The difference between Facebook friends and Twitter friends

I’ll add you as a Facebook friend just because we went to elementary school together, even if we don’t really have anything to talk about anymore.

I’ll add you as a Twitter friend just because we have something to talk about, even if I have no idea where you went to elementary school.

A few ways to teach the Pro side of Pro-Am Journalism to J-School students

Jay Rosen was just on stage talking about NewAssignment.net (see his lessons learned post at PressThink), and one thing that comes up is training on both the Pro and the Amateur side to smooth the process of writing/editing stories and gathering/parsing data.

So how can J-School students who need to learn these new skills (this would be the Interactivity part of the trinity) pick them up in school?

A few ideas:

  • Create Facebook and MySpace identities for your student media outlet and then manage/promote them.  Start discussions about campus news and find the online communities that are already in your neighborhoods, then tie into them.
  • Create a Ning social network for a niche at your school:  Club sports not getting enough coverage in your paper?  Ning ’em.
  • Find a tool to gather data from your campus community.  It can be simple as a Google Map or as complicated as a database project, but take a common problem or question on your campus (parking, for example) and start asking your readers to contribute answers to those questions.

Does anyone have examples of student media taking these steps? (I know you do…)

And maybe more important, is this something you teach in a class, or are your students pretty much left to figure this out on their own?

I don’t care what journalists are reading; I care what they’re writing

Scott Karp and friends (and those are some pretty smart friends) are up to something interesting, but I sure as heck can’t tell what it is based on a rambling post at the new publish2.com.

It sounds like something that’s supposed to clean up all the doubling and overlapping of social networks the media blogger scene is enmeshed in at the current moment.

Whatever it is that Scott’s up to, while I was trying to figure it out, an idea popped into my head. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, because I feel like I heard this idea passed through the filter of something like New Assignment at some point:

I want to know what journalists are writing.

Right, right, I know, I can scan Google News and read the papers and all that, but what I mean is I want to see trends develop on a large scale across the country (and yes, world) by tracking what stories journalists are working on.

And then I want the people formerly known as the audience to have a space to vote for what they wish journalists were working on.

Picture it as a mashup of Twitter and Digg, where reporters are constantly answering the question “What are you working on?” in a broad way so as not to tip off their competition — or editors. 😉

For example, I might post something like “Organic certification” without much detail about who I was pulling FOIAs on and what hunches I had about what I would find.

The algorithm (which someone else would program, eh?) would find common terms in other journalists’ posts and move topics up the list on the homepage a la Digg based on the number of reporters working on a topic:

::::::23 journalists are working on stories about organic certification.::::::

With space for comments, folks to add links, reporters to talk to each other about past stories, non-reporters to add information, etc. Suddenly there’s a thread of conversation built up for everyone working on a given topic to play with.

On the other half of the homepage, everyone answers a question like “What’s missing from your news?” to basically request coverage on a certain topic or issue.

And yes, users vote topics up and down the page, add comments and links and conversation a la Digg.

Fact is, there are a million little aggregators out there for the news that already exists, to filter information and bring the good/important/weird/salient stuff to the surface.

I don’t need another filter — I need a sounding board and a request line.

If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll pursue this a little further down the line, or maybe you’ll just point me to the place where this already exists. Either way, I think it’s an idea worth chasing down — even if it were just internally at a newspaper company.

How would that be – a network of news organizations full of journalists that actually talk to each other! Ha!

Meta notes: Where to find my microchunks

If you get the feeling I haven’t been writing here as much lately, you’re right.

But I’m still out here, reading everything I can get my hands on and throwing up links left and right.  They’re just not always where you’re expecting them, eh?

So then, if the meager postings to Delicious you find on the right sidebar and in the usual spot aren’t satisfying your link-devouring needs, take a glance at my shared Google Reader thingie from time to time (three-month-old + keyboard shortcuts = happiness).  Those also show up on my Facebook profile, along with just about everything else I do in the known online universe.

And yes, you can easily find me on Twitter and/or Pownce, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Facebook is open to everyone, but still dead to me

You no longer need to be a student with a .edu e-mail address to register for Facebook, a social networking site generally viewed as #2 in the U.S. behind MySpace.

But there are a few buts.

First of all, if I want to identify myself as a student from the start, they still insist on a .edu address. Which I have. Somewhere. And by ‘somewhere,’ I mean ‘good luck trying to figure out how to access your .edu unix account at SJSU, even if you managed to get one a year and a half ago.’

So I can sign up as a ‘none of the above,’ or I can continue to ignore this social networking phenomenon, which most likely, a tiny fraction of SJSU students use, due to the aforementioned .edu address problem we have here.

Well, I went ahead and signed up as ‘none of the above,’ which makes me feel like a lurker, but whatever. Having to use my real name freaks me out a little, but I try not to say anything in these sort of places that I wouldn’t say hanging out in public somewhere.

I’ll try it out, but frankly, I already feel a little weird about it. Everyone can see me.

Maybe this is why ‘ugly’ MySpace succeeds: It looks so disorganized and chaotic that I can’t believe anyone could figure out how to violate my privacy if they wanted to.

Facebook, on the other hand, seems a little…what’s the word? Efficient.

Giving it a shot. I should be easy enough to find there if you’re looking for me.