You can even drill down further into more of the city’s trends, like so:
Screenshot of Chicago Twitter trends (via Trendsmap)
Trendsmap is still in development, it seems. For now, the page defaults to a Los Angeles “home” region. (This can easily be worked around.) Also, not every region is included in the trends; only major metropolitan areas.
Regardless, I’ll be keeping an eye on Trendsmap, and reporters should as well. Through the tool, you’ll be able to find sources and build your readership with key influencers who drive the local news conversation.
Want to really connect with your community? Assuming you’ve been working hard to connect with your readers in a virtual world, it’s time to take it a step further and let people know you in the real world.
That’s right: get out of the office! There are several ways to do this, but here are some ideas that we’ve used that have worked well:
Join your local Social Media Clubchapter. If there isn’t a chapter in your area, get together with a few other social media users in the community and start one. These are great for networking, and you’ll learn all kinds of techniques you can apply to your organization.Attend a tweetup. If you’ve never been to a tweetup, they’re usually an excuse to hang out with others who are interested in social media in your community. Again, great for networking (and having a great time).
Volunteer to speak about social media at the local university or at other functions. This is a great way to get your efforts out there, and to hear great feedback.
* Host a tweetup. Colonel Tribune has been hosting tweetups for a while now in the Windy City. The attendance is great (often more than 100 people show). The American-Statesman held a tweetup in December, and about 75 people showed. Hosting one is easy. Just call your favorite pub or restaurant and ask them whether they can handle an influx of people on a Thursday or Friday evening. Once that’s nailed down, just send notes out via Twitter (and Facebook, if you’d like) inviting anyone who wants to come. You don’t have to pay for food, drinks or provide a band. All you have to do is organize a little. Colonel Tribune gives out newspaper hats and has given away commemorative Obama papers at his tweetups. The Statesman gave out T-shirts that marketing helped put together. People love these tweetups and will talk about it for a while after they’re over.
It’s great to put faces and personalities with the peole you converse with using social media. And people love getting to know the people behind your efforts. It’s a win-win situation, so get out there.
What have you done to put a face on your organization?
Journalism and social media go together like peas and carrots. (Or, as I prefer, cinnamon ice cream and hot caramel.) You spread social media technologies, philosophies and practices in your newsroom, and as a result, your co-workers may have created Facebook accounts. They may dabble on Twitter. In fact, they may also blog in addition to producing content for print.
These tools are all great as far as information gathering, story distribution and digital brand-building, but they’re not really innovative as far as storytelling formats go. One question I hear a lot from journalists is, “Is this all there is to social media? From a journalistic perspective, what’s next?”
As you know, I’ve been on a bit of a lifestreaming kick over the last several months. Predictably, my short answer has been this: “Storystream your content.”
A storystream helps bring to light, through a chronological narrative, a particular issue, process or concept over a more significant period of time than an eventstream usually covers. Used journalistically, it turns into a collaborative stream of consciousness that tells a story.
Good stories have multiple characters, and a storystream should be no different. For your storystream to be successful, it must consist of multiple points of view. Think of your storystream as a collaborative or collective narrative, with multiple authors.
Storystreams are new. Storystreams are different. And, most importantly, a storystream can connect a publication to its readers like never before.
Here are some steps to creating a successful storystream:
1. Establish a theme/set parameters: Creating a stream to document the life of an entire city would be immensely difficult. Whether the framework is rigid or abstract, it’s imperative to create parameters for people to express themselves. Some examples:
Chicago at night (specific)
Hurricane Katrina cleanup (specific)
The color blue (abstract)
In addition, you’ll need to set rules. Be very specific on the types of submissions you’ll accept, its guidelines — character count, photo resolution, video length, etc. — and, if applicable, content rights.
2. Recruit contributors: Individuals may be able to carry one part of a story, but if your storystream has multiple authors, there will just be more content your readers can relate to.
Think of all those times you asked your readers for user-generated content. It probably seemed a bit disjointed from the rest of your publication’s journalistic activities, or just an afterthought, no? Recruit your readers in the real-time telling of a particular story, and you’ll have more than one person to help you spread the word about your storystream.
For its recent “A Day in the Sun” storystream, the Austin American-Statesman announced the project on its site, on Twitter and Facebook. Announce your project in multiple media with “you”-centric language. After all, the storystream is about your readers, not you per se.
One more note: When you recruit, be sure to refer back to your theme and guidelines regularly.
3. Curate your content: Once your storystream has new contributors, you’ll need someone to oversee the flow of content — and questions — you’ll get from them. Is it the content what you’re looking for? Is it good content? Does it fall within the guidelines you laid out earlier? Curate before you publish and the story will be clearer and better.
4. Promote and syndicate your content: After your storystream begins, talk it up! Re-post your content on:
Tell your friends about your project. Tell co-workers, digerati — both local and non-local — and explain to them what the project actually is. They may be so excited, they’ll want to contribute or spread the word.
5. Reward your contributors: Come up with some incentive for your readers to contribute. Invite your storystreamers in for an exclusive tour of the newsroom. Give them a percentage off their newspaper subscription for a couple of months. Give them a T-shirt. Buy them a beer. Do something.
If you follow these steps, your storystream will bring your readers closer to you than ever before. It will also get them excited to be a part of your news brand.
As always, if you have any suggestions, please feel free to post them as comments below!
We have two panel submissions in the mix this year. They are:
Lifestreaming: The Next Great Social Media Frontier: As many of you know by now, I’ve been barkingup the lifestreaming tree for months. I truly believe that it’s not only the next step for blogging, but a step forward for Web 2.0 as well. We’ll explain how stories can be better told through lifestreams, we’ll show you how lifestreaming can bring together and elevate your existing social media activities, how to “sell” the idea of lifestreaming to your bosses. (You can find its page on the SXSW PanelPicker here.)
Old Media Surfs the Google Wave: With the advent of Google Wave and other major shifts in the way we share information, it’s sink-or-swim time for traditional journalists. What are some of the forward-thinking members of the old media doing to stay afloat? (You can find its page on the SXSW PanelPicker here.)
Last week, I was interviewed by Andrew Sorcini, Muhammad Saleem, Reg Saddler and Lidija Davis on The Drill Down podcast about my work with Chicago Tribune and Tribune Interactive.
It turned out to be a great interview, and I had lots of questions from folks following the show live on UStream. If you and your news organization can get exposure through any sort of industry blogs, articles or podcasts, do it. Period. You’ll be doing your company — and your readers — a service by telling them what you’re all about.
It’s about time the news business got back to a little tub thumping. But that’s a blog post for another day.