Tag Archives: technology

Tweet regurgitation: An intervention

I get it—managing accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and everything else can be overwhelming. It can seem nearly impossible to update all of these feeds on the regular and still accomplish anything in real life.

Twitter on Facebook

Still, I just have to say it: Quit being so lazy! I’m sick and tired of seeing the same updates, word for word, across multiple platforms.

Social media management tools are fabulous for centralizing the social media experience. I use HootSuite to keep track of my various Twitter feeds, update LinkedIn and shorten URLs.

But just because you have the ability to update all of your platforms in one place doesn’t mean you should.

If you want people to follow and add you on every platform, each one needs to offer something different. I want to support a good company or a friend in as many ways as possible, but I don’t need to be bored to death by reading the same regurgitated tweet at every turn. And honestly, if you’re managing your social media effectively, you’ll play each one up for its unique strengths.

There is bound to be a little redundancy because friends and followers won’t always overlap and sometimes you have something that just needs to be shared with them all. That’s OK! If you’re sharing a link, though, consider the audience of each platform and tweak the message for each one, even if the link is the same.

So please, for your sake and mine, keep it fresh.

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Compulsory Education: Web 101 Needs a Place

When I was in high school, the district made a computer skills class a requirement for graduation. At the time, we all hated it.

“I already know how to use a computer!” I thought.

In reality, I knew how to play games and write up my homework on a computer. And I couldn’t even do that well. Until that class, I typed with my index fingers only.

I learned to make a laughable Web 1.0 page, and those meager skills are still rattling around in my brain somewhere. I only wish that I could have learned more.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that—as an aspiring journalist and member of modern society—I will need to know not only how to use the Web, but also know how it works.

These days it’s just common knowledge that computer literacy is a necessary skill in the workplace. However, I think that many people are afraid of new technology. It seems that people are simply becoming more apologetic for their lack of computer skills than taking initiative to learn.

But the Web isn’t going away, and it can no longer be avoided. It’s time to overcome the fear of computers* and the Web.

*And is it just me, or is that Web site ironic or what?

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A Quick Read

I’m going to be brief, since most of this won’t be read anyway.

I’m betting that most people will probably skip right over this part to check out the list at the bottom.

Steve Jobs says this is because people simply don’t read anymore. While there may be a grain of truth to that, the success of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle prove that people still read, and the market is stronger than Jobs anticipated.

The real reason that this won’t be read is because it is being published on the Web. Web readers don’t want prose, they want easy-to-scan text. They want the information quickly and easily digestible.

Part of it comes down to the fact that a screen can be physically difficult to read in comparison to the printed page (or even displays using E Ink). The other part could simply be a shorter attention span.

Either way, Web users are reading in a different way and writers should cater to the change if they want to be read.

To make sure the Web reader finds all the important—or the most interesting—information, consider the following:

  • Write in lists (like this one)
  • Highlight keywords
  • Keep paragraphs short
  • Use clear, descriptive subheadings
  • Summarize

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The Learning Curve

Okay newspapers, pay attention. Simply making the online content to a newspaper more visually appealing—which includes parsing it down for everyone with a short attention span—would keep readers interested.

It seems so simple and obvious, even the porn industry has caught on, but apparently traditional media doesn’t quite get it yet.

Even though newspapers are trying to stay current by using sites like Twitter, they keep reverting back to the shovelware tactic. The articles can be written brilliantly, but that doesn’t matter if nobody reads them.

The overarching idea behind keeping articles brief is that any successful medium must cater to its audience. Traditional media is facing the challenge of maintaining much of their normal practices to retain readers, and also adapting to new media methods to grow with readers as their world changes.

I think that the single most important thing that traditional media must do to achieve this goal is to listen to the audience. Taking feedback and using it when necessary means there is a direct channel for traditional media to learn exactly what they need to do to be successful. Modern audiences are used to being able to get everything tailored to their needs and interests, and that desire for personalization isn’t going to change any time soon.

However, a part of acknowledging the audience is realizing the differences among the people. Although the traditional media can learn some valuable lessons from new media and the Web, it shouldn’t abandon everything that has been established for what is new. The part of the audience that appreciates or relies on traditional media should not be forgotten. The digital divide and neo-luddites are part of the audience that is keeping newspapers going in this time of change.

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