Welcome to the class blog for the spring semester of Culture and Social Media Technologies at NYU-Praha.

This post is meant to be an introduction and a collection of useful resources to dig deeper into blogging and tweeting as part of the course.

Here’s a quick recap on  blogs:

Some tips to remember for blogs:

  • Keep headlines short and interesting. Active voice.
  • Put “Page Break” (to left of spell check in tool bar) after first sentence. This will show up as the post description on front page and in previews (if you post to FB for example)
  • Tag and categorize. Categories=where you’d file the story.  Tags = specific mentions and stuff people would search for (Net Freedom, McDonald’s, Egypt). Note, do not confuse tags with hashtags.
  • Hyperlink all attributions and all quotes from other sources. It’s good manners, but it also lets your reader easily check out more reading for themselves.
  • Hyperlink for background info (even if it’s to the wikipedia page of an unfamiliar term).
  • Photos must be creative commons licensed and have hyperlinked attribution. And don’t forget to make one image per post a “featured image” so it will show up on the front page.
  • Put link to original source of photo in Description so others can find it int he media library.
  • When embedding video, paste the “share” code directly in blog text.  a Sharecode looks like this: “http://youtu.be/VSPZ2Uu_X3Y” It can be found underneathe the video on youtube by clicking on “share” then “share this video”.  Note do not use embed code.

Tips for twitter:

  • General structure of a tweet is: Headline, shortened web adress (url), then #hashtags, then extra info (cc, via, etc).
  • General etiquette is that Twitter is more open and casual than facebook.  following somebody doesn’t have same significance as friending on facebook. follow back or don’t. it’s up to you. basically following somebody is like saying “i am moderately interested in what you have to say or in what you have to share”
  • keep tweets short and succinct it’s ok to drop unnecessary words (the, a, and, is, etc) as long as it make sense.
  • keep tweets to fewer than 120 characters. That way there is still space for people to include your handle when they retweet you.
  • RT = retweet. example RT @nytimes: this happened today bit.ly/Yuu86 #news #brooklyn
  • MT = modified tweet. use if you change or shorten original tweet.
  • don’t click on links from random people direct messaging you. could be spam/phishing.
  • mentions (@aperson) at the very start of a tweet only show up in that person’s feed (and yours). good for more personal tweets, but remember they are still public.
  • Try to include at least on hashtag in tweet. can come in message or after URL. use stuff people would search for. definitely include country as a hastag

Google Reader

If you want to go a little further and experiment with different tools, there are a number I would suggest starting with.

For me, one of the most important tools I use to keep track of news from across the web is Google Reader.  GR allows me to subscribe (in the Internet sense of the word) to as many newspapers, blogs and websites I want, and it lets me easily arrange them.  Here’s a short video from google explaining how it works.

The subscriptions are based on RSS (Really Simple Syndication, but that’s not importantwhich basically allows blogs and news sites to send you new stuff (instead of you going to the site every time.  Here’s another video (a bit old, but still very accurate, simple and short) explaining more in depth how tools like Google Reader works.

To get you started, try subscribing to the following blogs. They often have good posts about social media and related issues from around the world:

Getting more out of Twitter

For a basic recap of all the important ins and outs of Twitter, How Stuff Works has a pretty good run down. For everything else, feel free to ask Jeremy or me (or your fellow classmates). If you’d like to see how it’s done, here are the two clips we watched in class.

As you’ve noticed,  Twitter can be a great source of information but it can also be a little overwhelming.  Not to mention it can be hard to search and keep track of multiple topics at once.

There are a number of great apps out there that let you harness the power of Twitter for finding the information you want or for keeping track of the topics that are important to you.  I recommend looking at TweetDeck or Hootsuite. Both are fairly similar in terms of what you’d be doing.  Just pick the one that looks most comfortable. I tend to like Tweetdeck because it will send a notification to my desktop any time there’s an update on a particular hashtag i’m following

The nice thing about these apps is that it allows you to organize your twitter account into various columns: one column for tweets you’ve sent, one column for tweets from people you follow, one column for your interactions and mentions, etc.  The best part is you can make new columns based on search results.  So for example if I want to track the hashtag #netfreedom, it’ll show me anytime anyone (not just people I follow) tweets using that hashtag.  This is extreme handy, for instance if you’re at event with a predetermined hashtag. It’s kind of like passing notes in class that only people on Twitter can see.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 7.52.30 AM

Monitoring your social media influence

So just how much of a social media power user are you?  The website Klout allows you to link all your social media profiles to see just how much you influence your friends and followers with things you post.


Is that super creepy and a little superficial? Yeah, probably. But is it addictive and an interesting way to track your social media growth over the semester? Yes, definitely.


So that’s some basic info to get everyone started and on the same page.  There are tons of more useful apps out there, and lots of tips for good blogging and tweeting I forgot to mention.  I am by no means a guru on this topic, so if you think I have missed something or want to share your favorite app or tip, please do so in the comments or in a seperate blog post.

Good luck!


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