What’s the news story that all my friends are talking about? Boston.com is now testing out a new ‘social sharing’ toolbar that will let you see what stories your Facebook friends are reading on Boston.com and in turn share what you are reading with them.
Only a small portion of our users will be randomly-selected to try this feature at first — and you’ll need to choose to use it. If you want to try it out, you can go to this page and turn on social sharing. Once you’re participating, you can invite your friends to share as well.
We hope this will be fun — knowing what your friends are reading, and discussing it with them (you can use a special comment box at the bottom of articles to do that).
After you opt-in, social sharing will share stories you read, photo galleries you view, and videos you watch on Boston.com with your Facebook friends, on Facebook and on Boston.com. (Not all pages on Boston.com are enabled for this feature yet).
You can turn sharing off for individual stories, or entirely, and we’ll always pop-up a little notification to remind you. Facebook will NOT show every single article you read to your friends, so you won’t be spamming them. Even if your friends choose not to turn on social sharing, they’ll still be able to the read the stories on boston.com.
Why are we doing this?
There was a time when your whole social circle might read the same printed newspaper each morning and watched Walter Cronkite each evening. Social sharing may recapture a bit of that shared media diet by letting you read the same articles your friends have read. That could make it easy to turn reading the news on Boston.com into an experience where you connect with your friends.
Still have questions? Read the FAQ. And let us know what you think.
Joel Abrams, Senior Product Manager, Boston.com
[Updated 4/27 with another visualization]
Ricochet lets a brand choose an article from the Globe or Boston.com that will be interesting to its followers and fans. The brand then gets a unique URL which, when tweeted or posted on Facebook, sends readers to that article with the brand’s ads displayed next to it.
Here’s how business-software company SAP is using it with a New York Times article:
Brand advertisers also get access to the R&D lab’s Project Cascade, which will let them see the content spreading across the Internet. Here’s a visualization of a Globe story from earlier today about overuse of exclamation points!
In these visualizations, pink dots are tweets and yellow dots are clicks on those tweets that pass through bit.ly; clicks that go only through t.co are untrackable. Each circle is 90 minutes of elapsed time since the first tweet.
Here’s a cascade with a story about Sen. Scott Brown promising to release his tax returns, showing how @ChuckTodd’s tweet was hugely influential.
And just to be meta, here’s the Cascade this post generated:
You can read some more about Ricochet in AdAge.
Posted by Joel Abrams, Senior Product Manager
I’m doing an intermediate training session today for reporters, editors, producers, and other folks at the Boston Globe and Boston.com, and wanted to share some of the key points and useful resources with those who couldn’t make it.
One tip: turn off notifications of new followers (which can be very annoying):
- Go to Account Settings (pull down your name from top navbar)
- Choose Google+ from the left
- De-select boxes next to “Adds me to a circle”
Reporters may want to check Google’s new method to get your profile picture and link next to your stories.
Building a Twitter following:
Engage! The more social you are in social media, the more impact you will have, and the more people who will know about you and follow you
A nice article by Paul Gillin: Tips for Building a Quality Twitter following
Another good article from Scott Kirsner: Ten tips for attracting a following on Twitter. His tips include:
- Put your Twitter “handle’’ everywhere.
- Share information; avoid self-promotion (don’t just tweet your own stories)
- Re-tweet other people’s messages (and respond to other people)
- Pick people or businesses to follow.
- Find people who are already talking about you (thank them for tweeting your story).
Bottom line: tell your followers what YOU think is interesting, and listen to what they say.
Twitter account security:
- Go to your Settings page https://twitter.com/settings/account and check the box ‘Always use HTTPS’
- Don’t stay logged in on your mobile device - what if you lose your phone?
- Use a secure password. One tip: try a long phrase like a favorite song lyric with a punctuation mark between each word (ie: rockin;robin;tweet;tweet;tweet)
Tweak your privacy settings:
- Default your privacy to ‘friends’
- Let ‘Everyone’ look you up by name
- Let ‘Friends of Friends’ friend you
- Let ‘Everyone’ send you a message
- Let ‘Only me’ or ‘Friends’ post on your wall
Then: Limit the Audience for Past Posts
Edit your profile and specify what you want the world to see.