I went to Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired conference held at MSN in London on Thursday (20 February). Here are 14 takeaways in the order that they were discussed at the conference.
1. Quizzes are the new lists
The type of quizzes that allow the reader to place themselves within the story and share personalised answers on Facebook and Twitter have been particularly successful for Buzzfeed, Jack Shepherd explained in the keynote.
But quizzes are not that easy to get right. Buzzfeed has been trying for 5 years, apparently.
This quiz on ‘what city you should actually live in' is the second most shared Buzzfeed article of all time. The most popular article was this quiz on 'what state do you actually belong in?’
The state quiz has incredible numbers. When I checked on Thursday it had nearly 40 million views and had almost 4 million Facebook shares, likes and comments.
Here’s a Nieman article on quizzes being the new lists for Buzzfeed.
These quizzes remind me of the uber popular UsVsTh3m North-o-Meter quiz.
2. Pinterest is a significant traffic driver and growing, at least for Buzzfeed
The most popular quiz on ‘what state would you actually live in?’ had 936 pins, according to Henry Taylor who looked up the stat and DMed me.
3. It’s worth getting key people involved ahead of a Twitter / social chat
This tip came from Jenny Rigby from Channel 4 News. She explained that’s something she learned through planning WT4?, the new online-only TV show built around the social community and hosted by Jon Snow.
All questions for the show come from social, Jenny said, which relies on interaction and community. The team there have found that getting the show’s guests to reach out to their own communities is effective.
4. It’s worth spending time on getting the right graphic to post to Facebook or Twitter
Taking the time to make sure a chart or graph tells the story on Facebook in the best possible way pays off, Mark Frankel, assistant editor of social news, BBC, said.
Graphics should be simple and work when someone is viewing on Facebook on a mobile, he said.
5. Timelapse videos can get lots of views and shares
A timelapse video of the recent floods reached more than 1 million people and was shared thousands of times, Mark Frankel explained.
6. People don’t want to watch for longer than 90 seconds when a video is shared on Facebook
Another useful fact learned by the BBC News social team and shared by Mark.
7. First is not always best on Twitter
Mark Frankel shared the example of this tweet announcing the death of Nelson Mandela. The BBC was not first to break the news but by using a picture and leaving space for people to add their own comments, their own emotion, the tweet was effective. It has had nearly 77,000 retweets.
8. It’s worth being scientific about social analytics
The BBC tweets the same story at different times, something they learned from the New York Times, Mark said. The BBC has found that sometimes weekend tweets get the most engagement.
This raises questions of when we should resource newsrooms, Mark pointed out.
Paul Rowland from Media Wales also talked about the effectiveness of analysing the timing tweets. For Wales Online, sometimes it is better to tweet at 5pm on a Friday than, say, 2pm on a Tuesday.
9. Everyone gets it wrong sometimes
A good way to correct a tweet is via a (correcting figure) or (correcting date) at the end of a tweet, Mark Frankel explained.
10. The Financial Times creates a story from social every day
Sarah Laitner, the communities editor at the FT, said they publish a story that is the result of a social conversation every day, and that it is placed in front of the paywall.
11. Find what your audience is talking about - and join them
Great advice from Sarah Latner.
12. Don’t just ask ‘what do you think?’
News outlets have moved beyond just asking a general question when gauging opinion or crowdsouring.
Laura Oliver from the Guardian shared some great examples of what did - and what didn’t work - in terms of crowdsourcing. One question that worked particularly well is when, ahead of changes permitting Romanians to work in the UK at the start of this year, they asked people living in Romania ‘what is Romania like?’
Jack Shepherd from Buzzfeed also shared this fun crowdsourcing example, asking people to recreate a picture of themselves when they were younger.
13. Instagram is underused as a source of stories and photos
Hannah Waldram from Instagram recommended some tips for finding content via hashtag, location and user. She suggested third-party tools Statigram and Gramfeed.
14. Tips on tools
Nick Summers from The Next Web shared some fantastic tips on tools for journalists.
Those are just a few lessons I learned at news:rewired. I made copious notes on this Google Doc.
Correction: This post initially said the BBC timelapse video had been shared 1 million times. I have corrected the post to say it ‘reached’ a million people.