We’ve moved.

March 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From now on you can get all your latest and greatest news from the Social Media Lounge, over here.

USA TODAY and Starbucks, a perfect fit

March 15, 2010 at 8:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today is an exciting day over here at USA TODAY. As of this morning we are pleased to announce that USA TODAY will be available for sale in Starbucks’ approximately 6,500 company-operated stores across the United States. The full press release can be found here. Starbucks customers now will have a choice of USA TODAY, The New York Times or their local newspaper.

In a note from our President and Publisher Dave Hunke this morning, he states that this change is in “response to their customer’s requests.”

We’re also celebrating this morning by offering free Starbucks to all our McLean, Va.-based employees. And I must say, as much as I love a cup of coffee on a Monday morning, this one tastes just a little better than usual.

Want your newspaper and a cup of coffee this morning, why not check out one of these locations.

What other people are saying:

Published by Alexandra Nicholson, @usatmedialounge

Best of USA TODAY – Newsroom Awards

March 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yesterday the newsroom did their annual “Best of USA TODAY” awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the winners:

The Reading List: Must-reads and conversation starters from the Social Media Lounge

March 12, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We read a lot over here, so we’ll try to highlight some of the more interesting, topical things that come through our readers, email inbox and Tweetdeck. Have anything you want to add? Please feel free to add to the comments.

360 Blog

Altitude Branding

B to B

Brian Solis

Buzz Machine




Inside Facebook


Media Post

Media Week

The New York Times


Read Write Web

Social Media Examiner

Social Media Today

The Wrap

USA TODAY Develops Social Media Team

March 11, 2010 at 9:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

In a notice sent earlier this week, Wendy Matney, Director of Digital Marketing for USA TODAY, announced the development of a social media team  and the addition of a staff member to the Digital Marketing team.

Brian Dresher is now Manager, Social Media and Digital Partnerships.  In this role, Brian continues to be responsible for social media training and will focus on off-site social media initiatives and strategic digital partnerships, cultivating new partnerships and leveraging existing relationships across the company. Brian was formerly Online Marketing Manager for USATODAY.com.

Alexandra Nicholson joins the Digital Marketing team as Manager, Social Media Strategist for USA TODAY. Her focus is on research & development, strategy, social media as a public relations platform and on-site efforts, working closely with Editorial to integrate social media on-site and leverage social media for their off-site initiatives. Alex moves over from her role as Communications Manager within the Communications and Event Marketing group. Public and media relations for USA TODAY remain managed by Heidi Zimmerman, Director of Communications, and Elga Maye, Senior Communications Coordinator.

Additional information on both Brian and Alex’s new positions can be found in the “About the Social Media Lounge” tab. Both Brian and Alex will continue to serve as the voice of USA TODAY in various ways including the @USATMediaLounge corporate Twitter handle, as part of the social networking team responsible for USA TODAY’s corporate Facebook presence, through this online destination and with speaking and networking engagements around the country centered around social media.

The Reading List: Must-reads and conversation starters from the Social Media Lounge

March 5, 2010 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We read a lot over here, so we’ll try to highlight some of the more interesting, topical things that come through our readers, email inbox and Tweetdeck. Have anything you want to add? Please feel free to add to the comments.

Ad Age: Arianna Huffington Preaches 4E’s of Web Content at 4A’s

AdWeek: For Teens, Social Media Up. Newspapers Way Down

Aspen Daily News: Downvalley Jails Bans All Newspaper Except USA TODAY

Chris Brogan: Price Points

DanZarella.com: Data Shows That Facebook Is Better For Video Marketing Than Twitter

DierdreBreakenridge.com: PR 2.0 Checklist

The Economist: Public Relations in the Recession

eMarketer: Engagement on Social Media Top Priority for Marketers

Mashable: 3 Crisis Survival Lessons for The Social Media Age

Mashable: Facebook Could Surpass $1Billion in Revenue This Year

Mashable: Wall Street Journal App for iPad Confirmed

Media Post: What’s Holding Back Social Media Advertising

Media Post:  ‘Faces Of Social Media’ Unveiled: Knowledge Networks, MediaPost Partner On Category Specific Research

The Next Web: Google Scored major Patent for Location-Based Advertising

Oprah.com: World’s Tallest Dog on Plane

PC World: Apple iPad is Too Late to Save Publishing

PeteCodella.com: Creating a Facebook Fan Page For Business

Politico: Top 10 Media Blunders of 2009

Poynter: Washington Post to Launch Paid iPhone App

Poynter Online: Sulzberger: Better right than fast on iPad app pricing

Read Write Web: Facebook Drives 3x Traffic To Broadcast Than Google News

TechCrunch: Omniture, Facebook Expand Social Media Marketing Partnership

TIME: Titanic vs. Lusitania, How People Behave In A Disaster

USA TODAY: How Cybercriminals Invade Social Networks

USA TODAY: Apple iPad Sales To Begin April 3

USA TODAY: Smartphones Have Changed The Way We Travel

Washington Post: WTOP Tops Ratings with Coverage of Washington’s Feb. Snowstorms

Published by Alexandra Nicholson, @usatmedialounge

USA TODAY Availability Opens Up In The Tropics

March 4, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA TODAY, a brand always familiar with travelers, is now making it easier for Americans to stay connected to home with our trusted newspaper.

Just this week, we announced the  Trinidad & Tobago Edition of USA TODAY to be printed and distributed Monday – Friday by NEWSDAY and  available to subscribers, hotels and at newsstands. In mid-February we announced the launch of the USA TODAY Puerto Rico Edition, in partnership with El Nuevo Dia, to be printed and distributed Monday-Friday and made available to hotels.

These new efforts join the USA TODAY Cancun edition, partnered with La Voz de Mexico, and the USA TODAY Bahamas edition, partnered with The Nassau Tribune.

Congratulations to all and looking forward to reading my USA TODAY in warmer climates!

Published by Alexandra Nicholson, @usatmedialounge

10 Ways to Make the Most of SXSW

March 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Events, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

One of the year’s biggest social media, emerging technology, and networking events, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a little over a week away. It’s also affectionately referred to as Spring Break for Geeks, but the SXSW acronym can also be short for Social by Social Week due to the endless opportunities to meet fun and interesting people across a variety of professional backgrounds.

The official SXSW site has a great FAQ, but we thought we’d share some of our key take-aways from attending last year’s event as well as preparing for this year’s. Here are our 10 tips (in no particular order) for making the most of SXSW:

1. It’s OK to skip a few panels. The number of options for panels, book signings, speaker sessions, and meet-ups can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers. The session list is filled with tons of great content, but don’t feel obligated to attend every panel. There will be a few that are on your “must attend” list, but also take time to enjoy the spontaneous hallway conversations that often take place when roaming the convention center.

2. Create your own meet-ups. While SXSW offers a number of official meet-ups, these events can sometimes have long lines or get very busy once inside. For as many official meet-ups there are to attend, there are many other unofficial meet-ups with many SXSW attendees and no lines. This doesn’t mean you should avoid any of the official parties, but just know that you have plenty of options available!

3. Something for everyone. The late night scene may not be your thing or may not be your thing night after night. That’s OK! You’ll find plenty of opportunities for events such as networking breakfasts, morning yoga, bike rides or other activities. Last year, a group of us engaged in “sweatworking,” where we met up for a morning run along one of Austin’s trails.

4. Stay healthy. With as many activities that take place, it can be easy to get worn down, so if you’re going to cut back on sleep, then drink plenty of water. The convention center is 881,400 gross square feet and covers six city blocks, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes!

5. Ditch the lap top, but carry a charger. This tip certainly isn’t for everyone and your job may require that you carry your lap top with you everywhere. If your lap top is optional, then you may want to consider leaving it in your hotel room and instead carry pen/paper or use your phone. You’ll be doing tons of walking to/from/around the convention center and may not have a break to drop off your bag at your hotel before going out.

Between geo-location check-ins on Foursquare or Gowalla, live tweeting during panels, taking notes, and text messages/calls/DMs to meet up with people, you don’t want to run out of juice early in the day.

UPDATED – Chevrolet is a sponsor of the Chevy Volt Recharge Lounge on the ACC floor that will have lots of chargers & plug-in space.

6. Attend a panel or event outside your primary area of interest. Not surprisingly, I’ll be attending many sessions around news and social media, but attending other types of events can lead to both idea generation and new types of contacts. For example, I’m interested in how other industries are using social media, so I plan to attend “Dinosaur to Digital: A Museum Convergence Success Story“. Here’s a link to my currently planned panel schedule.

Last year I was invited to attend a networking breakfast hosted by Network Solutions, which is not the type of company that USA TODAY would likely partner with for a B-to-C opportunity, but this led to meeting Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami (yes, his true title!), who has since introduced USA TODAY to speaking opportunities at social media events. At the same breakfast, I also met Jeff Pulver, who shared with a small group of us his concept for his now global and highly successful “Exploring the State of Now” events.

7. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities. In advance of last year’s event, I arranged to meet up with Drew Curtis, Founder of Fark, to see how we might identify a way for traditional media and new media to work together. It was due to this meet up at SXSW that led several months later to the launch of our partnership. During this in-person get together, we were able to knock out several key details and develop a solid foundation for building a strong working relationship.

8. Say hello to people! People are very friendly and approachable — even the rockstars of social media and emerging technology. Introduce yourself to people sitting next to you in panels or while walking from one session to another. At SXSW, everyone enjoys learning things such as where other people are from, what they hope to get out of SXSW, and what they think of the Texas BBQ!

9. Arrive early to popular panels. Due to the size of the convention center and number of people trying to get from point A to point B, it can take 10 – 15 minutes to walk from one session to another. Many of the sessions fill up to maximum seating capacity quickly, so if there is a session on your “must attend” list, then not a bad idea to aim to arrive 10 minutes early to that session.

10. Have fun! This is your event! SXSW can be overwhelming for the senses, especially the first day, but relax, have fun, and try some BBQ!

Are these tips helpful for you? What tips would you recommend? We hope you found this helpful and look forward to meeting you at SXSW as well as seeing you at our panel on Tuesday, “How to Save Journalism,” where we’ll be joined by Fark, The Huffington Post, and The Poynter Institute.

This post was published by Brian Dresher, @bdresher.

The Reading List: Must-reads and conversation starters from the Social Media Lounge

February 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We read a lot over here, so we’ll try to highlight some of the more interesting, topical things that come through our readers, email inbox and Tweetdeck. Have anything you want to add? Please feel free to add to the comments.

Ad Age:

Bulletproof Blog:




Media Post:

Neiman Journalism Lab:



PR Week:


Standing PR:


Published by Alex Nicholson, @USATMediaLounge

Tips for Engaging Audience and Staff in Social Media

February 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Events, Facebook, Social Media, Twitter | 2 Comments

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Gravity Summit Conference in Los Angeles on the topic, “Tips for Engaging Audience and Staff in Social Media”. Not surprisingly, most of the tips that I shared were based on our experiences here at USA TODAY.

For those of you who were unable to attend, the brief 13-slide deck touches on the following areas:

  • The value of social media for your organization.
  • Examples of Facebook Fan Page features.
  • Types of tweets that we publish across our 100+ Twitter feeds.
  • Steps we took to sell internal staff on Twitter.
  • Ways in which to engage with your audience.
  • Social media enhancements to on-site content.
  • Key questions to address as you flesh out your social media plan.

Attached is a copy of the presentation, Gravity Summit Conference – USATODAY – 22-Feb-10. Admittedly, some of these slides work better with a verbal description, but most are pretty self-explanatory.

Ultimately, success in social media boils down to maximizing your ROIII — interaction, influence, and investment. Engagement with the first two will lead to increases in traditional ROI. Jeffrey Hayzlett, CMO of Kodak, offered up a fourth ‘I’ to this equation – the return on ignoring. Engage, listen, participate, learn, and share, but don’t ignore when it comes to social media!

This post was published by Brian Dresher, @bdresher.

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