Journal # 3 – Topic Blog Influencers

Standard

Topic Blog Influencers

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“Develop a list of at LEAST three other blogs or Web sites that meaningfully address your topic of interest.  For professionals, a blog is often a “hub” for other social media activity occurring around the web. Summarize and evaluate some of the key features of each blog or site using bullet points on your journal blog.

Answer all of the following questions: What kind of problem do these websites/blogs help solve for their audience and/or what needs do they fulfill? What do they do well? What could they improve? Can you identify any gaps in their content or features that a competitor could fill, and how is what you could offer different or better? Look at their social media presence and the comments or interaction they get: Are they cultivating an active community around their site?”


My Topic Blog, TN Liberty, is a forum in which to share information about news, events, politics, and laws concerning our state. All conservative and liberty-minded activists, students, campus and community leaders, and voters, are encouraged to contribute. TN Liberty, is also a location for resources concerning bills up for approval, TN Congressional representative’s contact information, statewide and county events, activism advice, mentorship, and grassroots training, among other issues as needed and requested. TN Liberty serves as an extension of the TN and MS Leadership page on Facebook and may ultimately be followed with a MS Liberty blog. There are contributing writers on topics concerning the Liberty Movement in Tennessee, liberty-minded issues, and various opinion columns.

For this assignment I started by searching for other bloggers who are advancing the liberty movement. I found that many of these sites were highly specialized and a little on the fringe. That is not the type of blog that I want TN Liberty to be. I feel that it should be specialized by pertaining to the state of Tennessee, but it should also contain information about why the Liberty Movement is so important, how our government is violating the Constitution, and what actions a citizen, can take to advocate for Liberty and Freedom.

Next, I found an interesting site that ranked the top libertarian leaning (or liberty-minded so as not to be confused with the Libertarian Party) websites according to Alexa and Compete.

Here I settled on several top ranking and well-known liberty-minded sites to which I could make some comparisons.

They are as follows:

Reason

The Liberty Paper

The Liberty Crier


Let’s start with Reason.

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  • Reason is the monthly print magazine of ‘free minds and free markets.'”
  • “It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews.”
  • Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.”
  • Reason.com is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. It also contains the full text of past issues of the print edition of Reason.”
  • At first glance, reason.com looks a little messy in terms of visual appearance.  A little cluttered and although I understand that this is because the site’s home page is the first stop for ReasonTV, Reason24/7, the Hit & Run Blog, and stories from the printed magazine, as well as the location for Top News Stories (sortable by Featured and New) and a lot of advertisements.
  • Reason is financially backed by a national non-profit and thus, has the ability to aggregate thousands of news stories as well as employ a staff of over 50 for the website.  However, I believe they could significantly improve their website by maximizing the white space and uncluttering the articles.  It could look much cleaner.  Once you click on the headings for the different sites within the site, they pages get a bit cleaner and more visually appealing.
  • TN Liberty is a more more localized blog/site and will not need to run every single news story and headline that potentially has anything to do with liberty or liberty politics.
  • Reason does enjoy a fabulous social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and on their Twitter each day.  On Twitter, Reason has over 130K followers and on Facebook, over 125K likes.

Next, we examine The Liberty Paper:

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  • The Liberty Paper  is a web-based news site commentating and reporting on legislation and events, which affect the American peoples’ liberty domestic and abroad.”
  • The Liberty Paper was launched in the summer of 2012, by political commentator and legislative lobbyist, Michael Lotfi.”
  • “To date, TheLibertyPaper.org has enjoyed an ever-growing, loyal fan base, which has generated hundreds of thousands of readers in more than 140 countries around the world.”
  •  TheLibertyPaper.org is updated only semi-regularly with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the most recent article posted is from January 27th, 2014.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is also riddled with advertisements and donate here boxes.  I understand why Michael Lofti would choose to accept advertising and donations – hopefully, someday soon, the TN Liberty blog will also accept advertisements and donations.  However, I feel the visual esthetics of the site could be cleaner and the ad placements more controlled.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org is run by a friend of mine.  He is a recent graduate of Belmont College in Nashville, TN and a well-known activist in the state.  However, I have mixed opinions of his work, his self-promotion, and his ability as a journalist.  Each story is riddled with grammatical errors to say the least.  He was also given a column at the Washington Post.  On his first article, there were complications and the post was ultimately removed due to his lack of due diligence and his reporting false information.
  • TN Liberty is will certainly provide a more grammatically correct site as well as one that is more visually appealing.  However, it will not focus as heavily on National stories and investigative muckracking.  I hope to provide a forum in which concerned residents of the state can ask for advice as well as receive news – especially that which is most pertinent to their area.
  • TheLibertyPaper.org does have a social media presence with stories and photos shared through their Facebook  page and but no Twitter as far as I can find.   On Facebook, it has just a little over 4K likes.

Finally, let’s take a look at The Liberty Crier:

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  •  The Liberty Crier is updated daily with articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture. If you look at the current home page, you will see that the a rotating Top Story Box
  • The Liberty Crier is a very visually appealing blog sites with a lot of features.  The masthead is clean and displayed prominently.

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  • Some other interesting aspects that The Liberty Crier features are categories for:

1. Top Headlines

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2.  Member Blog Posts

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3.  Documentaries

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4.  Channels

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  •  The Liberty Crier seems a bit lacking in their social media presence with their Twitter receiving only 1200 followers.  Their Facebook page has only 8.9K likes.  This seems rather odd to me because it is not being a new website.
  •  I envision the TN Liberty blog looking closer to this blog/site than any of the others in this review/comparison.  I also plan to add a forum for discussions among Tennessee residents and allow for contributing writers as well.  The main difference will be that TN Liberty will be localized plus – it will have a much bigger social media presence.


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Journal Post 1 – Social Media Use

Standard

Personal & Professional

Social Media Use

“In your first post, answer the following questions:  What social networks of you use most often?  How or why do you use them?  What do you find interesting or important about social media (e.g. why are you taking this class?)”

In terms of social networks, I used to say I used them all but then realized that there are thousands out there that I didn’t know existed and some that I still don’t know exist, i’m sure.  So, to give an exact answer to this question we must start with a list. I love lists, don’t you?

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Twitter
  3.     Tumblr
  4.     Facebook Pages (admin for 9 pages – 4 of them aren’t active)
  5.     WordPress (as you can see here)
  6.     Instagram
  7.     Foursquare
  8.     Klout
  9.     Storify
  10.   Snapchatsocial-media
  11.   Google+
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Hey Tell
  14.   Yelp
  15.   Urbanspoon
  16.   LinkedIn
  17.   Academia.edu
  18.   Buzznet
  19.   CaringBridge
  20.   Classmates.com
  21.   Couchsurfing.com
  22.   delicious
  23.   Flickr
  24.   Flixster
  25.   Myspace
  26.   Meetup
  27.   LiveJournal
  28.   MyLife
  29.   Pinterest
  30.   ReverbNation.com
  31.   SocialVibe
  32.   StumbleUpon
  33.   Xanga
  34.   Circle.com (I think it is now FullCircle.com)
  35.   Bump (no longer a site – sold to Google, I think)

So now that we have a list of all the social networking sites that I have used, still use, or have used at some point (at least enough to know what it is and have an account) we will break it down.  Let me start by saying that some of them I didn’t even consider to be a social networking site until I looked it up and found that they were indeed social networking sites and some, I didn’t remember I had used until i read a list of all social networking sites.  It was a pretty interesting list too – check it out by clicking here.

Okay – so the sites I use on a regular basis are:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube
  13.   Yelp
  14.   Urbanspoon
  15.   Meetup
  16.   CaringBridge (sucks to add to a “use often” list btw)
  17.   Flickr (will be using it a lot more now)
  18.   Academia.edu
  19.   delicious
  20.   HeyTell

Now we’ve learned that I use 20 social networking sites on a regular basis.  Wow – I think I’ve just learned something about myself and where all those extra hours of time i used to have available, have gone.  The missing time felt like the random 1 sock and its missing partner from the load of laundry in the dryer phenomenon until now.  So – no longer a mystery.

So, if we break those down again into the social networking sites I use on a daily basis we have:

  1.     Facebook
  2.     Facebook Pages
  3.     Twitter
  4.     Tumblr
  5.     WordPress
  6.     Snapchat
  7.     Instagram
  8.     Foursquare
  9.     Klout
  10.   LinkedIn
  11.   Pinterest
  12.   YouTube

Hmm… that’s  still a lot of sites, but significantly less when you consider that I’ve linked many of them together so 1 post is distributed among them.

I use them mostly for personal connections and networking.  I know that sounds simple and maybe it is to most but to me – i have to remember what different things to post to which sites because some are personally funny posts, some are professional posts, some are networking posts, some are Liberty and Freedom posts, some are conservative posts, some are liberal posts, some are TN specific, some are posts for the Computer Science department page at the University of Memphis, some are for the Young Americans for Liberty group/page at the University of Memphis, etc etc etc.

If I had to pick the one site that I use most often, it is Facebook to include Facebook pages and groups, followed by Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare.  The others are more of additions and by-products of those.  Pinterest, I used a good amount this past summer because I became obsessed with the DIY information and began to refurnish all the furniture in my house and create those awesome pieces of art that normally cost a lot of money if purchased from Crate and Barrell, Pier 1, and other specialty stores – you know the ones of which I am speaking.  Anyway..now that I’m in grad school – i have several half-finished pieces of furniture to include my coffee table and a craft room full of spray paint, paint, glue, sand paper, and other miscellaneous arts and crafts items I long to use again one day.  Until then…it sits there, looking at me.  A window into the free time I once had.

I’m excited to take this Social Media Class because I hope to pick up a few tips and tricks that I wasn’t aware existed or that I haven’t mastered.  This class will also force me to update my blogs and pages more often and with more consistency, as well as create those blogs that i’ve been meaning to make, in order to enhance my online presence.  Although my online presence is not that bad – i’m ranked pretty high on Klout (obligatory popping of the collar had to be done).  Anyway, I hope to have a professional “portfolio” of sorts at the end of this semester.