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Tech Blog – CBS Tweet Week April 12, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , add a comment

As I mentioned in a previous post, “Survivor” host Jeff Probst recently began to tweet along with the show. As a hardcore fan, I appreciate the gesture but remain unsatisfied with the lack of real details Probst provides. However, that didn’t stop CBS from declaring last week “Tweet Week” and enlisting more of its stars to take to the social networking site.

Jeff Probst, © CBS

The stunt is obviously designed to get viewers to tune in during the live broadcast (i.e. when the commercials air) rather than just DVRing their favorite shows. The ratings don’t indicate that it accomplished that goal, but CBS should still be commended for utilizing new technology to its advantage. (Besides, “Amazing Race” host Phil Keoghan’s tweets were much more informative than Probst’s.)

The real question though is how networks can utilize other social media tools to engage fans. Twitter is neat, but let’s face it–most of these celebrities were already tweeting; they just didn’t happen to be doing so during the half-hour or hour time slot alloted to their show (and even that might not be the case for everyone). The major network websites are a mixed bag of Flash monstrosities and meager message boards. While the descent may not be as rapid, TV, like newspapers, is competing for an audience against many other forms of news and entertainment. Television websites need to follow newspaper sites’ leads by incorporating more social media.

Tech Blog – Mark Potts March 30, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , add a comment

In today’s class, we got to hear from Mark Potts,  and I have to say, with all due respect to the others who have spoken to us, I think he was the best guest brought in to COMM361 this semester.

Within an hour or so, Potts shared approximately three to four dozen different and helpful websites that provided great resources or simply examples of particularly well-done and unique storytelling techniques. But I think what I appreciated most was his unconventional opinions on news resources, namely touting the merits of Wikipedia and downplaying the importance of Twitter. The only thing missing was a boxing match between Potts and Professor Klein, who seemed horrified at the suggestion that Twitter was not a big deal. (For the record, my money would be on Klein–he’s the one grading me!)

Potts also acknowledged that Storify does not work for every story, because it asks a lot of the reader to mentally fill in the transitions between quotes. (He once wanted to write a story consisting entirely of quotes but it never panned out.) He stressed the importance of community bloggers, the ones who aren’t doing it for the money but for the passion of helping out their community, suggesting that mainstream news sources could benefit from using these resources–as he put it, “Do what you do best and link to the rest.”

It might seem as though Potts’s visit was pretty rushed and contradicted what we’ve been taught by Klein and other guests, but I found it refreshing and I think it provided a lesson that one man’s trash is another man’s journalism (for lack of better phrase). In other words, every single journalist operates differently. The method and tools that work for you might not come in handy for everyone else. In the increasingly complex world of social media and online storytelling techniques, it’s important to give these new tools a fair shot but it’s also just as important to know your own strengths and what you’re capable of producing. I highly recommend that he be a guest in all future COMM361 classes.