Thursday, 29 November 2012

NYT appoints Mideast journalist social media minder over controversial musings

Social media crisis management
While in Gaza reporting on the recent Israeli attack there, Judi Rudoren, the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the New York Timeswrote several Facebook entries that caused substantial controversy.
 "When I talk to people who just lost a relative, or who are gathering belongings from a bombed-out house, they seem a bit ho-hum," she said on her Facebook page.
The comments came off as insensitive and the reaction was sharp, not only from media pundits, but also from dismayed readers.
A critic wrote: "It's been observed that war makers can dehumanize an enemy by making their cultural values seem bizarre. The specific notion that Muslims love death and thus don't grieve their civilians has long been used to justify violence against them and to dehumanize them."
Rudoren reacted by extensively engaging her critics on Twitter and denied the meanings attributed to her. 
Ironically, the journalist had previously been criticized by Israel supporters such as Jeffery Goldberg who demanded that Rudoren stop using Twitter based on concerns that she was engaging Israel critics too much! 
And now her paper, concerned about correspondents airing unfiltered and unedited thoughts, is ” taking steps to make sure that Ms. Rudoren's further social media efforts go more smoothly. The foreign editor, Joseph Kahn, is assigning an editor on the foreign desk in New York to work closely with Ms. Rudoren on her social media posts.
Is this overreacting? sugarcoated censorship? Do they have a right to stifle the field reporter who is giving her readers first hand candid accounts?
I understand the Israeli-Palestinian issue is a hot tin roof. It has already cost two top journalists their jobs over comments made on Twitter and elsewhere.
You are also told that journalists should not come through as activists taking sides. Yet such decisions take all the fun out of social media by turning otherwise authentic thoughts into clinical, overly PC exhausted lines which could have been uttered by anyone, even a machine if you will.
I think the fact that Rudoren herself engaged with the critics in healthy dialog was enough to handle the crisis and the paper did not have to single her out over social media postings. They could have said that everyone is getting some orientation, and worked on a social media policy for the staff to avoid future blunders.
As long as her published reports are balanced and cover both sides of the conflict, the paper can step aside and watch its ambassadors work the virtual room and mingle with the crowd. Reporters of such caliber are not kids on the playground. They are responsible grown-ups and can handle criticism. The paper just needs to issue a disclaimer and say the opinions aired outside the paper are their own.
But then, they mainly owe their allure and influence to the job. Is there a safe shade of gray somewhere in between?

(Disclaimer: the reference to 50 shades of grey does not mean the blogger is a fan. In fact, she has not hated a mainstream hit so intensely in a long time. And she is not a prude, nor a sniffy highbrow. She loves Belle de Jour and Marian Keyes.)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The only thing worse than being talked about, is...

Not being talked about? Or not knowing who's saying what to whom about you?

There are plenty of free tools to tell you just that 

Pure platform metrics
 Twentyfeet aggregates your activity from various social media platforms and services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google analytics and, so you can get the full picture of your online presence. Then, you can determine which of your activities are most valuable.


It provided stats on when your account received significant attention, and alerts account owners – by email for example -- when attention and activity have dramatically risen or dropped. It makes the decision based on the size of an account’s following, so one person’s five is another’s 500.

So the best advantage is that you will not miss important changes.

It does not provide instant gratification, as it takes time to build data, good for checking weekly or monthly to have insight into your activity and influence over a period of time.

Narrow down and zoom in 
 Socialbro, a quick and easy Twitter sauce, shows your new followers, recent un-follows, people who are not following you back, or whom YOU are not following back. It also tells you who is not active on Twitter.
The dashboard is a time saver.

Get down to business
Kissmetrics $$$ is a lot like Google analytics.

·         How people are coming to your site

·         Which channels are bringing you the most people who convert to customers

·         What your conversion rate is

·         Where people are falling out of your signup or checkout process

·         How successfully customers are onboarding and getting started with your site

·         Who the customers are who start a trial and never start using your product

·         Whether your customers are really using the core features of your site


According to this article, nearly every company these days uses some form of analytics tool to figure out if its business decisions are working. But Google Analytic is limited by the timeline of data it can analyze. When you sign up for Google Analytics, it begins gathering insights on all current and future information. But it cannot pull in past data for evaluation. KISSmetrics hopes to fill that gap with Database Sync, which pulls in all of the information from a company’s entire database to find trends.

Monday, 29 October 2012

That's so ... insensitive

How to lose friends and alienate people, unleashing a torrent of outraged tweets, by having a laugh at OTHERS' expense during a natural disaster 
Lesson learned at social media class today on crisis communication. Wanted to delete these, but decided against it. They will stay on as note to self on what NOT to do.
"If you're clowning around, take a jibe at yourself first"
(I bet you 50 bucks I can frame this quote and attribute it to some great philosopher/prophet/politician/George Carlin and share on Facebook and noone will notice!)

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Show and it will tell ... hopefully


This week we are expected to examine how well images and diagrams reflect the elements of a content strategy, which according to Kristina Halvorson and MellisaRach, has ‘core content’ at its center, with substance/structure accounting for additional ‘content components’ and workflow/governance accounting for ‘people components.
They define the five elements as:
  • Core strategy:  defines how an organization will use content to achieve its objectives and meet it user needs
  • Substance: What kinds of content do we need (topics, types, sources,etc.)?What messages does content need to communicate to our audience?
  •  Structure; How is content prioritized, organized, formatted, and displayed?
  •  Workflow: What processes, tools, and human resources are required for content initiatives to launch successfully and maintain ongoing quality?
  • Governance: How are key decisions about content and content strategy made? How are changes initiated and communicated?
The simple diagram they use in their book is literal, straightforward and communicates their message effectively as they put core strategy in the center of attention and everything else in the orbit.

The second image that caught my eye in a one-minute web search -- who would believe we'd go through so much trouble for this assignment! -- is the Periodic Table of Content by Andy Crestodina.

I found it interesting and intriguing as many would probably relate to it on a geeky level (or nostalgia in my case), TV buffs and the fans of Breaking Bad would also “get it” and show off! The picture communicates immediately with the viewer, who would look more closely to figure what they stand for. It is inclusive of pretty much every vehicle and social media tool, but it stops there, as it does not touch on who is going to decide what to put out there and check if it works.

And the third one, seven stages to organisational content maturity, is a great attention grabber. It is colourful, and building on a popular theatrical monologue, uses words irrelevant to content strategy, but which resonate with people, who don’t have to be Shakespeare fans, but inevitably go through all these stages in life.

It goes beyond basic definitions and gets into the specifics of content development and maturation. It is a very informative capsule squeezing in everything that you wanted to know about content evolution, but were afraid or (too uninterested) to ask. Without being literal, it does a good job on elements of structure and substance and maybe even governance.

The winning image though is what I initially spotted on Carol’s blog.  Although it needs an explanation of ingredients to figure what is this burger all about, it is simple and effectively illustrative and communicates with everyone – maybe not vegetarians –  It also breaks the content strategy elements down to audience, theme, tone, format and platform, which is much easier to say in one breath and remember than the one by Halvorson and Rach.