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The Secret Life Of Social Media

The Secret Life Of Social Media



NASW 2009 presentation

NASW 2009 presentation



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    The Secret Life Of Social Media The Secret Life Of Social Media Presentation Transcript

    • NASW Annual Meeting
      October 17, 2009
      Austin, Texas
      David Harris
      Symmetry magazine,
      SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
      The Secret Life of Social Media
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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)
    • 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/
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • 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
    • digg
    • digg traffic
    • 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
    • slashdot
    • slashdot traffic
    • 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
    • reddit
    • reddit traffic
    • 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
    • stumbleupon
    • stumbleupon traffic
    • 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
    • facebook
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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