How to use facebook friends and influence people
JOURNALISTS are increasingly being implored by editors and commercial types to embrace social media—that is, after all, where most readers reside these days. It is also home to many a potential—and often unwitting—citizen journalist. As such, total immersion in Facebook, Twitter and the like is fast becoming part and parcel of a reporter's job description.
Yet keeping up with the unremitting charges of data on multiple fronts tends to be tedious and time-consuming. Little wonder people have begun coming up with tools which promise to make this less of a chore. Take Storify. Conceived by Burt Herman, who used to work for Associated Press, the website allows users to select a topic and sift through a plethora of social-media sites to pick out relevant bits and bobs posted by users, be they professional journalists or passers-by who happened on something related and interesting in person. The upshot is a sort of visual timeline of a story's development as witnessed by the social media's all-seeing eye—in effect, a new journalistic genre in its own right.
Multiple news outlets are already deploying Storify to moderate the social-media buzz around newsworthy events. Al Jazeera English, a 24-hour satellite news channel, is using it to feed a new social-media-oriented television show, "The Stream". According to Mr Herman, Storify stories have been viewed more than 13m times since the initial test version was launched at the end of September 2010. In March alone it had 4.2m views, the best monthly result so far.
Will the new genre take off? Possibly. Storify's collages of images and readily digestible snippets of text (tweets or Facebook posts, say) will be a boon to the part of the online audience with shorter attention spans, but who nevertheless want an inkling of what is going on in the world. They will not replace in-depth journalism, on which they continue to rely for much of their content. Still, it looks like social media are here to stay; any help in dealing with their ever expanding ranks is therefore welcome.