Happy New Year!

Since I last blogged, I’ve graduated J school (whew!), got a new boss (one of many), had dental surgery that made me look like a chipmunk for nine days, shot video for a friend’s wedding and participated in our newsroom’s Christmas run. But now I’m back, and lots of things have happened that I want to write about. Here are a few items of interest:

  • Facebook changes in trending, videos on pages, and search. The latter has led to Graph Search almost completely losing its usefulness as a journalistic tool — which I’ll write about in more depth next week.
  • I’m fascinated by Ev Williams’ Medium story “A mile wide, an inch deep.” It includes an important reality check on measuring the value of social networks.
  • New features for Twitter: a native video player and a “while you were away” feature that sticks to the top of your timeline. (The Twitter Video Player is rolling out in the coming months, and will host videos of up to 10 minutes with no limit on file size, supporting mp4 and mov files.) Also, analytics on mobile!
  • Facebook’s new terms of service. If you don’t want to read the full TOS, this 20 minute video will help. The video is actually boring, which is crazy because it heavily excerpts from the TOS and data policy.
  • I’ve been excited to see the evolution of my SafeMode project on social media. Over the holidays, multiple stories made it to air that were first brought up and debated on our SafeMode Facebook group — something that I’ve held as a metric of success for the project. Illustrated by SafeMode but replicated across The World’s newsroom, no longer does our journalism follow a one-to-many path but is fluid and comes from so many directions. [For example, the group was discussing international security issues in 2014 when Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette suggested we follow up with Anna Sandalova, a Ukrainian woman raising money for the Ukrainian army through Facebook. Here is the story that came from it.]
  • This Vine from Buzzfeed takes advantage of the tap-to-pause feature for an interactive experience. Awesome.
  • I’m sorry to hear the news that Mel Kramer is leaving NPR for a position at a skunkworks shop in DC. She leaves behind vast resources including the NPR Social Sandbox, and characteristically has packaged it all up in a way we can easily access. (“Consider it a tool chest, a treasure trove and tips and tricks to make using social media easier,” she wrote.) Don’t write her off — I’ll wager that she’ll continue in her trademark transparency. She’ll allow us to learn with her, no matter what her business card says.
  • This teenager’s view on social media is great. In short: Facebook sucks, but is kinda redeemed by Facebook groups and Facebook messenger. Instagram is awesome. Twitter is confusing. Snapchat is authentic. Yik Yak is perfect for college students.
  • I’m testing what Buzzfeed calls “Screenshorts” for The World’s Twitter feed this week. What is a screenshort, you ask? It’s just a screenshot of text on Twitter, circumventing the platform’s 140 character limit. We’ve seen people doing this with presentations and quotes for awhile now, but straight up text captures have become very popular in the past few weeks.

That’s all for now! Let me know in the comments what I missed over the break.


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