I’m Not a Robot: Engaging Local News Readers on Social Media

Next week, the Digital First Interactives team is heading to Connecticut to do a training extravaganza at the New Haven Register. Data Editor Tom Meagher is giving training on data journalism, Video Editor Yvonne Leow on video and video strategy, and Curation Editor Julie Westfall on breaking news workflows and storytelling. I’ll be giving some focused training on social media – particularly on making it more, well, social.

I’ve had many an editor begrudgingly admit there’s a recurring problem with their reporter and newsrooms Twitter accounts being a little too….robotic. As in, they mimic an RSS feed with a full stream of headline-and-link tweets. No retweets, no questions, no fun.

So I’m looking for some fresh examples of tweets sent by individual local reporters and newsroom accounts that really seek to engage readers around the news. I’ve been collecting some examples in the Storify below, but I’d love suggestions of [...]

TechCrunch Writer Demonstrates How NOT to Engage Readers

Alexia Tsotsis’ highly unprofessional rants against “old media” and eventually her site’s own readers lead to a highly professional discussion amongst journalists about dealing with trolls on the web. [...]

When CoveritLive hands you lemons, make workaround Kool-Aid

ScribbleLive-logo

Now that CoveritLive is no longer free, here are some alternatives for newsrooms to host liveblogs and live chats at no cost. [...]

Growing Your Audience: Advice from Bloggers and Readers

Collecting your advice on engaging readers and growing audiences on blogs. [...]

Kick It Old School: Engaging Your Community Through Live Chats

group-chat

The live chat is, in a sense, the original social media. Here are a few best practices and tips to reintroduce you to this kinda old school tool. [...]

How to Set Up A Chat Using CoveritLive

Cover It Live

Step-by-step directions for setting up a live chat between readers and panelists using CoveritLive. [...]

Holy engagement, Batman! How HuffPost blew up the State of the Union on Facebook

How did The Huffington Post get 32,694 Likes, 2,525 comments and 4,268 shares on Facebook for Obama’s State of the Union address? How about a sort of Facebook take on live-tweeting? It was an experiment, to be sure, but it seemed to work out well. [...]

Facebook comments can’t guarantee a lack of anonymity

There’s a conventional wisdom out there in the online journalism world that: 1.) News site comments will automatically be better if people have to use real names, and 2.) Using Facebook for your comments will accomplish this.

I’ve said many times before that I don’t think anonymity is the problem. My campaign on that seems to be a lost cause so far. As a former comment moderator and current manager of social media accounts, I know for a fact that people have absolutely no problem spouting hateful views and violent rhetoric under their real name. I see it every day.

Aside from that, there’s also all kinds of evidence that Facebook comments aren’t the end-all, be-all answer on this front.

As my friend Jeff Sonderman recently wrote at Poynter, Facebook comments can be a boon to news sites in lots of ways: Increased Facebook traffic referrals, fast page load times, [...]

Why we should reply to users – even angry ones

Do you respond to your news org’s detractors?

Sure, we all talk about how engagement is SO IMPORTANT and we want to work with our readers, but when it comes to criticism, I so often hear social media coordinators or newsroom editors say, “Eh, I just ignore them, no point in replying.” Not so.

First of all, keep in mind, there are two types of detractors you’re likely dealing with here: Trolls and complainers. Complainers can be turned into fans – or at least neutral parties – but trolls will always be trolls, no matter what you do. While it can be difficult to sort through your hate mail/comments to find those that would benefit from a reply, it’s worth it if you can change at least one mind.

Case in point: Last Friday, we at The Huffington Post, along with every other news outlet, posted Sarah Palin’s emails from [...]