Archive for June, 2009

Lifestreaming: Is the era of live-tweeting over?

Live-tweeting is so 2009.

At your newsroom or company, you’re probably either the one being pressured — or doing the pressuring — to start getting social. Right?

You may start by creating a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter stream. But something is missing. Facebook may seem like great place to promote what you’re doing, and Twitter is an easy way to interact with your customers in real time, but neither are as visceral as you’d like.

Farewell, status updates. Hello, lifestream.

Most of the information we consume in this new media age is either presented in a traditional format (e.g. a newspaper Web site or blog) or a mishmash of data points (a la Twitter, the Wild West). If you think of a lifestream as a linear, time-based scrapbook, you’ll see the benefits of lifestreaming immediately. It’s a completely new way of gathering, documenting and syndicating information.

If you want to document what’s going on with your organization, if you really want to aggregate and present your content in a slightly more formal way, document your conversations and other relevant Web content, perhaps a lifestream is the way to go.

This isn’t to say status updates will disappear completely. The live-tweet is not completely useless. But just think: If you’re at a conference, for instance, you might post some things to the lifestream and still have tweets as well for just short missives. There’s a good chance you won’t want every one-liner posted to the lifestream.

However, if you want to compile several photos in one place, or post an audio or video clip in a more formal location, publishing it to a lifestream may be easier; your content can then be automatically posted on your social network(s) of choice.

For instance, I recently posted this group of mobile photos on my Posterous blog. Not only was I able to e-mail the photos straight from my phone to the page, but Posterous arranged them into a gallery…and then the photos were automatically compiled into this Facebook photo album.

A lifestream is, among other things, more of a real mobile blog than Twitter ever could be. With both Posterous and Tumblr, you can post photos and text via e-mail or SMS. (Note: Here’s a great comparison of the two services. Mashable did another comparison here.)

Imagine if your news organization presented its news in a blog format. Now imagine if the blog could be completed by reporters on the scene, who post instant photo galleries, sound clips and video. You could get a much better look at a particular topic, product or event, and you could easily trace the arc of a that particular topic, product or event.

For instance, if you have a crew of reporters at Austin City Limits, you could enable your reporters to post on the blog, but you could enable select citizen journalists to create posts that would appear alongside yours.

For agency folks, perhaps a lifestream would be a much better PR tool than a Twitter account, which would primarily be used for customer service and engagement.

Pretty cool, huh? For lifestreaming, we think the possibilities are endless.


Have you or your news organization/company ventured into lifestreaming services like Tumblr or Posterous? If so, please post a link to the page! Would be interested to learn about your experiences.

24 comments June 30th, 2009

OMNT Links of the Week #14

By far the most compelling journalism read this week, I think. Here’s a quick take by John Gruber on the leak, and there are some great notes on the speed vs. accuracy debate. Read this one thoroughly, folks.

over at Daring Fireball about the Wall Street Journal report about Steve Jobs’ liver transplant. The MinnPost is aggregating from various places — tweets, RSS feeds, etc. — and posting them as “real-time ads.” Minn thinks it’s a way to move beyond banner ads, though it may be optimistic. In any case, it’s a good, though very late, answer to Craigslist.

Bizarre happenings at the Columbia Journalism School.

John Boitnott over at Village Voice Media recently went to the 140 Characters Conference and came back wondering, is it better to be first or be correct? My answer: be both.

When live-tweeting an event, don’t forget the Golden Rule, says Domenick Cilea. Be honest, but you don’t have to Tweet every detail.

Robin Lubbock from The Future of New(s) muses on public radio in this interesting post. Do you think it can reinvent itself?

Is your news organization set up to be social? After reading Larry Irons’ post on empathy organization, you may think differently about your publication.

Add comment June 26th, 2009

New Tricks: Does a re-tweet equal an endorsement?

I was just reading this post by Julie Posetti over at PBS’ Mediashift blog, and this section jumped out at me:

When I raised concerns this week about the practice of tweeters who openly identify as professional journalists re-tweeting without verification, in the context of the indiscriminate dissemination of tweets claiming to emanate from Iran, I found myself engaged in a lively discussion on Twitter. I asserted that when Patrick LaForge, an editor at the New York Times, re-tweeted (without acknowledgement of verification or absence thereof) a list of Iranian tweeters sourced from expert blogger Dave Winer (who had, in turn, passed on the list without verifying its contents) it amounted to an approval of that list, LaForge disagreed. NYU’s Jay Rosen then reminded me not to expect open systems like Twitter to behave in the same manner expected of editorial systems.

But while I agree with Rosen, my concern wasn’t directed at the unmediated Twittersphere. Rather it was directed at the way journalists approach this flood of information.

I learned this lesson firsthand from James Janega, one of my reporters when I was over at Tribune Interactive. Last year, when he was down in New Orleans covering Hurricane Gustav on James quickly defused a rumor that was swirling around about residents without identification not being allowed to evacuate the city. Since Gustav was the first large hurricane to strike New Orleans since Katrina, this had the potential to be an incendiary story.

Except it wasn’t true.

James did what any reporter would do: He picked up the phone. But we found out about the rumor through our social media contacts. (Here’s a great interview with James on JD Lasica’s blog,

So here’s a quick poll for you: Do you think a re-tweet equals an endorsement? Why? What’s your take?

Would love to post some answers! (Click here to take the survey.)

37 comments June 23rd, 2009

New Tricks: Create a persona for your online news brand

The social media space can be tough to navigate at times. You’ll probably be called out at one point or another — assuming you’re doing your job right — in public.

This is why before you put your news organization out there, it’s good to have a game plan. It’s not only enough to figure out who will be the front man for your newspaper, Web site or broadcast site in social media, you must first figure out:

- Voice
- Content
- How to interact
- Touch points across your organization


Determining one’s editorial voice is key. Whether your tone on the air or in print can be playful or serious, it’s a one-way broadcast. An organization’s official voice is usually that: official. In the social media space, however, you’ll be having conversations with folks, so having a more relaxed, conversational tone is important.

One thing that you may want to think about doing is creating a persona. Bill Adee and I did it for our friend, Colonel Tribune, and it helped tremendously.

The biggest question you should ask yourself: If your news organization were a person, who would it be? What kind of food would it eat? What kind of music would it listen to? Where would it live? What kinds of stories are most relevant?


Basically, you need to figure out what, when and how your audience likes its content. For instance, if you’re running a Twitter profile for a news broadcaster in Los Angeles, perhaps you set up a separate feed for local traffic alerts. If you run a national site about D.C. politics, you won’t give your followers weather updates. Right?

Basically, instead of providing news, you want to be as helpful as you can be. Instead of thinking of a story in terms of this:

“Big crash on expressway x. Expect delays.”

Think of it like this:

“There’s a crash on expressway x. Here are some alternate routes.”

The emphasis isn’t the news, per se. 99% of social media is figuring out a way to help someone else. This is a good way to do it.

It’s as simple as that, but once you establish yourself in one — or several — areas, feel free to stretch yourself a bit. Post a link from elsewhere on the Web. Re-Tweet some folks. Do something to keep your friends coming back for more.

How to interact

Previously, I said your editorial voice must be informal. Your interactions must be as well. But your role may be more than just editorial. Do you:

- Plan to post links to your content? Obviously.
- Plan on posting links to outside content? Perhaps.
- Have a plan if someone asks you a question? You should.
- Have a plan for when someone gives you a suggestion? This leads me to…

Touch points across your organization

This is a bit of an aside, but think of this scenario: Say someone gives you a hot news tip via Facebook. Who do you give it to? A reporter? An editor? Do you check it out yourself?

This is something to have on paper before you get started in the social space. It’s always good to have contacts throughout your organization, just in case something inspires you. Want to create a promo for your Facebook page? Have someone in your marketing or creative services department at your disposal. Got a news tip? Have an editor you can work with. Has someone suggested a site improvement? You should know someone in the technology department.

It’s important to have something concrete to refer to as you delve into the social media space. Whether you’re a day in, a week in or six months down the road, just having something on paper will help you evaluate your progress.

5 comments June 22nd, 2009

Settling into my new job

Hey, folks. As you may or may not know, I just got a new gig over at Weber Shandwick.

As I get my feet wet over there, I may post less frequently — at least for a little while. Please bear with me!

3 comments June 11th, 2009


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