For an intriguing glimpse into how well Seattle news organizations are connecting with social media, check out Newsdex Seattle, a spare-time project by Gary Love and Chuck Taylor. It is a daily rundown of the Facebook and Twitter data for organizations ranging from The Seattle Times (36,885 in network today) to My Everett News (25 in network).
Love and Taylor readily acknowledge, “Measuring the effectiveness or reach of a company’s social brands is, to be sure, an inexact science, and our metrics are decidedly a work in progress.” Kudos to them for stimulating discussion, anyway.
One purpose of the Seattle Journalism Commons is to help local media people learn from each other, so here are some questions prompted by Newsdex:
- What value do news organizations feel they get from investing time and energy in building what Newsdex calls “social brands”?
- What strategies are organizations using to build their brands?
- Most hyperlocal news sites have very small networks, but the West Seattle Blog and My Ballard are relatively huge (13,223 and 10,285 respectively). What would they tell others about the reasons and rewards for their efforts?
- Would news site operators benefit from a training session on how to improve their brand reach on Facebook or Twitter? If so, what would be helpful, in person, online or both?
Here is an added question that comes from a blog post by Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Salon.com:
Everything that journalists are doing on Facebook today — engaging readers in conversation, soliciting sources, polling users, posting “behind the story” material — is stuff they could just as easily do on their own websites. So why are they doing it on Facebook?
For the record, here is how Love and Taylor describe themselves on the Newsdex site:
• Gary Love is a product manager and geek who has worked for numerous newspapers and television companies, including The Seattle Times, Hearst Newspapers, Walt Disney Internet Group and Seattle Weekly. He presently works for Dallas-based Belo and lives in Seattle. @nemejo
• Chuck Taylor is a lifelong journalist who has worked for four Washington newspapers and was the launch editor of Crosscut.com. Today he’s an editor at The Herald in Everett and lives in Seattle. @chcktylr — blog