Design, HCId, Journalism, Share

What makes content shareable?

Below is a graduate journalism school independent study proposal.

Summary
Social media may be in its infancy but its model changes as quickly as slowly as mature newsroom are evolving. In short, the divide between social and hard news media is growing further apart. Traditional or hard news values like timeliness, impact and accuracy are important tools that inform reporters and journalists. However, there is little conversation published about social news values. My research will include understanding and defining emergent themes such as social news, social journalists, shareability and social media.
What will I do?
I will wireframe existing social media tools to analyze their designs, interview social journalists (Facebook and Twitter users) to understand how they decide what to consume and share and I will study their news feeds. For wireframes, I will draw out the essential parts of sharing interfaces to better understand the user interactions. I will sketch out the the placement of text fields, buttons, hovers and behaviors. Throughout these tasks I will consume texts and videos related to shareable content.
Why understanding the shareability of content important?
It is important for multiple stakeholders to understand what drives the share-ability of content. I will focus on members of the news media and interaction designers. Understanding what makes content sharable is intended to inform future models and designs that serve publishers and consumers.

Who wants to know what makes content shareable?

News Media Members (Traditional) News media companies now compete for attention of consumers casually browsing who subconsciously debate between social news in their Twitter stream or hard news on the The New York Times online. However, increasing the shareability of New York Times content can benefit journalists, consumers, other content producers and communities.

Interaction Designers
It is important for interaction designers creating social broadcasting tools to understand the values and motives of their users. In doing this, they can design empowering, usable products and services that deliver better experiences.

Objective
Develop a critical eye as an interaction designer and journalist to understand what makes content shareable thereby informing the design and models of future media content and tools. The goal will be to make and deliver insights to distribute to news producers news site designers and device designers. I will deliver insights  about what kind of content and design increases shareablity and will likely increase traffic and quality of news companies’ brands.

Deliverables
Throughout the semester my work will be publicly shared through my media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Quora and on my personal blog. I will blog my insights and findings throughout the semester. My blog will include a rich analysis and conversation of my questions and findings. The blog will be text and hopefully comment heavy. All sources requiring citation, analysis and conversation will be referenced and discussed at http://ninamehta.com/blog/share.

I will summarize and express my findings in a highly shareable medium. I will plan produce a video but will change the medium if my research something that has higher shareability. This will be based on the feedback and insights I gain from my networks.

I will also attend the social media theory group meetings coordinated by Mark Deuze to inform my project and discuss my findings.

Process (Subject to change based on research findings)

  1. Lit Review
    • Define social media, social journalists, sharability
    • Develop an understanding of social news values related to traditional news values (impact, timeliness, prominence, proximity, conflict, weight, etc)
  2. Framework
  3. Questions
    • Who do social journalists produce content for?
    • What do social journalists consume?
    • What motivates social journalists from sharing content?
    • What do social journalists get for sharing content?
    • Is the medium the message?
  4. Evidence (Data)
    • Potential Interviews
      • Aditya Agarwal, Facebook (Director of Engineering)
      • Arjun Banker, Facebook (Platform)
      • Matthew Beebe, RockMelt (Designer)
      • Andrew Devigal, New York Times (Multimedia Editor)
      • Tyson Evans, New York Times (Interface Engineer)
      • Jason Putorti, Bessemer Venture Partners (Designer in Residence)
      • Robin Sloan, Twitter (Online Strategist)
      • Xande Macedo, RockMelt (Designer)
      • Mark Slee, Facebook (Lead Project Manager)
      • Poynter
      • Digg
      • LinkedIn
    • Explore and wireframe features essential to social media like geo-location tags, Twitter @replies, @ facebook tagging, including a URL, inline photo and video scraping

Resources

Media
Below is a preliminary list of relevant video and texts I want to consume and analyze to motivate my research. As I research new books, videos, papers and blog posts will become relevant and some listed below will become less important. Citations of consumed and referred content will be included as a deliverable.(Social and News Media)

Design

Theories

Schedule of Work (subject to change)

30 August
Begin search for heavy facebook and twitter social journalists
Consume, share and analyze related media

05 September
Wireframe interaction design and analyze of Facebook and Twitter clients
Consume, share and analyze related media
12 September
Wireframe interaction design and analyze of Facebook and Twitter clients
Consume, share and analyze related media
19 September
Prepare questions for social journalists and social media designers, engineers, project managers
Consume, share and analyze related media
26 September
Prepare for and interview journalists at SND Boulder
03 October
Interviews with social journalists and analysis of their news feeds
Consume, share and analyze related media
10 October
Interviews with social journalists and analysis of their news feeds
Consume, share and analyze related media
17 October
Interviews with “techies” & Interview Analysis
Consume, share and analyze related media
24 October
Develop an analysis between traditional news values and social news values
Consume, share and analyze related media
31 October
Relate interview findings with social news values and social news features (geotagging, @ replies, etc)
Consume, share and analyze related media
01 November
Begin forming a synthesis of findings and an argument for what makes content shareable
Consume, share and analyze related media
08 November
Form synthesis of findings and an argument for what makes content shareable
Consume, share and analyze related media
15 November
Form synthesis of findings and an argument for what makes content shareable
Consume, share and analyze related media
22 November

Video Production (Storyboarding)

Thanksgiving

29 November
Video Production
06 December
Video Production
13 December
Video Finishing & Collection of deliverables

Details
During the Fall 2010 semester at Indiana University in Bloomington at the School of Bloomington, I, Nina Mehta, propose the Independent Study above with Professor Hans Ibold for three J804 credits. I will not be sitting in on an undergraduate course. All deliverable will be submit to Professor Ibold by or on Friday, December 17th, 2010 at midnight.

Arjun Banker, Matthew Beebe, Adrienne Dye, John Wayne Hill, Apurva Pangam and Robin Sloan for being listening ears and critical friends.

Nina Mehta is a writer and product design leader in Brooklyn, New York. She began her design career in journalism and has been writing online for 20+ years. Nina is from outside Chicago has since lived and worked in San Francisco, Berlin, London, and Tokyo. Learn about her work at ninamehta.com.

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