Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Almost 80% of those surveyed said they wished it were easier to access information from the Internet on their mobile phones, and an equal percentage stated they wished it were easier to access rich media on their mobile phones.
62% of respondents indicating they either own or will own [a smart phone] in the next 12 months.
Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, calls time on the New York Times in an interview with Conde Nast's Portfolio.com. When asked what he would do if he was in charge of the paper he answered:
Shut off the print edition right now. You’ve got to play offense. You’ve got to do what Intel did in ’85 when it was getting killed by the Japanese in memory chips, which was its dominant business. And it famously killed the business—shut it off and focused on its much smaller business, microprocessors, because that was going to be the market of the future. And the minute Intel got out of playing defense and into playing offense, its future was secure. The newspaper companies have to do exactly the same thing.
The financial markets have discounted forward to the terminal conclusion for newspapers, which is basically bankruptcy. So at this point, if you’re one of these major newspapers and you shut off the printing press, your stock price would probably go up, despite the fact that you would lose 90 percent of your revenue. Then you play offense. And guess what? You’re an internet company.
I wonder who's listening.
Tim Ash, author of Landing Page Optimization and an industry expert in website optimisation, has put together a three part post on "writing for conversations" on the The Official Google Web Optimizer Blog. Read on here....
Part One - Structure
Part Two - Tone
Part Three - Format
The Guardian carries what it says is the first interview with the newly-appointed minister for communications, technology and broadcasting, Stephen Carter.
His job, according to The Guardian, is to "draw together work in existing areas of government". He has promised to deliver swift conclusions on a number of pressing issues, the paper says, including the future of digital radio, the questions surrounding the next generation of broadband access and mobile phone networks, and the future funding of public-service broadcasting.
The Guardian says his report, Digital Britain, will also consider issues around the digital divide and look into whether there should be a guarantee of universal access to broadband for all consumers. He has promised to deliver a set of recommendations by January, says the paper.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Gmail has joined Yahoo! and Windows Live as an OpenID provider, meaning that you can now use your Gmail account to get a URL which will work in any site which is set up as a "relying party". To set it up go here and follow the instructions. Facebook is the last remaining big player not to join the party, reports TechCrunch, though that will be only a matter of time, it believes.
The Online Journalism Blog has an extended piece about Dave Cohn, founder of Spot.us. Dave's idea is simple:
a journalist, a citizen, a community - pitches a subject to be investigated journalistically; the story is then open for funding, and whoever wants can contribute with a small sum; if the target amount is reached, a journalist takes the story on; finally it gets published.
So far it has worked quite well, too -
“We’ve raised 3000 dollars from about 100 donors, about an average of 33 dollars each.
“It’s like digital poetry”
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Marshal Goldsmith, who writes the "Ask the Coach" blog for the Harvard Business Review, has some words of advice for those just starting out on their careers: "In this new era of uncertainty, we all need to think like entrepreneurs."
He starts his thoughtful post on the pressures of globalisation with the following reality-check:
- It is tough out there, and it's only going to get tougher.
- Forget about security.
- Like it or not, even if you start out with a large corporation, you need to think like an entrepreneur.
- Make peace with this reality, and your life is going to be a lot better.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thanks to journalism.co.uk's tip of the day for pointing out that YouTube is host to a plethora of tutorial videos on everything imaginable, including on the popular video editing software which may be of help to journalists:
All you need to do to find them is search for "tutorial" preceded by whatever it is you are looking for help on.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
To specify a point, append a tag to the end of your video link with the following syntax: “#t=1m45s” (you can change the numbers before the ‘m’ and ’s’ to edit the minutes and seconds, respectively.Apparently YouTube will also watch for specific mentions of time in video comments and automatically insert a link to the particular spot in the video being talked about.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Who says there's no money in blogging. AOL just marked the three-year anniversary of their acquisition of Weblogs, Inc. by releasing some stats.
It's worth stepping through the slides and reading the post but highlights are:
- worldwide unique visitors up nearly 1000%
- page views rise over 1,500%
- revenues up from $6m to $30m
- employees up from 4 to 26
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Paul Bradshaw has put together an epic series of posts based on his survey of blogging journalists which gives a great snapshot of the state of the art: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six and part seven.
Some other sites set up by mysociety for various clients include No 10 Petitions Website (does what it says on the tin), Fix My Street (ditto), PledgeBank (which works by building peer pressure for action of a particualr type), What Do They Know (marshalls Freedom of Information requests to shine a light on who local authorities are awarding contract to, how much funding is going into the police, etc), Write to Them (enables you to easily write to your MP) and Hear From Your MP (which encourages your MP to talk to you about issues they think are important - 60,000 people and 160 MPs have signed up.)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Some tips for and by community editors in the Online Journalism Blog series. First up is Shane Richmond of the Telegraph. The second is by Mark Fothergill of the Guardian. I'm sure our own community editors could add their own dos and don'ts... especially as we are winning awards for it.
Steve Rubel cites a Forrester report which suggests that the 11% adoption rate for RSS may well be the most it will achieve. I think there is a real confusion at the heart of this assertion. We are currently migrating our services to EpiServer and RSS is going to be the transport mechanism at the heart of the platform. Zibb, Reed Business' b2b search engine uses RSS and a core part of the engine - to great effect on Computer Weekly, our UK IT site. While consumer adoption of RSS in its raw form may well remain low, RSS will be embedded in practically everything we do. Just read my previous post about AppLoop.
AppLoop (in closed beta right now) is a platform which aims to turn any RSS feed into an iPhone app - and then automatically distribute it through the iPhone Appstore. Problogger has the details. Thanks to my colleague Simon Robinson for the pointer.
Monday, October 20, 2008
...something exceptional has happened. We now "own" the web even more than we did back then when all we simply did was create viable homegrown alternatives to big media sites.
It's an era when Facebook's redesign was road-tested by one million beta users before launch and yet still there are 1,564,576 members of the group "5,000,000 against the new version of Facebook". A sobering thought for those of us striving to build communities.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Charles Moore, former editor of the Telegraph, interviewed Tory leader David Cameron and played the either...or game with him - with interesting results.
Red or white? Red
Bitter or lager? Bitter
Meat or fish? Meat
Town or country? Country
Star Trek or Dr Who? Star Trek.
Later, the Today Programme repeated the exercise at the Tory Party Conference - it's well worth a listen.
This strikes me as a very useful and fun way of gaining insight into key figures and could be used to great effect in the markets we cover. I wonder who will be the first to do it?
UPDATE: I'm having trouble playing the link with Firefox - though it plays just fine in Internet Explorer.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Wired has a story about a patent filed by Google which envisages handsets which automatically poll wireless providers (including wi-fi and wi-max) for the lowest price before connecting. There's a long way to go, and a lot of vested interests in the way, but it's a great vision.
The main problem isn't with citizen journalism, he says, but with credulous readers (and that isn't a new problem).
we have to get better at giving caveats. As news rushes by, it is important that we make it clear what is and isn’t confirmed. We thought we were in the business of saying what we know in the news. But we’re more in the business of saying what we don’t know. I’ve often quoted Nick Denton’s definition of what we bloggers call “half-baked posts.” They say to our readers: “Here’s what we know. Here’s what we don’t know. What do you know?”
The "story" was corrected very fast by journalists contacting Apple for clarification, he points out.
The web, as it turns out, is almost as fast at spreading truth as it as at spreading rumors.
Monday, October 06, 2008
The story was all we had before — it’s what would fit onto a newspaper page or into a broadcast show. But a discrete and serial series of articles over days cannot adequately cover the complex stories going on now nor can they properly inform the public. There’s too much repetition. Too little explanation.Instead:
... I want a page, a site, a thing that is created, curated, edited, and discussed. It’s a blog that treats a topic as an ongoing and cumulative process of learning, digging, correcting, asking, answering. It’s also a wiki that keeps a snapshot of the latest knowledge and background. It’s an aggregator that provides annotated links to experts, coverage, opinion, perspective, source material. It’s a discussion that doesn’t just blather but that tries to accomplish something (an extension of an article like this one that asks what options there are to bailout a bailout). It’s collaborative and distributed and open but organized.In response to the huge complexities and fast past of the economic crisis, will we see a new form emerge? I actually think one of our blogs, Flightblogger, is already doing something like this for the 787 programme - he's mixing the fast (Twitter) with the slow and reflective (old-fashioned feature articles) and pulling it together in one place. What's probably missing is easy access to "the story so far".
Sunday, October 05, 2008
The general story is predictable and well illustrated by the Alexa charts (check it out: one, two, three, four, five - see what I mean?) but the interesting back story is: what has happened to Digg? The site has enjoyed uninterupted growth until June and then has fallen to one third of its relative popularity. I checked out competitors, and the only one making inroads seems to be Mixx - and it's growth doesn't explain the fall. Any ideas?
BTW credit to the idea of comparing in this way goes to my colleague Karl.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Notes on Clay's talk:
Gather then share was the pattern; now it is share then gather.
Don't believe the myth of quality.
There is no such thing as the average user in the participatory model.
From recruiting and managing to inviting and rewarding.
DRM is nostalgia instantiated software
This is a time for high levels of experimentation.
1. Get the best technical person you can find
2. Decide what model to use:
A. Throw people in at the deep end
B. News room within a news room - quick, painless but expensive
C. Train up evangelists and seed the newsroom - the best route as this integrates video into the heart of the brand.
4. Develop strands - good for commercialisation.
Video now accounts for 10% of ft.com revenues.
"The economics have changed" she says, and central newsrooms and production departments producing high-quality multi-media content for multiple outlets will be the way forward. "There is pain as we go about making our business fit for purpose", she says - redundancies are being made as 100 new digital jobs are created.
The newest development is hyperlical sites closer to the community than local newspapers ever could be - down to postcode level. Next they will feature maps and CEO-coded content.
"In a few years time we will look back and say this was the defining moment in digital media."
The second session has Emily Bell of the Guardian, Peter Cowley of Endemol, Andrew Walmsley of I-Level and Ajaz Ahmed of AKQA.
Emily: "ultimately you will end up stopping things with smaller audiences."
Andrew: "It is important to realise we are in an industry which is structurally growing"
"Digital will become the core of marketing communication for virtually all brands."
Peter: "The will be a tipping point this year where good quality video content is viable online."
Ajaz: Profound changes - self creation, 'channel me', the power of search. This is perfect informtion. "There is no need for a media crisis - there is a content crisis."
Andrew: "Advertisers don't have the automatic right to be there on social networks."
Emily: "The global audience is definitely an opportunity. It is inevitable that if you are a strong brand you will find new global audiences."
Andrew: the growth of grass roots
Peter: fragmentation of media
Ajaz: the consumer is ahead of the media owners and advertisers.
More often than not the big brands' audience figures are as big as the big media sites.