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Tool of the week for journalists – TimeKiwi, to create social media timelines

Tool of the week: TimeKiwi

What is it? A new tool to turn tweets, blog posts and Instagram photos into a timeline. Add a Twitter handle, a Tumblr, WordPress and Posterous blog and an Instagram account and TimeKiwi will mash them into a combined timeline.

How is it of use to journalists? For storytelling. The tool allows you to demonstrate how a story has progressed. The tool does not require you to authorise the app so you can add any Twitter handle to see how that person’s tweets have played out over time.

Take this example of a timeline of canon Dr Giles Fraser who resigned from his role as chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral last week over plans to forcibly evict Occupy protesters. Adding his @giles_fraser handle allows you to show his tweets as either a vertical or horizontal timeline.

The free version of TimeKiwi cannot be embedded so it is of limited use in telling a story on your site but you can still share links to created timelines. A “business” version is in the pipeline which promises an embed feature and custom views which could be of particular interest to journalists who can then show mapped out tweets and blog posts within a news story.

This TimeKiwi takes in the @journalismnews Twitter account and the Journalism.co.uk WordPress blog.

 


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comScore: Social media accounts for one out of every six minutes spent online in US

New figures from comScore, which measure digital use, show that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr “reached new heights” in the US in May.

comScore’s blog on the “network effect” shows social networking accounts for almost 14 per cent of the time people spend online – or one in every six minutes.

The new stats show social blogging site Tumblr has grown by 166 per cent in the past year, reaching 10.7 million visitors in May, its first month surpassing the 10 million visitor mark.

A post states:

Today Facebook is the fourth largest US web property in audience size with 157.2 million visitors in May, representing its all-time high and a gain of 3.2 million visitors vs. the previous month. While other reports have been circulating that Facebook witnessed a pronounced user decline this month, comScore data shows quite a different story. Given that Facebook now reaches 73 per cent of the total US internet population each month, one thing we should anticipate is that the site’s audience cannot grow forever. The law of large numbers says that once a site has penetrated the majority of a market, each incremental user becomes that much more difficult to attract. So given its size, Facebook’s future US growth is likely to come more from increasing usage per visitor than its ability to attract new users in perpetuity. One impressive stat to note is that Facebook’s average US visitor engagement has grown from 4.6 hours to 6.3 hours per month over the past year, so it appears to be succeeding in that regard.

The author states:

Upon the release of comScore’s May US data, I immediately noticed that it was not just a banner month for Facebook but also for several other leading players in the social networking category who also reached all-time US audience highs: Linkedin (33.4 million visitors), Twitter (27.0 million) and Tumblr (10.7 million).

Twitter also had a particularly strong month in May with 27 million US visitors, representing an increase of 13 percent in the past year. (Note: while much of Twitter’s usage occurs away from the Twitter.com site, past comScore research has indicated that approximately 85-90 per cent of Twitter users visit the website each month). Twitter’s success in May can likely be attributed in part to the exceptionally buzzworthy news story of Osama Bin Laden’s death, as well as ongoing discussion of the Royal Wedding.

The full post is at this link

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#UKjourn: Growing master list of all UK journalists on Twitter

May 20th, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Journalism.co.uk is building a master list of UK-based journalists who are regular Twitter users.

We have started to pull together a list using PeerIndex, which measures and ranks the online influence of anyone with a Twitter account. You also have the option to make your PeerIndex score more accurate by linking your LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr and Quora accounts.

Some Twitter accounts are not yet analysed by PeerIndex. If your is not, let us know at @journalismnews using the hashtag #UKjourn, we will send your Twitter handle to PeerIndex and tell them you are not linked.

If you are not on the list and are a UK-based journalist who should be, you can let us know in the same way.

This is a work in process – so do bear with us.

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Five of the best Tumblr news blogs

Blogging site Tumblr is growing at an incredible speed. There are now 32 million people in the US 4.5 million people in the UK visiting the site.

News organisations are engaging with the community by setting up their own Tumblr blogs. The Guardian set up a Tumblr account in January and started posting stories in February.

We have been taking a look at the Tumblr blogs of news organisations from around the world and have compiled a list of our favourite five.

1. Canada’s National Post

Why? For its use of photographs, front pages and graphics.


 

2. Washington Post’s Innovations

Why? For its linking of third party content, integration into its main site and the superb technology content (minus the deluge of royal wedding posts)

Washington Post Innovations

3. The Guardian

Why? For its design. It looks just like the Guardian. It includes a well-thought out layout, quantity and type of stories.

Guardian on Tumblr

3. LA Times

Why? For it tone and fabulous collection of photos.

LA Times on Tumblr

5. Newsweek

Why? For being very social and introducing us to their Tumblr person, linking multimedia content such as SoundCloud and for handy tabs within their layout theme

Newsweek Tumblr

Follow our how to guide to creating a Tumblr blog for a news organisation.

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How to: Create a Tumblr blog for your news organisation

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a very visual way of blogging. One of the many beauties of Tumblr is its simplicity and easy interface. You can create an account, choose a URL, select a design theme and create your first post in under five minutes.

It is free and it is social: users can reblog, flag up things they like and engage by asking questions and commenting. Since each Tumblr blog has its own URL, you don’t need to be a member to view posts.

Although it has been around since 2007, over the past year it has been growing at an incredible rate.

“Right now Tumblr serves up 5.7 billion pages each month; this is growing by 400 million more pages every week,” Mark Coatney from Tumblr told Journalism.co.uk.

Almost half the Tumblr pages viewed are from the US, but the UK Tumblr community is growing fast and it now has 4.5 million unique users and 8 per cent of page views making it the third largest country on Tumblr.

The US is first, with 32 million people visiting the site; Brazil second with 5.6 million.

News organisations are joining Tumblr.

.Guardian on Tumblr

Five of the best Tumblr news blogs are at this link.

Tumblr, which was started in New York in 2007, by David Karp when he was just 20, almost became too popular for its own good. In December, rapid expansion led to it being down for eight hours. It has since opened another data centre to cope with capacity.

How does it work?

Tumblr posting options

There are seven post types: text, photo, quote, link, chat, video, plus you can ask or answer questions.

You can post from the web-based dashboard or by downloading the free iPhone, Android or BlackBerry app.

There are also other options including posting links from Bookmarklet, publishing via email and other third party applications (find out more via the Goodies tab on the dashboard).

You can decide to follow people or organisations, much as you do on Twitter. You can reblog (similar to retweet) and “like” a story. Followers can also ask questions or leave messages. You can create a group blog so several members of a team can contribute (go to the dashboard and members).

Who should consider Tumblr?

News organisations and individuals.

There are some great examples of news organisations getting to grips with Tumblr with the Guardian leading the way in the UK. There are some great examples from the worlds of fashion and art.

Tumblr’s Mark Coatney pointed us in the direction of this Short Form Blog, a really nice independent site that does news analysis and curation.

Why use Tumblr?

To engage with the 4.5 million UK Tumblr users.

“Our use of Tumblr is neither a marketing exercise nor a means by which to generate simple click-throughs,” Stephen Abbott, executive producer at Guardian.co.uk told Journalism.co.uk.

“We launched the Tumblr because we wanted to engage with the Tumblr community and we’re always on the lookout for new communication tools which might help to improve or augment our editorial coverage.”

First things first

Get a feel for Tumblr and decide whether it is suitable for you or your news site.

“I would advise any journalists thinking about using Tumblr for their organisation to first get to grips with the nature of the platform and become familiar with the practices and tone used on Tumblr.

“Then they’ll be in a much better position to decide whether they could find a opening or niche on Tumblr which could be filled by their journalistic output,” Abbott explained.

Think about how you can engage without the Tumblr community and what you want to blog.

Perhaps you can use it for fashion and lifestyle, the best photography from your publication or as a way to connect readers with your newsroom. The Economist’s Tumblr blog includes its cartoons and front pages.

News organisations can use Tumblr “as a way into specific niches” of the organisations, Tumblr’s Mark Coatney advises.

“For instance, Washington Post does a very nice Tumblr blog just for their style section; this allows a specific kind of post reader another entry into the paper tailored just for them.”

The second piece of advice Coatney has is for organisations to use Tumblr “as a way to foster peer-to-peer communication between news organisation and reader”: GQ’s Tumblr, for instance, does an excellent job of using Tumblr’s “ask” feature (every Tumblr blog as an ask me a question page) to bring readers inside the GQ’s office.

His third piece of guidance is to use Tumblr “as a way to bring the intelligence of the newsroom to the public: CNN Money Tech has a group Tumblr that replicates the chatter that goes on in newsrooms every day; a cast of seven CNN reporters regularly dash off short notes and observations about stories they’re following throughout the day”.

Think visually. And also in terms of video and audio as Coatney explains.

Tumblr is a very visual platform; of the 25 million posts done every day on Tumblr, half of them are photos.

Posts with striking visuals tend to be reblogged more by other users as well, helping to spread the content quickly throughout Tumblr’s network.

The Guardian’s Stephen Abbott said: “We will often strive to post stories which have striking pictures or video to accompany the text of the post.

“But this doesn’t mean that we only post picture-led stories. As you can see from the variety of posts at guardian.tumblr.com, we like to try to post stories picked from a wide variety of sections on guardian.co.uk to showcase the breadth of content on our site.”

Along with receiving much attention for its use of Tumblr at SXSW, the Guardian has carried out two other experiments as part of its editorial coverage: this Glastonbury 2010 scrapbook and this one on untangling the web.

Think about who will manage it. Large news organisations use community editors.

“The Guardian Tumblr account is managed by our news community coordinators Laura Oliver and James Walsh,” Abbot explained.

“Laura and James work closely with our news desk editors on a wide variety of our coverage – from breaking news to long-form features – and they pick a variety of stories that they feel will be appropriate for Tumblr.”

Ready…

Now you have got a feel for Tumblr blogs you can create your account, which takes a few minutes. All you need is an email address, a password and a username, which will become part of your URL (thenews.tumblr.com)

Upload a picture/avatar. This is probably going to be your logo, perhaps the same as your Twitter thumbnail.

Tumblr themes

Now choose a design. You can opt for a free theme, pay for a premium one (costing between $9 and $49) or you can customise your own (perhaps with the help of a developer).

Look around at other examples and see what is most effective.

“We looked at many Tumblr accounts before creating the Guardian Tumblr in order to survey the enormous variety of designs and layouts available – but we didn’t copy any of these.

“Our designers came up with a look and feel for the Tumblr which was distinct to the Guardian but which capitalises on the strengths of Tumblr,” Abbott said.

Download the free smartphone app if you want to post from away from your desk/laptop.

Connect with Facebook and/or Twitter if you want your posts to be automatically added to your Facebook and Twitter news feeds (via customise on the dashboard). Bear in mind it will indicate that the post is via Tumblr.

Steady…

Consider other add ons. Tumblr supports short comments but you can also add your Disqus account you can also take advantage of Tumblr’s own back up tool. You can decide whether or not you want to embed the blog into your own website (via Goodies).

Get ready to analyse. Paste your Google Analytics code into your site description in the customize menu.

You’ll also be checking the notes section to see what has been reblogged.

You don’t necessarily have to heavily promote your Tumblr blog.

“We have alerted Guardian readers to the presence of the Guardian Tumblr via our main @Guardian Twitter account but, at present, we don’t promote the Guardian on Tumblr across our other platforms.” Abbott told us.

Go!

Start posting.

  • Go visual
  • Be conversational
  • Keep it short. One, two or three paragraphs and link additional background content
  • Don’t just promote your own content. For example, the LA Times has linked to an Economist article on California; Al Jazeera has posted third party content of a time lapse map of uprisings and protests
  • Tag tag tag. Tumblr is powered by tags
  • Reblog
  • Ask and answer

How did you get on? Let us know when your news organisation has set up a Tumblr account.

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Techdirt: New York Times lawyers shut down former staffer’s Tumblr

Techdirt has laid into the New York Times for sending its laywers to shut down a Tumblr blog belonging to former staffer Jonathan Paul. Paul was using the account to repost some of the NYT’s “beautiful and unexpected imagery”, with links.

Paul notes that the blog actually had a decent following within the NYT, and his former colleagues had encouraged the project and helped promote it as well, fully realizing that it was helping their own work get more attention and driving more traffic to the NYT. And then the lawyers stepped in.

Full post on Techdirt at this link

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Tumblr improves attribution process

Tumblr has announced an upgrade of its attribution feature which will now only provide attribution to original sources within the post content, rather than all re-bloggers.

In the announcement on its staff blog, Tumblr says the upgrade was needed to fix issues within its automatic ‘via’ system, such as links being dropped, credit being buried under re-blog links, frequent mistaken attributions and the resulting impact on post appearance.

Starting today, reblogging will no longer insert attribution into the content/caption of the post except to quote content added by the parent post.

The new feature will also enable authors to attribute content to a source outside of Tumblr which will then be attributed whenever the post is reblogged on Tumblr, while the entire reblog history will remain in the post notes.

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The Wire: Newsweek’s Tumblr editor is off to Tumblr

Mark Coatney, an online editor at Newsweek largely responsible for building up and running the magazine’s Tumblr blog, announced recently on his own Tumblr blog that he would be leaving for Tumblr.

[I]t’s a big loss for Newsweek given that he’s sort of become the public editorial face of the magazine as it continues to navigate a closely-watched sale from the Washington Post Co. (And also given that he was supposed to be one of the 10 staffers that can help save it! Another from that bunch, entertainment reporter Ramin Setoodeh, left for People at the end of June.)

Full story at this link…

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