What a great way to incorporate Facebook in reporting without turning trivial. NPR did this story on sentimental items being stolen by thieves. In a sidebar: “An Odd Assortment,” a list of some of the most unusual items Facebook fans reported having had stolen. It’s a great example of the value of audience participation, because comments and Facebook likes can seem trivial, but this enhances and personalizes the story so much. It also gets the Facebook fans involved in a very real way - it’s not just “give us your comments;” it’s “your comments are an integral part of this story and we know that.”
So cool. And yet another example of how reporting the news can be a million things other than a straight reverse pyramid story. It’s about getting people to connect to the story, and this is a really simple but effective idea.
TechCrunch points out a social network services that connects to Facebook and Twitter and automatically translates status updates. Seems pretty cool. It would be better to be able to implement that on Facebook though. I’d love to be able to have our page do that for our users so they could choose to converse in English or their native languages.
A colleague asked me yesterday, if I was going to help a real newbie dive into the world of web and social media, what exercises would I have them do to get their brains thinking the right way.
Obviously the best answer is to consume a lot of digital content and to read things like Mashable and RWW on a regular basis. But it’s easier for people to dive in if they have concrete and finite tasks to complete, in my opinion. So here’s what I came up with as “Lesson 1”:
Task 1) Intro to Blogging: Identify a few blogs you like and figure out why you like them.
A colleague recently asked me to share some stuff to get him thinking about how to do better on the web and social networks. It forced me to go back and think about what I’ve read that has really impacted the way I think about digital content. Here are the articles and projects I ended up singling out:
Mobile - This is a site developed in advance of last week’s referendum on Kenya’s constitution. Let people look through the entire constitution by section, comment on the various sections and vote each section up or down. The votes were compiled to showcase the 10 most liked and 10 least liked sections. Simple but very useful and effective. http://www.katiba.me
A YouTube channel of videos by Google about SEO. Tutorials and answers to burning questions. I pretty much hate video tutorials and wish they would just write it down instead (SO much easier to skim that way!), but this is a pretty neat thing anyway
Mobile site for Kenyan referendum voters. Breaks down proposed constitution into digestible sections, lets users comment on sections, and uses comments/ratings to rank sections by most/least approved. Very cool and useful.
Talk about things that inspire you to great storytelling on the web. This project shows how sometimes the simplest thing can be more powerful than the most produced, voiced package. There is something absolutely moving about hearing the first-person experience - someone simply looking into a camera and talking about something that is meaningful to them. We tend to forget that in our frenzy to produce polished packages all the time, but sometimes you get the greatest impact from just letting the subject speak for themselves.
Another great project illustrating this point is RFE/RL’s Project Hijab. It’s just a collection of videos of women around the Middle East looking into a camera and explaining why they choose to wear or not wear the Islamic head scarf, and it’s incredibly compelling.