links for 2008-11-12

  • I'm really glad to see someone teaching student journalists about the journalistic uses of social media tools like Twitter. Way to go!
  • Forrester's Jeremiah Owyang, who was recently in Denver & Boulder, noted: "Despite the warmth of this community that’s nestled between the Rocky mountains and the great plains, they’re very insular and don’t share their story to the rest of the world. I’ve visited countries where they actually have government sponsored outreach programs just to tell their story in order to attract buyers, partners, and employees –Colorado could really benefit by not only focusing inward, but being a bit more extroverted and sharing their story with others."

    I think that's a great point — not only for the local tech community, but also for the local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and space sci/tech communities. We've got some of the world's best visionaries, researchers, engineers, and business folk from these communities — as well as online media and tech — RIGHT HERE IN COLORADO!

    I think we should promote ourselves more. Thoughts?

  • I've always been a bit baffled by Bebo. Jeremiah explains: "Bebo’s community segment focuses on user sharing and media, and is somewhat in between the experiences of the wild ’self expression’ MySpace and more refined Facebook ‘communication’ experience. They claim to have over 40 million users, and has strong traction in UK, and other English speaking countries."

    A couple of interesting points for social media developers (including people developing social apps for journalism, news, and media:

    "…The culture of each social network is unique, don’t expect applications to easily be ported and successfully run on different social networks –customization is always required."

    "Brands should explore relationships with these application developers who have success on more than one social network, this makes marketing more effective. Brands should first leverage existing sucess rather than build their own –this space is highly fast moving and specialized."

  • "While some webmasters question the overall necessity of H1-H6 headings. , I insist that they should be used to structure the page content for:

    * SEO benefit: H-heading is one of the best ways to give your keywords prominence;

    * Accessibility and usability: headings enable screen reader and some browser (e.g. Opera) users to use voice and keyboard commands to navigate throughout the page (see this video explaining the importance of headings for accessibility);

    * Web etiquette: like clean (preferably validated) code, good page structure is the sign of proper behavior and trusted brand.

    "Here is the checklist of proper heading usage…"

  • "H1 – H6 elements 'briefly describe the topic of the section they introduce“. They form a page HTML semantic structure that can “be used by user agents, for example, to construct a table of contents for a document automatically.'

    "A page semantic structure analysis is an important part of site SEO diagnostics that can help to:

    * identify on-page issues;
    * analyze your (competitors’) main keywords;
    * improve your keyword prominence;
    * understand if you are outlining your content correctly.

    "Here are two tools to help you analyze any page semantic structure…"

  • RE: semantic HTML markup (like <h1> tags): "While the benefits for accessibility and usability are quite clear, there has never been any real evidence that there really is any benefit for rankings. Does Google pay any attention to the HTML markup? Another great thread over at WebmasterWorld discusses how much SEO value can the page headings add."

    AMY NOTES: Keep in mind that this is NOT same thing as the semantic web. It's just a small, clumsy part of that structure. So don't use this info to think the semantic web doesn't matter for findability and relevance. The main point of this article is that so many people use screwy HTML that Google might have to ignore it in cases of obvious inconsistency. Which makes sense — layout/design cues often aren't the best way to determine content relevance.

  • One of the most poignant stories about why media needs to change, by Charlotte Anne Lucas:

    "…That didn’t interest my editors in the least. My first draft, which quoted her extensively, was, in their view, not properly critical. To rectify that, the story went through the food processor of a committee-edit. What emerged included one paraphrase of one sentence from Richards, lots of remarks from her “critics” and a statement in her defense from an aide. The editors were then satisfied that the story was suitably fair and balanced.

    "The story that was published did many things, but it didn’t tell the truth.

    "Ann Richards lost the election. She was replaced in the governor’s mansion by a swaggering young man who pretends to this day to be a Texan."

  • Want to really see what all the newsroom layoff look likes? Check out this interactive map. Yes, data visualization is a powerful storytelling tool.
  • Check it out: TVspy liked and excerpted my Tidbits coverage of CNN's unfortunate "hologram" stunt. Cool!
  • "Up until a few months ago I told my students that, despite their dying status, newspapers were still a great place for them to spend the first two or three years of their career. They’d learn the fundamentals of reporting — including journalism ethics, law, and sourcing — and they’d learn to write well under pressure.

    "But more and more, I’m not so sure that’s the best career advice. And more and more I’m pushing them into internships where they can learn how to write effectively for the Web. If they have only a limited amount of extra time, I’m encouraging them to spend it writing a blog instead of writing for a student-run newspaper.

    "And it’s a pretty easy argument to make these days. Very few of my students — who are, by and large talented writers and bright, inquisitive people who would make great reporters — have any real interest in working for a newspaper."

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