Finding Story in Social Media
Social Media & News
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Let’s talk first about…
• News Narrative
– Journalists storytellers for the nation
– Telling stories of humankind – person vs nature,
person vs. person, person vs self
– Elements of complication/resolution (emotion,
suspense, but most of all ACTION!!!)
If we think of news story in text as
having the following elements…
(When) Chronology – past, present, future
(Where) Setting – local geography
(Who) Character – archetypes, officials
(Why) Motivation – hegemonic values
(What) Plot – episodic, thematic, mythic
… Then what are content
characteristics/dynamics of social media
platforms that emphasize which
components of STORY?
• Group 1-2: On Facebook?
Group 3: Pinterest?
Group 4-5: In Twitter?
Group 6: Our blogs?
Group 7: Instagram?
Each group please tweet out a
6-second vine with your answer (1-word
responses? Screenshots?). Put on the FB post
related to group.
Twittering the news: The emergence
of ambient journalism
What is the main point of this article? Thinking
about the following in particular:
• What is ambient journalism?
• How can journalists adapt to the awareness
system they argue is developing?
• “In an awareness system, value is defined less
by each individual fragment of information that
may be insignificant on its own or of limited
validity, but rather by the combined effect of
the communication” (301)
• “Twitter is frequently used to call networked publics into
being and into action during periods of political
instability.” What possibilities does this hold for story?
• “…platforms like Twitter permit individuals to bypass
traditional gatekeepers and contribute directly to the
news process. However, these instances also expose
temporal incompatibilities between Twitter as a news
platform and the conventions of journalism.” How can
we change or adapt our notions of narrative to resolve
--from Affective News and Networked
Publics: The Rhythms of News
Storytelling on #Egypt
Thinking of our readings, what are some
tricks and tips to producing story within
social media? (Please tweet to #socialj)
– The Genuine Article
– The Lego-Approach to Storytelling
– From Blog to Narrative
– Billy Baker
– Reporting Life
But you also have to think about YOUR
OWN BRAND as a STORY
• What is your vision (big picture), mission (vision
defined), value system (strategies)? In other
words, WHAT IS YOUR BRAND?
• What is your conflict/problem you are trying to
• Who are all the characters in your story? How
will you speak to all of them? How do you
weave audiences into the story?
– LISTEN AND RESPOND
• What’s motivation of you and your characters
– Material? Social? Ideological?
• How is this story playing out for you? “Plot
your plot” (Ed Schipul, CEO of Tendenci)
– Think video, twitter (ask questions, tell stories,
answer questions, say thanks)
Check out how these brands are
harnessing social media to convey
• Washington Post’s Facebook story:
• Nicholas Kristof on Facebook:
• CNN’s iReport: http://ireport.cnn.com/
• “My Starbucks Idea”
Discuss an answer to the following question and
then post answers on Facebook:
How might we use the networked culture
to resolve these issues?
• Group 1-2: stereotypes and bias?
• Group 3-4: simplicities of story
• Group 4-6: missing voices
• Group 7: inattention and apathy
Best Curating Tips
• Have a meaningful, key-worded headline
• Make sure you use the description box
• Don’t just stack tweets, updates but write them into a
story with context (beg, mid, end AND transitions)
• Introduce characters; make sure you know who you
are citing (go to their profile)
• Verify the tweets if that makes sense to do so, such as
declarations of facts (see our Detecting Online Bull
• Ask questions
• Use lots of different combination of search terms
• Take advantage of opportunity to bring in alternative
• Storify Contest
– Working in groups, please pick a focus from within your
topic and compose the best storify on your topic
Group 1-2: Kiev
Group 3-4: Olympics
Group 5: Facebook and What’sApp bid
Group 6-7: Net Neutrality
– You must give us the handles of FOUR key influencers and
TWO major hashtags on the topic as a way that you would
market your storify
– Best package wins prize!!
– Please link to your storify and add your key influencers,
hashtags in a Facebook post and comments
– Due before Thursday’s class if you want a shot at the prize
– Please post a link to Facebook AND tweet out to #socialJ