Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to blog, tweet and OMG! CATS!

I had the pleasure of hosting Rosemary Armao's journalism class at SUNY Albany this morning.
You might recognized Armao's voice as one of the hosts of WAMC's "The Media Project", which also hosts Freeman Publisher Ira Fusfeld.
I spoke about some of the Freeman's digital initiatives, some tools, and how they help improve journalism. Some of those initiatives are showcased below:
I was asked to give tips on blogging and Twitter, and I was probably incomprehensible as I tried to cram too much information into a lecture. I think I said something about cats. Repeatedly.

Still, I want to offer the prospective journalists a quick cheat-sheet on how to blog and how to use Twitter. There are others that are way better than me at this. But you're stuck with me, so here it goes.

Quick tips for blogging:
* What to blog. Do you have a passion? Then you have a blog.Write about what you talk about and about what interests you, your beat, etc.  Have fun.
* Don't make the post too long. Yes, sometimes you want to write long pieces, but generally speaking, a short post will do better (this is where your training as a concise writer comes in handy).
* Have a voice. If you are just starting, this is the best way to develop your voice. Be personal (though you don't have to if you don't want to). Be yourself. So, yes, add an image and at least a bio.

* Watch out for typos. This might be the copy editor in me, but typos, even in blogs, are not coolsies, unless you're doing it on purposies.
* Add an image. Humans are visual people (Pinterest, anyone?) and people respond better to posts with images than those without. It's not my fault, so don't blame me. It's just more attractive to read. If you don't have an image that fits your particular post, include a stock art image (I actually said "post pictures of cats!" during the lecture, but the point holds, as the image above wonderfully illustrates with cuteness).

 Quick tips for Twitter use.
* GET ON TWITTER. Now. I'll wait. (here's an explainer I wrote a while back)
* Are you in. Great! Update an image of yourself (or a cat). Add a bio (link to your blog!), contact info, etc. Don't make your account private. That beats the purpose of the whole thing.
* So what now? I'd give you a Top-10 list if uber media man Craig Kanalley hadn't written a most excellent one already,, for making the most of Twitter. And yes, as Sree Sreenivasan wrote, "make your tweets blue."

There's obviously, a lot more to this. But this should be enough to get you started.

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