Category Archives: social networking

The Year in Social Media and Looking Ahead

By Amanda Smyth Connor10-tips-on-monitoring-social-media

This was a big year for social media as a whole. We saw some amazing success stories and some epic fails (I’m looking at you, @KitchenAidUSA)

New and wondrous social media tools popped up that let us track everything from user insights to Twitter mapping. And it felt like those of us in social media positions finally started to get a little respect! Finally! Companies embraced us as equals and stopped seeing us as interns who were adept at surfing Facebook! VICTORY!

But enough time has been spent on reflection and the efforts for the coming year are focused on strategy.

Here are the big questions we are evaluating for the coming year:

1. Which social sites will expand and which will fizzle out?

2. Of the many tools that have emerged, which are worth our time?

3. How much weight should we put on various analytics and what specific analytics should we focus on?

4. How is our audience evolving? How can we continue to create content that will engage and wow them?

5. What’s in the pipeline for the coming year? What BIG news are we planning?

6. How will we work to align social media strategies and needs across the company?

7. Have we identified talent and social media authority figures in our company?

When working as a social media freelancer, keep in mind that strategy is just as important as execution. Being able to shed light on the big picture and long range strategy recommendations will make you an invaluable asset to any company.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

When The Tweets Hit The Fan – A Survival Guide

By Amanda Smyth Connor

Everyone needs a survival kit. I'm not judging you on yours...
Everyone needs a survival kit. I'm not judging you on yours...

Are we in the midst of an insane Hurricane right this instant as I write this blog post? Yes!

Is my mother near-hysterical in her makeshift post-apocalyptic bunker in New Jersey (..inland..not anywhere near the beach, or any water for that matter…) where she is heavily stocked with can goods, wine coolers and Janet Evanovich reading material? You bet your buns!

And here in Boston, am I not glued to social media and 24-hour news sources watching this Frankenstorm develop? ABSOLUTELY!

But I warn you, storm lover, weather fanatics and wine cooler bunker survivors – do not believe every photo and every Tweet that comes through in the waves of media covering this storm. We need to put hysteria and drama aside and remember to keep our hard-nosed wits about us.

1. Do NOT spend 12 uninterrupted hours watching the 24-hour news channels – this includes The Weather Channel. Believe me, there is only so much accurate reporting that can happen over the course of covering one story for many, many hours. At some point, your favorite and most trusted journalists will turn to Twitter for second-by-second updates, which you should know by now are not fact-checked.

2. Which brings me to my next point. Don’t trust everything you read on Twitter/Facebook. How many photos of flooding have you looked at in the last 3 hours? Like, a million. (Did you see the photo of the shark swimming through a backyard in NJ?) How many of those were photoshopped? We have no way of knowing. Please take these news sources with a grain of salt and don’t lose your heads. Remain calm.

3. Be part of the solution. Don’t hit that RT or SHARE button if you suspect that what you have just read seems too crazy to be true. Be a scout for trust-worthy news updates in the midst of a big story. Don’t continue the stream of hype without using sound judgement.

Light hearted blog posts aside, my heart goes out to any who have been seriously affected by the storm. If you are without power, please be safe and be careful.

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.

Want to Protect Your Writing From Content Scrapers?


by Joe Wallace

This is old news to some, and a bit of a revelation to others. Google offers writers something I interpret as both an extra layer of anti-plagiarism protection AND a bit of search engine brand recognition with Google Authorship.

It requires you to use Google+ (surprise, surprise) and publish your work on your Google+ profile page, but it’s pretty handy as a way to show to Google who got there first when it comes to your work, content scrapers, or out-and-out plagiarism. Here are the steps to getting started, from the official Google Authorship page:

“You can link content you publish on a specific domain (such as to your Google+ profile.

  1. Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.
  2. Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Steven Levy”).
  3. Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
  4. Verify you have an email address (such as on the same domain as your content. (Don’t have an email address on the same domain? Use this method to link your content to your Google+ profile)

(Here on the Google page there is a text box where you enter your e-mail address)

“Submitting this form will add your email address to the Work section of your profile, which by default is viewable only by your circles. You can keep your email private if you wish. It will also add a public link to the domain of the email address to the Contributor to section of your profile.”

It’s as simple as that!

You aren’t necessarily promised protection, better search placement or any other perk–I personally interpret what Google has done here as a two-fold means to protect the original author of an online work AND help that work get better Google ranking versus scraped content or copied material. Your own mileage may vary.

Advice from Twitter

by Helen Gallagher

Did you know Twitter maintains a helpful blog? Twitter’s blog offers some sane advice on best practices for journalists.


We can all use a reminder of the basics of good writing, especially for the online world. In brief, the tips suggest:

1. Tweet regularly about the beats you cover. Their research states that for people who post “a concentrated number of Tweets in a short time span, follower growth is 50 percent more than average. Live-tweeting or posting updates about a news event related to your beat is one way to grow followers and increase interaction.”

2. You know about hash tags, right? That pound symbol on your keyboard,  (the # ) followed by the subject or keyword of the post you’re commenting on…  Use the hash tag so your post gets noticed by others reading about the topic. “Journalists and news publishers use hashtags to organize conversations, gather feedback, and to identify and engage with Twitter users discussing a particular topic.”

3. When you mention a person or brand, use the @ sign, followed by the username   Twitter reports: “Brands that tweet 20 percent fewer URLs and 100 percent more @mentions grow followers 17 percent more than average.”

Master these three Tw-etiquette tips and then read their full article here.

Helen Gallagher writes and blogs at

Need global exposure? Reach for Tumblr

by Helen Gallagher


I confess I paid little attention to Tumblr until I needed to find more article resources. It is described as a cross between a blog platform and social media. You can use it like a blog filter to find relevant material for the stories you are researching.

Now I’ve read there are reasons you might consider spending time with Tumblr, and I’ll share them here, from what I learned at  They analyzed how various news source are using Tumbler, and found some interesting concepts.


  1. The Washington Post, is using it for a project with  twelve students covering the U.S. presidential election.
  2. The New York Times put its historic photo archive on Tumblr at and sells prints of the photos there.
  3. In the U.K., the Guardian newspaper is segmenting its content on Tumblr into areas of Food, Art and Fashion.
  4. During the recent South by Southwest conference (SXSW), reports that The Guardian “created a Tumblr blog, which they could update from their iPhone or Android phone, and then they used the Tumblr API to pull those posts from the seven blogs back to the main Guardian website as a way to collect all the reporting and then give it back to Guardian readers in a central space on their site.”

Between sleep and paying assignments, freelancers always need to find hot ideas, news, fresh sources and current research.  Instead of scrubbing the web, Tumblr might be a faster way to find what you need.

If you’d like to see how other journalists are using it, take a look here. If people can find journalists by publication, beat, geography and through keyword searches, it makes me think we should all be aware of it.

Dig a little deeper and learn how Tumblr can help you expand your reach as a freelance journalist too. Muck Rack, a site that tracks what journalists are talking about offers a free database, allowing journalists to build a portfolio and link to their work. If you want more exposure for your work, and a wider research base for story ideas and networking, take a look at these resources.

Tell me, do you know and use Tumblr? Does it benefit you?

Helen Gallagher writes and blogs at

Finding Inspiration in Weird Places

By Amanda Smyth Connor

I am what they (I) call a mockingbird writer, meaning I tend to write in the style that I have most recently been exposed to.


Case in Point #1: Last week, I re-read “Bossypants” by Tina Fey…for the third time.  I think it gets funnier every time I read it.

After brief episodes of reading, I would go back to my writing assignments to find that I was writing in shorter, more staccato sentences and more often than not I would make some lame attempt at a Liz Lemon-style self-deprecating joke.

Case in Point #2: I finished Bossypants and moved on to a Stephen King classic, “It.” Things took a decidedly darker turn in my writing projects, to which my editor simply wrote back to me:  “WTF?”

I find writing inspiration in odd places, but most notably from the style of book I’m reading at any given time. It’s a gift and a curse. [My editor assures me that it’s a curse. ]

Have you experienced this mockingbird style of writing? Where do you find your best writing inspiration?

Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies.  She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.