Half-drunk black Americano at Tom Foolery

Five recent reads you might have missed, and are well-worth your time:


It's a 24/7 social media world out there

Friends of the blog Brilliant Noise have done some research into the difference between "always on" Twitter presence and more sporadic approaches:

Always-on is a more strategic and customer-focused approach: it acknowledges that the relationship with customers is always in development and that there should always be avenues open for conversation. In comparison, a campaign-based approach is more tactical, and more geared to short-term business priorities (e.g. boost sales now!) than customer needs.

Twitter has featured the research, too.

In good Company

Company magazine takes the well trod path to online-only:

Hearst announced on Wednesday that after Company’s final issue, October 2014, goes on sale on 5 September, it will focus its efforts on targeting 16-24 year old women via the title’s website, Company.co.uk.

The major concern? That the next well-trod path is to complete closure…

A bitter tablet to swallow

Talking of digital magazines, one of the pioneers of tablet magazine design has walked away from the market:

“From my experience in working with Fast Company and other magazines, if you put a digital magazine on an iPad and you hand the iPad to somebody, you have the opportunity to make them say wow. If you expect the same person to find that magazine, pay for that magazine, and download that mag, that’s asking for a lot!” he says. “But that’s what businesses can do, put an iPad in your hands at the points of sale or a meeting room, and get your [attention]. That’s the game changer here.”

Ironically, of course, most B2B magazine companies are still locked into dingy page-turning replicas on tablets.

The next wave of LinkedIn spam

The tidal wave of LinkedIn content is coming. And they've release more details about their platform:

LinkedIn today outlined on its engineering blog a series of recent technical updates to improve distribution for new posts on its publishing platform. The three improvements include integration with the Feed-Mixer algorithm for ranking posts in LinkedIn’s member feeds, mobile notifications for first-degree connections and inclusion in daily or weekly Pulse news emails.

I still don't have access to the publishing platform - but as my contacts start pushing our more and more spammy self-promotional content through it, I'm losing interest fast.

The pulse of Wikipedia

Fascinating account of Wikipedia vandalism, correction and participation:

Now, notice: It had been eight minutes since the original wrong info had been posted, and three people had edited that sentence. But nobody had checked the facts and fixed the problem. This was the Reign of Error—the period during which I, and presumably dozens or hundreds or even thousands of other people, stumbled by and read the page. (It would be cool to have a long German word for this informational interregnum.)

He eventually finds the person who did do the correction…


Any suggestions out there of good articles we should read? Feel free to share 'em, old or new…

When advertising goes native

So, this happened while I was away:

Yes, we need new sources of income in digital. But I'm deeply unconvinced that "native" advertising is the future. We're essentially running a huge experiment to see if the old view - that compromising editorial values with paid content would erode the trust of the reader, and eventually destroy the relationship the advertising was paying to access - was accurate.

The problem for the companies doing this is that, if the old view is correct and they've just destroyed a relationship, it's almost impossible to get back from there.

Amazon versus Captain America

Hail Hydra

re/code on Amazon's rapidly escalating war with media owners:

Retail giant Amazon is giving Captain America, Miss Piggy and Maleficent the cold shoulder.

Consumers are suddenly unable to place advance orders to buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs of forthcoming films from Walt Disney Studios, including two popular summer releases that each captured more than $700 million in global box office receipts — “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Maleficent.”

Hail Hydra.

Many UK newspapers are botching their converge of the death of Robin Williams, by breaking reporting guidelines on suicides:

The reason the media isn't supposed to talk about methods used is because that knowledge can turn someone who is passively suicidal into someone with an active plan. Knowing the distances dropped, the ligatures used, the medication taken, the blades employed, all of these things can give a suicidal person the knowledge of how to actually do the deed, how to go about taking their thoughts from the realm of the hypothetical into the realm of the real.

This isn't hand-waving, it's been backed by research, as Mary explains:

Let's be clear, this is not a hypothetical danger: a review of almost 100 studies worldwide has found a strong, coherent and consistent association between certain types of media reporting and increased risk of suicide in vulnerable people, and the Bridgend suicides should be known by every UK journalist as an example of how the media can make things worse.

Today's essential read for journalists.

exhausted-pop.jpg

When you're two years old, a busy day just needs a restorative nap, while you are carried home by your parents. When you're older, and your productivity matters, you need more than that:

Increasing creativity will happen naturally as we tame the multitasking and immerse ourselves in a single task for sustained periods of, say, 30 to 50 minutes. Several studies have shown that a walk in nature or listening to music can trigger the mind-wandering mode. This acts as a neural reset button, and provides much needed perspective on what you're doing.

This fascinating NYT piece on holidays and the brain's reset button by Daniel J. Levitin, director of the Laboratory for Music, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University, is an excellent summation of the results of research into how our brain functions, and the interplay between productivity and daydreaming states. The conclusion is good news for us all, I think:

If we can train ourselves to take regular vacations -- true vacations without work -- and to set aside time for naps and contemplation, we will be in a more powerful position to start solving some of the world's big problems. And to be happier and well rested while we're doing it.

Achievement unlocked: good holiday

PoP's tea party

The last time I was back off holiday and feeling this rested, I was about four hours away from my life being turned upside-down. Hopefully it'll work out better this time. :-)

I've been off at my brother's place in France, enjoying a quiet family holiday, with minimal internet access*. I've successfully disconnected and enjoyed myself, and started climbing down from the high peaks of stress I was feeling before I left.

Still, there's a mountain of work ahead of me, but I'd rather climb that minatian than the stressy one...

I need to think some more about the benefits of periods of disconnection. It did wonder for my headspace, so I'll be poking at that a little in the coming months. Just because you can always be connected doesn't mean that you should always be so. Making mindful decisions around that is an emergent skill, I suspect.

Anyway, lovely to see you all again. I hope you're well?

*Mainly due to a botched WiFi arrangement in the house. I eventually broke down and resolved the DHCP conflict before I left...

Fascinating account from Storyful about their social media verification work around the downing of flight MH17:

In the aftermath of the attack, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal affairs released the video below, described as showing a ‘Buk’ anti-aircraft missile system being transported in eastern Ukraine, en route to the Russian border. The footage is not the original, however we believe that the first instance of this footage was removed by the uploader and the version below is the earliest we can find. Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, made early claims that the video was filmed in the Ukrainian town of Krasnodon near the Russian border, however collaborative geo-location was able to place the footage in southwestern Luhansk.

This really is one of the new frontiers of serious journalism, and one that's only growing in importance.

(Which is, of course, why we teach it as part of the Interactive Journalism MA at City…)

Twitter's UK in-house journalism expert and friend of the blog Joanna Geary has crowd-sourced a great list of 30 Twitter tools that are useful for journalists:

Some are familiar and essential, but some are brand new to me. Well worth a little time.