Facebook allows posts to be embedded

Facebook has introduced a feature that allows users to embed posts to any third party website or blog.

This from Canoe: “To embed any public post on an external website, simply click on the arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the item, then select “Embed Post.” A text box appears with code to copy and paste, just as is the case when embedding YouTube videos, tweets or Instagram photos, to name just a few.”

Facebook embeds will allow newsrooms to easily bring those great comments shared on your fan pages on to your website/blog. It should also increase the number of fans. The widget allows users to ‘like’ a page straight from your website. Pretty cool.

The Facebook development page has more information about embeds.




Reporter travels across Canada like it’s 1963 – with 2013 technology

Sun Media features writer Thane Burnett is going on a road trip across Canada. It’s a road trip ‘back in time’ to 1963, a time Burnett believes marks one of the best periods in Canadian history. (It also happens to be the year he was born) Burnett’s trip will take him to places that only existed in 1963 (think diners, landmarks, etc.,) in a quest to find out what Canadians think is the best time in our history.

Burnett recently arrived in Halifax and started travelling west on March 11. While Thane’s trip is a journey back in time, it’s a step-forward in how we use online tools to present an ongoing series.

I’ve been working with Burnett over the last few weeks to get him trip-ready; Tips and tricks when using an iPhone; how to use Instagram (finally a good reason to use a retro filter!!); six-second video sharing machine, Vine, our live-blogging platform, Scribblelive; filing video to YouTube via iPhone apps.

Here’s the hash-tag that I wanted branded on everyone’s brains: #RETROCANADA

As well, Burnett will be using more familiar tools, including a WordPress blog, writing regular stories for print/online and shooting photos.

He’ll be the definition of the mobile journalist over the next few weeks.

Burnett’s been a patient and willing student. As the Sun’s national community manager, that’s all I can ask. And I can’t wait to watch him as he tweets, Instagrams, and Vines (making up verbs here) his way across Canada.

Accuracy of news in the Twitter age

Checked out the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s J-Talk last night on The Twitter Effect: Is Journalism Still Able to Get it Right?

The panel included public editors/digital journalist/commentators at the forefront of curating good, accurate content from social media, including NPR’s Andy Carvin and GigaOM writer Mathew Ingram. I was particularly interested in what Carvin had to say. He was the Twitter force behind gathering solid content, sources during the Arab Spring and was among the social media leaders cutting through the chaos during the recent Newtown shootings.

During Thursday’s J-Talk, Carvin described his method as an “open source newsroom” where he transparently verifies information by asking his followers and includes them in the process by explaining his methods – step by step – via Twitter. He admits when he’s wrong and doesn’t delete inaccurate tweets. Carvin’s technique runs counter in many ways to how newsrooms have traditionally run – i.e. gatekeepers of information.

The event was livestreamed and liveblogged, for those who want to see the J-Talk in its entirety.

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Facebook Graph Search: Good for reporters, bad for personal privacy

Got my invite to Facebook Graph Search a few weeks ago.

The relatively new feature, currently in beta, works as a search engine within Facebook allowing you to find detailed information on your friends and several strangers with public accessible profiles. To be honest, the information you can dig up is simultaneously exciting as a journalist and a wee bit frightening as a person who values a certain measure of privacy. (I know, it’s a double-standard).

How it works:

Allows you to look for targeted information using nearly any parameters. Here’s a few I keyed in just for example purposes, “People who like Queen’s Park and Stephen Harper.”


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Super Simple Online Tools: Interactive photo

I’m always on the hunt for simple online tools newsrooms can use to enhance their websites. Thinglink fits the bill.

What is it? An online tool that makes photos interactive.

Why it’s cool? You can add all kind of information to an image, including tweets, videos, photos, website links and text. The photo looks like any other until a user puts her mouse over it and ‘Aha!’ all sorts of wonderful additional extra tidbits appear.

How it works? Select create and upload, drag or import a photo


Start plotting points on your photo. Add links to stories, videos, photos, individual tweets.


Pick your icon. There’s one for general posts, tweets, video, Facebook, etc.


Keeping adding icons until you’ve made an interactive photo.


ThingLinks can be embedded within stories on your website by using the “source” button. All you need is the embed code. Here’s how you find it.


** Note for Sun Media journalists, editors: When embedding the code into a simple story, you need to delete part of the above code in order for it to work. Here’s what you need to get rid of: async charset=”utf-8″

Happy interactive video making!

Live tweeting done right: How reporter Shawn Jeffords tweeted for 13 hours and gained 1300 followers

What does it take to live tweet for 13 hours straight? A strong sense of public service, an online audience urging you on, a cellphone charger and a sense of humour. Luckily, Toronto Sun reporter Shawn Jeffords has all of the above.

On Thursday (and well into Friday morning) Jeffords tweeted a 13-hour Ontario Labour Relations Board hearing into whether a planned walkout by the province’s 76,000 elementary school teachers’ was legal and should be allowed to go ahead. He was one of a handful of media who stuck it out overnight and was one of the only ones to tweet consistently for the duration. And he was rewarded. Not only did Jeffords successfully document what happened – his tweets captured by a live blog on the Toronto Sun’s website – he gained more than 1,300 followers and received tons of accolades from grateful parents and school boards for keeping them informed.

In all, he tweeted about 140 times during the meeting and has been mentioned another 310 times (including RTs) over the last two days.
JeffordsI caught up with Shawn this morning to talk about what it took to make it through the night and keep tweeting.

(Full disclosure: I’ve known Shawn for 12 years. We went to J-school together and he worked for me at the St. Catharines Standard. I consider him a friend and a colleague)

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Quick Tips: New Twitter archive, social media bios and free Twitter tools

Twitter has started rolling out an archive feature allowing you to download all your old tweets and retweets from the beginning. Yup, all of them. It will appear at the bottom of “Settings.” Users with their language set to English will get the feature soon, if you haven’t already. I’m waiting for it to show up on my profile. Apparently, it just takes a few minutes to download all your tweets. This feature could come in handy for journalists to keep track of exchanges with sources via Twitter. It may serve as a bit of a Twitter notebook for journos. It’s also sure to spark a flurry of “Check out my first tweet from 2008” type posts. Expect one from me.

This is how it will look below.


I was playing with another Twitter-affiliated tool called Vizify last night. What it does: A visual representation or interactive graphic of your life on social media. (i.e. for dorks like me). It doesn’t seem to have a whole of lot of utility for journalists except for being a cool-looking social media portfolio. It does analyze your tweets from the last year and shows you a) your most frequently tweeted words b) your best tweet of the year and c) your most dedicated follower. I’ve got mine plugged into LinkedIn, Instagram (yes, I’m still on it. for now), Twitter and Facebook. (And yes, I turned my social media life into a Christmas tree).


Came across this blog post this morning on Top Free Twitter Tools for 2013.

I’ve only one called Tweriod. This analyzes your Twitter feed and gives you an indication of when your followers are online and notes the optimal tweeting time for your account. It’s useful. Check it out.

Twitonomy: Just tried it out today. Definitely has some possibilities for newsrooms, journalists. It offers pretty in-depth analysis of your Twitter account. It offers a bunch of information, including the day of the week, hour you tweet the most, who retweets you, Twitter history, etc.


Both of these tools help you track your followers: followerwonk.com and refollow.com. If you’ve got a lot of followers, it will help give you a sense of how influential they are and who they are.