Tag Archives: washington post

Who cares what you like to read?

I have The Washington Post’s social reader installed on by Facebook account. Why? Good question.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the more I saw my friend’s messages floating down my feed, I saw what kinds of articles they were reading. Or probably clicking on by mistake.

The idea behind the social reader isn’t far-fetched, I’ll give it that. I share tons and tons of stories to people I know aren’t clicking on them. At most, they retweet or throw a story on their Facebook news feed. If people reply or leave comments, that’s just an interesting side note. But the whole point is that it’s a selective process.

Installing a social reader in your Facebook account is a little different.

The point of it is to show people what you’re reading, but it turns into a map of cheesy things you click on – and might not want others to know about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the bro-iest of guys confess they’ve “read” about Snooki’s pregnancy thanks to the Post’s reader. I’m sure (or I hope) it was out of morbid curiosity, not because they’re really interested in what the “Jersey Shore” personality (that’s being kind) is doing.

I know there are ways to turn these settings off, but it defeats the mission of the product. But a social reader, to me, answers a question nobody was asking. Really, how hard is it to type 120 characters and add a link on your own?

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Liking and friending on new platforms

I stand by my original motivation behind pursuing print journalism: I want to report and share news with people, but I don’t want to be on camera. Unlike broadcasters, I don’t want to hear my voice or get covered in makeup to appear on camera.

But the days of hiding behind my byline are over, thanks to the Internet. And I’m being told time and again that a social media presence is a journalist’s best friend. Really? In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been introduced to different platforms that are supposedly brilliant for journalists. If only I knew why.

Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook’s journalism program manager, has been cluttering my news feed with ways to use Timeline. After getting all jazzed about finding a way to get it before the herd way back in October, it’s been a tough sell for me. But Vadim has some points for using Facebook as a journalist. It’s a great way to shamelessly self-promote because your non-journalist friends will still like you – probably. And now that Facebook’s becoming the favorite of the Washington Post staff, there’s good reason to delete my partying pictures and post more stories.

Mashable this week gave 7 ways journalists could use the site Pinterest. Frankly, after waiting three days for an invite to join I’m at a loss. If I blogged about interior design, cooking, baking, pretty things in general, Pinterest might be of interest to me. Maybe if I were a photographer, things would be different. Or if I really cared to make picture “boards” of my interests so others could better know my work. But until I master the camera that usually gathers dust on my dresser, Pinterest will stay on the back burner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m relatively upbeat on journalism and social media and finding the point where the two do wonders for each other. I’m just learning to not jump on board with the next new thing I hear about.

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What a Media Junkie Feeds On

Writing about my media monitoring habits sheds light on the fact I’m a man of relatively narrow interests. If I’m not reading news, I’m reading about news coverage. Maybe it’s not making me a well-rounded person, but that’s for a therapist to tell me.

Acting as an enabler in this process is Media Decoder over at The New York Times. It’s kind of a go-to for middle-of-the-road analysis for everything media related, from how badly Fox News bungled an interview with Newt Gingrich to whether or not Oprah’s network will ever be watched by people other than those who have shows on it.

I began following Mashable long before Dan Kennedy included it in his class’ must-read selection. They’re all about “new” media and probably waiting for the final nail to be forced into the coffin of the printed word. Their media section is, however, a favorite of mine for lists like X reasons why journalists should use this-website-I-haven’t-heard-of-until-now.

One of the good things to come out of Facebook’s Subscribe feature was my new interest in Jeff Sonderman. The Poynter Institute digital media fellow isn’t as anti-“old” media as others and that’s a good thing. But his posts still include a lot about good and bad changes in the industry thanks to the Internet. Sonderman’s coverage is a little less insider-oriented than Poynter’s own Mediawire, which I also closely monitor – especially when there’s news about the Tribune bankruptcy or something like that.

Finally, Howard Kurtz, longtime Washington Post columnist and now a member of the fledgling Daily Beast and its Newsweek subsidiary, is always worth a glancing at when his face comes up on TweetDeck. I regularly question his analysis, but who said anything about always agreeing with the people you read? Not that I ever disagree with Media Nation and thoroughly respect the ground its author walks on …

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Jfurrer

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