Lynne Guey

stories warrant my devotion.

The Value Of Social

I’ve been on a “social media cleanse” since Monday. Not a full-out purge, just a mini-cleanse to rejuvenate. (That person on a juice cleanse…at the bar? That’s me.)

I’ve removed the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone. It means I’m still able to go on these networks via desktop but also removes the temptation to compulsively, incessantly, maniacally graze through an unending stream of (mostly) uninteresting updates on-the-go. It’s a small move, but proven immensely helpful.

NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot gives the specs on NYC gov social media engagement.NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot gives the specs on NYC gov social media engagement.

My cleanse lasts a week. On Monday, I’ll be back on the social grid, starting at NYCEDC as manager of social media and content. My task is to develop their social media, blog, and content marketing strategy, which will require full immersion in these platforms.

Though I sometimes decry the impertinent nature of social media content, I do believe in its value. The problem is I can never explain it. Does its primary value lie in the human capital that powers it? Its technological ability to surface interesting content? Its power to connect?

My real reason for disconnecting this week is to determine the void social media fills, if any. As I pull back the curtain and prepare to step behind the scenes of the grand social media production - taking on the “voice” of a 500-person organization - I’d like to know what exactly it is that people get out of their feeds.

So, I’m curious:

  • What gets your attention online?
  • How do you interact with social media? Do you use it as a discovery engine, an address book, news source?
  • What conversations/stories are relevant to you? (Particularly about your city?)

Please share your thoughts! I may be on a cleanse but ultimately, I believe that social media’s *nutritious* value is just waiting to be revealed. (sad food pun, sorry)

Food for thought:

Social Media Is For Listening.

Are You An IDIOT?

5 Reasons Why You Should Read This Awesomely In-Depth Post

For starters, this post is not about crepes. And it’s actually a pretty obnoxious and superficial post. But I can promise that I’ll get you outta here in less than 3 minutes (4 minutes if you’re multi-tasking) , so we can all get on with our merry royal baby-stalking lives.

This post is really about the 5 things I learned from my 2-month journalism internship. In reality, I learned a lot more than 5 things- not just about writing, but about technology, multimedia, and the way we consume information . Most likely, you wouldn’t have the bandwidth to read it all (nor I to write it). About 40% of you have already clicked away. Half of you will dart off after this paragraph. And I understand: there are more exciting GIFs waiting to be explored.

For those of you remaining (thank you), here are some lessons I learned from Business Insider that are invaluable not just for writers, but for anyone looking to leverage some influence in our modern, distractible, cyborg world.

I. Inflict emotion. 

Why should anyone care? Ultimately, it boils down to framing: picking a nugget of information that will resonate.

The age of non-objective journalism is gone. A headline like this will get clicks, Dunkin Donuts Hired Psychotic Credit Card Thief Carolyn Kravetz As Director Of Communications ,

or Here Are The Angry Texts A Mom Sent Her Bonehead Son Before He Ran Across The Field At The All-Star Game 

These headlines sound like bullish statements made at the bar, which is exactly the point. Read them, and you’ll see that they’re actually marvelous stories: the first being a serious piece of investigative journalism, the second a creative integration of new media.

We act on our instincts which are guided far more by emotion than logic. So, appeal to the audience with colorful adjectives , and the way YOU feel about something. It’s not completely PC, but I guarantee it will leave an impression and get people to bite into an important issue worth reading.

II. Simplify simplify simplify.

Humans like to digest information in compact bits, so any sort of list you can compile will be dopamine for the brain.

III. Pictures are (sometimes) more important than anything you’ll write.

I hate to use this story, but it’s a telling example of how superficial we are.

I manned a daily business advice column which averaged about 200-300 views per post. Each post had a picture of the person offering the advice. One particular post came from a businesswoman  who shared an uncanny resemblance to Kim Kardashian. (Before you ask for the link, it wasn’t her.) Within a day, her post received over 1000 views, more than most of these posts receive in a lifetime.

Several commenters admitted the only reason they clicked was because of the “hot picture”. Admittedly, this post was not written better than any other post, but having a fair face certainly got people to care.

IV. Brother, be brief. 

V. And clear.

I love a good story that weaves its way to an unforeseen ending in novel form. But theres a time and place for that, and the web is not that place. Albeit a few exceptions, a modern reader (or friend, colleague, whatever) wants to learn something new (with some context) fast.

The writer’s first job is to help us understand, not to dazzle.

————-

Thanks to Henry Blodget, CEO of Business Insider, along with my editors Vivian and Gus, who helped elucidate these insights along the way.

I’m not saying page views are all that matter. I’m going to work for a government agency which isn’t exactly known for provocative, click-baiting headlines. Impact will be measured by relatively dry economic initiatives. But, for every silly story out there, there are a myriad of other stories that matter. If you can figure out how to get people to care about really important issues, you can maximize your impact and maybe, just maybe, increase your chance of doing something truly world-changing.

Buzz Buzz Buzz..

 I’ve spent a large part of the past month applying to jobs. Since many of these are writing jobs, I’ve toiled long and hard over the perfect cover letter, figuring that if the sole quality I’m selling is my supposed mastery of the written word, I better well as heck communicate something Pulitzer Prize-worthy in the only representation of myself to a company. (No pressure, you know?)

On this fun Friday, I thought I’d share the cover letter I wrote a few weeks ago for BuzzFeed’s Fellowship program. In a moment of “who-cares-they-likely-won’t-read-it-anyway”, I decided to write something a little different, in the style of Buzzfeed. Not going to lie: a small part of me thought that if I could make it go as viral as one of Buzzfeed’s cat videos, well, maybe just maybe I’d have better luck getting my application through the black hole of online submission.

————

Dear Buzzfeed,

I could humor you for several paragraphs on why I want to be a BuzzFeed Fellow but it’s pretty obvious. Who doesn’t want their friends to gawk, “OMG you get to look at cute cats all day?!” That would be a very clear win.

In all seriousness, I like cats but am a newshound more than anything. I’ve been an avid consumer of news since well before the days of GIFs and viral lists. I loyally watched the 6:30 evening broadcast as a child, which resulted in a serious crush on Tom Brokaw’s stately baritone voice.  Having since reported for local and national news mediums, I can comfortably write and produce the full range of content - 800-word articles and videos- at rapid newsroom pace. But additionally, I spend a large portion of my day following hashtags and tweeting 140 characters of wisdom @heyguey.  Times have regressed, they say. However, I see the most apathetic of my friends taking an interest in content - cat videos AND heavier matters alike - and to me, that’s progress. Social news gets people engaged. I want to learn how to make serious journalism go viral. I’m already a natural sharer (ask my pre-K pals- I always shared Lunchables, Dunkaroos, and even Gushers!). Yet I also realize there’s more to virality than simply tweeting and posting things to Facebook.

Truthfully, I am probably no more qualified for a Fellowship than the majority of your applicant pool.  There are many talented writers and editors who can do what I do: write, curate, and generate buzz. So I’m going to simply tell you a little bit about myself,BuzzFeed style. Maybe it will go viral, most likely it won’t.  My simple hope is that, at the very least, you’ll get a laugh out of it.

5 Things You Should Know About Me

Through Embarrassing Videos I’ve Made

 1. In my spare time, I chase zombies.

 2. Everyone has a story so I won’t stop asking questions until I hear it.

 3. Weight loss programs follow me on Twitter.

 4. I’m Asian.

 5. Why I’m Not in Broadcast Anymore.

In short, I am a pesky Asian reporter who likes eating food, chasing zombies, and making Blair Witch-style videos. I care deeply about meaningful content. It excites me to read impactful stories on BuzzReads and easy-to-read conversations on BuzzFeedBrews. I also want good writers to make a living, which is why I am eager to learn more about sponsored content and native advertising. I believe journalism could use a boost from BuzzFeed’s understanding of human emotion and the way we share. My goal as a BuzzFeed Fellow is to create and aggregate content in a way that advances the conversation and brings journalism back to its watchdog roots.

If given the opportunity to join BuzzFeed, I will be absolutely bold and enterprising. I already consume and generate content like it’s my job…so it might as well be.

Hope to hear from you.

Best,

Lynne Guey

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I never heard back which is okay. In fact, it’s more relieving than anything that no one watched those videos. Last night I saw the founders Jonah Peretti and Ken Lehrer speak at Columbia and I paused for a nanosecond fearing that they would recognize me as the kooky Asian girl who applied to their company with these silly, poorly done videos. Then, I remember that they don’t read the intern applications. Plus, a whole department there makes a living looking for pictures of cute animals.  What is more silly than that? No shame. In this day and age, just be yourself and share away. Happy Friday!