Wisdom from the Internet, Friday edition

In between Skymall tweets, I managed to learn a few things about social media and journalism today.

-As web headlines get more social, we have to do less work making them better for social media. I learned this in the Michael Roston story about the lessons learned from the New York Times‘ year on Twitter. I’ve seen this with pri.org — increasingly, headlines make the best tweets. Don’t force out new copy just to be different.

-I love the New York Times rules for photos on Twitter, and there are just two: 1) Tweets with photos must credit the photographer, and 2) Just because a photo is on nytimes.com doesn’t mean it is OK for social. When crediting the photographers, the NYT social team has come up with a fast and efficient way to watermark a photo with the credit. (They had their development team build a watermarking tool.) This is more effective (and less clumsy) than crediting in the tweet itself.

-In the NiemanLab story, Roston uses the example of a video trailer for a story about an ISIS massacre survivor. The Times tweeted both the link to the trailer and tried a second post with the video directly embedded. Roston describes the more “successful” as the one with the link, because it drove more traffic to nytimes.com. This measure of success, as was discussed recently, is much different from that of Buzzfeed — a company that measures success based on shares and engagement. We all have to start accepting that there is no “magic” metric or goal on social media; a social media strategy should be completely personalized towards what your company’s overall mission may be.

-This NYTimes takeaway made complete sense: They learned not to try to put a story in the context of a larger series or vertical. Readers don’t care. Save the space, writes Roston, and entice readers with the details of the story.

-One more NYTimes detail that floored me: @NYTimes doesn’t respond to criticism on Twitter. Not only that, but they haven’t yet figured out the best way to do that. (I will be writing sometime soon about the role of Margaret Sullivan and how vital it is for any media organization to have a smart, transparent thinker to respond to social media criticism.)

-Mathew Ingram’s “3 things media companies could learn from the White House,” boiled down: Be first and control the narrative; use third-party platforms, to find the audience where they are; and promote your story in as many places as possible – be everywhere, with good content.


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