Share crazy

Publishing stories is not enough anymore. With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter consuming the lives and souls of others, journalists who publish work online have to be reporters and promoters at the same time. The quality of your work still remains the most important factor of journalism, but how many page views and likes your story earns is now something a reporter keeps in the back of his mind.

In this class, I was encouraged to put focus on the social media presence of my assignments and blog posts. It was an interesting experience because I never had to put so much effort on the advertising of my stories before, because that’s what the whole experience felt like: selling my stories to friends on Facebook and faceless followers on Twitter. I had to create two attractive headlines each time I wrote a story: one for my actual story and another for the post on a social media site.

When I complete a big story, I whore my story out like nobody’s business. Share it on Facebook, post it on Twitter, tell my friends about it, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, my stories do no attract many new followers. The most I earn for sharing my work is maybe a few likes on Facebook and favorites on Twitter from my classmates. Granted, I appreciate every like and share that I get, but it’s somewhat disappointing.

I think the problem is that I need to focus on promoting myself more on social media. Tell followers that I’m working on a “big story” and tease it out over time. I need to choose an interesting topic that will garner attention. Take pictures of stuff involving the development of my story and share it to keep interest going. When I finally finish and post the story online, my followers will have heard about it enough to actually read and share the story. It’s like promoting a fight or a movie, slowly teasing out small details until you roll out the red carpet for the main event to be showcased on. Basically, social media can help me turn the development of a story into an anticipated event to look forward to.

Hashtags: The key to social media success

In the grand scheme of things, I am a social media nobody. Think about it. I currently sit at the giant number of 562 followers. To put this in perspective with people in my field of work, Mike Tirico (ESPN broadcaster) has 408k followers, Peter King (Sports Illustrated Writer) has 1.495 million followers, and Buster Olney’s (ESPN MLB Insider) currently stands at 1.04 million.

These guys are all famous because of where they work, but they did not have the help of social media. So what does a nobody like me have to do to engage in the conversation? #Hashtags. My number of followers over the last three weeks has increased over the last three weeks, and there’s solely one reason why: #MarchMadness.

The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 6 in the NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship game (Photo Credit: ABC News)
The Duke Blue Devils defeated the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, April 6 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game (Photo Credit: ABC News)

Anybody who knows me, I am a huge college basketball fan. I would love to become a college basketball writer when I’m older if I got to choose my sport during my sports journalism career. So, the busiest time of my twitter account is most certainly during those 10 days of which the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship is on.

I tweeted my analysis of everything that came to mind and used the #MarchMadness to get it out nationally. This propelled me up in the follower count, and got a couple of notable follows as well (see: Sam Vecenie and Kim Adams, two college basketball writers for CBS and ESPN, respectively).

One other thing that hashtags do, is not only get you noticed, but it engages you in conversation with many other people. As a sports writer with analyzing and tweeting your opinions, it will always either rile people up or get people on your side. This conversation particularly please me that happened during the first round of The Masters (by the way, if somebody can tell me what a pillock is I will be grateful).

One thing about twitter is that if you are known and work at a big company (see: ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, etc.), your notoriety is going to be given to you by the name of the company. But if you’re a small nobody like me, you’d need to get your name out there and in a national perspective. Hashtags do just that.

Boosting my social media presence

@jiminkim92 on Twitter. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 4, 2015).
@jiminkim92 on Twitter. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

This semester, my social media presence has grown through my managing the Twitter accounts of my start-up, AllKickboxing, and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Since February, I have gained 60 followers on my Twitter account.

AllKickboxing's Twitter account, @AllKickboxing_ Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 4, 2015).
AllKickboxing’s Twitter account, @AllKickboxing_. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

I frequently favorite and retweet AllKickboxing’s tweets to help promote its podcast or blog. Through this “double-dipping” promotional strategy, people in the mixed martial arts community have started following my personal Twitter account. For instance, Victor Cui, the CEO of ONE Championship, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in Asia, began following me on Twitter.

Furthermore, on Twitter, I constantly search the hashtags “MMA” and “kickboxing” to engage with people who post tweets that include that hashtag. This has helped me connect with the niche MMA fan base.

For the Alda Center, I take a similar approach by tweeting content using the center’s account and retweeting it on my personal handle. Through retweeting the center’s workshop dates and science contests, scientists and professors have started following me on Twitter. Furthermore, I regularly search the news feed for tweets that use the hashtag “scicomm,” which is short for science communication, to find people who may be interested in the Alda Center’s programs.

(Tweet by @AldaCenter on Twitter promoting a science communication talk).

I have also grown the Facebook account of the Stony Brook University Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. By promoting guest journalism workshops and weekly meetings using SBU-SPJ’s Facebook page and sharing the posts on my own Facebook timeline, I have been attracting attention to the club. I have also made new friends on Facebook who are interested in joining SBU-SPJ.

Facebook page of SBU-SPJ. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (April 9, 2015).

Furthermore, I have learned a valuable lesson on how to properly use hashtags. An Instagram post allows a maximum of 30 hashtags. But, hashtags increase the size of your post and take up more real estate in the Instagram feed. Thus, people are likely to ignore a post that’s heavy with hashtags for breaking social media etiquette. Since decreasing the number of hashtags, my Instagram posts for AllKickboxing have generated more favorites.

I really look forward to cultivating my social media presence even more.

Creating a presence on social media

Photo from forbes.com

This semester I created a twitter account with the sole purpose of tweeting newsy things, such as stories I have written, my friends have written, or stories I have read from news organizations that I have found interesting.  As of right now, I do not have many followers — I only have 50 — but considering I do not tweet very much, I do not think that is an awful follower count.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 8.47.35 PM

I plan to increase my followers by tweeting more often, with hashtags, so more people can see what I am posting.  I do need to work on sharing my work.  I tend to only share the work I am happy with or proud of, but I really should share everything.  Even if I am not happy with the way something turned out doesn’t mean other people won’t enjoy it.  After all, we are our own biggest critic.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 8.45.07 PM

 

I do not use Instagram for journalistic purposes, and unless I am posting a picture of myself at the anchor desk for Newsbreak, my Instagram is used for entertainment purposes only.  I also do not use Facebook that much. The only time I do, it is to post articles I have written.

Overall, I hope to expand my use of social media for journalistic purposes and gain followers in the process.  I hope to do so through my use of hashtags and upping my content.

Freedom from Addiction

Heather Manson, a 20-year-old Brooklyn native, sees freedom in a different way than others. At the age of 13, Manson started her abuse of drugs.

Growing up in a household of addiction Manson feels that she was trapped in a lifestyle she would eventually fall into. Stating that in the area of Brooklyn she lived in, being on drugs seemed to be more of a norm. After years of struggling with this vicious life cycle her family went through, she decided there was more to life.

With the final decision to move away to Florida, she was able to free her self from the demons she lived with.

Invisibilia Keeps me Warm on those Long Night Drives

I love podcasts. As someone who likes to keep up a steady stream of media intake, whether it’s a video, comic, song, news article, book, etc., podcasts have proven to be one of my favorite ways to multitask or keep myself entertained on long commutes. To me, it’s like story time while I’m driving, running or working.

Invisibilia hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller. Photo courtesy of John W. Poole/NPR.
Invisibilia hosts Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller. Photo courtesy of John W. Poole/NPR.

As it so happens, one of the assigned podcasts is also one of my favorites. Invisibilia is a show on NPR about “the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” The content, is something of specific interest to me because, while verging on pop science, the hosts take into account very academic approaches to the subject matter. Anything that helps humans better understand themselves and thus the world, is pretty great in my book. The only criticism I might have of the show is the specific cadence NPR has apparently trained all of its podcasters to use. They all sound like Captain Kirk, stopping for seemingly no reason and emphasizing odd parts of the sentence.

My personal favorite episode of Invisibilia is “How to Become Batman.” I genuinely learned something new. While I already knew that some blind people were able to perform a certain level of echolocation, the extent to which the subjects of the episode are apparently able to “see” with their ears blew my mind. According to a researcher interviewed for the episode, Daniel Kish, a master of the technique, his brain lights up in the same place while echolocating that sighted peoples’ do when seeing something.

Another that struck me in particular was “Fearless,” about a woman who had totally lost her ability to feel fear due to calcification in her brain. Her rare condition had lead to more than one thwarted mugging after she basically showed indifference in the face of being mugged.

Not New York City: New Tech City

Let’s take a trip shall we? Into a world where technology changes our lives day in and day out and is a critical part of how we live. Well, that day could be today, it could be tomorrow, or it could be five years from now. Depending on the way you look at it, technology is changing the way that people access information and connect with one another every day whether we see it or not.

The podcast with Mamoush Zomorodi claims to have "No jargon—just compelling stories about how technology is changing our lives for better and for worse"
The podcast with Mamoush Zomorodi claims to have “No jargon—just compelling stories about how technology is changing our lives for better and for worse”

One podcast that does a great job of telling us about this is the WNYC production New Tech City with Manoush Zomorodi. They tackle the topics that we, as everyday consumers of technology, don’t normally think about when it comes to always-changing world consisting of smartphones and tablets.

As far as technical terms, I think this podcast does a great job of encompassing different background noises that keep one engaged and keeps the brain involved. Just hearing somebody ramble for 20 minutes on a podcast does not keep someone interested and likely will tune them out.

The unique transition sound effects that create a swoosh keep the brain occupied, and along with the subtle high-pitched background music and unique sound effects to accompany what the subject is talking about.

In the first episode I reviewed, “Is Braille Obsolete” they talk about how blind people are using Kindles and iPads to read books. Also being put to use at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are things like talking typewriters, singing calculators and even video games that you can navigate by only using sound.

While these are cool gadgets in their own respect, the way that Ryan Kailath brings it to life with various sound effects keeps the listener both intrigued and helpful as a instructor helps a 14-year old student by the name of Demetria Ober read books.

The worldwide bestseller was turned into a trio of movies, the first of which premiered last year. Starring Shailene Woodley.
The worldwide bestseller was turned into a trio of movies, the first of which premiered last year. Starring Shailene Woodley.

When the instructor says that the hit “Divergent” is one of the books that she bought, Ober’s face lights up. No, you couldn’t see it. But the way it was captured, you could feel it.

In the “Tweens and Tech Guide: Getting them to open up,” episode, they talk to a middle-school teacher Dierdre Shetler, and how she uses technology in her school. The one thing I like about this is that NTC incorporated their listeners into the podcast, which is what drives them on a weekly basis.

One thing that I think is important is the fact that when podcasts/blogs/etc. get giant, they forget about the little guys. The guys that helped them get there and the listeners that were there from day one. These people are the reason that they are famous on the big stage today, so I think it’s always incredible that the podcast can give back and give her a spot on the show.

A variety of news and subjects on WNYC

I am familiar with WNYC on television since the television signal makes it out here. Ironically, I live on Long Island.

I never ventured to see what else WNYC had other than television and, yes I know, radio, which I knew of as well. Rarely have I gone onto the outlet’s website. I managed to find podcasts for different shows. Some podcasts were news and others were beats.

New Tech City

NTC_Logos_FINAL_200x200

This is one of those podcasts that were beats I mentioned. The show is hosted by Manoush Zomorodi, who has a history of reporting news related to technology, and is centric toward the subject of technology. I only listened to one podcast that was about young kids using technology.

//www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/newtechcity/#file=%2Faudio%2Fxspf%2F436076%2F

It was a sensitive topic, but I believe she pulled it off. I like how the story flowed and the focus was around a teacher who taught technology. Kids are hard to interview as they may give one word answers or aren’t concise, but Zomorodi managed to make these kids open up. What did surprise me was how the show operated like a real radio station show. Around the nine to 10 minute mark, there was an advertisement. I thought that since this was a recorded show for playback, there would be none of that. I’m guessing this is done because WNYC receives financial contributions from advertisers to sustain itself. Overall, the piece was a great one, informative, it held my attention because of how the story transitioned and I would listen to this show more often.

The Brian Lehrer Show

TheBrianLehrerShow_2

I’m familiar with Brian Lehrer, but have not listened to much of his work. At first I thought he was related to Jim Lehrer because of the last name. I don’t think they are. This podcast was a news show. The episode I listened to was called “Realpolitik in the Middle East.”

//www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/wnyc/#file=%2Faudio%2Fxspf%2F440677%2F

It operated like an actual radio news show. it contained audio clips of people related to the stories he covered and had invited guests speak. The invited speaker spoke for a few minutes on different occasions. It would have been better, I think, if Lehrer broke into certain points to ask follow-up questions. The tone of Lehrer sounded opinionated at times. There were other speakers invited to speak and a debate went going. Aside from it being a news show, it was more of a discussion show. All sides made their point in a coherent manner.

The Dystopian Town of Night Vale

“Welcome to Night Vale” – Podcast Pilot Episode

“Welcome to Night Vale” is a radio show-style podcast of a fictional dystopian society known as Night Vale, with a twist of dark humor. The series parodies a typical radio show of an average, mundane town.

It was created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and was published by Commonplace Books. The music sets an eerie ambiance, created by musician and composer Disparition.

The first episode features parody news stories, such as a new dog park being built where neither dogs or people are allowed. There’s also a new person in the neighborhood: Carlos, who is a self-proclaimed scientist with nice hair. Unmarked helicopters sometimes circle Night Vale from above, and parents are instructed to keep their children away from them. A new waterfront recreation area is being opened, in hopes to create a “bustling marketplace,” despite there being no body of water in sight. This is seen as a mere “drawback” to the situation, as Night Vale is a fictional town located somewhere in the Southern United States.

Joseph Fink explained in an interview with NPR that he came up with the idea to create a podcast about a fictional town located in the desert where all conspiracy theories were real.

“Glow Cloud” – Episode 2

This week, a mysterious glowing cloud has caused a death in the town of Night Vale, but no action will be taken. The post office, which has been sealed due to screams coming from within, was ransacked, with the smell of burning flesh in the air and words written in blood on the walls.

A floating cat was spotted in the radio station’s bathroom, as well. “It’s nice to have a station pet,” says the narrator, Cecil Gershwin Palmer, voiced by Cecil Baldwin.

This podcast series  is successful in its attempt to parody a regular news station’s daily newscast.