Thoughts on Mobile and Social Media Journalism

Beginning the class titled “Mobile and Social Media Journalism,” I was afraid the concepts Professor Anthony Adornato delivered would fly right over my head; I don’t necessarily consider myself a digital native, and my twitter and Facebook activities both had to be built up from zero.

However, since the early days when I had the legs knocked out from beneath me and my accounts were forced to swim by their own power, a few things progressed rather nicely. Of course, a few things also continued to struggle.

Success with WordPress and Facebook

I managed to successfully utilize sharing and tagging features on both WordPress and Facebook to the highest potential when packaging and distributing my work, and my overall online reach improved and grew as a result.

With WordPress, the secret was in the tagging. By sorting stories and blog posts into different categories of interest, and tagging them with those categories (and every single other iteration of that that category) it was able to draw significant traffic from google searches and the website’s native community sharing system. In fact, just about half of my readership came from these two factors, while the other half was almost solely Facebook referrals.

Facebook was a fascinating experience; building my professional page and sharing information seemed like a strained, pay-to-win system at first, but I managed to meet relative success by strategically sharing content at optimal times of the day (for me, this was 6 p.m.). Eventually, when the post got on the radar of a few people who engaged, overall reach increased exponentially, until a few particular posts reached over 10 times as many individuals than I had actual followers.

The Struggle of Twitter

Since the majority of the class proved to be focused on building a strong twitter presence, you’d think I’d figure out how to get my account above water. However, 160 tweets later and extensive content on human rights issues shared via blog posts and full features only managed to net me about 20 extra likes during the semester, totaling to a whopping 37.

It’s not like I wasn’t trying either. I was @mentioning, hashtagging, you name it, but other accounts just couldn’t be bothered to follow. I included the visuals, the statistics, all the interesting parts of every post; and although my overall reach would skyrocket when I did all these things in conjunction, it’s going to take a lot more to build a bigger community on the platform.

Overall however, this class equipped me with an invaluable set of tools. The ability to package and produce full-length multimedia stories directly on the native capabilities of my mobile device is a strong skill to have. And despite my shortcomings on twitter, the techniques I took away to boost my online engagement will help me for years to come.

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