How to use Google Trends data in journalism
An excellent piece by Simon Rogers explaining how Google Trends data is collected, and the context for understanding it. In short – it’s relative rather than absolute data, and you’re looking for spikes and changes for useful information.
The sheer power of Facebook’s news feed is not a matter of debate – especially for publishers. But Om Malik makes a different challenge in this thoughtful piece for the New Yorker:
However, every time Facebook’s news feed, introduced almost a decade ago, is manhandled, I am left wondering whether it has to change the feed with brute force because its algorithms are just too dumb to improve the service in a way that suits both Facebook—by making money and monopolizing our attention—and its 1.6 billion users.
In short: every time Facebook has to manually intervene in the workings of the newsfeed like this – it’s an indication of a failure of the algorithm.
What are the realistic abilities and limits of Facebook’s news feed? The more the company tweaks the feed in a crude and blunt manner, the more one has to wonder if Facebook’s alogrithms are not only rudimentary and basic but also possibly the company’s Achilles’ heel.
It’s entirely wrong, and it’s the road back to the cave. The way we got out of the caves and into modern civilisation is through the process of understanding and thinking. Those things were not done by gut instinct. Being an expert does not mean that you are someone with a vested interest in something; it means you spend your life studying something. You’re not necessarily right – but you’re more likely to be right than someone who’s not spent their life studying it.
Professor Brian Cox, quoted in *The Guardian*
Buzzfeed has a social media verification team:
BuzzFeed Canada editor and First Draft Coalition member Craig Silverman will be leading the charge from Toronto, “bringing his deep expertise at debunking hoaxes to our reporting arsenal,” said Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed’s head of international growth, “and acting as a resource for all BuzzFeed editions, as well as a watchdog on behalf of our readers worldwide.”
That’s a set of skills that every newsroom should have – but which large newsrooms should also support with a dedicated team. The big challenge, of course, is getting the debunking and correction of false material on social media out to the audience as quickly as possible:
Sensational or salacious lies have always been more interesting than the stone dry truth, but two recent studies put the reality of online rumours into stark relief. Researchers at the University of Warwick and the University of Indiana found it takes more than 12 hours for a false claim to be debunked online, on average, giving it an almost insurmountable headstart.
If the Buzzfeed team can tighten that up, that would be a useful public service.
Footage from the best of the NYC Drone Film Festival.
Remarkable stuff. It feels like we’re only scratching the surface of what drone journalism can do.
Snapchat introduced Memories, a way for users to save their Snaps and Stories for later viewing and sharing.
That’s muscling on Facebook territory, that is.
Users can swipe up while on the camera screen to open their Memories. From there, users can browse all of their saved content, or they can search for specific Snaps by typing keywords.
Oh, good. Because what Snapchat needed was to become more complicated to use.
Here’s a video with the obligatory implausibly attractive people and inoffensive “current” music:
And can I recommend Elise’s guide to Snapchat for Journalists if you’re still baffled?
The Financial Times dropped its paywall over the Brexit weekend, deeming it important enough to give full access to its journalism. The result? A subscriptions surge.
In fact, the FT saw a 600 percent surge in digital subscriptions sales over the weekend (compared to the average weekend) since the Brexit vote news broke, which equated to “thousands” of additional subscriptions sales.
The Times did the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if they saw similar results.
Luke Lewis, of Buzzfeed, has a public Facebook profile. And he’d been using it to comment on Brexit. And things have taken a nasty turn:
Over the weekend, comments started flooding in from people who’d voted Leave disagreeing with me. Not just a few. Tens of thousands. Almost all of them angry and abusive.
Real British gentlemen of the old school there.
From my good friend and occasional colleague Matt Buck at Drawnalism