Women's Health Base

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

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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Just Put ‘Gok Wan’ In The Title

Posted by hannahflynn on November 26, 2008

(Churchill, writing like him could see your blog hits go up. – distributed under the Creative Commons Licence)


Writing for online you have a whole new set of rules to guide your expression. It has been discussed in the mag lab and in our online lectures and boils down to that dreaded TLA: SEO.  


Search engine optimisation has so far been explained with little more than a comparison between two now infamous headlines ‘Super Cally Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious’ and ‘Freddy Star Ate My Hamster’. Useful, but so far not developed on so I’ll attempt to elaborate here.


Winston Churchill has been mentioned on a number of occasions. It may have something to do with this little quote “short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.”A trained journalist he knew the value of tight writing, and as Jacob Neilson explains on his blog calling a spade a spade is an important step in internet marketing.


Adam Tinworth blogged on search engine optimisation  in 2006 when reporting on the RBI conference. He made a number of key points, separating them into on page and off page tips. First of all he suggested using words and phrases that readers would use and to avoid puns and metaphors. He also goes on to say that putting the most important information first in the headline and first sentance and paragraph is important for SEO.


His off page recommendations are not particuarly controversial but make the point people should not be scared to send people to other sites via their linking.


Timeliness is one of the most crucial aspects of writing for online. 36 hours is the recommended maximum time frame for covering an event. Sure, the news chain can be observed after that but initial analysis needs to take place pretty soon after news becomes news.


Looking at my own blog stats has become a bit of a geeky hobby, as the guest lecturers discuss their own massive traffic flows making mine look paltry in comparison. Plus Jeff Jarvis mentioned on Twitter earlier this week that by placing audio on his blog he had 17,000 hits. I got about 13.


But some lessons can be learnt. My most active day came last week when a kindly soul responded to a comment I had posted on someone’s blog asking if they could offer me any tips and comment on my attempts on embedding audio. That day saw a whopping 36 hits. Phew!


The front page of my WordPress account tells me today that my post from last week, featuring stylista Gok Wan’s latest foray into making women ‘feel good about themselves’ is the most active out of all of my posts. So after blogging relatively seriously about…blogging, it turns out all anyone wants to read about is a Channel 4 show called Miss Naked Beauty. I feel a bit dupped and also horribly tempted to ignore all warnings about not tagging everything with ‘David Beckham’ to direct unwitting tweenagers to my non-David obsessed blog…


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Multimedia and Breaking News

Posted by hannahflynn on October 9, 2008

With multimedia journalism broadening the opportunities for user generated content (e.g. uploading video), it could be argued that multimedia opportunites are be best utilised when accompanying topics that the user can actively engage with. While this does limit the areas that will benefit from multimedia reporting, these are increasing as Web 2.0 takes over.

People at the forefront of online journalism are acknowledging this. Mindy McAdams, who has written a book on the subject, refers to Jim Ray, a multimedia producer at MSNBC.com in her blog.

He says, “We are not out breaking Watergate, its not the right medium for that.

“What we can do is take a complex issue and make it personal to a user who comes to our site and help them understand it better. We can provide a context and a different way to experience that story.”

Looking at the Guardian website today, its top UK multimedia story is about wardens being employed to sort out fights between cyclists and pedestrians. Hardly breaking news, but it is something that many users will be able to engage with.

The red tops are in on it too. The Mirror’s top video news story today investigates the possibility of a fuel price difference ban. This is also focused on the public’s opinion where possible.

You may also be interested in having a look at what onlinejournalismblog’s students did when faced with a Flash journalism assignment, which involved engaging with a number of multimedia forms of reporting. Fascinatingly they almost all chose to represent ethical and environmental issues, rather than engage with traditionally newsworthy topics.

And all you micro blogging aficionados out there should know they were twittering as they did it…

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