Good reads

Here are some more good reads:

YouTube Adds Embeddable Subscribe Buttons

New Approaches To Online Video At The Wall Street Journal

Twitter Has New Smartphone Search Function

Flipboard Launches Its Mobile Magazines On The Web

How To Use Tabs In Gmail

Portfolio Site Pressfolios Launches In Public Beta

Nine Best Free Image Editors

The Complete Guide To Twitter Lingo

What interesting articles have you read lately? Do share.

Good Reads

Two of the blogs/websites that I follow, a list I will put up soon, includes Mashable and ReadWrite. These tow websites are the go-to sources of information on all things involving technology and social media. I decided to upload a few interesting reads linked to the content on this blog.

5 Design Tips To Boost Blog Conversions

Facebook Introduces Photo Comments For Pages

Twitter’s Verified Users: How They All Connect

Watch Out Facebook: Why Google and Pinterest Are Gaining As Social Rivals

Time To Change Your Tumblr Password – Immediately

13 Ways To Print Your Instagram Photos

Instagram Sets Its Photos and Videos Free Via Embeds

How To Make News Readers Work for You

Instagram May Be Strangling Vine Now, But The Fight Is Far From Over

Four Tips and Tricks For Pinterest Addicts

Google + Turns Two: Why I’m Becoming A Convert

The Killer Feature In Instagram’s New Videos Isn’t What You Think It Is

How Instagram Remade Photography (And Could It Do The Same For Video)

How Video Gives Instagram A Split Personality

Watch Your Twitter Life Flash Before Your Eyes

Pinterest: One Man’s Journey

Excel Is An Art Form: These Beautiful Images Are Proof

Do you subscribe to Mashable and ReadWrite as well? Which one is your favourite? Do you know of similar sites that we might find useful?

HTML and CSS: Writing basic HTML and CSS

I am a Journalism Honours graduate and I’m in no way, shape or form close to being considered very knowledgeable on all things IT and programming. However, when I was job-hunting and grew interest in multimedia journalism vacancies, I found that one requirement that they mentioned as advantageous was basic knowledge of HTML and CSS. I then downloaded a free e-book and taught myself how to do very basic HTML and CSS and here I am six months later with very basic knowledge on using HTML and CSS to create your own webpage. Sadly, I am yet to finish the dummy site that I have been playing around with but I think I have done quite okay for a journalism graduate who’s learnt HTML and CSS in a span of six months (this is in my own opinion though lol).

Anyway, it’s now time to learn how to do basic HTML and CSS coding. The HTML and CSS that I am familiar with is the older standard (XHTML and CSS) before the creation of the new HTML 5 and CSS 3, which I am also learning how to do at the moment. So, the video I have posted is still in accordance with old W3C standards but can still be used for writing and creating webpages.

Source: NeaceDesign

Here are a few basic things to keep in mind when writing HTML and CSS code:

  • <html> and </hmtl> – tells the browser that you are writing HTML (it shows the beginning and end of HTML on a page)
  • <head> and </head> – shows the beginning and end of the header
  • <title> and </title> – show the beginning and end of a page title
  • <body> and </body> show the beginning and end of the body of text for your HTML
  • <h1> to <h6> and </h1> to </h6> – indicate the beginning and end of the headings in your HTML, with <h1> being your most important and biggest heading and <h6> being your least important and smallest heading.
  • <p> and </p> shows the beginning and end of a paragraph

It is very important to “tell” your browser that it is dealing with an HTML document. You do this by adding the following at the beginning of your .html file in Notepad or TextEditor:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC”//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd”&gt;

This will then be followed by the rest of your code.

What is also important to add is that your opening html tag (<html>) needs to be written as:

<html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml&#8221; lang=”en” xml:lang=”en”>

You also need to add what is called a <meta> tag in your <html> tag. You write this as:

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=ISO-8859-l”>

This specifies the language used on your page. In this case you are telling your browser to use English or “Latin” languages.

Inside your <head> opening and closing tags you will also include your link to your external stylesheet:

<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” href=”yourfilename.css” />

You will then write up all the information that will be included in your stylesheet in your .css Notepad or TextEdit file as was shown in the video).

So, to sum up the structure of a basic HTML file, it will be:

  • DOCTYPE information at the top of your .html file
  • This is followed by your <html> opening tag. Remember, your opening tag (<html>) and closing tag (</html> contains both your <head> and <body> tags.
  • You then open up your <head> tag, which includes your <title> tag, <meta> tag and <link> tag. You then close this tag using </head>.
  • Then, you open your <body> tag, which holds any information that includes your blog’s content. This will generally be placed between your heading tags (<h1> to <h6>, depending on how many headings you have) and your paragraph tags (<p> and </p>). of course you can also include things like lists, quotes, blockquotes, etc, which you will learn about later.
  • Once you have written all the content of your blog, you close your body tag using </body>
  • You then close off your html tag using </html>

It is important to note, though, that the DOCTYPE, <meta> tag and <link> tag are simplified with HTML 5:

  • Your <!DOCTYPE> is simplified to <!doctype html>
  • Your <meta> tag is simplified to <meta charset=”utf-8″>
  • Your <link> tag is simplified to <link rel=”stylesheet” href=”yourfilename.css”>

Moving onto CSS, your CSS code will contain:

  • what it is in your HTML coding that you want to style (the location)
  • what it is about that that you want to style (the property)
  • how you want to style it (style to apply)

So, for example, if you CSS code reads:

p {

color: purple;

}

Then you have:

  • p means that you have selected that you want to style everything between the paragraphs tags in your HTML coding
  • color means that it is the font that you plan on styling
  • purple means that you want to style the font purple

Some of the most common properties  are:

  • color: to style fonts
  • top, bottom, left or right: to position elements at the top, bottom, left or right of your webpage
  • text-align: aligning text to the left, right or center
  • letter-spacing: to set the spacing between your letters
  • background-color: to set the colour of your background
  • font-weight: used to control the weight of your text (normal or bold)
  • border: to insert and style borders
  • font-style: to make text italic or oblique
  • line-height: controls the line spacing of your text
  • margins: sets margin space
  • list-style: control the styling of list items
  • font-size: controls the size of your text
  • background-image: inserts an image in the background

You will of course learn more about this as we go on.

With your first actual lesson on writing basic HTML and CSS, what do you think? Is it easy or difficult? Did the way the video explain it make sense? Did the way I broke it down make sense? Would you like to have more simpler explanations on this? Please share.

Blogging and Social Media: Setting Up Your Blog

In previous posts I wrote about the different platforms that you can use for blogging and what you can blog about. By now you should already have decided what your blog is going to be about so it’s time to set up an account with your platform of choice.

Setting up your WordPress account

Source: Casualprograms

Setting up your Blogger account

Source: Digital Charlotte

Setting up your Tumblr account

Source: Sarah Smith

Blogging and Social Media: What To Blog About

Now that you know which blogging platforms are available to you, you need to know what you are going to blog about. In essence, you can blog about anything and when people say anything, they really do mean anything. I’d add anything …of value. However, I think that Adam Westbrook‘s blog post, Why journalists must blog and how, sums up perfectly why journalists would have a need, reason or something to blog about.

What are your thoughts on this article? If you already have a blog, what do you blog about? Why did you choose that topic? If you have decided to start blogging, what are you going to blog about? Why did you choose that topic?

Blogging and Social Media: Social Media That Journalists Use

As you’ve seen in previous posts, there are a wide variety of social media available online that can be used by anyone. However, only certain social media is used to a large extent in journalism. How a journalist or news organisation employs a particular form of social media is largely influenced by how its (the social media) features contributes toward providing rich, quality story-telling. This post will only concentrate on those, however, you are always welcome to add more suggestions that you use and/or that can be used for journalism.

Facebook

Facebook can be used by a journalist or a news organisation through a page that people can like and so, also, comment on. Here longer forms of interaction often takes place between the journalist and/or the news organisation like commentary, discussions, uploading additional information related to stories (through direct statuses, pictures and/or videos), longer form updates on stories they are working on, a place where readers can interact and connect with each other about stories, where the audience can add to the page, etc. A local examples include Leanne Manas and City Press.

Source: rapidlearninglife

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform (updates contain 140 characters or less) that journalism has adopted as a platform that can be used to push headlines, provide short bursts of information on breaking news, information where the story is constantly changing and so requires constant updates, live-tweeting (where a journalist tweets information live from a story or event), for curation (collecting tidbits of information and creating a story with and/or adding that information to the story), sharing information between news organisations and journalists, to interact with the audience, for finding stories, for story ideas, to connect to sources (official sources and/or eyewitnesses), for research, for commentary from the audience, etc. Local examples include Carien du Plessis and Times Live.

Source: leelefever

Pinterest

From my personal experience with Pinterest, I believe that news or media organisations are still playing around to find the best uses for this form of social media. It is often best used for magazines because magazines are more of a visual medium. However, examples like The New York Times has found a way to incorporate it into its online presence by “pinning and remixing visual inspiration”. I did, however, not find any South African newspaper examples that I can refer you to. Do you know of any? But I do know of magazines like Huisgenoot and YOU, Cosmopolitan and Visi, to name a few. SABC News also has a Pinterest account but does not have much activity. You can also read:

How Journalists Are Using Pinterest

Source: Andre Oentoro

Vine

Vine is a video app launched by Twitter for iPhone and Android users that allows users to create short 6 second GIF-type videos. Unfortunately, I have no experience with this app because I am a Blackberry user. From what I gather, though, there are mixed views on Vine’s usability:

How Vine Is Changing the Face of Online Journalism

How Media Outlets Are Using Vine to Deliver News – Some Better Than Others

How Journalists Can Use Vine 

Turkish Bombing Footage Shows Why Vine May Not Work For Journalism (Yet) 

Vine Represents Another Level of Citizen Journalism

I haven’t found any South African examples. Do you know of any?

Source: itech224

Keek

Keek is a video app that allows you to record 36 second videos (keeks) from webcams, Windows, iPhone, Android and Blackberry phones that can be shared online and that people can respond to through video comments (keekbacks). I also have very little experience with this app since I only signed up for it yesterday. From the research I’ve done, it does not seem as though it has been used in journalism at all. However, I do think that it is a better alternative to Vine because the video length is much longer, it is not only limited to iPhone and Android and you can share your keeks on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and/or embed it on your blog. From what I can tell, it is a social network that work similarly to Twitter but the difference is that it makes use of video. Do you know more about keek? Please share with us.

Source: BRIAN CLARK

Google +

Google Plus is a social network available through Google that allows you to connect to people in the same way as Facebook does. However, it provides you with a more organised social network that also has additional features that have proven to be particularly useful for journalists. Local journalists on Google Plus include Vauldi Carelse. I am still learning how to use it but here are a few useful links:

How Journalists Are Using Google +

Five Ways Journalists Are Using Google+

Eight Google+ Tools For Journalists

Ten Ways Journalists Can Use Google+

How Journalists Can Start Using Google+ Now

Source: Epipheo

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network that allows you to connect and network with working professionals that are useful contacts to have. Journalists have been using it to stay in contact with other journalists and important sources (people and organisations) that can provide them with important and useful information. Local journalists on LinkedIn include Chris Roper and Mandy Wiener. Some useful links:

LinkedIn For Journalists

10 Ways Reporters Can Use LinkedIn

How Journalists Can Make the Most of LinkedIn

How Journalists Can Best Use Linkedin – Podcast

10 LinkedIn Tips For Journalists

Five Mistakes Journalists Make On LinkedIn

Source: ggllive

YouTube

YouTube is a video sharing and watching platform that also helps you to connect with other people.  Journalists tends to use it as a source of news and also a place to distribute news through videos. I have also seen an increased use of the YouTube Channel feature by news organisations, where they have created their own channel to which they then upload their video content. SABC News and e-News Channel Africa  are examples of these.

Flickr

Flickr is a platform that allows you to organise and share your photo and videos. It is a tool that is particularly useful for photojournalist, however, I do think that it can be used by any news organisation as a photo and video sharing platform. The question that does arise, though, might be why should you use Flickr if you can use Facebook to upload photos and video, for example? I found that Mandy Wiener uploaded pictures from her book launch and Morning Live posted pictures of their New Age Breakfast Sessions

Source: yahoo

Source: Digital Charlotte

Instagram

Instagram is a photo- and, more recently, video-sharing app available on the iPhone and Google Play. I do not have any experience with Instagram since I am a Blackberry user, however, you can read:

How Journalists Are Using Instagram

Instagram For Newsrooms

What Journalists Need To Know About Instagram Video

Instagram Video VS Vine: What’s The Difference?

I didn’t find any local examples of media or journalists using Instagram as part of their reporting. Do you know of any?

Source: pbsideachannel

Source: PhoneAds

Source: Digital Charlotte

RSS feeds

An RSS feed is a platform you can use that delivers all new or updated information, from websites or blog, straight to one place without you having to manually check each blog or website for this new or updated information. This can be particularly useful for journalists who need to be in the know of new or updated information but do not always have the time to check relevant websites. It can also be way in which journalists distribute their new information to their audience. The RSS logo is usually available on most websites or blogs. Read this:

What RSS Is And How Journalists Should Use It

Source: leelefever

Foursquare

Foursquare is an app that helps you locate or find nearby places (coffee shops, museums, shopping malls, etcs), share places you’ve visited with your network and find recommendations from other people. I’ve just recently discovered this app and I love it. It’s such a useful location finder. I would say that it might be useful for location-related pictures or crowdsourcing information relating to a particular place or experiences at a particular place or event. I haven’t found any uses of it in South African media. Do you know of any? Here are ways to use it as a journalist:

7 Ways Journalists Can Use Foursquare

How Journalists Can Use Foursquare For Reporting

What works For News Orgs On Foursquare?

Source: startupdaily