Helping Journalists Become Hackers and Entrepreneurs

Journalism schools are useful for many things, including research into ethical standards, traditional skill development, and so on — but increasingly, some journalism schools are focusing just on building their students’ digital chops and entrepreneurial spirit alongside interview etiquette and the correct use of the off-the-record comments. One of the most recent projects in that vein is called Local East Village, a joint venture between the New York University’s journalism school and the New York Times that launched on Monday.

The website describes the venture as an attempt to “help foster a journalistic collaboration with a third partner, our neighbors in the East Village,” and to “give voice to its people in a wide-reaching online public forum and create a space for our neighbors to tell stories about themselves.” As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen — who helped create the project — notes in his blog post about the launch, the area of the city that the site aims to cover is already well-covered by local blogs, but the LEV site states that it hopes to bring the “academic and intellectual resources of NYU [and] the vast journalistic experience and high professional standards of The Times.” It also adds that:

We hope, too, to provide innovation: For years now the lines between those who produce news and those who consume it have become increasingly blurred. And so we hope to bring our readers even more into the process of producing news in ways that few other sites have tried before.


Journalism schools are useful for many things, including research into ethical standards, traditional skill development, and so on — but increasingly, some journalism schools are focusing just on building their students’ digital chops and entrepreneurial spirit alongside interview etiquette and the correct use of the off-the-record comments. One of the most recent projects in that vein is called Local East Village, a joint venture between the New York University’s journalism school and the New York Times that launched on Monday.

The website describes the venture as an attempt to “help foster a journalistic collaboration with a third partner, our neighbors in the East Village,” and to “give voice to its people in a wide-reaching online public forum and create a space for our neighbors to tell stories about themselves.” As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen — who helped create the project — notes in his blog post about the launch, the area of the city that the site aims to cover is already well-covered by local blogs, but the LEV site states that it hopes to bring the “academic and intellectual resources of NYU [and] the vast journalistic experience and high professional standards of The Times.” It also adds that:

We hope, too, to provide innovation: For years now the lines between those who produce news and those who consume it have become increasingly blurred. And so we hope to bring our readers even more into the process of producing news in ways that few other sites have tried before.

One of the most interesting features of the project is what it calls the “Virtual Assignment Desk,” which is an application — essentially a plugin for the WordPress blog-hosting platform, which the site uses to publish its content — developed by a team led by Daniel Bachhuber, who is the digital media manager for the City University of New York graduate journalism school. The plugin makes it easy for anyone who wants to contribute to the site to see what stories or events need to be covered, so that they can volunteer. Readers can vote on the topics or news stories they want to see covered as well. Leer más “Helping Journalists Become Hackers and Entrepreneurs”

Confessions of a Twitter Tag Abuser

You might decide to define a list of key tags you’ll focus on, and apply them to your tweets whenever they’re appropriate. This approach might help you to continuously fulfill the expectations of users who follow you on the strength of a well-tagged tweet.

As a tag misuser, I often gain followers from well-tagged tweets that are one-offs — they don’t relate to the topics I usually tweet and write about. The followers I gain with those tweets quickly become disappointed by my usual tweet content, and stop following me.

If I selected a number of “keywords” (tags) that actually — and accurately — described the topics I most often tweet about, and applied them consistently wherever possible, I expect I’d be more likely to keep the followers I gained, and to build a loyal, satisfied follower base.
Tags as Content Flags

Every piece of content I publish online is tagged somehow. So it might be a good idea to tag the tweets I use to promote that content with the same tags I’ve applied to the content itself. If I write a blog post that’s tagged “social media tips,” for example, it seems logical — and advantageous — to tag my tweet with the same words.

By creating consistency between my tweet tags and my content tags, I can qualify my follower base and ensure those users are satisfied by the content they access through the links I include in my tweets.

But, perhaps more importantly, consistent tagging could help me build rapport or respect with users. If a user’s looking for social media tips, they might find tweets using that tag through Twitter. Imagine they then arrive at my blog, which offers access to more content tagged “social media tips” via my navigation or a tag cloud. Those users may be more likely to look at that information than if I used no tags, or tagged my blog content using different terms from those I used in my tweet.

In effect, consistent tags can help me to show that I speak the user’s language, and reduce confusion. Using Twitter tags as content flags could make new visitors to your site feel more at ease, help them access the information they need, and — if you appear to be an authority on that topic — help communicate that you’re worth following.


For those of us who use Twitter tags purely for adding a layer of sarcastic commentary to our tweets, the idea of using tags properly — to categorize  tweets and make them easier for others to find — may seem a little humdrum. But as I realized last week, using Twitter tags properly can help you to reach a much broader follower base.

While playing around on Twitter over the weekend, I tweeted an image of some asparagus from my garden, and tagged the tweet #productivitytips. Suddenly, users from as far afield as China and Senegal were finding their way to my asparagus image. I’ve never had a follower access any of my bit.ly links from either country, so I guessed that these users had found my tweet by searching Twitter for the #productivitytips tag.

Putting aside the fact that users looking for productivity tips probably weren’t particularly satisfied with my asparagus picture, this story does point out clearly that — properly used — Twitter tags have the potential to expand your exposure and your follower base. If you (or in this case, I) used them properly, that expansion could be considerable.

The properly tagged tweet acts like a teaser for the would-be follower. They find your tweet via the tag, and, if they like it and any content it links to, they may follow you. Conversely, the tagged tweet can help you to access and qualify followers — using tags wisely, you can help to ensure that the people who follow you actually want the kinds of information you generally provide.

Since my asparagus adventure, I’ve been looking into some of the ways business-focused Twitter users might employ tags strategically to expand their follower base. Leer más “Confessions of a Twitter Tag Abuser”

How to Design Your Own Exit

Things change fast on the web. Reading the LinkedIn profile of a web working friend recently, I was surprised by how little time this very successful individual had spent in any one role. With that kind of changeability, it’s easy for web workers to treat each position as little more than a whistle stop on life’s grand tour.

But, rather than simply bowing out of a job when something better comes along, it can be more rewarding and satisfying — and better for your reputation and future prospects — to design your own exit from the company.
When Your Exit Matters…


Things change fast on the web. Reading the LinkedIn profile of a web working friend recently, I was surprised by how little time this very successful individual had spent in any one role. With that kind of changeability, it’s easy for web workers to treat each position as little more than a whistle stop on life’s grand tour.

But, rather than simply bowing out of a job when something better comes along, it can be more rewarding and satisfying — and better for your reputation and future prospects — to design your own exit from the company.

When Your Exit Matters… Leer más “How to Design Your Own Exit”

Pragmatic Brainstorming for Productivity

For many of us, brainstorming is a lot like play: it’s something we used to do in the golden age of youth, but these days, we have serious work to do, and have no time for futzing around with different colored pens and butcher paper.

In some workplaces and industries, a strong reliance on processes can reduce the perceived need, opportunity and respect for brainstorming as a valid work process. Where brainstorming does take place, it’s often on a “corporate retreat” and adopts a cheesy, hackneyed air — the inference being that it’s not “real work.”

I find brainstorming an immensely helpful process, and I think one of the reasons it’s so commonly dismissed as a frivolity is that few people actually know how to take the outputs of brainstorming and apply them to whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing. Here, I’d like to outline some tips for getting the most out of brainstorming — including applying what you learn.


By Georgina Laidlaw
http://gigaom.com

For many of us, brainstorming is a lot like play: it’s something we used to do in the golden age of youth, but these days, we have serious work to do, and have no time for futzing around with different colored pens and butcher paper.

In some workplaces and industries, a strong reliance on processes can reduce the perceived need, opportunity and respect for brainstorming as a valid work process. Where brainstorming does take place, it’s often on a “corporate retreat” and adopts a cheesy, hackneyed air — the inference being that it’s not “real work.”

I find brainstorming an immensely helpful process, and I think one of the reasons it’s so commonly dismissed as a frivolity is that few people actually know how to take the outputs of brainstorming and apply them to whatever it is they’re supposed to be doing. Here, I’d like to outline some tips for getting the most out of brainstorming — including applying what you learn. Leer más “Pragmatic Brainstorming for Productivity”