Off The Written Path

Posterous and an Update on Twitter

April 11th, 2011 · No Comments

When I did a post about Tumblr it left me with a lot of questions about another site, Posterous. I wanted to find out what it was, how it compared to Tumblr, and why it was on the radar of the tech-savvy people at Mashable. Some of the answers to my questions were in a post by Jennifer Van Grove who actually did a comparison of Tumblr vs. Posterous. According to her,  Posterous is best. ReadWriteWeb calls it a minimalist blogging site that makes Tumblr feel complex. Both posters at Mashable and ReadWriteWeb, as well as Techcrunch, agree that its email-to-blog feature makes it the easiest blogging platform yet. To blog on Posterous all you have to do is send an email. You can even email content to your Posterous blog from your phone, including photos and videos. I’m a fan of simple design but I find their themes a little too minimalist for me. Here are a couple of sample themes from the Posterous blog:

I’m sure simplicity in use, versus simplicity of design,  is the main reason people choose Posterous. I will be getting my iPhone 4 soon,  so I think I might give Posterous a try.

Twitter UPDATE: I have been on Twitter for about a month now. I love the constant stream of information coming from the people I follow. I just soak up the tidbits of journalism advice, news updates and occasional snarky insights into current events. I have reached out to some people to help with our team journalism project, but I cannot say I have made any real connections with anyone in particular. I’m just not sure how to connect with strangers, and it seems a bit rude to simply send them a tweet out of nowhere.  I’m not too sure what proper Twitter etiquette is, but just jumping into an interesting conversation doesn’t feel right (perhaps not the best attitude for a journalist to have, but I’m a work in progress). I think I need to read a few more useful ‘social media for journalists’ guides!

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

George Mason University and the Use of Social Media in the Case of Abdirashid Dahir

April 3rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

A recent post by Mindy McAdams about the use of timelines in journalism had me wanting to try out the idea. I thought the recent case of George Mason student Abdirashid Dahir would lend itself to a timeline. How quickly events happened after the Sarah Evans Facebook post would help to show the power of Social Media. This was a way for me to try out the concept, it is not comprehensive and I welcome any suggestions, additions, and corrections on the comments section below.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

March 26th, 2011 · No Comments

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Steve Buttry and how I’m becoming friends with Twitter

March 24th, 2011 · 2 Comments

My Twitter Profile

I have to admit Steve Buttry has inspired me. It was something he said:

Feeling uncomfortable should be a red flag that you have to jump in

I admit Twitter makes me uncomfortable. Twitter makes me afraid. And after hearing Steve say those words I realized I had to jump in. So I have. I started my Twitter account early in the class because it was a requirement, however my first tweet was on March 22, the day Steve spoke to our class. Two days later I have 13 Tweets!

I’m not going in completely blind. I have looked at Mashable’s journalist’s guide to Twitter and also Mandy Jenkins’s guide. I’m also trying to establish a personal plan for Twitter: What are my goals? What do I hope to accomplish? How long will I give myself to become a Twitter maven?

 The plan is still a work in progress (and I will post about my progress here as I embark on my Twitter journey) but I think what matters for now is that I have jumped in. Now will anyone please follow me @r_tony?

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

‘Journalism Next’ Chapter 8 Summary

March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Video is “the most powerful type of visual journalism,” according to Mark Briggs. In Chapter 8 of “Journalism Next” Briggs describes how journalists can get on the video bandwagon.

This might come as a shock to journalism students but apparently quality of the video does not matter. It can be amateur video or some professionally done production, so long as viewers know what they should expect from you. Authenticity, not editing skills, is what counts with video, Briggs says.   

Although quality of video does not matter, content does, Briggs writes. Those are two different things.  You can shoot video on a hand held Flip cam, but it is the content you capture that will matter.  

“Just remember: tell a story,” Briggs writes.

He also doles out advice for all the technical stuff: What cameras are available, what accessories are essential and what lighting equipment you might need.

Other tips he gives on capturing video is using the BBC’s five shot sequence:

  1. Close up of hands
  2. Close up of face
  3. Wide shot
  4. Over-the-shoulder shot
  5. Creative angle shot

Another important aspect of video is the interview, Briggs mentions. His main tips are to get good lighting,  prepare questions, and make sure your audio is good.

Audio for video is very important, so you have to always check that the person talking can be heard and that there are no background noises ruining your audio. Briggs recommends you wear headphones to hear your audio.

Once you capture your video you must go through the editing process and prepare the video for  the web, which requires compression. And of course learn to market your video to your audience. However, Briggs emphasizes that the most important aspect is still telling a good story.  His steps for telling a good story are:

  • Hook the audience
  • Have a beginning, middle and end
  • Don’t let viewers get bored
  • Focus on the story you are trying to tell
  • Have interesting characters in your video

Here is a video from YouTube uploaded by jthomas100tube of Briggs talking about video story telling.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs