A new challenge is confronting conference speakers today: Twitter. In increasing numbers audience are using Twitter to create a back channel around a conference. This can be a challenge to the presenter, but social media consultant Laura Fitton, aka Pistachio Consulting, argues the opposite.
She lists a number of benefits including:
Helping the audience focus
The audience gets more content
Audience members get questions answered on the fly
The audience members can connect with each other
And if all else fails, she says, and the talk is really dull at least there’s something else to do!
A couple of stories which have been blowing up on the Twittersphere over the past couple of days serve to illustrate the point that organisations’ reputations are very vulnerable to their employees’ (or affiliates’) actions online – and in particular on social media.
Twitter has been in the news a lot recently and not all of it for the right reasons. The (positive) obsession started with living legend Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross which ignited some frenzied MSM attention.
Of course Twitter is a communication medium rather than a phenomenon in its own right, and has been used for many, many things: back channel, friend network broadcast tool, research, earthquake early warning, and much, much more.
But we will know when it finally has come of age when Twitter the subject does not take up any air-time on Twitter the medium. After all how many emails discuss the phenomenon of email?
A great post by Daniel Victor sets out to explain his new role as MoJo – mobile journalist. He seems genuinely excited about this new challenge:
What that means is, correctly, still to be determined. We do know it’ll involve video, still photography, print stories and a lot of updates for the Web. We know I’ll have a laptop and an aircard, will file most of my stories from my car and coffee shops, and will aim to be in the office as little as possible.
He says his stated goal will be have one originally generated story a day, be it in words, video, audio or some combination.
Every day I’ll solicit story ideas from my readers via comments on the blog. At the end of the day, I’ll post their story ideas in poll form, and my readers will vote on which one they want me to cover tomorrow. And that’s the one I’ll do.
The new tools available to journalists – from laptops, Blackberries and Flip video, to Moveable Type, Twitter and Flickr – make possible a dramatic re-invention of the profession. It is only a pity that there are so few actively engaged in pushing the boundaries so far.
I’ve just read an interesting post by Koka Sexton which details five ways to grow a local blog. There has been a lot of agonised debate about the role (and economic future) of local newspapers so it was interesting to see one person using modern social technology to such good effect. It’s worth a read, but the headlines are:
Google SVP Jonathan Rosenberg wrote a lengthy essay which celebrated Google’s role in making the world’s information accessible. He’s now made it publicly available (with suitable edits, he says).
One section spoke of the role of newspapers in this information and technology-rich world. It’s worth repeating as is creates a vision for what should be possible in a modern news organisation which was properly focussed on its readers.
The experience of consuming news on the web today fails to take full advantage of the power of technology. It doesn’t understand what users want in order to give them what they need. When I go to a site like the New York Times or the San Jose Mercury, it should know what I am interested in and what has changed since my last visit. If I read the story on the US stimulus package only six hours ago, then just show me the updates the reporter has filed since then (and the most interesting responses from readers, bloggers, or other sources). If Thomas Friedman has filed a column since I last checked, tell me that on the front page. Beyond that, present to me a front page rich with interesting content selected by smart editors, customized based on my reading habits (tracked with my permission). Browsing a newspaper is rewarding and serendipitous, and doing it online should be even better. This will not by itself solve the newspapers’ business problems, but our heritage suggests that creating a superior user experience is the best place to start.
Quite a challenge for content-obsessed news organisations, but one which is worth taking up.
Facebook has created a storm of comment around it’s change of ts & cs. Techcrunch illustrates the problems of data ownership in social networks perfectly in a post on the subject. Describing the argument of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Techcrunch writes:
Essentially, he says that the issues are not so cut and dry. When you share your data with someone else, whether it be an email or a photo, it becomes their data as well. You cannot normally rescind data you share with other people in an e-mail. So why should a social network be any different?
But as Techcrunch points out that is tantamount to saying "trust us" – something which becomes harder and harder to do.
I spent part of the weekend updating the sales records and mailing list of my other half and talented artist Gail Brodholt. In the past I’ve kept this on Excel spreadsheets which are very good for mail-merging.
This time round, though, I thought I would experiment with Google Docs. The formatting and spreadsheet functionality is definitely not as fully-developed as Excel, but I discovered Gadgets – one which displays all her past sales on a world map – brilliant! – and one which adds a layer of sophisticated analysis so that we can see how much comes from Art Fairs as opposed to galleries etc.
The other really interesting possibility is the addition of a form, which Google Docs makes a breeze. Once this is emailed to a mobile phone there is now a simple way to update this spreadsheet from anywhere. And anyone can do it.
All this is possible because Google has a powerful platform which it can plug together to offer really powerful possibilities.
Last week there were reports that Google was looking to allow downloading of HD video from YouTube. As it has the Checkout payment platform, it has not only a business model, but the means to make it stick.