Hi everybody! Welcome to Sharing the Wealth, with Jeff Samsonow, Elise Stolte, and Sam Brooks.
The hashtag for this event is #CAJ16ucg.
Looks like there's a typo in the program with the hashtag actually... watch both #CAJ16ucg and #CAJ16ugc.
Jeff starts off by inviting users to generate content for the session, of course!
User-generated content comes from internet 1.0, when we took the idea of streeters to Twitter. Today we'll be talking about ideas that go beyond that, into tapping into communities that are already there instead of creating your own. -Jeff
Elise will start off with some examples.
What she started with: a blog. Edmonton Commons. It was useful as a way to get feedback, and it wasn't so serious so they could get people to weigh in. She wanted to do a story about how much cleaner river could be, and how it could be used for rec now. So she went boating down the river and put a call-out to people to tweet and write in with their thoughts. - Elise
She got some interesting perspectives, and put together a map of people's stories along the river. She didn't get a ton of stories, but it was a start in seeing people's stories and modeling that others could share too. Pretty labour-intensive though. -Elise
She went away for mat leave and came back to urban affairs with the idea of doing a book club around a book called Happy City. Not huge numbers, and it was a lot of work. But what she got out of it was some very deep connections with people who read the book cover to cover. -Elise
Her favourite thing now is Facebook, because it's so easy to post, EJ lost their blog, and it's so easy for people to weigh in and have a good debate. And tell her about things she wouldn't have known before. -Elise
Also she's written a story about how the City won't release its neighbourhood by neighbourhood flood prediction maps. After a Facebook convo, she decided to FOIP it, and posted her response (it was declined) online, and got some great suggestions.
To make journalism successful in 10 or 15 years, we're going to have to engage with audiences differently. Facebook is a great way to do that. Start. Just set up a professional age. Friend everyone you interview, especially those you don't agree with. That's the opinion you need. -Elise
Use a profile if you're not famous (a page if you are). - Elise
You're gonna have trolls. You're gonna feel bad about kicking them off. But if they're hurting the debate, you need to kick them off and be transparent about why you're blocking them. She's only had to block 5 people. She usually sends them a PM warning first, and if that doesn't work she blocks them. -Elise
Somebody once told her that there's a ratio like 100 people have to see your thing before 10 people will hit the like button and 1 person will comment. So don't get discouraged if people don't comment right away. - Elise
Be real and transparent. She's uncomfortable offering analysis on Twitter because it can so easily be taken out of context. But on Facebook she feels like she can offer more analysis, without seeming like her opinion is fixed. Also allows her more space to say what she doesn't know. When you have that more open questioning attitude, it encourages dialogue. -Elise
In future, would like to start a newsletter too. - Elise
Sam: what I do is entirely different from Elise but depends on same concepts.
What we do uses the tools of journalism and solicits good stories from people. - Sam
We do our stories more from a lifestyle perspective. - Sam
Example: Gastropost in NatPo. People who love food really love showing it off. Giving people a place to do that in newspaper was incredibly rewarding for them. Then they gamified it. "Everyone cook asparagus this week and show us." - Sam
Another project: Capital Ideas. Business oriented. - Sam
Also did book club called Reading Society, and travel experiment to get people to share travel stories online. - Sam
Although it's all lifestyle-oriented, it's still based on recognizing that there are already communities out there and we just need to tap into them. -Sam
Jeff explaining Capital Ideas now.
They'll host events getting 150ish businesspeople out to events because they really like to share experience with each other, especially in person. Newspapers benefit because they get content out of that. They ask a weekly question to entrepreneurs and put answers in the paper. What are the pitfalls of investors, eg. - Jeff
People like to see themselves in the paper, and they'll get lots of retweets when they tweet to people that the article is up. - Jeff
Cappies is an experiment in getting theatre reviews from high school students. Students get one day of review training, then go to shows at 4 or 5 different high schools, and then they get pages of reviews, and often give people their first byline. -Jeff
Good way to give people the journalism bug. - Sam
Audience members asks about verification. Jeff says there's still EJ fact-checking. But getting more content generated is still a big benefit.
Audience member asks if Capital Ideas is running out of steam after a few years. Jeff says no, still picking up steam.
And we're still iterating if stuff doesn't work. - Jeff
Sam says all their projects in this unit are inherently experimental. Recognize that engagement means something different all the time. Biggest success with Capital Ideas was hiring a community manager in Calgary. She is the face of that project in the city, and is the reason their events are so successful.
At the end of it, printing a page in the paper is kind of the cherry on top. - Sam
And now Gastropost has grown so much that people are starting to create their own meetups. - Sam
Audience question for Elise: infill story was really great. You have a very busy beat at City Hall. How much time do you spend interacting on Facebook?
It's not a full-time thing. If it's at the top of my page, it's distracting. I have to check in and check out, and don't respond to every comment. You have to keep it manageable. When I compare it to blogging, it's so much easier though. The chicken post, for example. Saved so much time by being able to post on Edmonton Permaculture page. - Elise
Jeff says on Twitter, Elise is great at knowing what hashtags people are using and jumping into those convos.
I want to try Facebook Live, because it might reach a new audience, like millenials who will never read my story otherwise. I've got it on my phone now. -Elise
We experimented with video on Periscope with Capital Ideas, and very quickly discovered what it was and why we don't belong there. A lot of people go to an event and show one minute. Our events are like 40 minutes though. Make great radio, terrible TV. And most people watch Periscope on their phones, which is a terrible place to watch a long stream. We found the av time people were spending on there was 20 seconds or less. And we also found out a lot of people were watching on desktop. So maybe we need to try Facebook Live. And that encouraged us to try podcasting, which has been successful. -Sam
Also I got more attention on a Periscope chasing a puppy around than our really amazing business panelists. So maybe not the best space for us to be in. -Sam
What does using UGC bring to your work, Jeff asks Elise. Well at Postmedia we've had a lot of layoffs this year, and we're going to have to really know our community to serve them in the future, she says. We need to know who they are and how to reach them before it gets any worse.
Why are doing this? Because clearly there's a community out there that cares. -Sam
We care about what you're doing too. Why not be there? It very well shows that we're not just an organization that reports the news and doesn't know what our audience is all about. It's valuable to our journalists as well to re-establish that touchpoint. - Sam