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Briggs: managing social media resources can aid journalism

April 7, 2010

By Lauren Stott

For any journalist who’s ever had a question about navigating the field of social media, Mark Briggs probably has an answer. And if he doesn’t, he’s probably following someone on Twitter who does.

Briggs taught a crash course in managing the resources of social media Friday to a group of  Chicago-area journalists, students and educators for the Chicagoland Associated Press Managing Editors/Mid-America Press Institute NewsTrain Workshop at the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Briggs, an author and entrepreneur, presented information in “Covering Communities in New Ways” about how journalists can successfully manage links and sources in the growing social media world.

Briggs explained how journalists, professionals who refer to and bookmark many different sources on the Web, can utilize an aggregation system like an RSS reader to keep an eye on important sites.

“You’re curious people, you want to be smarter and save time,” Briggs said to the group. “[An] RSS feed can make you smarter and save you time.”

Briggs, who uses Google Reader as the control panel for his feeds to be directed to, showed how virtually any Web site, from a news organization’s home pages to a source’s Twitter feed, can be added to the personalized stream of information.
“The first thing you have to [do] with RSS is subscribe to too much,” Briggs said. “You don’t have to read all the entries in the feed, but you can search against it. It’s your personal version of the Web.”

Briggs’ fingers were moving all over his laptop keyboard, showing the audience his extensive feed and common places RSS links can be found on sites.

Briggs also talked about Web sites that journalists may find to be helpful tools, like Publish2 and Delicious, both social bookmarking sites, and Craigslist.

“There’s actually a lot of news in Craigslist. You just have to find a way to organize it,” Briggs said while showing how to install a specific Craigslist query in his RSS feed.

Briggs, who emphasized the value of Twitter throughout the presentation, showed a tool similar to an RSS feed strictly for updates from Twitter users. He said several sites specializing in this service exist on the Web, naming Hootsuite and Tweetdeck as top choices with high user satisfaction.

Daily Chronicle editor Jason Schaumburg spoke up, commenting on his experience with the service.

“I love Tweetdeck on my [computer] but not on my phone,” he said. Several other participants commented throughout the presentation, letting others know about their experience with social media tools. Briggs expanded on their comments with more information and suggestions for both new and experienced users.

“These [tools] are taking on the task of breaking down the way journalists receive info from online sources,” Briggs said.
Throughout the 90-minute presentation, Briggs emphasized the importance of journalists staying informed and staying connected via the Internet, with numerous examples to prove his own Web savvy.

By the presentation’s end, Briggs had landed on his own Hootsuite home page.

As he finished his presentation, Briggs’ visible personalized feed was projected on the screen behind him, with an example of the effects of social media in a tweeted message to Briggs from  Schaumburg: ‘Many thanks to @Markbriggs, who presented a wealth of social media information at today’s APME NewsTrain.”

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