After Google Shared Stuff dies, how to easily e-mail links?

As of 3/30, Google Shared Stuff will be no more. I’m annoyed, because it was an easy bookmarklet-based way to quickly e-mail a link to someone while simultaneously saving it in an easily findable, searchable way.

…So I’d switched back to Furl — which is clunkier but also performed those two key jobs.

…Then today Furl announces that it’s shuttering. Users can export their bookmarks to Diigo. Whatever that is. Don’t know yet if it will e-mail links easily. I’ll check it out.

So this blog recommends using the Google Reader Notes bookmarklet as a replacement. But it doesn’t seem to offer an e-mail function.

Market opportunity here, folks!!!! Really, I just want a social bookmarking service that offers an “e-mail link” function from a browser bookmarklet. That’s all. Any takers?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

links for 2009-03-17

MediaCloud: Tracking How Stories Spread

Last week, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society launched Media Cloud, an intriguing tool that could help researches and others understand how stories spread through mainstream media and blogs.

According to Nieman Lab, “Media Cloud is a massive data set of news — compiled from newspapers, other established news organizations, and blogs — and a set of tools for analyzing those data.

Here’s what Berkman’s Ethan Zuckerman had to say about Media Cloud:


Ethan Zuckerman on Media Cloud from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

Some of the kinds of questions Media Cloud could eventually help answer:

  • How do specific stories evolve over time? What path do they take when they travel among blogs, newspapers, cable TV, or other sources?
  • What specific story topics won’t you hear about in [News Source X], at least compared to its competitors?
  • When [News Source Y] writes about Sarah Palin [or Pakistan, or school vouchers], what’s the context of their discussion? What are the words and phrases they surround that topic with?”

The obvious use of this project is to compare coverage by different types of media. But I think a deeper purpose may be served here: By tracking patterns of words used in news stories and blog posts, Media Cloud may illuminate how context and influence shape public understanding — in other words, how media and news affect people and communities.

This is important, because news and media do not exist for their own sake. It seems to me that the more we learn about how people are affected by — and affect — media, the better we’ll be able to craft effective media for the future.

(NOTE: I originally published this article in Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits.)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

links for 2009-03-15

Safari iPhone bookmarklets: Clunky setup, but very useful

The new Apple iPhone
iPhone apps are cool, but sometimes bookmarklets are helpful, too. (Image by Victor Svensson via Flickr)

As an avid iPhone user, I love my apps! I use several of them daily, including Omnifocus, GroceryZen, Twittelator Pro, Google Mobile, iBART, and Google Maps.

Apps are not enough, however. First of all, some online services I use (like Gruvr or My511, nudge nudge) don’t yet offer iPhone apps. (This is especially annoying if they also don’t default to mobile-friendly site layout upon mobile access, grumble…)

But also, several very cool and useful online services are meant to play nice with the rest of the web.

For instance, I get value from my preferred social bookmarking service Delicious because I can use it to bookmark, tag, and comment on any page I happen to be browsing. And on Twitter I often tweet links to pages I find online. For these services, I want their functionality integrated with my iPhone’s Safari browser (since you can’t run two apps at once on the iPhone, and since the iPhone also doesn’t yet allow cut and past, grumble…)

That’s when Javascript-based iPhone Safari bookmarklets can come in handy…

Continue reading

SEO: How Much Should Journos Know?

MAGNIFYING GLASS
Search optimization: If people can’t easily find your news, it might as well not exist. (Image by andercismo via Flickr)

In a recent post to the Wordtracker blog, The Bad, Good And Ugly Advice Given To Journalists On SEO (search engine optimization), U.K. journalist Rachelle Money made some excellent points about how journalists can craft stories in ways that will attract more search engine traffic.

I agree with much of what she said. However, I do disagree with her about the role of a journalist in the editorial process.

Money wrote that some SEO advice offered to journalists seems:

…overwhelmingly concerned with headlines and how to write better ones for the web. I hate to throw a couple of spanners in the works, but I have never, not once, had to write a headline for a newspaper. That’s the job of a sub-editor; they write headlines, they write the sub-headings and the picture captions and the stand-firsts. I have never had to write a title tag either; that’s the job of the online editor, and they are likely to write the links too. So in many ways the advice given to journalists isn’t really for us, it’s for the production department or the online team.

…That may have been generally true a decade or more ago.

But not today…

Continue reading

links for 2009-03-13

  • "The brain's center of memory and navigation, once considered too disorganized to decode, may soon be unlocked. Using a brain scanner, researchers were able to determine the location of people standing in a virtual room from the activity in their brains.

    "We could read their spatial memories, so to speak," said study co-author Eleanor Maguire, a University College, London, cognitive neuroscientist. "There must be a structure to how this is coded in the neurons. Otherwise we couldn't have predicted this."

  • "For five years, mathematician David Li's formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.

    "His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.

    "Then the model fell apart.

    "David X. Li, it's safe to say, won't be getting that Nobel anytime soon. His Gaussian copula formula will go down in history as instrumental in causing the unfathomable losses that brought the world financial system to its knees.

  • "For casual readers of business coverage—that is, most of us—the past 18 months have been a crash course in things we never knew existed but that, we are told, have already done us all irreparable harm. Not only are the problems catastrophic, goes the somewhat frustrating message, but it is already too late to do anything about them—other, that is, than pay for them.

    "In looking back on how we got here, the business press assumes a tone of rueful omniscience, as in this late-2007 New York Times piece on regulatory laxity under Alan Greenspan: "Had officials bothered to look, frightening clues of the coming crisis were available." Of course, the clues the Times cites in the very next sentence—the ceaseless research of the North Carolina-based Center for Responsible Lending—were available had anyone bothered to look. So, a reader might well ask, why didn't the media?"

  • "One can think of several possible explanations for this failure. For one thing, the Wall Street collapse represents not only a story on the Journal’s home turf but also the disintegration of its motivating vision. The paper that champions “free people and free markets” is, I think, having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that free markets have just failed free people in a very big way. It has also, I imagine, been hard for the Journal’s troops to concentrate as they undergo a wrenching change of ownership and begin to adjust to new marching orders from the Murdoch regime.

    "…There’s a lesson here in the limits of the daily journalism world view. Sometimes the heart of the story lies beyond “one person’s tale.” Sometimes, as Felix Salmon’s fascinating piece in the latest Wired — The Formula That Killed Wall Street — shows, it lies with a mathematical insight. Sometimes we need to turn to demographics, or history, or science."

Public Media Collaborative, Mar. 11 meeting, Berkeley

Scott Rosenberg, Susan Mernit, and lots of other smart people chatting at the Mar. 11 Public Media Collaborative meeting, Berkeley.

Scott Rosenberg, Susan Mernit, and lots of other smart people chatting at the Mar. 11 Public Media Collaborative meeting, Berkeley.

Last night I attended a meeting of the Bay Area Public Media Collaborative. I’m impressed by how this group is pulling together significant and diverse energy and talent.

The point? To “bring together bloggers, journalists, technologists, media and environmental justice folks, community organizers and activists from around the Bay area to explore and discuss social justice and emerging technology issues in a way that links theory and practice.”

One nonprofit group represented there last night, Independent Arts and Media, is planning a Journalism Innovations Expo II. Collaborative members discussed tacking a social/online media train-the-trainers Barcamp-style event onto the beginning or end of the expo.

I live-tweeted last night’s meeting. Here’s what I posted… Continue reading

links for 2009-03-12

  • "The Public Press exists to publish materials that are too specialized or too controversial to interest conventional publishers. While more and more new titles are published each year — more than 200,000 in 2004! — some of the more worthy stories, ideas, theories, and opinions languish due to lack of commercial* appeal."
  • "Media Cloud is a system that lets you see the flow of the media. The Internet is fundamentally altering the way that news is produced and distributed, but there are few comprehensive approaches to understanding the nature of these changes. Media Cloud automatically builds an archive of news stories and blog posts from the web, applies language processing, and gives you ways to analyze and visualize the data. The system is still in early development, but we invite you to explore our current data and suggest research ideas. This is an open-source project, and we will be releasing all of the code soon."
  • Media Cloud is a massive data set of news — compiled from newspapers, other established news organizations, and blogs — and a set of tools for analyzing those data. Some of the kinds of questions Media Cloud could eventually help answer:

    — How do specific stories evolve over time? What path do they take when they travel among blogs, newspapers, cable TV, or other sources?
    — What specific story topics won’t you hear about in [News Source X], at least compared to its competitors?
    — When [News Source Y] writes about Sarah Palin [or Pakistan, or school vouchers], what’s the context of their discussion? What are the words and phrases they surround that topic with?

    As Berkman Fellow Ethan Zuckerman put it, it’s an attempt to move media criticism and media analysis beyond the realm of the anecdote — to gather concrete data to back or contradict our suspicions.

  • "Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands. Here are ten ways newspapers are using social media to save the industry."
  • "News outlets across the country are cutting staff, sections, and print editions, but science and environment blogs continue to multiply, even among “old media.”

    "Three that have sprung up in recent months are, in particular, worth pointing out for their efforts to expand the bounds of what a “Web log” is and what it can do. The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware has launched AllGreenToMe, an interactive blog that mixes database citizen reporting and print-edition science news stories. The Christian Science Monitor’s third science blog, Discoveries, acts as an extension of its print coverage, featuring full-length reported articles. Last but not least, the National Journal invited dozens of politicians, energy company CEOs, and environmental group leaders to join an online discussion of contentious topics in Washington, D.C. for their Experts Blog."

  • "When asked about possible future features for Twitter, he reportedly said that one of the things being considered is an extension that lets people know what’s happening in their immediate vicinity. That would basically mean that Twitter could actively ping users about local events that are going on in their neighborhood, in real-time, based on the location they’ve indicated. As an example, Williams says users could be alerted to the fact a fire is burning a few streets away from where Twitter knows (or thinks) they are."
  • "Literacy is like heroin – it’s habit-forming. The more people try out the habit, the more likely they are to retain it. Exposure to books breeds consumption of books, which is good, because the act of reading requires deliberate commitment. This is important to keep in mind, particularly for those who wish to arrest the publishing industry’s current implosion before it becomes more like the razing of Carthage than the decline of the British Empire."
  • "If there were ever a time that called for unconventional thinking, it would be now. So, it may seem particularly prescient that a founder of what may be the fastest growing company in the nation was invited to the White House. William’s company Twitter is poised to play a growing role in igniting an economic recovery – once it unveils its revenue model. The millions of business users flocking to his social media network suggest it has the potential."
  • "It's the best marketing tool I've come across in my career. When coupled with the right tools and sites, it's the most cost effective marketing that exists today. I just hope that most companies don’t catch on to this too fast."
  • "How do journalists learn about SEO? Many of them will Google the term to find out what it's all about and how it will impact on their writing skills. When looking at the kind of advice there is for journalists online, it seems clear that many commentators from the journalistic side of the fence misconstrue what SEO is about, while SEOs themselves seem to be clueless about what journalists actually do, and about what writing responsibilities they have."
  • A collection of tools to gather data about and add context to Twitter — how you use it, how others use it. I'm so intrigued by the ecosystem of third-party tools that has grown around Twitter.