Women's Health Base

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Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

How Stephen Fry embraced web 2.0, the world and generation Y

Posted by hannahflynn on December 7, 2008

There were murmurs in the maglab that if you followed Stephen Fry on Twitter he would follow you. I didn’t quite believe it, but as a member of Stephen Fry’s Proxy Friendship Group on Facebook I thought I would be a fool to ignore the possible intimacy of a ‘Twitter follow’ from the man himself, so I looked him up and… followed*. 

Sure enough a week or so later, I checked my ‘followers’ and Fry himself was listed among them. But that is not the end of the story. Anyone who has decided to amuse themselves by following Fry will have been taken to Indonesia, Soho and New York and back over the last couple of weeks with not only his wonderfully verbose use of 140 characters but also his use of twitpix. He has also done some cleverest stuff I have seen so far with hashtags.

Anyone who has read Dork Talk is well aware that Fry is a web 2.0 addict, he refers to his relaunched webpage as www.stephenfry.com 2.0 which is littered with, amongst other things: a blog, status updates, ‘podgrames’ and fora.

While Stephen Fry is not purely a journalist, journalists-as-brands could learn a lot from the way Fry has tackled the web. As a current JOMEC student I can merely dream of the number of followers a brand like Fry has, but a not particularly long look at his web presence does offer an insight into how he has done it:

1) Link it all up. The website shows his Twitter updates and hosts his blog which links to his Guardian column. His Facebook group links to the website, as does his Twitter. The list could go on…

2) Write what you know. Yes, it is a lot less interesting if you are not a crowned member of the glitterazi, but its worth considering this old maxim from time to time when trying to carve your niche in the big wide web.

3) Update regularly. He has short sharp blog posts and provides a running stream of commentary on his status updates, which lots of people comment on. Though some people I know have stopped following Fry on Twitter due to the frequency of his updates, leading to a kind of Twitter-swarm…

4) Be a bit middle-class. People are far more likely to actively subscribe to and participate in your content (ie. comment) if they are able to fork out for a broadband connection. Without wanting to make sweeping statements, I imagine the Stephen Fry fan demographic are.

5) Be linked to a reputable news source. Obvious and difficult, but the column Fry has in the Guardian does lend a kudos to his other material.

*We need to come up with a verb meaning ‘to follow on Twitter’. You can Facebook someone but can you Twitter them?


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10 things I have learned about social networking

Posted by hannahflynn on December 4, 2008

Last night I was thinking I should return to the social networking experiment that I started at the beginning of term. This has been shockingly successful, with The Guardian (amongst others…) reporting on The Waves group after spotting them on social networking sites. So here follows some ‘advice’…

1) Use Facebook. The Waves has heard all people who come to its meetings saying they heard about it via the Facebook group. Another group I have been in contact with, Riverside Community Garden Project, say that once they got on Facebook the number of participants at their allotments shot up.

2) Get linked to by other blogs. The F Word Blog commented on The Waves, leading to several hundred people hitting The Waves blog in one day and some commenting on it, which leads me to…

3) Say something controversial. Or at least something others will perceive as controversial. Complaints rolled in over one comment on the blog on both The Waves blog and the F Word blog, stringing out the increase in blog hits over several days.

4) Respond to comments. It starts up a conversation that will go on for longer than the original point is still newsworthy, and it prevents bad publicity.

5) Old people still use Yahoo! groups. Mainly the slightly older generation who refuse to get on ‘MyFace’, but somehow find this fossil of a forum easy to use.

6) No-one uses Ning, but most people think it’s a good idea. Or at least pretty. This is a social networking site that is like a MySpace for groups, which looks better than any other social networking site (you get loads of templates to choose from) and isn’t associated with Murdoch.

7) Have an RL presence. Occasionally meet up in real-life if you can, it’s easy to forget this is the point of social networking in the first place. It also gives a focus to any online conversation.

8) You need a group around you to make Twitter work. You need to go to them, at the moment people do not tend to come to you.

9) Flickr is cool. It also means you don’t have to worry too much about embedding when Blogger or WordPress is playing up, like with all web hosts you can link. 

10) Generation Y will change the web! We are three times the size of generation Y and far more plugged in according to Sarah Perez of Read, Write, Web. She also says we over-share but as we can control our privacy settings quicker than prospective employers can dodge them we are more in control of social networking than ever before.

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Community Blogging – Overcoming Apathy

Posted by hannahflynn on November 11, 2008

As I have previously mentioned I began a community blog recently, but with little success. I had come face-to-face with the reader:lurker:contribution ratio. So it was with interest that I listened to Adam Tinworth’s views on the subject.

My own experience of community blogging has been as a regular reader (rather than contributor to) Feministing and Short Sharp Science. Two very different subject areas (!) and two different interpretations of the meaning of ‘community blog’.

Short Sharp Science started off as a series of specialist blogs on the New Scientist website, but recently became one ‘super-blog’. Its contributors are the same people who contribute to the magazine including its editors and reporters. Rather than being the place to report the harder science that the magazine takes care of it contains a lot of more human interest and political approaches to the subject matter. Short Sharp Science is a community, but it is a professional community and one of science journalists and not enthusiasts.

On the other hand, to contribute to Feministing all that is needed is to sign up and post. This could be considered a fairly dangerous approach to blogging but the site is extremely successful and its proprietor Jessica Valenti a successful journalist in her own right who works with her team of editors to moderate the blog. So how do they do it? Social networking of course! The site has branched out with a Facebook group, a YouTube page and a Meetup Alliance.

A good example of an open community blog that embraces a geographical rather than a subject area is Dublin Community Blog. All that is needed to contribute is a quick email to the administrator to put you on the list of authors. The blog contains what’s-on information and has also embraced traffic-driving sites such as Flickr.

So is the answer to a successful community blog an increase in traffic rather than enthusiasm? It would make sense looking at the reader and contributor ratios. Unless there is an RL equivalent, like with New Scientist’s Short Sharp Science, it is unlikely to attract traffic alone. However, it is important to question how the use of these UGC sites would be differ from straight news sites.

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Facebook: The Voice of the People?

Posted by hannahflynn on October 16, 2008

Those who watched the last installment of Jamie Oliver’s new campaign for social justice, The Ministry of Food, on Channel 4 last Tuesday will know it was not going well. The people of Rotherham weren’t getting their mates round for a cook-up as Jamie’s food revolution manifesto had insisted on. So, he’s gone online.

On to MySpace to be exact*. And I’m left wondering; why didn’t he think of this earlier? A quick googling session later and its clear others have already jumped on the Ministry of Food bandwagon. Fans have already set up a website based on Jamie’s ‘pass-it-on’ campaign, which links to their Facebook page. Students’ favourite, Beyond Baked Beans has a Facebook page which has recently started promoting the ‘pass-it-on idea’ with a vlog showing people how to cook the recipes from the book. A brilliant branding idea.

Its not surprising as any campaign group worth its salt has at least a Facebook group these days. These are not only used as a forum for its members, but also as a recruitment and advertising technique which ensures as large a group as possible is aware of its presence.

It has been touched upon in lectures but I have failed to find many good examples of the positive influence that social networking can have on campaigns and grassroots activism. Then, completely by accident, a little experiment has fallen into my lap…

Wasting time cruising on Facebook, I found a post on a group’s wall looking for people willing to set up a feminist group in Cardiff. I fired off a message saying I was interested and ended up at a Cardiff Feminist Society – Founders Forum meeting at Milgi’s last night.

Having already discovered this using Web 2.0 social networking facilities I have decided to carry on in this vein. So, I have set up a community blog, a Facebook group, a Yahoo group and a posting on 43 Things to get the ball rolling.

Lets see what happens!

*Not Facebook as was suggested in the lecture!

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