Next if not already, social media editors — with conspicuously smaller communities — will be droning on about how Facebook subscriber totals, like Twitter followers, don’t mean a thing. They will be right and they will be wrong.
For example, studies over the last couple of years have proven that many Twitter followers represent either spam accounts — or more likely — visitors who tried Twitter for a day and never came back. And we have all seen the stories about politicians and others buying followers.
So true, but equally incomplete. I don’t put much faith in the numbers, but trends, proportions and perception also come into play.
While many other facets of social media identity can work for journalists, will a source be more likely to respond to a tweet if you have thousands of followers or just dozens? Can’t we infer a little about Twitter accounts which grow, stagnate or contract?
I had a great deal of success as an early adopter with Twitter – with over 80,000 followers — but my tweets rarely resulted in over 250 clicks. Sticky content meant more, and it was fun when that happened, but not incredibly rewarding.
The real benefits come with the countless personal relationships that have emerged. “I follow you” has been a priceless ice breaker at professional events because it proves and reminds us of out mutual interests. Of course, this happens as well without great followers counts.
More recently, I have shifted my online reporting efforts — with a combination of original, crowd-sourced and curated content — to my personal Facebook profile. The Facebook subscription function made this platform more expansive than my previous journalist page — about four times over during the first few months.
Curiously, I get many more new subscriber notices than the total seems to represent, and more than a few names look like random keystrokes — as if the spam follower process is repeating itself. Many of the comments would seem to endorse this perception as well. Perhaps others unsubscribe because I post too often or because they don’t like the content.
Beats me, but amid the churn and spam I am finding more community — with real discussions — happening on Facebook than I have ever experienced as an individual user. Of course there is little opportunity for direct monetization via Facebook — but what I learn about community development, content consumption, and myself — is no less than priceless.
I missed the early wave of blogging but every social media experience since then has proven that early adoption is the key. The good news, I think, is that it’s still pretty early in the subscription process. Get started today!
Evangelists tell me that Google+ plus will next open the social space — thanks to their integration with search, YouTube, Blogger and more — but for the moment, I’m hitching my wagon right here. Subscribers matter to me.
I grabbed these images just after noon Sunday from the Global Revolution live stream.
They appear to show arrests taking place on the street outside the Philadelphia Police Administration Building, consistent with photojournalists Joe Kaczmarek‘s photos of a protest at the same location last night.
I live in Philly, covered the city for many years and can confirm that I saw familiar Philadelphia Police wagons, bicycles and uniforms – and the Police Administration Building – in the video. Police carried some of the demonstrators – who apparently refused to walk to police vans – but both sides seemed generally peaceful, at least as far as I could see via the video.
Now, 90 minutes later, I can’t find any news of the arrests on any Philly old media news sites. Not even a tweet.
Advancing content produced by an active participant in any story requires at least special attention to ethical journalism practices, but what choices so we have when nobody else delivers? Does waiting for police confirmation make any sense when they have been identified as the other party in the conflict? These are very interesting times.
In a feeble attempt to please everybody, Philadelphia city officials responded to complaints from some city workers and other citizens by ordering the removal of the word “Christmas” from the Christmas Village signs at Philadelphia City Hall, where they are still hosting the Christmas Village you can find at, well, http://www.philachristmas.com/
They plan to replace it with a “Holiday Village” sign, but apparently not at the same time, and so for now it just says “Village.”
Meanwhile, in the middle of the village, city workers continued to string Christmas lights on a Christmas tree, as “Oh, Christmas Tree” and other Christmas carols continued to play on the audio system.
Village will be open through Holiday Eve.
UPDATE: CRISIS AVERTED; MAYOR SAVES CHRISTMAS: