A new report from Yahoo! Research has used Twitter in an attempt to answer Lasswell’s maxim: “who says what to whom in what channel with what effect”.
The report, Who Says What to Whom on Twitter | Yahoo! Research, found that 50% of all tweets consumed are generated by just 20,000 elite users.
For the purposes of the study, they classified Twitter users into “elite” or “ordinary”, breaking elite users into the categories media, celebrities, organisations and bloggers.
One of the more interesting things looked at in the report is the lifespan of content, and what they found with media-related tweets.
“We find that different categories of users emphasize different types of content, and that different content types exhibit dramatically different characteric lifespans, ranging from less than a day to months.”
In its conclusion, the report found that “media-originated URLs are disproportiantely represented among short-lived URLs”.
We also find that different types of content exhibit very different lifespans: media-originated URLs are disproportionately represented among short-lived URLs while those originated by bloggers tend to be overrepresented among long-lived URLs. Finally, we find that the longest-lived URLs are dominated by content such as videos and music, which are continually being rediscovered by Twitter users and appear to persist indefinitely.
That can be seen in this figure, generated by unshortening 35,000 URLs that “lived” at least 200 days, and mapping them to 21,034 domains.
Read the abstract and get the PDF of the report here:
Who Says What to Whom on Twitter | Yahoo! Research
Darryl King of web development company ireckon conducted an experiment three weeks ago. He publicly tweeted that he was unfollowing Guy Kawasaki because of his spammy Twitter activity.
Specifically, Darryl King said:
“i removed my follow of @guykawasaki as it just seemed to be twitter spam not a conversation.”
Guy obviously tracks his mentions because within five minutes he replied to Darryl. Read more
Image by Nimages DR via Flickr
The power of retweeting has been seen by almost everyone on Twitter, but an example of mine was with the story about police seizing a member of the public’s mobile phone and deleting content. I first Tweeted the link at 5.45pm on December 26 (Boxing Day, a public holiday).
From my calculations in less than three hours nine people including me distributed that story to a network of 7600 people. Of course they didn’t all see the link, or click on it if they did see it, but as Gina Chen said, it shows the potential for news distribution via social networking.
Admittedly I also gained an advantage by being part of mainstream media, but earlier tweets propagating the original story from Ben Grubb were also distributed as widely, or wider, than my later tweets.
Originally from my auto-posting daily Delicious links, I have cut this back to just the link I have added comment to. This is in preparation for a blog redesign, where I no longer want posts titled “links for YYYY-MM-DD”. A live stream of Delicious links will also always be available in a sidebar widget and/or stand-alone page.
I’ve been using a URL shortening service on my site called uTag since it was launched a few weeks ago.
UPDATE: I have removed the uTag script that automatically changed my URLs. And for brevity, the technical issues with uTag that I address in this post are:
- If the ad banner is left open after visiting a site, the user continues surfing to other websites, and later closes the ad banner, the browser will automatically refresh to the page first visited by following the uTag link.
- In the same vein, once the ad banner is closed, using the Back button will simply reload the banner frame, rather than going back to the linking site.
- A uTag Death Loop exists, whereby a uTag link to another uTag enabled site will result in an increasing number of ad banners stacked on top of each other. Read below for how this happens.
Put simply, uTag is a monetisation strategy for linking. Several sites already provide link shortening services which have become popular chiefly amongst Twitter users, who need a short link because their posts have a 140 character limit. Examples are bit.ly, is.gd, tinyurl.com, to name just a few. The difference with uT.ag is that it aims to pay people for providing those outbound links. Read more
This blog has not been updated in almost two months. I would always prefer that were not the case and, as I’ve said before, I hope to remedy that with more frequent posting. For some reason my daily Delicious links haven’t been posting, but my Twitter updates in the sidebar have been flying along at an increasing pace.
On Monday I hit 700 Twitter updates since signing up to Twitter just over 12 months ago. Since Monday I have posted another 125+ updates, reaching nearly 300 updates in the first 11 days of September. Excessive? Read more
In case there is anyone out there who thinks they don’t have the time to listen to Jay Rosen for six minutes and eight seconds, below is a transcript of the video of Jay Rosen moderating the SABEW conference workshop, Using Social Networking in Business Reporting.
As the internet leads a wending path, a range of discussions (starting with Jeff Jarvis and on to Stilgherrianâ€™s comments section) brought me to news.com.auâ€™s live Twitter coverage of the pope at WYD08 on http://twitter.com/popedownunder.
I like the live Twitter event coverage (as a personal effort instead of just a pushed RSS feed).
The Twitter account web link was to news.com.auâ€™s in-depth WYD08 coverage page, linking to their Whatâ€™s on when? page, with an embedded Google map.
Follow that through to the same Google map, full sized, showing, amongst other things, pilgrimage routes, papal motorcade and boat-a-cade routes, and locations for mass.
The creator of that map, news.com.au journalist Alexandra Marceau, has also created 58 other news maps for individual stories. What’s great about creating a map for an individual story is that itâ€™s a mapped record of that story, available through a permanent list of user-created maps.
Obviously, you say, but Iâ€™ve been in the habit of giving a quick search-generated map reference link to online for a news story, one that simply points to the intersection where said news event took place, for example. That’s not a permanent record, and doesnâ€™t extend the news into the â€œuser-generated contentâ€ section searchable within Google Maps. Creating individually annotated news maps is something Iâ€™ll consider doing from now on, time permitting.
It would also be much better if I could mash up a geotagged rss feed with Google Maps to automatically show news down to the street, or at least suburb, level. That’s something I would still like to work on, again, time permitting.
Mind you, somebody much smarter than me is probably already doing that.
The MediaShift Idea Lab have linked to a great list of examples of mainstream media using location-based technology in news delivery.
Personally, I like the idea of geo-tagging content so that readers can get a map view of their news across the city, state or country, and then be able to pick out what news to follow in feeds based on particular regions.
I’ve been experimenting with Yahoo!Pipes in trying to do that with news content that hasn’t specifically been prepared to be ‘locative’. It’s certainly time-intensive experimentation while I teach myself, and is yet to yield the results I’d like.
The list linked to by Paul Lamb is by LoJo connnect, who are also conducting a survey of news outlets and their offerings/experiments in locative media.
Social Media Optimisation, or SMO, is gaining momentum as the new content distribution buzzword. Content is increasingly shared, and news content particularly is delivered through social networking sites. Will SMO replace SEO, search engine optimisation, as the way news organisations get their content seen by a wider audience?
A New York Times article last week tried to explain the future of news distribution by describing how ‘the young’ share news online via social networks.
SMO, or Social Media Optimisation, is one of the most important stories of the new media campaign – for several reasons.
- MSM (main stream media) are beginning to understand that social content distribution is a serious threat to their current distribution methods
- MSM in the main were disrespectfully late in adopting SEO, and
- It’s only now, well into the Facebook boom, that people are starting to take notice of the value of SMO.
While SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, will remain very important to news gathering and searching methods, it could soon be superceded by a much more important player in news distribution channels and strategies – Social Media Optimisation, or SMO.
How do people share information online? How do they find it? How does social media facilitate this?
What the New York Times article shows is the acceptance, if only partial, of the concept of SMO – that news is no longer force-fed, it is now shared, social, viral, and word of mouth.
Young people expect to see video with campaign stories
New York Times
â€œAnd they’ll find it elsewhere if you don’t give it to them, and then that’s the link that’s going to be passed around over e-mail and instant message,â€œ says Huffington Post’s Danny Shea. Brian Stelter writes: â€œYounger voters tend to be not just consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks. And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them. In essence, they are replacing the professional filter — reading the Washington Post, clicking on CNN.com — with a social one.â€œ
Like it or not, for traditional news media the news is a commodity that must sell. For it to sell and make money, it must be traded, clicked, monetised, and advertised. When content went online, MSM (mainstream media) very slowly caught up to the idea of SEO – making content user and search engine friendly.
Arguments from MSM – and let me be brutally honest here – dinosaurs, have been that using SEO techniques in news media is simply bowing to a digital master. Many in MSM have for too long bucked at what they call ‘writing headlines for a machine’.
That argument represents a fundamental lack of knowledge about how the future of information distribution will be shaped, and does not bode well for the necessary rapid uptake of SMO – integration with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Pownce, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, and numerous other variety of social networking startups.
People use the internet to search for information. When doing so, people looking for a story about the conclusion of the divorce trial between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney would most likely use the search terms, heather mills divorce, or paul mccartney divorce, or heather mills paul mccartney divorce, or even add the word settlement to any of those searches. They will not search using a print headline like â€œDamnation of Her Ladyshipâ€œ or â€œLady Liarâ€œ, from the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror respectively, both on March 19.
People use a search engine to find what they are looking for, so writing page or article titles that assists them to do that is by no means writing headlines for a machine – it is writing headlines that will help real people find information using a machine.
But as MSM has only recently grasped the importance of doing this, and just as they catch up and start optimising content for search, the rules of the game gradually begin to change again.
MSM need to not be left behind this time. News in the new world of digital media is shared. Social media is word of mouth advertising. Social media is recommending a product to a friend, and whether that be viral video or a news story, it is a link to content of mutual interest, shared among a community of friends, a seperate community of family, another community of professional contacts, and innumerable other communities that gather around hobbies.
That MySpace, or Facebook, may be the flavour of the social networking month and gone tomorrow as another new social networking site enters the friend-swapping fray, is no good reason to neglect to stay in the game. If you’re only just starting to embrace MySpace as the skyrocketing Facebook begins to face new competition from bebo, you’re two full lengths behind the leaders.
The only saving grace for MSM in the past is that they have generally formed a pack that lag behind the innovators. Be warned though, as soon as your competition gets a clue and embraces the reality of online content sharing and community building in their news distribution strategy – you’ll find out just how lazy you’ve been when you lose community respect and relevance.
When the editors and owners hit the panic button and ask, â€œWhat the hell have you been doing? We’ve been left behind!â€œ – What will you say?
Integration is not just newsrooms. Integration is leading innovation, or at the very least keeping up with it.
Traditional media no longer control the news distribution channels.
Seed your content. Link out. Allow your video to be embedded, linked to, displayed elsewhere.