Six Twitter applications I actually use and recommend for news organizations

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Updated: July 2, 2009 @ 11:43 p.m. with another app. Updated again: Sept. 16, 2009 @ 10:12 p.m.

The world doesn’t need another Twitter post. But, with the surging number of third-party Twitter applications and posts and stories surrounding the buzz service of the moment, I find it’s easy to get lost.

Admittedly, I’ve done my fair share of Twitter coverage here, as with social networks generally, but I wouldn’t take the title of social media guru if it was gifted me. I just thought it was worth sharing the few services I do find helpful, particularly for those using the tool to grow a Web product.

Because, despite the buzz and the more likely reality that it’s probably a bit more of a tool for the few than for the masses as it’s currently being portrayed, I think it has the potential to be one of the most valuable social media tools.

The conversation and link-sharing employed by those whom I most like to follow are testaments to what is good about Twitter. …And believe me, there is plenty of bad.

Below, peep six Twitter tools that are actually worth your time.

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Are Twitter and Facebook slow on monetization for fear of advertising?

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The funny thing is that with all their growth, Twitter and Facebook haven’t made a damn dime yet — despite all the hemming and hawing about their influence, most recently in the Iranian post-election dramatics.

With their incredible traffic, there was a time when advertising would seem like a natural choice. Even though they are considered among the most powerful Web products, they seem to be missing monetization possibilities, if not outright ignoring them.  Twitter is trying “innovative” revenue streams like, maybe, TV shows.

Could it be part of the fear that advertising prices could be in trouble?

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Technically Philly vies for Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism

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Update: We lost.

Grant money in journalism is flowing freely in a tightened economy and a historic juncture in print media.

Seems like an opportunity.

So, my two partners and I, who founded Technically Philly, applied for the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, a $10,000 grant to support new ideas in news. See our submission here.

We thought bringing together two niches — the geography of Philadelphia and the industry of technology and innovation — and diversifying revenue streams — going beyond advertising — was a new enough model that it might catch the eye of a judge or two.

We walked into a meaningful business, social and startup community in a major metro region’s creative economies and began reporting, relying on our interests in social media, community reporting and professional and ethical journalism.

We recently introduced advertising — a small first step in monetization –and feel that a grant for $10,000 could afford the three of us an opportunity to work full time for perhaps as much two months or more. Considering how pleased we are with our traffic growth and the response from the community, we’re thrilled by even the chance at the opportunity to give full time to a project none of us have been able to offer even part time thus far.

Unfortunately and entirely unsurprisingly, there is some stiff competition from the nearly 100 submissions that were entered.  Below I share some of the more interesting submissions I saw and my thoughts on our viability.

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Despite declining traffic, @ArthurKade is a story, what that means for media

If you leave your car door unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, and your car is stolen, I don’t believe the crime is any less heinous.

Stealing is wrong, no matter the level of difficulty.

I read that somewhere recently and it resonated with me, reminding me of a Philadelphia story that speaks to the importance of old media, the power of social media and the future of them both.

Former Center City financial planner and current aspiring actor Arthur Kade has become a story. Since February, he has been chronicling the throes of his plight charging toward the spotlight through long, personally-involved and mildly misogynistic missives on his blog and in YouTube vidoes of increasingly cartoonish self-admiration.

He’ll lead posts with things like “My game with girls is so sick, but even I couldn’t get through the situation that I had to deal with last night…” and is getting attention for his Kade Scale for rating women.

HOW HE GOT HERE

Whether Joey Sweeney likes it or not, the brains behind Philadelphia culture blog Philebrity first gave the world Kade and has continued covering Kade. That led to Kade, who grew up in the Rhawnhurst neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, taking the virtual tour of the Jersey Turnpike when New York’s Gawker took notice. As you might have guessed, a flood of other blogs then followed, yes including popular Hot Chicks with Douche Bags, though the site doesn’t have permalinks. He spent 45 minutes on the Danny Bonaduce nationally syndicated radio show.

What thrust him from Web 2.0 quasi fame to a degree of Philly regional mainstream attention was the profile of him and his plight in this month’s Philadelphia magazine — broken by freelance writer Brian Hickey, who himself had quite a tale in the mag.

Last week, he was an attention grabber for an otherwise anonymous fashion show in a city not known for its fashion shows, and then he was the focus of a rather aggressively named Q&A with the popular city blog Phawker. The final regional touch came with an appearance on a smaller TV news outlet — though it, too, proved critical.

But, what, pray, does this all mean?

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What Twitter is really for

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Oh man, how done are you with Twitter news reports?

Mostly, news stories on Twitter include a nut graf that looks something like the following passage from a recent piece in the New York Times near-obsessive coverage on the social medium:

In its short history, Twitter — a microblogging tool that uses 140 characters in bursts of text — has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses, promising a level of intimacy never before approached online, as well as giving the public the ability to speak directly to people and institutions once comfortably on a pedestal [Source].

Many media are still reveling in introducing Twitter, in which they take a local user of new media and play their explanation with clever puns or skeptical variations of Twitter, tweeting, twittering, etc. Other pubs are trying their own new takes on the service, to the point that plenty of snarky bloggers and even news hounds are tired of the stories.

Rightly so, considering Twitter just turned three, hardly a new phenomenon. But all these folks joining the game, following that common nut graf, I think, are missing the point, particularly journalists.

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Inquirer: Philadelphia's fine arts and social media

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I was interested to cover the convergence of social networks and fine arts institutions in a story running in today’s Inquirer. While it focuses on Philadelphia examples, there are broader implications, I think.

On Valentine’s Day, Pennsylvania Ballet staff members stood in the Merriam Theater’s lobby handing out coasters that bore what might have seemed a strange suggestion coming from an arts organization: Go to our YouTube channel.

What the mostly graying matinee audience made of the invitation to an online video-sharing site is unclear. What is clear is that the Pennsylvania Ballet is not alone in lusting after online social-network users.

The Kimmel Center has a Flickr photostream. The Curtis Institute of Music is on LinkedIn. The Arden Theatre and the Franklin Institute use Twitter. The Philadelphia Orchestra has a MySpace page. Read the rest here.

Go read the story and comment, Digg it here, and then come back and see the extras that didn’t make it into print.

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Twitter, blog, new media, Twitter, blog, blog

Gosh, I do hate the buzz words that new media terms have become.

A friend shared a post with an interesting graf:

Journalists are obsessed with Twitter. Obsessed. They use it, talk about it, analyze it, deconstruct it, reconstruct it, love it, hate it, capitalize on it, become experts on it, monetize it, argue about it, and become micro-famous on it. They are mesmerized with what it is and they are as giddy as Tom Cruise on Oprah just thinking about what it could be. [Source]

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