Below is a graduate journalism school independent study proposal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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)
- 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?
- 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)
- Explore and wireframe features essential to social media like geo-location tags, Twitter @replies, @ facebook tagging, including a URL, inline photo and video scraping
- Potential Interviews
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)
- We Live in Public (2009)
- When Social Media Became News (February 2005)
- The Hidden Influence of Social Networks (May 2010)
- How Social Media Can Make History, Clay Shirky (August 2010)
- The Tribes We Lead, Seth Godin (February 2009)
- The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, David Kirkpatrick (Reed Business Information, 2010)
- Simplicity Sells, David Pogue (April 2009)
- The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan (Reed Business Information, 1997)
- Select Papers from danah boyd’s collections
- The Ubiquitous and Increasingly Significant Status Message (Interactions Magazine, May 2010)
- Social Network Sites and Society: Current Trends and Future Possibilities (Interactions Magazine, April 2010)
- From Bowling Alone to Tweeting Together: Technology- Mediated Social Participation
- Leveraging Contexts for Searching Social Media (Microsoft Research, 2008)
- Sharing Experiences with Social Mobile Media (Association of Computers and Machinery, 2009)
- Gen X and Ys attitudes on using social media platforms for opinion sharing (Association of Computers and Machinery, 2010)
- Using a Model of Social Dynamics To Predict Popularity of News (Association of Computers and Machinery, 2010)
- The Social Web (Association of Computers and Machinery, 2010)
- Global Village or Private Cliques (Association of Computers and Machinery, 2007)
Schedule of Work (subject to change)
Begin search for heavy facebook and twitter social journalists
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.