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The Secret Life Of Social Media
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The Secret Life Of Social Media



NASW 2009 presentation

NASW 2009 presentation



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The Secret Life Of Social Media Presentation Transcript

  • 1. NASW Annual Meeting
    October 17, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    David Harris
    Symmetry magazine,
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    The Secret Life of Social Media
  • 2. Outline
    Principles of social media
    Why understand how social media works?
    New ways people get/share information
    How we can use this knowledge
    How social media really works
    Examples of social sharing sites
  • 3. Why understand social media?
    As science writers, our trade is information
    Information is increasingly flowing in new ways
    We all need to really know how these mechanisms work if we are to take advantage of them (whether journalists, writers, or PIOs)
    It gives us new ways to think about what we do
  • 4. Getting information: the old way
    Read/watch the standard sources (local/national newspaper/TV news/magazines)
    Discuss those topics with friends and colleagues, relying on commonality of sources (Water cooler conversations, pub conversations)
  • 5. Getting information: the new way
    “If the news is that important, it will find me.” – Anonymous college student in a focus groupNew York Times, March 27, 2008http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/us/politics/27voters.html
    “This micro-knowledge of others has been termed ‘ambient awareness’ by sociologists, a new kind of social proprioception or ethereal limb, and I learned to flex it with ease.” (Referring to the world of Facebook status updates)New York Magazine, April 5, 2009 http://nymag.com/news/features/55878/
  • 6. Getting information: the new way
    Converse with your friends and colleagues, A LOT!(in person, phone, email, txt msg, Facebook status, FriendFeed, tweet, LinkedIn update, etc.)
    Let your trust of others guide you
    Pick up on some of it and surf/search it further
    Contribute to public discussions
    This is not an ideal, but an observation.
  • 7. How we can use this knowledge
    Changing information ecosystem Old: Authority relationships New: Trust relationships
    Journalists: We can’t rely solely on the authoritativeness of our publications. Now we need to develop trust relationships with readers. How?
    PIOs: We no longer just want to rely on the news media to reach audiences for us, but need to be active in developing relationships with other audiences ourselves. How?
  • 8. Examples of social sharing sites
    Many user-vote-driven sites seem to present the “best” stories, which rise to the top as people vote for them.
    For digg, slashdot, reddit, stumbleupon, and facebook
    What the site looks like
    How stories really get to the top of the charts
    A typical story’s traffic
    An analogy
  • 9. digg
  • 10. digg traffic
  • 11. digg is like…a gang
    Strong but organic hierarchy
    Dominance of an idea depends on who it comes from
    Leaders cultivate support from underlings by offering links and help up rankings
    Loyalty to the leader is key
    Identity is defined by the role in the group
    For success: Be in with the leaders, don’t cross the leaders
  • 12. slashdot
  • 13. slashdot traffic
  • 14. slashdot is like…organized crime
    Small tight group controls the flow of information
    Outsiders are treated with some suspicion
    Once you’re part of the family and know the people behind the curtain, you can get things done
    /.’s “karma” system compared with OC status
    Leaders still have absolute power
    For success: Post good stuff to gain positive attention of the admins, cultivate their good graces
  • 15. reddit
  • 16. reddit traffic
  • 17. reddit is like…an ADHD direct democracy
    Any idea can get to the top BUT...
    Many people need to respond positively to an idea rapidly or it will be forgotten
    For success: Post things lots of people will like and can easily see the appeal of from the headline
  • 18. stumbleupon
  • 19. stumbleupon traffic
  • 20. stumbleupon is like…a book club
    Ideas don’t need to be fresh
    Topics keep coming back for attention/discussion
    Demographic trends older and female
    People rate quality after reflection on the work
    For success: High quality content
  • 21. facebook
  • 22. facebook traffic
    Occurs too rapidly to show day by day
    Most in the first few minutes/hours, some residual over following days
    Adds a steady amount of traffic to our site
    Twitter is similar
    Facebook+twitter send about 15% of traffic
  • 23. facebook is like…a clique
    Information circulates within peer groups
    Information can spread to other groups through overlap, and ideas can revive and seem new again
    For success: Have lots of friends and know what they like
  • 24. Conclusion
    Social media both drives and reflects a changing information ecosystem—it has new rules
    Things are not always what they seem, so dig(g) a little deeper and never trust what anybody says about social media (not even me)
    If you’re not playing the game enough to know the rules, you’re not going win in the future