How the Age of Personality Journalism Matches Up Well with Social Media

Michelle Malkin

Some of the greatest columnists and opinions writers of the past have nothing on today’s celebrity bloggers. It’s not that the Michael Arringtons and Michelle Malkins of the world are any more talented than traditional journalists before the internet. They simply have a bigger stage, are easier to access, and have no rules containing them.

Journalism in the era of blogging has taken the restraints that made it necessary to have a journalism degree and a perfect written diction and replaced it with the type of shock and awe commentary that was once reserved for underground publications and tabloids. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it at all; as editor of my high school paper and reporter for a city newspaper (yes, I’m old enough to have worked at an actual newspaper before the internet), I have to admit that blogging is much more fun than trying to remember to never put a comma before the last piece in a list of four or more.

Journalism is no longer simply about reporting the news. It never really was, but today there is simply a lot more leeway given to the reporters that aren’t held back by old-school publications. As a result, one would probably have an easier time identifying a writer for Mashable than one for the LA Times.

Bloggers have become part of the news they are reporting. This is a huge benefit for publications that take it to the limits on social media. Look at Buzzfeed, for example. This team has done one of the most masterful jobs in memory of taking something pretty good and exposing it to the world through social media domination. Arstechnica, Techdirt, and PoliticusUSA fall into the same category.

What do they all have in common? They play to the people. That has always been a goal of many publications, but the digital age tempered by the rise of social media has made it a benefit to slant the news, to personalize it, and to build an expectation around controversy from the publication and its writers. We want to be polarized because it makes for more fun on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

There is and always will be a place for true reporting. It’s necessary as source material from which all of the blogger opinions can derive. We don’t have to be in Washington DC to have a quality political blog. We don’t have to be in Hollywood to have a strong entertainment rag. We have the internet. We have social media. Let the opinions flow.

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Why Facebook’s New Publishing Tool is a Threat to Twitter

Buzzfeed Facebook

Since the beginning, Facebook has been a place where people share what they’re doing. They post pictures, videos, and status updates that let their friends and family know what’s going on in their lives at that very moment. Some use it to post thoughts on things that are happening at that moment. Others simply share the latest joke they heard. For the most part, Facebook has not been successful at driving traffic to websites relative to its size.

That has changed in the last year. People are more open and willing to open links from Facebook. They are willing to use it to see interesting posts on blogs and news websites. This can be most easily seen from sites like Buzzfeed that saw a 855% increase in traffic year over year compared to a “mere” 208% for news site TIME.

The one thing they haven’t mastered is in real-time news. That’s Twitter’s wheelhouse. Despite the shared real-time nature that the sites share, the simplicity and chronological order of posts on Twitter make it a faster way to see the current links of immediate stories. Publications can post much more often to Twitter without losing followers than they can on Facebook where over-publishing can force them to lose fans. Facebook’s new publishing tool hopes to change that.

With the new tool, publishers will be able to see what stories they have on their website that have not been published to Facebook. They’ll also be able to see which ones they should post to Facebook based upon its success in being posted by other users. The immediate goal for Facebook is to encourage publishers to post more often. The end goal is to get them to spend money promoting their posts because of the attention that they’re able to get.

Facebook is already the highest traffic-sending social media site out there, but those numbers are misleading. Relative to their size, they’re actually not sending nearly as much traffic as they could. If they could get more publishers to share more content (something they’ve tried and failed at in the past) then their chances of turning that into additional ad revenue increases.

This is a problem for Twitter. They are banking on major media outlets to pay them for more exposure. Facebook is already making tremendous strides in the business world through their advertising program. If they can take dollars from publishers, television, and other media outlets, it could hurt Twitter in their bread and butter business. Twitter needs publishers to want to promote their posts because they are more effective at the news than at direct business engagement.

Facebook owns business marketing. If they can take over media promotions as well, Twitter might be left with a big chunk of their advertising dollars (as well as their hopes for the future) heading to their nemesis.

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Dear Mainstream Media: NEVER Post a Name, Image, and Facebook Profile Until You Know It’s Real


Bloggers often take heat for posting incorrect, misleading, or false information. The need to get something out there early is intense because it can be the difference between getting a lot of traffic and not getting any at all. However, there are times when journalistic responsibility must trump the need for page views. This is one of those times.


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The Path to Posting the Perfect Pic (and possibly going viral)

Perfect Pic

For most people and most pictures, sharing it on Facebook or Twitter is enough. It may be a quick snapshot of you and your friends out on the town or a cool sunset from a mountaintop and sharing it with our friends and family is enough. Other times, we’re able to capture something amazing, stunning, hilarious, or otherwise important enough to want to expose it to the rest of the world.

With those, we want to go viral. Here’s a (relatively) quick way to maximize the exposure of your perfectly-timed, once-in-a-lifetime shot.


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