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

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A neat quote that encapsulates where the divide between new and social media lies:

Adriana says: “I divide between old and new media on the one hand and social media on the other hand. New media is just digitalised old media. Social media are tools like blogs, tagging, podcasts, wikis etc that facilitate communication. It is by its nature interactive and I especially like the social aspect of it.”

Kristine Lowe, quoting Adriana Lukas.

I’ve been following Darryl of 853’s blogging for years now under his various guises, and once in a while, he comes out with some absolute corkers. This has been one of those weeks.

Yesterday he posted a great dissection of the, uh, questionable choice that the News Shopper, the south east London paper, made for its letter of the week:

Yes, that’ll be the one that calls gays “perverted”. That’s worth a prize, isn’t it? I wonder what Webster’s Pen Shop thinks about its products being used to reward such an unpleasant little rant?

It’s someone else’s opinion, but it’s the News Shopper’s choice to reward that opinion with a prize.

But what makes this even more entertaining is the response of whomever is behind the @newsshopper Twitter account, as detailed in his latest post:

@darryl1974 You are so way off with so many of the things in your blog entry, particularly regarding our website, it’s impossible to begin.less than a minute ago via web

Hint: that’s not the way to handle criticism.  
Update: I think this post hits the nail on the head about what journos on the News Shopper probably think is going on – and why they’re wrong. Stirring up controversy like this is not good journalism. 

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 06:  MacWorld attendee...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Apple’s an odd company, sometimes. Most of what it launches, it does with great fanfare and marketing push. And sometimes, it slips something quite significant into a tiny, regarded update.

Last night, it pushed out an update to its iWork office apps suite, which added the ability to create ePub documents to its Pages word processing and page layout app. ePub, for those who don’t know, is the open ebook standard that lies behind the iBooks store on the iPad and iPhone, as well as numerous other book readers. 
That makes the entry cost for ebook creation under £60, according to the latest price for iWork ’09 Retail on Amazon. You can sell the ePub format directly, and have people be able to use it in iBooks or any other reader that supports the standard. Or you could sell it directly through the iBooks store. Of course, ePub makers were already out there, but the general opinion was that they were clunky and hard to use. Pages, as you might expect from Apple, is a very slick and intuitive piece of software. 
The eBook landscape just changed. 

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My job pretty much comes down to looking at all the new, shiny stuff on the internet, and figuring out how we can use it to garner traffic (or, more often, the right traffic), and then use that to make some money. In my experience, new social media tends to be additive rather than replacing what went before. We’re still making active and successful use of forums, which are prehistoric in web terms, and, in some markets, blogging is just hitting its stride, despite the fact that those social media superstars were declaring it passé two years ago…. Successful new services rarely replace older one, they just push them into a smaller niche.

Now, there’s no doubt that service like Twitter are important to many of us. A recent chat with Suw and Kevin suggested that they are seeing the same thing that I am: really significant traffic spikes come from Twitter these days, rather than a link from another blog. But, in the end, the same thing that makes Twitter so accessible – short posts, easy to access – is what limits is value. Followers are an easy and gratifying measure of success – but they don’t necessarily translate into influence or any form of audience. And for those of us with a strong impulse to express ourselves at greater length, it can be a greater feeder for our blogs, rather than something that replaces them.

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Indeed, much to my surprise, one thing I genuinely though was being replaced by Twitter – my RSS reader – has suddenly taken on a new life since I got hold of an iPad. NewsRack, the feed reader I use (right), is the application I use most on the device. If my iPad is to hand, I’m flicking through feeds throughout the day. As a result, I’ve found myself reading and commenting on blogs more than I have done in years.

In life, there’s room for long, in-depth conversations, and short chats. Scribbled notes and novels both have their place in life, as do lectures and and quick demos. Anyone who seriously through that the short-form, restricted discourse of the microblogging and social network service would become the only form of online discussion that mattered clearly hadn’t spent enough time looking at the way people actually behave. 

Thanks to Nancy Williams for some banter on Twitter which helped me crystallise my thoughts on this. She’s published her own take on the issue.

Great stuff:

  • The old school would wish the government intervenes to support quality journalism, whereas we’d rather win the support of our fellow citizens through Spot.Us and Kickstarter. 
  • The old school regularly reminds us that our readers are stupid, whereas the internet generation knows that our obsessive focus on breaking news is hardly congenial to people who wish to understand the broader issues facing our society. 
  • The old school thinks good journalism is dying. The new school thinks news has become a commodity.
You might not agree with it all, but it’s does highlight some of the major rifts in thinking…

The observant might have noticed the arrival of the new, official, Tweet button and a more compact Facebook Like button on this here blog a few days ago. I tend to use OM&HB as a testing ground for things we could roll out onto our blogs at RBI, and in that spirit, I added the buttons to one of the lower traffic Caterer blogs, just to see how it went.

As it turns out, not too bad at all:

Tweet and Like buttons on an RBI blog

Admittedly, the fact that it was a post about the mighty Pizza Burger (mmmm…Pizza Burger) probably helped.

(Aside: One of the handy things about running our blogs on Movable Type is the ease of dropping stuff like this into the templates and republishing, just changing one of the hundreds of blogs we run off the same install. Tempting and lovely though the plugin route is, it involved testing, rolling it out to the pool of servers, updating it, and warning everybody publishing blogs off the server pool that a new plugin is going in. )

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be offering the buttons to each of our markets, and it’ll be interesting to see how much effect they have, if any, on traffic volumes. Everyone seems to be using them these days, but do they really have an impact?