Thursday, October 8, 2009

AFJ 2009: Digital Boot Camp 2.0 Social Networking and Online Tutorials

Ass the Association of Food Journalists moved on to social networking, Yonan notes that Twitter is clever-friendly, unlike Google. Most conference attendees use either or both. Yonan noted changes in Washington Post’s Twitter policy when a managing editor tweeted about personal opinions. The Post made him close the account. Two mindsets of Twitter – promote content (links to stories) or sharing opinion, observations and humor. Post guidelines want appearance of impartiality, but Yonan says food writing straddles the line since opinion is part of it.

Jeff Houck of the Tampa Tribune noted that this is a new frontier and people are still figuring out how to navigate the online Wild West. He notes online that you can be your own marketer. Yonan notes you can preview or tease upcoming content, citing Gary Vaynerchuk of the Wine Library. Yonan does monitor comments and tweets, but notes the food comments are more civilized than other parts of the paper.

Marszalek noted that comments were not moderated for the first 10 years; in the past seven months, they have monitored comments more closely. He found there are about a dozen people, each with at least 12 screen names, who log on, post something vile and then log on under another name and agree with themselves. By banning these people, you get more of the people you want to comment. Montoya says they have asked their writers to connect with posters but sparingly.

Yonan says Twitter should be interesting to people and used to build interest in you as someone with interesting things to say.

The webinar ended here, but there were questions. Which is more useful – Facebook or Twitter? Yonan says the Twitter resubscription rate is low, and Facebook continues to grow so it’s up to you. Yonan says he uses Facebook for some longer queries.

Also recommended for beginner tutorials were Mindy McAdams' site and Knight Digital Media (free but registration is required) at Berkeley.

-- Claudia Perry, "official" AFJ conference blogger

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