A new study has revealed the extent to which journalists from around the world are using social media both as a source of news, and to verify stories already being worked on. In their Digital Journalism Study, Oriella surveyed 600 journalists and discovered that more than half (55 percent) used social channels such as Twitter and Facebook to find stories from known sources, and 43 percent verified existing stories using these tools. 26 percent of respondents said that they used social media to find stories from sources they did not know, and almost one in five (19 percent) verified work in progress from sources unknown to them. The figures are even higher in the UK, with 75 percent of journalists using social media to research news from known sources. 52 percent of journalists said their employer’s titles had Facebook pages, while 46 percent had professional Twitter profiles. Oriella’s findings have been documented in an infographic, which takes a closer look at digital journalism today.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has teamed up with the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation to introduce Facebook and Twitter content to its programmes as part of the broadcaster’s social media strategy. ABC’s manager of new media services, Chris Winter, told Fairfax Media: “It’s about allowing people to engage a little more than they have been able to in the past with what they’re watching.
“One of the great prompters of conversation is what you’re watching on the telly. In the past we sat in the lounge room and talked to the person sitting next to us, in the future it will become easier and easier to engage with people who are not in the same room.” The broadcaster wants to engage with viewers using smartphones and tablet computers while watching TV content. Developed by National ICT Australia (NICTA), the technology can overlay online discussions currently occurring on Twitter discussion on top of any show across the ABC’s multiple channels.
Latest statistics suggest attempts to kick new life into MySpace may be failing.
Tech industry analysts comScore say figures show MySpace lost more than 10 million unique users worldwide between January and February. There were almost 63 million users of MySpace in February 2011, down from more than 73 million. Year on year the site has lost almost 50 million users, down from close to 110 million in February 2010. The loss of users comes despite a series of changes to the site to make it more about music.
It was the social network site that helped launch the careers of artists like Arctic Monkeys, Kate Nash and Lily Allen. But so far this year MySpace has already announced it is to cut half its workforce. Falling numbers. A round 500 staff are going worldwide. Five years ago it was booming and for many was the first place to visit to talk to friends and listen to music. But the arrival of sites likes Facebook has changed the face of social networking. In the UK, 2.3 million people used the site in February 2011.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp bought the company for £330 million back in 2005. If they were to sell today, they might get as little as £50 million for it. MySpace boss Mike Jones has been putting a brave face on the falling numbers. He said the site is no longer a social network and is instead an “entertainment destination”. But with competition from YouTube, streaming services and increased file-sharing it faces tough times.
Inspired by the recent Tunisian demonstrations against corruption, protesters are filling the streets of Cairo. And like the protests in Tunisia, the Egyptian ones were partly organized on Facebook and Twitter. And now Twitter appears to be blocked in Egypt, according to various Tweets and tips we’ve received. However, so far only the Twitter website itself is blocked (including the mobile site), but people in Cairo are still using Twitter third-party clients to keep on Tweeting. There are also reports of the entire mobile Web being blocked through mobile carriers, but at least one carrier, Vodafone Egypt, denies that it is blocking Twitter, attributing the problem to overloaded networks instead. Update: one tipster says Twitter apps are blocked as well and that the only way to Tweet is by using Web proxies. Update 2: Asked to confirm that Twitter is blocked in Egypt, Google PR points to this Herdict Report, which indicates that it is in fact inaccessible in that country.
Facebook is also being used to organize the demonstrations, with groups also popping up around the world to document the uprising and lend its support. For instance, one Facebook Group called We Are All Khaled Said, features up-to-the-minute updates on the protests and photos from the scene. Khaled Said was “a young man brutally tortured and killed by police in Alexandria,” explains Blake Hounshell on the Foreign Policy blog, and his death has become a rallying point for the demonstrations which fall on “Police Day,” a national holiday in Egypt.
Update: The Facebook Group is reporting that the police are firing at the protestors with rubber bullets.
Increasingly, social media is playing an important role in organizing and broadcasting protests against governments around the world. Unlike television or newspapers, Twitter and Facebook are not so easy to control other than blocking them entirely because of their distributed nature. By the time a regime realizes its only option is to block a service like Twitter, the protests are usually already well under way. And reports keep coming out via these channels anyway, making them the most immediate way to watch the protests (and sometimes subsequent uprisings) unfold. The reports may not always be accurate right away (confusing rubber bullets for “live ammunition,” for instance, but they tend to self-correct quickly.
Social networking website Facebook and Internet telephone company Skype are in talks to establish a partnership that is aimed at integrating their communication services, Wall Street Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation. Under the proposed partnership, Facebook users would be able to sign into Skype through their Facebook Connect accounts, the Journal said. Once signed in, the users would be able to send text messages, voice chat and video chat with their Facebook friends from within Skype, according to the paper. The integrated functions are built into Skype’s 5.0 version, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks, the person told the paper. Enabling Skype’s voice and video chat on Facebook would be a “logical progression” to the partnership, the person told the paper.
From now on, Swedish public radio and TV broadcasters SR and SVT may not encourage their listeners and viewers to visit their pages on Facebook. In a regional news broadcast the presenter urged listeners to go in and have their say on the programme’s Facebook page. According to the Swedish Broadcasting Commission this broke the broadcasting law by promoting commercial interests. A feature on the regional programme “Morning” on P4 from Kristianstad was deemed to have broken the law on similar grounds. According to the Radio and Television Law, non-commercial programmes should not unduly benefit commercial interests. This means that the programmes should not encourage the purchase or lease, be promotional or highlight a product or a service in an inappropriate manner. It is allowed to mention the existence of a Facebook group, but not specifically to encourage people to join it.
Ping – Apple’s new social media network, will allow users to follow friends’ music interests working in a stream of updates similar way to Facebook or Twitter Having cornered the MP3 player, mobile phone and computer tablet markets with the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices respectively, last night Apple announced its latest expansion – into social media – with Ping. Ping will be integrated into Apple’s latest iTunes software update and will enable users, or “Pingers”, to follow musicians, friends and others to see details including what music they’re buying and what concerts they’re attending. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman and chief executive, said the information will arrive in a long stream of updates, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. “Be as private or as public as you want. The privacy is super-easy to set up,” he said adding that users can choose to automatically accept followers or decide on a follower-by-follower basis – similar sounding controls to those on Twitter. The service is available immediately to more than 160 million iTunes users, Jobs said, and will also be available across the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges.
The New York Times introduced Facebook integration earlier this week, allowing users to more easily share stories to Facebook, and see what stories their friends have already been sharing. It’s using the social plugins that Facebook launched in April, including the Like/Recommend Button, similar to what rivals like The Washington Post have already been doing. The integration is opt-in and merges a user’s existing nytimes.com account with their Facebook network; after doing so, the user will be able to see which Facebook friends have recently recommended stories, and lets the user recommend stories to Facebook directly from nytimes.com. The Times notably chose to use a closed system whereby users will only see activity from their Facebook friends but not from other Facebook users. Part of this feature is also to aggregate the most recommended stories into a feed on the Times’ web site. The New York Times created a FAQ section for users with questions about the new set up.
Google Inc has held talks with gaming companies as it looks to develop a new service to compete with social networking website Facebook, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Internet giant has had talks with makers of online games for the service including Playdom Inc, Electronic Arts Inc’s Playfish and Zynga Game Network Inc, the report said. The report said is unclear when the new offering will be launched. Google already owns and operates social networking site Orkut. The company could not be immediately reached for comment. Walt Disney Co said earlier on Tuesday it is planning to acquire Playdom for USD 563.2m, as the young but fast-growing market for Internet games on Facebook and other websites has exploded, increasing the links between social gaming developers and social networking.
Facebook will announce this week that the social networking giant has reached 500 million members, a gigantic milestone projected for 2010 earlier in the year. As a way to celebrate the achievement, the company will launch “Facebook Stories,” a “visual memorial” to the ways that the site has changed people’s lives for the better. The figures come from Facebook marketing boss Randi Zuckerberg last week, who says while past announcements have just been about the numbers, this announcement will be “about the users.” Facebook Stories will sort user-submitted stories by location and theme. A few of the themes are “finding love” and “natural disasters,” and the stories will be capped at 420 characters, the same as a status update.