Info

A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

The Daily Tar Heel

Here’s a very interesting piece from a student newspaper editor in the US:

My peers are interested in reading news, but they have no loyalties whatsoever about where it comes from. You can be the greatest columnist in the world, but it will be tough to garner a strong following from millennials.

Even some of my closest friends refused to pick up the newspaper I spent dozens of hours on each week. They’d rather get the day’s news from many different sources by scrolling through their Twitter feed.

This dichotomy is one of the most challenging things about teaching some journalism students today. They come in with a love for – and a focus on – the newspaper (or magazine) as a printed object, even as they are aware that their contemporaries – in the main – don’t consume news in that way.

There’s a distinction between loving journalism, and loving a printed product, and some students don’t see that. It’s going to be a tough career for them if they don’t wake up to it.

Danger: influencer at work

Beware the hype of the social media gurus:

So what we have here are ignorant people (Vaynerchuk, Brogan, Kawasaki, and friends) telling big brands and agencies to dump their money into unproven platforms, or platforms with really shady metrics that they can totally fudge and claim their successful to journalists who don’t really know better. A tech blog may know to call out Vaynerchuk’s portfolio company, MeerKat, for spamming Twitter in order to grow their service, but other publications like AdAge won’t. And guess which one of those publications the brands and advertisers are reading?

This is a pretty harsh attack on some big names, but it makes some valid points. There’s a group of “influencers” who make the point of hyping the new, shiny thing. But as the death of Secret makes clear, initial hype has no correlation with long-term success.

Social media remains a social tool, and like all social interactions, take a while to establish into useful patterns. And some of them will turn out to be fads.

We have more than enough “social media influencers” hyping away. We need more people applying critical thinking and patience to these tools over time.

I’ve finally got around to restoring the link to get One Man & His Blog by e-mail. (It’s via MailChimp, so you get lots of control, and can unsub in seconds).

And if you’re thinking “hell, yes, sign me up!”, well, here’s the form:

Slightly terrifying look into life as a toddler social media celebrity:

Scout the City is touted as fashion’s first “kids’ influencer” blog, its heroine a pint-sized social media giant in the age of online celebrity. London—or “Scout,” her public persona—is a “three-year-old tastemaker,” says her site, “currently obsessed with ballet, Cinderella shoes, and playing dress-up.” She’s a totally typical toddler, except that when she wears Cinderella shoes, it’s down the runway at Kids Fashion Week, and when she plays dress-up, it’s for sponsored photo shoots with brands like Stella McCartney. (The ballet is just regular kid ballet.)

I feel guilty enough every time I pop a photo of Hazel on Instagram. I can’t even imagine pushing her into the public eye like this.

It’s slight sobering to think of this in the context of one of the most famous lifestyle/mommy bloggers, Heather Armstrong aka Dooce, quitting the business:

But what makes this livelihood glaringly different are not only the constant creative strains of churning out new and entertaining content—content we cannot delegate to anyone else because our audiences read our stories for our particular voice and perspective—but also the security systems we’ve had to set up as an increasingly more diverse group of people throw rocks at our houses with the intention of causing damage: passersby, rubbernecks, stalkers, even journalists. We have separate security systems for those who take every word and decision we share and deliberately misinterpret it, disfigure it to the point of it being wholly unrecognizable, and then broadcast to us and to their own audiences that they have diagnosed us with a personality disorder.

The long-term impact of exposing your life to the internet are only just becoming apparent to the earliest practitioners of the art. And that’s a lesson the rest of us should learn from.

If you didn’t get the headline allusion:

On professional photography versus reader-contributed photography:

Not only did viewers know what they liked, but they were able to accurately identify which of the 200 photos and captions they were asked to view were shot by pros, and expressed a distinct preference for the professional over the user contributed images.

So, yes, then.

MG Siegler:

True power is when media creates content explicitly for a network, rather than simply repackaging it.

A useful insight. A lot of work has been done over the last decade on workflows and tech for pushing the same content through multiple channels. And new, we’re slowly waking up to the fact that you need to create for the space, not merely repackage. That brings a whole set of hard choices with it.

Editor-in-Chief-elect of The Guardian, Katharine Viner is a speech 18 months ago:

In fact, digital is a huge conceptual change, a sociological change, a cluster bomb blowing apart who we are and how our world is ordered, how we see ourselves, how we live. It’s a change we’re in the middle of, so close up that sometimes it’s hard to see. But it is deeply profound and it is happening at an almost unbelievable speed.

Further on in the talk:

A newspaper is complete. It is finished, sure of itself, certain. By contrast, digital news is constantly updated, improved upon, changed, moved, developed, an ongoing conversation and collaboration. It is living, evolving, limitless, relentless.

This is all really excellent stuff. I have great hopes that The Guardian have made exactly the right choice.

A handy guide to getting image cropping right for social media – with links to tools:

The thing is, even when it looks normal in the tweet, the preview (these examples are from Twitter and Tweetdeck) often doesn’t. I learned bitter lessons last week, as I selected, cropped, uploaded, posted, checked… and then deleted photos on both Twitter and Facebook posts because I’d sized them wrongly.