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

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two lessons from a busy day:

First of all, as I comb my e-mails for details of Movable Type problems and bugs past, I really wish I’d been keeping an internal blog from the start. Then I could just click the “server issues” tag and have a handy list to print out and give to the testers.

Secondly, I’ve realised just how much of a mental re-engineering needs to go on for journalists to adapt to the Web 2.0 age. Traditional publishing fundamentally had one process: research, write, edit, publish. Online journalism provides us with a range of tools, so you still research, but then you pick whichever medium best suits the story: text (long or short form), image, audio, video (streamed or recorded and edited). So, instead of a linear production workflow, you actually have a branching one, with critical choices to be made. And then you start factoring in interactive media, and the complexity goes up another level. That’s a huge, huge change in the job. No wonder it takes time to enthuse people about this.

When publishers first went online, and when new online publishers set
up, they basically recreated magazines and newspapers online – they
didn’t create anything that was fundementally tailored to the new
medium. In fact, it’s much like the early days of the printing press,
when many of the first books to roll off the presses were editions of
the same books that monks had been busy outputtting from their
scriptorums. It’s just a symptom of thought processes that are mired in the technology of a rapidly passing age.

passed that stage. The new forms of publishing online are starting to
emerge. Two things are happening – existing publishers are busy bolting
on blogs and social media to the site of their printing press-inspired
sites (guilty!) and new publishers are building sites based on new
technology that really don’t look much like the old style sites at all.

And I bet you something right now. The winners in this battle won’t emerge with sites that look like existing big media sites at all. They’ll be those who use the current and developing technologies to build media enterprises that interact with the communities they serve in fundementally different ways. That’s why this is an exciting time to be in media companies.

But it’s also a scary time. Arrington again:

What I’d like to see, and even be a part of, is the blogger equivalent to the 1992 U.S. Mens Basketball Dream Team. That team could take CNET apart in a year, hire the best of the survivors there, and then move on to bigger prey.

If you don’t thrive on competition, now’s a good time to contemplate a career change.

Planning a Movable Type Upgrade

I’m enjoying my last few moments of liberty before heading into what I’ve mentally been terming “the month of hell”. Sometime in the next month, we’ll be upgrading our install of Movable Type Enterprise to the latest version. That means testing over 100 blogs to see that their template all perform fine, as well as making sure nearly 200 people are training in using the new version.
Oh, and because that all looked too easy, we’re also changing the server architecture while we do it. So, the next few weeks are going to be interesting to say the least. I’m used to blog upgrades being pretty trivial (bar that one time a WordPress upgrade broke everything), but doing these things at a corporate publishing scale just changes the playing field. 
I’ve taken the last few days off blogging, to give myself an Easter break and to gather my reserves for the weeks ahead. But now I’m back to it. I’ll try to blog my way through the process, but posting here might be even more erratic than normal, depending on how easy – or how hard – it all turns out to be. 

Those naughty folks at Computer Weekly‘s Downtime blog are taking the mickey out of one of my colleagues with this video:

Now, I reckon that that they’re missing the point and Mr Rogers will have the last larf here. The video isn’t mocking user generated content in general, just that slightly cheesy way TV and radio solicits user feedback to give them a thin patina of interaction, which is wholly fake. Compare the “reckons” on TV to the debates found in blog comments or forums, and you’ll see how shallow these efforts really are.

I hereby coin the phrase “cargo-cult engagement” to describe this phenomenon. My licensing rates are very reasonable…