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.

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Content wears the crown

I put a lot of hard work this semester to get the kykernel.com site more traffic.

Old version of kykernel.com (above the scroll)

My goals were set. Twenty percent increase in pageviews. Twenty percent increase in visits.

My strategy?

Redesign the website with a new theme. Something more attractive than what it looked like then, something with more entry points and a dash of pizzazz. It needed to grab their attention, the design that is, in case the content wasn’t living up to general standards.

I met my goals.

But my strategy wasn’t the counterweight to tip the scales. Instead, it was the content. My website wasn’t compensating the headlines, the images, the excerpts. My website was complementing it. And even that is a guess.

New version of kykernel.com, with added breaking news feature (above the scroll)

What isn’t a guess is our huge boost in time-on-site and the increase in links and shares to our stories. This semester, we had content kings working our news, sports, opinions and features desks. They brought on talented writers and columnists, and pumped out the kind of content our audience was looking for.

Perhaps the new do rose the morale in the newsroom. Editors were more pumped than ever to get their content published on the site. Writers and readers both gave me a pat on the back. And I took a bow to my bosses when I presented our successful report on the semester’s traffic boost.

But I refuse to take credit. The people working with me at the Kernel were content kings and breaking news barons, a refreshing turn of pace for a historically print-first newsroom.