Now, Google works better than anything out there if you know what it is you want to find, but Twitter, Broadstuff asserts, is where you go to understand what’s really going on…
Read Google, and you’d barely know anything about Summly because the first 7 pages comprise of press regurgitation and it has utterly failed at telling you anything useful about it….
…But search Twitter, and you get a totally different story. Twitter, despite a reputation for being celebrity and inanity obsessed, is in fact – on the basis of my search anyway, far less so than Google. What is certain is that Twitter gave me a far fuller picture, within the first page I got, and, in this case anyway was the better search engine by far.
The whole media world optimises for Google, it goes on to say, which is making it less useful.
Metered – This model allows casual readers to read some content for free, but then asks readers to pay after they have read their monthly allowance. This is the model the Financial Times has used for years, and this was the model that the New York Times chose.
This works for me as a user or reader.
Every now and again I have a subscription cull when I realise I am paying for too many things I am not reading or using enough. Metered models mean you end up paying when you realise you really are getting value from a particular site or service.
Search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, display ads, PR, creative, content, all of these things are too often presented in oppoisition to one another, when really all distract from the central task in hand, winning in the great attention markets of the web.
The only disciplines I wouldn’t include in those would be things would be user experience and community management, both of which, when practised with awareness of networks rather than fixating on a single website or platform, are growing in importance in the digital mix. It amazed me that toward the end of 2010 we were still talking about the relative merits of PR and SEO, as if effective communications
Let’s not waste too much time on playground tactics (no rabbit in a hat tricks) in 2011. Begin and end your thinking about success online with attention: serving it, winning it, earning it.
And with that, here’s some 12 year old hip hop to kick off the New Year. Keep it, er, real…
In the hype-sphere the chatter is all about Foursquare and Facebook: blogging doesn’t get much of a mention.
While I still prize blogging as a form of personal media and a networked productivity and knowledge tool, its clear to see that blogs as a media format are mature and in the mainstream.
Two posts I read recently spoke of this. First, in her analysis of Google’s launch of Boutiques.com (well worth a read in itself), iCrossing journalist Jo-Ann Fortune points out that alongside fashion celebrities, the company brought on board fashion bloggers:
…Google has enlisted the help of style icon celebrities such as Olivia Palermo, the Olsen twins and Carey Mulligan and fashion bloggers including Jane of Sea of Shoes, Alix, aka The Cherry Blossom Girl and Susie Lau from London-based Style Bubble, to tell that story. These taste-shapers ‘curate’ their own boutiques, based on their favourite pieces as well as their personal style – the sum of their preferred designers, shapes, patterns and styles-, allowing those inspired by their style to join them on a virtual shopping spree.
The inclusion of fashion bloggers alongside the ‘traditional’ celebrities just goes to show how far this new breed of public personality has come. Stylist.co.uk this week disclosed how three female fashion, beauty and celebrity bloggers make between 35k and 80k a year each, revealing that the brand they build from their blog is worth much more than the blog itself.
And Reed’s blogging expert, Adam Tinworth, points to some marketing by Microsoft for its new phone as evidence of blogs in the mainstream (“another tipping point” as he puts it).
A quote. On a huge advert. In one of the mainline commuter stations. In one of the biggest cities in the world.
As a media format blogs are still as potentially disruptive as they ever where, but some of them are firmly part of the established media landscape now…
How will future historians look back at the UK election of 2010?
We don’t know, of course, but the primary sources will be more than the letters between politicians, the newspaper reports and memoirs of the politicians. They will probably use the data-mining skills that will be commonplace then, possibly refined for the academic researcher to carry out information archaeology on the Tweets, emails and Facebook messages that survive from the rest of us. Continue reading →
Like most of the world, it seemed, I was perfectly prepared to offer an opinion on the iPad without having ever seen one. Like most of the pre-launch “analysis” I’m not sure I added much of value to the discussion around it, other than to caution that we will have to wait and see what its real impact would be.
Apple’s newest product became a kind of proxy war for all sorts of other interests: DRM, death/survival of publishing, Mac v PC (yawn) etc etc. Cory Doctorow’s discussion of why we should not buy iPads was both typical of this slew of writing and stand out brilliant. It got me thinking, it made me hesitate for a moment about buying one…
Now? Reader, I bought one. And all the hypotheticals fell away, and it became about being a user – and that’s a whole different matter… Continue reading →
Vested interests, protectionism, conservatism are the enemies of diversity, innovation and change.
This idea has been at the heart of liberalism since John Stuart Mill wrote On Liberty. He used the example of China, a civilisation so advanced and sophisticated that it invented paper, printing and gunpowder centuries before Europeans ever got near them.
Then China got bureaucracy. Got complexity combined with central control. And it stopped. Nothing changed, the elite decided how the world would be and how it would be forever. It’s a kind of societal Amish effect.
Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it?s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one.
He uses examples of AT&T backing off from web hosting because of an obsession with up-time and reliability that didn’t fit the market. It’s what’s happening now with media companies that expect to be paid for their IP in the way they choose because the alternative does not compute for them.
It’s an interesting thought that the inability to see how things could get simpler might be what chokes an industry, a business. Does it jar with the Russell Ackoff call to ignore the “Keep It Simple Stupid” oversimplification that middle managers are so often englamoured by? I don’t think so – understanding complexity doesn’t mean you have to defend it.
There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the for est. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three-thousand tooth picks a day. Easy. Too easy.
But I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:
Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind peo ple that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people dis cover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.
Over the past few years I’ve thought of hurly-burly of daily online interactions as being very different to the bigger content artefacts I’ve created. In the case of the e-books I wrote for iCrossing, at times they felt a bit like avatars, going off into the world doing their own thing under creative commons…
I’d meet a client and the e-book was already there engaging with various people. It was an eery feeling for someone who’d never been published much before anywhere, your thoughts-as-content travelling the world causing things to happen, people re-using them in all sorts of ways (translating into Chinese, incorporating in textbooks in India, using it as an appendix to a business plan, to name just three).
One challenge is trying to balance out investment of your energy and effort in flow/stock. Interesting especially if you are fitting these things around a day job.
Blog posts are a bit of both really aren’t they. Sometimes they simply let people know you’re still there – hello! – and other times (and you’re not always sure when) they become stock, a focus for a conversation, a defining statement about what you believe, a new turn of phrase that captures an important wisp of the the zeitgeist.
Generally, I walk an erratic personal media path, subject to wild swings into stock or flow. When I was writing my book on personal reputation online last year, I was all stock creation. It took me over to the point of madness. Other times, perhaps toward the end of last year I was living too much in the Twitter stream without much time for reflection, time for creativity to take shape.
As Robin puts it:
And the real magic trick in 2010 is to put them both together. To keep the ball bounc ing with your flow—to main tain that open chan nel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the back ground. Sac ri fice nei ther. It’s the hybrid strategy.
Balance. Equilibrium. Great idea, so hard to get it right…
If you’re even slightly non-technical you may not know what an API is. Basically it’s a way of letting anyone who wants to take Guardian content (headlines, copy, images, video) as it is published and do something different with it.
It makes its content more portable, more shareable, more distributable.
It means The Guardian has taken the limits off of its own content, the limits of what it can think to do with it, and of what can happen on its own site. Feeds from its content will be fed into the most groundbreaking, gamechanging ideas of the next few years (and some duff ones too).
One of Jeff Jarvis’s colleagues describes the move as putting its content “into the fabric of the internet.”
This is a bold move, but one that shows the web literacy of the Guardian Media Group: it understands thefundamentals of being a brand in networks, that it is best served by being in the networks, making itself as useful as possible. It’s just taken the logical next… leap.
All well and good – neither organisation is beholden to a quarterly P&L. The Guardian’s a trust and the BBC is a publicly funded (and generously so) corporation. Makes you think that maybe companies that aren’t for profit are the ones who stand the best chance of surviving the gear crunch of adapting to the web. Maybe traditional commercial models aren’t going to be as good at surviving when it comes to media?
Apart from trusts and public money, the other players in the media mix are the brands. They used to fund the media through advertising mostly, but now will be direct players. How many of them would win in the attention markets by releasing data through APIs like this? Insurance companies have giga-wotsits of useful information. So do publishers, so do pharma companies, so do most people.
If you could, what data from your organisation would put out through an API tomorrow?