Poynter has asked readers to help “select 35 influential people in social media — both in and outside of journalism.” Yesterday morning I read Craig Kanalley’s list (@ckanal), and I second all of his nominations. Everyone Craig mentioned is someone whose expertise has influenced and inspired me in the world of social media. And of course, Craig himself deserves more than a mention when it comes to social media influencers. He is smart, thoughtful, and full of personality–he reaches out to people personally, and truly knows how to develop and maintain relationships online.
In addition to Craig and to the five folks he wrote about, I’d also like to mention the following five people, who deserve a mention in any conversation about social media innovators.
1. Andy Carvin (@acarvin)
Andy Carvin is Senior Strategist at NPR, and he has a long history of experimenting with ways social media can be used not just by news organizations, but by citizens wanting to improve the world. A great example of that history can be viewed in Andy Carvin’s TED talk, The New Volunteers: Social Media, Disaster Response And You, in which he details–through his firsthand experiences–the evolution of online tools that help mobilize volunteers with a variety of skill sets take action during crisis situations. After watching that video, even Malcolm Gladwell would be hard-pressed to continue to believe that social media tools have little effect in creating social change. Carvin’s talk is inspiring, informative, engaging–all the characteristics one would expect from a bright mind like his.
2. Burt Herman (@burtherman)
In addition to being the CEO of Storify, a tool through which people turn the information they source from social media into a compelling piece of journalism that tells a complete story, Herman is also a founder of Hacks/Hackers, which brings journalists and technologists together to learn from one another. Since its launch in the Bay Area, Hacks/Hackers has held meetups in cities across the U.S. and in the U.K., clearly demonstrating how hungry people are for the kinds of networking and learning opportunities that these meetups provide. By providing the space–both virtual and physical–for journalists and techies to learn from one another, Herman’s Hacks/Hackers helps to empower those who want to learn more about the integration of these two enterprises.
Kim Bui is Social Media and Community Editor at KPCC; Robert Hernandez is Professor USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Together they founded #wjchat, a weekly Twitter chat focused on web journalism. Because I am a career changer, I’m doing everything I can to learn more about community engagment, particularly how it manifests itself within news organizations. #Wjchat has been invaluable to me, and both Kim and Robert are a big part of why I feel that way. I have learned so much from both of them (and, frankly, everyone who participates in the chat), and therefore I can be nothing but grateful to them both for having started this group. They do a fantastic job moderating the discussion and selecting excellent guest hosts to help help them with that task each week. By providing this space for web journalists and those interested in web journalism to come together and share knowledge and ideas, Bui and Hernandez have helped everyone who participates in the chat learn more about the profession, build strong relationships with colleagues, and enjoy a good bit of lively discussion every Wednesday evening.
5. Mandy Jenkins (@mjenkins)
Many Jenkins is Social Media Producer for TBD.com, and writer of Zombie Journalism, where she provides insight, information, analysis and wit with regard to journalism innovation. Readers of her website can learn about techniques for effective community management–not just in the realm of things like comment moderation or Facebook user interaction, but also in terms of tools newsrooms can use for crowdsourcing stories and culling real-time information during breaking news. I appreciate her for her good sense of humor, her dedication to her craft, and the transparency she brings to what she’s learned about her job–and the ease with which she shares what she’s learned.
Each of these people has contributed to my own knowledge base, and I have no doubt that they have all done the same for everyone else who follows their work. I’m glad to have this chance to say thank-you to them for allowing me to learn so much, every day.