One Man and His Blog: September 2008 Archives

September 2008 Archives

September 28, 2008

Getting Social at Web 2.0 Expo Berlin

Web 2.0 Expo badge
Many publishing businesses are heavily involved with the events business too, and I find the growing use of the web to support conferences before they occur increasingly fascinating. In a blog post earlier in the week, Janetti Chon outline the online initiatives they're using to support Web 2.0 Expo Berlin this year. 

There's a social network for the event at Crowdvine. I first saw these springing up for conferences last year, and they're a really excellent way of identifying in advance contacts who will be at the event. Here's my profile in the network.

There's a whole series of satellite events around the conference (not unlike the ones you see at our party conferences in the UK, I suppose), including a BarCamp, which are being gathered together under the banner of Berlin Web Week

And then there's the blogger outreach programme, of which I am a part. That's why I have a handy-dandy discount code for Web 2.0 Expo Berlin, that you can use to save 35% off the registration price. Just use the code webeu08gr9 when you register. I'd really like to get some blogger outreach going with some of RBI's events, so I'm finding my participation in the programme an educational experience...

September 25, 2008

At Headshift, Talking About Social Blogging

image1307279396.jpgAt a Headshift/Six Apart seminar about community-focused publishing...

At The FT Offices

image1198823825.jpg

You're No-one If You're Not On Twitter

Time for a Thursday tune:




And, in fact, it's not just a Thursday tune, it's a Thursday Tuttle tune, as it was written on one of the Friday morning meetings of the Social Media Cafe in London.

September 24, 2008

Afternoon Coffee Reading

Green Team CoffeeSome spots from my RSS feeds for this afternoon (although it's pretty much evening now):

Digital Journalism: The Time For Talk Is Done

image2067378807.jpgThis is my boss, Karl. He's a career journalist who, like me, is enthusiastic about the possibilities opened up by new technologies. This whole post, picture included, has been created on a hand-held device, published over the mobile phone network, to a CMS that's free, and which is hosted for only a few pounds a month - certainly for less than I spend on coffee in a week.

That's exciting, because of the possibilities for in-the-field journalism it opens up. This should be an exciting time for journalists. Our ability to get to news, record it and share it with the world is higher than it's ever been. So why are there do few people like Karl? Why do so many journalists regard the whole business as something to be challenged, ignored or even soundly mocked?
Continue reading Digital Journalism: The Time For Talk Is Done.

Andrew & Lindsay

image1943645673.jpgAnother quick test of iBlogger, this time with a photo.

Testing iBlogger

image1894367549.jpgThis is just a quick test post from iBlogger, a blogging app for the iPhone. There are some existing ones out there that support specific platforms, but this supports a whole range.

Better yet, it's based on ecto, long my favourite Mac blogging software.

But is it any good? Well, this post is coming together pretty well. Impossible to add links in any useful way, of course. But this will be great for quick, newsy posts.
Mobile Blogging from here.

September 23, 2008

Automattic acquires Intense Debate

intensedebate-automattic_blog.png
An e-mail was waiting for me when I got home, announcing that Automattic has acquired Intense Debate.

For those not familiar with it, Intense Debate is one of those centralised blog comment services, where you replace your own blog's comments with a centralised service. The key advantage of this is that a commenter's activity can be aggregated across blog. The commenter owns her own comments, if you like. Competitor Disqus has been getting more attention, but Automattic's acquisition will push the idea quickly towards the mainstream - and Intense Debate with it. 

Matt Mullenweg has already suggested that they'll be integrating Intense Debate into the Wordpress core, "as appropriate", so we'll rapidly see the concept spreading across the wide world of Wordpress blogging.

It'll be interesting to see how both Disqus - whose primary development has been around Wordpress - and Six Apart - who have been showing more and more of a community focus in their products - respond to this.

But I think this is the first step major step towards making centralised commenting identities the mainstream - and default - way of working.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008

At last! The 2008 Technorati state of the Blogosphere is out. Nice to see it back to being blog-focused rather that being a report into the notional "live web". The report is being published in five sections over five days. Only section one - Who Are The Bloggers - is up so far.

A couple of interesting things I've noted:

  • Only about 1.1m blogs are updated in the last week. Now, obviously there's a large hinterland of abandoned blogs in the rest. Frequency seems to be the exception rather than the rule in the whole of the blogsphere these days. 
  • The majority of bloggers do NOT live near the largest metropolitan areas - OK, it's a US finding, but I'm pleased to see that blogging is not a purely urban phenomenon.
  • And I think this graph could be very significant for what I do:

State of the Blogsphere 2008: Blog types
Lots of people blogging about their jobs. That's very interesting for B2B media indeed.

Oooh, day 2 went up while I was writing this post.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin for Journalists

Web 2.0 Expo badgeHere's a question that could do with answering: why would a journalist like myself be interested in Web 2.0 Expo Berlin which is, after all, a rather techie-focused affair? Well, fundementally, I want to get a heads-up on the coming tools and technologies that could change the way we do journalism - and quite possibly improve it. The show's content is still in flux, but these are the sessions I have my eyes on:

Collaboration Techniques that Really Work
Horribly early in the morning, but I'm interested to plunder this session for ways of improving the inforamtion flow within teams of journalists.

Better Media plumbing for the Social Web

Really looking forward to this one. Blogs are still, at best, web 1.5, and publishing companies all too easily shove them back to being Web 1.0. Some ideas about how to push them forward into a truly social web experience will be really useful.
Continue reading Web 2.0 Expo Berlin for Journalists.

coComment Issue Fixed: Thanks, Guys!

coComment
So, remember the issue with coComment and Movable Type we discovered yesterday? coComment have fixed it already.

They picked up my issue on Twitter, and were quickly responding in the comments on my blog. The issue was resolved within 24 hours.

Good work, folks. I'm very impressed.

September 22, 2008

coComment Users: A Warning [Updated x3]

Thanks to a heads-up from Paul, I've just discovered that coComment blocks commenting on this blog. People using the coComment Firefox extension will not be able to comment here at all if they're using any form of sign-in to the blog (eg OpenID), getting back an "invalid request" message. This is a coComment bug, not one with Movable Type.

coComment has been aware of this issue for nearly a year, and has yet to resolve it (see below). My apologies to coComment users - there is nothing I can do about this.

Update: Here are the specific circumstances where coComment causes commenting to fail

  • Browser: Firefox 3.01
  • Platform: Windows XP SP3 and Mac OSX 10.5.5
  • Extension: coComment Firefox Extension installed
When I comment with the extension disabled  it works fine. I enable the extension, the commenting fails. I disable it again, commenting works. I've tested this on several different computers, with different OSes, as mentioned above. It replicates simply and perfectly

Update 2: More information - the failure seems to occur specifically when commenting using a login - either Movable Type native or OpenID in its various flavours. Non signed-in commenters should be fine.

Update 3:  This has been successfully resolved by coComment.


September 17, 2008

Afternoon Coffee Reading

Coffee in the Afternoon SunCatching my attention this lovely Wednesday afternoon, as the sunbeams dance over my desk...


September 16, 2008

Digital Journalism Room Redux

Digital Journalism on FriendFeedI've been doing a little bit of Twitter-sourced research for an internal project this afternoon, looking for the best recent posts about digital journalism working practices. That led me to resurrect and old, and somewhat neglected project - the FriendFeed Digital Journalism room.

I've been using FriendFeed more since I got involved with the Web 2.0 Expo blogger effort, and I've found it infinitely more usable in its new beta form than the original. The ability to partition friends you follow into groups allows me to use it as a quick check for important stuff (or fun stuff) before I dive into my RSS reader.

I'm going to be using the room more to chuck up interesting links I find - feel free to join in and do the same. 

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin

Web 2.0 Expo badge
Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting about social media and one of our titles, a journalist suggested that maybe online communities could have a strong offline component. It was one of those occasions when I had to resist the urge to go "well, d'uh". Despite the mainstream media's obsession with "virtual" relationships not being real relationships, I've always found that relationships formed online rapidly go offline, and vice-versa.

Thus, the webby conference scene is something I love, both for the chance to catch up with old contacts and meet new ones. Oh, and for the conference content, of course. Last year I had to miss the Web 2.0 Expo in Germany, because of Mum's chemo therapy. This year I'm free to go, and will be heading over to Berlin for some serious networking and some juicy brain meats from the programme.

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin Discount

If you're interested in attending, the organisers have provided me (and some other bloggers) with a discount code that gets you 35% off the entry price. Just register online and use the code webeu08gr9 to get some Euros off, which is pretty damn useful in these credit crunched times...

September 15, 2008

Lehman Brothers Collapse

Lehman BrothersSomething of a horrible morning. A member of my close family is (or, perhaps, was) an employee of Lehman Brothers. Obviously, so soon after losing Mum, another shock like this is not ideal for the family.

Robert Peston has been blogging about the Lehman Brothers situation on his BBC blog.

The Guardian's got a good landing page set up for Lehman's demise.

But I rather like the detail in Chris Irvine's story on Lehman's Docklands offices (where my family member work) in the Telegraph:

The customary security presence surrounding the buildings of Canary Wharf is also slightly larger than usual. But rather than their usual task of keeping out unwanted outsiders, the staff are primarily occupied today with moving on the credit crunch's most recent victims before they share their troubles with the waiting media.

Nevertheless, a few of those passing out from the high-rise office's glass doors did stop to explain the mood inside the building. Koen Thijsson was the first employee out the door. He was carrying his belongings in a cardboard box and said: "This is it. I think it's going to be all of us".

A good reminder of the personal cost behind this news.

links for 2008-09-14

September 11, 2008

Morning Coffee Reading

iPod'n'coffeeA harvest of fine reading scythed from my RSS feeds over a pre-commute coffee:

Mark Kirby on a plane wing

September 10, 2008

NUJ Campaigning Against Police Harassment

While I haven't always been very impressed by the NUJ of late, this latest bit of campaigning is spot on:

Rather ironically, given the NUJ's wariness about blogging, this was spotted on the blog-based Journalism.co.uk...

September 8, 2008

Nationals Fail at Attribution & Linking

Why are national media outlets so awful at giving credit?

The (e)Grommet documents a case of the BBC crediting the hosting service, and not the creator. And the Daily Mirror has republished something provided to them by a Travel Weekly journalist as an "exclusive", without a hint of attribution.

It seems to be one of the major fault lines between traditional media outlets and online publishing - and one that's only going to get worse.

As Kevin puts it:

As an internet reader, I'm increasingly suspicious of journalists who don't link. Yes, if they quote an official that gives me a sense of the source. But why not link to original source material? It also allows me to dig more deeply into the story if I want without having to turn to Google.
If many national journalists can't even handle attributing sources properly, how the hell are they going to get their heads around linking? The answer, based on the current evidence, is that they won't.
 
Is there anyone in the traditional media who is actually good at this?

September 7, 2008

Weekend Coffee Reading

Random links from tabs lingering in my browser at the end of the weekend:

Our Man in Cameroon

cameroon lizard

The latest of Steve Jackson's blogs, Our Man in Cameroon, is up and going. Steve has been chronicling his life in various different countries for several years now, though Grenada, Hanoi and Newcastle. Steve's volunteering overseas in Cameroon (the clue being in the title there), but his reportage of life in other countries is always worth a look. I'll be subscribing.

And how could I resist his picture of the lizard above, when it echoes Taupy, the lizard in my blog header? :-)

September 6, 2008

Digital Journalism Kit

Travel Weekly Digital Journalism kit
Nathan published this picture to Twitter last week. It got me thinking, and a post is in progress. You won't see it until next week, though, so consider this a teaser...

September 5, 2008

No Chrome

More Evidence for the Death of Print

I've never been one of the "print is dead" crowd, but news story after news story is making me slowly revise that idea. Take for example, this story on the Press Gazette site about the merger of Computing and IT Week into one title.

Computing CoverThere's no doubt that both these titles and our competitor to them, Computer Weekly, have a tough challenge on their hands. The amount of information published about IT has grown exponentially over the past decade, largely on the back of blogging, and you have to question the value brought by journalists to that sphere when you have both the people making the products and the expert users of them sharing their experience online. In fact, unless you can provide the sort of investigative journalism the Tony Collins of the world produce, is there much point at all?

Despite the "good news, chums" approach to title mergers promoted by kids comics, us grown-ups know they only happen when the straits are distinctly dire for one of the titles. And I suspect the the most telling part of that Press Gazette article will prove to be this quote from Graham Harman of Incisive Media:

"You have to look at the way people now source information, you can't just stick to the old practices and say 'that will do'. You have to say to yourself 'If I was launching into this market now what would I do? What do they want now and how do I service them?'"
And in the IT space, the answer may well prove to be "not on paper".

But that's not the only thing on the Press Gazette site that added to my evidence for the doom of print...

Continue reading More Evidence for the Death of Print.

September 4, 2008

Coffee Break Reading

What I liked and enjoyed in my morning's RSS reading:

September 3, 2008

The Ethics of Travel Journalism

Sarah Hartley's back from some travels:

But as I finished writing up and downloading the pictures of a recent trip to Dublin, I started wondering how aware readers are about how these, often glossy, pieces of journalism come to be in their daily newspapers.
Paid for by the hosting holiday company (cost would obviously make the activity otherwise prohibitive), it could be seen as a semi-commercial activity. In itself perhaps not so much a problem, but do we always make that distinction crystal clear?

A former boss of mine used to describe paid-for trips (alongside assorted other gifts) as "moral hazards", and he discouraged us from taking them in most circumstances.

Fort Lauderdale sunset

But, as Sarah points out, in this situation a lot of travel journalism just wouldn't happen, because the costs involved in sending the hack on holiday outweigh the benefit of having the report in the paper. Yet, I'd imagine that the majority of the readers are unaware that these are paid for trips. Of course, there's another layer in here, in that the travel industry works on the back of the familiarisation trip, or "fam trip", whereby agents are sent on the holidays people want them to sell to their clients. Travel Weekly's B2B journalists will be blogging some of these on its new Postcards blog (still under construction at the time of writing).

But what are the ethical issues here? How would readers feel if they knew that all the trips had been paid for by the company running them?

I'd be interested in what my colleagues from Travel Weekly and Travolution think about this...

September 2, 2008

A Day in the Life of a News Story

Office desks
Alison Gow has posted a great lifecycle of a news story over on her blog, Headlines & Deadlines. In particular, I just love the way she's split the process into the Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 ways of doing things. It's an astute decision. Most titles went online in some form years ago, and it's getting people's heads around the idea that the web evolves and the processes needed to support it need to change to that's so tricky right now.

Alison's post is essential reading for any journalist working on the web right now.

The Internet is the New Utility

Macbook Girl

Macworld:

The UK is a nation of net-addicts, with 76 percent of Brits admitting they can't live without the web.

Now, switch the word "the web" for "electricity" or "water". Sounds stupid, doesn't it? The sooner we accept that the internet is the information utility, and ranks up there with electricity, the sooner we can all move on.

And get fibre-optic to our homes. 

Coffee Break Reading

Coffee on the trainAs my delicious.com account still steadfastly refuses to allow daily blog posts, here's a manual equivalent:

  • Paul links to some research on podcasting that suggests that it's got an affluent audience and that there's some growth to come.
  • James shares some lessons learned from using social media at an event - in this case, Greenbelt.
  • And, amongst all the posting about Google's new browser, Chrome, I rather like Shane and Alan's take on the issues. They cover much of the same ground, but Shane has more depth and Alan more snark... :-)


September 1, 2008

Local Newspapers are Doomed

Or so said professor of journalism and Guardian blogger, Roy Greenslade on Today this morning. You can catch him predicting the death of local newspapers online still. 

Plug: New Look Celebs on Holiday

Celebs on Holiday new look
Just to underline our ongoing commitment to serious, quality B2B journalism here at RBI tower - Celebs on Holiday has a new design.

And it's beautiful in its trashiness, isn't it? :-)

"Interesting" is the Basis of Blogging

Wise Old Owl
I'm feeling distinctly old skool this afternoon. As I pick through my RSS feeds for little nuggets of bloggy goodness, I found a couple of things that depressed me. Firstly, Mr Mayfield had this to say:

If I think it's relevant I'll mention it, but otherwise you'll just have to trust me: I blog about people and brands because what they are doing or saying is of interest to me. That's it.
And then I find Euan Semple saying this:

I was listening to Twit the other day when the contributors were talking about their concern that too many blogs "just" pointed to stuff. I am not so sure that this is a problem and sort of rests on the, mistaken in my view, assumption that blogging has to be like journalism.

It's a shame that the perception of blogging is in a place where these things need to be said. One of the stock ideas I use when training journalists to blog is that the basic currency of the blog is the thought "that's interesting". Everything you post to a blog is something you find interesting and want to share with others, be it a link, an article, a photo or a video. 

Continue reading "Interesting" is the Basis of Blogging.

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