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Month: August 2010

Media: Old, New & Social

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.

News Shopper, Homophobia & Criticism

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.

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. 

Making eBooks Just Got Really Easy

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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The Dangers of Web Neophilia

I've long found that posting in irritation can get me into trouble, so I've sat on this post for most of the week. But really, I've had enough now. The social media backlash is in full swing, and, frankly, if you didn't see this coming, you haven't been paying attention.

It started with linkbait expert Techcrunch poster Paul Carr shutting down his social media presence, but really gained momentum when Leo Laporte of the TWiT network realising that the majority of his microblogging activity was having no significant impact whatsoever.

Inevitably, most web tech is built by (surprise!) technologists, who are themselves often attracted to shiny new things over the established things of the past. That cadre of bloggers-turned-social media gurus who once sold us on the virtues of blogging have been flitting from service to service in search of the next big thing that they can evangelise. But increasingly, they've been wrong about the coming success stories. From FriendFeed (sold to Facebook, largely abandoned) to Google Wave, they've been trying to tempt us to follow them to the New Thing and abandon the Old Thing. And most people haven't obliged.

Indeed, as Alan points out, pretty much what these "leading voices" are doing is reflecting what less obsessive neophiles have been doing since the start: building on the existing utility of older services, rather than replacing the old with the new. And even then, people will only use those services that they see a clear, simple value in. FriendFeed and Wave were geek tools, not ones that would see mainstream adoption. And a good proportion of those web neophiles have no antenna at all when it comes to sensing what the mainstream will enjoy.

Read more

The Journalism Generation Gap

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…

Buttoning Up Our Blogs

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?