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Talking Twitter

I’m planning to speak about Twitter journalism during a lunch time webcast and Missouri School of Journalism brown bag session today. (If you are in Columbia, it’s in the forum on the second floor of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at noon) It should be a lot of fun. If you can’t attend, I’ve written up my notes right here. If you can attend, those are just notes. I’m going to show more examples and field questions from the audience. It may be a packed house. It may not. If you are interested in watching, feel free to visit the RJI website to see the streaming video.

I promise to post the video here as soon as I can get my hands on it. Have fun!

UPDATE – if you go to the RJI website, just click on the “RJI Live” link to the left. And if you want to join in on the Twitter conversation before, during and after the event, please use #tweettalk as the hashtag!

Twitter Tips

There are so many people asking me about Twitter these days. I would love to help out with some answers.

See Part I of my Twitter webcast here.
See Part II of my Twitter webcast

What is this Twitter thing?
It’s a chance to share your thoughts in a concise 140 characters. It’s like a Facebook status only even faster. You can use text, a cell phone application or your computer (from a web browser or an application) to post your thoughts. Information you post can be updates about what you are doing. You can also post links (make sure you take advantage of URL shortening tools to help fit the 140 character challenge). Links can take you to websites of all types (blogs, video, photos, ect.). Once you get the swing of things you can also communicate with other Twitter users. If you type an @ in front of a Twitter-user’s name, they will be able to see your message to them publicly. You can also message a person privately if they follow you back. This direct message is unseen by other members and can end up in the Twitter-user’s text message, email and Direct Message link on Twitter.

To sign up, go to
You will need a working email address. (By the way, you can only create one Twitter account per email. If you want multiple Twitter accounts, you’ll need multiple email addresses.)


Why should I care?
In its early days this was a wonderful way to talk directly to people who never seemed attainable before. You could @ someone and they would reply back to you! As it grows, you can still have those conversations but some of the most interesting and popular users can get bombarded by @ messages. They may not be able to reply quickly and their account can end up looking like another clogged email inbox – only in this case the messages are only 140 characters.

But there are other good reasons to keep an eye on Twitter.

1. It is so easy to post information using this tool
2. It is so easy to collect quick information from many people at the same time if they add a topic to their messages (like #twitter or #explainer)
3. You get to read quick comments from people who don’t normally give quick thoughts or perspectives (Like Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) or David Gregory (@davidgregory))
4. You can build a personal relationship with members of your news market
5. You can build and develop a personal brand online
6. It is fascinating to watch information collect organically during breaking news events

    I could go on, but those are my favorites.

    If you join Twitter, what are some things you should know?
    Before you start following other people on Twitter, build your profile. Your username, bio, profile picture, link and tweets (that’s the verb we use to say you posted a message on Twitter) are what people use to decide if they want to follow you back. It’s a very quick decision. If you have no information there, a person is less likely to follow you back. If you really want to get the Twitter experience rolling, you want to get people to follow you back.

    Use your real name if you plan to use this Twitter account as a professional. People will take you seriously and it is a simple way to get your name more searchable on Google. (Which is helpful if you want to have an established personal brand online – it can’t hurt in today’s economy)

    Once someone follows you, do not sign up for a system that allows you to send automatic direct messages (DM) to your new followers. It is considered rude and impersonal. If you do choose to send a Direct Message, make sure it has a purpose. Do not randomly send out DMs to people you don’t know. They will unfollow you pretty quickly if you seem to be a menace. Also, if you have a minor question or statement, use an @ in front of the person’s name. The question is public, but it shows you interact with folks in Twitter. A person who is interactive on Twitter is more likely to get followed back because it shows he or she is an engaging member of the community.

    Don’t be afraid to start a conversation on Twitter! It’s fun. I just had a chat about blogging, Chinese food at a local grocery store and the Lost Boys movie soundrack in the last 30 minutes. Not very deep, but fun. Heck, a Twitter follower copy edited a sentence in this post around 1:45AM.

    If you want to share a link to something, there are ways to “compress” the URL so it isn’t as long. All you have to do is copy the URL and paste it into one of these services:

    You talk about having conversations with an @ but I don’t know why that is helpful!


    Twitter helps you keep track of conversations when someone puts an @ in front of your Twitter username. (Mine is @jenleereeves) There is a little tab on the right hand side of your Twitter page that helps you quickly read your @’s. Just click on “@Replies” and you can see any tweet that starts with your name. It doesn’t find tweets that include your name somewhere else in the message.

    That’s where can come in really handy. You can search your @name or just your own name. You can search for your business, school, friends. You never know what you can find people talking about! It’s a great tool for learning about what people talk about and you can get some insight on how people feel about your news products (or whatever product or service you work on). Even better – you can create an RSS feed out of any topic you really want to follow.

    You can also use the Direct Messages tab to keep track of private messages people sent you over Twitter. Also, you can peek into the entire world of Twitter by clicking on “Everyone.” That opens you up to the most recent tweets from around the world. You never know what you can find there. It’s a wonderful tool during breaking news. You can stumble into the best sources that way.

    What are the many ways you can Twitter?
    Most people tweet from a web browser by logging into Twitter. But there are other computer-based desktop tools that are helpful and give you a better Twitter experience.


    I found that graph from a site called Hubspot that looked at a random set of half a million tweets to see how people are getting their thoughts out there. Along with web browsers and desktop tools, the most popular way to update Twitter is the mobile phone. Every phone is different but in its simplest form, you can text your updates to Twitter. All you have to do is set your phone number up to your Twitter account (you have to do that with the help of a web browser). To tweet to Twitter using text, all you have to do is type in 40404 and the post will appear on your profile.

    You mentioned the Twitter search. Are there other ways to keep up with good conversations?
    When there is big news, a conference or a coordinated Twitter conversation, you’ll notice people add a hashtag (#) to their posts. Hashtags make it really easy to search for the topic on the Twitter search page or other sites that were built to help track conversations. My favorite is Tweetgrid. It helps me follow an ongoing conversation AND the @jenleereeves comments sent to me during the talk. Here’s what that would look like if I was following people talking about the MU-KU basketball game (boo) with the #mizzou hashtag and my @’s.


    One other question. How the heck did that guy share a photo of the Hudson River plane crash over Twitter?
    There are a lot of easy ways to upload photos from a cellphone. One of the easiest is using an iPhone application that connects photos to a website called Twitpic. Once you connect your Twitter account with that website, it is very easy to share photos from your phone or your computer with other Twitter members. I shared a photo of my daughter playing with her friends yesterday from my cellphone. It’s only had 49 views when I last checked. But the photo of the Hudson River crash has had 400,000+ views and made it to the front page of some major newspapers!

    If you’re curious to read about the dozens of times I’ve written about Twitter, feel free to visit the list here.

    Twitter making a difference

    I don’t seem to write much about things without throwing Twitter into the topic line — I’ll work on that since there are SO many interesting developments and discussions that I’m involved in these days as we try to create a new future for journalism. But first I need to mention my pet project that reaches its conclusion tomorrow night: The worldwide Twestival celebration. (The image above shows a map with many locations for the event) Here’s a little bit about what it’s all about:

    I jumped into this project to try and have a productive reason for Twitter users who live around Columbia, MO to get together. I announced it over Twitter and eventually on Facebook as well. We could have as few as 25 people in attendance (27 if you count my two children who will attend with us) and as many as 50. The location was donated, the food, fun stuff like a projector and screen, music and a Wii. It will be fun. The whole point is to raise money for charity:water. I didn’t know much about this organization until I helped put this event together with the Twestival organizers. Each location got its own blog and support in setting up services that help you collect funding. Services like Amiano and TipJoy. These are tools I would have never known about without joining this experience. We plan to have a webcam up so you can see the fun from the LiveEarth site. Many people will tweet the event using the #CoMoTwestival hashtag. I hope to take pictures if I can. 

    I participated in the twitter chatter behind Poynter’s NewsU introduction to Twitter for journalists. They created a wonderful page that explains Twitter for Journalists. I hope newbies will check it out. There’s also a really nice collection of links on this delicious page. With all of this talk about Twitter, I recently set up a date to give an introduction of twitter to the general journalism school: March 2. I’ve had so many people interested in this tool, I hope I can break through the stoic disbelief and really show how it can be helpful for journalists. Tomorrow I’m certain it will show that it can make a difference and reach the Twestival organizers’ goal of raising $1 million. News events like Mumbai and the Hudson River Crash should help prove it as a useful journalistic tool. (By the way – here’s my first post on Twitter to prove that I’ve been obsessed about this stuff for a while)

    “Forced” Twitter Use

    Here I go again… Talking about Twitter. But I just got involved in a really interesting conversation on Twitter that I think is worth bringing to this blog (Thanks to Scott Hepburn’s encouragement). I’ve been on Twitter a while — I obviously blog and speak about it a bunch. I also like to share how to use it as a journalist. I haven’t mastered all of the answers. But I do think a personal relationship with your followers on Twitter helps you gain a personal relationship with people who live in your news market. If you’re transparent, you can gain story ideas, access to developing news and a way people know they can reach you.

    The Twitter talk has grown recently at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’ve added it to my class. I encourage my students to get their own personal account to start playing around in there. They have a new outlet to build a personal online identity as they get closer to entering the job arena. I also ask them to use it by keeping up with what people are saying who follow KOMU and use it to post information about what we’re covering or post breaking news.

    I started going on a rant on Twitter about student journalists who get forced to use the site. I saw a number of new members of Twitter who followed me recently complaining that they’d been forced to use Twitter. And I guess I got all up in arms because I worry about reporters who start using Twitter because they “have” to. That leads to situations like when a news reporter tweeted during a 3-year-old’s funeral. He could have made that work if he had been more sensitive. But if you read the posts, you realize that he didn’t understand the personal conversation you have using this tool.

    The conversation went on and on. Somehow I even got Ana Marie Cox – formerly of Wonkette – to tell me she found Twitter on her own and was never forced to use it. My little rant got a lot of people talking about why should journalists be on Twitter (I’ve ranted on that before) and is it right or wrong to get forced into it. Then a number of people started sharing great tips. Howard Rheingold shared his favorite links about twitter. Cecelia Hanley shared her experiences: “@jenleereeves I usually use @gazettefood for work related tweets, and I follow other bloggers & papers. Great way to spot trends to localize.” Jenn Jarvis over at KWWL-TV said she joined Twitter to be able to reach lawmakers. Twitter seemed to be the only way to reach them when they were in session. Many, many others talked about how Twitter is a great tool to help boost your career or get your name out there.

    Some professors told me how they are “forcing” their students to tweet… And it seems to be working out fine. My husband (@newsmonkey8 on Twitter) says I’m worrying about something that is just plain silly to worry about. But I’m just going to say this before we keep this conversation rolling: Twitter is a wonderful tool for journalists as long as we use it responsibly. If enough newsrooms force reporters, producers, editors and managers to use the tool without really understanding its potential, Twitter users will turn away from us. They will ignore us. For now, journalists can offer an insider view of the news on Twitter. I would love to keep that excitement rolling.

    Twitter Breaking News Again

    A plane down in the Hudson River. Who has the first photo? A member of Twitter, Janis Krums, uploaded his picture onto Twitpic. Amazing. So amazing that MSNBC and CNN had the photo on the air almost immediately. So amazing that Twitpic crashed and others started sharing the photo onto Flickr. This is fascinating to watch.

    CNN interviewed Krums only 30 minutes or so after he posted this photo.

    Here’s a collection of great links (I’ll update as I go):

    Yahoo News Photo Collection
    Flickr Photos from: kidraerae
    Flickr Photos from: grego!
    BBC article about the role Twitter played in the coverage of the accident

    Janis Krums wrote this blog about his Twitter fame.

    Here’s the picture on the front page of the LA Times.

    Twitter community grows through Mumbai

    I’ve spent a lot of time talking about Twitter lately… Heck, a lot of my posts have been about Twitter since I started this nerd blog. But I have to say, Twitter came into its own this week due to the tragedy in Mumbai. It’s been a major focus since the attacks started Wednesday and many media outlets have noticed.

    CNN: “Tweeting the terror: How social media reacted to Mumbai”
    Forbes: “Mumbai: Twitter’s Moment”
    Reuters: “Blogs feed information frenzy on Mumbai attacks”
    ABC News: “Social Media a Lifeline, Also a Threat?”
    CBS News: “Web a Reliable Resource in Mumbai Madness”
    France 24: “Citizen journalism offers intimate view of Mumbai attacks”
    The Guardian: “Twitter comes of age with fast reports from the ground in Mumbai”
    The Times of India: “Twittering & blogging about terror”
    New York Times: “Citizen Journalists Provided Glimpses of Mumbai Attacks”

    @tweetip followed the first tweets on the Mumbai attacks

    (@tweetip followed the first tweets on the Mumbai attacks)

    It’s fascinating to see how people flocked to share information onto Twitter and then watch how some of the more mainstream media tried to explain it. Amy Gahran (who is a consultant and works at Poynter) was kind to speak to a number of these media outlets to explain how information needs to be filtered. She tried to explain how social media is a news source and not an evil threat. Unfortunately, some outlets hear that call, others continue to play to the culture of fear. (Note the title of the ABC news article) She wrote a great piece for Poynter on how to be a responsible tweeter.

    In reading the many articles online and watching the conversations on Twitter, I’ve come to a couple conclusions on why Twitter can be a wonderful news source for all of us to use during developing news. First, you can’t understand or rely on information from Twitter without becoming a part of the Twitter community. It’s very hard to trust or understand the information found on there unless you’ve been there long enough to build a community and a reliable chunk of people you follow. I knew about Sarah Palin’s nomination hours before it went puplic. My husband thought I was crazy to bring it up. I knew about the earthquake in China and the kind of damage it was causing before there were full accounts on the international media outlets. I knew about developments of smaller stories across the country because I follow people I trust and I’ve spent enough time following them that I knew what they are experts in. If a mom blogger suddenly started tweeting with financial tips, I would question that information unless she happens to be a day trader and a mom blogger (it can happen).

    Second, I consider Twitter like how I work with scanners in a newsroom. When there is scanner squawk during breaking news (such as the #Mumbai hashtag) often it’s correct information… but you have to consider the source and confirm it. Twitter can be more reliable considering if you’ve been there a while you already know your sources, background and reliability. When there’s breaking news, you can follow it through a hashtag but confirm and do follow up with the people you follow.

    Twitter explosion

    I’ve had Twitter in my view for a while. I joined early last year and decided to drop it when I realized I kept using my own children’s names in the feed. I decided to shut down that username. A few months later I joined back in and I’ve been stunned to watch how my little town in the middle of Missouri is just starting to catch onto Twitter. Not only have individuals joined Twitter, more local media is joining in on the fun as well. You can view my tweets by going to You can view’s tweets by visiting There is a distinct difference between the two twitter accounts. Right now, I tweet about personal and professional things. I also talk to other Twitter members. For KOMU, I tweet with Twitterfeed which is a way to share your RSS feed on Twitter. Twitterfeed turns your URL into a TinyURL so it fits on the 140 character limit. A “follower” simply keeps up to date with the latest top news categorized stories from I haven’t used it for anything beyond a simplified RSS feed. But I see a TON of potential for Twitter when it comes to delivering news to followers and possibly using the tool for reporters covering news out in the field. The field tweets could be used as direct pieces of information for Twitter followers but it could also be used for gathering up details in the newsroom.

    A side tool called Hashtags can collect tweets that have a theme. If there’s a fire in Fulton, Hashtags would aggregate all tweets that contain the word #fultonfire. This would give the newsroom a simple way to keep up with the reporters who are out on the breaking news story. Heck, I wonder if we could use it to follow the reporters covering daily events. I haven’t tried it but I bet it would be an awesome way to keep an eye on the reporters without them feeling micromanaged.

    I just realized I have babbled on and on about Twitter and I haven’t even explained it. Twitter is a site that collects your thoughts, status or links. It’s kind of like your Facebook status, but you can update it easily: from your computer (on the twitter ste, via IM or widget tools) or your cellphone. Actually, I update my Twitter and my Facebook profile at the same time. The twist: You must tweet within 140 characters. It’s a concise description of your life and thoughts. I love it. And apparently more and more people are loving it since a journalism student was rescued from jail in Egypt.

    Then an extra interesting thing happened. Today, one of my local newspapers decided to follow my Twitter stream. I think that’s interesting. It’s a way to promote the fact that they have the Twitter stream, but it also affiliates the paper to every person who is followed. I purposefully chose not to follow people on Twitter because I didn’t want to appear to pander to the Twitter community. That makes me wonder. Did I make the right choice? Once I knew the local paper had a Twitter stream, I decided to follow them because I’m just curious what they’re up to. But I’d love to hear from those of you out in the interweb? What is the polite or appropriate way to “pimp your site” on Twitter? Is there a right way?

    I love this stuff.

    You are a brand.
    Own it.

    [This is an extended version of a piece I wrote on LinkedIn]
    I harnessed the power social media and personal branding long before it was a term. I organically grew up as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so many other networks were very young. It is natural for me to reach out, connect, and talk to my peers and to people I feel can offer me more insight in my career.

    I’ve had many years to look back and hone the skills that came to me naturally. These days, my job is to teach those lessons to help an entire membership-based organization grow to be better connected and successful.

    I also have opportunities like this week when I get to speak to Stony Brook University’s Women’s Leadership Symposium about the power of a personal brand. I plan to share a peek into how I’ve taken my career into new directions thanks to social media branding. I hope my insight to professors, students and other professionals will help each woman walk away looking forward to owning her personal brand.

    First, I think it’s important to note that you can own your personal brand without sharing your personal address. You can do a few things that make it easy for people to contact you without releasing your official phone number or address.

    Use Google Voice so you can share a phone number without feeling that you’re giving away too much information. It’s a great tool. If you purchase your own URL spend a little extra to keep your account information private. If you hope to use a lot of snail mail in combination with your online life, it can’t hurt to consider purchasing a post office box or a mailbox at a shipping store.

    Second, think about how you want to be portrayed online. What type of skills and experiences do you want to be known for? Then, it’s time to get to business.

    Search your name on all browsers
    When I say “all” browsers, I really mean focus in on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Make sure you aren’t signed into those services. That will give you a better picture of what other people see when they look up your name. Searching for your name online helps you get a look at your personal brand. It shows the digital footprint that already exists with your name. Often this footprint can exist without you even trying. Just participating in public events or having articles written about you can build up a digital footprint. Why not own it yourself? You can, but it means you need to create additional content on the Internet.

    Do you have a name everyone seems to have?
    That’s okay. Search your name and where you go to school or the name of your current workplace. You can also search your name and a generic term for the industry you work.

    Do you like what you see?
    Awesome. Then keep up the good work you’re already doing. But if you want to see more of you in search, there are ways to build out your online presence with the help of social media and blogging tools.

    Create a personal website and social media accounts
    If you want to build your name online, you need to own your name. I decided a long time ago I wanted to be known with a combination of my maiden and married names (I legally changed my maiden name into my middle name). I became “Jen Lee Reeves” each time I joined a social network. I also made sure I used the same profile picture with every account. That makes it easier for a person searching for you to know your accounts are connected.

    personal-branding-diagramFor example, I’m writing this post on this blog, but a similar post is on LinkedIn. If you establish yourself on a blog tool like BloggerWordPress or Tumblr, you have a free tool to own your work and your presence. Only telling your thoughts and ideas on social media means those products own your work. I strongly believe in offering your insight on your own website and distributing your thoughts across social media platforms. I’ve included a graphic that explains what I mean.

    Another example was a time I held a really great conversation on Facebook with a special needs community I lead. I took that conversation and broke it down on my blog, Born Just Right, so I could give more context and continue to own the conversation instead of Facebook.

    Everything either starts or ends on your personal site.

    Join social media sites and link to your personal website
    Search engines pay more attention to your personal website when more sites link back to it. If you have never joined any social media accounts before and you want to focus on your professional status, I would join in this order:
    1. LinkedIn
    2. Twitter
    3. Facebook
    4. Google+
    5. Pinterest
    6. Instagram

    All social networks have the potential to be a tool to help you gain more insight for your career. LinkedIn is the most obvious. It’s focused on making connections with people with whom you have a professional relationship. I have a personal rule where I do not connect with someone on LinkedIn without having some kind of professional contact. I also do not connect unless I know I’m able to give a reference about that person if a potential employer asks me questions. The only time I violate that rule is if someone connects to me who can offer me an opportunity to help others find employment or I have an extra employment opportunity.

    Twitter is the most public space to make connections. For me, it’s been the most important space to reach out beyond my existing circles of influence. It’s also a great space to just read what others have to say. According to Twitter, 60 percent of users ONLY read content and do not post or interact with other users. You can be that person, but you won’t be using it to its fullest potential.

    Facebook has the ability to connect with just your friends and family but you can also offer public posts that anyone can read. You can also make your personal profile public. I consider this an additional space to share my personal resume. I only share professional information publicly. The majority of the music festivals and kid events are shared to friends only. The professional stuff is shared for all.

    I feel the same way with Google+. Your profile is a great public space to help more people see you. Also, sharing your personal website links on Google+ is bound to get it into Google’s search engines a little faster than any other social network.

    Pinterest is a huge link driver. If you use good visuals with your post, it can catch someone’s eye and lead them to your personal website. You might be surprised to see the kind of traffic Pinterest can bring.

    Instagram is also a professional opportunity. You can share a personal link and share a mix of personal and professional. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve attended this year and the first thing someone says is they love my Instagram feed. Images are more memorable and taking the time to share those moments can go a long way.

    Don’t jump into every social media space at once
    Building your personal brand is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Take your time and think seriously about which social networks can help you reach your goals.

    My goal? These days it’s to help spread the word on how to be a good steward in the web word. That means being true to yourself when you “talk” online. Be a good person and treat every post you share as if you were putting a bumper sticker on a car or a sign in the lawn in front of where you live.

    To make sure everything goes well, an important item you should also think of as you join each account is your security. A professional person inside social media does everything he or she can do to avoid getting accounts hacked. Use two-step login security features. Connect your cell phone and take the extra step to confirm that you are really logging into a service. It’s worth the protection.

    Make sure you keep track of your social social media presence
    There are some tools that help you keep up with all of the tools you use to manage your personal brand… Especially if you plan to not only use social media to listen but to also share content and interact with others. For tracking Twitter conversations and post, I love Tweetdeck. It’s eye candy to track topics and conversations. But if you want to follow multiple social accounts at the same time, it may be worth spending $10 a month using Hootsuite. Another way to save time is using Buffer, which will share social posts during what the company considers optimal times to publish posts to your followers. But if you use scheduling tools, be aware that you’ll see social media users interacting with you and if you sent a post encouraging engagement, you should be ready to participate.

    Social media posts can be treated like email. You should reply but you don’t have to reply immediately. But if you are sharing posts during live events or ask questions, you should be ready to reply relatively quickly.

    Make sure you share all of your social spaces
    I always share my social media spaces on my websites and on all of my social sites (you can share all of your links on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+) but I also absolutely love The site offers a free spot to claim your name and share every single social site where you can be found. Check out the simple one page website I’ve used for a long time.

    Personal branding is obviously my passion. It’s made my entire career possible since 2005. You have the chance to use any and all of these tips to create a digital footprint that you can proudly show off to anyone searching your name. Good luck and have fun!

    Plan before you post that vacation picture

    Oceans, yummy food, the family having fun… They’re all moments you want to share when you’re on vacation. But before you head out on your big family trip for the summer, you might want to think about who is reading your social media posts about your epic trip. There are steps you can take in person and online to make sure your sharing doesn’t put you, your home or belongings at risk.

    Neighborhood Talk
    The first thing I’d recommend is making sure you have someone stopping by your house to make sure it is safe while you’re away. A house sitter is a great way to know for sure your home is getting the love and attention it deserves.

    With or without a house sitter, you also want to to visit the neighbors you know well and let them know when you will be out of town and what your house sitter’s car looks like. Ask them to keep an eye on anything that may look strange.

    There are also a few more traditional things you will want to do:
         *Cancel your mail service
         *Contact your local police department to let them know you’re out of town. (Some police departments
             have online forms to help alert them about your vacation plans.)
         *Arrange for grass mowing, leaf raking, or snow shoveling.
         *Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked, including garage doors.
         *Don’t leave keys hidden outside.
         *Put lights on timers. (You can also put the TV on a timer.)

    Social Settings
    If you want to share stories about your trip on social media, you will want to assess your sharing settings. Do you trust all of the people you connect with on Facebook? If not, it’s time to create friend lists. You can see how to create lists in this step-by-step guide I created for anyone who has already joined Facebook. Make sure when you share information on Facebook, you are comfortable with who can see it.

    Other social sites are more public and have fewer privacy settings. If you have public accounts on Twitter, Vine and Instagram, do not forget that anyone can search your accounts and see your mentions of vacation online. I used to post a lot of vacation photos on Instagram but now it’s easy to visit my Instagram page from a web browser. That means you do not have to be an Instagram user to see my posts. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post about your vacation on public social media sites, but if you didn’t take precautions at your home *before* you left town, you should be more wary about posting your travel information.

    One of my favorite social media travel options is creating an account on Tumblr that doesn’t tie to my name to post photos, videos and quotes from your vacation without tying it back to the social media sites you normally share. I have used Tumblr to capture our yearly vacation for the last three years and it’s turned into a really cool family photo album. It also gets my need to share photos and stories about our trip online without broadcasting our travel on larger social networks.

    I tend to take a lot of photos and do not have time to organize them after the trip. I give myself time during my vacation to upload most of my photos to a Flickr account. My privacy settings allow only a small collection of friends and family to see my photos.

    With a little bit of preparation before your trip, capturing the cool moments on social media is possible and can be a lot of fun.

    If you have extra question or thoughts about travel, join me and Samantha Brown in a Facebook chat at 2pm ET on June 18th.


    There’s something special about spending time outdoors. I get outside to enjoy the air, the sounds, and the views as often as I can. My love of the outdoors translates into the way I work and use social media in my job. I believe in organic, real communities and engagement. I’ve learned how through years of experimenting and communicating with social tools and my energy in a television newsroom. In the last nine years, I’ve moved from traditional journalist to non-traditional thinker about social media and communications. This blog is a place where I hope to share my thoughts, ideas and hopes. I’m currently a manager of social communications strategy and training at the AARP. You can see some of my training on the AARP TEK page. Before my current job, I was the interactive director at KOMU-TV and and an associate professor at Missouri School of Journalism. A lot of my love of online community grew from being a part of the inaugural class of Reynolds Journalism Institute fellows (2008-09). I love engaging in my communities – near and far. I have a Master’s in Management and I’m pretty obsessed with workflow and communication. I see how those workflows and communication skills are INCREDIBLY useful in any setting. My comments, rants, raves and ideas have everything to do with me and do not represent the views of AARP or any of my former employers. You can also visit my special needs advocacy world I founded by visiting Born Just Right.

    Here are ways to contact me if you want me to work with your brand, book a speech, hold a training session or chat:

    Twitter: @jenleereeves
    Email: jenleereeves [at] gmail [dot] com
    Gtalk: jenleereeves
    I’ll share a cell number with you if you ask

    I am available to speak and consult on a number of topics. They include:
    Content Teams
    Bringing social media into your workflow
    Coordinating online with traditional content
    Setting up a professional personal brand
    Setting up and expanding your brand on social
    Extending community conversations online and in person

    Using technology to spread your message
    How to help your community connect online
    Developing your message in social media

    Special Needs Advocacy
    How technology can help families connect with each other
    Learning advocacy by trusting your gut

    2014 Speaking Engagements
    All over the country for AARP
    Feburary 18-19, 2014 – Ragan PR and Social Measurement Conference, Washington, DC
    March 29, 2014 – Type-A Parent KidCon, Orlando, FL
    May 8-10, 2014 – AARP Life@50+ Conference, Boston
    July 25-26, 2014 – BlogHer 2014, San Jose, CA
    August 19, 2014 – TEDx Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, FL
    August 26-28, 2014 – Show Me Summit on Aging & Health, Lake Ozark, MO
    September 5-6, 2014 – AARP Life@50+ Conference, San Diego
    September 19-21, 2014 – Type-A Parent Conference, Atlanta
    September 23, 2014 – SCSEP National Conference, Washington, DC
    September 24, 2014 – Finding Your Non-Profit Voice, Aquent Offices, Washington, DC
    October 11, 2014 – Stony Brook Women’s Leadership Symposium, Stony Brook University

    2013 Speaking Engagements
    All over the country for AARP
    July 25, 2013 – BlogHer Healthminder Day
    July 26-27, 2013 – Blogher 2013
    August 6, 2013 – AEJMC Pre-Conference
    AARP National Member Conferences in
    Las Vegas and Atlanta
    September 24, 2013 – Baltimore Innovation Week
    October 3-4, 2013 – BlogaliciousFIVE
    September 9-10, 2013 – Ragan Social Media for Non Profits, St. Louis

    2012 Speaking Engagements
    March 12, 2012 – SXSW Interactive
    March 30, 2012 – New York Press Association Spring Convention
    April 20-21, 2012 – International Symposium on Online Journalism
    April 23-27, 2012 – RJInnovation Week
    July 21, 2012 – Brands and Bloggers Summit
    August 2, 2012 – BlogHer Healthminder Day