for all they’re worth.

One of the first things on HuffPo’s main navigation menu is a link to Twitter and Facebook– it’s on the top left. They’re both so distinctive that you should be able to pick out the Twitter and Facebook icons from the massively resized image just above.

Unlike news sites like NYTimes, which has a great layout, and great reporting and is generally just a great site that ultimately stems from a print production, HP is all internet. Every bit of news and information, every image and link and embedded video was created with the intent of going up on the web. You can follow HuffPo on Twitter yourself, but following the link on the main menu just takes you to a signup page, and you might not want to link up your Twitter with HuffPo.

The biggest thing to benefit from sites like Twitter and other microbloggers is the emergence of URL shorteners. Things like TinyURL will take an enormous URL and crunch it down to only a few characters, skirting the 140 character limit. While some URLs might even exceed 140 characters, especially news stories with the headline right in the URL, the shorteners will leave a poster room to summarize and comment without having to post several times.

For people who use Twitter a lot, there’s even an installable toolbar to make everything easier. You can even add a custom tag so you don’t just get a random assortment of letters and numbers. Another one to check out is


MicroBlogging and SocialMedia: Who gets it?

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Microblogging is just another useful tool taking over the internet. Many people are using it for everything from making profound, epiphany-like statements, to informing the world that their boyfriend just broke up with them. Its seems news organizations have picked up the movement and realized what a valuable tool this can be. The Washington Post, for example, is doing big things with this new online innovation.

The most obvious use for the this innovations is the ability to post headlines, which in turn are links to stories, on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  This is the vital first step. If you are a news organization it would be wise to allow users to go on to your Twitter or Facebook page and be able to click on any headline, after a short read, and go right to the story. The Post does this, making their site somewhat more usable for every visitor.

Their Twitter account for the Washington Post has headlines going all the way down the page. For some this might be viewed as the easiest way to get the newest headlines without having to look through the actual Post website.

The Facebook page goes into a little more depth with the headlines. Usually it gives a little tid-bit or clever statement about the story and also provides a link.

However the place where I was most impressed with the post was their actual website, On the Post’s hompage there is a little box in located in the top right hand corner called, “Network News.”

This is a tool that brings the two major social networking sites, Facebook ans Twitter, into a more compact, usable area. Readers can see what stories their friends have glanced at (although not which friends specifically) and which story is most popular according to the social network websites. Also, when a reader clicks onto a story, while reading the story there is a feature that allows the reader to tweet about the story within the “Network News” box.

The Washington Post is embracing the online social network and using it to its advantage. This invites readers and displays the care and accessibility which the post wants to show.

CBS News – using every aspect of Twitter possible

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is using Twitter and then there is utilizing Twitter.

CBS News has taken Twitter to the next step. It has found a way to literally utilize every bit of space on their Twitter page. Twitter has become the ultimate micro-blogging website. After doing an extensive search for another micro-blogging site that offers everything that Twitter does, I came up short. Twitter is king (or queen. Does Twitter have a gender?) of the 140-limit updates.

Back to CBS News.

At the head of the page, everything is made available to you. A link to the mother website is clearly accessible and the lists that refine all the aspects of CBS such as the shows on CBS. Clicking on the list takes you to another page which further links you to other Twitter accounts that are related to CBS News. Kinda of like linking out a little bit like in a full blog?

The CBS lists on the CBS News Twitter

It was mentioned in the Briggs book that “If you take too much from your community without giving, you will limit the growth of your followers.” (pg 107) CBS News gives back. It may not reply or retweet as often as someone who uses Twitter for social reasons, but it certainly does more @replying and retweeting than other news organizations (NYTimes, for example) that only post links to articles on the main website.

CBS News @response

CBS News also distinguishes normal stories from breaking news stories which I feel is something that is good because it allows for followers to understand the urgency of the tweet.

Breaking news vs. a regular news post

The last thing that I really enjoyed about CBS’ Twitter page was that they don’t waste any space. The background of the page has further links for followers to look into. The account names of other important aspects of CBS are listed along the side in the background image for all to see clearly.

Twitter accounts for people of CBS News

Twitter can be a powerful tool – if used correctly. CBS News does this. Space isn’t wasted and the profile is not merely for getting stories out, but also a way to effectively communicate with the audience.


Do You…Jaiku?

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Leave it to Google jump on the microblogging bandwagon. Jaiku is their newest project, a Twitter-like  (dare I say wannabe?) website where  the goal is  “to bring people closer together by enabling them to have conversations.”


Anyway, Jaiku was founded in Finland in 2006 and migrated to the U.S in 2007 when it was purchased by google. The name Jaiku comes from the old Finnish word joik (or yoik) and was a means of storytelling.

Imagine, if you will, a cross between Facebook’s “status updates” and Instant Messaging’s “away messages” and there you will have Jaiku.

There is not much you can do on the site unless you are registered, but you can take the tour! To be honest, it’s a ridiculously easy website to use and seems like a lot of fun. The main difference between Twitter and Jaiku is that Twitter still uses Lifestream; an internet feed that shares users online activities utilizing other programs such as flickr and location by cell phones. The only option available to Jaiku users, besides accessing the site via computer,  is to have  a Nokia S60 platform. The limited on-the-go options for Jaiku have greatly stunted the micro blog’s growth. Hopefully it can catch up.


Reuters on facebook

September 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Reuters has more success microblogging facebook than twitter.  Over 10,000  people  like the way Reuters reports, and Reuters is able to interact with their readers through comments that are directed back to their homepage.  Through the number of people selecting their likes to a story, Reuters is essentially using their readers to recommend stories and blogs to others.

The comments posted on facebook however, is not the same as those on their website to the corresponding stories.

Recently, Reuters had one of its journalists Dean Wright, posted a blog, “Toward a more thoughtful conversation on stories,” about how Reuters is now developing a new system of combing through its comments sections to retain:

  • racism, other hate language, obscenity not caught by software filters
  • semi-literate spelling
  • uncivil behavior toward other commentators
  • incitement of violence
  • unrelated comments
  • unusually long comments, unless well written
  • excessively using capital letters

This type of filtering is understandable, since they are providing readers with business and financial news as well.  Certain people would want to get advice or respond to topics that are unclear and interesting to them.  I think this is an excellent way to keep journalistic values in a social media.

I think it also helps Reuters by keeping their loyal readers on board, as well as challenging their reporting.  They also give the opportunity for more frequently visiting and valuable commentators to earn points, and once Reuters approves their comment, they can be noted as experts and receive privileges to Reuters.

Ultimately, Reuter’s way of microblogging on facebook keeps them open and attached to all readers.  When it comes to their homepage, however, they’re picking their comments.


CNN versus Twitter

September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

CNN has successfully used microblogging site Twitter to reach  1.3 million followers on the networks main account and 3.5 million on its breaking news account.

The news network’s Twitter account provides numerous updates on hourly events, and links to stories and video found on the network’s website. Several CNN reporters have individual account and are often retweeted by the main twitter account. Rick Sanchez is the most notable CNN personality to embrace the microblogging site. He currently has about 350,000 followers.

Sanchez uses Twitter to provide his viewers with a daily interactive list. His Twitter account acts as a forum for his followers where a wide variety of topics are under discussion at any time. Twitter provides the reporters with an outlet to step away from the network’s image and give followers a glimpse into who they are as people. This allows for the audience to relate to the anchor.

CNN anchor Don Lemon also uses Twitter as a way to reach his core audience, often exchanging tweets with his followers and colleagues.

Twitter or microblogging seems to be the natural evolution of the cable news network and acts as an intellectual grandchild to CNN and the Web. CNN gave 24/7 news coverage to viewers in the 1980s and Twitter givers minute by minute coverage to the current generation of news consumers.

CNN and the unverified ideology of Twitter are ethically at odds most of the time. The most notably case was the Iranian elections, where Twitter’s flood like approach to breaking news was quite different from CNN tight lip approach to the controversy that was taking place in Iran.

Although CNN has 1.3 million followers, the network still has not embraced the ability of microblogging completely. There are rarely any breaking news tweets on streaming from the main CNN account. The news network decided to create a separate Twitter account for breaking news  CCNBRK. But I would call the move just a cheap gimmick to get you to follow the organization twice.

If you search for Twitter on CNN’s homepage the search end brings up results that have nothing to do with CNN. This is a huge miss step for the News network.

~Juan Rodriguez

Some Microblogging sites. And Copycats.

September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Okay, okay. So tumblr’s been out for a while. So has digg. I don’t use digg.

But have you heard of Reddit?
What about Posterous?

Reddit is basically the same thing as Digg, but uglier. It looks like a forum that people just post interesting news and video links to be rated on. Obviously the higher the rating, the more prominent the link is on the page. What’s good about it is that there is a navigation bar at the top of the page that is split into different link categories like worldnews, science and atheism. Overall, though, the site is very minimalistic and probably looks better in mobile format than computer screen.

When I first went on the site, the thing that immediately jumped out at me is how similar Reddit’s logo resembles the Netflix logo:

AND the tagline is “where dreams come true.” What kind of dreams come true at Reddit? A blogger’s dream to garner more hits and respectability in the blogosphere?


Posterous is tumblr’s demented sibling (IMO).

While the site isn’t as popular as tumblr, it does have some notable users, like laughingsquid (of web hosting fame) and TED fellows (a branch off of TEDx).

But perhaps it’s because everyone’s at the tumblr party next door that posterous hasn’t gotten any big attention. I don’t think it’s successful (yet, I mean, who knows–it could get magically popular one day. Why did TEDfellows and laughing squid choose posterous over tumblr? Maybe tumblr will turn into the next myspace…) for exactly that reason. I wouldn’t join posterous or read any of the blogs on it because I already have a tumblr, which generates better hype over interesting users. Also because some of posterous’ layouts are blatant copies of tumblr themes, which makes me extremely skeptical about the site’s origins.


Finally, Newsweek is an example of a news organization that uses microblogging tactics as well as social networking.

Newsweek has a tumblr offset that was created by two of the organization’s writers. Posts consist of some interesting quotes, statistics, photos, and articles from other sites like Gothamist and Gawker. Newsweek also is on twitter and facebook, which is a must these days for any news organization. What makes the Newsweek tumblr nice is that the moderators can reblog and reply to users, but I wonder how much of the content isn’t their own opinion. It’s basically a blog of reblogs run by two women.


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