Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

I’m always nagging students, colleagues and random people in bars about the fact the web is not just a publishing platform, it’s a tool that can make you a better journalist irrespective of how your content reaches an audience.

It’s a hard sell when you’re giving examples involving the BBC or a Guardian tech reporter.

But I had a simple win today when I tweeted out a call via www.twitter.com/sunderlandecho asking for anyone planning to buy the iPad to drop me a line for a feature I’m writing. Two people duly did and as a result I have case studies with local relevance for my piece. Plus, a relevant local government body got back to me offering their input.

The alternative would have involved digging out some rent-a-quote or – worse still – just asking around the office to see if someone knew anyone who might be the type…

With authorative quotes, background and info, this extra source will lift the piece. Had I ignored Twitter, or shunned the web as some folk seem to, my output in Friday’s newspaper would have been weaker. Simple as that.

>> Newsdesk also tell me that one of the reporters was stuck for fillers at the weekend and put out a call for community events of Facebook. She got a pile of responses from local people. Everyone’s a winner.

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Evidence emerged yesterday that local advertisers are starting to care about Twitter, oft-lambasted as a waste of time by those who think crowd-sourcing is something to do with spraying Lea & Perrins at a football terrace.

A campaign outline for the Sunderland Echo that included a suite of print and online ads, sponsorship and advertorial also included requests for retweets and other social media activity.

That’s a first as far as a client requesting such action is concerned, in my experience. And I’m taking it as a good sign.

I’ll consider any ethical dilemmas about tweeting the merits of a certain brand of hamburger when The Scottish Restaurant offer money for twitter plugs. Could depend on whether they throw in free breakfast bagels, of course…

There’s nothing wrong with the two-blokes-and-a-mic raw feel of some podcasts, especially if your resources are limited. But in looking for quick wins to spice up our Box 19 Sunderland football show we’ve nicked a simple technique to make our recording as interactive as possible.

As well as using forum and email comments to bring the listeners’ voice into the conversation, for episode 13 of the podcast we tweeted live from the recording using Tweetdeck on iPhone. A PC with a net connection would do the same job if you’re based in the office or have WiFi capabilities.

>> Box 19, episode 13 (First tweet is about 6m30secs in)

We flagged the experiment by setting up a box19 twitter account and  contacted competition entrants and other emailers from around the world to tell them when we’d be recording the show. We even included a handy timezone guide so our pals in North America and Down Under could set their alarm clocks or take a break from watching their version of the X Factor respectively.

As a result we had a handful of fans following the show ‘live’ and throwing in questions for our panelists. Definitely a great way to break up the chat and engage the audience.

New media poster boy Stephen Fry is one of the biggest names in the Twitter universe and has long-embraced the net to build his personal brand, but even he seems to struggle to make cash directly from the web.

Recently his Smallfry company announced the launch of a network of celebrity sites – a collective to monetise the activities of the already pretty rich online.

As an interesting aside to the news it emerged that www.StephenFry.com is struggling to make ad revenues, despite attracting upwards of one million unique users per month* (corrected figure).

Andrew Sampson, co-managing director of SamFry with Fry said: “We’re just taking network ads and are looking at other options.

“We’re only selling 50% of the inventory. At the moment we’re at the lowest yield, it’s not even worth talking about the number we’re getting in terms of revenue, but we are addressing that.”

So, Fry is making pennies per thousand clicks, despite his immense pulling power. Still, I wouldn’t mind betting those pennies add up to a few quid in the end…

I’m carrying out what is hopefully an interesting experiment, inspired by The Telegraph via George Hopkin, Johnston Press’ SEO evangelist.

We have a big screen in the newsroom which is meant to display our website in an echo of 1984’s nightmarish propaganda walls.

But we’re now using Twitter aggregation site www.twitterfall.com to filter in tweets where Sunderland or SAFC are mentioned. The results after a few days are pleasing, with several leads coming via the feed.

The screen also gives the newsroom a bit more of a live feel, which is handy when trying to convey the message that there are people out there serving our audience between print deadlines.