Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Microblogs: Winning readers one person at a time

Get out your magnifying glass.

I began microblogging for the New York Times a few days ago. I will be sending a few sentences to the Times every week.
That's not much, I know, but this will be a great way to learn to write tight.
My lines began appearing Oct. 1 in a column called The Cuba Feed. (Note the page was later renamed and moved here). This page features a ton of information about Cuba - breaking news, photos, multimedia reports, story archives, reference materials, maps, recommended resources and much more.
The Cuba Feed is one of thousands of pages - called Times Topics - that the Times is building to inform readers and boost its online audience. It's a mammoth effort, an attempt to reach readers all along the Long Tail.
The paper describes Times Topics like this:
Each topic page collects all the news, reference and archival information, photos, graphics, audio and video files published on topics ranging from Madonna to Myanmar. This treasure trove is available without charge on articles going back to 1981.
For decades, The Times has not only been a newspaper, but a premier research tool, available in virtually every library around the country through the Times Index, which dates back to 1851.
Topic pages extend that rich tradition into the Internet age, offering archival material on more than 14,000 subjects.
On a smaller number of pages, a deeper level of material has been added: short introductory essays, selections of Highlights From the Archives and topic Navigators to help readers find their way to the best available online resources. These include documents selected by The Times's research department, along with recommended websites and blogs and selected articles from other publications. A growing number of pages also include book lists, with links to Times book reviews.

Microblogger on the loose.

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