links for 2009-05-14

  • Newspapers have been printing money for 100+ years, and if the market is now putting an end to that, such is life. Monday we came up with 9 one-line reason this kind of bailout is a terrible idea. Briefly, they were:

    * It's bad to reward outdated businesses based on outdated tech.
    * Newspapers delivery trucks don't run on water.
    * Just because newspapers go away doesn't mean sources will.
    * Newspapers employ just 0.2 percent of the nation’s labor force.
    * 66% of people get their news from TV.
    * Newspaper owners think Google is a parasite.
    * Ask people when they last bought a paper, much less subscribed.
    * A government subsidized "free press" isn't a "free press" at all.

    Here's a new one, for good measure:

    * As newspapers go away, a shrinking supply of ad inventory will drive up ad prices, rewarding innovative new media.

Newspapers & social media: CO Daily’s stupid Facebook trick

Facebook Friends box, Colorado Daily, May 13, 2009

Facebook Friends box, Colorado Daily, May 13, 2009=

I was just out to lunch with Tom Vilot, and he pointed out to me one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a print newspaper do. He slapped the Colorado Daily onto the table and pointed to the upper-right corner of the tabloid’s table of content page. There, in that important bit of visual real estate, I saw this “Facebook Friends” box (see right).

OK, I snapped that picture with my crappy iPhone camera, I know it’s fuzzy. Here’s what it says:

“Status updates from Facebook users who’ve become friends of the Colorado Daily. To join, go to ColoradoDaily.com and follow the Facebook link.

  • Ed Post is kinda disappointed with his lunch.
  • Evan Taksar is already ready to go back to Boulder. WHO IS WITH ME?
  • Natalie Pritchett: Cookie dough for breakfast 2 mornings in a row can’t be good but gotta try it out b4 i pass it out! yum!”

I kid you not. This is, without a doubt, the stupidest thing I have ever seen a news organization try to do with social media.

What is the point here? It could have been, at the very least, to highlight some particularly intriguing things noted by the Colorado Daily’s Facebook friends. But instead it appears the paper went out of its way to choose the most inane comments, thus putting their worst face forward.

This, in my opinion, is worse than if the print edition of the paper ignored social media entirely. It’s using valuable print real estate to devalue that news brand’s print and online efforts. It’s almost as if someone at the CO Daily either really hates social media, or doesn’t get it, or both. This strategy is so bad that it nearly smacks of self-sabotage.

I applaud news organizations getting involved with social media, and integrating it into print efforts. And the Colorado Daily does a moderately decent job of communicating via Twitter. But this? Arrrrrggggghhhhh….

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links for 2009-05-12

  • Good primer from Susan Getgood
  • Why and how does the mobile phone play a role in activism in Africa? What makes it be different from other forms of activism? And what are the potentials and challenges behind it?

    I tried answering these questions two weeks ago at the Medien Jour Fix, an interesting German network around communication and development, organized by MICT. I presented the latest developments around mobile phones in Africa, which did not seem to have been that much noticed in Germany. In most of presentations the radio played a key role as an instrument for media work.

    I had mused before about potential future trends of mobile activism, but this time I highlighted the differences between the all-purpose-tool, its different uses and its implications. I was curious to do such a presentation on ICT for development in front of a German audience, which was widely mixed with delegates from media, NGOs and scientists.

    I uploaded my presentation here

  • "Brian Boyer will be News Applications Editor for the Tribune, heading up a small team responsible for "a wide variety of data-driven web applications to visualize data and present investigative stories online." Bill Adee, editor of digital media for the Tribune, was responsible for hiring Boyer. In an email interview last week, he provided more details…"
  • The 2008 biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds four distinct segments in today's news audience: Integrators (23% of the public); Net-Newsers (13%); Traditionalists – the oldest (median age: 52) and largest news segment (46% of the public); and the Disengaged (14%) who stand out for their low levels of interest in the news and news consumption.

    Net-Newsers are the youngest of the news user segments (median age: 35). Net-Newsers not only rely primarily on the internet for news, they are leading the way in using new web features and other technologies. Nearly twice as many regularly watch news clips on the internet as regularly watch nightly network news broadcasts (30% vs. 18%). They underscore the challenges facing traditional news outlets. Fewer than half (47%) watch television news on a typical day. Twice as many read an online newspaper than a printed newspaper on a typical day (17% vs. 8%), while 10% read both.

  • "Survey questions leave a lot to chance, because the respondents can decide (without saying so out loud) that the sports they follow on ESPN.com are not “news,” or the weather they check every morning on Weather Underground is not “news.” And yet a person who reports watching the local TV news every night might be doing so primarily to see the local weather forecast! When we ask someone whether she “follows the news,” do we really know how she interprets that word, news?"
  • "Several coffee shops set to open next month in the Czech Republic plan to offer more than the usual array of cafe services. As they sip their drinks, visitors will also be able to surf the Web, get help in building social networking profiles or even chat with reporters working right next door putting together their local newspapers.

    "The newsrooms-cum-cafes are part of a new venture in so-called hyperlocal journalism, which aims to reconnect newspapers with readers and advertisers by focusing on neighborhood concerns at a neighborhood level: think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.

    "Hyperlocal publications have been springing up across Europe and North America as newspapers seek a formula for survival. But the Czech plan, the project of PPF Group, an investment firm, goes unusually far in its goal of weaving journalists into the communities they serve."

  • An Amsterdam based holding company called PPF and the Paris based World Association of Newspapers are funding a fascinating project that will launch 30 different websites covering hyperlocal news throughout the Czech Republic. Google will provide technical training and the sites will run AdSense in exchange. In order to maximize contact with the local community, the project has hired 90 mostly young reporters who will work out of offices with public coffee and internet shops built into the facilities.

    "…Why not have web specialists offer training to more old fashioned news organizations in order to create a more compelling product? …Be it through subscriptions, micropayments or advertising, this whole historic dilemma of the death of newspapers, local news and investigative reporting sure seems like it would be a different scenario if the news producers just made a more compelling product."

  • "Accessible from the “Get Books” button in Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone app, the new site opens pages in the Safari browser, giving users the ability to make one-click purchases of the Kindle Store’s 280,000 books without using an in-application downloading mechanism. Notably, Apple has announced “In-App Purchasing” as an iPhone OS 3.0 developer tool for adding content to apps, with Apple taking a 30% cut of any sales handled in this matter; the use of Safari appears to be a workaround to enable easy purchasing without Apple revenue sharing."
  • "I'm sure Dave Winer would suggest a better way of doing this, but I'm not a geek and still wanted to collect all of Dave's and Jay Rosen's podcasts on "rebooting the news" in one view. Subscribing to the RSS feed of Scripting News (http://scripting.com/rss.xml) helps but shows all of Dave's other posts as well. So here comes…"

links for 2009-05-11

  • "I’ve pointed out before that Murdoch doesn’t know where the Internet is—doesn’t get email, doesn’t use a computer, can’t get his cell phone to work. He may, literally, never have opened a web page. News Corp. itself, other than its fluke purchase of MySpace—whose value rose and then, as Facebook surged ahead, crashed—is even more culturally uninterested in digital media than other digitally averse traditional media companies. So when Murdoch has to say something on the issue—when that’s what the company thinks Wall Street wants to hear—there’s a chicken-without-head scramble in the company to find someone whose been on the Internet to brief him."
  • "As far as I can tell from Wolfram’s recent presentation at Harvard, Alpha will tell you the source of the data, and will sometimes show you an example formula for a type of calculation (how to figure the volume of a cylinder, etc.), but it will not show you the actual calculations necessary to arrive at the answer.

    "Instead, we’re supposed to trust the system. Alpha’s code is so complex, says Wolfram, that it would be vastly inefficient for a mere human to read the steps. The more sensible approach is to “try to do the best QA that we can.” (QA = quality assurance, a.k.a. testing) And I’m certain that he’s right — that thing has got to be a bear to test.

    "If your mother says she loves you, check it out

  • "pydelicious allows you to access the web service of del.icio.us via it's API through python."
  • "Here, then, is my prediction: the next Kindle is going to go in the opposite direction, and shrink. In fact, it will truly differentiate itself in the e-book reader market… by getting rid of the display altogether. The Kindle Shuffle should be available in time for Christmas."

links for 2009-05-10

links for 2009-05-09

Hashtags: Your Social Media Radar Screen and Magnet

Twitter Trending Hashtags
Image by mobatalk via Flickr

Later today I’m giving a talk at an entrepreneur’s group about how you can get more benefit out of social media by using hashtags. I’ve found that these can be exceptionally valuable tools to connect with topics and people. They also can help you make yourself (or a topic, organization, or event that matters to you) much easier to find and connect with.

I’ll be fleshing out these ideas in a later blog post. But for now, here are my main points I intend to make — Plus some resources I will to demonstrate…

Continue reading

links for 2009-05-08

links for 2009-05-07

  • The Boston Globe reportedly struck a deal with its largest union today to keep the paper going – but how long will it last? Young journalists are now acting as reporters, photographers, videographers and computer programmers – all wrapped into one. Is the all-platform journalist the answer? Or will these young minds come up with a new form of journalism? Our guests are Sara Gregory, a junior at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill; Joel Stonington, a grad student at Columbia Journalism School in New York; and Brian Boyer, a computer programmer turned new media journalist who recently graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
  • The backstroy on this free e-book
  • The Conversational Corporation examines the new ways your employees, the outside world and future generations will communicate and collaborate. From public conversations to social media projects started behind the firewall, social media tools are changing the way we work and altering the expectations of customers and colleagues.

    This e-book will help you explore the intersection between business and social media and understand the need to transform your organization into a “conversational corporation.”
    Download the eBook. Complete the form below.

    Click here to download the eBook.

    Comment on our Authors' blogs

    Robert Scoble
    Shel Israel
    Daniela Barbosa
    Greg Merkle

  • Kind of a FAIL blog for real estate listings. I love it!
    (tags: fun)

links for 2009-05-06