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

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I noticed an odd thing on my way home from work on Monday night. The data connectivity on my iPhone (which I tend to use continuously on train commutes) just died. I arrived home, hopped on the wifi and forgot about it. But there is an explanation:

“It was very hot yesterday and the airconditioning at our datacentre in Croydon failed,” said Bob Dunn, general manager of customer experience at O2. “It had to be cooled down, and there was a network outage in London.”

Slightly startling that the connections we have come to rely on are so dependent on airconditioning…

And so it begins.

After a launch event last night (which was invited to but was unable to attend, alas), The Times and The Sunday Times have begun the four week transition to their new online model. The new sites are live already, and, in four weeks’ time, the old sites will be frozen for good, and the paywall will go up around the new ones. You already have to register to see the new content.
The journo blogs are full of discussion on the subject, and I’ll spare you my analysis of the sites as they appear now, as I don’t have much to add beyond efforts like, say, Malcolm Cole’s. Some people have gone as far as to say that this is an anti-social media, dead end effort
I disagree.
I think there’s a concept hidden in this that most people have missed. Recent statements by people working on the project have given us two clear ideas:
  • They expect to lose 90% of their traffic in this process
  • They will enforce “real name” commenting and discussion within the paywall
And where does that leave us? Well, to me, this opens up the possibility that what News International are actually trying to create is, in essence, a private members’ club. There will be a limited number of people joining in on discussion, largely around content. James Harding even highlights the fact that the content should trigger the question “What do you think?” in the video above. People sharing what they think will be identifiable, and they will have paid an entrance fee to get in there. This is, in fact, a community model, just one that differs from the wide, inter-connected community model we’re used to on the open web.
I recall Lee Bryant saying at last year’s Social Media Influence conference that sometimes its the wall that defines the community. And that maxim will be tested on these sites.
Now, if this is what The Times is attempting, it’s a very interesting experiment, and one that I’ll be watching with a great deal of interest. 
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There’s an interesting post over on by guest blogger Aaron Cohen that points out that the speed from launch to mainstream media adoption of new social web tools is growing ever faster.

I’ve been chuckling ever since I read it, because it’s left me with the image of “old media” as your embarrassing uncle, desperately buying albums from new bands in an attempt to cling on to his long-gone youth…

Nice summation of data journalism, and how much the average hack should know:

Journalism is about asking the right questions. We research stories before we interview subjects so that we can ask pertinent questions whose answers will illuminate the subject. We need to be able to do the same thing with our data – we need to know what questions to ask and how, so that even if we can’t make the tools ourselves we can hand over the task to someone else without asking the impossible or wasting their time.
Nice post from Mary Hamilton, whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making at jeecamp.