The US Army takes on Pinterest – and so do I

I just joined Pinterest. I am not hooked…yet. This website seemed to appear from nothing but is quickly becoming one of the biggest new social media websites. People simply pin things into categories that they like.

Here is one of the most pinned things:

People said twitter wouldn’t last and it is still booming. So I think many of the doubters of Pinterest may also be taking back their words in a couple of yours.

It is a great way to show people things you like without being in their face. Nearly everyone has experienced a Facebook friend or fellow twitterer who just posts too much.

One of the signs that a new website is hitting the mark is when it can get big companies to get in on part of the action. Pinterest has the US army.

The US army only has a mere five people running all their social media content. Considering how much time most of us spend on social media websites that seems low to cover the profile of the whole army across so many fronts. If the army believes its worth dedicating the time to Pinterest, the website is doing something right.

This mashable article explains that believe the market they are reaching is mostly army wives. From what I’ve seen on Pinterest so far it definitely seems to have a very female user base. The website is new though so it may develop into something even broader.

I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see.

Briggs Chapter 6 – Visual storytelling with photographs

People are drawn to pictures.

They can make someone stop and take a second glance.

They can make someone read the headline or the title.

They can make someone read your article.

Pictures can run on their own or help build a better story. Today’s journalists have to be masters of all. Tips from chapter 6:

  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Capture the moment – real action tells a better story than posed shots
  • Take a step forward – pick a focus and make them fill the frame
  • Edit

Digital photography means we can take thousands of photos and just delete the bad ones at no cost. We can also take advantage of editing software to make the average good and the good great. You can also use photos to tell the whole story. Software like Soundslides makes it easy to set photos to music or audio to create slideshows that will keep people coming back.

“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” – Walt Disney

Briggs Chapter 5 – going mobile

Laptop Computer

Internet Connection

Camera                             or a                      Smartphone

Video Camera

Audio Recorder


The smart phone is all the light packing journalist needs according to chapter 5 of Briggs. Smartphones allow mobility. More important in the news world today is the almost instantaneous reporting and distribution that can come from a smartphone.


They may not be able to give the same quality for photo or video journalists but with something that fits snugly into your pocket they are the perfect tool to create a more complete package.


Gannett recently decided to arm their journalists with iPhones. Take a look at their FAQ to see why the company is spending so much on these phones.

Skillset 2

A first attempt at video – Daniel juggling.

Briggs Chapter 4 – Microblogging: write small, think big

This week it was twitter where the story of Whitney Houston’s death first broke. Nearly half an hour before any media reported it!

Chapter 4 talked about microblogging. Twitter is the major source of microblogging, where people send out short and simple messages.


Journalists can use twitter to let people know about their stories and get feedback. They can also use it to be up to date on the latest topics and find sources. Storify, a new tool to create articles often relies on the tweets of many to tell the story.


It can also act as a connector when a topic goes viral. Take for instance the excitement following Mason’s basketball’s win over rival VCU. George Mason was on twitter’s top 10 trends worldwide  – if only for a few seconds. People found out the score, then linked to news reports, photos and video.


WARNING: twitter is not always right. While Houston’s death was real there are many celebrities who have been twitter killed and are perfectly fine.


Emailing right

Email is one of the first things everyone runs to when they turn on their Internet loaded device. Sure there is Facebook, RSS feeds and pinterest, but your email delivers things specifically for you.


Sometimes there is just too much in your email inbox. As such, on average almost 50% of emails end up in the trash within just 5 minutes. So when you send out an email you are desperate to hear a reply on there’s some steps to take:


This all comes from an infographic featured on Mashable.


By the way infographics are a great tool. They change the way we read data by making it interesting and even pretty. Infographics help connect data dots so that we hook from piece to piece all the way through.




Check out this billboard for Nivea Sunscreen that was highlighted on Mashable . It’s made of white beads that become colored in the sunlight, except for those covered by Nivea’s sunscreen. At night the billboard appears purely white except for a portion which advertises the sunscreen.


Advertising can be considered evil but designs, like the one above, are innovative and inspiring. How many people laughed while watching a Superbowl ad this weekend?


The Cons:

  • Ads are annoying.
  • They lead us to buy things we don’t need.
  • Ads interrupt our favorite television shows.
  • They can be distracting on the side of our favorite websites.


The Pros:

  • Ads help keep many of the websites we use free.
  • Our common like or dislike can bring us together.
  • They can open our eyes to something new.
  • Ads can be positive campaigns.


Go green, go home

The Wyne Residence, Canada, a green home.

Cars have been a visible target of the green movement. Those with high fuel consumption have been turned in for new cars that are more fuel efficient, or are hybrids.

The products inside our houses have also been marked with stars to let us know how fuel efficient they may be.

Now you can also get a house that’s green, without getting a greenhouse. This article from Mashable features 8 buildings which are zero-energy. That means they make as much energy as they consume.


What’s really exciting is that 3 of the projects are meant for the use of college students. Have a look at this upcoming build in NYC by Cornell and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.


While these buildings are exciting it’s pretty clear that green buildings are a long way from being dominate. Your car, your fridge and your washing machine are all things with a shorter lifetime that are often bought again new. Houses, however, are a little on the expensive side to just be buying new.

Here’s some ways that you can make your current house more energy efficient:

  • Installing solar panels
  • Increasing the insulation
  • Replacing old windows with double glazed windows
  • Using recyclable materials when doing renovations
  • Using energy efficient light bulbs


Have you met TED?

TED is smart.

TED is funny.

TED is looking for you.

I’m talking about TED.  Technology, Entertainment, Design. Their website is known for it’s recordings of thousands of inspirational, motivational and informative talks. It’s easy to waste hours as you click through many of the captivating videos.


Here are some great TED talks to have a look at

The Happy Secret To Better Work – Shawn Achor

Let’s Bridge the Digital Divide – Aleph Molinari

The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen – Hans Rosling
And yes TED really is looking for you according to a recent article on Mashable . They are holding auditions worldwide from Amsterdam to Sydney to Shanghai to Nairobi.

Who is TED looking for?


So if you have “ideas worth spreading” have a look at how you can get your chance.


Briggs Chapter 3 – Crowd powered collaboration

Didn’t your mother teach you to share?

While you may not want to split that piece of chocolate cake, everyone is rushing to share online.

This chapter of Briggs’ was all about the types of online sharing that we can be involved with. Not only that but how they can be used to deliver an even better – more individualized – experience, especially when it comes to news.

So the three things you need to know about:

Crowdsourcing: using a larger group to get something done. It could be collecting small bits of information reported by lots of people that you use to make a big picture later. Or there are projects which use incentives to get tasks completed. Check out Amazon’s Mechanical Turk project.

Open Source Reporting: letting others know what you’re working on while you are still working. This way you can gain feedback and directions. It also can help create a community with readers as they become a bigger part of the process.

Pro-Am Journalism: allowing everyone to be a journalist. The internet has opened up the world of blogs and given everyone the ability to write about what is happening that they care about.

« Previous PageNext Page »