Digital Influence Weekly – Building Better Conversations Online



Facebook just created a new hub of information on policies and guidelines. The idea is to offer all the info you need to manage successful communities. It provides more than just branding and promotion guidelines. It shows what types of content is abusive, how your data is being used and their statement of rights and responsibilities. What are your thoughts on the new central hub of information? Do you find it easier than before to find answers to your questions?

And now, the Digital Influence Weekly…

Yesterday, we were given the opportunity to meet with Evan Smith, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Texas Tribune at our Houston office. While regaling us with fun stories about evolving journalism, we were shown something incredible that many people may not realize they have access to – data. Political data. Financial data. Performance data. Data. Maybe you know you have access to it, but have no clue where to get it. With charts, graphs, filters and so forth, this is where you can find it for Texas.

Who is the oldest inmate in Texas? Which Texas counties have the highest Medicaid enrollment? How can you visualize current Texas unemployment on a map while simultaneously looking at the growth in employment by various sectors? It’s all here. Data junkies can spend hours pouring over this information.

Social media enthusiasts will have a lot to love as well. The elected officials directory includes links and feeds to Twitter and Facebook Pages including the Profile Pages when available. If you want to know what an elected official really thinks, find out first hand from their personal accounts when possible. There’s also tons of video, images and podcasts worth sharing.

And one should certainly try their social trivia game called QRANK. Test yourTexas Tribune knowledge to win cool prizes every month. 

But why is having a resource like this truly important in social media? Online conversations appear sometimes to be de-evolving on hot topic items while also failing to provide any insight and data that make a positive change. Look at the comments section of your local online news site or scan your Facebook feed and you are likely to find many ill-crafted arguments based on passion rather than information. 

To keep social media of good use for community, business and government, our conversations need to evolve. We need data supporting our arguments to keep conversations on track while cutting out as much personal bias as possible. We need experts who have knowledge of resources to add their voice to these comment threads in news stories. Also, keep in mind that some online new sites are providing great reference tools. Use the “search bar” to find what you need.

So before you fire off that clever remark and start a firestorm of online fighting, take a second to find or provide research supporting your stance. Spread the wealth of information. Passion in an argument can only take you so far.