One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the reading and research.  I could spend all day reading the fascinating articles that pop up in my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Reader streams, so much so that I have to limit the time I spend doing this every day.  For 2012 I thought it would be fun to share my top reads of the week with you.  So here’s my first round up.  If you read a great article this week that you’d like to share leave it in the comments box and you may find it popping up in next weeks roundup.

Facebook ads in Newsfeed

Facebook rolled out ‘featured stories’ this week. These are ad’s that will appear in a users news feed. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.  Will Facebook users resent seeing adverts directly in their streams? Will companies be cautious of using these ad’s in case it upsets potential customers?

Google Search Plus Your World

At the beginning of the week Google announced that it is changing the way we search by making it more social and prioritising results from our Google+ contacts.  For a better explanation on how it works and a good example involving werewolves read the Matt Cutts blog.

101 Social Business ROI Examples

I discovered this story yesterday and it’s since become quite controversial. Why? Social ROI (return on investment) is a hot topic within the social media world. We’re always looking for new ways to measure it and this post outlines some fantastic examples of successful campaigns.  It’s controversial because of it’s title.  These are success stories but it doesn’t go into enough detail.  It doesn’t tell us what goals were set, what matrix’s were used to measure it or what costs were involved in running the campaign.

If you’re in Ireland and want to find out more about measuring the results of your social media campaigns check out Measurement.ie a one day conference on the subject in Dublin. Run by Damien Mulley and sponsored by DoneDeals.ie it’s one I won’t be missing.

Chris Brogan On Twitter

Whenever I see a post titled ‘Get More Twitter Followers‘ my heart drops.  In this case though it’s all good advice.  There’s no advocating automated following, mass following or anything else that would boost numbers without adding value. Chris Brogan shares his ideas on how to build your follower count by nurturing your community and posting valuable content.

How To Keep Your New Years Blogging Resolutions

I’m cheekily adding in one of my own links here. This week I asked people what their social media new years resolutions were and I found that almost everyone (including me) listed blogging more.  In fact this post is part of me fulfilling that resolution. Here are three tips on how to keep those resolutions but I’m always looking for new suggestions.

Beatrice Whelan’s Prezi on SEO for Bloggers

On Monday we had our first KLCK Bloggers meetup of the year and this is Beatrice Whelan’s excellent presentation on SEO for bloggers.  I also asked some of the attendees to share the tips they had picked up for our videocast. You’ll find that on our Podcast page later on today.  I should also mention that it was Beatrice that introduced me to Matt Cutts whose article features above.

Lorna’s Blogging Experiment

Another one inspired by the bloggers network, Lorna Sixsmith conducted an experiment on blog traffic and the Google keyword research tool.  Enough to ensure you start taking search engine optimisation seriously on your business blog.

Young Blogger Tommy Collison was our guest speaker at this months KLCK Bloggers meet-up.  I was very interested in his take on citizen journalism and asked him to write a guest post on the topic.  Thanks Tommy.

A couple of years ago, citizen journalism started to appear as a concept. It began with the advent of social networks and the availability of data and good cameras on mobile data.

First, what is ” citizen journalism”? It’s the collecting, analysis and broadcasting of news by citizens, specifically those who aren’t journalists. Citizen journalists are also known as bakers, students, mothers, farmers — anyone who uses social networks, really.

To give some examples of citizen journalism, let’s start with Flight 1549, which made an emergency landing into the Hudson River in January 2009. The first media report? A picture tweeted by @jkrums, reading ” There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on a ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy”. The picture, viewed over 776,000 times, was sent around the world, making Janis Krums a true “citizen journalist”: a civilian who reported on the news just because he was in the right place at the right time, and broadcasted what he saw.

Closer to home, in September 2009, there was Darragh Sherwin, whose picture of a crash between a LUAS tram and a Dublin Bus has garnered almost 27,000 views on Flickr.

One of the main criticisms of citizen journalism is that it’s uncontrolled, but people who say that don’t fully understand the trend. Citizen Journalism is not meant to compete with traditional journalism, it’s supposed to compliment it. They aren’t competing because they offer different things.

To give an example of a citizen journalist, they’re someone who lives by a railway track and takes a picture and tweets it when, one night, a train derails. They document the emergency services on the scene, if anyone’s injured, how everyone is coping.

Now, the next morning, I sit down and read The Irish Times, which has a two-page report on the crash: why it happened, how many were injured, info on other crashes of its kind in the past, Irish Rail’s explanation on why the crash occurred and the steps they’re taking to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Industry experts may weigh in.

Now, the citizen journalist couldn’t provide background information, and the newspaper couldn’t provide the first pictures at 11pm the previous night, as the crash was happening. The two offer different, but equally valuable services.

What do I want you to take from this? Everyone can be (some say “is”) a citizen journalist. Many people think that stuff happening in their local area isn’t of any interest, but that’s not true. Share what’s happening, add to the global (and unofficial) news network on Twitter. I mention Twitter rather than any other social network because Twitter’s the one of them that’s built around what you can offer, rather than who you know. I’ve met nearly all my Facebook friends, but only about 10% of the people I follow on Twitter — that’s because the other 90% still offer witty, insightful or up-to-date updates on topics I’m interested in, and so are still worth following.

So, in short, be a citizen journalist — report the world around you!

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Tommy Collison writes Trust Tommy, a blog about life. When he’s not blogging, he’s probably reading, drumming, making a peanut-butter sandwich or being a student in real life. Drop him an e-mail at tommy@collison.ie