Posts tagged twitter

The World’s First Twitter-Themed Hotel

The Sol Wave House (@SolWaveHouse) in Majorca, Spain is a totally Twitter-themed hotel — featuring blue and white themed rooms, a Twitter concierge to help with technical problems, and Twitter “Party Suites” with customizable mini-fridges that are refilled when the guests tweet the hashtag #FillMyFridge. 

Upon arrival, all guests are given an exclusive Twitter app only available to those using the hotel’s Wi-Fi, all check-ins are done through hashtags, and guests are encouraged to use #SocialWave to connect with other guests. And even though the hotel’s website flaunts photos of beautiful people in bathing suits partying together and having what appears to be a socially active vacation experience, the hotel is set up based on the idea that no in-person communication is required if you choose not to engage in it. 

Images: Melia.com

The World of Verified Twitter users

Twitter constructed a nifty visualization map of the mutual follows between 50,000 users with verified accounts. The map categorized the users by color: news (blue), government and politics (purple), music (red), sports (yellow) and TV (green). Twitter found some interesting trends:

One of the many fascinating things about this diagram is that it shows which accounts tend to follow those outside their category. For example, the reason that blue and purple almost seem to merge into one another is that journalists tend to follow politicians, and vice versa. The same is true of TV and music, down in the bottom right, with musicians and TV stars following each other often.

We can even see how usage varies by country. For instance, on the left you have a purple swath of government users following yellow sports users — it turns out these are largely UK politicians following prominent athletes. In the top middle, a line of Spanish-language pop stars, TV companies, sportspeople and government bodies. The purple outcrop at around two o’clock is Japanese politics; the red island below it is Japanese music.

Images: Twitter Media Blog, interactive map (bottom is zoomed-in image)

Twitter Vs. Mainstream Media: Science Proves Which Breaks News Faster

In a study on Twitter’s breaking news coverage, scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow tracked 51 million tweets in 2011 and compared them to output from traditional news outlets (including the BBC, Reuters, CNN and the New York Times). 

The study found that neither Twitter nor the news outlets were quicker than the other in breaking high-profile news. But for sport and disaster-related events, Twitter generated the news faster. 

Fast Company provides more stats in the study’s findings:

This table measures the Twitter vs. Newswire lead time on news stories between late June of 2011 and mid-September of that year (the faster newsbreaker is in bold):

While newswires had the majority of scoops, Twitter still broke the news on the England riot mortalities by as much as an hour ahead of the wire. Meanwhile, 95% of newswire stories also made their way onto the microblogging platform.

Miles Osborne, lead author of the study, says that the exchange between Twitter and newswire lead times could mean that the reporting cycle’s due diligence shrinks over time—and anecdotally, we see that it already has in some cases. Still, Osborne’s data showed that the newswire is still the main force in information sharing, and he doesn’t anticipate that changing.

“My prediction is that … news services will simply use Twitter as another dissemination vector,” Osborne told Co.Exist in an email. “In my opinion the broad findings will continue. For example, news of some border treaty will never surface first on Twitter. Likewise, someone being robbed in downtown Boston might well appear first on Twitter.

FJP: Osborne’s thoughts mirror recent comments made by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo at the annual convention of the American Society of News Editors (via USA TODAY):

We think of Twitter as a technology company in the media business…We don’t do journalism. We don’t report tweets that come in. We’re very complementary to news organizations.

There’s no denying that Twitter can be useful in breaking news. It isn’t always the best venue for accurate information, as media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing had shown us. So here are some tips and tools on best practices for Twitter best practices and how to verify a tweet.—Kat

Bonus: Advice on how to build a newsy Twitter list and follow breaking news from the FJP archives.

This will be the part that makes people mad and that makes me decidedly “unfuture” of media: I really try not to get my news from Twitter, which has a reputation as a place where people go and find lots of great news. I find it a place you go to find, I guess, your barbecued potato chips.

A lot of stuff that is kind of interesting, mostly not that good. And it’s absolutely chewed over into cud by the time you get there. So I’ve been making a concerted effort to create structure on my computer using different kinds of software and so forth, that forces me to get less of my news from social media, and more of it by reading my RSS feed, which are blogs, or going to other news sites.

Ezra Klein, as quoted by Conor Friedersdorf in Ezra Klein’s Case Against Getting Your News from Twitter, The Atlantic.

FJP: Very related and very helpful is Paul Bradshaw’s A Network Infrastructure for Journalists Online, which is an introduction to RSS readers, social networks and social bookmarking.

The Internet’s Effects on The Porn Industry
The popularity of porn is at an all-time high thanks to the Internet. Slate cites an estimate that says there are almost 25 million adult sites worldwide which make up 12 percent of all websites total. Daily Infographic reports that 28, 258 people are looking at Internet porn every second and 40 million Americans are regular adult website visitors. 
Aside from being a great distribution tool, the Internet also brings greater recognition to individual adult performers. Porn star couple James Deen and Stoya are what The Village Voice calls “The Jay-Z and Beyonce” of porn — and the two of them owe a lot of their fame to online activity. Net-followers refer to themselves as “Deenagers" and "Stoyanauts,” and they dedicate their time to tracking the couple’s every social media move (see Stoya’s Tumblr and James Deen’s Twitter.) Even established porn stars like Nina Hartley and Alexis Texas amp up their fame with their own websites dedicated exclusively to their individual work.
But even though porn popularity is at an all time high, profits are dippin’ low. 72-year-old porn actor, Dave Cummings, told The Huffington Post that piracy has “killed the industry.” Theo Sapoutzis, CEO and Chairman of Adult Video News (AVN), estimates that porn made $13 to $15 billion during its peak in the early 2000s, but now DVD sales have dropped by 50 percent since 2007 due to illegal uploads. (Note:”Estimates” is the keyword here. Because so many porn businesses are privately owned, it’s impossible to determine the exact gross income of the industry.)
FJP: Despite the blows to profits, the porn industry hasn’t totally deflated yet. Sherri Shaulis, an editor at AVN, says that video companies are now creating their own sex toys and lingerie to make up for losing money on DVD sales. Also, The Institute of Network Cultures notes that even though free porn sites make up 70-80 percent of adult content online, they usually function as “bait” to lure people to pay-to-watch, premium websites with better quality content.
So, people who want that classy, story-driven, Hollywood-lit coitus have to pay their dues. And hey, that’s fair. (And all is always fair… in love, and German Whore Fare.) - Krissy
Sort of Related: Speaking of premium pornographic material, artist, Jonathan Harris, created I Love Your Work, a clickable, interactive documentary on nine women who work in lesbian porn (here’s the trailer). The project is limited to 10 viewers per day and it costs $10 for 24 hours of access to six hours of material. In the FAQ section of the project’s website, Harris says he only allows 10 viewers per day because it’s “an experiment in delayed gratification.” He says that “Internet porn is abundant, and most websites attempt to accumulate as many viewers as possible. It seemed interesting to do the opposite.” Check it out. 
Image: 2Space.net

The Internet’s Effects on The Porn Industry

The popularity of porn is at an all-time high thanks to the Internet. Slate cites an estimate that says there are almost 25 million adult sites worldwide which make up 12 percent of all websites total. Daily Infographic reports that 28, 258 people are looking at Internet porn every second and 40 million Americans are regular adult website visitors. 

Aside from being a great distribution tool, the Internet also brings greater recognition to individual adult performers. Porn star couple James Deen and Stoya are what The Village Voice calls “The Jay-Z and Beyonce” of porn — and the two of them owe a lot of their fame to online activity. Net-followers refer to themselves as “Deenagers" and "Stoyanauts,” and they dedicate their time to tracking the couple’s every social media move (see Stoya’s Tumblr and James Deen’s Twitter.) Even established porn stars like Nina Hartley and Alexis Texas amp up their fame with their own websites dedicated exclusively to their individual work.

But even though porn popularity is at an all time high, profits are dippin’ low. 72-year-old porn actor, Dave Cummings, told The Huffington Post that piracy has “killed the industry.” Theo Sapoutzis, CEO and Chairman of Adult Video News (AVN), estimates that porn made $13 to $15 billion during its peak in the early 2000s, but now DVD sales have dropped by 50 percent since 2007 due to illegal uploads. (Note:”Estimates” is the keyword here. Because so many porn businesses are privately owned, it’s impossible to determine the exact gross income of the industry.)

FJP: Despite the blows to profits, the porn industry hasn’t totally deflated yet. Sherri Shaulis, an editor at AVN, says that video companies are now creating their own sex toys and lingerie to make up for losing money on DVD sales. Also, The Institute of Network Cultures notes that even though free porn sites make up 70-80 percent of adult content online, they usually function as “bait” to lure people to pay-to-watch, premium websites with better quality content.

So, people who want that classy, story-driven, Hollywood-lit coitus have to pay their dues. And hey, that’s fair. (And all is always fair… in love, and German Whore Fare.) - Krissy

Sort of Related: Speaking of premium pornographic material, artist, Jonathan Harris, created I Love Your Work, a clickable, interactive documentary on nine women who work in lesbian porn (here’s the trailer). The project is limited to 10 viewers per day and it costs $10 for 24 hours of access to six hours of material. In the FAQ section of the project’s website, Harris says he only allows 10 viewers per day because it’s “an experiment in delayed gratification.” He says that “Internet porn is abundant, and most websites attempt to accumulate as many viewers as possible. It seemed interesting to do the opposite.” Check it out. 

Image: 2Space.net

When People Are Likable in Person, But Not Online

Blimey Cow’s I Like You in Real Life But Not on The Internet describes how people can seem pleasant in real life, while being totally obnoxious online. Some behaviors that contribute to a person’s annoying Net-personality include bombarding social media sites with “selfies,” posting live sports updates when nobody cares about a game, and “compragging” (complain-bragging) about your life in status updates.

FJP: If you can relate and just can’t bear reading another one of your friend’s  tweets about how she’s watching the third season of Mad Men for the eighth time, you might consider trying 35 Activities That Don’t Involve Staring at a Screen

The Geography of Hate Speech on Twitter
Dr. Monica Stephens, professor at Humboldt State University in California, worked with undergraduate researchers to create The Geography of Hate Map. The map geographically tags and plots homophobic and racist statements tweeted all over America from June 2012 - April 2013.
In Stephens’ introduction to the map, she explains that HSU collected the data with DOLLY (Data On Local Life and You), a University of Kentucky project that maps social media geography for research. 
The Geography of Hate Map suggests that out of 150,000 mapped tweets, most haters reign from the Midwest to the East Coast. Is this accurate? Sort of.
Via Time:

Stephens herself notes, “Even when normalized, many of the slurs included in our analysis display little meaningful spatial distribution,” and as she later tweeted, “in the east coast the counties are smaller so if a word is used in adjacent counties it appears as a hotspot,” which accounts for some of the East Coast / West Coast disparity.

What about hate words that are used in a joking way? As Chris Rock points out in his stand-up: ”It’s not always the word [that’s offensive], it’s the context in which the word is said.” To account for such varying intent, the researchers read each “hate-tweet” individually to determine a tweet’s sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral — and only negative tweets are shown on the map.
Though the study accurately depicts the hate of those Tweeters that managed to make it into the study, the map isn’t a perfect depiction of Twitter hate in the US. As Matt Peckham notes: people who haven’t enabled geotagging aren’t included in the study, meaning there could be more hateful tweets out there that haven’t been plotted. Also, more hate words exist than those Stephens chose to incorporate; when those other hate words aren’t counted, results are skewed. 
FJP: When social media becomes social meanie-a… - Krissy
 Image: Screenshot of The Geography of Hate Map

The Geography of Hate Speech on Twitter

Dr. Monica Stephens, professor at Humboldt State University in California, worked with undergraduate researchers to create The Geography of Hate Map. The map geographically tags and plots homophobic and racist statements tweeted all over America from June 2012 - April 2013.

In Stephens’ introduction to the map, she explains that HSU collected the data with DOLLY (Data On Local Life and You), a University of Kentucky project that maps social media geography for research. 

The Geography of Hate Map suggests that out of 150,000 mapped tweets, most haters reign from the Midwest to the East Coast. Is this accurate? Sort of.

Via Time:

Stephens herself notes, “Even when normalized, many of the slurs included in our analysis display little meaningful spatial distribution,” and as she later tweeted, “in the east coast the counties are smaller so if a word is used in adjacent counties it appears as a hotspot,” which accounts for some of the East Coast / West Coast disparity.

What about hate words that are used in a joking way? As Chris Rock points out in his stand-up: ”It’s not always the word [that’s offensive], it’s the context in which the word is said.” To account for such varying intent, the researchers read each “hate-tweet” individually to determine a tweet’s sentiment as positive, negative, or neutral — and only negative tweets are shown on the map.

Though the study accurately depicts the hate of those Tweeters that managed to make it into the study, the map isn’t a perfect depiction of Twitter hate in the US. As Matt Peckham notes: people who haven’t enabled geotagging aren’t included in the study, meaning there could be more hateful tweets out there that haven’t been plotted. Also, more hate words exist than those Stephens chose to incorporate; when those other hate words aren’t counted, results are skewed. 

FJP: When social media becomes social meanie-a… - Krissy

 Image: Screenshot of The Geography of Hate Map

We Promise Not to Screw
Quick, someone teach the Yahoo social team how to use the Tumblr Twitter box. STAT.
Image: Automated tweet from Yahoo’s Tumblr to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s Twitter account.

We Promise Not to Screw

Quick, someone teach the Yahoo social team how to use the Tumblr Twitter box. STAT.

Image: Automated tweet from Yahoo’s Tumblr to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s Twitter account.

The Geography of a Tweet
A team of researchers lead by GDELT co-creator Kalev Leetaru gained access to the Twitter decahose last October and November and examined 1.5 billion tweets from 71 million users.
Among the many things they parsed from the two terabytes of data was the average physical distance between an original tweet its retweet: Some 749 miles (1205 km).
For @ mentions, the average distance between one user referencing another when exact geolocation is known is 744 miles (1197 km).
The paper, Mapping the Global Twitter Heartbeat: The Geography of Twitter, also includes the geographic difference between mainstream news media and news items from Twitter:

Mainstream media appears to have significantly less coverage of Latin America and vastly better greater of Africa. It also covers China and Iran much more strongly, given their bans on Twitter, as well as having enhanced coverage of India and the Western half of the United States. Overall, mainstream media appears to have more even coverage, with less clustering around major cities.

Image: Detail, Network map showing locations of users retweeting other users (geocoded Twitter Decahose tweets 23 October 2012 to 30 November 2012), via FirstMonday.org. Select to embiggen.

The Geography of a Tweet

A team of researchers lead by GDELT co-creator Kalev Leetaru gained access to the Twitter decahose last October and November and examined 1.5 billion tweets from 71 million users.

Among the many things they parsed from the two terabytes of data was the average physical distance between an original tweet its retweet: Some 749 miles (1205 km).

For @ mentions, the average distance between one user referencing another when exact geolocation is known is 744 miles (1197 km).

The paper, Mapping the Global Twitter Heartbeat: The Geography of Twitter, also includes the geographic difference between mainstream news media and news items from Twitter:

Mainstream media appears to have significantly less coverage of Latin America and vastly better greater of Africa. It also covers China and Iran much more strongly, given their bans on Twitter, as well as having enhanced coverage of India and the Western half of the United States. Overall, mainstream media appears to have more even coverage, with less clustering around major cities.

Image: Detail, Network map showing locations of users retweeting other users (geocoded Twitter Decahose tweets 23 October 2012 to 30 November 2012), via FirstMonday.org. Select to embiggen.

Astronaut Wrings Out Wash Cloth In Space

Astronaut Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency demonstrates water’s reaction to being wrung from a wash cloth in zero gravity. His video is a response to 10th graders in Nova Scotia who won a CSA  contest because of their science experiment with surface tension in outer space.

FJP: If you check out the CSA’s YouTube channel, you’ll find more sweet cosmic how-to’s — like how to clip your nails and how to sleep in space.

And for all my fellow Trekkies out there, this one’s for you: Chris Hatfield’s space convo with William Shatner.Krissy

Twitter Introduces #Music Discovery App
Twitter #music is a music discovery app where Twitter uses its own analytics of tweets and overall engagement to categorize and promote artists. The app divides music into four categories: music that is #nowplaying and tweeted by those you follow, #popular music trending on Twitter, #suggested music based on your tastes, and #emerging artists (“hidden talent” found in tweets). Every artist you follow shows up on your profile in the app, and you can tweet about what you’re listening to from the app as well.
The music on Twitter #music comes from Spotify, Rdio, and iTunes. To listen to full songs, you need to sign up with a basic Rdio account or a premium Spotify account through the app. If you refuse to sign up for either of those, you’ll only hear 30 second song previews from iTunes. Also, you can only hear the hit song of the artist. If you like what you hear, you have to go elsewhere. The app isn’t available for Android yet.
The customer complaints on iTunes seem to be trending toward: “Why would I want to see the tweets of every artist I listen to?” and “Why create a music app where you have to sign up for another music source to hear the whole song?”
FJP: Twitter is for following friends, but it’s also for following your interests. Twitter #music allows you to see what you favorite magazine or nonprofit organization deems worthy of its playlist — which could be interesting.
The app has proved useful because I’ve already discovered a few new artists I enjoy. However, I don’t like how the web version of Twitter #music warps my cover picture and icon. Also, the app seems to have issues updating with the web version. For instance, when viewing #popular artists, Bruno Mars was labeled #20 on the Twitter chartsin the app, but was listed at #5 on the web. Also, the #nowplaying tag updates quickly on the web, but lags in the app. These discrepancies are probably just early bugs though. They’ll be snatched up in the beak of the Twitter bird soon enough. — Krissy
Image: MoneyCNN

Twitter Introduces #Music Discovery App

Twitter #music is a music discovery app where Twitter uses its own analytics of tweets and overall engagement to categorize and promote artists. The app divides music into four categories: music that is #nowplaying and tweeted by those you follow, #popular music trending on Twitter, #suggested music based on your tastes, and #emerging artists (“hidden talent” found in tweets). Every artist you follow shows up on your profile in the app, and you can tweet about what you’re listening to from the app as well.

The music on Twitter #music comes from SpotifyRdio, and iTunes. To listen to full songs, you need to sign up with a basic Rdio account or a premium Spotify account through the app. If you refuse to sign up for either of those, you’ll only hear 30 second song previews from iTunes. Also, you can only hear the hit song of the artist. If you like what you hear, you have to go elsewhere. The app isn’t available for Android yet.

The customer complaints on iTunes seem to be trending toward: “Why would I want to see the tweets of every artist I listen to?” and “Why create a music app where you have to sign up for another music source to hear the whole song?”

FJP: Twitter is for following friends, but it’s also for following your interests. Twitter #music allows you to see what you favorite magazine or nonprofit organization deems worthy of its playlist — which could be interesting.

The app has proved useful because I’ve already discovered a few new artists I enjoy. However, I don’t like how the web version of Twitter #music warps my cover picture and icon. Also, the app seems to have issues updating with the web version. For instance, when viewing #popular artists, Bruno Mars was labeled #20 on the Twitter chartsin the app, but was listed at #5 on the web. Also, the #nowplaying tag updates quickly on the web, but lags in the app. These discrepancies are probably just early bugs though. They’ll be snatched up in the beak of the Twitter bird soon enough. — Krissy

Image: MoneyCNN

The partnership between Comedy Central, a cable cannel owned by Viacom, and Twitter represents the evolving relationship between television and social media. Twitter is often incorporated into programming with viewers using the site as a second screen while watching live television. But slowly, Twitter is becoming an outlet on which to watch video.

Amy Chozick, The New York Times. A Comedy Show That Comes via a Hashtag.

Next week, Comedy Central is hosting a comedy show almost entirely on Twitter, with comedians posting video clips and jokes using the hashtag #ComedyFest. It’s an experiment to get users to watch video directly on Twitter, rather than use Twitter as a second screen while watching TV.

Also:

As early as next month, Comedy Central will introduce a free, ad-supported app, called CC: Stand-Up. Designed to look and feel like a cable channel devoted to stand-up, the app will offer videos of comedians performing routines.

A recommendation algorithm (similar to the one used by Amazon) will allow users to discover new comedians. If you watched Jeff Ross, for example, a web of other comics would pop up based on routines with similar topics (like mass transit), style (like dark humor) or other relationships (both like marshmallows).

Twitter Threat, Twitter Promise, During Breaking News Events
Via Mathew Ingram:

That said, however, there’s no question that Twitter is one of the best tools for breaking-news delivery since the telegraph. Unfortunately, it is also a great tool for distributing lies, speculation, innuendo, hoaxes and every other form of inaccurate information. I’ve argued before that this is just the way the news works now — the news wire and police scanner are no longer available only to journalists, but to anyone who cares to listen. And so is the ability to republish.
Should Twitter do more to verify sources, or highlight accurate information, as some have suggested? It’s an appealing idea. The service could try to use geotagging to identify those who are close to the scene, or some other method to determine credibility — something third-party services like Sulia and Storyful also try to do through a variety of methods. But is that really Twitter’s place?…
…Why don’t we get YouTube to verify the source of videos as well, like the ones that are posted from Syria or Egypt? Or get Google to sort the news it pulls in based on the likelihood of it being credible? The simplest answer is that this isn’t what those services are for — they are distribution engines, or pipes (a series of tubes, if you will). Asking them to become news entities is a little like asking AT&T to eavesdrop on phone calls in order to figure out who is a terrorist.
Rather than relying on Twitter to do this, I think it’s far better to accept the somewhat chaotic nature of the medium, and rely on journalists — and not just the professional kind, but the amateur kind as well — to filter that information in real time, the way Andy Carvin did during the Arab Spring (by using Twitter as a crowdsourced newsroom) and others did during Sandy and the Colorado shootings. Over time, I believe, Twitter becomes a kind of self-cleaning oven, as writer Sasha Frere-Jones put it.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by Geoff Grammer.

Twitter Threat, Twitter Promise, During Breaking News Events

Via Mathew Ingram:

That said, however, there’s no question that Twitter is one of the best tools for breaking-news delivery since the telegraph. Unfortunately, it is also a great tool for distributing lies, speculation, innuendo, hoaxes and every other form of inaccurate information. I’ve argued before that this is just the way the news works now — the news wire and police scanner are no longer available only to journalists, but to anyone who cares to listen. And so is the ability to republish.

Should Twitter do more to verify sources, or highlight accurate information, as some have suggested? It’s an appealing idea. The service could try to use geotagging to identify those who are close to the scene, or some other method to determine credibility — something third-party services like Sulia and Storyful also try to do through a variety of methods. But is that really Twitter’s place?…

…Why don’t we get YouTube to verify the source of videos as well, like the ones that are posted from Syria or Egypt? Or get Google to sort the news it pulls in based on the likelihood of it being credible? The simplest answer is that this isn’t what those services are for — they are distribution engines, or pipes (a series of tubes, if you will). Asking them to become news entities is a little like asking AT&T to eavesdrop on phone calls in order to figure out who is a terrorist.

Rather than relying on Twitter to do this, I think it’s far better to accept the somewhat chaotic nature of the medium, and rely on journalists — and not just the professional kind, but the amateur kind as well — to filter that information in real time, the way Andy Carvin did during the Arab Spring (by using Twitter as a crowdsourced newsroom) and others did during Sandy and the Colorado shootings. Over time, I believe, Twitter becomes a kind of self-cleaning oven, as writer Sasha Frere-Jones put it.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by Geoff Grammer.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?
We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”
Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYC, Mashable, Time, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 
The consensus (here, here, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 
The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.
FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.
Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy
Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.

Do Social Media Sites Like Tumblr Need Their Own News Publications?

We learned last week that Tumblr is shutting down Storyboard — the news blog responsible for reporting on creative and noteworthy posts by Tumblr users. Tumblr’s cofounder, David Karp, posted his explanation for Storyboard’s closing on the site’s staff blog, saying: “What we’ve accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on.”

Karp mentions that Storyboard partnered with the likes of WNYCMashableTime, etc. and was even nominated for a James Beard Award (to name a few accomplishments). So, why is it best to “move on” when the project has been so successful? 

The consensus (herehere, and here) seems to be that Tumblr needs to downsize to turn a profit this year. However, in an interview with The New York Times, Charlie Warzel, deputy technology editor at Buzzfeed, suggested Storyboard is closing because there’s no point in writing about what you can just go and see for yourself. He said:

It is always peculiar when a social network branches out into publishing, it just seems odd to bring on even excellent editorial talent to cover what is already going on organically.

And he’s not the only one who shares the sentiment. 

The New York Times calls attention to Dan Fletcher (a journalism school graduate) who quit his “amorphous” job as managing editor of Facebook in 2012. His position required him to write about FaceBook trends. He said that reporters aren’t needed on FaceBook and that articles detract from user activity that is “inherently more interesting” than the articles themselves.

FJP:  Why is it “peculiar” that an excellent editorial staff would be reporting on the “organic” events of social media communities? Isn’t that what journalists do? Just because social media communities exist in the cyber-verse doesn’t make them less newsworthy.

Admittedly, Storyboard and other social media news blogs (FacebookTwitterPinterest) aren’t exactly watchdog reporters (they want to talk about the posts that make themselves look good, after all), and that should make us question whether these publications can really be “journalistic.” But social media news is in its larval stage. Maybe, in the future, social communities will be publishing articles about juveniles who break copyright laws, and sites will be locking people’s profiles in cyber-jail-blocks for weeks due to hazing. Surely, social sites are gonna need some objective, guardian watchdogs for that, right? Eh? — Krissy

Image: Screenshot from Storyboard.