Top 5, May 26, 2011

  1. Zuckerberg: All media should be social
    Facebook won't do music or TV, but social could revolutionize them
  2. Twitter in row over judge's super-injunction
    Tony Wang says site will hand over user info
  3. Glenn Beck plans web channel
    Tagline: "The Truth Lives Here"
  4. YouTube continues staggering growth
    Site boasts 3 billion views a day, up 50 percent from last year
  5. Broadband lagging in rural America
    FCC: 26 million Americans lack access

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Top 5, May 26, 2011

  1. Zuckerberg: All media should be social
    Facebook won't do music or TV, but social could revolutionize them
  2. Twitter in row over judge's super-injunction
    Tony Wang says site will hand over user info
  3. Glenn Beck plans web channel
    Tagline: "The Truth Lives Here"
  4. YouTube continues staggering growth
    Site boasts 3 billion views a day, up 50 percent from last year
  5. Broadband lagging in rural America
    FCC: 26 million Americans lack access

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

What Does the LinkedIn IPO Signify?

Last week when business social networking site LinkedIn went public, the stock shot up from $45 per share to more than $90, and even today is trading at $96-plus per share. The company's valuation is more than $9 billion, even though the company had earnings of just $15.4 million last year. That kind of eye-popping debut on the public markets has business journalists wondering if a tech bubble is back. Sure, things are different now, and not every Tom, Dick and Pets.com is trying for an IPO as in the last bubble. But you can bet your bottom dollar that any company with a social media angle will be considering going public now. Already, social gaming company Zynga is considering filing to go public next month.

What do you think the LinkedIn IPO signifies in the long run? Is it a return to the dot-com craze, a social media bubble or something else? Vote in our poll or explain your position in detail in the comments.


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Newsroom, Community Use Facebook as Key Hub After Joplin Tornado

When Joplin, Mo., was hit with a massive tornado, I knew my community would react. Even though we're nearly 250 miles away, many people in Columbia and mid-Missouri are either Joplin natives or have family there. My newsroom's normally local-focused Facebook page quickly became a clearinghouse for updates about how mid-Missouri could help the tornado-ravaged community.

Fans are using the page now to share news, photos, videos, information on relief efforts, and in general, to connect with each other in a time of crisis.

The efforts grew organically on our page. The KOMU online audience is already very interactive. We have 10,000+ fans and, on average, 7,500 users have some level of interaction with us on a weekly basis, according to Facebook Insights.

I encourage sharing and conversations among everyone in an open and transparent way. I and my web team pay attention and are constantly interacting with our fans. Over time, a relationship has developed -- the kind that's enhanced during severe situations like what happened in Joplin.

When the tornado hit, our Facebook fans knew they could trust us to coordinate and share important information there.

So that's just what we did. Since the tornado, I've been on overdrive. In the last 24 hours, I've gathered information on social media to share on our website, KOMU.com, and on Facebook. I'm gathering as many relief drives as possible to share on Facebook, KOMU.com and the newsroom's Twitter page. My goal is to share and gather data from the social spaces where KOMU's audience already interacts.

The Beginning

When the first information came out on Joplin, KOMU-TV was on the air with details about severe weather in our area. Our meteorologists shared images live that were posted on our Facebook page using an iPad. Anytime we show live Facebook content on television, our interaction online starts to jump.

I was working from home, but knew we had a spark of community activity on our Facebook page. I and a few others working in our newsroom started posting links from our website to Facebook. One of the most viewed pages is a collection of tweets curated on Storify. It's had more than 8,000 views in less than 24 hours and was shared on Facebook more than 165 times. These kind of collections continued to bring people to our Facebook page to interact and share.
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A number of people wanted to know how they could help. We posted immediate links and information about how medical providers could offer their expertise and how relief agencies were trying to coordinate assistance. I wrapped up my oversight of the page around 1:30 in the morning with a dramatic video on YouTube. It created a stir, even though it was very late at night (or early in the morning, depending on your perspective).

Some of the conversations I had with our Facebook audience led to our morning show coverage. A woman who posted a picture about a tree that crushed her van became the subject of a live report the next day.

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The Next Day

Not only did we have continuing requests on how our Facebook users could help, a growing number of people had information about blood drives, fundraisers and donation sites. Not only did I take the time to thank users for the information, I added a link to my Facebook profile by typing "@Jen Lee Reeves" to identify myself as the person commenting as a representative for KOMU.

My newsroom started to ask for the community to tell us about the relief efforts they knew about. I tried to keep up with a list and encouraged our Facebook users to post their efforts on a discussion page. When I learned about items that weren't added to the page, I'd copy and past from the Facebook wall and Twitter. (Our newsroom encouraged our region to use #JoplinMidMo to help us keep track of local efforts.)

The best development with Facebook pages is the "Notifications" link that helps me keep track of any interactions on the page. I'm able to see new posts, likes and comments on items that might be hours old on the page. Almost every time I respond, I add that link to my Facebook profile.

Near the end of the day, I slowed down my obsessive oversight of the page. One member was unable to find a donation location, and other page members jumped in with some details. I was able to research a few extra details and add to the conversation.
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A Wish List

After spending so much time inside the Facebook page, I have a few things I'd love to have the next time I'm helping manage a crisis.

  • The ability to post notes. Facebook groups have a wonderful ability to let members create and contribute openly to notes. This would have been much easier to manage with our collection of relief efforts. I'm helping manage a community Facebook page that allows notes. My "television station category" doesn't get notes in Facebook.
  • The ability to create a call to action at the top of the page. I had to repost a number of helpful links and information because our Facebook users kept asking the same questions. It would have been great to have the main relief information easily accessible.
  • Photo tagging needs to be easier. I know this is a new feature where Facebook users can tag a page they like. I had a number of people tell me they weren't able to tag KOMU to a picture. I've also noticed this service is spotty.
  • The ability to tag posts from a mobile app. When I left the newsroom, I had to add to the comments on the KOMU page without the ability to identify myself.

It will be interesting to see how long this call to action continues on our Facebook page. Our newsroom is planning a telethon with local organizations on Thursday for Joplin. I hope to Livestream the event on our Facebook page and offer anyone the ability to embed the stream to their websites. (I haven't figured out all of the logistics, but hopefully I'll have it ready by Thursday.)

Many other Facebook pages focused on Joplin relief, especially one built solely to offer updates and relief. KOMU was able to focus on the efforts in mid-Missouri. The online relationship we had before the crisis was able to grow in this time of need.

Hopefully, it's an example of how a commitment to social media can help encourage ongoing conversations between a newsroom and its community.

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Top 5, May 24, 2011

  1. Cable companies prepare for disasters
    Create disaster plans to keep broadband, cable lines up
  2. iPad is for boys, Nook is for girls
    Barnes & Noble's Nook Color making gains with women
  3. Who owns your Twitpics?
    Deal with World Entertainment News puts that in doubt
  4. NBC looking for non-profit news partners
    Network hopes to replicate Voice of San Diego partnership
  5. Grant program for laid-off journalists
    George Polk Grants target investigations by "seasoned" veterans

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

Why Every Student Should Learn Journalism Skills

How do we make schools more relevant to students? Teach them the skills they need in the real world, with tools they use every day. That's exactly what Esther Wojcicki, a teacher of English and journalism at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif., is attempting to do with the recent launch of the website 21STcenturylit. I interviewed Esther about the site, and how she hopes it will serve as a useful tool for both students and educators.

How do you describe the mission for 21STcenturylit?

Wojcicki: The mission of 21STcenturylit.org is threefold: It is to teach students how to be intelligent consumers of digital media, how to be skillful creators of digital media, and to teach students how to search intelligently.  We are living in an age when digital media and new digital tools are revolutionizing the world. Schools need to help students learn these skills, not block and censor the Internet.

Why is this important right now?

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Wojcicki: We need to make school more relevant to the world we live in to combat the huge dropout problem we face. We also need to train kids to have the skills needed in the digital world. They need to know how to communicate using multiple media; they need to know how to read and write for the web; they need to know how to use social media for things other than checking on their friends. Schools should be teaching this; businesses want to hire kids with these skills.

More than 40 percent of high school students nationwide drop out of school. While there are many reasons why kids drop out including economic factors (and) lack of reading skills, one of the main reasons cited is that they find school irrelevant, boring and punitive.

We as a nation also have a critical need for trained IT workers that is not being met by our educational system. If students learn to use digital media in school and go on to computer science courses, it will provide good jobs for them and fill an important need for our country. Right now, we are getting IT workers from other countries and kids are not getting the training they need in schools.

How do you think the work of a journalist mirrors that of a media consumer (newspaper reader, web user, etc.)?

Wojcicki: The skills of a journalist mirror those of today's media consumer which is why news literacy is a critical skill for all students. Like journalists, students today are gathering information; however, unlike journalists they do not have the skills for analyzing it, or writing about it. They should be taught these skills in school; we need to teach kids how to critically examine their research and make intelligent decisions about it. We need to teach them how to write for the web so they can feel empowered to participate. Many kids are connected to their Facebook account and their phone, but they do not comment on blogs or even write blogs.

How is this being received by the education community? How are you getting the word out, and how many educators so far have come upon this site?

Wojcicki: Most teachers are interested in teaching these skills; however, many don't feel that they have the necessary skills themselves. Teachers need time to learn these skills through professional development. They need time to learn how they can modify their teaching to incorporate the teaching of digital skills.

For example, English teachers need to teach students how to collaborate online with their writing projects. Just using the web to collaborate helps students understand what is happening in businesses. Instead of writing a paper, printing it out and turning it in, kids can turn the paper in online and peer-edit their work online before turning it in. One of the most widely used collaboration tools is Google Docs, a free online word processing program. In using this method, students learn more than just how to write a paper; they learn how to use digital tools.

Students should also learn to blog. At the moment, many schools block blogging because they are worried kids will access "inappropriate" blogs. How is this teaching kids about the real world?

We need to make school more relevant to the world we live in to combat the huge dropout problem we face. We also need to train kids to have the skills needed in the digital world.

Students can be asked, for example, to do research on health care in America and compare it to health care in other parts of the world. Just doing the research is exciting for students, but most of them do not know how to analyze their results. They need to be taught -- for example, who created the website, what are their political objectives, how objective is the information. Administrators need to help teachers who, in turn, help students learn how to analyze their results, not block the web. In too many schools today, the web is blocked! Yes, blocked. Schools use special censoring services that ensure that kids will never find anything "objectionable." How is this teaching about the real world when they are never allowed to access the real world, except at home? Schools are making themselves irrelevant by failing to teach kids about the world we live in.

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What's your hope with this site?

Wojcicki: I'm hoping that this site will provide teachers with several lesson plans that will help them teach students a) how to search effectively b) how to analyze their search results c) how to differentiate between fact and opinion and d) how to write for the web. I have lesson plans to teach how to write a personality feature, how to write a news story, how to write reviews of movies, games, books, websites. There are also lesson plans of how to understand copyright and how to use Creative Commons licenses to modify copyright so students can learn to share and remix legally.

How are educators accessing these kinds of excellent resources online? Do you believe there's a good system in place to let them know, or do you think it's still quite fragmented and decentralized?

Wojcicki: The system is still quite fragmented and decentralized. There are many sites and many entrepreneurs trying to create materials for teachers, but one of the main problems is finding these resources. If the user doesn't know the keywords, then they won't find them.

What solution do you think might work for creating a central repository of sorts?

Wojcicki; I am working with a group of universities who are looking at ways to optimize the finding of Open Educational Resources. Hopefully, this will happen in 2011, but until then, teachers need to know the address of the site or the keywords to find the materials.

Tina Barseghian is the editor of KQED's MindShift, an NPR website about the future of education. In the past, she's worked as the executive editor of Edutopia, a magazine published by the George Lucas Education Foundation, as well as an editor at O'Reilly Media and CMP Media. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

mindshift-logo-100x100.pngThis post originally appeared on KQED's MindShift, which explores the future of learning, covering cultural and tech trends and innovations in education. Follow MindShift on Twitter @mindshiftKQED and on Facebook.

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Children and Facebook: The Promise and Pitfalls for Social Media

With more than 500 million Facebook users across the world, it's hard to refute that the social networking site has profoundly changed the way we communicate and share information. But what's the Facebook effect on kids? When it comes to navigating the social networking world -- whether it's Facebook or fan fiction sites -- the terrain becomes even murkier.

Parents worry about what's age-appropriate, what should be kept private, and exposure to cyberbullying, among many other issues. And it's true -- there's a lot to navigate, even for adults. But Facebook and social networks aren't going away anytime soon, and the better parents understand this, the more they'll be able to help their kids comprehend the medium.

Rather than block all access to the Internet, parents can see that for every pitfall, there's a potential promise.

"Parents can and should moderate sites, but they have to give kids the opportunities to figure out what it means to be digital citizens, and allow kids to be empowered," said Carrie James, who's conducting a qualitative survey of kids and social networks at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. "They need prompts and supports to develop guidelines together."

CONNECTION AND SELF-EXPRESSION

For better or for worse, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and their ilk provide ways for kids to connect with each other and express themselves.

This level of unchecked expression, some argue, is too much for young children who can't handle the complexities of social networking sites. "The amount of angst has increased in my school in the past few years," said Anthony Orsini, principal of Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood, N.J. With three suicides (including Tyler Clementi) in the past year, he said, "it's been a fearful time in our town for our parents."

The irony is that the fear doesn't come from the traditional so-called stranger danger but from how kids behave toward each other online. "Stranger danger is unbelievably minute compared to the social and emotional damage they receive from each other everyday," Orsini said. And the matter becomes much more complicated when you consider that strict anti-bullying laws render schools responsible for kids' online behavior, he said.

But for administrators like Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School in Bergen County, N.J., privacy and cyberbullying issues are a red herring. "What if a kid swears in the hallway? It's the same thing. People want to hide behind the legal issues, but it's the same as swearing on Facebook," he said.

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Either way, kids will have to learn that their digital footprint is born from the moment they start posting on each other's walls and create their first online avatar. They'll have to figure out that every YouTube video they upload will be a reflection of themselves as the public sees them. With guidance from parents and educators, they can figure out what the world knows about them.

But at the moment, it's not a high priority at most schools, Sheninger said. "Schools aren't teaching kids to be digitally responsible," he said. "We can't fault kids for doing something wrong on Facebook or Twitter because we're not teaching them. We need to have digital citizenship curriculum in schools."

It's important to note that Orisini is the principal of a middle school, while Sheninger is the principal of a high school, and the age difference can be a factor in how kids behave online.

LEARNING

Chances are, anytime the computer is on near a kid (and let's face it, even adults), some kind of social networking is happening. Whether it's Facebook or instant messaging, or watching or uploading videos to share, the distractions are endless. As we all know, one link can easily lead to another, until suddenly an hour and a half has passed and we've lost track of the task at hand.

Last year's comprehensive study by Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids age 8 to 18 actually manage to pack in almost 11 hours worth of media content into 7½ hours of using media.

So is there any time left for learning? Researchers like Henry Jenkins would argue that the best kind of learning -- engaged and collaborative -- is happening on social network sites.

Jenkins, who is a professor at the University of Southern California, talks about "deeply meaningful forms of learning...taking place through engagement with affinity groups and social networks online" such as the Harry Potter Alliance, which has mobilized more than 100,000 people against the Darfur genocide and labor rights at Wal-Mart.

But because of privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, most schools shut off access to social networking sites -- with a few exceptions. To principal Sheninger, "if you're not on Facebook, you can't really communicate with us. Our new hub of real-time information is Facebook. I post things about what the kids are doing, and when they comment or parents comment, as a principal, I'm proud," he said.

PRIVACY

Facebook's changing privacy settings and its tendency to default to more open information is a source of constant annoyance for many of its users. We have to keep close tabs on those changes, especially when it comes to kids.

But young children are not the primary target user for Facebook, which officially does not allow kids under 13 to sign up for an account. Parents must decide whether they'll allow their children to become a part of the vast Facebook network, or to harness the social networking world into smaller, more contained sites like Togetherville or Club Penguin.

Parents can use the subject of privacy settings as an opportunity to teach kids about navigating the online world. They can talk about social media etiquette and what information they agree is acceptable to be shared with friends and the public at large. With guidance and support, and with parents setting examples of what they think is appropriate, kids can learn their place and responsibility as part of a worldwide community.

Photo of girl with an iPad by Alec Couros via Flickr.

Tina Barseghian is the editor of KQED's MindShift, an NPR website about the future of education. In the past, she's worked as the executive editor of Edutopia, a magazine published by the George Lucas Education Foundation, as well as an editor at O'Reilly Media and CMP Media. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

mindshift-logo-100x100.pngThis post originally appeared on KQED's MindShift, which explores the future of learning, covering cultural and tech trends and innovations in education. Follow MindShift on Twitter @mindshiftKQED and on Facebook.

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