Thursday, March 15, 2007

How long will blogging last?

That is a questions often asked by those who still don’t get the power and utility of blogging – like mainstream big hitters; and by all those who still haven’t grasped that blogging is just a tool – an easy to use tool that gives voice to, pardon the cliché, the teeming masses.

It is about voice.

I am still not sure what Bruce Sterling, well-known Science Fiction writer meant when he said the blogging would die out in 10 years time, calling bloggers ‘laptop gypsies’.

Maybe, like many of us, Bruce referred to Splogs and incessant rewriting, constituting a major part of 55 millions or so blogs out there.

I think Google and others have to answer the Spam/Splog menace.

As long as we can add something new to the Global conversation, we will blog. (others will comment; chat in forums; rate stories)

And, to all bloggers who started out to make some money from blogging, do not despair.
You are not alone: this bloggers made a whopping $15 in 4 months from this blog.

What do you think? Is blogging a passing thing?

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Assignment Zero

The guys at Wired are relaunching their blogs in a big way. They have taken the citizen journalism concept up a notch as well.

It is called Assignment Zero, a partnership with NewAssignment venture where reporters will post ‘story seeds’ and citizen reporters will research related matter and help build up the story. The founder of Newsvine are a alos pat of this experiment. It is not the first time Wired has ventured into citizen journalism. They have even broached the topic of open journalism - a concept where you put the editorial process for all to see.

Wired says it won’t own the content created by Citizen Journalists. A Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License will apply.

An editor will be in charge of the whole process. The editor will ‘commission work, set deadlines, keep track of all the parts and bring the whole thing in on time.’

My take on this: It is too early to say. However, Jimmy Wales’ idea of open source magazines at Wikia is an idea Wired might ave looked into.

Related concepts (Google them): Peer production Crowdsourcing, commons-based peer production (coined by Yockai Benckler)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A short primer to building great news sites

Start with the obvious:

1. Build great news sites
Every year, the Project for Excellence in Journalism evaluates news sites for 5 criterion:
user customization, user participation, use of multimedia, site depth, and editorial branding.

Learn from the best sites:
PEJ gives high ratings to CBS News, the Washington Post, BBC News and Global Voices for ‘originality of their content…the extent to which they allowed users to customize the content…make(ing) the content mobile.

Users participation:
During these times of 2-way conversation, PEJ found that few sites let user participate, but this is going to change . For example, USA Today went about user participation in big way.

Among other big news sites, The New York Times,, have great blogs. In fact, has converted the ‘letters to the editor section into a blog’.

Few sites have user voting at the moment but this is not abd idea to promote your content.

Few news sites have Forums, which is a pity.
Forums are great for building communities – very important for local news sites.

Read the latest State of the Media Report here:

2. Journalists need to start using the exciting new Online tools:
Blogs, Digg, bookmarking, Video blogging, RSS, Social Media Marketing, Youtube, Podcasts, Flickr, etc.

Mindy McAdams has a great post, advising Journalists to go out and start trying these new tools – search Google and you will find tutorials on all the above tools.

Mindy is right – you may stop reading this article right now and start your own blog.

3. A reading list for beginners:
[ tip: spend a week reading all posts on these web sites. Reread to let more stuff sink in] – all about blogging and its potential. – all aboit blogging and search engine optimization (creating pages that search engines pick and display prominentlt and quickly) topics like keyword research, link building, etc. the starting point to learn how media is changing. & – tips for online journalists. – Rob Curley, man responsible for injecting life into boring & stagnating news sites. Learn more about his work.

4. Some journalists that have already built online brand recognition
Here is a sampling: – Om Malik, writer at – Rafat Ali – Michael Arrington – Nick Denton, was at Economist, runs the popular Gawker blog network Jason Calacanis, started the Weblogsinc blog network, sold to AOL, also a former journalist

5. Good online-only publications worth reading daily:
Read, learn, and emulate the best practices.

6. Time is on the your side.
Time is on the journalist’s side. Did you know that growth of the blogosphere is slowing down. Although people will continue launching new blogs, maintaining them with fresh news and thought will always be a challenge.

Same thing with Video blogs and Podcasts.

Here’s where the trained journalist may find herself comfortable – you know how to research and report;how to write for online medium; and so on. While most news is a commodity online, often regurgitated by other bloggers, you may it worthy to come with analysis, exclusive a opinion, breaking news in reader-leasing formats.

I think that despite the emergence of all these online tools, the story is still the foundation.

7. No Dorothy, there is no such things as too much Media.

You will also think that there are too many news outlets chasing too few news. You may be right but note that many mainstream outlets chase the big and often frivolous stories – for example, news items covered Anna Nicole Smith’s death in far more detail than the goings on at Walter Reed hospital.

Every itch of a celebrity is a story. You can change this.

8. Think brand. It will take time
If you can invest time on your online news site, it will be worthwhile. Write regularly. Cover great topics. Write well.

I hear they say building an offline media brand takes times and money – building an online news brand will take time and much less money. (and lots of enthusiasm)

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Viacom alternating between cool and uncool

When Viacom severed relations from Tom Cruise last year, many of us thought ‘cool’- at least there is someone oout there in movieland who doesn’t care about stars, their egos and eccentricities. However, few will find any ‘coolness’ about Viacom’s decision to sue Google over copyright infringements on Youtube.

If you go over Viacoms’s reasons for suing Google and you will see the same music played to not much success by the music companies.

A brief takeout:

1. If Google decides to seriously fight Viacom’s Lawsuit, the two companies may be locked in courtroom battle for quite some time. In that time much can happen: Youtube may have a better monitoring system in place. Youtube is stil a new service – younger than Sumner Redstone, cynics might say. By that time Google will have partnerships with big media in place. The new office New York is a long-term strategic investment for Google.

2. Moreover, the copyright law is a decade old.

3. Jeff Jarvis makes two great observations:
Viacom complains about YouTube but, in truth, they’re complaining about their own viewers. They whine about theft but, in fact, they’re whining about recommendation, about their audience finding them more audience. Viacom is trying, singlehandedly, to turn the TV industry into the music industry. They are trying to spread stupid.
More on Viacom’s ‘stupidity’
…, (says) that when an infringing clip goes up on YouTube, they take it down and then replace it with a noninfringing, official copy, which has the added benefit of enabling the conversation to cluster around one rather than many copies of the same event. That’s smart. I guess when Viacom and CBS split up, CBS got the IQ.

Detailed roundup coverage of Google-YouTube buyout:


Monday, March 12, 2007

Is Twitter useful?

I tell you this. I still do not get Twitter. I get blogs. I get IM. I get SMS (what you call texting in the U.S.). Where does Twitter get in?

Pete Cashmore puts it right when he says
some folk get it, others don’t. what the hey, it’s clearly not for everyone, but i dig it.

He adds,
i use twitter to put messages / feelings / thoughts out there that i wouldn’t put in a text to my friends. totally random things on my mind, at that moment. it’s clear that everyone has their own way of using though, and thats great.

New Blogging platform?
What’s more, Pete says Twitter is new blogging platform:
short, to-the-point messages that let your friends, family and the world know exactly where you are and what you’re doing, every second of the day.
Interesting, but why would I need to talk all the time I am working?
I wonder whether the neo-nomads of ‘Frisco are using Twitter.

Useful Links: (please read, come back and tell me whether Twitter is indeed useful or just plainly entertaining)

The Several Habits of Wildly Successful Twitter Users

Marshall Kirkpatricks’ Top 10 Twitter things.

Chris Brogan at Lifehack writes about 5 Ways to Use Twitter for Good