Communicating and marketing online

Tips, tools, and insights into
blogs, social media (such as Facebook, Google, Twitter),
podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games

To those of us who have made a living doing traditional reporting, writing, or editing, this whole new world of marketing "content" rather than "writing" sometimes feels like crass commercialism. One of the easiest passive ways of making money online, for example, is affiliate programs, where if I send a potential buyer to your site, and they buy, you give me a commission on the sale. This opens up whole new ethical dilemmas for reviewers: Do I recommend X, which is excellent, or Y, from which I get a cut, or Z, which offers a bigger cut? Egads. Do I send a potential book buyer to the local independent bookstore, which is struggling to survive and deserves every author's support? Or to (from which I get a few cents for providing a link to a book that gets purchased, and which has mastered fulfillment, and which has a super database--but is behaving like a greedy gorilla in the marketplace)? Or to the author's website, whether or not the author is offering an affiliate fee, because the author will make more selling the book directly than from collecting royalties? Or just provide the name and let the book buyer google for a provider? For writers, who are not usually good marketing people, the options are mind-boggling. What would James Joyce do? And that's just with books, which may be disappearing anyway, as us old book lovers die off.

Here are some links to resources or explanations. For example, if you want to sell a PDF version of your very useful "100 ways to salvage your burnt dinner," you might check out eSellerate or Clickbank, who can handle sales and send you a check every now and then.

The survey and scheduling tools are particularly useful, and for small groups are usually free. With Doodle, for example, you can ask a group of 60 to indicate which of five dates would best suit them for a meeting (plus other kinds of choices). The free basic version of survey software such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang typically allows you to create a survey with a few questions and (say) no more than 100 responses, and view the results for a short time. You could use this to collect course evaluations, among other possibilities. For more questions, more complex sorting of results, and the ability to export results and add your own branding, you pay.

Tell me your experiences with these vendors and ways of making money online, and let me know of anyone or anything useful I've left out. I'm going to take recommendations here not from vendors but from writers and editors who have actually used these tools or resources and find them worth considering.

Clearly this needs organizing to make it more manageable, but I won't tackle that until I finish the book I'm writing now!
-- Pat McNees (email pat at patmcnees dot com) or leave a message at Contact (above).

Social media (generally)

What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this.
Social Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On (Jane Friedman, 9-12-17) Topics covered: "Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work." "Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work." "People break social media 'rules' all the time and succeed."
How to Lessen Your Chances of an Online Crisis (Chris Syme, author of Crisis Management For Authors: How to manage an online disaster and protect your reputation, advises: Never try and “build a following” during a crisis. Use the following you’ve already built. Communities don’t mind doing you the favor of advocacy in a crisis if you have nurtured the relationship already. But if you just “appear” on social media during a negative event, you will be ignored or even targeted for your behavior. (Order of sentences reversed.)
So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? (Jane Friedman, 7-17-17)
How to Use Social Media in Your Career ( Sree Sreenivasan, NY Times, 11-13-17)
Sree Tips (Facebook)
6 studies on digital news and social media you should know about (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalists' Resource, reviews six studies, summarizing what they're about and what they found.)
Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use (Jane Friedman, 3-15-17)
When Less Is More on Social Media (Jane Friedman, 6-22-16)
Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks (Jane Friedman, 3-3-16)
How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media (Jane Friedman, 9-22-14) "Social media is a form of content, and can be seen as micro-publishing. Each post is sharing a tiny bit of your story, message or perspective—possibly something informative or inspiring. The posts might end up being part of a larger work. They might be daily creativity experiments. And they might offer you insight into how your audience thinks and engages with your work."
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Bots, trolls, and fake news,
likes, followers, and influencers,

Inside Russia’s Network of Bots and Trolls (Natalia V. Osipova and Aaron Byrd, NY Times) A bot (short for robot) is "an autonomous program on a network (especially the Internet) that can interact with computer systems or users, especially on designed to respond or behave like a player in an adventure game." A troll is "an actual human being, a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting" or the posting itself. A Russian specialty. Experts Ludmila Savchuk and Ben Nimmo discuss how they work.
Russian Trolls Tapped Into Health Law Rhetoric To Sow Discord, Pitting Sides Against Each Other (KHN Morning Briefing, 9-12-18) It's not just hot-button topics like vaccinations that are exploited by the Russian trolls. Substantive health policy issues have been hijacked as well. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office says that if the House delays or repeals certain parts of the health law -- such as the employer mandate -- it would cost more than $50 billion.
The Wall Street Journal: Nearly 600 Russia-Linked Accounts Tweeted About The Health Law ( Stephanie Armour and Paul Overberg, WSJ, 9-12-18) On the March 23 anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, Democrats attacked Republicans for trying to sabotage the health law and praised the embattled legislation. So did Russian trolls. “8 years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Millions of Americans have gained access to health care. Thank you, Mr. President!” said a tweet linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company engaged in an online influence campaign that typically seeks to pit one side against the other on controversial issues.
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Content Moderation Standards (Tim Boucher, MisinfoCon, 8-6-18) It’s 2018. The internet is a mess. Is it time for web content moderation standards already?
Tools from Indiana University detect viral information, who is spreading it (Kevin Fryling, Indiana University, IJNet, 6-27-18) Two tools play a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer. "Hoaxy is a search engine that shows users how stories from low-credibility sources spread on Twitter. Botometer is an app that assigns a score to Twitter users based on the likelihood that the account is automated."
Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally (Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia & Filippo Menczer, The Conversation, 6-20-18) People who share potential misinformation on Twitter (in purple) rarely get to see corrections or fact-checking (in orange). Three types of bias make us vulnerable to misinformation: Cognitive bias, social bias (who we connect with), and bias in the machine (the algorithms social media platforms and search engines use to determine what people see online).
A Modest Proposal for Combating Fake News on Facebook: Credibility Scoring (Benjamin Hoyt, MisinfoCon, 8-9-18) What if Facebook could leverage its greatest resource, its users, to generate credibility? Hoyt proposes a Credibility Score System.
Transparency, not prohibition, is the U.S. government response to misinformation, DOJ official says (Samantha Sunne, MisinfoCon, 8-10-18) "Today, we confront misinformation as only one component of a broader, malign foreign influence effort. As this framework from the Department’s recent Cyber-Digital Task Force report shows, those efforts can also include cyber operations that target election infrastructure or political parties’ networks; covert efforts to assist (or harm) candidates; and overt efforts to influence the American public (for example, through state-run media organizations)."
How Americans Wound Up on Twitter's List of Russian Bots (Alex Calderwood, Erin Riglin, and Shreya Vaidyanathan, Wired, 7-20-18) Three Americans are among more than 20 Twitter accounts that appeared on Twitter’s list of suspected Russian accounts yet show signs of being real people, according to an analysis by Clemson University professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren.Bottom line: Should social media platforms be providing due process to individuals whose accounts they take down?
Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets (Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight, 7-31-18)
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Conffessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
How Fake Traffic on Facebook Is Damaging Your Brand (Rich Kahn, Adweek, 3-13-18)
A flaw in Facebook lets anyone create as many fake 'Likes' as they want without using a bot army (Jim Edwards, Business Insider, 3-15-15)
Trolls, Bots and Fake News: The Mysterious World of Social Media Manipulation (Samuel Earle, Newsweek, 10-14-17) Despite "the pervasiveness of these political strategies on social media, from the distribution of disinformation to organized attacks on opponents, the tactics remain largely unknown to the public, as invisible as they are invasive." Did they help elect Trump?
Through understanding bots, journalists can more effectively fight disinformation (Ana Siu, International Journalists' Network, 8-15-18) Understanding chatbots, social bots, cyborgs, bot armies, etc. 'However, Escorcia doesn’t see bots as the only cause behind fake news. “Bots are the last link of the chain,” he said. “The major responsibility falls on Twitter, Google and Facebook, because they have the resources to detect fake accounts.” But because bots bring millions of dollars in ad revenue to tech companies and social networks, these sites have little incentive to take action against them, Escorcia said. “Their main income is ads,” said Escorcia. “It doesn’t matter if they are promoting fake news.”'
Twitter unveils new effort to combat bots and trolls (Shannon Bond, Financial Times, 6-26-18) "Twitter will require new users to confirm their email addresses or phone numbers in a new effort to reduce abuse, trolls and bots on the messaging platform."
Answer Bots trolls spam caller in hilarious exchange (Audio, Florida Today, 3-9-18) RoboKiller Answer Bots trolls spam caller. The company says keeping telemarketers on the phone and wasting their time is the only way to win the battle.
Shadow of bot followers and fake likes mars social media influencers ( Gaurav Laghate, The Economic Times, 6-21-18) Follower factories or click farms are springing up in India, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and East European countries at a fast clip. The opaqueness of measurement in digital media has made the life of advertisers very difficult as they don’t know what numbers to believe.
4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers (Ian Anderson Gray, iag.Me, 11-20-17)
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Social media superpowers under the microscope

Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, blockchains,
and other issues with the Internet "monopolies"
Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Twitter

“The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” -- William Gibson
Google and Facebook are strangling the free press to death. Democracy is the loser (Barry Lynn, The Guardian, 7-26-18) As gatekeepers to the news, Google and Facebook pose dangers to even the most successful outlets. Legislators need to speed the process of bringing them to heel. Open Markets Barry Lynn talks about the dangers of allowing Facebook and Google to remain gatekeepers of the news. “Thus far, regulators in Europe and the United States have entirely failed to apply such traditional anti-monopoly rules to Google and Facebook. This has left them free both to strip ad revenue from trustworthy publishers and to steer readers to and from publications almost at will.”
Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired (Louise Matsakis, Wired, 11-14-18) "Over the course of Amazon’s year-long pursuit of new offices, researchers and journalists intensified their examination of not just the money Amazon might receive, but also what it has collected already. The company regularly receives public incentives to open facilities like warehouses and data centers, which Good Jobs First estimates have totaled $1.6 billion. An investigation from the nonprofit New Food Economy found that some Amazon warehouse workers are paid so little that they often qualify for another type of public benefit: food stamps. In some cases, taxpayers may even be subsidizing Amazon’s electricity costs, according to a Bloomberg report from August. Amazon is far from the only company to receive enormous public handouts in exchange for promising to create new jobs. Apple was awarded over $1 billion to open a data center in Iowa last year. That same year, Foxconn received over $4 billion to open a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin; the Verge recently reported how the company has changed its plans for the location, and many doubt the project will pay back the state. In 2014, Tesla orchestrated a public bidding war similar to Amazon’s, which netted the company $1.3 billion."
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg and Jack Nicas, NY Times, 11-14-18) "But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view....Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic....But as Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform. When researchers and activists in Myanmar, India, Germany and elsewhere warned that Facebook had become an instrument of government propaganda and ethnic cleansing, the company largely ignored them. Facebook had positioned itself as a platform, not a publisher. Taking responsibility for what users posted, or acting to censor it, was expensive and complicated. Many Facebook executives worried that any such efforts would backfire." Donald Trump used the platform to call ' for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States. Mr. Trump’s call to arms — widely condemned by Democrats and some prominent Republicans — was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, an illustration of the site’s power to spread racist sentiment."
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. "That’s how billionaires like Bill Gates end up leading educational reform, albeit with mixed results. But its also how many companies in Silicon Valley try to define their own for-profit global missions, which is the rhetoric that Facebook and Google trot out when facing public backlash: When you’re a service that trumpets how you make humanity feel more connected, or offer search as a benevolent path to knowledge, people might seem less outraged that your tool was used to disrupt an election or might enable continuing government censorship in China."--The rich want to use money to solve problems, except the problems that made them rich (Ben Paynter, Fast Company, 9-13-18)
New York Should Say No to Amazon (Ron Kim and Zephyr Teachout, Opinion, NY Times, 11-9-18) "A city that thrives on the energy of its neighborhood merchants should not offer incentives and giveaways to an internet giant . . . so closely identified with squashing small merchants, stifling workers’ rights and undermining the publishing and ideas industry."
When Fact-Checking Becomes Censorship (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 9-11-18) Facebook has empowered a conservative magazine to suppress liberal viewpoints. " Four of Facebook’s chosen fact-checkers—the Associated Press,, PolitiFact, and Snopes—are widely trusted and nonpartisan. The fifth, the Weekly Standard, has generally high-quality editorial content with a conservative ideological bent. This week, the Weekly Standard used its gatekeeping role in an incredibly troubling way, declaring that a story written by Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress was false, essentially preventing Facebook users from accessing the article. ThinkProgress is as liberal as the Weekly Standard is conservative." See Censorship, free speech, and freedom of expression for more examples of political correctness and censorship.
A 1970s Essay Predicted Silicon Valley's High-Minded Tyranny (Noam Cohen, Wired, 11-15-18) Jo Freeman and the Tyranny of Structurelessness. 'In Freeman’s unstinting language, this rhetoric of openness “becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.” Because “Tyranny” explains how things work, as opposed to how people say things work, it has become a touchstone for social critics of all stripes. During the Occupy movement, Freeman’s essay was on the organizers’ minds when they sought to eliminate hierarchy without introducing a hidden hierarchy. The essay is cited in hundreds of academic papers and books to explain the history of the Vatican, or the women’s movement in Iceland, or the Walmart workforce. But digital culture is where Freeman’s work has the most currency these days....For the left-wing author and documentarian Astra Taylor, “Tyranny” was a healthy reminder that Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of openness and meritocracy doesn’t match the reality....“How do you explain inequalities in a system where explicit discrimination doesn’t exist? How do you make sense of homogeneity when there’s no sign on the door excluding different types of people?”...There may be particular reasons why Silicon Valley leaders have an aversion to outside authority and rules, but mainly she thinks they embody the excessive enthusiasm of any group who gains a foothold in a new field—whether in oil exploration or railroads or the internet—and decides they are uniquely fit to hold that powerful position.'
Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry (Leyland Cecco, The Guardian, 10-3-18) "Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia. The oversight has once again highlighted the marginalization of women in science and gender bias at Wikipedia."
Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin
Facebook and the newsroom: 6 questions for Siva Vaidhyanathan (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, interviews the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy Media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that “no company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy....Even when reporters have the best possible news judgment as their primary motivator, they can’t help but be affected by the draw of click-bait: the sense that some stories, some words and some images are going to attract more attention on Facebook. And they’re quickly told by editors how well their articles or videos moved around Facebook. In many newsrooms, there is a scoreboard posted in the middle of the newsroom with the social media impacts of certain stories … You can’t help but be obsessed by [the editorial analytics platforms] Chartbeat or — those are the big ones.
“Facebook forces journalists to be more sensational, because the key to winning the Facebook game is to create conversations about a piece — and that usually means an argument.”
Authors Guild Comments to FTC on Internet Monopolies’ Impact on Creators. The Guild has "studied and discussed with regulators over the last several years how the unregulated and unchecked growth of the major internet monopolies has squeezed the publishing and news industries, resulting in lower pay for authors and journalists. We have also fought against the epidemic of online piracy facilitated by certain internet platforms, which they have allowed to flourish despite having the means to control it. Under Reagan-era interpretations of antitrust laws, regulators have been disinclined to interfere as long as prices to consumers remain low.
"Now the Federal Trade Commission is finally starting to consider whether we need to take a fresh look at our competition laws. Starting this fall, the FTC will hold hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” As a foundation for the hearings and to better define the issues, the FTC requested public comments in response to a series of questions concerning the effectiveness of the current antitrust framework to competition and consumer welfare today." Click on link at bottom of selection to download the Guild statement.
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) "The reality of the internet as it exists right now is that several large platforms effectively control speech in a much more dramatic and far-reaching way than was ever possible in the past. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are like shopping malls, where the mall owner gets to control the speech of anyone who enters, but these malls include literally billions people all across the globe, and the speech that occurs there—including journalism—has very real social consequences. The algorithms these companies are using to curb certain kinds of speech, meanwhile, tend to be both erratic and clumsy. Can the platforms find a way out of this Catch 22 without stomping all over publishers and users?"
Does a ‘universal attention token’ sound good? Then you’re going to love the blockchain (Mathew Ingram, The New Gatekeeper,s CJR, 9-4-18) 'The idea that your thoughtful perusal of a news story or touching human-interest tale will be converted into “attention tokens” is just the beginning. The whole thing feels like an exercise in commodification. According to SocialFlow’s white paper, readers would earn tokens by consuming content (including ads) and then be able to use those tokens to pay for paywall access and other features....they are primarily designed by software engineers, who are used to seeing people, or people’s data, as inputs. But it does give the whole enterprise a soul-less quality. You know who else sees people primarily as inputs? Facebook."
Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder
What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners (Blockgeeks) See also Everything you need to know about the blockchain (Arjun Kharpal,, 6-18-18)
Major Internet Companies as News Editors (A Gallup/​Knight Foundation Survey) "Americans are concerned that major internet companies varying content for users can give people a biased picture of the news, restrict expression and increase the influence of news that benefits the internet company....If Americans seem uncomfortable with major internet companies providing tailored content to users, they are even more uncomfortable with these companies varying the news stories they show people....Americans believe that the primary reasons for showing tailored content include those that help the company's bottom line."
The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won (Nicholas Confessore, NY Times Magazine, 8-14-18) Facebook and Google made billions mining personal data, and fought off anyone who threatened to stop them. Then came a challenge in their own backyard. "Advertisers and their partners in Silicon Valley were collecting, selling or trading every quantum of Mactaggart’s self that could be conveyed through the click of a mouse or the contents of his online shopping carts....A website might quote him a higher price for a hair dryer if he lived in a particular neighborhood, or less if he lived near a competitor’s store. Advertisers could buy thousands of data points on virtually every adult in America....And no one knew more about what people did or were going to do than Facebook and Google, whose free social and search products provided each company with enormous repositories of intimate personal data....To Silicon Valley, personal information had become a kind of limitless natural deposit, formed in the digital ether by ordinary people as they browsed, used apps and messaged their friends. Like the oil barons before them, they had collected and refined that resource to build some of the most valuable companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, an emerging duopoly that today controls more than half of the worldwide market in online advertising. But the entire business model — what the philosopher and business theorist Shoshana Zuboff calls 'surveillance capitalism' — rests on untrammeled access to your personal data."
Bernie vs. Bezos: Amazon and Sanders are duking it out over warehouse working conditions (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-29-18). Related post: Thousands of Amazon workers receive food stamps. Now Bernie Sanders wants the company to pay up. (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-23-18)
How Social-Media Trolls Turned U.C. Berkeley Into a Free-Speech Circus (Andrew Marantz, New Yorker, 7-2-18) Public universities have no choice but to welcome far-right speakers seeking self-promotion. Should the First Amendment be reinterpreted for the digital age? 'In 2014, at a teach-in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, Wendy Brown spoke against trigger warnings and in favor of exposing students to new ideas. “When we demand, from the right or the left, that universities be cleansed of what’s disturbing,” she said, “we are complicit with the neoliberal destruction of the university.” Back then, Milo Yiannopoulos was still an obscure opinion journalist, and Donald Trump was still a reality-show magnate. “I haven’t radically shifted my position, but it’s fair to say that I’ve shifted my emphasis,” Brown told me. “I’ve become newly attuned to how free speech can be used as cover for larger political projects that have little to do with airing ideas.”'
Fakes, frauds, and 'review bombs': How TripAdvisor changed travel (Linda Kinstler, The Guardian, A long read, 8-17-18) The world’s biggest travel site has turned the industry upside down – but now it is struggling to deal with the same kinds of problems that are vexing other tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. It replaced "expert review" with crowdsourced reviews, earning "$ per click" for sites listed, and grew more popular than professional reviews; now it's dealing with paid-for "fake reviews," SLAPP suits (for honest warnings in negative reviews), and backlash when they withhold negative reviews.
Can We Be Saved From Facebook? (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 4-3-18) "We've reached a moment in history where many companies are more powerful than even major industrialized nations, and in some cases have essentially replaced governments as de facto regulators and overseers. But some of those companies suck just a little too badly at the governing part, leaving us staring into a paradox. The Russians call this situation a sobaka na sene, a dog on the hay. Asleep in the manger, the dog itself won't eat the hay. But it won't let you eat it either....The firm was said to have overreacted to conservative criticism some years back and gone too far the other way in an ill-fated search for "balance," inadvertently handing Trump the White House in the process. Facebook was also rocked by recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm partly owned by the same conservative Mercer family that became a primary sponsor of Donald Trump's foundering campaign in the summer of 2016, may have used personal information from 50 million Facebook users to deliver targeted ads to likely Trump voters." Do read the whole article. Scary.
Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Understand Journalism (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 5-1-18) Either that, or he doesn’t care. Facebook wants its users to see less news on its platform these days, and most publishers are feeling the pain. The latest algorithm tweaks were meant to prioritize information posted by users’ friends and family—community! common ground!—rather than by professional news outlets.
Facebook’s troublesome local media tactics (Marie C. Baca, CJR, 6-18-18) What should journalists make of Facebook’s efforts to shape access? ...It’s a question reporters ought to ask themselves in each of the 50 cities where the social media giant is launching Community Boost, a multi-day conference marketed as digital skills training for small businesses. (The majority of the sessions are about how to use Facebook and Instagram.) what extent will journalists in those communities push back on the attempts to control and perhaps harvest information—especially if it means risking access to one of the most powerful technology companies in the world?"
Shoptalk: If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish ( Randolph D. Brandt, Editor & Publisher) How the Communications Decency Act turned the internet into a Wild West of fake news and propaganda. The 1992 law was supposed to effectively ban obscenity and pornography from websites. "The main intent of the law obviously failed, as any cursory search for porn on the web can attest. What did work was the unintended consequences of another provision of the 1992 act, which declared internet web platforms free of the rational restraints that editors and publishers bring to more conventional print platforms, such as magazines and newspapers. Specifically, operators of internet services were not to be construed as publishers, thus not legally responsible for the posts of third parties who used their services....With no fear of libel or slander or other constraints on the public’s discourse, website operators could collect all the advertising revenue their sites would generate, but without the responsibility of legal and social norms that hitherto balanced First Amendment freedom of speech with professional editing of the content."
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Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) Social media algorithms help charlatans spread autism cures, a nonmedical cure for diabetes, vaccine disinformation, and AIDS denialism through online videos. Who’s really to blame? The digital platforms that host such material and conversations aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
Laying the Pipes of a Post-Advertising World (Andre Redelinghuys, NewCoShift, 5-31-18) The shift from brands and advertising to pipes and subscriptions is inevitable — and well underway. Want proof? Look to Disney. Soon they will launch their subscription video competitor to Netflix. With a lot on the line, a transformation of epic proportions lies ahead. Whether it’s successful or not, it speaks volumes that the owner of the most magical brands in the world is entering the pipe race.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer. "We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy.” “The tech companies are destroying something precious. . . . They have eroded the integrity of institutions—media, publishing—that supply the intellectual material that provokes thought and guides democracy. Their most precious asset is our most precious asset, our attention, and they have abused it.”
• The Rolling Stone story does not mention the possible impact of the European GDPR regulations, which take effect in late May 2018. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/​679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. It is possible the U.S. will follow the EU's lead, especially considering the glaring data breaches surfacing in the United States.
GDPR in Context: 6 Key Data Protection Principles (Finextdra, 5-3-18) (Finextra is an independent newswire and information source for the worldwide financial technology community). "GDPR outlines six principles that organizations need to abide by. These principles aren't new - they were already outlined in the 1995 directive, but GDPR has revised them slightly." There is a paragraph about each of them in
1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
2. Purpose limitation.
3. Data minimization
4. Accuracy
5. Storage limitation
6. Integrity and confidentiality.
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Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends (Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore, and Michael LaForgia, NY Times, 6-3-18) The company formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Samsung and dozens of other device makers, raising new concerns about its privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.
What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism? (Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab, 5-17-18)
The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world (Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review, 5-16-18) "Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.
"The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market....
"In the case of Google’s original News Innovation Fund, for example, the more than $100 million that has been doled out since 2015 has funded a wide range of startups, prototypes, and other experimental projects in more than 25 countries. The way that the fund is currently structured, it does two rounds a year, in which it pays out up to $60,000 for early-stage projects, up to $350,000 for medium-sized projects, and as much as $1.2 million for larger ventures." A mere sample from a long and thoughtful article.
How ProPublica Became Big Tech’s Scariest Watchdog (Katharine Schwab, Co.Design, 2-16-18) The nonprofit is fighting fire with fire, developing algorithms and bots that hold Facebook and Amazon accountable. Reporter Julia Angwin’s team specializes in investigating algorithms that affect people’s lives, from the Facebook News Feed to Amazon’s pricing models to the software determining people’s car insurance payments and even who goes to prison and for how long. To investigate algorithms, they’ve developed a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots."
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Amazon Makes $1 Billion Splash in Health Care, Buying PillPack (Robert Langreth and Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg, 6-28-18) Amazon agrees to buy PillPack, an online pharmacy that offers pre-sorted doses of medications and home delivery, Bloomberg News reports. Deal likely to hasten wider shakeout in the drug supply chain--accelerating the threat posed to entrenched retailers, suppliers and middlemen.
How Facebook let a friend pass my data to Cambridge Analytica (Timothy Revell, New Scientist, 4-16-18) Among other practical tips in this useful piece: "Last week it released a tool that lets people check if their data was involved – you can look for yourself here. I used it and found, to my surprise, that a friend has used the app." In other words, even if you didn't sign into "This is my digital life," if a friend of yours did, they can grab your basic info (date of birth, etc.). Or if you decide to grab an app by logging in with Facebook, the app can grab your info. Those private messages to friends? They grabbed those too. And so on.
Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak (Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 7-10-18) "Facebook was hit with the maximum possible fine in Britain for allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of people without their consent, in what amounts to the social network’s first financial penalty since the data leak was revealed. The fine of 500,000 pounds, or about $660,000, represents a tiny sum for Facebook, which brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year....The fine is the first punitive action against Facebook since the reports about Cambridge Analytica surfaced. Since the revelations, Facebook has grappled with regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic."
Can the Government Keep Up with the Pace of Tech? (Tam Harbert, Techonomy, 11-11-18) '“In the same way that government doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about technology, the tech sector doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about government,” says Travis Moore, former legislative director for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who has created fellowships for congressional offices to help bridge the divide....The need for common cause has never been greater; technology is upending every corner of society, for both good and bad, and a new wave of revolutionary innovations is poised to change the world and every industry. At the same time, a handful of monopolistic tech giants operate with impunity and sometimes heedlessness, crisscrossing national borders. Compounding the challenge of bridging the gaps, public trust of both groups has never been lower.' Read this, everyone!
How to Download and View the Massive Amount of Information Facebook Stores About You (Douglas Charles, Brobible, 3-26-18)
Google seeks to limit ‘right to be forgotten’ by claiming it’s journalistic (Chava Gourarie, CJR, 4-6-18) In the first "right to be forgotten" case to reach England’s High Court, two men are fighting to keep their past crimes out of Google’s search results, and the tech giant is fighting back by claiming it’s “journalistic.” In 2014, Europe’s top court ruled that a right to be forgotten existed under the EU’s Data Protection Directive, instituted in 1995. The court ordered Google to give Europeans the option of requesting to remove search results for their own names, if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing.”
Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things (Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, 4-23-18) "News avoiders" tend to have confidence that they can stay on top of what's happening in the world through social media. They fall into three categories of "folk theory": (1) "News finds me. (2) "The information is out there." (Saying "I can just Google it" is different from actually googling things.) (3) "I don't know what to believe." (Especially when Mr. Trump keeps shouting "fake news" about facts he objects to.)
Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, NY Times, 4-21-18) False rumors set Buddhist against Muslim in Sri Lanka, the most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.A reconstruction of Sri Lanka’s descent into violence found that Facebook’s newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing.
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."
Can Facebook beat back the fake news in Ireland’s upcoming vote on abortion? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-20-18) Facebook ad transparency ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.'On May 25, Irish citizens will vote on whether to end the country’s abortion ban. In advance of the referendum, CNN’s Ivana Kottasová reports, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that will “give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their News Feeds.” It’s already been tested in Canada and will roll out globally before the U.S. midterms.' A turnaround from: Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News (Rossalyn Warren, NY Times, 11-10-17)
EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies to Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content(EFF press release, 5-7-18) Groups Release Specific Guidelines Addressing Shoddy, Opaque Private Censorship
Is the post office making or losing money delivering Amazon packages? (Steven Pearlstein, WashPost, 4-9-18). The facts, instead of speculation.
Coders of the world, unite: can Silicon Valley workers curb the power of Big Tech? (Moira Weigel, The Guardian, 10-31-17) For decades, tech companies promised to make the world better. As that dream falls apart, disillusioned insiders are trying to take back control. "The Californian Ideology, as two British media theorists dubbed it in the 1990s, combined personal liberty with market deregulation. A core tenet was that platforms such as Google and Facebook were politically neutral. They were tools for political expression but had no politics themselves. They would increase voting, but not affect it. Industry leaders espoused values that anyone could embrace: sharing, connection, community, openness, expression....They convinced politicians to privatise public goods – starting with the internet itself. In the 1990s, a network created largely by government researchers and public money was delivered into private hands and protected from regulation. Built on this enclosed ground, a company like Facebook could turn formerly non-economic activities – chatting with a friend, or showing her a picture of your kid or crush – into a source of seemingly endless profit. Not by chance, the values that these companies touted as intrinsic goods – openness, connectivity, deregulation – were also the operating principles that made their owners rich." And they have been used to influence elections.
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Cambridge Analytica Scandal Becomes Data’s Watershed Moment (Jon Gingerich, O'Dwyer's: The Inside News of PR & Marketing Communications, 3-23-18) For the second time in the last year, Facebook has found itself in the reputational crosshairs after it was revealed that data analysis and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly collected the private data of 50 million of the site’s users without their permission, once again positioning the social media giant in the unwitting role of disinformation specialist...a decisive turning point for Facebook but for conversations regarding data security in the U.S. as well....The underlying message is clear: Facebook has lost control of its platform.
Cambridge Analytica: What The Media Won’t Tell You (Trent Lapinski, Hacker Noon, 3-20-18) " It wasn’t the Russians, it was our own social media companies who sold our data to the Trump campaign which they then likely used to convince liberals not to vote in swing states.""Facebook is basically responsible for feeding the analytics system that enabled Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to be so targeted and effective with a minimal budget. They ultimately won Donald Trump the swing states and the election. As well as subverted democracy, and likely made Facebook a bunch of money."
Newsonomics: Will Facebook’s troubles finally cure publishers of platformitis? (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 3-27-18) The Cambridge Analytica story is a reminder of the value of a trusted, direct connection between publisher and consumer. Building more of them is the news industry’s best strategy available. "It’s easier to see that now, to understand that Facebook is really just another advertising company — one grown beyond anyone’s imagination (except Google). But what can be done about it? Facebook is social crack, fostering a dependence that has made easy to swallow its monetization of our attention. Now that the extent of what it knows and how that knowledge can be used is clear, what are we going to do?"
Facebook's rallying cry: Billionaires to the barricades (Washington Examiner, 3-22-18) "When a big business starts helping build regulatory barricades, we shouldn’t applaud. Regulation, by raising costs, acts as a barrier to entry. It rewards those who, like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs today, have the best lobbyists and the most access to power. In so doing, it protects monopolies and oligopolies."
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Facebook and Google Helped Anti-Refugee Campaign in Swing States (Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, Bloomberg Technology, 10-18-17) The big tech companies worked closely with Secure America Now to target an audience the group felt could be swayed by the message.
Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World (Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, Wired, 2-12-18) How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all. First came an article: "'Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News.' The piece suggested that Facebook’s Trending team worked like a Fox News fever dream, with a bunch of biased curators “injecting” liberal stories and “blacklisting” conservative ones." That set the stage for the most tumultuous two years of Facebook’s existence—triggering a chain of events that would distract and confuse the company while larger disasters began to engulf it. Fascinating and important story. "It appears that Facebook did not, however, carefully think through the implications of becoming the dominant force in the news industry....Facebook hired few journalists and spent little time discussing the big questions that bedevil the media industry. What is fair? What is a fact? How do you signal the difference between news, analysis, satire, and opinion?...Facebook’s move into news set off yet another explosion of ways that people could connect...."While Facebook grappled internally with what it was becoming—a company that dominated media but didn’t want to be a media company—Donald Trump’s presidential campaign staff faced no such confusion....Facebook was the way to run the most effective direct-­marketing political operation in history.....Numerous security researchers express consternation that it took Facebook so long to realize how the Russian troll farm was exploiting the platform....When Facebook finally did find the Russian propaganda on its platform, the discovery set off a crisis, a scramble, and a great deal of confusion." And so on!
"We're building a dystopic just to make people click on ads" (Zeynep Tufekci's TED Talk, Sept. 2017) We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response." Followed up by Artificial Intelligence and the Infrastructure of Surveillance Authoritarianism (David Crotty, The Scholarly Kitchen, 3-16-18) "As she explains, this is not just the next thing after online ads, but instead a major leap in category, as with AI, persuasion architectures can be built at the scale of billions of people, and then deployed at individuals. Examples she gives include targeting bipolar patients with ads about Las Vegas trips as they’re entering the manic phase of their condition, or repeated experiments by Facebook that showed how a small tweak in a message display led to hundreds of thousands of additional voters in elections. Because all of these algorithms and activities are hidden (she cites the Trump campaign’s use of paid, private, non-public posts meant to depress turnout from African American voters), there is incredible power here to control elections, all stemming from technology built to get people to click on ads. She calls instead for a future where AI supports us in our human goals but is constrained by our human values, and a digital economy where our data and attention are not for sale."
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Why Facebook users’ data obtained by Cambridge Analytica has probably spun far out of reach (Drew Harwell and Elizabeth Dwoskin, The Switch, Washington Post, 3-22-18) 'The data on millions of Facebook users that a firm wrongfully swiped from the social network probably has spread to other groups, databases and the dark Web, experts said, making Facebook’s pledge to safeguard its users’ privacy hard to enforce....Frank Pasquale, a professor at the University of Maryland who specializes in algorithms and tech ethics, called this “the runaway data problem,” and said there is no way to return the genie to the bottle when it comes to securing data that has been released. Location and demographic information, which was taken from Facebook, can often be used to tie someone to other data points where the identity was previously unclear. “The larger [the] data sets you get about individuals, the easier it is to use those to reidentify them in data sets where they think they're anonymous,” Pasquale said. “With a relatively small amount of data points, you can infer an incredible amount of very personal information about people.”'
The secret rules of the internet (Catherine Buni & Soraya Chemaly, The Verge, 4-13-16) The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech. Even basic facts about the content moderation industry remain a mystery.
Moderation is "a profoundly human decision-making process." They followed a guiding-light question: "Can I share this video with my family?"
Moderating Facebook: The Dark Side of Social Networking (Who Is Hosting This? 4-15-15)
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How Wikipedia became the Internet’s good cop (Noam Cohen, Wash Post, 4-8-18) To combat fake news, tech companies want the wisdom of the crowd, says Cohen. Wikipedia, originally committed to earning money from ads, has switched places with Google, whose founders opposed ads on search engines. By 2004 Wikipedia swore off advertising, after its contributors threatened to abandon it for an ad-free zone. And Google, "under pressure from investors to stop oopoerating as a research lab, devised a plan for advertising that was immensely lucrative and managed, initially, not to intrude on search results....In a cruel twist, Google's enthusiasm for Wikipedia poses one of the biggest threats to its continued vitality"--stealing visitors.
YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies (Casey Newton, The Verge, 3-13-18) Pushing back on crazy theories.
Catching the Wave — The Tide Turns Toward the Subscription Model (Kent Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen, 3-6-18) In the late 1990s, with the advent of digital everything, the subscription model seemed doomed. "Once the hotbed of innovation around content distribution, Silicon Valley has been captured by an advertising-based business model that has turned out to be a flytrap, its billions of dollars too hard to resist even as the jaws close around the companies lured into it."...Facebook’s advertising-responsive algorithm — which sells access for less if it deems the content more likely to be clicked (more “click-baity”) — itself seems to have intervened in our election....The subscription model inherently raises the right guardrails for content because content purveyors have to please the reader. By pivoting to the subscription model, YouTube has pivoted to the reader....Netflix, Amazon, Apple — are succeeding with the subscription model and largely keeping themselves out of hot water, and you can see a confluence of incentives.
How to fix Facebook: Make users pay for it (Roger McNamee, Wash Post, 2-21-18) "The indictments brought by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III against 13 individuals and three organizations accused of interfering with the U.S. election offer perhaps the most powerful evidence yet that Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary are harming public health and democracy....Facebook’s advertising business model is hugely profitable, but the incentives are perverse."
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How Trump Conquered Facebook—Without Russian Ads (Antonio García Martínez, Wired, 2-24-18) "Trump campaign’s mastery of two critical parts of the Facebook advertising infrastructure: The ads auction, and a benign-sounding but actually Orwellian product called Custom Audiences (and its diabolical little brother, Lookalike Audiences)....because Trump used provocative content to stoke social media buzz, and he was better able to drive likes, comments, and shares than Clinton, his bids received a boost from Facebook’s click model, effectively winning him more media for less money. In essence, Clinton was paying Manhattan prices for the square footage on your smartphone’s screen, while Trump was paying Detroit prices. Facebook users in swing states who felt Trump had taken over their news feeds may not have been hallucinating."
Facebook appears Russia’s biggest useful idiot in Vladimir Putin’s bold war (Samuel Scott, The Drum, 1-19-18)
The dark side of Guardian comments ( Becky Gardiner, Mahana Mansfield, Ian Anderson, Josh Holder, Daan Louter and Monica Ulmanu, The Guardian, 4-12-16) "As part of a series on the rising global phenomenon of online harassment, the Guardian commissioned research into the 70m comments left on its site since 2006 and discovered that of the 10 most abused writers eight are women, and the two men are black. Hear from three of those writers, explore the data and help us host better conversations online."
The Guardian wants to engage with readers, but how we do it needs to evolve (The Guardian, 4-8-16) "Building an online community is difficult, and changing the way a community works once it has been established even more so. We want to try, and we want your help."
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The women abandoned to their online abusers (Sandra Laville, Julia Carrie Wong, and Elle Hunt, The Guardian, 4-11-16) They face harassment including death threats and racist abuse. Why are social media sites and police unable or unwilling to tackle the problem?
Google’s terms of use and conditions are less readable than Beowul (The Conversation, 10-17-13) Good luck understanding Google’s latest terms and conditions. Google is not alone in producing hard-to-read terms.
• ***Don’t Delete Evil Data (Lam Thuy Vo, Source, 2-14-18) The case for archiving online misconduct and abuse. If "foreign actors are manipulating political information we receive and if trolls turn our online existence into hell, there is a case to be made for us to be able to trace back malicious information to its source, rather than simply removing it from public view." What happens after Twitter and Facebook delete an account? Read about Vigilante Data Archiving.
What It’s Like When Elon Musk’s Twitter Mob Comes After You (Erin Biba, The Daily Beast, 5-28-18) Female journalists who cover Elon Musk have the same personal rule: Mention his name on Twitter at your peril.
Publishers claim they’re taking Facebook’s News Feed changes in stride. Is the “bloodletting” still to come? (Shan Wang, Christine Schmidt, and Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab, 1-19-18) Facebook took a look at all the news and pages it’s recruited to populate the News Feed, and decided officially, never mind: Friends and family first....By the middle of last year, Google Search had surpassed Facebook as the top referrer for publishers in the network, as Facebook referrals continued to drop overall. (It helps to understand how they use algorithms.)
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Tech giants are the robber barons of our time (Kevin Carty, New York Post, 2-3-18) America’s biggest tech giants have at least as much power as John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan did in the early 20th century; it is just much harder to see. The powers of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are less transparent — if not entirely secret. Interesting examples of how their influence is manifested.
When it comes to press freedom, America is no longer a ‘beacon’ for the world (Jon Allsop, CJR, 2-13-18) “The US has also been exporting press threats unrelated to Trump. Facebook and other social networks, for example, are US-based and often have a US-centric view of how their services should operate. Ingram touched on Facebook’s experiments in countries like Cambodia, where it recently removed news articles from users’ main feeds. While Facebook saw this as a kind of product-centric A/​B test, it had serious consequences for citizens: In Cambodia, most people get their news from Facebook, and the country’s autocratic prime minister, Hun Sen, has made the site a key plank of his communications strategy. 'Facebook is a massive double-edged sword,' Ingram said. 'In fact, if there’s a sword that has more than two edges, Facebook is that sword.'”
House Intelligence Committee Releases Incendiary Russian Social Media Ads (Nicholas Fandos, Cecilia Kang, and Mike Isaac, NY Times, 11-1-17) The House Intel Committee releases dozens of ads that Russia-linked firms created to shape attitudes and sow division during the U.S. 2016 campaign. Facebook, Google, and Twitter faced questions from the Senate and House Intel Committees. During the day’s first hearing, senators trained their attacks on Facebook, whose general counsel was careful about acknowledging the company’s role as a tool for Russia’s misinformation campaign during the election. The House Intelligence Committee also released dozens of advertisements that Russia-linked firms created during the 2016 campaign. After months of oblique references to the divisive nature of Russia-linked digital advertising, the House Intelligence Committee released a slew of ad examples and account names that were targeted at American voters during the 2016 election. The partisan dynamics put the social media companies in a difficult position, and Facebook wouldn’t take a side. But the Russian Facebook ads were neither fake news or a hoax.
Anatomy of a Russian Facebook ad (Leslie Shapiro, Washington Post, 11-1-17) How they work: outrage, fear, and precision targeting. Facebook’s targeting options for “boosted” posts. How they spread: Fabricated profiles, pages and groups. Reach of Russian-generated content extended beyond ads.
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Gamergate controversy (Wikipedia)
Russia hackers pursued Putin foes, not just US Democrats (Raphael Satter, Jeff Donn, and Justin Myers, AP News, 11-1-17) Russian hacking went far beyond the U.S. election, targeting the emails of Ukrainian officers, Russian opposition figures, U.S. defense contractors, and thousands of others of interest to the Kremlin.
Who Owns the Internet? (Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker 8-28-17)
Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Have Cornered Culture and What It Means For All Of Us by Jonathan Taplin
Conservatives, liberals unite against Silicon Valley (Nancy Scola, Politico, 9-12-17) "Democrats are condemning Facebook for allowing "fake news" and Russia-linked ads during the election, while conservatives accuse Google of silencing right-leaning viewpoints. President Donald Trump routinely accuses Amazon of dodging taxes, and right-leaning news organizations like Fox News and Breitbart have begun mocking Silicon Valley leaders as power-hungry and out of touch....Now, with Democrats talking tough about applying antitrust scrutiny to “Big Tech” and Republicans condemning internet firms for their snap judgments about who gets to say what online, tech is encountering unaccustomed hostility from the political class — and tighter regulation no longer seems a far-fetched scenario."
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How Tech Giants Use Their Power To Advance Corporate Interests (Ari Shapiro, All Things Considered, NPR, 9-6-17) Big tech companies influence more of our lives than ever before. And there are growing concerns that they're using that power to advance their own corporate interests. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill about her own experience with the tech giant, Google. (Listen or read transcript.)
We need to nationalise Google, Facebook and Amazon. Here’s why (Nick Srnicek, The Guardian, 8-30-17) A crisis is looming. These monopoly platforms hoovering up our data have no competition: they’re too big to serve the public interest
Are Tech Giants Like Amazon, Facebook And Google Monopolies? (WBUR, ) Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti talks with Matt Stoller, who studies monopolies at the think tank Open Markets. "I would say those three institutions are the most obvious and most powerful monopolistic institutions that are in our culture right now."
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Google Hit With $2.7 Billion Fine By European Antitrust Monitor (Bill Chappell, WBUR, 6-22-17) The European Commission has fined Google 2.42 billion euros ($2.72 billion) after finding that the company used its dominant search engine to drive people toward another Google product, its shopping service. Vestager said Google "abused its market dominance ... by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors
The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter (Kat Rosenfield, Vulture, 8-7-17) Young-adult books are being targeted in intense social-media callouts, draggings, and pile-ons — sometimes before anybody’s even read them. Outrage on Twitter concerning a new young-adult fantasy novel has sparked a larger debate concerning online activism and free

Amazon, Google, and Facebook ads

Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author's Guide by Brian D. Meeks
Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords: How to Access 100 Million People in 10 Minutes by Perry Marshall, Mike Rhodes, and Bryan Todd
Why Does Facebook Think I’m ‘Political’? (Yoram Hazony, author of "The Virtue of Nationalism," WSJ, 7-25-18) The robots at Facebook always urge me to “boost my post.” Later: “Your ad was not approved because your Page has not been authorized to run ads with political content.”..."Did Facebook get its 'political ads' policy from Monty Python, while outsourcing customer service to HAL from '2001'? Or is it simply unwilling to run ads for a book about the virtue of nationalism?"
The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising by Brian Meert
Help! My Facebook Ads Suck by Michael Cooper

Amazon to test new ground for its Sponsored Products ads: the rest of the internet (Garett Sloane, AdAge, 7-23-18)
Amazon PPC Challenges Google Ads (Search Engine Journal) A study of billions of dollars in Pay Per Click (PPC) expenditures reveals insights into spending trends, particularly between the platforms hosted by Google and Amazon. Key Differences Between Google and Amazon: Return on Advertising Spend, Algorithms, Ramp Up Time, Budget Strategies.
The Difference Between Website Impressions and Clicks (James Parsons, GrowTraffic, 1-25-15) When your ad loads and displays in front of a user, that is one impression. ... Well, you can't have clickswithout impressions. Users need to see your ads before they can decide whether or not to click them. This is typically referred to as CPM, or Cost Per Mille, where Mille means thousand.
Clicks, Impressions, and Conversions, Oh My! Digital Marketing Terms You Need to Know (Stephanie Theisen, Leighton Broadcasting, 4-4-16 updated to 2018) A mini-glossary of terms such as conversions, cost per thousand (CPM), cost per click (CPC), cost per action (CPA), targeting, landing pages, mobile gateway.
Google Adwords, Explained
Google, Facebook, Amazon: Our Digital Overlords (Robert VerBruggen, National Review, 12-12-17) It’s not time to smash these companies to pieces. But perhaps we should rein in some of their most egregious practices.
Here’s how Amazon could shake up the Google-Facebook ad duopoly (Cale Guthrie Weissman, Fast Company, 3-18-18) "Google and Facebook–control over 60% of the advertising spend. But it’s anyone’s guess how long their dominance will last.
How merchants use Facebook to flood Amazon with fake reviews (Elizabeth Dwoskin and Craig Timberg, Wash Post, 4-23-18)
ReviewMeta Analyzes Amazon ads to learn which ones you can trust. Explained here in short video.
Acceptance policies for Amazon book ads (April 2017) Includes General Requirements, Unacceptable Books and Ad Content, Restricted Categories, Image Restrictions
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Alexa, Echo, and other
intelligent voice control system (IVCSs)

Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? (Bob Sacks, Bo Sacks Speaks Out, Bosacks Precision Media Group, 1-20-17) "Clearly this is just the beginning, and the Echo and the Internet of Things (IOT) will be increasingly embedded into all our lives. On June 29th, 2007, less than 10 years ago, the iPhone was first released at a time when not too many people had or wanted a cell phone. Now there are more cell phones then there are people on the planet.
"But when I read about Jamie Court, who is the president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group discussing new patent ideas from Amazon: 'When you read parts of the (Alexa) applications, it's really clear that this is spyware and a surveillance system meant to serve you up to advertisers.' When you combine Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google, Alexa and all the other information intrusion activists you get a very scary picture of corruptibility. Well, you should get that picture, although none of this is yet illegal. Yes, we are all targets, and there are two advertising bullseyes on the head and heart of every individual on the planet...
An Oregon family’s encounter with Amazon Alexa exposes the privacy problem of smart home devices (YouYou Zhou, Quartz, 5-25-18) "Here’s the latest nightmare scenario for the tech-phobic: A woman in Portland, Oregon found out that her family’s home digital assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, had recorded a conversation between her and her husband without their permission or awareness, and sent the audio recording to a random person on their contacts list."
12 Smart Voice Recognition and Voice Activated Products for the Home (Home Stratosphere)
Everything You Need to Know About the Security of Voice-Activated Smart Speakers (Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Symantec) A look at Google Home and Amazon’s Echo Dot. See also A guide to the security of voice-activated smart speakers
The Coming Revolution of Voice Control With Artificial Intelligence (David Strom, SecurityIntelligence, 2-16-17) As consumer devices become more capable, with voice control assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant, it is only natural to expect these artificial intelligence (AI) applications to move into more business settings. But there are security concerns.
Amazon Echo and the Alexa dollhouses: Security tips and takeaways (WeLiveSecurity) Tips on securing the Alexa service on Amazon Echo devices, notably voice purchasing, a topic brought into focus by the recent San Diego dollhouse TV story: "A local TV station did a piece about a six year-old girl who ordered a $160 dollhouse from Amazon, via Alexa, without her parents’ knowledge or permission. At the end of the story, when the anchorman repeated what that little girl was reported to have said – Alexa, order me a dollhouse – people in San Diego started calling the TV station to complain. Why? Because the Alexas in their homes and offices had started to respond to that request."
What does 'The internet of Things' mean for publishers? (Jon Watkins, FIPP, The Network for Global Media, 6-10-16) The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ has been knocking around a while, and for ages we’ve heard people discussing how fridges can order food when it runs out etc. Where exactly are we in the Internet of Things journey? If you are a broadcaster, a media company, a publisher, you should be starting to think about how that allows you to give localised content – proximity marketing and proximity use become real possibilities for the industry.
What is the Internet of Things? (Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor, 1-11-16) The Internet of Things (IoC) "is the connection of any device that can be turned on and off to the Internet (as well as connecting these devices to each other). Devices that are covered by the umbrella of the Internet of things are diverse — everything from your smartphone and computer to fridges and wearable devices like pedometers. If it has the potential to connect, then it’s a part of the Internet of things, and the number of “things” is growing by the day. According to IT research company Gartner, the number of connected devices worldwide is projected to grow to 26 billion by the year 2020."
5 predictions on the future of the Internet of Things (Norton, which, like most other firms, has a dog in this fight, and something to sell.)
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The meaning of "free internet"

How One Syrian Fought to the Death for a Free Internet (Alice Su, Wired, 9-27-17) Bassel Khartabil: “Of my experience spending three years in jail so far for writing open source code (mainly) I can tell how much authoritarian regimes feel the danger of technology on their continuity, and they should be afraid of that. As code is much more than tools, it’s education that opens youth minds and moves the nations forward. Who can stop that? No one."
The Price of Free (Nicholas Carr, NY Times Magazine, 11-13-09) "A few months ago... I bought a Blu-ray player. What I didn’t realize until I unpacked the gadget was that it does a lot more than just spin high-definition discs. It is, as they say, Web-enabled. As soon as I plugged it into an outlet in my living room, its built-in WiFi antenna sniffed out my home network and logged on. The Blu-ray player became a gateway between the Internet and my television set....My new viewing habits must make Brian Roberts very nervous. The more I play movies and TV shows from the Web, the less I use my cable TV service. I almost never order pay-per-view movies anymore. And I recently canceled my premium Showtime subscription....I have a feeling that it won’t be long before I and a whole lot of other people start asking similar questions about pay-TV subscriptions in general."
Russia Is Trying to Copy China’s Approach to Internet Censorship (Emily Parker, Slate, 4-4-17) The good news is, it's probably too late. The internet is also a powerful tool for Putin’s opposition. The internet helped spark Russia’s largest anti-government protests in five years. Russia responded by blocking access to webpages that promoted demonstrations.This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China’s model of internet control.
Net neutrality
Keeping the Internet Free Might Get Very Expensive (Noah Smith, BloombergView, 10-27-16) The web is safe and costs almost nothing to use today. Cybercrooks and vandals aided by artificial intelligence could change that equation.
Google Fiber’s plan to give free Internet to the poor (Brian Fung, Wash Post, 2-3-16) It'll cost Google Fiber roughly $1 million a year in Kansas City alone.

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The Power of LinkedIn

Beginners Guide to LinkedIn (MOZ) Keep your company page up-to-date. Use the products and services spotlight. Establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader, an authority in your area of focus. Don't overdo self-promotion; build customer advocates. Complete your personal profile thoroughly and honestly. And so on.
What Your LinkedIn Profile Should Look Like in 2018 (Kristen Bahler, Money, 1-17-18) Be social: Accept connection recommendations. "Nail the voice." Add some personality to your professional story (don't sound like a resume). Keep your profile alive.
How LinkedIn Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) How is LinkedIn different?

4 LinkedIn Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make (Undercover Recruiter) Failing to understand social networking contexts, having no good profile photo, filling in vague headlines, and not creating a personal narrative.
Is LinkedIn doomed to repeat the same mistake Facebook made? (Arik C. Hanson, ACH Communications, 6-12-18) Is LinkedIn using users' news feeds for their own purposes, instead of letting us communicate with our own network of friends and colleagues.
Ignoring LinkedIn Is Hurting Your Career (Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal, With its refreshed app and some tricks, it’s time to make the uncoolest professional network part of your social-media routine
The LinkedIn Mistake That's Hurting Your Career (Leonard Kim, Inc.) Make it easy to be contacted. Provide an email address, or a way to contact you.
Five Foolish Reasons To Ignore LinkedIn (William Arruda, Forbes, 7-16-17)
17 LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices (Sarah Hecker, SmartBug, 11-2-16)
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History of YouTube (Wikipedia) YouTube was created by PayPal employees in 2005 as a video-sharing website where users could upload, share and view content....In 2006 Google acquired the company for $1.65 billion in stock....It is estimated that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000....In late 2011 and early 2012, YouTube launched over 100 "premium" or "original" channels....And so on.
Worried About YouTube Ruining Your Children? (Stuart Dredge, Medium, A quick guide to subscriptions and safety settings that will help you sleep at night. And scroll down for links to the 40 channels
YouTube introduces Channel Memberships, merch shops and Premieres to help creators (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-22-18) Content creators on YouTube complain "that their ad revenue streams are drying up, whether it’s from a rise in ad blockers or whether its the constantly evolving YouTube algorithms freezing out channels which publish political content. To address this, Google is introducing Channel Memberships and the option to sell merchandise."
The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views (Michael H. Keller, NY Times, 8-11-12) "Plays" can be bought for pennies and delivered in bulk, inflating videos’ popularity and making the social media giant vulnerable to manipulation. "Just as other social media companies have been plagued by impostor accounts and artificial influence campaigns, YouTube has struggled with fake views for years."
OpenSlate ranks the value of video content to marketers. "Take control of where your video ads are running." "The Startup That Polices YouTube for Twerk-Averse Advertisers." (I had to look up "twerk" also.)
YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies (Casey Newton, The Verge, 3-13-18) Pushing back on crazy theories.
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
Why are YouTube stars so popular?(Stuart Dredge, The Guardian, 2-3-16) With millions of subscribers, top YouTubers such as Zoella have huge, passionate audiences. Here’s a handy guide to help you understand their popularity
Is YouTube a Good or Bad Influence on Society? (Syra Sharif, Mic, 5-6-12)
YouTube to launch new music streaming service (Laura Snapes and Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 5-17-18) YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music and take on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal
YouTube website
Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) The digital platforms that host such medical quackery aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."
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Pinterest is a web and mobile application company that operates a software system designed to discover information on the World Wide Web, mainly using images and on a shorter scale GIFs and videos. The site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. Pinterest has reached 200 million monthly active users as of September 2017.
Join Pinterest as a Business
What is Pinterest and How Does It Work? (Jessica,
How To Use Pinterest For Beginners A 2017 Tutorial (YouTube, LaLas world, 5-5-17) Learn step-by-step.
How to Use Pinterest (Real Simple)
Pinterest: A Beginner's Guide to the Hot New Social Network (Rob Lammle, Mashable, 12-26-11)
Irving Penn photos of writers, actors, and people in the limelight (fabulous photos)
How To Clean Up Pinterest Boards: A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Kate Ahl, SimplePinMedia, 2-19-18)
Pinterest app
Pingroupie (look for Pinterest group boards)
Canva (a design tool you can sign up for at various levels--education, small or large business, nonprofit or charity, personal)
How to Create a Pinterest Board with a Theme (YouTube)
Best Image Sizes for Social Media Design
Pinterest for Authors: Use Pinterest to Find New Readers and Sell More Books by Mark J. Dawson (free when I downloaded it on Kindle, and a good intro for beginners)
How to Write Your Pinterest Bio Like a Boss (Caitlin Bacher)
How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest (WPBeginner, 7-7-15)
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including tips on copywriting
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~Oscar Wilde

Blogging Toolbox (Mashable's links to 120+ resources for bloggers)--start here! (For Twitter followers numbers, if you have about the same number of followers as you follow, nothing to write home about. Having many more followers than people you are following suggests you have some influence.
Building Your Writer Platform — How Much is Enough? (Chuck Sambuchino, Writer Unboxed, 10-22-12) How many (blog page views, Twitter followers, newsletter subscribers, public speaking appearances, sales of previously self-published books) is enough? Interesting numbers!
Avoiding blogger burnout. "When Blogging Becomes a Slog," Steven Kurutz, Home & Garden, NY Times, 9-24-14) Strategies for staying sane as a home blogger (with links to good "home" blogs)
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, Web DevCenter)
How Much Do the Top Bloggers Make? ( And how do they do it?
Now in Blogs, Product Placement (J. David Goodman, NY Times, 6-12-10) Welcome to quid pro post. Know what's ethical and legally right and wrong. Disclose any gifts or payments for writing about something.
Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines (Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging, last updated 9-30-15) To get 5 free tips you sign up, and get a pitch for online training--but there are some practical tips first.
Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 6-14-17) "Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser. These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored."
Blogging Tips (Keven Ann Willey, as reported in AJR)
Blogging Basics 101
Blog terms (Blog Advertising Rates)
Blogging tips galore (Lorelle on WordPress, who among other things offers digital inserts to prevent plagiarism)
Blogs in plain English (Common Craft video explanation)
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Blog Usability (top 10 Weblog design mistakes, Jakob Nielsen)
Content Marketing 101 (Copyblogger on How to Build Your Business With Content)
Copyblogger (useful blog on blogging, here on the importance of a calendar and planning)
How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors (Jane Friedman, 3-27-16). Her book Publishing 101: A First-Time Author's Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career is a collection of all her blogs on the subject.
Copyright: Sample Forms and Strategies for Registering your Online Content (Sarah Bird, The Daily SEO Blog, 3-24-08)
Daily blog tips
Google Sites (for a group website or a company intranet--new, and the votes not in on this one yet)
Great Landing Pages (Copyblogger)
How to Get Started (TrafficRescue). In six steps: Getting started, setting up blog , learning to use blog, starting to blog, marketing, making money.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
LiveJournal (free, good for blogging among friends)
Nine Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers (Joshua Porter)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Submitting a sitemap to Google Webmaster tools (so you will get indexed by Google and other search engines, so visitors can find you)
10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered (Hubspot, focused on business-to-business blogging). Those were most common questions from HubSpot'sScience of Blogging webinar, viewable on demand here, with Dan Zarrella.
Six Copywriting Tips Every Solo Professional Should Know
Top 10 Tasks to Get Your Blog Ready for Prime Time (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-26-12)
12 Blogging Tools from Erica Reitman (Tony Levelle's site)
12 Business Blogging Shortcuts for Time-Crunched Marketers (Corey Eridon 1-5-12, Hubspot)
Social Media Monitoring: Are You Listening to Me? Deirdre Reid lists tools to monitor online mentions of your name, your username, your company and other keywords.
Using Google alerts to monitor incoming links
Social Media Monitoring 101, How to Get Started (Jason Falls on the Social Media Examiner blog, 11-10-09)
8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas (Cindy King, 3-8-10)

What Offer Does Your Author Blog Make? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 8-13-12)
Why You Need to Build Links to Your Website and What a Good One Looks Like (Rebecca Corliss, HubSpot, 1-24-11) and
Did You Graduate from Link-Building High School Yet? (Pete Caputa, HubSpot 9-30-08)
Widget websites (John Kremer's links to websites and other services devoted to making and hosting widgets)
Business2Blogger (must useful info for business blogging)
Xanga (personal blogging community)
BlogHer (a social community for women who blog, with a popular conference in July)
Blogging, digital journalism, and the law (Writers and Editors)
Blogger's Guide to Copyright and DMCA (Natalie Mootz,
A Legal Guide for Bloggers: Copyright, the DMCA, and Fair Use Images (Ben Mulholland,, 10-9-17)
The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits (David Kravets, Wired, 10-27-10). "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court. But to dock in that legal safe harbor, a site has to, among other things, register an official contact point for DMCA takedown notices, a process that involves filling out a form and mailing a check" to the U.S. Copyright Office. If you run a U.S. blog or a community site that accepts user content, you must register a DMCA agent with the copyright office. 12 Steps To Register A DMCA Agent With the Copyright Office.
Anonymous Blogging Guide (Digital Media Law Project)

Blogging Effectively
• Blogs for bloggers. Some you may find helpful (for tips, or as models): Chris Brogan (excellent tips on social media marketing), CopyBlogger, FastCompany, ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Chris G. (Chris Garrett), HubSpot (inbound Internet marketing blog).
The Best of Copyblogger 2010
The Best of Copyblogger 2009
47 Ways Copyblogger Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
How to Use the “Rule of Three” to Create Engaging Content (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
What are 10 Addictive Types of Content? (Jeff Bullas)
How To Build A Community On Your Blog (Caitlin Muir, Author Media)
Engaging Content Posts Don’t Stop After You Hit Publish (Blogging Pro
5 Really Annoying Blogging Mistakes That Will Make Your Blog Annoying To Visit
How to Write Engaging Blogs People Want to Read (Beanstalk, Search Engine Optimization Inc.)
Plucked From Their Web Writing to Promote a Vaseline Brand (Tanzina Vega, NYTimes, 11-8-10). Major firm uses crowdsourcing (three bloggers) to find product spokeswomen.
Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books, is a three-day challenge to improve your blog. Reading the entries will remind you of things to do to improve your own blog.
Chuck Sambuchino on what not to do in a writer's blog (interview with him starts down a few paragraphs in this blog about Julie Martin's first year of blogging). He says, among other things: "Here's a general tip in building your blog and online presence: It should not be easy. Most people never get over that platform hurdle because they are afraid to put in the time. Doing it right takes time. It means a TON of e-mails to people. It means linking to people. It means researching online. It's hard work—but the hard work pays off."

Blogging Professionally
Blogging Pro Job Board
Blogging for Dollars (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger, 9-23-04)
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, O'Reilly Web Center, 8-12-02)
How to Make Money From Your Blog – Direct Methods (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger 2-22-06)
Guest Blogging on Blogging Pro, in partnership with My Blog Guest (become a guest blogger -- or get your blog entries from the collection of guest-blogger articles)
Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks (John Tozzi, Bloomberg Businessweek 7-13-07). How a personal obsession can turn into a popular favorite and maybe even a full-time job
Blog Herald (Blogging News for Bloggers)


Compare platforms (read what others say):
Wordpress Tumblr, Medium, or ...? 8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed (Mike Wallagher, Start Blogging Online, 2-6-16)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms in 2011 (Armando Roggio, Practical Ecommerce, insights for online merchants)
Blogger vs. WordPress (Basil C. Puglisi, Digital Brand Marketing, gives the pros and cons on both blog services)
7 Best Blogging Platforms (Harry Marks, Lifed 11-8-11)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms (Jarel Remick, 10-4-10 -- with links to extras for each, and details on "hosted or self-hosted")

WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post)
Drupal (an open source content management system with blogging features)
Expression Engine
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous spaces (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed, good for ecommerce merchants)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)

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Designing a better user experience (UX)

What is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools, and Resources (Jacob Gube, Smashing Magazine, 10-5-10)
Learn UX design: 10 best paid and free UX design courses (Mimi Lauder, Digital Arts) Includes both online courses and courses from high-profile Universities such as Stanford.
Why Don’t You Have a Writer in Your UX Team? (Georgina Laidlaw, Sitepoint, 11-17-14)
Better User Experience with Storytelling (Part 1, Francisco Inchauste, Smashing Magazine). How user experience professionals and designers are using storytelling to create compelling experiences that build human connections. Read more about the UX Storytellers Project here. Then you will probably want to buy the book: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks (foreword by Ginny Redish), about the power of storytelling to improve the user experience. Check it out a bit through Frequently Asked Questions.
The importance of writing in UX design (Ben Barone-Nugent, CB, 3-24-14)
Bridging the Content Gap: Ten Ways to Motivate People to Produce Good Web Content (Luke Chaput de Saintonge, UX User Experience, The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association, June 2014)
Thanks for leads from Leslie O'Flahavan at e•write.

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How to Use Instagram as an Author Plus 10 Ways to Grow Your Account Organically (Joanna Penn, 1-7-17) "... if your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use."
Strategies To Get More eCommerce Traffic from Instagram (MyEcomClub, info about eCommerce) #5: Showcase User Content. "According to research conducted by Crowdtap (2014), user-generated content is 50 percent more trusted than posts from a company, and 35 percent more memorable than business posts. This demonstrates the necessity of utilizing user-generated content for a company’s Instagram account."
10 Instagram Tips for Writers ( Annie Sullivan on Jane Friedman's blog, 9-6-18)
Best days and times to post instagrams ( "The best time to post is between 8-9 am. Avoid posting at 3-4 pm." Post during off-work hours, not during work hours.
20 Professional Writers to Follow on Instagram (Alice E.M. Underwood, Grammarly, 6-3-17)
How to Market Yourself on Instagram without a Book to Sell (Yet) (Shayla Raquel’s blog, 8-14-18)
How to Use Instagram for Business: A Complete Guide for Marketers (Sarah Dawley, Hootsuite, 1-30-18)
Social Media Marketing Understanding the Instagram Algorithm: 7 Key Factors and Why the Algorithm Is Great for Marketers (Alfred Lua, Buffer Social, 4-25-17)The Instagram algorithm, just like the Facebook News Feed algorithm, is so mysterious yet ingenious and brilliant in showing the best content to the most people. The seven key factors: engagement, relevance, relationships, timeliness (how recent), profile searches (the accounts you check out often), direct shares, time spent.
5 Ways to Use Instagram as an Author (Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-19-15)
Making Videos Social with IGTV (Neda Dallal, via PenguinRandomHouse, Aug 2018) A tutorial on how to use IGTV, for long-form vertical video (smartphones).
How to Use Instagram (Digital Trends)
Instagram (Wikipedia entry) Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010
Instagram in Education (Ashley MacQuarrie, Learning Liftoff, 11-20-12)
Explore the hidden patterns of the fashion Instagram universe (David Yanofsky & Jenni Avins, Quartz, 9-18-14)
Behind Instagram’s Success, Networking the Old Way (Somini Sengupta, Nichole Perlroth, and Jenna Wortham, NY Times, 4-13-12) The extraordinary success of Instagram is a tale about the culture of the Bay Area tech scene, driven by a tightly woven web of entrepreneurs and investors who nurture one another's projects with money, advice and introductions to the right people. By and large, it is a network of young men...
The Secret Behind Instagram’s Success (Dumb Little Man, 1-9-18)
4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business ( Dorothy Cheng, Social Media Examiner, 9-22-16) #1: Generate Sales With an Interactive Catalog and Product Profiles
Instagram: Now with ads ( Adrian Covert, Money, 10-3-13)
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Twitter: How to Make the Most of It

Twitter, an an online social networking and microblogging service on which users send (tweet) and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters. Twitter and Facebook were at one point the top two social media (the race is on).
How to Use Twitter and Facebook for Emergency Travel Information (Stephanie Rosenbloom, NY Times, 9-21-17) "Sometimes organizations rely on social media to get out messages when their own websites are slow, as the National Hurricane Center’s was when it experienced overwhelming traffic during Hurricane Irma. Other times, ways to help organically bubble up on social media." Here, "a beginner’s guide to finding the most helpful accounts. A word of caution: Sometimes a social media account looks official even though it has nothing to do with the actual organization or individual you’re seeking."
Maggie Haberman: Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter (NY Times, 7-20-18) "Twitter has stopped being a place where I could learn things I didn’t know, glean information that was free from errors about a breaking news story or engage in a discussion and be reasonably confident that people’s criticisms were in good faith. The viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism are at all-time highs, with no end in sight....Twitter is now an anger video game for many users. It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face. "
Lawsuits over journalist Twitter accounts may become more common (Jonathan Peters, CJR, 9-10-18) "Andy Bitter, who covered Virginia Tech football for The Roanoke Times, resigned in July 2018 to join the sports-news website The Athletic, which has been poaching talent from local media. While at the Times, Bitter had used a Twitter account to share his stories, break news, and engage with readers. He had more than 27,000 followers when he left. Bitter declined requests from the Times’s parent company, BH Media Group, to hand over his login information—and he has continued to use that account at The Athletic. BH Media, which says it owns the account, is suing Bitter in federal court... It’s unclear how the case will turn out. The facts need finding, and there aren’t good precedents. The problem is twofold: Few cases have addressed social-media ownership in an employment context, and the most relevant ones have settled out of court."
A love story in 10 tweets to the Tribune Tower as journalists say goodbye and developers prepare to convert the newspaper building to pricey condos. (former Chicago Tribune editorAnn Marie Lipinski)
Tweets are the new vox populi ( Heidi Tworek, CJR, 3-27-18) Journalists use tweets as a way to include opinions from “ordinary people” instead of going onto the streets to get them from actual people. But tweets are one way Russian propagandists plant disinformation.
Bots in the Twittersphere (Stefan Wojcik, Solomon Messing, Aaron Smith, Lee Rainie and Paul Hitlin, Pew Research Center, 4-9-18) An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts – not human beings. And how they identified Twitter bots.
Twitter Just for Writers. by Frances Caballo ($5 ebook). She writes ebooks about other social media, too.
How social media helps scientists get the message across (EurekAlert, 4-12-18) Communicating new research discoveries through social media--primarily Twitter--eventually leads to higher citations years down the road.
How Black Twitter and other social media communities interact with mainstream news A report by Knight Foundation explores how social media subcultures — Black Twitter, Feminist Twitter, and Asian American Twitter — interact with the news. Read the findings, such as "Twitter subcultures give voice to issues that mainstream media don’t cover." "Black women, black feminists, black gay men —they’re basically invisible communities outside of Black Twitter." Many interesting findings here!
Shakespeare’s Twitter Account (Kate Dwyer, Paris Review, 4-2-18) "Daily Kerouac is one of several literary tribute Twitter accounts devoted to tweeting quotes from authors....The most popular Oscar Wilde account has upward of 160,000 followers while Sylvia Plath has nearly 200,000 and @​_harukimurakami clocks in at 235,000."
Twitter, It’s Time to End Your Anything-Goes Paradise (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 11-22-17) After a year in which it became blindingly obvious that Twitter was rife with abuse and harassment, and that it has become a haven for propagandists, bots and other manipulators, it’s time for Twitter to scrap one of its founding principles: the idea that it is an anything-goes paradise, where anyone who signs up for a voice on its platform is immediately and automatically given equal footing with everyone else, and where even the vilest, most hateful and antisocial behavior should be tolerated.
How to tell if you have fake Twitter followers (and how to remove them) (Ren LaForme, Poynter, 2-1-18)
Book Marketing on Twitter: The 15 Most Important Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
15 Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing (Maria Schneider, of Editor Unleashed, on Mashable.
10 Ways Twitter Will Change American Business (24/​7 Wall Street, on
• "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."~quoted by Sree Sreenivasan (@​sree), who posts helpfully on Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http:/​/​​sreesoc). In a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle, Sree said, “Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
"And this is precisely the reason I think Twitter will be more important than Facebook: Twitter is not about friends, it's about strangers." and "Not sure I want followers as 'friends'. That's what I have Facebook for. Twitter brings me acquaintances with common interests." ~ Carol Phillips, Millennial Marketing, "Why Twitter Matters to Marketers"
ProPublica shows how to tweet ( David Uberti, CJR, 4-6-17) Specifically, shows Trump how to tweet investigative journalism-style.
Book Marketing Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
Twitter in Plain English (a short introduction to the microblogging service Twitter) and Twitter Search in Plain English, new opportunities for business feedback, tracking real time news and discovering trends (excellent video-explanations by Commoncraft)
Twitter Basics (Twitter itself on how Twitter can help your business) "Compelling content will help you attract new followers and keep them engaged over time."
Intro to Twitter for Business
Twitter Campaign Types
9 Top Twitter Tips You Can Start Using Today (Michael Brenner, Forbes, 1-23-13).
Three Twitter Tips for Mystery Writers (and Readers) (Dorie Clark, guest blogging on Jungle Red Writers--scroll down to see her piece, 4-16-13). Brilliant idea: "Brainstorm in bulk."
On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 10-2-16) You have to wonder whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that most basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred. It courses through Twitter at an alarming rate.
Twitter has been ignoring its fake account problem for years (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 1-31-18)
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) 'blocked a range of accounts—including many belonging to journalists—for 24 hours, after they posted messages about a story published by Splinter News (formerly Fusion, which is owned by Univision) that included the private phone number of White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the person many blame for the separation and internment of immigrant families. Twitter apparently saw publishing his phone number as “doxxing,” or revealing personal information about someone for the purpose of harassment, and put the users in “Twitter jail.”'
I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators (Lindy West, The Guardian, 1-3-17) ‘The breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them.’
Martin Shkreli and the Case For Twitter Transparency (Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeedNews, 1-8-17) Every suspension enforced by Twitter sets a precedent. Its users deserve to know why. Twitter “appears unwilling to engage in the necessary transparency surrounding the harassment of its users.”
Why We Can't Fix Twitter (Emily Parker, Politico, 1-7-17) Social media is broken. When will we realize that we're the problem? What's missing? Civil discourse. Suggestions for improvement: an edit button so users could fix erroneous or ill-considered tweets; a bookmark button; improved reporting options for bullying. "We, the users, fan the flames with our views and our retweets and our hot takes."
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) Both Facebook and Twitter are struggling to get a handle on how their platforms are being used by bad actors, but their solutions are causing almost as many problems as they are solving....
Twitter blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked? (Sree Sreenivasan, the go-to guy for new media and an excellent tech teacher, on Web 101, wikis, blogs, etc.). Some content free, some $$. See also Sree's new tips. New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http:/​/​​sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."• Sreenet's Twitter Guide for Newbies and Skeptics
SreeTips (Sree Srinivasan's 's advice on C/​Net)
The Twitter Guide Book (Mashable)
50 Power Twitter Tips (Chris Brogan, who also posted 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
Best Practices (Twitter on how to build your following, reputation, and customer's trust)
How to Get More Retweets
Buddy Media strategies for effective tweeting
Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment (Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed, 8-11-16) For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to do? BuzzFeed News talks to the people who’ve been trying to figure this out for a decade.
Social Media Resources
(KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's invaluable links, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter)

blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked?
Using Twitter, LinkedIn to diversify your sources #ahcj13 (Shuka Kalantari, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-25-13)
Twitter for health journalists (Pia Christensen, AHCJ tip sheet, 3-13-09)
Twitter for health journalists (Shuka Kalantari, AHCJ tip sheet,
Twitter for journalists (Scot Hacker, Ashwin Seshagiri, KDMC tutorial, 6-23-11)
10 ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 9-20-11)
HootSuite Help Desk
What Should Freelancers Tweet About? (David Masters, Freelance Switch)
The Science of ReTweets (Dan Zarella, Mashable--this is quite interesting!)
Twitter Tools: HootSuite & TweetDeck Highlights (Laura Zera via Molly Greene--the pros and cons of two sites for managing your time tweeting and following tweets). Here's more: The Top 20 Twitter Clients being Used in 2012 (Neal Schaffer). Says Schaffer, for 2012, the top clients are:
~~HootSuite (a dashboard to manage your tweets)
~~ Tweetdeck (it tweets when someone tweets you on Twitter)
The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
The Art of Writing Tweets That Stand Out (Houssem, High Quality Social Media
How To: Not Suck at Writing Tweets (Diana Adams, Bit Rebels)
How to Write Tweets That Get Clicks (Twitter How To)
Social Media Hashtags (SEOWebMarketing)
44 Essential Hashtags Every Author Should Know (Caitlin Muir, Platform Building Tips, Author Media)
Managing Your Twitter Following (Kludgymom, Video Tutorial on Business2Blogger, 5-17-11)
Thumbs up for Roger Ebert’s new revenue model on Twitter (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-17-11) and Ebert fishes some lessons from his (revenue) streams (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-18-11)
Promote Your Writing Through Twitter (Jeannette de Beauvoir, Beyond the Elements of Style, 9-4-12)
10 Secrets to Using Twitter to Attract More Followers and Get More Clients by Donna Gunter
The Tweet Smell of Success (Noam Cohen, Brian Stelter, NYTimes, on the power of being on Twitter's A list)
Learning Pool's quick-start guide for people in and around government (Dave Briggs, PDF)
How and why scholars cite on Twitter (Jason Priem and Kaitlin Light Costello, ASIS, 2010)
Twittering Tips for Beginners (David Pogue, NY Times, 1-15-09)
5 Common Twitter Myths That Are Hurting Your Efforts (Lauren Dugan, AllTwitter, the unofficial Twitter resource, 5-23-11) and 5 More Twitter Myths That Will Cripple Your Success (5-24-11). "Tweets are meant to share ideas largely with strangers who don’t care so much about you but more about what you have to say. Facebook status updates are shared with friends (or at least people with whom you have some sort of relationship). The fundamental difference is that with Twitter, your ideas have to sparkle to catch people’s interests; with Facebook, a number of your connections are already interested in you."
10 Ways Twitter Has Made Better Teachers (ASIDE, Innovation Design in Education)
Fred Wilson: The Value Of Twitter Is In "The Power Of Passed Links" (Eric Schonfeld,, 6-16-09)
How Amy O’Leary live-tweeted her own speech — and won the #backchannel (Andrew Phelps, Nieman Journalism Lab, 5-22-12). The New York Times reporter anticipated people on Twitter missing the nuance of her ideas, so she came prepared.
5 Ways to Use Twitter to Avoid a Backchannel Disaster (Cliff Atkinson, Mashable, 3-7-10)
Assault on Georgian professor shows fragility of Twitter and other Web tools and services (NYTimes story by Jenna Wortham and Andrew Kramer, 8-7-09)
155 Ways to Tweet (What to Tweet, How to Tweet, by John Kremer)
On Writing for Twitter and Facebook -- a Poynter series by Roy Peter Clark:
Ways to make room for good writing on social networks
Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads
How to use social networks to brand yourself as a writer
“Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
~ Sree Srinivasan, in a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle
New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http:/​/​​sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."

Facebook 101

Facebook 101 for authors (Joel Pitney, on BuildBookBuzz, 12-21-16) Invaluable. Facebook encourages conciseness but accuracy is not its strong suit.
This webcomic artist has 1 million fans on Facebook. Here’s how he got them (Simon Owens, Medium, 10-10-18) "Chris Grady didn’t know much about the webcomic world when he launched Lunarbaboon, a semi-autobiographical comic about family and parenthood. But shortly after launching the comic, he started sharing it to Reddit, and suddenly Lunarbaboon was being seen and shared by tens of thousands of people. Flash forward a few years, and Lunarbaboon has over a million followers on Facebook. Grady generates $1,500 a month on Patreon and has launched several successful Kickstarter projects related to his comic." His latest Kickstarter is for a board game he helped illustrate and create...
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians (Jeremy B. Merrill and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica, 6-15-18) The social network is letting some political ads slip through without the required verification, while blocking promotional posts by news organizations, which are pushing back. So much for the revised algorithms.
Facebook announces further measures to tackle “false news” (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-21-18) The most famous entrepreneur of his generation is facing a public reckoning with the power of Big Tech. "...former Facebook executives, echoing a growing body of research, began to voice misgivings about the company’s role in exacerbating isolation, outrage, and addictive behaviors....Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice-president of user growth, told an audience at Stanford, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works—no civil discourse, no coöperation, misinformation, mistruth.” "s Facebook expanded, so did its blind spots. The company’s financial future relies partly on growth in developing countries, but the platform has been a powerful catalyst of violence in fragile parts of the globe....Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture."
The Central Question Behind Facebook: 'What Does Mark Zuckerberg Believe In?' (Dave Davies, Fresh Air, NPR, 10-4-18) Last week, Facebook announced the most serious security breach in its history, in which unknown hackers were able to log onto the accounts of nearly 50 million Facebook users. osThat breach was just one of several crises plaguing the world's largest social media platform. Free speech issues and the Russian disinformation campaign targeting the 2016 election had already put Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, under scrutiny as the midterm elections approach.
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? (Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 9-17-18) Osnos says the company has come up against "a growing and really serious decline of public trust, both among politicians and among the general public." with 2.2 billion monthly active users,Facebook is larger than any country. "In literal terms, it now has as many adherents as Christianity." Zuckerberg implied in 2010 that privacy is no longer a social norm. He claimed (in not wanting to identify who paid for ads) that Facebook "shouldn't have to follow those rules because we're a new technology, and in their filings, they said you don't want to stifle the growth of new innovation." Facebook offered to embed employees in both the Trump and Clinton campaigns to help them use the platform effectively; Trump accepted, Clinton didn't. Etc.
Facebook Could Actually Benefit From a Little Regulation (Frédéric Filloux, Shop Talk, Editor & Publisher, 6-15-18)
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Social media superpowers under the microscope Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, and other issues with the Internet "monopolies" (starring Facebook).
After years of growth, the use of social media (read: Facebook) for news is falling across the world (Nieman Lab, 6-18) From a survey: The Trump bump continues…Sixteen percent of respondents in the U.S. pay for some kind of online news — with almost all of the growth coming from left-leaning people and people under 35.... more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) are either unaware of the problems of the news industry or believe that most news organizations are making a profit from digital news....Those that were aware that digital newspapers are making a loss (10 percent of our sample) are more likely to pay for a news subscription or give a donation. Reuters: Donations may help bridge the gap between paying nothing and an expensive subscription, but they also work better for a generation that likes to access multiple sources on multiple devices." And so on.
Is it too late to fix Facebook? (Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union Tribune, 6-2-18) "Facebook has a friends and family problem, meaning the tight-knit social fabric that drew us in — important or heart-warming posts from our moms, dads, sisters, brothers and besties — has all but unraveled. Instead, in our News Feed, we’re left with partially satisfying updates from loose connections, the day’s news and the ensuing rants, and videos we never asked to see."
Sreetips on Facebook (@​SreeTips)
Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M (AP, Fox News and others, 6-7-18) Another software bug.
How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups (Burt Helm, NY Times Magazine, 11-2-17) The platform is so good at “microtargeting” that many small e-commerce companies barely even bother advertising anywhere else.
Facebook Conceded It Might Make You Feel Bad. Here’s How to Interpret That. (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 12-15-17) Concerns over social-media-born misinformation and propaganda during last year’s presidential race, and over what Facebook might be doing to our psychology and social relationships — whether it has addicted us to “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” that “are destroying how society works,” have Silicon Valley wondering, What if Facebook is rotting our brains? Hence this Facebook blog post by David Ginsberg and Moira Burke: Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us? (Dec. 2017): The bad: In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward. he good: On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being. Simply broadcasting status updates wasn’t enough; people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network. And they outline what they are doing about improving Facebook to make it more positively socially interactive.
Facebook Cheat Sheet: All Sizes and Dimensions (Dreamgrow)
Facebook is adding a button to let users get more “background information” (aka information from Wikipedia pages) on publishers (Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 4-4-18). Wikipedia?
Facebook 101: Understanding When & How To Use Basic Features (Greg Finn, Search Engine Land, 12-7-10) A simple guide to getting started using Facebook for marketing your business, organization or events.
Does Facebook Own My Photos? (Harry Guinness, How-to Geek, 4-25-17) No. 'It's right in Facebook’s terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.“Another important clause is, “This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account.” Again, this gives you control. If you delete a photo, Facebook’s license is revoked. It’s the same when you delete your account.' 'Facebook gets a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to your photos...“subject to your privacy and application settings”.''Through Facebook’s privacy settings you’re able to control exactly how your images are used. If you only want your close friends to see them? You can do that. This means that, even though Facebook’s license is broad, you’re still in control of how it’s implemented.'
How to schedule a Facebook group post (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz, 8-9-17)
Retired Fighter Pilot Amy McGrath Announces Run For Congress In Kentucky With One Of The Best Political Ads We’ve Ever Seen (WYSK, 8-3-17). I got to this video/​ad through a Facebook post. How could you NOT vote for the woman?
2 Facebook tips for authors (Sandra Beckwith, Building Book Buzz) How to edit or delete comments, especially your own.
Book Promotion with Facebook (Cathy Stucker's Selling Books)
The Highest Converting Facebook Page I've Ever Seen. Glen Allsopp, ViperChill, includes How to Set Up a High-Converting Facebook Fan Page (editing added. This kid needs an editor, with sentences like "There is no industry where people make as many generalisations than they do with SEO"), but he holds readers' interest and builds an audience with helpful advice and insights, as in Affiliate SEO: How websites are ranking in the most profitable niches and How to Really Build Backlinks and Dominate Google.
Facebook 101 for Business: Your Complete Guide
(Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner)
Facebook Guidelines on Timeline Cover Image (TECHWELKiN)
Facebook is more important to news distribution than you think, and journalists are freaked out (Sam Kirkland, Poynter, 10-2-14)
10 questions journalists should ask themselves before going live on Facebook (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 7-8-16)
Basic Privacy Settings & Tools for Facebook (Facebook Help Center)
The Man Who Stood Up To Facebook (Aarti Shahani, All Things Considered, 10-13-16). Listen or read transcript.
How to save a Facebook link to read later (Sandra Beckwith, BuildBookBuzz, 7-5-17)
Facebook Carousel Content: How to Make Your Posts and Ads Stand Out ( Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner, 4-19-16)
The Met ousted a top executive, so he used Facebook to show the world how to do unemployment right (Jenni Avins, Quartz) When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hired Sree Sreenivasan (@​sree) as its first-ever chief digital officer in 2013, the move made headlines. So did his work in the three years that followed. The day the news broke about his dismissal, he posted a note on Facebook, announcing his unemployment. (See Sree's note on Facebook (6-17-16). His strategy worked. See How one digital expert turned his social network into a new job (Roben Farzad, PBS NewsHour, 8-4-16) Takeaway: "“It’s important to have control of your narrative.”
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 2-15-11)
How Will Facebook's 3,000 New Content Moderators Tackle the Violent Videos Program? (Cale Guthrie Weissman, Fast Company, 5-12-17) Here’s what we know so far about this new global army of moderators hired to flag and take down inappropriate posts and videos.
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter)
All Facebook (Social Times keeps up with Facebook news)
Facebook Strategy for Authors: In-Depth Discussion (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12)
5 Principles for Using Facebook (Jane Friedman, 4-3-12)
3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (Jane Friedman, 8-16-11)
Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (Jane Friedman, 11-21-11)
Facebook wants to make it easier for publishers to make money (Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 9-12-16)
[Back to Top]

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Key words and categories
27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018 (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 3-19-18) Brian Dean's Backlinko website is invaluable. All-encompassing and meaty.
White Hat SEO Tutorial (WordStream) How to Improve Search Performance While Maintaining Your Integrity
Kindle Keyword Strategy for Fiction Authors (Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur) How to come up with the fiction key words and phrases your readers use when shopping for their next book, how to find out how many people type them in, etc. Key words affect whether readers discover your books; sales are affected by how well designed your book cover is, how your book title reads, how your book description converts, how creative your story is, and how well your book is reviewed. See also Kindle Rankings: Categories vs. Keywords
New website owners: tips for choosing your keywords (
How to Write Better Marketing Copy (Jane Friedman, PW, 9-21-18) Don't be too smart or clever in your book descriptions. When marketing books, think—and write copy—like a reader. Use the words your readers would use. Don't use ‘urban settings,’ ‘world-weary protagonists,’ and ‘harsh realism,’ if your readers are likely to look for a book with less sophisticated terms such as ‘bad guys,’ ‘FBI,’ ‘action-packed,’ ‘surprise ending,’ and ‘courtroom drama.’
Webmaster Guidelines (Google Support)
How SEO works (ClickMinded's 2018 SEO tutorial for complete beginners)
The 3-Step Sales Funnel Strategy for Powerful Funnels That Convert (ClickMinded) It takes a while to get used to the SEO marketing lingo.
How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results (Glen Alsopp, Viperchill) The techniques 16 online media companies with large portfolios of brands use to dominate search results in Google across a wide range of topics and categories. As Mike Shatzkin explains, in Book publishers do not do SEO like the big guys do although they could 'Google values a great deal: “domain authority” and “inbound links” nested in “content” that seems “natural.” ' "These powerful multi-brand content organizations have such massive traffic and authority that they can influence Google search for the most searched terms on the Internet."
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide (Google)
What is tag management? Mike Pantoliano, MOZ, 10-15-12)
Tags made easy (Google Marketing Platform)
Video SEO - How to Rank #1 in YouTube (Brian Dean)
5 Day SEO Mini-Course (HubSpot--Search Engine Optimization training delivered daily to your inbox)
My (Insanely Large) List of SEO Tools & Other Useful Resources(Portent)
Make your content more thorough, more up-to-date, better designed (not ugly)--then get the word out there with strategic email reach.
Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics (Anoop Sudhakaran, Shout Me Loud, 1-13-18)
SEO: What Are NoFollow and DoFollow Links?
Debate: DoFollow vs. NoFollow Links (Janith, Blogussion,
Get some comment love for your static website (Jeet Jitendraag, Blogussion) If you have a “static” website that doesn’t dynamically update with RSS feeds, then you could be missing out on some traffic benefits. In this post, Jeet from Get Links Pro goes over how to make your content RSS feed accessible so you can use CommentLuv to promote your pages.
10 SEO Lessons to Learn from Backlinko’s Success: Behind the Scenes with Brian Dean (
Click Through Rates Numbers and Their Meaning (Comm100)
Banner blindness (Wikipedia) A phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information (also called ad blindness or banner noise).
Marketing Myths (Pete McCarthy, DigitalBookWorld, DBW, 4-23-15) He uses "To Kill a Mockingbird” to show why the words that are in the book are not sufficient for first-rate SEO. The term "civil rights" doesn't appear in the novel, for example. (H/​T Mike Shatzkin)
The utility of examining the text of a book to find search terms for SEO (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 5-6-15). See also Doing SEO right requires research into the audience, not maximum knowledge of the book (also Shatzkin). "For all our careers, descriptive copy — catalog copy, title information sheets, press releases — about any book was written by somebody who really knew the book. That normally meant it was drafted by a junior editor or marketer who had read every word of the manuscript, and perhaps even worked on developing it. But in today’s world, where the most important job of descriptive copy is to make the book “discoverable” through search to the person likely to buy it, it must be written with knowledge of the potential audiences, and that knowledge can only be gathered through research."
SEO Training Course by Moz (free Udemy course)
The 2015 SEO Checklist (ClickMinded)
A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO (Moz)
SEO Toolbar (SEOBook)
Building a Video SEO Strategy (Phil Nottingham, Moz, 12-3-12)
Google Webmaster Tools
The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors (Search Engine Land). See Search Engine Land's Guide to SEO/a>
The Beginner's Guide to SEO (Moz), including How Search Engines Operate
Learn SEO and Search Marketing (Moz)
The Moz blog The industry's top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights—all in the name of helping you level-up your SEO and online marketing skills.
SEO Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Different (Jordan Teicher, Content Strategist, Contently, 2-24-15)
Fact or Fiction: 6 Things About SEO That You Should Probably Be Aware Of (Joe Fylan, Elegant Themes, 10-18-15) "Google doesn’t want you to avoid SEO. They just want you to avoid shady practices that could be interpreted as cheating. If you interpret that as a need to abandon any and all SEO practices, your website will probably suffer."
Is Yoast SEO Really the Ultimate SEO Plugin? (Tom Ewer, Elegant Themes, 11-11-15)
Search Engine Optimization for Bing
Architecting content for SEO (SEM 101)
The Three Cs of Search Engine Optimization (Kent Lewis, Anvil) The building blocks of SEO include content, code and credibility.
3 Things You Need to Know About Google Search Analytics (Aaron Taube, The Content Strategist, Contently, 8-13-15))
Google gives webmasters more detailed traffic breakdown with new Search Analytics reports (Paul Sawers, VentureBeat, 5-6-15)
5 Steps to Top Performing Content (Kent Lewis, Anvil, March 2005)
Web Standards Project
SEO site advice from the Google experts (Google I/​O 2010) (YouTube video of site reviews--participants Matt Cutts, Tiffany Lane, Greg Grothaus, Vanessa Fox, 5-10-10)
Gadgets, Google, and SEO (Matt Cutts)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Instant Position (SEO Doc test--check out your website's search engine optimization)
Affiliate SEO: How Websites Are Ranking in the Most Profitable Niches (
It's a New Me (As Seen on Google)
More guidance on building high-quality sites (Amit Singhal, Google Webmaster Central Blog 5-6-11)
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmasters video channel
Keyword Planner (Google AdWords)
Verifying ownership of your site (Google Webmaster Central Blog)
Improving your page layout algorithm (Google Webmaster Central blog)
SEO Basics (Yahoo Style Guide)
Search Engine Land
SEO Is Dead, And The New King Is ‘SMO’ (Ben Elowitz, paidContent, 11-29-10). "Search was critical when answers to questions were scarce," writes Elowitz. Now, it appears, "the audience values content, not keywords. And Facebook sides with the audience. And so it’s time to christen a new era of social-media optimization, or 'SMO.' The era of SMO liberates publishers from the exercise of tricks, hacks and keywords. Instead, the big opportunity is now once again creating and refining the most appealing content possible."
SEO Smarty blog
Wikipedia's entry on SEO/a>
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing blog
Google Webmaster guidelines
Yahoo content quality guidelines
The Dirty Little Secrets of Search (David Segal, NY Times Business Day, 2-12-11).
Interactive Marketing White Papers (More Visibility)
Search Engine Journal (SEJ)
Inside Search blog
Basics of Photography SEO, Part 1: Google doesn’t hate you (Nigel Merrick, Black Star Rising, 11-26-12). See also Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords (check the list).
[Back to Top]

Cloud computing

What Is Cloud Computing? (Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 5-3-16) A clear explanation.
Cloud computing (Wikipedia entry covers the history of cloud computing and various aspects of it, including its architecture, providers, platforms, storage, security, privacy, limitations and disadvantages,)
How Cloud Computing Works (Jonathan Strickland, HowStuffWorks)
Where's The Rub: Cloud Computing's Hidden Costs (Jared Wray, Forbes, 2-27-14)
Cloud Backup: Pros, Cons, Considerations (Linda Carlson, IBPA,
The Hidden Risks of Cloud Computing (Gina Trapani, Lifehacker, 7-29-09) An overview: Lesser privacy protection under the law, weak security systems that are too easy to break into, data lock-in and third-party control, server unavailability and account lock-out. newsletter archive (newsletter archive of consultant Claude Kerno, who fixes computers and other tech in Colorado and the Washington DC area--my personal fixer) See for example: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Life After Death.
Cloud Storage (PC Magazine's Business Software Index). Describes and rates 12 products: Google Drive, CertainSafe, Microsoft OneDrive, iDrive Cloud Storage, Box, CrashPlan, Sugar Sync, Zoho Docs, Dropbox, Apple iCloud Drive, Hightail). For more recent data, see href=""target="_blank">The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services of 2017 (Michael Muchmore and Jill Duffy, PC Magazine, 3-31-17)
How Amazon Fire TV Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) "For years, viewers have been streaming shows from Netflix to their TVs using gaming consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. But more recently, several technology companies have introduced so-called set-top boxes that make it easier to watch hundreds of streaming video channels directly on your TV via your Internet provider. Apple TV and Roku are the leading set-top boxes, but there's a new player in town that's vying for the increasingly fractured attention of the American TV audience, and its name is Amazon Fire TV. Keep reading to see how Amazon Fire TV works and how it measures up to the competition."
[Back to Top]

Web 2.0 and social networking

How to Go Viral: Lessons from the Most Shared Content of 2015 (Steve Rayson, Buzzsumo, 12-2-15)
Buzzsumo. Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Check out its Knowledge Base.
Do you know why you *don't* do it? (Denise Graveline, Don't Get Caught, 1-31-18) Comms directors and their teams get asked, cajoled, ordered, nagged, and otherwise dinged to do all manner of outreach. And too often, they say yes when they really should be able to say, "You know, we *don't* do that because..." with a reasonable, non-anxious explanation following. Life's too short to produce products nobody uses.
What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this. See also Why Don’t Publishers Believe in Author Websites? (9-27-13) and the many comments in response to it.
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us (Noah Kagan, HuffPost, 6-13-14) Ten ingredients that will help increase the shareability of your content, culled from various sources. For example: (1) Long-form content has less competition, and more shares on average. (2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares. (3) List posts and infographics are more likely to be shared.
About the Social Graph (Google's explanation of how all those people's names show up on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages, saying, "You might be friends with X, Y, and Z."

Adobe Acrobat Reader (download the latest version, free). You need this to read PDF (portable document format") files.

Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1 (Problogger). See also The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You about Making Money with Adsense by Joel Comm (for Adsense newbies)

Affiliate Guide

Anonymous vs. Scientology: A Case Study of Digital Media (Dan Schultz, Idea Lab, 2-15-08)

A List Apart (articles for people who make websites)

Analysis: Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use? (file under Problems we didn't know we had) by Danny Sullivan offers a thorough analysis of which URL-shortening services are good and bad, in which ways. Of particular interest to Tweeters.

Analytics Toolbox: 50+ Ways to Track Website Traffic (Mashable, 2007)

Anatomy of an HTML page – part 1 (John Espirian)

Basics of various social media explained on excellent teacher training videos from Russell Stannard. Includes tutorials on JING, iTunes, Twitter, Blogger, Survey Monkey, Delicious, Glogster. Great website.

Branding. Personal Branding Basics for 2011 A brand is a promise, explains Chris Brogan. Read this, then scroll down and find links to more excellent tips on branding.

Boost Your Freelance Brand 100 Percent with Your Expert Status (Thursday Bram, Freelance Marketing, Freelance Switch, 9-4-12)

Can We Be Facebook Friends? Can doctors and patients be Facebook friends? (entry on Social Media Healthcare

A checklist for website content work (Erin Kissane, A List Apart -- for people who make websites, 3-8-11)

Citrix systems include GoToMeeting (for online meetings) and GoToWebinar (webinars for up to 1000 attendees).

Content Marketing Boot Camp:Everything You Wanted To Know In One Post (Shane Snow, The Content Strategist, 1-19-12)

Content Marketing 101. "In contrast to 'interruption' marketing such as television commercials or direct mail, content marketing involves delivering requested information with independent value that creates trust, credibility, and authority for the business that provides that value. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger, in a five-part tutorial, lays out the basics. Start with How to Build Your Business with Content, then go to Simone's The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing, and read on.

Cover It Live. A Web-based live blogging tool, which allows you to broadcast live commentary to your readers. A partner of Demand Media (not a hero in the world of writer's rights). Check Reviews & News along right side.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation. How web video powers global innovation (19-minute video of TED's Chris Anderson on how the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation)

Document Cloud, created by journalists from ProPublica and The New York Times as an online repository of source documents. From an interesting story in the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists: "Explore how the Las Vegas Sun used DocumentCloud to present hospital inspection reports, and the violations they contained, to its readers": an interactive graphic created by combining Document Cloud with Flash "to make the reports searchable and more meaningful to the public"

Drupal BarCamp 2010. Listen to sessions in audio, including Josh Ward of Volacci on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Everything Old Is New Again: The Return of the Live Event (about the changing level of students' comfort engaging in face-to-face communication, and readers' desire to be in touch personally with the creators whose products they then buy--by Tim Brookes of the Champlain College Publishing Initiative)

Facebook (major social networking site, tending more toward personal than professional)
Facebook Strategy for Authors (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12, "Being human at electric speed: Exploring what it means to be a writer in the digital age"). Former publisher of Writer's Digest. Her personal strategy:
~~5 Principles for Using Facebook (4-3-12)
~~3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (8-16-11)
~~Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (11-21-11)
Facebook: Best practices for profiles, pages, groups, and posts (Darcy Patterson, Wow!)
Facebook for the Famous (Matt Haber, Today, Fast Company, on WhoSay (social media for celebrities only)
A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, has edited and annotated Shana Greatman Swers Facebook page to tell her story from pre-baby date nights to a medical odyssey that turned the ecstasy of childbirth into a struggle for life.
Facebook Scandal Version 2.0 (Michael S. Malone, ABC News, 2-20-09,on Facebook's growing pains and our rights as Facebook users)

Forget Privacy: What the Internet Knows About You by Jessica Bennett (Newsweek 10-22-10) and The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets by Julia Angwin (first in Wall Street Journal series on the fast-growing business of spying on consumers). Watch your back!

Free encyclopedias
Wikipedia Scholarpedia (like Wikipedia, but with articles subject to peer review)
Citizendium (like Wikipedia but more transparent as to authorship).
Those interested in the subject of accuracy in online encyclopedias may find the entry of Criticism of Wikipedia of interest. Many of us find it useful for a quick take on a subject we know nothing about, though we wouldn't use it as a sole source of information.

Freemium, a business model in which you give away a substantial amount of a core product for free in order to generate revenue by selling a select few premium products to a small percentage of the freebie audience. Businesses that have used this mode, as discussed in this free e-book include Skype (only 12% of users pay), Flat World Knowledge--see those and other case studies, including that of Paul Coelho, whose books became bestsellers after he made them available for free online.

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content (Jakob Nielsen, NN/​g, Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, & Consulting). Read the implications of this eye-tracking study to know how to organize your own Web content. In follow-up piece by Sen
soMotoric Instruments, Case Study Eye Tracking: Mobile Devices: "The eye tracking data helped to identify three different types of users: reader (5%), scanner (58%), and navigator (37%). The reader examines the text carefully while the scanner just skims over the text. The navigator is not reading at all and skips the text completely."

FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined (Ryan Singel, Wired, 10-5-09, pointing out some gaps and weaknesses in the rules) and here are the FTC Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Funny or Die: Groupon’s Fate Hinges on Words (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 5-28-11). "Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay."

Google Buzz. David Coursey, of PC World, outlines Five Reasons to Love Google Buzz, Five Reasons Not (Yahoo News, 2-11-10).3 Google Buzz Privacy Concerns. Andrew R. Hickey (ChannelWeb, 2-11-10). And Robert McMillan, of PCWorld, reports: Google Buzz Criticized for Disclosing Gmail Contacts (read the comments, too). Ian Paul, of PCWorld provides a guide to protecting yourself: Google Buzz: A Privacy Checklist(2-11-10). (Love the way PCWorld corrects their original article, showing where the erroneous sentence was deleted and the correction made.) Add Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service by Miguel Helft (NY Times, 2-12-10).

Google's Webmaster Guidelines . Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. At the very least, learn what practices will turn Google off (algorhythmically).

How to Back Up Your Social Media Presence (Brenna Ehrlich, Mashable, 12-10, on how to download and store the photos, videos, statuses, updates you post -- effectively, your diary online: your tweets, your blog, etc.)

How to Create a Great E-Newsletter. In exchange for your e-mail address you get a free 10-lesson e-course on creating an e-newsletter.

How to Get Your Avatar to Show Up Everywhere (Thomas Umstattd, Author Media--Help for authors timid about technology)

How to Measure Social Media Marketing; 3 Steps (Paul Chaney, Practical Ecommerce --Insights for Online Merchants, 7-12-11)

How to Make Money with Free (Nathan Hangen on Content Marketing, on Copyblogger)

How to use social media effectively
Some thoughts on being social (Maryn McKenna, The Further Adventures of Germ Girl, handout from talk given at AHCJ conference, 2012)
Quit the Daily Grind: A Newspaper Reporter’s Journey into New Media (Maryn McKenna's notes from one of her talks, Further Adventures of Germ Girl. Note how she uses Stich.It to convert a set of links into one short URL to share.
• Basics of various social media explained on excellent teacher training videos from Russell Stannard. Includes tutorials on JING, iTunes, Twitter, Blogger, Survey Monkey, Delicious, Glogster. Great website.

How to Use Twitter. Useful tips by Nathan Bransford

Instant Flipbook (convert PDF files to flash page flipbook in minutes)

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, the first PubMed-indexed video methods journal in biology)


((social networking in the workplace, with more of an emphasis on job-seeking and professional connections than on socializing)
LinkedIn review and rating (PC Magazine rates it excellent--4.5 stars out of 5). Story by Jill Duffy.
5 Easy Steps To Organize Your Prospects & Build Relationships Using LinkedIn’s Relationship Tab (infographic, Melanie Dodaro, TopDog Social Media, 7-23-14)

LinkedIn: Strictly Business (Marilynne Rudick, WebOver50, 6-12-10)
11 Tips For Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo (Norine Dagliano, Career Realism)
I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What? (Jason Alba, Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms)
The Importance of Legitimate LinkedIn Reviews (Tyson Snow, Social Media, Esq.)
The Business of Editing: Are Editors to LinkedIn Like Oil is to Water? ( Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, for An American Editor, 2-27-12). "In a LinkedIn group for self-professed 'grammar geeks,' some discussions answer grammar and usage questions accurately and interestingly, but many of the responses are from people who know even less than those asking the questions."
What's To Love About LinkedIn? (Melanie Lindner,, 6-20-08)
10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs (Make a Living Writing)
Almost Savvy on LinkedIn (various posts on LinkedIn on Irene Koehler's blog, with entries such as How To Opt-Out of Social Ads on LinkedIn in 5 Clicks . "LinkedIn is THE place to start when you’re ready to tell your branding story the way you want it to be told."

Lula's Logic (Seth Godin on vegan ice cream store in East Village as example of why saying less may make marketing sense)

MindMeister (online mind mapping software, for collaborative mindmapping)

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett, in which you learn that the income may be indirect, not direct

Qwitter (once a day tells you who has stopped following you on Twitter!)

Readability. Install this tool on your website browser and it removes the clutter around what you're reading, it says here.

The 6 Types of Blog Commentors: Do You Know Them? (Naomi Dunford, Itty Biz, marketing for businesses without marketing departments)

** Social Media Resources
(KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's invaluable links, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter)

6 social media platforms at a glance Kent Lewis (iMedia connection) outlines differences in demographics, mindset, ideal fit for Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn,Blogs, Twitter, and YouTube. Who you'll reach, and how.

Skype, software that enables free phone calls via the Internet. And if you have a Webcam on your computer you can see each other (which could be good or bad, but is great for keeping up with the grandchildren). Check out the Skype handset , a phone you plug into a USB port so you needn't use the computer's mic and speakers for Skype phone calls (sold here on IPEVO (an online store for tools for the connected world)

Slideshare (like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations: share your presentations with the world; add audio to create a Webinar)

Smashing Magazine has excellent material on website design (including 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines, tutorials, navigation, typography and free fonts)

Smashing Magazine has excellent material on website design (including 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines, tutorials, navigation, typography and free fonts.

Snagit (screen capture software -- voted favorite in one group of instructional design pros)

Social bookmarking in plain English (Common Craft)

Social Fish: Making It . Elizabeth Chang on group that helps organizations use social networks created by vendors or take advantage of existing social networks to keep in touch with members (Washington Post, 6-28-09)

Social media technology in plain English (great short video explanations from Common Craft)

Social Media and Web 2.0 in Government (

Social Media Skills for Journalists (great links in this syllabus for Sree Srinivasan's course,Columbia Graduate School of Journalism)

Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses (Michael A. Stelzner, Social Media Success Summit 2009). Download free PDF file.

Selling Our Books on Social Media--Don't Be a Personal Space Invader (Kristen Lamb's blog)

Social Network Websites (John Kremer's links, Book Marketing and Book Promotion)

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being joined by many other, more specialized sites -- see Wikipedia's list of, and links to, Social networking websites.

SparkList (email marketing software and list-hosting solutions)

Spectacularly creative ads, issue 13 (Dark Roasted Blends)

Spelling mistakes 'cost millions' in lost online sales (Sean Coughlan, BBC News 7-13-11). Revenue per visitor to the website was twice as high after an error was corrected. "When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue..." "You get about six seconds to capture the attention on a website."

Squidoo links to blogs about social media and Top 100 Squidoo Lenses on Business and Work

StumbleUpon (personalized recommendations on the Web)

SurveyMonkey (a free and simple way to create surveys)

TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)

TechCrunch (group-edited blog about Web 2.0 start-up products & companies, with many posts written by Michael Arrington)

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading. Excellent speakers on fascinating topics, free to the world, on video, often or usually with transcripts.

Ways to make room for good writing on social networks by Roy Peter Clark (Poynter Online, 11-22-10). Part 1 of a series. Part 2: Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks (i.e., craft your message), 12=9-10.

Webmonkey tutorials (HTML, JavaScript, design and more), cheat sheets (HTML, CSS and special characters), color charts, and snippets of code (templates and cut-and-paste snippets and scripts you may not know how (or may not want to bother) to program.

Websites: Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign (Cameron Moll, A List Apart--for people who make websites)

Writing and editing for the Web:
Writing and Editing for the Web (Chris Harvey, University of Maryland School of Journalism).
Excellent articles about online writing (Full Circle Communications) . for example:
Writing "About Us"
Writing website bios
The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World, in both print and digital (for Kindle) editions. A guide to providing online content, with sections on making site accessible to all and search-engine optimized. Click here for supporting website, with entries on such online concerns as eye-tracking (where readers look first) and user-interface basics.

[Go Top]

Blogging Toolbox (Mashable's links to 120+ resources for bloggers)--start here!
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, Web DevCenter
Blogging Tips (Keven Ann Willey, as reported in AJR)
Blogging Basics 101
Blogging tips galore (Lorelle on WordPress, who among other things offers digital inserts to prevent plagiarism)
Blogs in plain English (Common Craft video explanation)
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Blog Usability (top 10 Weblog design mistakes, Jakob Nielsen)
Content Marketing 101 (Copyblogger on How to Build Your Business With Content)
Copyblogger (useful blog on blogging, here on the importance of a calendar and planning)
Daily blog tips
Google Sites (for a group website or a company intranet--new, and the votes not in on this one yet)
Great Landing Pages (Copyblogger)
LiveJournal (free, good for blogging among friends)
Nine Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers (Joshua Porter)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered (Hubspot, focused on business-to-business blogging). Those were most common questions from HubSpot'sScience of Blogging webinar, viewable on demand here, with Dan Zarrella.
Using Google alerts to monitor incoming links/a>
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Widget websites (John Kremer's links to websites and other services devoted to making and hosting widgets)
Business2Blogger (must useful info for business blogging)
The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits (David Kravets, Wired, 10-27-10). "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court. But to dock in that legal safe harbor, a site has to, among other things, register an official contact point for DMCA takedown notices, a process that involves filling out a form and mailing a check" to the U.S. Copyright Office. Advises Kravets: "If you run a U.S. blog or a community site that accepts user content, you can register a DMCA agent by downloading this form (.pdf) and sending $105 and the form to Copyright RRP, Box 71537, Washington, D.C., 20024."


WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post. Some problems reported)
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)
Xanga (personal blogging community)

RSS readers, feed aggregators, and other devices for keeping track of your favorite blogs etc.

What the heck is RSS (Copyblogger explains RSS, feed readers, bookmarks, chicklets, etc.). See also RSS Readers(also Copybloggers, part of Is RSS Really Dead?
What Is RSS (Mark Pilgrim,, 12-18-02)
An explanation of RSS/​feeds/​online newsletters (Yen Cheong, on The Book Publicity Blog)
Feed 101 and Feedburner Help Group
RSS, explained (Wikipedia)
What is RSS (ProBlogger's explanation: It's like a subscription that is delivered to your RSS reader everytime a website you've subscribed to updates.)
Is RSS Really Dead? (
RSS in Plain Language (Common Craft)
RSS, Twitter, email subscribers, please read (Seth Godin)
Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your RSS Reader (Marshall Kirkpatrick)
The Ultimate RSS Toolbox – 120+ RSS Resources (Mashable)
Readers include: Bloglines, Google Reader , Newsgator, Google Feedburner (now Google-owned),My Yahoo, SharpReader, FeedReader, AmphetaDesk, RSS Bandit

Resources for doing podcasting
Podcast Listeners Really Are the Holy Grail Advertisers Hoped They'd Be (Miranda Katz, Wired, 1-29-18) "Forget those worries that the podcast bubble would burst the minute anyone actually got a closer look: It seems like podcast listeners really are the hyper-engaged, super-supportive audiences that everyone hoped."
Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS (Mark Jansen, Digital Trends, 7-12-18) Several apps ("podcatchers") are available on various systems for both iOS and Android that allow you to download and sort episodes. These apps are generally cheap (or free). Good how-to piece on how to download podcasts and listen to them on your device. Covered here: Google podcasts, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Overcast, Apple Podcasts app (iTunes)...
Best Podcast Listening Apps (For iOS & Android) 2018 (Podcast Insights, as of 8-3-18) Here's their very useful list; see the article for details about each app.
(1) iOS & Android Podcast Apps. RadioPublic. Pocket Casts. Castbox. Podbean. Stitcher. TuneIn Radio. Spotify.
(2) iOS Podcast Apps. Overcast. Castro. Downcast. PodCruncher. iCatcher. Castaway. Apple Podcasts.
(3) Android Podcast Apps. Google Podcasts. Podcast Republic. Podcast Addict. BeyondPod. Doggcatcher. Player FM. Podkicker. AntennaPod.
The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life (Molly Worthen, OpEd, NY Times, 8-3-18) Men dominate the self-help podcast system. "They appear on one another’s shows and plug one another’s products."
Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling (the podcast, 'The Pub' #112, Current, listen on SoundCloud). And the online story (Gabe Bullard, Senior Digital Producer ('1A'), Current, 5-21-18) "Podcasts are a nearly perfect vehicle for narrative storytelling. The episodic nature, the way each chapter is delivered to the listener’s personal device, the inherent intimacy of audio, advertisers’ interests in reaching a connected audience over several episodes, and the human nature for hearing and sharing stories all make the platform ideal for delivering narratives."
As kids’ podcasts gain ground, producers test ideas for live shows (Lindsay Patterson, Current: News for People in Public Media,
How to Start a Podcast: Ultimate Guide for Beginners (Robert Mening, WebsiteSetup, 5-13-17) A 14-step guide.
podCast 411
Best Podcast Apps ( John Corpuz & Jackie Dove, Tom's Guide, 6-20-18) Keep abreast of your favorite podcasts with the best mobile podcatchers. Podcasting apps, also known as podcatchers, do more than just play back your podcasts. The best-in-class automatically download and sort the newest episodes of your subscribed podcasts, help manage your subscriptions and include audio tools and features to give you the best listening experience possible.
Book Marketing Tips: How To Be An Effective Podcast Guest ( Alexandra Amor, Creative Penn, 2-9-18)
Podfeet Podcasts (Technology Geek Podcasts with an EVER so Slight Apple Bias!) Blog posts, podcasts, videos, tutorials)
Podcasting embraces a new era of cool (thanks, Serial) (Lance Ulanoff, Mashable) Podcasting is taking over broadcasting?
4 Podcasting Best Practices for Beginners or Veterans (Carla Kalogeridis, Association Media & Publishing 9-1-2015) Invest in good tools. Podcasting requires microphones, headphones, and editing software. Popular software includes GarageBand, Reaper, and Audacity.
Equipment you’ll need to start your own podcast (Carlett Spike, CJR, 6-5-17)
The Absolute Beginners Guide to Podcasting: Equipment (OSTraining)
The Podcast Equipment Guide (Dan Benjamin, The Podcast Method)
Audacity (the free cross-platform, open-source software for recording and editing audio)
GarageBand (Mac software used to create music or podcasts)
Reaper (digital audio production application for Windows and OS X)
Podcasting Best Practices (Cision)
What You Need To Start A Podcast (Tyler Hayes, Fast Company, his story includes interviews with Manoush Zomorodi, host of WYNC's New Tech City podcast; and Alex Goldmark, New Tech City producer
Before You Start a Podcast: 4 Tips for Authors (Devon Fredericksen, on Jane Friedman's site).
How I Make Podcasts (Casey Liss, Liss is More, 11-22-14)
11 diverse podcasts to give you a fresh perspective on life (Yohana Desta, Mashable) It's not all white guys.
Podcasting Toolbox (Mashable's links to 70+ podcasting tools and resources)
Introduction to Podcasting (Learn Out Loud). What is podcasting? How do I listen to a podcast?
Apple's answers to FAQs on podcasting
How to Create Your Own Podcast - A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Corey Deitz,
Wikipedia's useful entry and links on podcasting
podCast411 (tutorials on podcasts and podcasting and links to more tutorials)
Libsyn (liberated syndication) -- one stop hosting solution for everything you need to start podcasting, get your podcast in iTunes, become an App. "Cheap, simple, reliable," says one writer (TL). "Begin building your audience immediately."
Podcasting Legal Guide (Creative Commons)
The B&H Equipment Guide to Telephone Interviews (Sam Mallery)
The B&H Handheld Digital Audio Recorders Buyer's Guide (Sam Mallery)
Some practical tips for podcasting from your home/​office
---Use an external microphone ("mic"), not a computer's built-in mic.
---Plug directly into the ethernet rather than trying to skype over wifi.
---Have others in the house get off the internet, particularly if they are backing up or streaming movies--actions that hog capacity.
---Find the room with the best sound quality, preferably one away from where others in the house are likely to make noise. (Post a notice "Shhh...Recording interview" on door.)
---Do interviews midweek, or whenever your neighbors are less likely to be using chainsaws and lawnmowers.
---Ask the interviewee to do the same. (H/​T to Shawn Radcliffe for these tips.)

Brain Teasers. A series of games (birdwatching, memory match, monster garden, speed match, spatial speed match, color match, lost in migration and chalkboard)designed by lumosity to improve cognitive function by improving memory and attention.

Do you know your states? (an addictive geography game from Jim's pages, which contains a miscellany of goodies)

Hue Shift, a brain teaser from Kongregate, a Flash game site.

JetPunk. Great timed quizzes in many categories. See how you fare on these, among others:
Countries of the World
Computer nerd acronyms quiz
Name the Elements
Name the Planets
States in the U.S.A.
NFL Football Teams
Fast typing to 100
Great quizzes -- save link for rainy days!

Selective attention test
(on YouTube) and follow-up, The Monkey Business Illusion by Daniel Simons.

Spelling Bee
difficulty level:

score: -

please wait...
spell the word: