uTag – gaming the link economy

September 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Online, Other blogs, SMO, Technology

uTag logoI’ve been using a URL shortening service on my site called uTag since it was launched a few weeks ago.

UPDATE: I have removed the uTag script that automatically changed my URLs. And for brevity, the technical issues with uTag that I address in this post are:

  1. If the ad banner is left open after visiting a site, the user continues surfing to other websites, and later closes the ad banner, the browser will automatically refresh to the page first visited by following the uTag link.
  2. In the same vein, once the ad banner is closed, using the Back button will simply reload the banner frame, rather than going back to the linking site.
  3. A uTag Death Loop exists, whereby a uTag link to another uTag enabled site will result in an increasing number of ad banners stacked on top of each other. Read below for how this happens.

Put simply, uTag is a monetisation strategy for linking. Several sites already provide link shortening services which have become popular chiefly amongst Twitter users, who need a short link because their posts have a 140 character limit. Examples are bit.ly, is.gd, tinyurl.com, to name just a few. The difference with uT.ag is that it aims to pay people for providing those outbound links. Read more

Transcript of Jay Rosen’s SABEW workshop

July 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Other blogs, Social Networking

TRANSCRIPT OF JAY ROSEN MODERATING THE SABEW WORKSHOP, USING SOCIAL NETWORKING IN BUSINESS REPORTING

SABEW
45th Annual Conference

April 27-29, Sheraton Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

USING SOCIAL NETWORKING IN BUSINESS REPORTING

Jay Rosen, New York University and author of PressThink blog

It’s not about the technology … The whole art of doing any kind of social network reporting is in organizing people

This is one of the most important things about the internet. This is one of the things that’s changing the world most profoundly today – is the falling costs for people with the same interests, or people of like mind, to find each other, share information, pool their knowledge, collaborate, and publish.
I’m going to say it again. The falling cost for like minded people to find each other, share information, collaborate and publish back to the rest of the world, is a major factor changing government, politics, media, social life – at the same time.

USING SOCIAL NETWORKING TOOLS TO IMPROVE THE REPORTING OF A BEAT REPORTER

We’re trying to figure out how we can use Gillmore’s insights, and the tools that we have now – like blogging, social networking tools – to actually improve the reporting that a beat reporter does on their

the potential is there to mobilize thousands of people on a single story

beat, and we’re several months into that project, and I can tell you some of what we’ve learned from it.

LESSON ONE: SLOW & DIFFICULT WORK, NO BREAKTHROUGHS TO REPORT
Our first lesson is that this is slow and difficult work, and that we don’t have any breakthroughs so far. That it’s a lot easier to understand the concept ‘My readers know more than I do’, than it is to work out a regimen in which that knowledge can actually flow in and start influencing the articles, and scoops, and series and so forth. So it’s slow and difficult work. We don’t have breakthroughs to report yet.

LESSON TWO: THERE IS NO FORMULA
Secondly there is, and I know this is frustrating, no formula for doing it yet. Because we can’t easily point to somebody who uses social network reporting to complete their beat every day.

LESSON THREE: ECONOMIC REALITY LIMITS TIME TO DEVOTE TO SOMETHING NEW
Third, one of the things we’ve learned is, in the current economic climate in most newsrooms, especially in newspapers, reporters are under a great deal of pressure. They not only have to produce on deadline, they have to produce more than they used to. And, despite their enthusiasm for this project when they signed up for it in November, the economic realities of the newsroom are such that many of them have almost no time to devote to something new.
And this is very much getting in the way because the immediate pay-offs in terms of scoops, meeting your production quotas or breaking big stories so that you can explain to your bosses why you’re putting time into your network are not really there, so this has become very frustrating for some of our people and it’s very much a sign of the times and a sign of the economic climate out there.

LESSON FOUR: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY
My fourth lesson is by far the most important lesson that I’ve learned in this work.
It’s not about the technology. It’s not about what tools you use. It’s not about which blogging software you adopt. It’s not at all about whether you should use Facebook or Twitter or some of the other technologies that are out there. The whole art of doing any kind of social network reporting is in organizing people, and how people are engaged to help journalists, rather than the tools and technologies we have for reaching those people. And it’s hard to overestimate how important this is and how easy it is to forget it.

LESSON FIVE: THE TEN PER CENT RULE
The fifth important lesson is sometimes called, among those who study user-generated content, the ten per cent rule. The ten per cent rule is that if 100 people sign up for your network, if 100 people sign up for your citizen journalism project, about 10 of them will actually contribute anything in terms of content. Whether it’s a blog post, whether it’s comments in a thread, whether it’s tips sent in by email, about ten per cent will actively contribute. And one of those ten will become an extremely committed contributor, what is sometimes called super-contributors in online organizing.

THE CHALLENGE: GIVING YOUR AUDIENCE SOMETHING TO DO
And so the real challenge is not getting people to sign up or participate, it’s figuring out how to give them stuff they can do that actually makes its way into your report, so they can see the results of what they do. And if you can do that, people will participate.

THE POTENTIAL: MOBILIZING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ON A SINGLE STORY
And so if you want to know why am I here talking to you about this, it’s because the potential is there to mobilize thousands of people on a single story.

WWW.TALKINGPOINTSMEMO.COM – a model internet news site
The model of an internet news organization is this one, because it is completely involved in filtering, processing, editing this huge inflow from readers, packaging it as news stories and blog posts, sending it back out which in turn stimulates more inflow from the readers.

Mobile platform delivery begets mobile journalism – mojo

Electric NewspaperImage by mushon via Flickr

Originally from my auto-posting daily Delicious links, I have cut this back to just a few links I have added comment to or that I think particularly useful. I have also retitled the post. This is in preparation for a blog redesign, where I no longer want posts titled “links for YYYY-MM-DD”. A live stream of Delicious links will also always be available in a sidebar widget and/or stand-alone page.

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Google Reader trends

July 27, 2008 by  
Filed under Delicious, Other blogs, Social Networking

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I spend a lot of time reading RSS feeds – as evidenced by these screenshots from Google Reader.
I often come across things I’d like to write a post about but don’t have the time, so finally implemented delicious to post a daily links roundup here on the website.
It also allows me to at least make comment on a few things, even if I won’t go to the extent of a full post.

What Google Reader is less able to do is manage my growing addiction to Twitter – which is becoming an entire other reading list. I’m also on FriendFeed, but haven’t yet taken the full plunge there. I’m still a little intimidated by the torrent of information on display.

GoogleReader trends - 080727

I don’t really use the ‘share’ feature in Google Reader. I tag things as my Reading List, and share that instead. It’s currently feeding into my sidebar.

And my top 20 reads in Google Reader.

GoogleReader top reads - 080727

Cover It Live – free live blogging tool

July 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Journalists, Online, Other blogs

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Cover It Live - free live blogging toolI just sat in on a live blog using Cover It Live.

James Mowery from Performancing was demonstrating how it works.

A lot of bloggers on mainstream news sites already do ‘live blogging’, often on a regular day and at a regular time, and this tool could make their lives a little easier. Even if not working with an already clunky CMS, managing a live blog can be difficult at the best of times.

I like the ability to embed the live discussion within a blog’s post page – or on any page – and then easily manage things from the Cover It Live interface. A three-pane view shows additional functions (like inserting a poll), the content box, and incoming comments.

The Media Library is a great tool.  You can permanently store content in folders (audio, video, images, polls, links, ads and prewritten text), then drag relevant content for a specific live blogging session into a prepared show folder.  (see demo)

The benefit of this is preparing a live blog with what you already plan to say and present.  Many mainstream media blogs don’t really provide the functionality or interactivity of an actual live conversation.  A blog post is made, and then the live blogger takes and responds to comments, with no real further addition to their initial post it is essentially a statement up for discussion.  With Cover It Live, that can be spread out in real time, inviting more interactivity.

Image function could be improved.  During the live blog session you can  post images or video that the participants will be able to open and watch.  The way Cover It Live works, images at this stage can’t be too detailed as it looks like they’re restricted to about 330 x 220 px.   A full screenshot, for example, is difficult to view, whereas a portrait image of a person comes out looking fine.  In image selection, general web thumbnail standards should apply – crop tight.

Different templates can also be created that will show your branding before the blog goes live, while in progress, and once the live blog session has ended.

Cover It Live is probably best served covering a live event, and that was probably its intent.  I can see the downside for mainstream news bloggers who take the statement-response approach would be that newcomers to the conversation have to try and catch up with what has already been said.

On the standard static screen, they can at least read all the other comments and responses, easily, before choosing to engage themselves.
The live blog I sat in on, including a review of Cover It Live:
http://performancing.com/blogging/its-kinda-regular-blogging-its-live

And a review focused on live blogging news events using Cover It Live:
http://www.beatblogging.org/blog/2008/02/chating-live-wi.html

Blog for a job

January 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Journalists, Media, Online, Other blogs, Portfolio

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If you’re a journalism or communications student, blog and understand the importance of being web-literate if you want to get a job in the new media landscape.

From Shawn Smith at New Media Bytes – to journalism students, and by association journalists:

But the bottom line is this: If you’re a journalism student (or anyone looking to succeed in mass comm), you need a blog. You need to learn how to cover a beat and write for a niche. You need to learn how to write for an audience and tap them for information. You need to be able to understand the web, or at least show a willingness to learn.

You’ve shown some initiative and taught yourself a few skills.

Why is ‘blog’ still a four-letter word? | New Media Bytes | Online journalism, web production and promotion

Facebook

July 17, 2007 by  
Filed under Online, Other blogs, Social Networking

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This collection of links is just a few things I’ve read recently about Facebook

Apparently MySpace is no longer cool.

Facebook has grown by 273% in Australia in the last four months alone, mainly thanks to university students.

But it’s also been “invaded by tons and tons of old people“.

MySpace and Facebook popularity is counted by the number of ‘friends’ you have.  But really, how many of them are friends (best link), or is ‘friend’ just being redefined?

Point-and-shoot video

July 9, 2007 by  
Filed under Journalists, Media, Online, Other blogs, Videos

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It may not have an external microphone jack – which would make some interview situations difficult at times – but Mindy McAdams points to a video series following a Sports Illustrated photographer in Mexico.  The entire video series was shot on a Canon Powershot SD800 IS.

Teaching Online Journalism » Your $300 video camera

The quality is surprisingly good, and I think proves again you don’t need broadcast or film quality (size) vision to put video on the web.

Great Firewall of China

June 4, 2007 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Other blogs

As internet censorship in China becomes more sophisticated and crackdowns on pro-democracy bloggers have been well publicised, find out if your website has inadvertently (or intentionally) offended the authorities in China.

Is your website blocked in China? The earleyedition is! Try it out at now:

Great Firewall of China

Belated Birthday

April 16, 2007 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Other blogs

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I started this blog three years and seven days ago. Happy Birthday Blog.

I refuse to give up on this blog, despite the horrendous lack of posting recently.

“Surely you could just provide links?” I hear you cry.

Here’s a relevant one:
Blogosphere boom’s pace slackens – but is beginning to fracture along cultural lines, according to the last par in that story. Interesting.

I may have also forgotten my brother’s birthday a month ago…. Happy Birthday….

TIME’s Person of the Year

December 19, 2006 by  
Filed under Online, Other blogs

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Dave
DAVE

Yes, that’s right, me!

And you, apparently. TIME says You, if you contributed to the phenomenon of the world wide web community, are one and all the collective Persons of the Year.

Steve Safran over at LostRemote thinks it’s a copout – The wussification of the TIME ‘Person of the Year’.

April 23, 2004 by  
Filed under Other blogs

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This blog will make comments on international news and current affairs, with links to news of interest to at least myself, if not any readers who may or may not stumble upon the site.

The blog will, at times when travel is undertaken, include travel related postings, to which Suzanne may at times have input.

anyone reading this far back, the International, then the NEWS blog, is what this is referring to. It doesn’t exist anymore, and has all been reposted here.

April 19, 2004 by  
Filed under Other blogs

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30 minutes of sleep in the last 40 hours is good. I was falling asleep watching Premier League highlights, but now I’m wide awake again…I guess you wouldn’t call it wide awake…I’m not falling asleep as I type, read or talk to people, so it’s closer to wide awake than the majority of the day.

I crave coffee…I have never crafed coffee before, nor have I craved it.

Soon to follow, post on the adventures of starting two assignments at 3am that were due today. Started late after happily procrastinating by reading Dan Tobin. Okay, I was pissed off at myself for procrastinating, but I was laughing, so I managed to push that conscience out longer than I should have.

The assignments did get in on time…thanks to powers beyond me that managed to keep me semi-lucid, long enough to put together something that might even be acceptable.