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Digital Directions

LIVE BLOG Head of social media for #AlJazeera (@riy) speaks at #DD11

Considering how tuned in I have been to Al Jazeera through multiple screens, devices and twitter accounts, this is an amazing moment to get behind the scenes. Speaking to us via Skype is Riyaad Minty (@riy)

  • Iran's "Twitter Revolution" consisted of tweets from only a few accounts, not representative of the masses. Mostly in English broadcasting what is going on. No class diversity. Mostly upper class. What's going on in Tunisia, Egypt is different. In local languages. Talking to each other. Wide range of classes and regions represented.
  • Finding sources: we get in touch with people early on through social media but follow up via phone a lot. Not just focused on digital and social networks
  • Official reporters: we get them to as many places as possible but can't be everywhere. 
  • "We don't consider this 'new media' anymore. This is media."
  • Any resistance from traditional journalists at Al Jazeera? We've been around almost five years, three of those educating senior execs and others on the value of these tools. We showcase a lot of case studies. When they see the value, they're more open. Especially since Iran
  • "I want to stay away from letting technology hijack the revolution. It's the people's revolution"
  • On the promoted tweet campaign AJE bought: for terms like Mubarak, Egypt Jan25 you'd get a latest update from AJE with link to our website. One of the largest referrers to our website throughout this protest. Livestream link was most tweeted during #egypt
  • Website traffic has spiked by 2,500% since #egypt. 75% of traffic is referral from Facebook and Twitter
  • Public perception of Al Jazeera brand has switched overnight. 
  • #DemandAlJazeera Feb 4 Twitter campaign. "People should have the choice of what they want to watch and what news organization... Do they want to hear the latest speech by Charlie Sheen or the latest speech by Gaddafi." Over 45,000 emails sent to US MSOs
  • What process do you use to verify citizen journalism reports? 1) We ID people before as verified sources on the ground. 2) Incoming reports require lots of data with them: phone number, time of submission, email address. Phone tells us location and we call to followup 3) Is the story replicated by another source or just one person?