April 11, 2009

Using social media to build an audience


JD LasicaWhen I speak at conferences these days, I often say, “In a former life, I worked in the news industry.” That’s only partly true — I still cover conferences and events as a working journalist, and Socialmedia.biz is a site for social media news and analysis.

But my 11 years at the Sacramento Bee is rapidly receding in the rear-view mirror. After I left the Bee 11 years ago to join Microsoft Sidewalk and then jump into a few Silicon Valley startups, I — along with likeminded folks such as Dan Gillmor and many others — prodded my newspaper colleagues to embrace blogging and the ethos of participatory media (I edited the We Media report on the subject, and Dan named his book We the Media).

In the past two years, we’ve begun to see an acceleration of this trend, not only with citizen journalists taking up inexpensive mobile devices and committing random acts of journalism by capturing photos and video, but with hundreds of millions of people joining this collective social media ecosystem, using social tools like Facebook and Twitter for personalized news streams.

Recently I’ve begun exploring that topic more deeply, and for the next 10 weeks I’ll be helping to teach an online class at the venerable Poynter Institute’s NewsU called Using Social Media to Build Audience.

Representatives (three or four people) from 11 news organizations will be the “students” in the course, taught by two social media consultants — Paul Gillin and myself — and course leader Michele McLellan.

Course highlights

Highlights include three Webinars, available to the public:

Social Networks: The New Architecture of the Web
April 14 (Tuesday), 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT
One-hour Webinar, followed by 30-minute Q&A, on the impact of the social Web.
Presenter: Paul Gillin
Cost: $24.95. Register here.

You will learn:

  • Why online “friends” are the foundation of social networks’ appeal
  • How trusted sources are migrating from mass media to friends’ networks
  • From examples of news organizations that are leveraging social networks to extend their influence
  • What newspapers can do right now to tap into emerging communities


Social Networks: Engaging Users With News
May 12, 2009 (a Tuesday)
One-hour Webinar, followed by Q&A, on how news organizations are using — and should use — social media tools to engage users and present content.
Presenter: JD Lasica
Cost: $24.95. Register here. Thanks to a grant from The Harnisch Foundation, NewsU is able to offer a limited number of partial scholarships for this Webinar. To apply, follow the instructions here.

This Webinar will show you examples of how news organizations:

  • Promote their content on popular networks
  • Use social media tools to engage users on their sites
  • Get help from citizen reporting and other content from users
  • Use social networks to give voice to the public and enable community action


Social Networks: New Revenue for News Organizations
One-hour Webinar, followed by 30-minute Q&A
Presenter: Paul Gillin
Cost: $24.95. Register here. To apply for a scholarship, head here.

In this Webinar, we will explore:

  • How to think creatively about new revenue sources
  • How to tap into local communities for business
  • Opportunities in search and paid placements
  • The potential for custom publishing
  • Webcasts, podcasts and video as revenue generators

The course falls under the general supervision of NewsU Director Howard Finberg and Knight Digital Media Center Director Vikki Porter. I’m looking forward to it.

• I began exploring this topic in depth with my post How to use social media in the newsroom. If you’d like to add additional examples of how newspapers, TV and radio stations or magazines are taking up social tools, we’d love for you to post a comment below.
JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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