Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category
12 Feb

#wjchat: Five years of thank you

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It’s crazy to think that every Wednesday for the past five years, the Web/Digital community has come together for 90 minutes on Twitter to talk about their craft, sharing their knowledge and experiences.

The most important thing I cherish about #wjchat is the community.

I am grateful to be a part of it.

The next important thing I cherish is the incredible team of volunteers who, over the years, make this weekly miracle happen, often from behind the scenes.

Your past and current team #wjchat crew members are:

(I hope to god I haven’t left anyone off the list… if so, please contact me!)

And, of course, there are countless people who have supported our weekly efforts along the way.

Thank you to each and every one of you. Here’s to five more years and temporary tattoos that are a bitch to take off!

Note: You can read about the making of #wjchat here:

06 Feb

The inspirational quote mystery

There are a million Robert Hernandezes in this world.

I should know, I’ve been accidentally confused with nearly half of them.

Some are tattoo artists and some are journalists (not to be confused with these Hernandi)… some have financial “issues,” some have children they’ve “forgotten,” some have arrest warrants based on interesting life choices that can pop up in background checks.

I’ve been put in awkward situations multiple times because my namesakes make bad decisions. (Ask me about Marisa sometime.)

I thought I would stand out when I became a professor at a prestigious university.

That lasted a few months until I got email for Professor Robert Hernandez from another school on campus. (The school actually added me to their faculty listserv!)

Like everyone, I google myself and I even have a Twitter search for “Robert Hernandez.”

Dude, some of them are creeps.

But the most dominate one on Twitter is known for this quote:

“It’s not about having the skill to do something. It’s about having the will, desire & commitment to be your best. -Robert Hernandez”

It’s an inspirational quote that gets tweeted every hour, every day and I have no clue which one of the namesake said it.

So, I googled.

And haven’t found anything.

I did find this site that collects quotes from people and makes them Pinterest-style images.

While the site had a couple from Robert Hernandez, I feel like this one is the most appropriate:

robert-hernandez-quote-i-havent-the-slightest-idea-who-he-is (1)

Whoever he is, I do agree with Robert Hernandez’ inspirational quote… so, I’d like to be credited with this one:

“‘It’s not about having the skill to do something. It’s about having the will, desire & commitment to be your best. -Robert Hernandez’ -Robert Hernandez”


//// UPDATE: This happened

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 7.56.06 AM

Categories: Personal, Social Media, Twitter Tags:
29 Aug

Change the ratio! But I’m auditing myself first

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NOTE: A version of this post ran on PBS MediaShift on Oct. 10, 2014. Lessons Learned from a #GenderAudit on Twitter

If I follow you on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve have added you to a Twitter list: Male or Female.

There’s also a private list for People of Color*.

Before you freak out, let me explain what I am trying to do.

A few weeks back I hear a great segment on On The Media with Buzzfeed writer Katie Notopoulos, who created a holiday called Unfollow a Man Day. The piece originally aired on the tl;dr podcast.

Check it out:

This ‘holiday’ came from Notopoulos’ decision from realizing she was following a ton of dudes on Twitter, rather than other females.

She explains it here: Why I Created The #UnfollowAMan Movement

Anyway, that got me thinking… for about a year, I have consciously been trying to diversify who I follow on Twitter.

I never want to be caught in an echo chamber, and I have learned that I get a beneficial edge when I hear outside voices, instead of hearing the same people from within the journalism industry.

But while my diverse follow was a conscious act, I still don’t know if I have struck the right balance.

So, why not find out?

And that’s where these lists come it.

By going through the 960+ people I follow and doing an inventory, I can achieve a couple of things:

1- What is my actual ratio? If I am preaching diversity and parity, am I practicing it too? I don’t know, and that’s what I am looking to find out. This self-experiment really is an audit.

2- In the interview with Notopoulos, she said she realized that some stories that were seen as newsworthy coming from “Twitter buzz,” were only a buzz for men. Meaning, because she followed dudes, dudes’ topics dominated. For me, inversely, I want to see what topics are not buzzing in my stream… or who is it buzzing with.

There is such a thing as Black Twitter. Latino Twitter, non-English Twitter… but most users don’t know (or care) because they follow people and communities they know… or reflect their experiences.

Side note: I wrote this post at 11:30PM-ish, because some people were weirded out by being added to a list. And one person, I feel, began to project some assumptions on what I am trying to do… hence this quick post.

But, let me be clear… just like Twitter, this is for me. I use Twitter for a tool that benefits my knowledge. And now I am using Twitter lists to benefit me as well. I am dying to know the results of this self-imposed audit and see if I can spot any patterns. I am coming in with NO ASSUMPTIONS, open to whatever results may come.

And, for the record, I don’t care if this is scientific or not. This is me grouping subjective follows along gender lines and see if anything emerges. I’m a hackademic, not an academic.

Now, after reading this post, I want to invite/challenge you to do the same thing. Find out if your stream is skewed by following one community more than another… hell, find out if you have a bias. Let me know if you try this thing… and, of course, feel free to share your thoughts on what I am doing. I’m trying to be open and transparent… and I am coming with good intentions.

UPDATE: At 12:21AM, I renamed my lists to be Gender Audit Proj: Female and Gender Audit Proj: Male, to be clearer on what I am doing.

NOTE: I started this “self-experiment” late this evening on a whim… and my brain is turning into mush as I add *everyone* to a list… so I assume I have made some errors. If you spot one, please let me know… thank you!

* The People of Color list is currently set to private, because there is a chance I add or leave out someone accidently and I don’t mean to offend.

// UPDATE & ADDITION (5/14/15)
A student recently told me about TWEE-Q, which analyzes which gender you retweet more. If you think about, having a balanced gender feed is a great step, but how you engage with the feed is an important metric.

What’s the point of following a balance if you only engage with one side?

So, I ran my Twitter name through the web app and got this result:
Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 10.49.04 AM

“@webjournalist retweeted 48% men and 52% women.” I am proud of this result!

Feel free to tweet me your audit results as well!

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

24 Mar

Twitter bot vs misinformation = @accuracybot

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I made this icon by hand in less than two minutes, so I know it does not look cool. But you get the point.

I made this icon by hand in less than two minutes, so I know it does not look cool. But you get the point.

We’ve all seen them.

We all hate them.

But what if we created a “spam” Twitter bot for good?

Here’s my latest idea: What if we create a Twitter bot account that actively tweets at people who are spreading misinformation via Twitter?

We know that vaccines don’t cause autism, why not tweet a response (with a link) to someone making that claim?

We know that Obama was born in the US. Let’s tweet a response to someone tweeting about his birth certificate.

Let’s then move the bot – or bots – into breaking news situations where misinformation, including images, spread quickly on Twitter.

The way I see it, this isn’t too “hard” to do… but it requires a few things:

Step 1: Create an account
Step 2: Identify misinformation
Step 3: Define pattern of misinformation tweets
Step 4: Craft 140 character response to misinformation tweets
Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 for the next set of misinformation.

Oh yeah, that whole coding a Twitter bot is perhaps the most important step.

If this works, I can for see news organizations creating accuracy bots of their own battling misinformation.

What do you think?

More importantly, are interested in helping create this?

I already did Step 1: @accuracybot

02 Mar

Storify of my AMA/Keynote experiment done mid-flight

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Categories: Journalism, Twitter Tags:
01 Nov

How to find possible sources via Foursquare during breaking news

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.

Step 1:
Search for the location. (NOTE: Your location doesn’t matter. You can check in from anywhere.)
Step 01 - 4sq sources

Step 2:
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):
Step 02 - 4sq sources

Step 3:
After checking in, go back to your home screen and select your recent check in.
Step 03 - 4sq sources

Step 4:
From your check in, click on the location you just check in on

Step 5:
Click on the thumbnails of people who are there with you
Step 05 - 4sq sources

Step 6:
Select someone who has checked in that location, noting their relevant times.
Step 06 - 4sq sources

Step 7:
On their profile, you learn more about where they are from, their bio and, more importantly, how to get a hold of them through social networks (in red box).

Step 8:
Reach out and start your reporting.
Step 08 - 4sq sources

Person’s Twitter account:

An Instagram the person tweeted while on the plane, watching the breaking news coverage.

NOTE: While their profiles are set to public, as a courtesy, I tried to blur out and anonymize people’s identities.

23 Feb

My first tweets: live-tweeting my son’s birth

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Before I created and focused on the @webjournalist account, I had – and still have – a “personal” Twitter account named after my original domain name: @isoardotnet.

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:

Well, here we go – we think. Connie has begun to have early contractions. Stay tuned.
Robert Hernandez

Contractions began at around 4pm, so we are 6 hours into it. Connie has been doing her breathing techniques.
Robert Hernandez

We’re at the hospital. Been here since 11:45PM. After being in triage we got moved into a labor room.
Robert Hernandez

About 20 min after being admited, the doc checked and Connie was at 6 cm! Doc is still monitoring baby’s heart.
Robert Hernandez

We have reached 8 cm.
Robert Hernandez

Doc says baby’s heart rate has improved.
Robert Hernandez

Well, we’ve just started the drug ‘petocin’ which is to increase the intensity of the contractions.
Robert Hernandez

It’s a boy! Nico Peter Hernandez arrived at 12:26pm. He was 6 pounds 8.4 ounces. Mom is doing great!
Robert Hernandez

Successes! Nico took to breastfeeding fast and dad gave him his first bath.
Robert Hernandez

Thank you all for your warm wishes. Connie and I are truly grateful.
Robert Hernandez

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!

Today, at 6:19 p.m., our parenting dream came true… the circle is complete… Connie and I introduce Nico to Star Wars: A New Hope!
Robert Hernandez

NOTE: I first posted this discovery on Facebook, but I also want to “document it” on my blog… for future reference.

Categories: Personal, Social Media, Twitter Tags:
18 Aug

Comparing presidential candidates’ fake Twitter follower accounts

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There have been a couple stories recently about using fake Twitter followers as a way to show influence in politics.

Thanks to the Status People, there is a way to check to see how many alleged fake followers you or other Twitter users have:

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:

With those caveats in mind, here are screenshots of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates:

Presidential candidates:

Out of Obama‘s 18,653,463 followers, 7,088,316 are identified as fake accounts following. Out of the 868,277 that follow Romney, 173,655 are considered fake, by the site.

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.


Vice-presidential candidates:

That’s 22,491 fake accounts among the 112,455 following Biden and 52,916 fake ones among the 203,523 accounts following Ryan.

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.

12 Mar

My proof, my metrics, my ROI on Social Media: #WJCHAT

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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.

My latest reminder of this was today’s ONA featured member piece on Tauhid Chappell.

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 >

23 Dec

Introducing Forbes to Media Diversity

You can see more diverse journalists of color — of all ages — in this spreadsheet: You can read about how this came about here: Crowdsourcing ‘web journalism rockstars of color’