I’ve been preaching this for several years now, but here is a screen-by-screen walkthrough on how you can find possible sources through Foursquare.
First, an obvious but necessary PSA: Just because it is on social media, it does not make it a fact. These are tips, not facts. In fact, I checked in from my USC office 20 miles away from the Los Angeles International Airport.
Check in… after finding the location you are looking for. (NOTE: For transparency, I recommend you add that you are checking in to look for sources. (Here’s my note/tweet):
NOTE: While their profiles are set to public, as a courtesy, I tried to blur out and anonymize people’s identities.
Since Twitter archives were being released, I recently went back to look at my first tweets.
Overall, like now, I talk about work and experimenting with technology… I remember sending my second tweet via txt tweet using my Motorola Razr. I remember being disappointed and wondering what the point of Twitter was.
What I didn’t remember was that I live-tweeted my son’s birth:
This started with my EIGHTH tweet ever! Sheesh. It’s amazing to me that I did this… I’m not sure I would do it now, to be honest. I try not to name my son on Twitter, actually.
But, I have to admit, it is incredible to see that this moment was documented.
BONUS: Look at what other historical event I captured on Twitter!
NOTE: I first posted this discovery on Facebook, but I also want to “document it” on my blog… for future reference.
There have been a couple stories recently about using fake Twitter followers as a way to show influence in politics.
It’s not perfect, but it’s something.
It takes a “sample of your follower data. Up to 500 records depending on how ‘popular’ you are and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria.”
They also say that this tool is accurate for 10,000 followers or less. “If you’re very ‘popular’ the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base.”
You can read more about the Faker Followers tool here: http://fakers.statuspeople.com/Fakers/FindOutMore/
With those caveats in mind, here are screenshots of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates:
On the flip side, that’s 4,849,900 “good” accounts following Obama and 425,456 following Romney. We’ve leave out the inactive ones.
The “good” accounts are 42,733 for Biden and 77,339 for Ryan.
Truthfully, there are no real conclusions to make here… just some numbers/stats to look over.
NOTE: I took the “test” and am proud to say that only 3 percent of my followers are fake.
It happens on occasion (okay, with this friend it happens a lot), but I battle with a friend over Social Media’s role in our lives and relationships.
I’m not a fan of the outsider, knee jerk reactions to Social Media that say we are getting dumber, we can’t focus and we are so lonely.
All those things may be happening, but it’s not because of Social Media… not solely anyway. These are, in fact, the same claims that have been preached about with every new development ranging from radio, TV and, I believe, even books.
So, I’m not a fan of those re-occurring, blame-the-newest-thing-for-our-bad-thing argument.
Nor am I a blinded super fan of Social Media… there’s crap out there (lots of it) and “gurus” making money by ripping people off.
I am, however, a fan of the true connections that have been made possible because of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These platforms are just the latest evolutionary step from mail to telegram to telephone to Internet to e-mail, etc.
And, as you may have guessed, I am a SUPER fan of communities like #WJCHAT, that support and educate each other by harnessing these platforms.
The two-year anniversary of our little community was in February and, in my hopes to gets some attention to it, I asked a couple journalism sites to do a write up on us. To be honest, I didn’t really make a hard pitch.
Naturally, as good journos, the question led to why… but more importantly, what has #WJCHAT done? Where’s the proof?
I don’t have those metrics.
While we often talk about analytics, ROI and such, for me, I don’t really care about those when it comes to #WJCHAT.
All I care about is that people know that they are not alone in their struggle to find their place in journalism, that they are getting educated on how to improve journalism and that they are sharing their knowledge and experiences so we collectively “save” journalism.
I remember Chappell popping into the #WJCHAT stream and meeting him IRL at an ONA event. But I didn’t know that our little community played a role in his journalistic development… but it was enough that he felt compelled to mentioned #WJCHAT in his profile piece.
That is my proof. He is my metric.
Tonight I will be meeting “strangers” for the first time IRL at our now annual #WJCHAT meetup at SXSW.
I will be seeing old friends and making new ones (once we get over the awkward oh-yeah-I-know-you moment after we connect the avatar or handle to the face and name).
That is my proof. They are my metric.
Do you know that I have only met, maybe, half of the people who volunteer each week to run #WJCHAT. Never meet them outside of email, a collaborative document or Twitter chat.
These folks are my colleagues. They are my friends. They, too, are my proof… my metric.
Everyone in this diverse community is my argument proving that Social Media is an undeniably positive element in our modern lives.
And, my goal when Twitter life and real life merges later today, is to be present with this community of friends… and, on occasion, awkwardly look at my phone to see if I need to tweet out something.
Thank you for being part of this community. < cheesy >It’s been a positive element in my life.< /cheesy >
You can see more diverse journalists of color — of all ages — in this spreadsheet: http://diversify.journalismwith.me/. You can read about how this came about here: Crowdsourcing ‘web journalism rockstars of color’
I asked people to share their story behind their Twitter avatar. Why did they select that particular image and how does it affect your “brand” at all. This was in connection to tonight’s #wjchat on branding.
A while back I wrote a post on the story behind people’s Twitter/Web handles. Here it is in case you missed it: What’s in a name? Backstories to some personal brands
It happens to all of us, and last week it happened to me.
I got punked… by a hoax.
That study that claimed IE6 users have a lower IQ, as much as we may still feel like it’s true, was a fake.
I’ve been punked by hoaxes in the past, I’m sure, but the difference with this one is that I retweeted it and helped spread the misinformation. And, in turn, my tweet was retweeted a half dozen times.
Now, I didn’t know it was a hoax at the time. I have to admit, though, I immediately bought into it. Old browsers are hated by Web Developers. But when I shared it I was thinking it was “proof” rather than trying to willing lie to people.
In other words, I don’t think I committed a journalistic sin because I didn’t know it was fake at the time. Retweeting a rumor and treating it as fact, that’s a journalism sin… this was more a case of journalistic laziness, because in my heart “I knew it to be true.”
Typically, I read the links before I share them with others – not endorsements, per say, but informed sharing. In this case, I didn’t even question it and re-shared. (NOTE: I still believe there is something wrong with you if you are using IE6.)
While I didn’t commit a journalism sin, I did, knowing or not, participate in spreading this hoax. So, what is my responsibility now?
While not a sin, I still felt dirty. So much so, that I also posted a correction on Google+ and wrote this piece.
I’m happy to report, moments after I asked those who retweeted me to spread the corrected info, nearly all did.
What are your thoughts? How would you have corrected this “error?” Do you consider it an error?
NOTE: Originally published on Online Journalism Review: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/webjournalist/201104/1964/
It’s been more than a month since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan, triggering a massive tsunami, the combination of which have killed thousands. And while the country is slowing putting itself together, under the looming dangers of a potential nuclear disaster, there are many organizations — and individuals — coming together to help in any way they can.
NOTE: The Q&A was done through e-mail over a course of a couple of weeks.
First, for those who don’t know about it, can you describe what the #Quakebook is, how it came about and your role?
Quakebook is a twitter-sourced anthology of first-person accounts of the earthquake and immediate aftermath. It was conceived, written and ready to publish as a fully designed PDF book within a week. It has 89 contributions from “real” people as well as 4 from celebs solicited thru twitter – William Gibson, Yoko Ono, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein.
It is not a collection of tweets, but mostly one-page essays.
I thought of it in the shower Friday morning, March 18th thinking that wouldn’t it be great to do in words what mash-up videos can do on YouTube, especially @fatblueman’s Christmas in Japan video. Check it out, you’ll see what I mean. [The video: http://youtu.be/lmCrIZeob4w]
No-one has received a penny. We got Amazon to waive their fees so ALL revenue goes to the Red Cross. Pinch me, I’m dreaming.
Oh, my role? I’m cheerleader in chief, marshaller of the troops and getter arounder of problems. Don’t like titles!
NOTE: Our Man recently did a video recently sharing the story of Quakebook: http://youtu.be/cQ_-3-wwLKs
Once you had this idea, how did you go about starting this? Can you talk about the crowdsourcing process?
I had no plan as such. Every time I hit a wall, I asked the good folk of twitter to give me a leg up :)
The original tweets and stuff are all on quakebook.org and www.ourmaninabiko.com
Talk about the “real” people that contributed to the collection. Have you ever met them? What journalism skills did you apply in collecting their stories?
The real people started with whoever sent me email from around the world, supplemented by my neighbours, my wife and mother-in-law and also I got my wife to chase down eyewitness accounts from devastated areas through blogs.
The celebs we picked up along the way. The highly unscientific approach has somehow created a snapshot of many disparate elements of the disaster.
I kept in anything that was sent and was not a rant or shopping list. (There were only two like this).
What is your ideal goal you hope to achieve with this book?
I want it to raise oodles and noodles of cash for the Red Cross, but beyond that, I want it to serve as s valuable historical record to answer the question: what happened at 2:46 on March 11, much like John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” answers What happened on Aug. 6, 1945.
What has been the best part of this project?
The therapy of writing and sharing what we have written; seeing the whole project becoming stronger than its constituent parts.
What has surprised you about the process? What’s been the highlight?
How the weekend stops dead any progress with the traditional publishing industry, while the reverse is true of us amateurs. The highlight? Seeing a tweet from someone that they had downloaded the book, and cried. I then did the same and got teary eyed too.
What do you think about those reluctant to use crowdsourcing in storytelling, particularly in journalism. Any advice to them?
Trust people to deliver, and they will. If you get sidetracked by someone with their own agenda, or who doesn’t get the point of the project, don’t waste your time, find someone who does. Behave morally and you will quickly attract the right kind to whatever your project is, if it has merit.
Can you tell me what you did prior to this project? What were you doing in Japan? Talk about Our Man In Abiko.
I’m a British self-employed English language teacher, 40. I’m a former local newspaper journalist. My wife is Japanese and we’ve been here since 2007. Got two kids. My favourite colour is red.
Our Man in Abiko began as a satirical blog on Japanese politics, became a persona to keep me sane.
Since the earthquake, I realised Our Man was needed to perform Churchillian tasks of rallying the dispirited to overcome our woes.
What is the backstory with Our Man in Abiko? What’s your name and what brought you to Japan?
Not saying. It’s not my story that’s interesting, it’s Japan’s.
Clearly the book is the focus, but “Our Man In Abiko” is a man of mystery. People are naturally going to ask, “who is this guy?” What can you tell them?
He likes Earl Grey tea, playing with his kids and world domination, you know, the usual.
[After more prodding]
OK, well, the Our Man persona began just as a joke on my blog, I took on the mantle of a redundant British agent sent to monitor the wilds of Tokyo commuterville… But then with the earthquake, suddenly the time for fun was long gone, but I realised I had a fictional character who could do great things. I could not muster the troops and build a resistance movement to the earthquake, but maybe Our Man in Abiko could.
Well, Our Man, congratulations on the success with this project. How and where can people find it?
Thanks for chatting with me. And good luck on this and other endeavors.
Thanks a lot.
NOTE: Originally published on Online Journalism Review: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/webjournalist/201103/1950/
Robert Hernandez: Well Pekka, we are just a few days away from the SXSW / SXSWi 2010 conference … aka Geek Spring Break. We’ve both been to the festival before and, for this post, are going to interview each other to share tips, experiences, goals, etc. as we do final preparations for the week. Let’s start with sharing our experiences. What number is this one for you? How many times have you attended?
Pekka Pekkala: This is my number three, did first one back in ’96! I was a starving student, so no Interactive tickets for me, just free music… You?
RH: For me, this is going to be my second. I was a n00b last year, a rookie. And, boy, did I learn a lot … and think I’m ready for the coming week.
How would you describe the conference to people? Mainly SXSWi.
PP: Best place to meet people like you who are not journalists. It’s really a good way to mingle with programmers and business-savvy people who understand content. And a total 5-day hurricane of seminars, meetups and parties.
RH: A ‘hurricane’ is a great way to describe it … tech, smarts, hipster glasses and more. I was really overwhelmed last year, attending so many different, random sessions and meeting great people. I have really started to prepare for this year.
For me, I think it’s an international meetup of innovative minds that mashup technology, business, art, culture, news and information. The Future of Journalism has been officially added as a track this year. I got inspired last year and hope that happens again.
PP: What did you pick from the Future of Journalism track? Is it all the same people that you’ve seen in journalism seminars before?
RH: Well, I have to be honest… half of the sessions did not resonate with me. Some of same ol’ same ol’ topics … and some things that aren’t really reflective of the topic. That said, there are some that I hope to attend. Naturally, I want to attend a breaking/late addition: Lessons Learned from the ‘Arab Spring Revolutions with Mashable‘s Vadim Lavrusik among other panelists. I’m a super NPR and Public Media fan and see a lot of sessions related to that, so I plan to attend those. I also am thinking of attending The Death of the Death of Longform Journalism, Conde Nast in Start Up Mode, and Hacking the News: Applying Computer Science to Journalism panels. Here’s a link to my SXSW schedule: http://schedule.sxsw.com/user_events/user_8645 Here is my event calendar: http://bit.ly/eaj5EK
Are you attending the journalism ones?
PP: There’s a lot of good stuff there, but I couldn’t help noticing the vast amount of consultants / inspirational speaker types. I’m trying to find the people who are actually making stuff and creating financially sustainable sites. So I’m probably hopping between the Journo and Business tracks a lot. My calendar here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/user_events/user_dc1b96a2231851a7ebe0e02fe4a0b1a5
RH: Yes, I noticed that too. Did you notice the number of advertising panels that suggested storytelling and journalism as the answer? Brand Journalism: The Rise of Non-Fiction Advertising is the session that surprised me. Journalism to save advertising? I might have to check it out.
PP: Umm… yes. That sounds like a trap :D I’m more interested in Free Your Content! Who Really Owns UGC? session. :)
RH: Ha! Speaking of ‘trap’ the beauty of SXSWi is the randomness of some of these sessions. I have a few personal interest ones I hope to attend like, Star Wars Uncut: The Force of Crowdsourcing. Other personal picks are: A panel about an audio-only video game, a TRON session (yes, I’m a geek!), trends in Internet art and hearing from the ad agency behind the Old Spice guy ads. Do you have some random panels that peaked your interest?
PP: Yes. My advice would be to pick some big names you haven’t heard yet. I’m trying to see at least Bram Cohen (BitTorrent), Jason Calacanis (Mahalo), Clay Shirky (NYU) and Christopher Poole (4chan). Secondly, pick some really weird stuff like “Singularity,” “Synthetic Life” or “IBM: What is Watson?” sessions. Thirdly, do some boring stuff just for networking. Which is not really that boring in SXSW atmosphere.
RH: I attended a session last year led by Jonathan Stark, who taught how to do an easy iPhone app … the guy has written several books about designing/building apps and will be a panelist on the Building Native Apps Across Platforms session. Also, I have to promo the Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights session with USC’s Prof. Jack Lerner and Lisa Borodkin, both have spoken to my classes numerous times about media law.
Can you talk about your goals and strategy for SXSW? What do you hope to learn and get from going to this conference? What is your strategy behind what sessions you try to attend?
PP: I always try to get away from the journalist mindset: I’m really scared of the journo hive mentality in every aspect. Mix it up! Trying to find some interesting cases to be interviewed for my Sustainable Business Models for Journalism study. Bootstrappers and small sites mainly. What about you?
RH: Yes, agreed. The session I pick tend to be more techie… I like to go to ones where I learn something new and, ideally, I can find ways to incorporate it into journalism… long before someone else even thinks about that angle. Right now I’m obsessing about Augmented Reality, and there are several sessions on that… mainly on biz/dev side. My goal is to learn more and more coding, building… and that tech constantly evolves. Last year I attended a great HTML5 vs. Flash panel … this year I hope to attend a few of those. Anything that experiments and pushes me to grow and think about the mashup of technology, design and information. Lots to choose from… and, sadly, some are at the same time!
PP: Sounds like a cool plan and something SXSW is really good for! Last year I went to Jaron Lanier speech and right after it (the cyncical journo in me) was saying “blah, another hippie from the Bay area saying you guys spoiled our Internet.” But the stuff he said really haunted me somehow and now I’m turning into a hippie myself. :D Ted Nelson FTW!
RH: He’s an extremely interesting guy. He recommended reading The Machine Stops … a must read for tech people.
Let’s get to some tips … what apps/tools do you use when at the conference? Now and while attending? What tips do you have while there?
PP: Just mark down everything that looks interesting via the SXSW schedule page, download the mobile app and off you go. Having a plan doesn’t mean you have to go according to it but it helps to visualize what is going on. It’s a shame sxsw.lanyrd.com doesn’t sync with SXSW schedule, would be great. Any cool apps you’ve found?
RH: Exactly right, I’ve signed up for a ton of things … who knows if I’ll attend them. But at least I know what’s, generally, out there. Last year’s app was, well, less than satisfying. That said, I’ve download this year’s version and it looks much better. I’ve used the official session selector. But I have to also pass along a great recommendation from SXSW veterans that recommended sched.org because it includes *all* events, even the many unofficial ones. I also used SitBy.Us last year and thought that was very cool. I’ll be tweeting and checking in on FourSquare, of course. Mashable has a SXSWi great guide, which has a good collection of apps/tools.
PP: Sched.org looks cool, have to try that one. Being from Finland, I have to plug @dittoapp! Any tips how to survive the physical aspect of SXSW, meaning the walking, not sleeping and forgetting your gear in the cab at 1am? (I’m still pissed I lost my FAIL book with Ben Huh‘s autograph last year!)
RH: Oh yeah… I learned you have to ditch the laptop! I have a shoulder that is about one inch lower than the other because I’ve carried a messenger bag with my laptop for years. Skip that! This year I’m rolling with just my iPad and iPhone. I also bought an external battery to charge them both :) I’m still traveling with my laptop, in case my plan backfires. Also, wear comfortable shoes, ’cause these will be looooong, fun days. I just downloaded Ditto (but it keeps crashing).
PP: iPad 2 I hope, it’s SXSWi! I find it hilarious when people take iPhone, iPad and MacBook out in a seminar: tech is supposed to make your life easier, not _literally_ harder :D I’m taking my Droid 2 Global (physical keyboard is still WINNING) + charger. Travel light.
RH: Let’s end with this question… how will you know you’ve had a successful SXSW 2010 experience?
PP: I fall asleep in the plane before it takes off from Austin. And when I’m home, I notice my brain is a mess of weird ideas and my pockets are full of business cards with hastily written notes on them. You?
RH: Ha! Well said. For me, if I feel like I’ve learned some new things and expanded my network of smart innovators, it’s been a success. I want to walk away energized and ready to go try some new tech experiments.
Well, sir, it was great chatting with you and I’ll see you in Austin!
PP: Same here, can’t wait! Let’s keep in touch via Twitter! @pekkapekkala
RH: Yes. I’m @webjournalist