Mass Media are increasingly using Social Media to approach and interact with their audiences. Here's one example from Russia, as presented at the Communication on Top forum in Davos on 17 February, 2011.
Good afternoon, dear ladies and gentlemen! For me it is a great honor to be present for the first time at the second international Communication on top forum representing Russian multimedia holding called RIA Novosti, a major conglomerate comprising news agency, news portal, press-center, print projects. The topic I would like to highlight is about the benefits and pitfalls of the social media as applied to the editorial and publishing workflows of a mass media company. The big question here is whether Social Media is viewed as S&M - you know what I mean - by the media ,or not.
No matter the answer, one thing for sure - the audience is no longer the same with the advent of the interactive tools of today that allow everyone, to become a publisher and a media. As prominent blogger Tom Foremski put it, &quot;Every company is a media company.&quot; i would add that even any willing person could become if not a media company then an important information gathering or analyzing part of it. Quite often such proactive users wish they could influence the editorial decision. Would that make them competitors to professional communicators, I wonder.
In Russia with its 45 million monthly internet users, one of the main trends of 2010 was the general dive into the world of the social networks. VKontakte (in touch) is Russian equivalent of Facebook, Odnokkassniki is the equivalent of Classmates. Moy Mir stands for &quot;my world&quot;.
I will use Twitter as social network - my favorite - and RIA Novosti as a media company in my presentation as representative cases. Although you can see that other media companies have also got their own stories to tell.
RIA Novosti's main Twitter channel boasts almost 14k followers. Compare that though to the main websites daily audience of over 400k uniques.
When I started my mostly English language Twitter account just over one year ago, I would not follow my own agency since it was an automated feed of all the news I was getting anyway. It took some time before RIA Novosti had changed to a manually operated account, introducing news stories selection, targeting and interaction.
Personally I was very glad to see that first things came first in Twitter activity over our news stories. Usually, you would see celebrity news as the most read on any website, in absence of the hot news.
Here is a good example of how social media brought nearly as much visitors as did the main news aggregating service.
In general, that is how RiA Novosti see usage of the social media by mass media. For us as a news agency the two last bullet points are quite important as they open up new opportunities both for the company as well as its journalists. One of the major pitfalls is exactly the latter - how do you balance out your blog so that it is absolutely clear whether it is a blog of a professional journalist or a private blog.
To sum up in one sentence, It is not the Reader who is watching the media but the media that are now striving for the reader to let them into her close circle if network friends. To draw a wild parallel ,As Russian blogger @apazhe twitted recently, &quot;Big Brother is not watching you. He is now befriending you in the Social Media.&quot; so the big challenge for the reader to distinguish between the good and the evil. For the media the challenge is in not subduing to all the readers wishes. The pr+marketers challenge would then be to mediate between the media and the reader while preserving own agenda.
Benefits & Pitfalls Of Integrating Social Media Into Editorial & Publishing Workflows
Benefits & Pitfalls Of Integrating Social Media Into Editorial & Publishing Workflows Valery Levchenko , Deputy Editor in Chief, RIA Novosti COMMUNICATION ON TOP FORUM Davos, Switzerland, February 2011
Mass Media Audience Has Changed, No Doubt <ul><li>Users do not distinguish between professional media,influential bloggers and quasi-media corporate portals </li></ul><ul><li>Users are ready to be both recipients and creators of content </li></ul><ul><li>They want to be involved in news-making process </li></ul><ul><li>They want to influence editor choice </li></ul><ul><li>Technology lets everybody be a publisher </li></ul>
Main 2010 Trend: Integration Of Websites With The Social Media Main players in Russia and elsewhere: Twitter, Facebook Local SM in Russia: Vkontakte , Odnoklassniki , Moy Mir Tools that allow to increase a website's readership together with the size of the relevant group in the Social Media.
Russian Media In Social Media The most media popular in *official Twitter stats as of 8 Feb 2011 Followers* Vesti 26 794 Forbes Russia 17 719 Vedomosti 14 453 RIA Novosti 13 763 Snob 12 322 Kommersant 10 013 Russia Today 9 785 Gazeta.ru 8 596 Delovoy Peterburg 6 445 Slon 5 072 lentaruofficial 3 134 1 kanal 2 110 Chaskor 1 515 Echo Moskvy 1 163
RIA Novosti In Twitter http://twitter.com/rianru Followers: 13 763 Average referrals per day: 3 600 Maximum referrals: 14 213 RIA Novosti Twitter: News channel plus interaction with the users *as of 8 Feb 2011
Experimenting With Twitter <ul><li>Formerly </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic News Export : all headlines go to Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Huge flow of tweets, repelling the users </li></ul><ul><li>No difference from RSS </li></ul><ul><li>No diference from the website </li></ul><ul><li>No interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Currently </li></ul><ul><li>Manual Mode r </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Information carefully measured out </li></ul><ul><li>Editor's choice news </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility to reword headlines and highlight multimedia content to increase conversion </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunites for interaction: questions, requests for content and verification replies to users, polls etc. </li></ul>
Likeable & Discussable Topics <ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>- Laws and proposed changes to the legislation that directly affect the citizens' lives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presidential aide suggests to cancel stipends for students: 217 RTs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>- International news relevant to Russians </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Russian tourists refuse to leave Egypt </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>- Twitter activity of the President and other officials and politicians </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dmitry Medvedev retweets a request for help to a child: 56 RTs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>- Weather, its anomalies, Acts of God </li></ul><ul><li>- All about top stories </li></ul><ul><li>- Tech news, gadgets </li></ul><ul><li>- Science news </li></ul><ul><li>- Celebrity news </li></ul>
Moscow, 15 December 2010. Live Coverage Of An Unsanctioned Street Gathering The surge of public interest came at 6 pm, when according to bloggers, an attack reportedly staged by the «North Caucasians» was supposed to happen. During that single day we received a lot of referrals directly from social networks:: Facebook: 9 278 referrals Vkontakte: 216 058 referrals Twitter: 38 120 referrrals Compare to News Yandex: 495 К referrals
How Mass Media Use Social Media <ul><li>to enter into new segments of the readership </li></ul><ul><li>to expand the circle of loyal users </li></ul><ul><li>to better understand the readers by analysing comments, rates, replies. </li></ul><ul><li>to virally distribute hyperlinks to stories </li></ul><ul><li>to get user generated content to find eyewitnesses and additional material to develop news stories </li></ul><ul><li>to personalize news </li></ul><ul><li>to offer journalists creative haven </li></ul>
<ul><li>Mass Media now strive for the Reader to let them into her close circle of network friends. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A great challenge, good opportunities but also some big pitfalls </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
COMMUNICATION ON TOP FORUM Davos , Switzerland , February 2011 Thank you! Valery Levchenko , Deputy Editor in Chief RIA Novosti Twitter: v_at_l Facebook: valerylev Skype: valery.levchenko