Belated congratulations to Ken Hawkins and his team at TheDigitel for landing their recent investment. TheDigitel is a true asset to the Charleston community, both tech and otherwise; I know that I’ve become better in-tune with my city than ever not only because of the work they do, but because they permit citizens like you and me to directly contribute to the news. If you’re not in Charleston and think this sounds awesome, don’t fret: you can vote on the next city TheDigitel will serve. My best wishes to Ken and his team in this exciting new chapter in their venture!
[gmap zoom=15]After a few months of hard work and preparation, Charleston will officially launch its chapter of Social Media Club tonight with a panel of journalists asking them how social media’s transformed how they engage with their audience. Here’s the event page for tonight’s panel on Facebook.
It’s very befitting that the kickoff event for Charleston’s Social Media Club is a panel with local media professionals. After all, the roots of our blogging community stem from local media’s efforts to reach out to local bloggers all the way back in April of 2006. The founders of that effort, Dan and Janet (Edens) Conover, will be on the panel, along with Ken Hawkins from TheDigitel.com, Andy Owens of the Charleston Regional Business Journal, and Raymond Owens, a producer at WCBD Channel 2 who was well ahead of the curve by being the first broadcast media presence in Charleston to do newsgathering via Twitter (well before WCBD’s station-wide push into social media earlier this year).
Social Media Club Charleston has been in the works for a few months now. Jeff Webster and Nick Tompkins kicked off the effort just before the 2008 holiday season. Heather Solos of Lowcountry Bloggers and Home-Ec 101, local social media/PR pro Lyn Mettler, Blackbaud’s Chad Norman, and yours truly rounded out the initial leadership group and has been laying the groundwork for this launch over the last few months. Thanks to help from The Graduate School of the College of Charleston, we’re able to put on this event for you. It’s stating the obvious to say we’re ridiculously excited to bring SMC to Charleston.
Between the rockstar panel and the wonderful opportunity to meet lots of new people, tonight should be a lot of fun. Tweet your thoughts using the #smcchs hashtag, and we hope to see you there. The event will be at Maybank Hall on the College of Charleston campus at 6:30. (Here’s a map to Maybank Hall.)
WCBD, Charleston’s NBC affiliate, is launching a huge push into social media today by getting a majority of its news staff on Twitter. This is huge — I can’t say I’ve seen too many news agencies place a majority of their staff out into the wild amongst the Twitter-using public. Everybody from the anchors to the photogs is on and listening. Just today I was having a converation with morning anchor Brad Franko during the A-Rod (A-Roid?) press conference. WCBD’s had a presence on Twitter for a while, starting with producer Raymond Owens. Raymond was the first of the television journalists — and among the first of the journalists in Charleston in general — to make news a conversation over Twitter. That struck me. I was particularly pleased when chief meteorologist Rob Fowler joined up later, and gradually more and more folks at the channel started to tweet. I still think one of the marvels of Twitter is how it brings the people together with the media; with media listening in on what people are talking about over Twitter, it helps them serve our interests that much more effectively.
So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a few things that WCBD — and other news organizations tempted to take the social media plunge — should give a shot.
This promises to be an exciting week — I’ll be going to my first-ever ConvergeSouth conference in Greensboro, NC on Thursday. I’ll be with a ton of my fellow bloggers as well as my good friend Patrick O’Keefe, who I will finally get to meet “in real life” after I’ve worked with him and chatted with him over the Internets for several years. I haven’t yet pinpointed what I’m going to do from the schedule yet — one of the many trip preparation things I need to be doing.
Saturday was supposed to be BlogHer Greensboro, which Patrick and I were also going to attend, but they pulled out. Thanks to the power of FriendFeed, a couple folks named Kelby Carr and Dave Slusher, and Converge’s organizer Sue Polinsky, the lost Saturday was reclaimed with some fresh new independent sessions.
I’m extremely stoked for the Saturday sessions, as I’ll be talking about what I do to make Charleston Weather, my streamed severe weather show, tick. I’m also excited to be able to talk about the broader implications for something like Charleston Weather as it relates to hyperlocalism in media, which is a topic that’s getting more and more attention as news outlets race to become more specialized and serve a narrower segment extremely well. That afternoon, I’ll be leading a hands-on session to show just how easy it is to put together a reasonably professional-looking live presentation using mostly free software and Ustream.tv (not necessarily just a weather show). It’s going to be quite a bit of fun.
Patrick will also be leading some talks, so be sure to check those out. He’s on at 10:30am, and I’m on at 11:15am.
I absolutely cannot wait — this is going to be quite a good time. I’m planning on filing some video updates throughout on Serious Business, as well — keep an eye out for those.
I’m sitting here with a terrible case of selective writers’ block. I can write stream of consciousness in the blog all day long — which is what this is — but I’m struggling to write a movie review for my editing class. It’s due Wednesday but this is the only time I really have anything resembling energy for homework, which is surprising considering the emotional rollercoaster the NFL has been for the first two weeks. (I don’t want to say much about Week 2 beyond “the Cardiac Cats are BACK!” and “isn’t robbery illegal in Colorado?”)
Something that might get lost in the larger story of Hurricane Gustav and (to a lesser extent) Tropical Storm Hanna is how the “old” media started looking towards — and, dare I say, embracing — “new” social media tools.
Tonight’s Serious Business was a resounding success. Thanks to everybody who stopped in and really made it something great. Here’s hoping next week is just as good.
Here’s the recorded show, in case you missed it — and it was a good one. We went in-depth on PR practices with bloggers, new vs. old media, and you’ll even find out what my baseball bandwagon is this year…
Remember that, for now at least, we’re doing this every Sunday at 8:30 over on Ustream.tv. Check out the show’s website for links to the show as well as a link to the Facebook page. Fan the show if you deem it worthy. :) I’ll have more at the show website soon; it needs a WordPress install, I just need time.
This is lazy of me, but I want to know from you: What relationship do you think newspapers and other reporting outlets have with the Web? My thoughts are forthcoming, but I’m interested in what YOU think.
I got my replacement anemometer in yesterday…and of course, during the only real time that I’ll have to get it all set back up, the rain will be here. I’m going to try to see, weather permitting, if I can get things going again on Sunday. That’s going to be a fairly big job, though — we’ll see what happens.
The rain is definitely inbound. NWS has it pegged for “after midnight” — here’s hoping it holds off for at least a little while so I can get to work reasonably dry. I have an umbrella there, which is a plus. So far, the rain does not look like it’s moving all too quickly, but we’ll see what happens. Don’t think I’m going to activate the radar for this one — makes the main PC somewhat sluggish at times, especially when I need to dive in and do analysis of my own.
If you haven’t already, I urge you to read Brian Goode’s blog about the Tuesday weather non-event. It’s a great explanation of why broadcast meteorologists reacted the way they did to the threat — the data was pretty solid. I certainly appreciate the perspective and transparency Brian brings to the process through his blog time and time again. I do find it hilarious how people get all up in arms when the weather is less worse than predicted — isn’t that a good thing? As Brian put so well, the media did not tell the schools and cities and stuff to start closing up shop. They just reported what they saw as the situation, and the situation evolved and changed throughout the day to end up being very much in our favor.