Online Journalism

BY MUHAMMAD YAQOOB

Department of Mass Communication and Media University of Gujrat

Online Journalism

CONTENTS
About Author Scope and outputs of this ebook Online Journalism Overview
Grassroots online journalism Online Models of Communications Declining consumer trust in business and traditional information sources Familiarity with the internet–for the young and older Internet use and access to broadband Decreased barriers to entry of internet publishing How it is happening: Social software and the viral effect

01 02 03
04 05 06 06 07 07 07

Starting Online Journalism Goals: Mission Why Online Journalism? Why traditional media or main stream media was powerful? Social Media (An overview) What is Social Media?
Participation Openness Conversation Community Connectedness Social Media Components

08 13 14 15 17 18 21
22 22 22 22 23 23

Social Media Components
Social networks Blogs RSS

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CONTENTS
Wikis Podcasts Content communities Microblogging 25 25 25 25

Social Networks
How online social networks are used: MySpace Facebook LinkedIn

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27 28 28 29

Blogs
What blogs are? Blog Types Blogging Terminology Blog Mechanics Blog Popularity Who is Blogging? How blogs are used?

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30 31 33 35 37 37 37

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
History of RSS Why Use RSS? Viewing RSS Using the E-mail Option Instead

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38 39 39 40

Wikis
Wikipedia Trying out wikis

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41 42

Podcasts
Getting started with podcasts

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CONTENTS
Content Community
For example Flickr YouTube Digg

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45 45 45 46

Microblogging How to make money on your news content website
Commissions / Affiliate links Advertising networks Design to maximize online ad revenue How much traffic do you need? Selling your own ads Paid content Sponsorships/Grants

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50 51 54 56 57 59 60

Glossary
Term Blog Bookmarks, bookmarking Communities Content communities Instant Messaging (IM) Micro-blogging RSS (Really Simple SYNDICATION) SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIAL NETWORKS TAGS, TAGGING TECHNORATI RANKING

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CONTENTS
TWITTER VODCAST 63 63

End word

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Everyone is now armed with a keyboard, connected to many more and can reach millions of audiences and viewers. Now, your video can travel around the world on YouTube as long as you want, that can also be tagged, liked, rated, commented, and shared, by numerous people (not computer). Now you can bypass the established main stream media and can blog about anything you want to, and can expose your idea to enough people and can gain more attention. Now you can broadcast your very routine life activities to one another on Twitter, which may increase more chances to interact with your folks. Now if you are unable to speak, you still can tweet even form Timbuktu. Now you can organize things as never before.

Muhammad Yaqoob
Emerging Technology Strategist
Being an ‘emerging technology strategist and social media enthusiast, I consult, speak and write about the value of using social media to build communities and to make a positive contribution to the society. http://ny-mafia.blogspot.com

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SCOPE AND OUTPUTS OF THIS EBOOK
Social media has provided us with an amazing way to interact with each other and if you don't consider your “social identity” as you grow your social network, you're leaving a lot in this din; if I may use this expression. Social networking websites are the clear examples that help you see connections next to you that are hidden in the real world. Users are now these websites to make those connections visible and to interact.

This small piece of ebook is all about the value of using social media to build communities and to make an impact and while dispelling some of the myths around this phenomenon.

The objective of this ebook is to provide you a set of starting points to help using social media to develop positive relationships with online audiences, therefore contributing to engagement with the media and its brand. This ebook also defines online journalism and explores their influence among online publishers' and audiences.

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Online Journalism Overview
This is perhaps the most exciting time to be an online journalist, at the most exciting time in the media sphere. We are living in the most innovative time in the history of media? In this interesting time we needed to make a special editorial emphasis that goes beyond what the print journal does or what the newswires do. It is a different audience. It is a complementary audience, but it is not the same as print, and we try to meet those information needs.” Online journalism refers to news content produced and/or distributed via the Internet, particularly material created by journalists who work for mainstream market driven news organizations. While blogs and other emerging forms of online news communication are widely acknowledged as significantly influencing mainstream news content both online and offline, they are considered here a distinct phenomenon and treated under the category of alternative media. Using the internet for participation is not a new phenomenon. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, envisioned it as a social creation and designed it to be collaborative, a place where “a group of people of whatever size could easily express themselves, [and] quickly acquire and convey knowledge” (Berners-Lee 1999, page 175).

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GRASSROOTS ONLINE JOURNALISM Journalism is changing. For the first time since the rise of mass society, the development of media and computing technologies has enabled us to bypass mainstream media's monopoly over the flow of information, while actually holding the power to do so. Under the influence of this wave of amateur publications, journalism is being forced to review its concepts, values and commercial strategies. More importantly, it is being forced to review its role in a democratic society. Blogs and other web publishing applications that enable journalists to publish contents without a currency of IT skills to report fact over the web is known as online journalism. These tools have become alternative information sources, leading to an environment where grassroots online journalism has bloomed. Grassroots online journalism is the practices developed in web news periodicals, or parts thereof, where the boundary between reading and publishing is either blurred or non-existent. The term comprehends news websites in which readers can intervene on what is published, either by submitting their own reporting, rewriting stories, and commenting and debating the journalistic material produced by other contributors.

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Blogs which focus on debating current events or publishing news stories and articles, and news websites are instances of grassroots online journalism. On the one hand, this phenomenon provides the possibility of deepening democracy in the multiperspectival news mold, as proposed by Herbert Gans in 1979, which has finally become technically and economically viable. On the other hand, journalists will eventually have to live with the fact that the agenda will be set by people newsrooms used to think of as news consumers rather than news producers. Therefore, we believe grassroots online journalism deserves special attention.

ONLINE MODELS OF COMMUNICATIONS 1. Mass media and broadcast models are losing their hold as prime communication modes. 2. The broadcast notion of 'filter then publish'; is being replaced by the model of online communities: 'publish, and then filter'. 3. The audience can decide when they consume content, what is relevant, and what is newsworthy through 'on demand' media. (Barker, Shedd & Copper 2006, Bowman & Willis 2003, Charron et al 2006, Rainie 2006)

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DECLINING CONSUMER TRUST IN BUSINESS AND TRADITIONAL INFORMATION SOURCES 1. 2. 3. People are more independent, less brand-loyal and less trusting of traditional media and advertising. Trust in the internet as an information source is growing, while it is declining for television. Consumers are more likely to trust peers than institutions or experts. The Edelman Trust Barometer study found that in the United States trust in “a person like me” has grown from 20 per cent in 2003 to 68 per cent in 2006. (Charron et al 2006, Edelman 2006) FAMILIARITY WITH THE INTERNET–FOR THE YOUNG AND OLDER 1. 2. 3. Recent studies find that both younger and older generations are familiar with the internet as a communication tool. As well as business use, there is increasing use of the internet for social purposes, such as family and entertainment. This is even more significant among 'Generation Y' and 'digital natives' as they have grown up with it as normal communication activity and they 'live online'. (Charron et al 2006, comScore 2006, OECD 2006: 2, Rainie 2006)

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INTERNET USE AND ACCESS TO BROADBAND 1. The growth of broadband and internet users means that more people are online. Broadband connections mean greater speed and interactivity is enabled over the internet. 2. The OECD reports that the number of broadband subscribers in OECD countries from June 2005 to June 2006 grew by 33 per cent, and of that two-thirds of all internet users have broadband. (OECD 2006: 3, Waverman 2006) DECREASED BARRIERS TO ENTRY OF INTERNET PUBLISHING 1. The rise in availability of do-it-yourself publishing tools, social software and internet connectivity mean that anyone has the ability to publish over the internet – text, audio, video and photographs. 2. These two way technologies have enabled people to become their own publishers and media producers. (Charron et al 2006, Holtz 2006: 2, Rainie 2006) HOW IT IS HAPPENING: SOCIAL SOFTWARE AND THE VIRAL EFFECT “The only advertising that was truly effective was word of mouth, which is nothing more than conversation. Now word of mouth has gone global.” (Rick Levine, Chris Locke, Doc Searls &

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David Weinberger (2000), The Cluetrain Manifesto, p-83 ) Social software underpins the functions of online media such as blogs, social networking and virtual worlds. It supports group interaction and social patterns (Shirky 2003), allowing people to interact by establishing and maintaining a connection that enables relationships and online communities to form. (Wikipedia 2006: 8). Social software supports the spread of human networks through 'online word of mouth' or 'viral' behaviour. Macklin (2006) defines the viral effect as using a pre-existing social network to produce exponential brand awareness through a viral process similar to an epidemic”. Social software enables people to easily create and distribute their own and others' content, making it as effortless to send something to large groups of people as it is to send to an individual.

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STARTING ONLINE JOURNALISM
The purpose of every news website is to deliver essential information to its audiences in the most effective, elegant, and efficient manner. This means it must inform quickly and simply, that it must be pleasing on the eye and make people want to return to the site time and time again, and it must be fast loading and free of wasted words and padding. The role of an online journalist is largely similar to that of any other journalist. The journalistic rules are the same; the only differences are the platform and online presentation skills. Reporting facts over the web your content need to be short and pithy. Every single post must have a subject, a verb, and an object. You will still be presenting the absolute essentials of a story, and you will be asking the basic questions, who, why, where, when, what, and how. The story format will be pyramid journalism (writing that can be cut at any point and still make sense). This is for reasons that will be explained in the multiplatform authoring module. The website remit If the website you are working on is a stand-alone production (one that is not connected to another media operation) you will be free to present the information as

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you see fit, within your newsrooms editorial guidelines. However, if the website you are working on is part of a larger media concern, you will be expected to reflect that media operations newsgathering and news production strengths online. In more and more cases, websites that belong to a broadcaster, or a newspaper, function as part of a converged news operation. The aim is to reflect the news brand across all outlets, including online and other interactive platforms. In that case, you will need to come up with a persuasive reason for investing resources in covering different stories online than your news organisation is covering in print of on air. You will be expected to offer a different treatment and add value with content and functionality aimed at the online audience, but the user should find the same facts, tone and focus online as they do wherever else your news organisation is delivering news content. The news stories need to follow a standard house style. There needs to be a consistency of presentation format so that the audience feels comfortable with what they are reading.

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Story length and style the ideal online news story will be in the region of 500 words. This is not a hard and fast rule, just a guide. Features and in-depth analysis pieces can be more, but the basic news stories should remain short. More and more Web journalists will be creating content that will also be published on other digital devices. Because of this, it is important that you learn to write as economically as possible with no unnecessary or wasted words. The headline needs to make sense standing alone. It must not be a label. It will be a short sentence. This is not only good journalism, but it also means that your news organisation can use the material as a headline ticker on other platforms. The first paragraph must not repeat the headline, but must add information without duplication. It must also work on its own and with the headline. Your news organisation might want to use this for an SMS service. You might find that your news organisation has arranged the CMS so that the headline and summary of your story automatically publishes on the index page of the

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section you are working in, or the front page of the site. Don't underestimate a reader's intelligence by overstating the obvious, but also be careful not to undersell the story by failing to state the basics. It is a fine balancing act, but, once perfected, it can make a meaningful news story out of one new fact. Again don't rule out trying to add a quote from one of your news organisation's specialist correspondents. This again adds a value specific to your news output.

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GOALS

Today's rapidly changing media environment is not only changing how people create a dialogue and discuss issues in a worldly sense, but also changes how people connect to one another. There will be an exploration of new technologies in the sense of social media connections in many forms and the utilization of several types of these technologies. The goal is to not only understand the way new media works, but to participate in this new and rapidly growing environment.

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MISSION

1. 2. 3. 4.

To help restore the viability of the journalism business model. To provide the technology and market intelligence publishers must have to generate revenue from readers and distributors for their digital content, through a flexible hybrid paid model. For print publishers, to restore the value proposition of the print medium by eliminating the fully free alternative. To help consumers through this transition by giving them a convenient way to access paid content.

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WHY ONLINE JOURNALISM?
1. Social Media is different than most other forms of media in one key respect: they stretch. TV and radio confront the reality that there are only 24 hours in a day. They can't put on more content, because there's no down time. Magazines and newspapers have to pay for paper, and that means ads, but there are only a finite number of people willing to pay. So the length finds a natural limit. Billboards confront zoning realities. Junk mail is gated by response rates. But blogs, you can easily post 100 times a day. With a team, it might be a thousand. Traditional media such as TV, Newspaper, Radio, Magazine, billboards, offers you a very limited space and time to publish, while at social media you have enough space and time to publish as many as you want. i.More people read the article online than in the newspaper due to the online version being global, free and around forever. The dead tree version has a limited shelf life (Stephen Davies). It makes your world bigger. Now, we're concerned about wildfires in Australia or failing banks in the UK. Now, we celebrate when conjoined twins are saved a few continents away, and join in the search for a missing adventurer in a place we've never been. ii.Even the biggest publishers need a technology provider to enable them to maximize online

2.

4.

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subscription revenues, while retaining ownership of their customers. 5. 6. 7. 8. For publishers, building their own commerce tools would be slower to market, far less flexible, and far more expensive than using Journalism Online's Reader Revenue Platform™. As the transition to paid access occurs, consumers will benefit from having a single, convenient account for their online news. Because TV is down, Radio is down, Newspapers and magazines are down-They are almost out. Most of them are realizing aggressively that all of this is very inexpensive and very quick. The hardest part is finding the will do it right. 9. Not every newspaper and magazine owns a printing press. There are so many printing presses available to outsource and run a newspaper. This means that a good idea on a little blog has a very good chance of spreading. In fact, an idea from outside the mainstream might have an even better chance of spreading. 10. Web Editors often make more money than their print editor counterparts 11. Some Facts: a.Newspaper circulation continues to decline rapidly (NY TIMES). b.Newspaper circulation falls again (Frobes). c.Every morning, the journalist, check YouTube, twitter, and Facebook in his /her region.

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WHY TRADITIONAL MEDIA OR MAIN STREAM MEDIA WAS POWERFUL? It used to matter a lot where an idea came from. When an idea came from a mainstream media
company or from a Fortune 500 company, it is more likely to spread. That's because media companies had free airwaves or paid for newsprint, while big corporations had the money to buy interruptions. But Not every newspaper and magazine owns a printing press. There are so many printing presses available to outsource and publish a newspaper. This means that a good idea on a little blog has a very good chance of spreading. In fact, an idea from outside the mainstream might have an even better chance of spreading.

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SOCIAL MEDIA (AN OVERVIEW)
Social media is primarily 'many to many' communications, through which people can contribute to and receive information or entertainment over the web. They are characterized by the active contribution of the people who use them, creating content, conversation and relationship. Social media such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, online social networks and virtual worlds can have on the effectiveness of an organization's branding strategies. It considers the history and suitability of the web for participation and the relevance of social media for branding, particularly in a highly competitive and media-fragmented environment. It explores the shifts in consumer behavior, technology and the growth of online communities that are driving the changes to a 'participatory culture'. Of particular importance is the rise in availability of do-it-yourself media tools, social software and internet connectivity, which give anyone the ability to create content and publish it over the web. In past few years, variety of communication tools such as mobile phone, PDA's (Person Digital Assistants), digital audio players-iPOD, iPhones, have been evolved as commodity items in general public lives. Parallel to this, there has been rapid development of the dynamic,

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interactive capacity of the web. Social media enabled users to share, tweet, assemble, disseminate, rate, comment, tag, and favorite information in all mediums. Such as text, image, sound, video, and create contents. Examples are Wikipedia (online encyclopedia) January 2001, LinkedIn (professional networking) May 2003, MySpace (social networking) August 2003, del.icio.us (social bookmarking) September 2003, Facebook (social networking) January 2004, Flickr (Image and Video Hosting) February 2004, YouTube (video sharing) February 2005, Twitter (micro-blogging) July 2006, Xing (business social networking) November 2006. These participatory media sites and tools are designed so friendly, that doesn't require currency of skills, but essential knowledge, indeed. Users, particularly generation 'Y' tending to be in the front line, for integrating new devices, are shaping their lives, behaviors, attitudes, learning and approaches in line with the features of these advanced technologies. They are feeling overwhelmed and 'digitally-social'. This digitalized learning tool can also facilitate those learners whom are unable to take part of a classroom community, for some or even all, of the time-particularly part-time, distance and

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increasingly, work-based-social media may be a reasonable proxy. Due to its wider influence in our lives it's hard to ignore Web 2.0 as an integral part of curriculum in the area of computing and media.

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WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA?
Social media are the various forms of user generated content and the collection of websites and applications that enables people to interact and share information online. There is no single agreed definition of the terms Social Media also known as Web 2.0, but there is widespread agreement they apply to a set of characteristics in the context of the internet and applications served over it. At its simplest, Social Media is the combination of channels, platforms, communities, content and tools that power the phenomenon of peer to peer communication or 'word of mouth'. Social media is a set of tool, not a destination. “Humans are social beings, they like to share things, talk together and technology lets them do it on an unprecedented level. (Ken Mandel, Regional Managing Director, Yahoo! South East Asia)”. A wide range of social software has become readily available to young generation. There is increasing interest in possibilities of using social software for web users. Social media is best understood as a group of new kinds of online media, which share most or all of the following characteristics:

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PARTICIPATION Social media encourages contributions and feedback from everyone who is interested. It blurs the line between media and audience. OPENNESS Most social media services are open to feedback and participation. They encourage voting, comments and the sharing of information. There are rarely any barriers to accessing and making use of content – password-protected content is frowned on. CONVERSATION Whereas traditional media is about “broadcast” (content transmitted or distributed to an audience) social media is better seen as a two-way conversation. COMMUNITY Social media allows communities to form quickly and communicate effectively. Communities share common interests, such as a love of photography, a political issue or a favorites TV show.

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CONNECTEDNESS Most kinds of social media thrive on their connectedness, making use of links to other sites, resources and people. SOCIAL MEDIA COMPONENTS Every single social media component is designed to help your news spread. Social media is not something you jump into when you need a quick boost. It is just like traditional offline media. Occasionally you make a profitable connection quickly, but lasting value is gained by a long-term commitment and multiple intersecting relationships.

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SOCIAL MEDIA COMPONENTS
At this time, there are basically six kinds of social media. Note, though, that innovation and change are rife. SOCIAL NETWORKS These sites allow people to build personal web pages and then connect with friends to share content and communication. The biggest social networks are MySpace, Facebook and Bebo. BLOGS Perhaps the best known forms of social media, blogs are online journals, with entries appearing with the most recent first. RSS Now they don't need to. The innovation that has increased the reach of blogs and podcasts and has given terrific impetus to social media's evolution is a technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication) which allows people to subscribe to a blog or website.

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WIKIS These websites allow people to add content to or edit the information on them, acting as a communal document or database. The best-known wiki is Wikipedia4, the online encyclopedia which has over 2 million English language articles. PODCASTS Audio and video files that are available by subscription, through services like Apple iTunes. CONTENT COMMUNITIES Communities which organise and share particular kinds of content. The most popular content communities tend to form around photos (Flickr), bookmarked links (del.icio.us) and videos (YouTube). MICROBLOGGING Social networking combined with bite-sized blogging, where small amounts of content ('updates') are distributed online and through the mobile phone network. Twitter is the clear leader in this field.

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SOCIAL NETWORKS

Social networking websites help you see connections that are hidden in the real world. Social networks on the web are like contained versions of the sprawling blog network. People joining a social network usually create a profile and then build a network by connecting to friends and contacts in the network, or by inviting real-world contacts and friends to join the social network. These communities retain the interest of their members by being useful to them and providing services that are entertaining or help them to expand their networks. MySpace, for instance, allows members to create vivid, chaotic home pages (they've been likened to the walls of a teenager's bedroom) to which they can upload images, videos and music. Members of social networks can find information, inspiration, like-minded people, communities and collaborators faster than ever before. New ideas, services, business models and technologies emerge and evolve at dizzying speed in social media.

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Online social networks provide places for groups of people to interact with each other and form virtual communities. Communities discuss interests such as music, friends, hobbies, movies and popular culture. Social networks can also form around business activities. The content contained within online social networking sites is generated by its members and the site provides the framework and underlying technology to enable this to occur. HOW ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE USED: Members of social network share information and form connections, linking to each other's profiles and discussions, enabling the network to spread. Members use the tools provided to create personal profiles, lists of friends, discussions, share video, audio and photos, post comments, tag, rate and share favourites, chat with friends and send and receive email. Below are few examples:

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MYSPACE MySpace has built a lot of its popularity around its music services. There are said to be over three million bands and musicians registered on it, trying to attract a fan base from the 200 million registered accounts. According to Hitwise, in September 2006 MySpace was the 8th largest referrer of traffic to HMV.co.uk, more even than the MSN search engine. FACEBOOK In 2007, Facebook, a social network that originated in US colleges, became available for public use in the UK. Its popularity quickly rocketed. Part of Facebook's success is its creators' decision to 'open up' and allow anyone to develop applications and run them on Facebook - without charging them. This has seen Facebook users able to play each other at Scrabble and Chess, compare each others' tastes and send 'virtual gifts', among any number of new ideas vying for attention.

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LINKEDIN Perhaps the most 'grown-up' of the popular networks is LinkedIn, which allows users build their business and professional contacts into an online network. It has been criticised for not being open enough and for charging for too many of its services – but next to Facebook it is still the most popular online social network among people aged 25 and over. The huge success of the 'opening up' of Facebook, as mentioned above could be a challenge to LinkedIn's 'closed' approach in the future.

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BLOGS

At its simplest, a blog is an online journal where the entries are published with the most recent first. There are a number of features that make blogs noteworthy and different to other websites: WHAT BLOGS ARE? 1. 2. A frequently updated online journal, written in a conversational style, with entries displayed in reverse chronological order (most recent stuff on top). Links to other news and information found on the Web complemented with analysis from the blogger (or bloggers). A BLOG is just a web page, but a web page with some clever formatting software behind it so that anyone (including you) can build it and update it with no technical knows how. 3. A “comments” link that allows readers to post their own thoughts on what the blogger is writing about. Not all blogs allow comments, but most do. 4. A blog usually centers on a defined topic and can include individual diaries, political campaigns and various business uses. 5. The totality of blogs is called the blogosphere. On 2 November 2006, they numbered 58.7 million.

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6. 7.

Blogs are easy to set up, and there are a number of free tools available over the web. These include WordPress, Blogger, Movable Type, LiveJournal and Xanga.

BLOG TYPES With millions of people around the world of different ages and backgrounds blogging about whatever they feel like, it is about as easy to generalise about 'bloggers' as it is to make sweeping statements about 'human beings'. Here are some of the main kinds of blogs you will come across: PERSONAL BLOGS Many millions of people keep blogs about their everyday lives, much like public diaries. These sometimes become very popular indeed, especially those anonymous, slightly risque ones. You know the sort: they get written about in the Sunday Times and become best-selling novels. One of the best-known personal blogs is Dooce.

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POLITICAL BLOGS Especially in the US, but increasingly in the UK, blogs are being written about politics. Often perceived as a response to media bias (across the political spectrum) they tend to comment on the news, giving closer analysis of issues they feel have been misrepresented or glossed over by mainstream media. In America most if not all of the contenders for the presidency in 2008 already have bloggers on staff to advise on reaching political bloggers and their readers. We are not quite at that stage in the UK, but blogging has been playing a part in the resurgence of grassroots Conservative politics, and right-of-centre bloggers such as Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes have been making their presence in the UK mainstream media. Influential examples from the political left include MediaLens and Harry's Place. BUSINESS BLOGS Many professionals and businesses now have blogs. They can allow companies to communicate in a less formal style than has been traditional in newsletters, brochures and press releases, which can help to give a human face and voice to the organisation. For individuals in business a blog can become a very effective way of building a network of like-minded individuals and raising their own profiles. Blog Maverick is a good example.

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'ALMOST MEDIA' BLOGS Some blogs are unashamedly media businesses in their own right, taking advertising and employing a blogger or a group of bloggers full-time. Effectively, they are startups that are taking advantage of the new blogging technologies and opportunities to build communities of readers in new or niche subject areas. These are generally to be found covering news and opinion in the technology and media industries. Try Businesspundit.com or Hecklerspray. MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLOGS Most national newspapers in the UK – not to mention the BBC – now have blogs for some of their reporters and editors. These can provide useful insights into the news gathering and reporting process, but will also give vent to personal views that the journalist may otherwise have kept to themselves. For example, see BBC business editor Robert Peston's blog. It's worth noting that while many journalist blogs are hosted on newspaper sites themselves, a large number are independent, personal blogs with a major focus on their professional interests. BLOGGING TERMINOLOGY 1. Post: An entry on a blog or, as a verb, to make an entry on a blog.

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2.

3.

4.

Permalink: A link available on each post that allows direct access to that post, usually with comments visible. This helps other bloggers link directly to a given post and helps readers e-mail a link to a specific post to friends. Trackback: A mechanism for communication between blogs, allowing one blogger to let another know that he/she is linking to their material. This helps readers easily follow a conversation and helps bloggers know who is linking to each post. A pingback performs essentially the same function with slightly different technology. (backlink in Google) Blogroll: A collection of links usually found on the sidebar of a blog, it is designed to inform the blog's readers of the sites the blogger frequently visits. The thinking goes: If you like my blog, then you'll probably like other blogs I read. The links in a blogroll are most commonly other blogs but can be general or news Web sites, too.

5. 6. 7.

Linkblog: A blog comprised of links to other online sources with little or no original commentary. Vlog: A blog that features video commentary as its primary medium, as in “video blog.” Moblog: Blogging from a mobile device, as in “mobile blog.”

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BLOG MECHANICS 1. Be specific with headlines: previews the information the blog post will contain and does it in a compelling manner. 2. Be the authority —with a personality: The narrower the topic, the better. Not only will your audience clearly understand the subject matter covered, the blogger will have a better chance to present his or herself as the best source of timely information on that particular topic. 3. Be short with your posts: For your most loyal readers, you are the “middle man” between them and the sources of information they're trying to follow. Anything you can do to connect readers directly to the source will build credibility for you and make your readers want to return to your blog. 4. Post at least once a day: If you can be short with your posts, you can easily add at least one every day. That's an important minimum to hit if you plan to build an audience. Ideally, you will post even more frequently. After all, if your beat is worth covering, there should be enough action to support this frequency. 5. 6. Handling comments: First, you should not start a blog unless you're willing to allow comments. Some mainstream news blogs don't allow comments. One of the reasons blogs are popular is that they embrace interactivity and give readers a sense of participation.

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7.

You can cultivate comments by adding your own comments to any discussion that needs

clarification, redirection or simply a vote of confidence. 8. Using photos and screenshots: 9. Would you read a newspaper or magazine that had no pictures, graphics or art of any kind? 10. Of course not. So don't expect readers to flock to a boring blog without art. i.As a reporter/blogger, you will likely be covering subjects that have been covered previously, so reusing file photos should be easy. ii.Most blogging software makes adding a photo to a post as simple as adding an attachment to an e-mail. 11. Love it or leave it: i.Most people got into journalism because they liked it first, then found they had a talent for it. The same recipe will work on the blogosphere, too. ii.If you are considering a blog, do it for the right reasons. If it's an assignment from a managing or executive editor, or it's something you just feel obligated to do —don't.

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BLOG POPULARITY According to Pew Institute a new blog is started every second. Many remain unread and semi-anonymous. A few end up with a strong following. Most are not created by journalists! WHO IS BLOGGING? According to Pew Institute, Bloggers are mostly young. More than half (54%) of bloggers are under the age of 30, 55% of bloggers blog under a false name, and 46% blog under their own name. HOW BLOGS ARE USED? 1.Blogs are conversational and encourage feedback between writers and readers. Many blogs enable visitors to leave public comments, which can lead to a community of readers interacting with the blog. 2.Blogs can be authored by a single person or a group of people, and contain personal opinions as well as facts. 3. Some blogs are influential and are read by thousands of people, others are personal diary entries written for family and friends. 4. Categories for business use and brand engagement: executive blogs, company blogs, product blogs, customer service blogs, advocacy blogs, employee blogs.

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RSS (REALLY SIMPLE SYNDICATION)
RSS is the short form of the term "Really Simple Syndication". It is the technology that publishes blog entries, videos, pictures, podcasts and news headlines frequently in a standardized format to users who subscribed to the blog's RSS feeds. As you can see in most blogs, bloggers use the orange button to allow readers to subscribe to his or her blog's RSS feeds. HISTORY OF RSS In the last decade when RSS began, the popularity of Internet users using RSS was very low. The first version of RSS known as RSS 0.9 was released by Guha at Netscape in 1999. Version 1.0 was released in 2000 by a project called RSS-DEV Working Group reintroduced support for RDF (Resource Desciption Framework) and added XML namespaces support, adopting elements from standard metadata vocabularies such as Dublin Core. In 2002, the newest and current version of RSS came to live as RSS 2.0. The term "Rich Site

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Summary" was then changed to "Really Simple Syndication". Few years later, Firefox browser started using the orange Feed icon as the universal button for RSS. WHY USE RSS? Millions of Internet users subscribed to RSS to receive updates from the sites. They use RSS instead of bookmarkting the site because they are interested in reading articles such as TechCrunch and Labnol whose content schedule is unpredicable. Of course, if you were to check a particular website for new information many times a day, it will be tedious. Also, checking many websites at once will bring you confusion and it is a waste of time and effort. Imaging you were to bookmark 10 sites and check for updates every single hour! Therefore, RSS is indeed very useful and important in building our Web experience. VIEWING RSS RSS feeds can be viewed with a software known as "RSS readers" or sometimes "RSS aggregators". You need these readers in order to view your favourite sites' updates via RSS.

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RSS readers come in both Web-based and Desktop-based. Common Web-based RSS readers are Google Reader and BlogLines with other options such as My Yahoo, My AOL and many more. Desktop-based readers include Newsgator, FeedDemon and NetNewsWire. After subscribing to a site's RSS feeds, your RSS reader will notify you whenever the site updates its posts. The items listed in your reader are ranked from the newest to the oldest. The updates come with a post title, a short description of what the article is about. If you are interested in the article, simply click on the link and you are done. USING THE E-MAIL OPTION INSTEAD Besides using RSS readers, you can try the e-mail subscription option instead. However, this got to depend on whether the site offers this option. The e-mail subscription option works exactly the same as RSS readers, just that it sends e-mail notifications to you. Such application that supports this service is Feedburner.

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WIKIS

Wikis are websites that allow people to contribute or edit content on them. They are great for collaborative working, for instance creating a large document or project plan with a team in several offices. A wiki can be as private or as open as the people who create it want it to be. WIKIPEDIA The most famous wiki is of course Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia that was started in 2001. It now has over 2.5 million articles in English alone6 and over a million members. In 2005 the respected scientific journal Nature conducted a study7 into the reliability of the scientific entries in Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Britannica. No one was surprised that Encyclopaedia Britannica was the more reliable of the two – what was remarkable was that it was only marginally more accurate. The Encyclopedia Britannica team issued a 20-page rebuttal of the study a few months later. Others observed that while Encyclopaedia Britannica had no entries for wiki, Wikipedia has a 2,500 word article on Encyclopaedia Britannica, its history and methodology. But Wikipedia is more than a reference source. During a major breaking news story, especially one which affects large numbers of people directly, such a natural disaster or political

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crisis, Wikipedia acts as a collective reporting function. TRYING OUT WIKIS… Everyone knows Wikipedia, here are some other examples of large wiki projects that you can take a look at and even participate in: Wikia: A community of wikis on different subjects WikiHow: A practical 'how to' manual for everything from making coffee to writing business plans. WIKINEWS: Wikipedia's news project. You can start your own public wiki in the Wikia community, or look at the technology's possibilities for team working by trying out the services from companies like JotSpot and Socialtext.

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PODCASTS

Podcasts are audio or video files that are published on the internet and that users can subscribe to. Sometimes 'vodcast' is used to specifically describe video services. It is the subscription feature that makes a podcast so powerful as a form of social media. People have long been able to upload audio content to the web, but the subscription feature means that people can build regular audiences and communities around their shows. It effectively puts private individuals or brands on a level playingfield with traditional media organisations when it comes to competing for people's attention with AV content online. Podcasts, like personal video recorders (PVRs), are part of a shift in media consumption patterns, which increasingly sees people watching or listening to content when and where it suits them. This is sometimes known as time-shifting. When a new podcast is posted to the web, all the subscribers' podcast services (such as iTunes) are automatically notified and download the programme to their computer's hard drive. The podcast can then be either listened to on the computer or downloaded onto an MP3 player, such as an iPod. Naturally the advent of the podcast has also meant that media brands have been able to invade

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one another's traditional territory. Many national newspapers in the UK have started effectively producing their own radio-style programmes and distributing them via their previously text-and-picture based websites. Channel 4 has also launched its own audio/podcasting brand, 4Radio. GETTING STARTED WITH PODCASTS If you already have an iPod and use iTunes you can click on the Podcast icon in the left-hand toolbar to access podcasts and subscribe to them. Other good places to find and start listening to podcasts are Podcast Alley and Yahoo! Podcasts: If you fancy trying your hand at creating your own podcast, download the free audio editing tool Audacity or have a look at the 'how to' guide at wikiHow.

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CONTENT COMMUNITY
Content communities look a bit like social networks – you have to register, you get a home page and you can make connections with friends. However, they are focused on sharing a particular type of content. FOR EXAMPLE, FLICKR Flickr is based around sharing photography and is the most popular service of its kind in the UK. Members upload their photos to the site and choose whether to make them public or just share with family and friends in their network. Thousands of groups have formed on Flickr around areas of common interest. There are groups dedicated to particular graffiti artists, towns, sports and animals. If you work for a reasonably well-known brand it is worth taking a look to see if there is a Flickr group about you – there are groups for motorbike brands, consumer electronics brands and even the cult notebook brand Moleskine. As testament to its enormous success, Flickr was bought by Yahoo! in 2005 for an estimated US $30 million9. YOUTUBE YouTube is the world's largest video sharing service, with over 100 million videos viewed every day.

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Members of YouTube can upload videos or create their own “channels” of favourite videos. The viral nature of YouTube videos is enhanced by a feature that makes it easy for people to cut and paste videos hosted by YouTube directly into their blogs. As well as thousands of short films from people's own video cameras, webcams and camera phones, there are many clips from TV shows and movies hosted on the service. Some people also use the service to record video blogs. YouTube started as a small private company, but was bought by Google for $1.65 billion in October 2006.10 DIGG Digg is a news and content community. Members submit links to news stories that they think will be of interest and these are voted on by other members. Once a story has garnered about a critical number of votes (the number varies according to how busy the site is) it will be moved to the front page where it will receive wider attention from members as well as more casual visitors to the site. Digg claims to receive 20 million unique visitors every month, and certainly the volume of traffic via popular links from the service is so great that it can cause smaller companies' servers to crash. As with other social media platforms, rumours of acquisition deals and massive valuations for the service are flying around, but it remains independent and relatively small in terms of the number of employees (around 40).

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MICROBLOGGING

Micro-blogging is tool that combines elements of blogging with instant messaging and social networking. The clear leader in the micro-blogging field is Twitter with over 1 million users11. Other notable micro-blogging players include Pownce and Jaiku, which offer various different features, but for the purposes of this e-book it makes sense to focus on the Twitter format. Twitter users can send messages of up to 140 characters instantly to multiple platforms. 90% of Twitter interactions12 are not made via the Twitter website, but via mobile text message, Instant Messaging, or a desktop application such as Twitterific. Its flexibility is further enhanced by the ability to subscribe to updates via RSS. Uses of Twitter vary. It's popular among homeworkers and freelancers, who use it in part as a 'virtual watercooler'. Other people use it simply to stay in touch with a close network and share thoughts or start conversations. Its suitability as a vehicle for breaking news has encouraged the BBC and CNN to introduce Twitter feeds. Even candidates for the US Presidency have taken to Twitter (for example, Barack Obama).

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An important feature to note is that Twitter can be indexed via Google. As with so much on the web, it's a public platform, so it's worth remembering that as such your use of it may become part of your 'permanent record'.

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HOW TO MAKE MONEY ON YOUR NEWS CONTENT WEBSITE
This portion of the book is designed to help journalists learn how to make extra money, or even a full-time wage, by publishing independently online. It is not intended to provide an online revenue model for established news organizations. Heck, they've got business managers. They shouldn't need a wiki to show them what to do. Content websites typically earn money through one of four ways: Commissions / Affiliate links Advertising networks Selling your own ads Paid content Sponsorships/Grants Once you have ads on your site, you will want to compute the eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) of revenue that each ad type is earning for you. You calculate eCPM by taking the total amount generated by an ad (or ad type), diving it by the number of pages on which that ad (or ad type) appears, then multiplying by 1,000. Let eCPM data help you decide which advertising type, layout and position work best for you.

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COMMISSIONS / AFFILIATE LINKS Affiliate programs, such as Amazon.com's Associates Program, provided the first ways for early solo and small Web publishers to make a few bucks on their websites. In these programs, an online retailer will pay you, the publisher, a percentage on sales made after customers click through from your website to the retailer's site. Links can include traditional banner ads, search forms and links to individual products. Because you only earn money when sales are made, affiliate programs will work best for you if your site's readers are consistently looking to make high-priced purchases -- for example, if you run a product review site. If you're interested in affiliate program, browse through merchant directories like Commission Junction and LinkShare to find retailers that offer products that fit your site's topic and audience. Once registered with a merchant's program, you can create an ad or product link on your site using a snippet of Web code downloaded from the retailer. Some merchants go further and allow you to create virtual storefronts that match the design of your site, but where the retailer still handles all the inventory and commerce. Be careful setting up such arrangements -- unless you want customers coming to you for return and refund questions instead of to the retailer. You'll want to note what percentage of a sale the retailer pays back to you, as well as the length of

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time after a sale that you get credit for the purchase. Some retailers limit credit to sales made on the initial click-through, but others will give credit for any sales made within a day or so. Also, some retailers will pay a commission on purchases you personally make after clicking your own links; others may kick you out of the program for doing that. Check a retailer's affiliate agreement and shop around for what you consider the best deal before putting links on your site. Many publishers have found that links to individual products return more commissions than banner ads going to a retailer's home page. But the additional money those links earn might not be enough to justify the extra time that selecting and maintaining them requires. ADVERTISING NETWORKS Most news websites earn the bulk of their money through advertising. But you don't need a sales staff to attract advertisers to your site. Ad networks can handle the sale and display of ads on your site. All you need do is drop a few lines of code into your Web pages where you want the ads to appear. The most popular ad network for independent publishers is Google's AdSense program. AdSense is a "pay per click" (PPC) program, where you earn money each time one of your readers clicks on

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a Google-served ad. Since you earn money on clicks, rather than completed sales, PPC ad networks can provide a more reliable source of income for sites whose readers are not looking to make a purchase right away. Other notable PPC ad networks include the Yahoo! Publisher Network and Ad Voyager. Most PPC ads are text, but some PPC networks also sell image and Flash ads. Ads are sold and displayed based on an auction system, where advertisers bid on selected keywords and phrases that appear on network websites. The ad network looks for webpages displaying its ad code, then matches what it determines the content of a webpage to be with the most appropriate keywords and phrases that advertisers have bid upon. The network then automatically weighs several factors in determining which ads to serve on the page, including the value of those bids; advertisers' remaining budgets for those bids; what percentage of readers have clicked on those ads in the past; and, in Google's case, the percentage of those readers who have made a purchase or read a designated number of pages on the advertiser's site. Google's "Smart Pricing" program will adjust the amount paid to you for each click based on your readers' track record of making a purchase, or viewing a certain number of pages, on that particular advertiser's website. So if your site attracts motivated buyers, you remain in the best position to earn money.

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Whatever you do, do not even think about clicking the ads on your site, or encouraging your readers to do the same. All PPC ad networks prohibit click fraud, and will boot from their program any publisher found to be inflating their number of clicks. Even well-intentioned discussion board participants can get a publisher booted from the program by encouraging other readers to click the ads to support the site. Google, for example, has suggested publishers concerned about their readers' conduct add this disclaimer to their site: "Your postings to this site may not include incentives of any kind for other users to click on ads which are displayed on the site. This includes encouraging other readers to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites, as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads. This activity is strictly prohibited in order to avoid potential inflation of advertiser costs." If you don't think PPC ad networks will work for you because your site's target audience is defined by demographics, such as geography or a religious or political affiliation -- don't worry. Traditional ad networks such as BlogAds provide an alternative to the PPC networks. BlogAds sells its ads on a more traditional site-targeted model. Advertisers do not bid on keywords or phrases, but instead pay for their ads to be displayed a certain number of times on selected websites or groups of websites. BlogAds has become especially popular on political blogs, where advertisers can buy across a group of liberal or conservative weblogs.

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DESIGN TO MAXIMIZE ONLINE AD REVENUE Since PPC ad networks target their ads primarily by topic, rather than geography or demographics, that makes these networks work better with niche topic websites than with sites that target their readers by geography or other demographics, such as gender, education, income or political affiliation. For the system to work well for you, the PPC network's spiders must be able to determine a topic for each of your webpages and then must match keywords or phrases that advertisers have bid upon. That means the advantage goes to websites where each page covers a distinct and easily identifiable subject. So if you have a blog that covers a mishmash of topics on a single URL, you won't elicit the targeted ads that lead to high-paying clicks. If you want to use PPC ad networks, organize your content to limit individual URLs to a specific topic. Break long blogs into individual entries. Archive old posts and stories by subject matter, not just by date and author. Stay active on discussion boards, keeping threads on topic and directing folks to more relevant pages should they stray toward other subjects. Use keywords in headlines, decks and URLs whenever possible. And spell out keywords, phrases and proper names on first reference, rather than using acronyms throughout the piece. (See, old fashioned copy editing rules *can* help you make money!)

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Well-organized pages on individual topics also show up better in search engine results, attracting Web surfers curious about a specific keyword, who are more likely to click on a targeted ad. Publishers who create evergreen articles that are likely to attract a high number of links and clicks over time will do best in attracting search engine traffic to their ad-supported webpages. If you publish time-sensitive articles, which are not likely to have a long-enough shelf life to attract significant search engine traffic, consider swapping out or archiving articles on the same topic to a single URL, so that URL can get linked to and picked up in search results. Where you place ads on a page affects how many of your users see them, and click. According to recent Google research, top performing ad formats include: Large box ads placed in the middle of your main content column; Skyscraper ads placed in a left-side column; Leaderboard ads placed at the top and the bottom of the main content column. Customize the ads' colors to match the background, type and navigational colors of your site, too, to eliminate "banner blindness" and maximize their visibility to your readers. Then keep an eye on your ads to make sure that they remain relevant to your site. To a reader,

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ads -- like anything else on your pages -- are part of the content of your website. If an ad network fails to deliver consistently relevant ads, dump it and try something else. Respect your readers by not bombarding them with irrelevant advertising and they will respect you by continuing to read your site. Think twice before installing pop-up, pop-under and screen "take-over" ads, too. Many readers steer clear of sites that block their access to the content they're looking for with aggressive advertising. Keep your website a safe haven for these ad-weary readers and you can build its audience over time. HOW MUCH TRAFFIC DO YOU NEED? With advertising, the more readers you have and page views you serve, the more money you can make. But how much traffic do you need to make a living from your website? To make $36,500 a year, you'd need to earn $100 a day on your site (plus whatever expenses you incur). Let's assume your site is attractive to advertisers and earns $10 in ad revenue for every thousand page views. That would mean you'd need to serve 10,000 page views a day to meet this target. (And more if your site earns less than $10 per thousand page views.)

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How can you attract that much traffic? If you are writing one article a day on subjects that will be out of date within 24 hours, it's going to be tough. You'll need to attract nearly 10,000 views each day for that's day article, since few people will bother reading your old, out-of-date work. If you write a fair number of "evergreen" features, which keep attracting page views long after they are written, you'll find the task much easier. If your site naturally deals with "perishable" news content, at least publish each day's new news to the same URL, overwriting or pushing down the old content, so that URL can build the in-bound links and search engine traffic that will help you attract new readers you need each day. Reader-contributed content can also help you meet your page view goals. Well-managed, thoughtfully organized discussion boards and wikis can add dozens of new content pages a day to your site, with much less effort on your part than writing that many original articles. SELLING YOUR OWN ADS If you don't want to share your ad revenue with a network, or if your site isn't the type to do well with PPC ads, you might consider selling space directly to advertisers. First, you will need solid information about your site's visitors. Ultimately, what you are selling

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to advertisers is access to your readers, so you'd better know how many, and who, they are. A traffic tracking service like Google Analytics can provide accurate traffic data that filters out hon-human traffic like search engine spiders and automated robots (which can account for up to 90 percent of a site's overall traffic). Make Money also provides reader tracking, along with some crude demographic information about your site's readers. You should also consider conducting a survey of your readers, to get more detailed information about their demographics and behavior. SurveyMonkey provides easy-to-use tools to set up such surveys. Once you have advertisers, you will need a system to serve and manage ads, such as OpenAds, as well as system to invoice your advertisers, such as Blinksale or PayPal. (PayPal's invoicing system does not require your advertisers to have a PayPal account, just a credit card.) Set up a page on your site, linked from the header or footer, that provides data about your site's traffic and visitors, as well as a list of available ad packages. You might also provide a well-designed PDF version of the same data, as decision-makers often prefer "hard copy" versions of this information. (If you need free software to convert Word documents to PDFs,

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OpenOffice does this with a single mouse click.) If your advertising page does not generate enough leads to support your site, you'll need to make cold calls to potential advertisers, via e-mail, phone or in person. You'll have the best luck with smaller businesses that do not place ads through agencies, but where the owner makes his or her own ad decisions. PAID CONTENT Given the variety and depth of information available on the Web, you have to provide truly unique content of high value to specific readers to get those readers to pay for it. The fact that a paid journalist wrote an article for you does not mean it's worth paying for to a reader. Detail-oriented publications such as Consumer Reports and Cook's Illustrated have had success selling the results of their independent testing online. And, of course, porn sites have been earning big bucks from paid content since the Web's earliest days. But general-interest publications, such as the Los Angeles Times, have found that walling off content to paid subscribers has generated less revenue than the company could have earned by selling advertising on freely available pages. If you are certain that your content is unique and valuable enough that readers would be willing to pay for it, you'll need to select a way to handle payments from your readers. The system could

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be as easy as asking readers mail you a check in exchange for your putting them on e-mail content distribution list -- a method which offers the advantage of not requiring any advanced Web server security set-up. Or you could restrict access to certain folders on your website to readers whom you assign log-ins after they buy a subscription. Such restrictions are relatively easy to set up on Apache webservers. Payment can be handled manually via postal mail or phone, or automatically through an e-commerce storefront. (Many Web hosting packages include e-commerce storefronts.) SPONSORSHIPS/GRANTS Supporting a website through sponsorship or grants requires the least technical skill of these options, but the most interpersonal skills. You'll need to play the role of a salesperson, in addition to journalist and editor, in convincing a individual or organization to give you money to put up your site. In either case, you'll need to identify individuals, or individuals within organizations, who might be willing to commit their money, or their organization's money, to your site. You'll need to make a written proposal, and often, an in-person pitch, and follow through until you secure your funding. Grants typically require a more structured application process than sponsorships, which can be sold through a formal solicitation or over drinks at the dinner table, depending upon whom you are working with.

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GLOSSARY
TERM BLOG Originally 'web log' a website where the most recent entries appear first, typically allowing users to subscribe to updates and to leave comments. BOOKMARKS, BOOKMARKING Saving an item, page or website for future reference, increasingly via an online account such as del.icio.us. Works in a similar way to the 'favourites' feature of a web browser. COMMUNITIES Online networks that exist around shared interests or shared content. CONTENT COMMUNITIES Communities which organise around and share particular kinds of content. Popular content communities exist around photos (Flickr), bookmarked links (del.icio.us), news (Digg) and videos (YouTube). INSTANT MESSAGING (IM) A form of real-time communication via the internet between two or more people based

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on typed text, for example Google Talk. MICRO-BLOGGING Instant publishing of bite-size amounts of content via a service such as Twitter. RSS (REALLY SIMPLE SYNDICATION) A method of subscribing to a site¡¯ content and being alerted to new updates without s visiting the site, either through the user¡¯ web browser or an RSS aggregator s (for example Bloglines). SOCIAL MEDIA Media that users can easily participate in, share and create content for, including blogs, social networks, wikis, forums and virtual worlds. SOCIAL NETWORKS Channels through which individuals can interact socially. Successful online examples include Facebook, MySpace and Bebo

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TAGS, TAGGING Keywords that label pieces of content (for instance blog posts, bookmarks) and make them easy to organise and search. TECHNORATI RANKING A blog¡¯ authority, as measured by blog tracking website Technorati. s TWITTER A micro-blogging service that distributes bitesized chunks of text across multiple platforms, including mobile, instant messaging and email. Messages are often status updates about what a user is doing. VODCAST Video files that are published on the internet and can be subscribed to, a derivative of podcasts (audio files).

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END WORD

The internet continually improves in response to user experience is driving innovation on an unprecedented scale. There will no doubt be exciting new variants on current formats and perhaps innovations that come to be thought of as new forms of social media. They will develop in response to our appetite for new ways to communicate and to the increasingly flexible ways that we can go online. That's the detail – impossible to predict. What is beyond doubt is that social media – however it may be referred to in the future – be a genie that will not be disappearing back into its bottle.

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