Twitter in journalism’s infrastructure

Tales of journalists using social media, and non-journalists committing acts of journalism using social tools, are starting to sound like stories of people using their telephones. Social media is becoming part of everyday communication for many people in general. Journalists rely on communication tools to get their job done. Does that mean that social networks like Twitter working their way into the infrastructure of today’s journalism?

I threw the question out – on Twitter of course – and here are some of the responses that I got back.


  1. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan Is Twitter becoming part of journalism’s infrastructure? @ckanal @robquig @donlemoncnn @jeffpulver @danielhonigman @davewiner
  2. Chip Oglesby
  3. Matthew Peters
    schoolofold @ksablan For some people yes, but I don’t think it’s quite as widespread as those of us that are deep in it think.
  4. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan It definitely is, though I think it’s coming to a point where papers focus on it too much and not enough on other tools.
  5. Daniel B. Honigman
    DanielHonigman @ksablan Not yet — it’s not paying the bills. Once Twitter traffic — and conversations — become monetized, then that’s a different story.
  6. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Not sure about Twitter specifically, but certainly SM & real-time Web are part of journalism now & there’s no going back IMO.

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  1. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan people will resist it the same as being web first. But will journo’s pick up on it before it loses it’s effectiveness?
  2. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @cophotog They are picking up on it. Are you predicting Twitter will eventually lose its effectiveness?
  3. Matthew Peters
    schoolofold @cophotog @ksablan Who knows but if people think its just some silly trend that doesn’t apply to them, it’s their loss.
  4. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan I think we’re starting to see the ‘tribalization’ of Twitter. People converse with smaller groups based on geography.
  5. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan and I agree about the trend, but they aren’t use to an audience that can talk to themselves. They want to feel needed.
  6. Kevin Sablan
  7. Chip Oglesby
  8. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @ksablan I want to do a heatmap that shows a users replies over time based on the physical location of the person they’re replying to.
  9. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @cophotog That’s a great idea. It would be great to compare that to a person’s IRL conversations.

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Other tools

  1. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan It definitely is, though I think it’s coming to a point where papers focus on it too much and not enough on other tools.
  2. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @sona23 Good point. Focusing on the tool seems a little silly, really. When’s the last time we spoke this much about telephones?
  3. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan Right. Building a strong online community requires attention to several areas: social media spaces, blogs, story comments, etc.

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  1. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Not sure about Twitter specifically, but certainly SM & real-time Web are part of journalism now & there’s no going back IMO.
  2. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Twitter’s value is clear now, to me & many others such as yourself. But many people don’t see it; that could impact it long-term.
  3. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @ckanal Agreed. I figured I would phrase the question more narrowly for a start of the discussion. Thanks for the reply, Craig.
  4. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Absolutely. Interested to read others’ responses & see where the conversation goes.

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Gibbs via Flickr.

Google, please personalize search with these 38 social items

Google started personalizing everyone’s search results last week. This week, they added real time search. If they get social, they can make make search really personal. Here is the start of what I would want integrated into a personalized search algorithm:

  1. Twitter: Pages that I’ve linked to
  2. Twitter: Pages that my friends have linked to
  3. Twitter: My lists
  4. Delicious: My bookmarks
  5. Delicious: My network
  6. Delicious: My network’s bookmarks
  7. Google Reader: My subscriptions
  8. Google Reader: My tags
  9. Google Reader: Items I’ve liked
  10. Google Reader: Items shared by people I follow
  11. Google Reader: Items I’ve starred
  12. Google Reader: Items I’ve shared
  13. Google Reader: Items I’ve commented on
  14. Vimeo: My likes
  15. Vimeo: Channels (topics) that I subscribe to
  16. Vimeo: Groups (communities) that I belong to
  17. Vimeo: My contacts
  18. Vimeo: My videos
  19. Vimeo: My albums
  20. YouTube: My favorites
  21. YouTube: My subscriptions
  22. YouTube: My playlists
  23. YouTube: My videos
  24. Songs that I’ve blipped
  25. Songs that my favorite DJs have blipped
  26. My playlist
  27. My favorite DJs’ playlists
  28. My library
  29. Music recommended by
  30. My listened tracks
  31. My top artists
  32. My top tracks
  33. My tags
  34. My groups
  35. My loved tracks
  36. My friends’ activity
  37. Friendfeed: My feed
  38. Friendfeed: My friends’ feeds

Each of those items mean more to me than popular, or “trending,” topics from social networks.

Of course, this is just the beginning. A socially personalized search should also include Facebook and LinkedIn activity. For me, Social Median and Publish2 would be helpful.

What about you? What social media factors would improve your search results?

Should real-time search results end?

Journalists have traditionally decided when a story ends, taking into consideration the amount of new information, open questions, public interest and a slew of other factors.

But when do stories powered by streams of information end? Each image below links to news about President Barack Obama and the Nobel Prize, as gathered by real-time search engines. These engines are the closest thing to my storystreaming concept.

The story last week was that Obama won the prize. Is that story done? Do the streams below advance the story or reveal new ones? Would it be a good idea to stop streams once a story is done? Would an archive of such streams be useful? Could those archives be edited to become another encyclopedic resource? Should people not expect real-time search to provide relevant information after a story is over?

Please help me answer these questions before I discuss the storystreaming concept with Daniel HonigmanMark Krynsky and Mona Nomura on Wednesday at the 140 character conference.

Now, for the real-time search results about last week’s story:


OneRiot results for obama nobel


Scoopler results for obama nobel


Topsy results for obama nobel


Twazzup results for obama nobel

Lifestreaming: Why not a storystreaming platform?

A post on Old Media, New Tricks asks if the era of live-tweeting is over, to be replaced by lifestreaming.

The use of a lifestream — a chronological aggregated view of your life activities — to tell news is very smart, not just for obviously major events, but also for small stories that sometimes come to life and require more thorough and real-time documentation.

Thinking of each story as an individual “life” helps identify the opportunity for developers to create or modify a platform that can meet the needs of news organization, a platform for “storystreaming.”

  1. Story-centric: Current lifestream solutions, at least those I’m familiar with, document a person’s life, but every story includes multiple characters, events and plot. A storystream platform needs to document a the events of a story, not a person.
  2. Realtime curation: A good news story probably shouldn’t include the many distracting, unrelated actions in that person’s lifestream. To use a cliche example, we don’t need to know what our protagonist had for breakfast. A storystream platform needs to give an astute curator the ability to filter content as it arrives. [Distracting caveat: I did say a good “news” story. Some of the best “story” stories include tasty details, like the color of the hot sauce that our protagonist pours on his fried eggs every morning. Might lifestreaming harken the rebirth of narratives?]
  3. Integration: Any piece of information can become a story. If a news site already produces a blotter, each item should have the ability to become a story and a storystream. It isn’t enough to be able to provide a widget that can be embedded into a current publishing platform via a content management system.

Twitter fans, don’t fret. Lifestreaming won’t replace “microblogging,” and neither will the umpteen other Twitter-killers that surface every month. Instead, we’re witnessing the growth of a web-based storytelling ecosystem, with each tool relying on the other to survive. The way I see it, Twitter is becoming the all-important bottom feeder that the storytelling ecosystem relies on for survival.

By the way, my observations come from my own experiences when I created the following presentation back in January, which ReadWriteWeb used in it’s post, Sorry Google, You Missed the Real-Time Web!

If you want to learn more about lifestreaming make sure to follow the Lifestream Blog by Mark Krynsky.

Hat tip to Daniel Honigman for asking me for my thoughts on the post.

Update: I had the chance to talk with David Bausola, who is working on a similar project.