My fast growing appreciation for Facebook

I always believed Facebook was a great platform for news organisations but even more so following RTE’s social media coverage of the General Election. Analysing the stats post-election was really interesting and revealing.

Neworld Blog reports 77% of all Irish internet users use Facebook, according to recent figures from Comscore.

(The) average Irish person spends 4hours 10 minutes on Facebook per month, well ahead of competitors Google sites (2hrs 51mins), Microsoft sites (1hr 36mins) and RTE.ie (22 mins). (Comscore)

According to Ipsos MRBI, 1.75 million or 50% of the entire Irish population, over the age of 15 years, use Facebook. 175,000 new Irish users joined the site in the last six months.

Facebook’s own figures estimate there are 1,865,000 Irish accounts on the social network.

With 1.8m Irish accounts and growing it’s hard to argue about Facebook’s dominance.

So we know there’s an audience, but what are they looking for?

Vadim Lavrusik over at Mashable has a very interesting post about Facebook’s growing role in social journalism. It even points to a news organisation that is moving its community news website totally over to Facebook. (Note: Lavrusik has just been appointed Facebook’s first journalism programme manager)

CyberJournalist has a post with some nice quick tips for publishing content to Facebook (this link has five tips,  there are eight if you download the document).

After using Facebook successfully during the General Election and seeing the power of the platform first hand – I’m hoping to experiment even more with it soon.

-B

What I’ve been up to lately … #ge11

This is a long overdue post but better late than never.

I was the project manager for RTÉ’s web coverage during the recent Irish general election.

We covered the election on RTE.ie, mobile, News Now, Aertel, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.

It was a hugely challenging couple of months pulling things together, but it was also an extremely exciting project to work on. We covered the election using stories, features, blogs, live blogs, live streams, videos, audios, galleries, graphics, tweets, status updates, wordles, audioboos etc.

We tried out some new things out – one of these was setting up a temporary social media desk staffed by some great people including Adam Maguire, Dave Molloy, Fearghal O’Connor and Lisa O’Carroll. From this desk we ran the RTE_Elections Twitter feed, resurrected from its humble beginnings during the local and European elections in 2009. We dipped our toe into Facebook with a dedicated elections page, while several election videos also found a home on YouTube.

One of the most challenging aspects of our coverage, but also, for me, one of the most rewarding was setting up 43 new Twitter accounts – one for each constituency. Journalists going to count centres were given Twitter training and headed out – some using Twitter apps, others Twitter.com and for those in 3g-deprived areas …  SMS. We had all 43 up and tweeting during the count – providing constituency-level news feeds that not only served Twitter but also each individual constituency page on the website.

In the lead up to the election our reporters and correspondents blogged their way through the campaign trail and we live blogged each day from base.

This is just a taste of how we covered the election online.

Demand for content was huge over the count weekend. RTÉ’s digital platforms attracted almost 23m views over the three days. On the website alone, there were almost 19m page views from 1.1m browsers (devices) – double the performance delivered during the 2007 General Election.

It was great to work with a really committed team to deliver such comprehensive digital election coverage … but hopefully we’re a good five years away from the next one.

-Blathnaid