links for 2008-11-18

  • Oooh, I like this! This is me!

    "Don’t be afraid of being a “polyconversationalist” (You caught me. I made up this word. For the purpose of social networking, it means one who converses with multiple people simultaneously.)

    "You are now part of an asynchronous microblogging world, multiple conversations are a reality. The beauty of it is the expectation that you’ll reply as you have time. When you “find the time” you may find yourself replying to multiple responses at one time. Get used to it…it’s what Twitter is all about."

  • Here's what this offer includes. It's not financial freedom, but it's an option.

    * You get a free TypePad Pro blog account. It even includes professional support.
    * You get enrolled in the Six Apart Media advertising program. These are real display ads, that pay a lot more than simple Google text ads, and you get to keep the revenue.
    * We'll promote your new site on Blogs.com. It's a fast-growing directory of the best in blogs, and Blogs.com will be a very effective way for all of your peers in the Journalist Bailout Program to cross-promote and share traffic for your independent sites.
    * Lots more. Getting started with Six Apart opens the door to lots more ways to succeed in the future. We can introduce you to our VIP program to help drive traffic to your site, help you connect your blog to your LinkedIn profile, make it easy to manage your site's comments from an iPhone, and even show you how to automatically promote your posts to your Facebook friends.

  • "One of the biggest failures in lobbying transparency is the absence of any disclosure of actual meetings. The current state of transparency for lobbyists is poor. Lobbyists only have to file quarterly reports that do not detail with whom they are meeting, what they are meeting about, and what their client is seeking. Lobbyists are also only required to file semiannual reports detailing their contributions to lawmakers. All of this amounts to a less-than-satisfactory system of disclosure providing the public with an incredibly limited view into the workings of their government.

    "The idea of far greater transparency in government affairs is spreading fast. How can you tell? Today’s Washington Times carries an op-ed by one of Washington’s top lawyers, Lanny Davis, that includes both a full-throated defense of the lobbying profession and an endorsement for “total transparency.”

  • "The summit concluded that cutting staff doesn't reduce costs fast enough to save the industry, and "erodes" the product in the process, according to Steve Miller, executive chairman of auto-parts maker Delphi Corp who spoke at the conference.

    "Miller and Shein made several recommendations for the group, including collaboration with outside entities, "leveraging the brand," and being proactive in averting a collapse of the industry.

    "Although it may seem that the summit did little more than establishing that there is a "crisis," the API stated that the newspaper industry will probably need "outside help" to halt the slide.

  • "Fortunately, the API report on the summit does not mention any consideration of asking for a bailout. Unfortunately, the report does not detail a plan to save the industry. The shortest section of the report is headed "next steps" and the steps are vague. The CEOs agree to meet again in six months. They also will explore more collaboration, invest in research and development and consider sharing information."
  • "I love the concept of ‘citizen journalism’ but I find the use of the word ‘journalism’ or ‘journalist’ misleading in this context." Hmmm, this appears to be conflating the practice of journalism (which anyone can do) with the profession…

links for 2008-11-17

  • Interesting critique of Typealyzer's analysis of blogger personality types. Well, tools like that are always more for entertainment value than anything else, I think…
  • "Can search query trends provide an accurate, reliable model of real-world phenomena? We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. A pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries from each state and region are added together. We compared our query counts with data from a surveillance system managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that some search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in various regions of the United States.

    "During the 2007-2008 flu season, an early version of Google Flu Trends was used to share results each week with the CDC. Across each of the nine surveillance regions of the United States, we were able to accurately estimate current flu levels one to two weeks faster than published CDC reports."

Baiing out the US auto industry for good?

As I read the headlines this morning about the proposed US auto industry bailout — the latest version of which is this, according to the Boston Herald:

“Democrats want to use part of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout for emergency loans to help prop up the Big Three carmakers. General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC are seeking an infusion of $25 billion, a figure that several Senate Democrats embraced Sunday.

“Senate Democrats plan to introduce legislation Monday attaching an auto bailout to a House-passed bill extending unemployment benefits. A vote was expected as early as Wednesday.

“There’s a high degree of urgency” for federal action if GM is going to stave off a financial crisis, Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive, said Sunday in a joint appearance with United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger on WDIV-TV in Detroit.

“‘It’s really time to move on this,’ Wagoner said.”

That gets me thinking: The US auto industry is dying. It’s shown it can’t compete effectively with Japan and elsewhere for the manufacture of the kinds of personal cars people will be buying as the economy tightens.

Meanwhile, the lack of strong public transportation options is a growing problem in many parts of the US — particularly, lack of high-speed passenger rail networks, robust bus networks, and innovative flexible alternatives to car ownership (like car sharing programs and Zip Car hourly rentals). Exurban dwellers are notoriously hard hit by the transportation crisis.

So what if we bailed out the auto industry only if they shifted more of their production to vehicles that would suit these uses?

Yes, this would have to go hand-in-hand with a major shift in transportation policy that would support the expansion of public transit, especially outside urban cores and between non-urban-core locations. And so far local and state governments have been responsible for paying for public transit, and they haven’t had the cash.

Those are big, thorny issues — but they could shift. And if we’re even going to consider an auto-industry bailout, why shouldn’t we use it as an opportunity to fund a more sustainable transit system?

I suspect America’s “love affair with the car” might go the way of our love affair with cigarettes. It’s hard to stay in love with something that’s killing you and cutting off your children’s future.

RonRosenbaum.com? NOT! (Or: Stupid domain tricks)

On Friday, Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits published a piece by Ken Sands (Congressional Quarterly’s executive editor for innovation) on a current spat in the journo-sphere: Jarvis on the Death of Print: Gloating, or Practical?

I edit the Tidbits blog. As I was producing that post, I was searching for a good, direct link for Ron Rosenbaum — a journalist and author who recently wrote in Slate that media maven Jeff Jarvis has been gloating over the death of print. I discovered that Rosenbaum blogs for Pajamas Media — and I prefer to link to people’s blogs, so they can speak for themselves.

I noticed something about Rosenbaum’s blog that, in the context of the current rancorous debate he sparked over the fate of traditional journalists, strikes me as somewhat sad.

This screen grab says it all:

RonRosenbaum.com: It's just a title. It doesn't really work right now.

RonRosenbaum.com: It's just a blog title, not a domain. Really.

The name of Rosenbaum’s blog appears to be a domain: RonRosenbaum.com. But it isn’t — that’s just the name of his blog. Even worse: The domain RonRosenbaum.com currently doesn’t resolve to any site.

This reflects a discouraging level of online-media cluenessness that is so common in the mainstream media mindset…

Continue reading

links for 2008-11-16

  • "Six months? What are they thinking? They've laid off more than 10,000 people in the last six months—what will be left six months from now? They need to launch a Manhattan project to blow up their industry and start over. Now, not six months from now.

    "We have nothing to lose" is about right, but they may have nothing left to invest in change, either.

  • "After 50 newspaper company CEOs met behind closed doors at the American Press Institute on Thursday for their “Crisis Summit,” I was tempted to comment, but wanted to wait to see what would come out of the meeting. Would some participants write what transpired that day? The API staff did publish this summary, but it’s pretty thin on detail. There was this at the end, under the heading “Next”:

    “Participants agreed to reconvene in six months, and to explore additional collaboration. Some spoke of joint investment in research and development of both technologies and products, others of more formal means of sharing information.”

    "Well, I wasn’t the only person taken aback by that statement.

  • "Twitter needs to restore the ability to track, really track, in real time. Like we could back in May before they turned it off."

links for 2008-11-15

  • "Google search has now added voice recognition software to their search application on Apple iPhones. Now, iPhone users can request Google results without having to type information on their phones, a must for drivers or those on the go … aren’t phones for speaking and listening anyway?

    "Google iPhone spoken search will be made available to Apple iPhone and iPod users today via the Apple iTunes store, and will let users ask questions that are not only local directory sensitive (like the 1-800-GOOG-411 experiment) but also basic search questions which request facts or figures."

  • Jeremiah Owyang says "We’re seeing more news stories of layoffs hitting many industries –esp tech. I encourage you to build your network before you need it."

    I agree — this is not something you want to be doing at the last minute. Something I've been urging journalists and media pros about for years.

    Owyang: "First start by connecting with folks in the Web Strategy Facebook group there are 8688 members that are web decision makers, join in the discussions, read the topics, or post questions. If you’re a Community Manager, or trying to become one, this Community Manager Facebook group has 2050 members to network with. I noticed that Community Managers are in demand, as on the web strategy job board, I was able to check the admin panel and see there were far more submissions to community manager roles than all others."

    And "community manager" is a role that journalists — especially beat journalists — might be especially well-equipped to play.

links for 2008-11-14

  • CNN's iReport is totally unfiltered — and it shows. This dreck was on the home page today. It's not even reporting. I think there's a lot to be said for the community model where things have to get voted up to become visible to casual visitors.
  • "One lesson may be that community policing of content can help bury bogus reports. The Steve Jobs report was submitted to other websites including Digg, says Arnold Kim of MacRumors.com. Digg relies on user input to raise or lower the prominence of stories, and it was users who kept this story off the front page, writes Mr. Kim on his blog.

    "By contrast, CNN's iReport is less mediated by human input. The most recently uploaded stories show up on the home page, as well as the "newsiest" stories as determined by an algorithm that factors in user opinions. CNN spokesperson Jennifer Martin says the Jobs story never appeared under "newsiest."

  • "January will usher in a new Democratic Ascendancy in Washington. And here at TPM we believe we are uniquely qualified to chronicle it. So to that end we are hiring two new reporter-bloggers to be based in Washington, DC, one assigned to the White House and one assigned to Capitol Hill. We plan to be there on the ground and and here in New York, covering it in force, fully, critically and down to the minute.

    "Now, the big dailies have dozens of reporters on this story. And the VC-backed internet outlets have not many fewer than that. So we're not going to — and it's never been our plan — to compete on numbers. But we do have you — an audience that is more engaged than that of any other publication covering what we cover. That's not only important in the sense of the general support you've given us over the years that has allowed us to grow to this point. You're also a critical part of our reporting model, our big leg up on everyone else."

  • “People are connecting in different ways and on different devices,” said Ducey. “Radio has done a good job at getting online. Once online, there are new revenue opportunities.”

    Further strategies include planting radio chips into more mobile and consumer electronic devices, and the development of branded online destinations and geodomains. This allows content to be “hyperlocalized” in a way that draws out more of the local flavor that Fratrik argued above.

    It should be a natural transition, given some of the similarities it already shares with the Internet and its audience. These include being a free medium that is consumed at home and work by large audiences and that includes locally relevant content.

    Online efforts can not only create auxiliary outlets and sources of revenues but can also revitalize the core “air” business, added Ducey. Streaming audio is a high-growth area and can be a place to add content such as niche data casting, additional channels and iTunes tagging.

  • Ah, yet another example of bigotry and misinformation re: polyamory… Not worth fighting, but so common it's just sad…
  • Event coming up Dec. 3-5 in Columbia, MO. Looks interesting. I can't go, but I'll follow it online.

    "A senior-level strategy session designed to blueprint the law, ownership, management, marketing and technology of a shared-user network for user-centric demographics, privacy-protected purchasing and advertising exchange and compensation. Come help make the market for digital information."

  • "Our journalism is now fully embracing the experiences of our audiences, sharing their stories, using their knowledge and hosting their opinions; we're acting as a conduit between different parts of our audience; and we're being more open and transparent than we have ever been.

    "And these things are not on the fringes of what we do: they are fundamental. If you're in any doubt, let me take you on a tour of some recent stories…"

  • Twitter advice for journalists, as told by Twitter users. Good stuff! A few tips I especially liked:

    "wnalyd: Accept the medium for what it is. Don’t ask for an interview on Flickr and make the subject do it over the phone"

    "jasonp107 the one thing a journalist CAN NOT do in modern publishing is hide behind a byline. you are out there, so be present."

    "paulbalcerak Be as open on your social networks as you’d want a source to be. People don’t like one-way communication"

    "andrew_dunn @moniguzman I’ll toot my own horn and offer this case study of Twitter during Gustav: http://dunnreporter.com/?p=317"

  • Video journalist Michael Rosenblum explains why a small weekly paper in Yorkshire, England should put video on its site:

    "I think you can do much more, once you have made your staff video literate. You can turn your paper into a machine to produce video and digital content for your community, no matter what the platform.

    "For example, ITN is in the process of contracting its regional news coverage. It is far too expensive for them. But it isn’t for you. You are already there, covering the regional and local news. You can solve ITN’s problem, and yours at the same time. Deliver the video news to them, as well as to your paper. In fact, you could plant ITN’s regional TV news in your own newsroom, allowing them to close down their studios. There is an appetite for what you do."

  • "Star turn at the UK Society of Editors conference yesterday was ‘Video Visionary’ Michael Rosenblum – the only person on stage all day who seemed to realise just what a hole the news industry was in. He talks about his own experiences in creating video journalism for the web, and makes some very strong points about disruptive technologies in history…"
  • "Your network connects you to other Delicious users: friends, family, coworkers, even new people you run across while exploring Delicious. It is a "people aggregator", collecting your favorite users' latest bookmarks in one place for you to view and enjoy. You can view and manage your network by going to your Network."

    Other useful things to know about using delicious as a community tool:

    "A Network Bundle is simply a way to organize the people in your network into groups. For example, you might want to view all your friends bookmarks separately from your coworkers' bookmarks. To create Network Bundles, go to your settings page and click "Edit Network Bundle".

    "A Subscription Bundle is a way to organize your subscriptions into groups. For example, you might want to organize your football, baseball, & auto racing subscriptions into a "sports" bundle. This bundle can then be viewed individually, so you can now see all your sports subscriptions but not anything fr. other subscriptions.

  • Interesting links-post approach. Apparently this stuff comes from Kevin Sablan's Delicious network (people he follows on delicious, kind of like a twitter posse), then gets formatted and edited nicely. Combines the automated aggregation and production with editorial finish. I like it. I wonder if there's any way to make this kind of thing play nice with Twitter, hmmmmmm……

links for 2008-11-13

Live-tweeting an event? Set your hashtag UP FRONT!

I do a lot of live event coverage via Twitter, and I also follow a lot of events (especially conferences) via Twitter. One thing I’ve learned: It helps your Twitter audience immensely if, before the event (or at the start) the people tweeting it develop a consensus on the hashtag for the event.

That’s what Horn Group VP Susan Etlinger did earlier, for the PR/Blogger panel her company is hosting tonight. She’s one of several Twitter users who helped launch this hashtag simply by adopting and promoting it:

Susan Etlinger helps launch a hashtag by using it.

Susan Etlinger helps launch a hashtag by using it.

And here’s the fruit that this kind of coordination can bear: Check out the #PRblog hashtag

…So: what’s a hashtag, and why is this so important?…

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High Praise from Jeremiah Owyang

For years and years I’ve followed the work of Jeremiah Owyang, one of the brightest online and social media strategists around. (Currently he works for Forrester Research). We had a chance to catch up a bit at Denver’s Thin Air Summit this past weekend, where he gave a top-notch presentation on the The Future of Media in the New Social Era.

So yesterday I was thrilled to see Jeremiah tweet:

High praise from someone I respect mightily

High praise from someone I respect mightily.

Wow! And that’s coming from a blogger who always, always teaches me something! I’m thrilled he’d recommend my blog to his more than 15,000 Twitter followers! Thanks, Jeremiah.