Quickshots: December

Wired Magazine’s new look was introduced in its January 2012 issue. Old media and New Media meet: “The redesign is an entirely new platform for what Wired has become: not just ink on paper but increasingly, pixels on screen,” state the editors in their introduction.

According to Wired, 20% of their readers read the magazine in digital format (a number that strikes me as rather low for its sophisticated, wired, cutting-edge audience. But then again, also geeks like to read print).

“[With the redesign], the structure and format of every page is built to adapt seamlessly to digital form,” the editors write. “Every layout starts with the same challenge for the designer: How do you organize the page in a fresh and interesting way? Our solution was to simplify. Simplicity can be the most essential tool for navigating complexity.”

I couldn’t agree more. Well done.

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“The number of jobs eliminated in the newspaper industry rose by nearly 30% in 2011 from the prior year.” (via Reflections of a Newsosaur). “In other words, the decline in newsroom employment has been twice as great since 2007 as the 11% drop in over-all industry employment.”

A total of 3,775+ jobs lost. And you thought the recessions was over?

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We still remember the importance of “above the fold” placement of articles in the newspaper. New media don’t have the same restrictions, right?

“Wrong,” writes Emily Smith on the blog Design Festival. “The term was ported over to the web. It refers to any content that can’t be seen in your current browser window without scrolling or manipulation. This means that on most web viewing experiences, no matter the device, the fold exists.”

But should we pay attention to it?

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‎”We’re not out of the woods yet, but Web publishing is starting to hit its stride. Product offerings are getting smarter, prices are getting better and, most importantly, content is getting more interesting. We might not even be half way to the future of publishing yet, but the industry is picking up steam,” writes Jon Mitchell on ReadWriteWeb. 

There are new ways to read, new ways to write and new ways to advertise. Publishing is a rapidly changing high-tech business now, so the tools change the content and vice versa. Established publishers have lots of inertia, so the changes won’t sweep the world overnight, but here in the blogosphere, there’s a palpable sense of excitement.”

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Kind of creepy, but  Heatmaps Reveal Where People Look on Social Media Sites, reveals the Inbound Internet Marketing Blog. The technology follows eyeball movement of readers on the web to determine which content their eyes gravitate to on a webpage. Mashable commissioned a study called EyeTrackShop, a startup that performs heatmap studies for marketers, to see where people look on popular social media sites.

And, who knew, content still matters! The study found that people gravitate to where the content is: to the Facebook Wall of a friends for example. Also Facebook brand page visitors “almost always saw the wall first, and spent more time looking at it than any other element on the page,” according to Mashable.

“Time spent on mobile phones per day on average increased 30% in 2011 to an hour and 5 minutes, easily more than the combined 44 minutes devoted to print magazines and newspapers combined,” according to a new report by Nielsen State of the Media: The Mobile Media Report” that offers a snapshot of the current mobile media landscape and audiences in the U.S. and highlights the potential power of mobile commerce in the near future.

Forward to any young media consumer you know. This should be obvious but apparently many youngsters have no clue: Be skeptical, distinguish between news, facts, opinion and lies — The News Literacy Project. The project was introduced by a PBS Newshour report on Dec. 13. Read the transcript here.

Quickshots: June

NYTimes’ Bill Keller in “The Twitter Trap“: “… [B]efore we succumb to digital idolatry, we should consider that innovation often comes at a price. […] I wonder if the price is a piece of ourselves. […] Basically, we are outsourcing our brains to the cloud.”

At left, my own rant.

And here is more on Twitter: “Twitter is building a machine to convert 140 characters on Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher, narcissism, the struggle for human freedom and Starbucks into cash — and quick, before its moment passes. Is this asking too much of even the world’s best technologists?” asks Joe Hagan in New York Magazine under the headline “Tweet Science”.

No, it is not.

This PBS story, “Children and Facebook: The Promise and Pitfalls for Social Media,” reminded me of another quote by Keller: “Last week, my wife and I told our 13-year-old daughter she could join Facebook. Within a few hours she had accumulated 171 friends, and I felt a little as if I had passed my child a pipe of crystal meth.”

Bill Moyers on the Daily Show: “I try to figure out the difference between the important and the immediate […] News is what people want to keep hidden; everything else is publicity. […] We amuse ourselves to death.”

 

David Carr of the New York Times says: “I don’t believe in the sort of bifurcation of old and new. The whole ‘we’re old world media, we make phone calls and we put them in the newspaper’ and ‘we’re new media and we grab whatever’s in the ether and put it up.’ There’s been this steady march toward each other and what you’re doing is no different from what I do.” More here.

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Very interesting article in the NYTimes “In Praise of Not Knowing” (June 18). “It’s fun being In the Know, but once everyone’s in it, there’s nothing to know anymore. […] I hope kids are still finding some way, despite Google and Wikipedia, of not knowing things. Learning how to transform mere ignorance into mystery, simple not knowing into wonder, is a useful skill.” 

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There is so much wrong with this blogger’s assumption that journalism is dead and its market value is zero in the digital age, but he argues his point well and that is what good communication is all about. Judge for yourself.

And here is a counter argument in the discussion whether the value of journalism is zero, posted by Newsosaur, a blogger whom I respect a lot: “The Value of Journalism, Sir, Is Not Zero”. 

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Are the 700 Gannett layoffs “a vote of no confidence in the future of print by America’s largest newspaper company?” According to Poynter, they are indeed. Humph.

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You’ve got to be kidding me: “Women Still Don’t ‘Get’ LinkedIn” (via The Atlantic). Nonsense. According to TechCrunch, “Women rule the Internet. [They’re] the routers and amplifiers of the social Web. They are the rocket fuel of e-commerce. If you figure out how to harness the power of female customers, you rock the world.”

Do you have a LinkedIn profile yet? No? Get going. Here’s mine.

180,000 Crazy Twitter Users

Had to get this off my chest!

What do you make of this stunt? Does this bother you as much as it bothers me?

Social Media are great, but I think some people are slowly losing sight of the gist of it all: Providing meaningful content/context and engaging with others. Learning or offering new insights and giving some productive feedback.

Too hard? Then leave the field to people who are serious about communication and connecting with their peers.

Just go away and find another venue to bother us. May I suggest link harvesting, engaging in dubious SEO practices (the New York Times has a few suggestions here), spamming or phishing? You’d be good at it.

Tweeting is for Birds

“Some social-media fans may disagree, but outside of ornithological contexts, ‘tweet’ has not yet achieved the status of standard English,” wrote Phil Corbett, New York Times standards editor, to NYT staffers recently. More than that:

“Except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. And “tweet” — as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on Twitter — is all three. Yet it has appeared 18 times in articles in the past month, in a range of sections. […] “Tweet” may be acceptable occasionally for special effect. But let’s look for deft, English alternatives: use Twitter, post to or on Twitter, write on Twitter, a Twitter message, a Twitter update. Or, once you’ve established that Twitter is the medium, simply use “say” or “write.”

Now, here’s the fallout from the Times’ new policy and what they’ve come up with to keep “tweet” out of the paper’s esteemed pages. In this article on LeBron James’ decision to move to Miami and the ensuing Twitter buzz, the paper went all out not to use the word “tweet”. It seems, the editors had their Thesaurus handy.

Old media being ridiculous. Pity.