This website is an initiative of J-Lab



imageThere are thousands of people on LinkedIn who list their profession as social media consultant. So does that mean social media is so easy to do that everyone is an expert - or so difficult that your only hope is getting expert help to sort it all out?

If you’re like most journalists and media entrepreneurs, you use social media daily, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing all you could with it to engage with your community, listen and monitor the conversation, or use it to plan outreach campaigns around news events, real world meet-ups and breaking stories.

That’s where this guide comes in. It’s a roadmap for improving both your understanding of social media and your use of it. This learning module focuses on the principles of authenticity, transparency and crowd-sourced, real-time communication that make social media so strikingly different from traditional media.  It will also give you hands-on tools, tips and tactics that can make your daily use of Facebook, Twitter and other resources much more effective.

Social Media Module Contributors


Susan Mernit, Editor of Oakland Local, @susanmernit
Susan Mernit is Oakland Local’s volunteer editor and publisher. She assigns stories, raises money, writes blogs and articles, and works with nonprofits and community organizations. A former arts activist, and then VP at Netscape and Yahoo! Senior Director, she lives in North Oakland, and is passionate about food access and permaculture issues.


Kwan Booth, Senior Community Manager at Oakland Local, @boothism
Oakland Local co-founder Kwan Booth handles much of the community outreach and training, as well as assigning stories, writing, and managing arts coverage. A West Oaklander, he is passionate about poetry, art, beats, music and empowering others, especially around the digital divide.


Amy Gahran, Senior Editor at Oakland Local, @amygahran
Co-founder and volunteer Amy Gahran focuses on mobile development, multimedia, environment, transportation, development and the emerging Zombie beat at Oakland Local. A mobile news guru, she is passionate about training and speaking truth to power. A new North Oakland resident, she sees the Town with fresh eyes.

How this module is organized

We start with an overview of the core tools in social media. We offer hands-on tips and tactics for working with some of the most common social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and video-sharing sites YouTube and Vimeo. 

Then, we offer guidance on tools to evaluate your efforts, including the use of Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. 

The module is liberally sprinkled with case studies, comments and stories from experts working in the local news and community space.

You can read the module in chronological order, or it will work just fine if you skip around.  At the end of the module, there’s a list of tools used (with live links) and additional resources to check out.


Let’s get started >>