Archive for July, 2010

New Domain for Doing All Write!

Different address – same great blog!

Doing All Write can now be found at

I’ll continue to share my thoughts on journalism, social media and how the two collide. Please comment freely and often.

Journalism is undergoing a metamorphosis – no one can deny that anymore. Traditional news mediums are no longer the be all and end all. The news has become a conversation.

Join my conversation today!

"Wow, I’ve got a story here!"

Today’s entry is purely a journalism-related one. As you may know I started a contract at a new paper last week. Well, on Tuesday I was reminded of one of the things I love about journalism.

Being a journalist, you’re always going to get a mixed bag of stories to work on. Some will be really interesting, some will be less so. Some will be sad (I had such a story this week). Some will involve merely re-writing a media release, while others will involve trying to find an angle in some fairly dry source material.

On Tuesday I was handed what seemed like a fairly dry report to read through and find an angle on for my paper’s readership. And I very nearly missed something that was staring straight at me.

After spending much of the day getting regulation comment from the appropriate spokespeople, I decided to read a section of the report I had skimmed over. I had skimmed over it because it concerned the research methodology and I was only interested in the findings.

In short, I had decided what I was looking for. Now if you don’t have a lot of time, deciding what you’re looking for can help you to turn out a fairly decent news story quickly. But it can also sometimes mean you miss out on something far more important.

Well, I’m glad I decided to read through the methodology section. For in it I found my real story.

At the start of this ramble I said I was reminded about one of the things I love about what I do. In short, that thing is the rush you get when you realise you really have something. Something more than just dry commentary or an everyday interview.

Rather, an important piece of information that your readership don’t know; one that they should know; and that they will now know because you will tell it to them.

It’s those little moments of satisfaction that make it all worthwhile.

The moral of the story? Don’t decide what you want to find. Open your mind. Think outside the square. And remember, the best stories are often to be found where a lot of people won’t go looking for them.

Getting into the swing of Twitter

Love it or hate it, Twitter has irreversibly changed the way we communicate online, as Facebook did before it. From humble beginnings to a worldwide phenomenon, Twitter is huge and still growing.

Celebrities use it. Politicians use it. Sportspeople use it. Organisations use it. And most important of all, everyday people like you and me use it.

In an Australian first, a “Twitter debate” was held prior to the by-election for the state seat of Penrith. And now with a federal election imminent, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has finally risen above the laggards and joined the microblogging service herself.

This will be the first Australian election where social media will be such an important key battleground. It has simply become too big a forum to ignore.

But you probably know all of this already. You know how big Twitter is and chances are if you’re interested in this blog post then you’re into it.

But do you remember what life was like before there was Twitter?

I remember life before mobile phones. We made do, but all of us thought at some point or another how useful it would be to have a phone we could take with us. There was a need there.

But Twitter was not invented to fill an obvious void. For something that we’ve come to rely on with such vigour, it’s not something that any of us, once upon a time, would have thought we needed.

I joined Twitter in January 2009. At the time I did so because I thought it might be interesting to explore how I could leverage it in my then-career as a Marketing Manager.

My first experiences were how unnatural using Twitter was. As it had not been something I’d needed I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I recall one time sitting at my computer for twenty minutes, staring at the screen, wondering what the hell I should type.

In those early days my tweets were few and far between. It simply wasn’t something that slotted into my day-to-day life. It never occurred to me to just let go and update random thoughts, start conversations with strangers or tweet my views on a particular issue. So apart from the occasional spruik for my sports blog, my Twitter account remained largely unloved.

Even at the start of this year as I jumped onto the next big thing, Foursquare, I still wasn’t tweeting very much. I remember selecting the option to feed my Foursquare to my Twitter account just so my followers wouldn’t think I’d died.

I can’t say when it happened. But the other day I looked at my day’s tweets and was struck by how many I’d sent. I just hadn’t realised, that during the normal course of my day I’d had so many things to share. The luxury of having a smartphone had allowed me to casually tweet as things occurred to me, and I’d barely noticed I was doing it.

Something I hadn’t needed was now entrenched into my life.

When did you first realise Twitter was entrenched in your day-to-day life? Please comment.

Social Media Day! (#smday)

@Euan addresses the crowd

A throng of tweeters, facebookers and bloggers gathered in Sydney last Wednesday to celebrate the first international “Social Media Day”.

The brainchild of online social media bible Mashable, over 600 meetings were held worldwide with Sydney’s time zone making the gathering at the Ivy Ballroom one of the first.

Participants sipped bubbly as they mingled and exchanged ideas and contact details.

Internationally acclaimed blogger and public speaker Euan Semple (Twitter: @Euan) was the keynote speaker.

Euan was one of the first to introduce social media tools into a large organisation when he worked for the BBC ten years ago and has since worked with Nokia, the World Bank and NATO.

He told the gathering the biggest challenge was trying to “demystify” social media.

“What we’re talking about is globally distributed near-instant person-to-person conversations,” he said.

“[It’s] nothing geeky, nothing about business, [it’s] just about people being able to connect.”

Giving an example of the power of social media, Euan described how his presence as speaker had come about from a Twitter conversation with Sydney event organiser Laurel Papworth.

Prior to the event I spoke to Laurel (Twitter: @SilkCharm), who was last year heralded by Marketing Magazine as being the “Head of Industry” for social media for Australia.

She told me the event represented the birth of a new industry.

“From shaky legs a few years ago [social media] is clearly making its mark on the world in a way that very few people foresaw,” she said.

“We’re heading towards the top of a curve at the moment where in about 10 years … it will be so much a part of our life.”

Laurel said the purpose of the event was to bring people together.

“With social networking online there’s an interest in meeting offline,” she said.

“There was a study done a few years ago by the World Internet Project … they showed that 20.3 per cent of people who meet online want to meet offline.

“So I’m looking forward to it because it means there’ll be a bunch of people that I only know from their Twitter handles and their Facebook avatars and now there’s a chance for me to meet them in person.”

In the spirit of social media’s participatory nature, anyone in attendance was welcome to brave the podium and address the gathering following the keynote speech.

Yours truly took up the opportunity, commenting on the implications the rise of social media is having on traditional journalism channels.

Photos by Kurt Neurauter (Twitter: @kneu_photo)

Yours truly and @SilkCharm


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