Category Archives: Social media and blogging

Media release: Study finds 13% of Google searches include journalist photo bylines

More than one in 10 Google UK search results includes at least one journalist photo and bio byline, according to a study by search and social analytics company Searchmetrics.

The study looked at the top 100 search results from 1 million keywords and found that 13 per cent included journalist bios and pictures for the author of articles.

Getting a photo and bio displayed in search results requires a journalist to have a Google+ account and their profile to be linked with news stories (instructions on how to do this are here).

UK writers in the top 20 include Charles Arthur, the Guardian’s technology editor, and Edward Chester, reviews editor at

US journalists dominate the top 20, “meaning UK journalists and publications are missing out on increased visibility, traffic and potential advertising revenue”, according to a release from Searchmetrics.

The author profile feature, known as authorship markup, is something that Google has been rolling out since the end of last year. It includes author profile information with a thumbnail image and links.

The release states:

Journalists and bloggers who write about technology, medical and food topics are among those that are most visible in author profile integrations according to the study by search and social analytics company, Searchmetrics, which analysed Google UK search results relating to one million popular keywords.

Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer of Searchmetrics said in a statement:

More writers from US-based sites are appearing in the top 20 because authors generally need to have a profile on the Google+ social network to be displayed in author integrations – and we assume more writers for US sites are on Google+ and also Google has possibly encouraged some US sites to set up their articles for author integrations.

It was surprising to see more than one in ten of the results tested are showing author integrations because this is still a new feature – it’s much higher than I expected.

Searchmetrics top 20 authors with picture and bio bylines

Author, Writes for (includes), Topic, Page 1 integrations*, Total integrations**

  1. Elaine Lemm , NYT,, Food, 581, 1,989
  2. Dr. Melissa Stöppler, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 545, 1,412
  3. Diana Rattray,, Food, 530, 1,529
  4. Tim Fisher,, Technology, 472, 1,897
  5. Alison Doyle,, Job search, 438, 1,442
  6. Dr. William Shiel, WebMDNetwork, Medical,  403, 866
  7. Dr. Ben Wedro,, Medical, 328, 877
  8. Dr. John Cunha, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 328, 790
  9. Bradley Mitchell,, Technology, 321, 1,363
  10. Cathy Wong,, Alt Medicine,  316, 839
  11. Stephanie Jaworski,, Food, 307, 1,005
  12. Laura Porter, Visit Britain,, Travel, 281, 1,929
  13. Edward Chester,, Technology, 264, 733
  14. Luke Westaway, CNET UK, Technology, 254, 1,292
  15. Gordon Laing,, Photography, 248 , 1,200
  16. Charles Arthur, Guardian, Technology, 218, 1,271
  17. Laura K. Lawless, French,, Languages, 218, 705
  18. Hubertus Keil,, Travel, 214, 1,070
  19. Adam Pash, Lifehacker, Lifestyle/Tech, 204, 1,311
  20. Richard Trenholm, CNET UK, Technology, 200, 1,931


*The number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed on the first page of search results in Searchmetrics’s study
**The total number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed in search results in Searchmetrics’s study

The Twitter reaction to France’s ban on discussing predicted presidential results

By Guillaume Paumier on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

“The results were like the elephant in the room” – that’s what one journalist told after users were said to have taken to Twitter to try and get around a ban on the discussion of predicted results in the French presidential election.

The law, which dates from 1977, bans the reporting of results, projections and exit polls on the day before and day of the election until the closure of the last polling stations.

The ban will also apply to the run-off between Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande on Sunday 6 May and is expected to remain in place, after Jean-Francois Pillon, the head of France’s polling commission, reportedly said he would call on state prosecutors to bring charges against media organisations and individuals who had allegedly defied the ban.

The last polling stations closed at 8pm on Sunday, but before this deadline the hashtag #radiolondres, a reference to resistance broadcasts made in the Second World War, was being used to discuss the projected results, with the candidates being given code-names to try and circumvent the ban.

Nicola Hebden, a freelance journalist covering the election, told the events highlighted the issue of attempting to ban information spreading on Twitter:

While we were broadcasting, the results were like the elephant in the room – we all knew them – the news team, the viewers – but we weren’t allowed to talk about them on air.

Storify stories now on news reader app Pulse

Curated storytelling tool Storify has partnered with news reader app Pulse.

The move marks Storify’s first syndication deal and sees curated stories by Storify users such as Al Jazeera’s the Stream, the Washington Post and the White House communications team available on the social newsreader app.

Pulse, which is available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook, allows readers to chose to add their favourite news providers and feeds giving a personalised reading experience.

A Storified blog post by the company explains how to add your Storify creations to your personalised Pulse app.

You can also see your stories – or any account’s stories – on Pulse by subscribing to the RSS feed at the top of Storify profile pages. Then call the feeds up from Google Reader on Pulse. You’ll be able to see all those accounts’ stories on Pulse from then on.
For more on the syndication deal see this Storify.

Citizen journalism site Blottr launches Facebook app

Citizen journalism news site Blottr is the latest news organisation to release a “frictionless sharing” Facebook app.

Blottr has opted for a Guardian-style app where readers access news and comment without having to leave the social networking site.

The Huffington Post UK, which released an app at the end of February, followed the Independent in promoting social interaction on the news site.

In a release Blottr said:

The app leverages the social functionality Facebook users are already familiar with to automatically discover and highlight Blottr content their friends have read. Through the app, users will also be able to report news and add content directly to the Blottr site.

We want to engage new readers who may not already interact with Blottr. Registered users can now notice Blottr’s content via their friends’ interactions or activity report on their wall.

Blottr founder Adam Baker said in a statement:

This move signifies the importance social media plays in the distribution, discovery and consumption of news content. Our aim is to make consuming and contributing to news-related content as efficient, simple and timely as possible.

The Blottr Facebook app socially connects people with each other through the type of content they consume and makes the discovery of our content much more fluid.

Tool of the week for journalists: Muck Rack

Tool of the week: Muck Rack

What is it? A site that aggregates Twitter and social media feeds for thousands of professional journalists.

How is it of use to journalists? Journalists often break or share vital information first through social media. Muck Rack allows you to monitor trending topics among journalists in real-time. Its aim, according to Muck Rack’s creators, is to deliver “tomorrow’s newspaper to you today”.

Launched in 2009, Muck Rack now draws content from thousands of journalists who use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sources to break news on a daily basis.

Built around a central directory of verified professionals, Muck Rack now boasts an extensive directory of top journalists from around the world which can be searched by name, publication or even beat.

Professionals only need a valid Twitter account to apply for verification, although the process is heavily vetted to ensure certain standards are met such as relevance of tweets or posts and consistent activity.

The site also emails out a daily analysis of what journalists are saying called the Muck Rack Daily, which is pored over by its editorial team.

Muck Rack dovetails well with previous tool of the week Press Pass, which organises journalists by beat, media outlet or region.

Economist seeks to build relationships with 1m Facebook fans

The Economist has today announced that it has clocked up one million fans on Facebook.

The fans come from 180 countries, with the largest number living in the United States, followed by India, the UK, Pakistan and Canada, the Economist states in a release.

Last week Nick Blunden, global publisher, digital editions told the Guardian’s Changing Media Summit that “people want to belong and we can monetize that”.

It’s about building relationships on Facebook and monetizing outside.

On the subject of charging for access to content, he said that people will pay for the experience of “being informed”.

Today’s release states:

The Facebook community regularly discusses, debates, comments and share posts, with those regarding world leaders and international events generating the most responses. One of the most popular posts of all time focused on the Economist’s 2009 “The Man Who Screwed An Entire Country” cover and received over 130,000 likes in just a few days.

The Economist states that it “reaches over 3.5 million people through all of its social media properties, including 2.1 million individuals on Twitter and 400,000 users on Google+” and a “growing global circulation” (now 1.5 million including both print and digital), according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

The news outlet is now asking readers how they consume the title’s content.

To mark the milestone, the publication has asked its Facebook community to tell or show how they consume Economist content. Fans have been posting their experiences and photos, which include reading indoors, outdoors, by the pool, floating in the dead sea, on tablets and even reading in diapers for one young adopter, aged 13 months.

BBC’s sports editor on social media and the Olympics: ‘There’s an illusion around Twitter’

Image copyright Populou

Speaking at the Polis International Journalism conference today, BBC sports editor David Bond discussed as part of a panel the expected impact of social media on this year’s Olympic games, with 26,000 accredited journalists all eager to cover the sporting event across media platforms.

I caught up with David after the panel discussion to find out more about how he feels social media will impact sports journalism this year, and the considerations he is taking to ensure information from the platform is used responsibly.

Twitter has just changed everything. It wasn’t around in Beijing, maybe just starting off, but it wasn’t at the level it’s at now in terms of the amount of people who use it, the personalities who use it.

Currently David says he largely uses Twitter as a news source, and highlights the risks journalists will need to consider when using information from social media platforms, during the Olympics and more generally.

I think it comes with a lot of risks and dangers, you have to approach it like any piece of information.

On Twitter because it’s there and people see it, it’s got that broadcast quality and you assume, in most cases wrongly, it has reliability.

We’re still trying to get our heads around it.

He added that when it comes to using the platform to see the interactions of athletes competing in the games there are further considerations to be made by sports journalists.

A lot of it is done to plug sponsors and we have to be careful of are they really the people they say they are … that’s less of an issue now.

But it is going to be in many cases the way we find out about stories involving athletes as that’s the way they’re communicating now. Just look at football.

But he does have some concerns:

The worry for me is that increasingly we’re getting restricted on what we can ask people, direct contact with people is becoming more and more limited.

That’s quite alarming for me, the more barriers there are between two people having a conversation, having unfettered access, that just restricts the freedom of the media.

There’s an illusion around Twitter, I think, that it is all free information and it’s all moving incredibly fast, which it is – but I think there’s a risk of distortion around the quality of the information and there’s a lot of opportunity for people to put barriers in the way.

Searchmetrics: Financial Times is news outlet with most Google+ followers

The Financial Times has the largest number of followers on Google+, while the Daily Mail and Telegraph websites get the most Google +1 recommendations from readers, according to a release from analytics software firm Searchmetrics.

Searchmetrics has looked at the Google+ presence of 13 national newspapers which have “a combined total of 544,545 followers”.

This compares with a total of 1,284,674 followers (fans) on Facebook, currently the world’s biggest social network, for which all 13 newspaper sites maintain official pages.

The social network, which was launched nine months ago, has more that 100 million user accounts, according to Google.

At the time of the Searchmetrics study, which was carried out on 19 March:

372,159 people were recorded as following the Financial Times’ page on Google+ (or having the newspaper’s page in their Google+ ‘Circles’) beating the Guardian’s page which came second with 75,255 followers. The Independent came third with 60,195 people having its page in their Google+ circles.

In the release Searchmetrics points out that the Times, the Sun, Daily Express and Daily Star have not created a Google+ page for their news sites.

Searchmetrics found stories and content from the Daily Mail website received the most recommendations from people using the +1 button, with approximately 10,493 +1s a week on average.

Second came the Telegraph website with around 5,822 +1s a week and third was the Guardian with around 3,367 +1s a week.

While the Financial Times has the most followers it averages around 670 +1s a week, probably due to its metered paywall.

The most frequently +1’d article on Daily Mail site was “a story (with images) about how the majority of runway models meet the Body Mass Index (BMI) criteria for anorexia”. It had been +1’d 837 times.

This contrasts with the Mail’s most “liked” story of 2011, which saw more than 62,458 people click the Facebook like button. This story was headlined “the 9/11 rescue dogs: Portraits of the last surviving animals who scoured Ground Zero one decade on”. See our story on the top 10 Facebook stories of 2011 (we used Searchmetrics to gather the data).

Marcus Tober, Searchmetrics’ CTO and founder said in the release:

Google+ is still a relatively young social network but Google is very positive about its future and we’re already seeing a large number of people on the site, so it’s important for newspapers and other big brands to get in early and have a strong presence on the network.

Frequently +1’d articles from national newspapers:, 12 Jan 2012, 837 +1s
‘Most runway models meet the BMI criteria for anorexia’, claims plus-size magazine in powerful comment on body image in the fashion industry’,  18 Nov 2011, 1110 +1s
EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration, Comment is Free, 25 Nov 2011, 1,142 +1s
The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

Social predicted to overtake search as Guardian traffic driver

The Guardian’s Facebook app has been downloaded eight million times since it was launched six months ago, seeing around 40,000 downloads a day.

Speaking at the Guardian Changing Media Summit, Tanya Cordrey, director of digital development at Guardian News and Media, said the news outlet has been “blown away by the results”.

The “frictionless sharing” app works by readers opting in to share all articles they read with their Facebook friends, generating more traffic for the news site with “no editorial curation”.

She later explained that the Guardian has generated more money through ad revenue from the app than the news organisation spent on building it.

Six months ago Google provided 40 per cent of the Guardian’s traffic. The launch of the Facebook app resulted in a “seismic shift” with social exceeding search as a driver on several occasions in February (see above photograph).

Cordrey predicted:

It’s only a matter of time until social overtakes search for the Guardian.

She said that the audience becomes more global everyday, providing “an amazing opportunity to learn about this new audience”.

It’s the audience we want to learn about rather than the platform [Facebook]

Readers are in “habitual grazing mode”, Cordrey said, traffic peaking in “the middle of the afternoon”.

Addressing those who believe the app has implications for privacy, Cordrey said “we are acutely aware of the critics” but readers are not being driven away or removing content they have read from their Facebook timeline.

“Once people have it, they use it,” Cordrey said, explaining “only a tiny percentage of people” have taken up the option of hiding their reading habits.

Earlier in the day Karla Geci, strategic partner development for Facebook said that it would be “just weird and awkward to read a whole article inside of Facebook”, saying Facebook’s role is enabling “distribution and discovery” rather than taking traffic away from publishers.

Asking herself if frictionless sharing “is creepy”, Geci said:

People are quite interested in being an influencer in their circles. Sharing what you are reading is something you did any way.

Huffington Post UK’s Facebook app clocks up 20,000 users

The Huffington Post UK has clocked up 20,000 users of its Facebook app.

The social reader app was added to all pages of the UK site a fortnight ago.

It follows the launch of the Guardian and Independent’s Facebook apps, released in September.

The Huffington Post has opted for an Independent-style Facebook app, which sits within the Huffington Post UK site rather than encouraging readers to access stories within Facebook, as favoured by the Guardian.

Those who sign up for the app and agree to share some of their Facebook details will see their reading habits shared with their Facebook friends.

Carla Buzasi, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post UK told that there is an option to opt out.

Every time you are on a story and you don’t want that to be shared there’s a delay and you can click and stop it sharing.

The Huffington Post, which launched a UK edition on 6 July, hopes that the app will increase traffic to the UK site, which reported 5.4 million unique views in January.

Buzasi said:

We’re obviously monitoring it quite carefully. It’s a little bit to early to say at the moment but Facebook does send us a significant amount of traffic already.