Follow my blog series, TechFed

I’d like to invite all of you to read a new blog series I’m writing for a class called TechFed, where I look into UK and Lexington related technology and social media news.

I guarantee to give fresh facts and analysis than any other tech resource in the area.

The column is something I am doing for my Media convergence class, on the site BlueCoast Live. It is another wordpress CMS-run site and I am taking the opportunity to do something different than my usual daily activities for the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s daily student newspaper.

So far, I’ve analyzed UK’s Facebook and Twitter activities, and identified the most active and also the most lazy social media outlets for UK organizations. Yesterday, I Storified Greek Sing, an annual Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser put on by university fraternities and sororities.

The opportunity to write about something that I have a passion for is a great one, and even though right now this is just for a semester and for a class, I think if I find this continually interesting, I could really run with this, and even take the idea to my first job and offer it up as a blog idea.

What I find so interesting is that social media is becoming a huge part of the daily lives of Americans, but right now, news organizations only look at the national level of social media, like the new announcements by Twitter and Facebook and Google. But, as social media is getting taken more and more seriously be local business owners, a huge industry of social media advertising, community engagement, marketing and news are flooding even the smallest of cities. The industry is large in Lexington, I know it. But the mainstream media is lacking serious coverage of this market.

I’m going to change that.

While I may not have the resources to fully cover every aspect of social media news happening in Lexington, and can sure take a stab at is. I think this will be an exciting experiment for both me and my readers.


Storify: altering storytelling techniques

I’ve read blogs and books that experiment with story structure and storytelling techniques. When I ran into Storify not too long ago, I knew it would change storytelling for me. It gave my writing new pathways into alternative narratives and plot structure.

If you are a hard news journalist, you know how severely formulaic your pieces can become if you let complacency seep into your routine.

Here is an example of a great storify piece from UPI on the debt debate.

Example of Storify's unique storytelling capabilities

Storify example of UPI's story on the debt debate

Storify is a social media and information tool that drags Snippets of information – like tweets, blog posts, articles, photos and videos- into a storyline.

It’s not a new concept, but Storify let’s the user create an annotated piece of virtual nonfiction by allowing a writer to provide evidence like a broadcast journalist would.

What I mean is that Storify presents written evidence in a visual storytelling way. An “author” (or really a social media editor) can be an integral role in a story, or let the information completely dominate the piece and speak for itself.

I haven’t used the service yet, but I see the potential, and I’m biting at the bit for a good story to come along to fully see its potential.

Social Media pushes my storytelling ability

I take social media like I do Advil.

In doses.

My friends on twitter tell me I reappear into the microblogging world with guns blazing, and after about 30 tweets I disappear for weeks at a time. I treat Facebook like I do my job as a journalist; I don’t interfere and watch from the background as news and media flood my feeds.

But recently, I’ve recommitted myself to using all the storytelling social media tools available through my computer and iphone. Each keep me thinking about how I can tell the story of my life, or what I’m reporting. They allow fresh thought, angles and flexibility in what I think is newsworthy bit of info or a quality photograph.

So here are my weapons in my arsenal I use to get my voice heard:

Twitter:  This is my primary weapon. The easiest way to share all my articles, blog posts, photos, videos and audio snippets I curate, Twitter is a powerful weapon for storytellers. I’m keeping this one on standby at all times. If you don’t have a twitter, get one. If you don’t follow me, @bdgood. Do it.

  • Apps I use for Twitter: I’ve been flip-flopping between Tweetdeck and Hootesuite. But since I don’t need all the professional analytics available on the web-only hootesuite, I tend to organize my feeds and twitter lists with Tweetdeck.

Instagram: While I use many apps for photos, I’m publishing them via Instagram (or online). This allows me to post them on the instagram mobile social network and other social networks. It has a tilt-shift feature which allows some funky editing along with their available filters.

  • Apps I use for mobile photography: My most used tools are Hipstamatic, PictureShow, Auto Stitch, Photoshop Express, besides my default Camera app. Hipstamatic is just awesome for non-serious moments when I don’t mind experimenting with photography. It is risky since you can’t keep an original, so if you’re on assignment (which you shouldn’t be using filters anyway) you might miss that moment by using the wrong lens. PictureShow is a fun post-processing app which gives me lots of options. I use Auto Stitch for wide panoramas, although it tends to shut down (patience required). Photoshop Express gives me the basic editing tools I need to clean up a photo.

Foursquare: Its like the scene-setting graphs in a novel. I can announce my arrival at a destination while also getting sucked into the thrill of gamified social networking. Foursquare‘s geolocating service allows me to post to Twitter and Facebook my location, which can help my followers understand succeeding photos, videos and tweets/posts. I prefer Foursquare over Facebook Places because of its smaller network. I have a tighter and close-knit group of tech-savvy friends that I trust. If I feel ok with posting my location, I have the option of putting it on Facebook or Twitter. Over Gowalla, well… I just picked one (cue Canon vs. Nikon argument similarities).

Soundhound: This usually doesn’t come into play for my journalistic career, but I love it. Similar to Shazam, but without the fees, Soundhound gives me a way to identify songs, and then provides me more information and options than I would ever need.

If you don’t think that social media has earned its place in the journalism field yet, Brian Stelter certainly put it to use for the New York Times during his reporting from Joplin, Mo. He was quoted as saying “Looking back, I think my best reporting was on Twitter.” Read his blog post here.