links for 2009-06-11

  • Kevin: Hubspot research finds: "Namely, that many of the accounts on Twitter aren't actually using it all that much." This isn't surprising. The UGC Pyramid or the 1-9-90 'Rule' about user participation shows that almost all participatory sites or services have huge disparities in usage. This and other reports are being held up as reasons why Twitter has been over-hyped. This is actually pretty standard in the media obsession life cycle, which goes from dismissiveness from the media to wonder and astonishment and a growth spurt to claims that a service has been over-hyped to claims that the service or site has jumped the shark.
  • Kevin: "In 2008 the total European online advertising market, or at least the 19 markets analyzed by IAB Europe and PwC, was worth €12.9 billion (approx. $18 billion) with a like-for-like growth rate compared to 2007 of 20%. For comparison, online advertising grew 10.6% in the United States in 2008 (outpacing TV) and was worth €16.6 billion ($23.4 billion). However, the 20% growth figure paints a better-looking picture than the harsh reality, which is that it is far below previously stated expectations"
  • Kevin: Google has released Google Fusion Tables in Labs. "Fusion Tables allows users to upload more data than they can in Google Spreadsheets. With Google Fusion it is possible to upload tabular data sets of up to 100 MB per data set."
  • Kevin: There was a session last week at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum about serious games, and this post looks further into the trend. It starts off highlighting a video from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof from the recent Games for a Change Festival. "The MacArthur Foundation have been putting time, energy and money into this cause — it seems obvious to me that large companies in the gaming space should also be involved as well if they're not already from a "double bottom line" perspective. Perhaps journalism organizations should join them."
  • Kevin: "In a piece written for, Richard J. Tofel proposes a new way of "remaking" newspapers and "rethinking the role of the print paper. … Another factor of Tofel's restructuring plan is eliminating columnists and reviewers who don't have a "committed, interested following" as another means to cut costs by cutting down content that may not be of interest to the readers.

    Ultimately, Tofel proposes newspapers should strive to be "distinctive" and publish content that sets itself apart from other news sources, such as focusing on local news, effecitvely including graphics, images, games, and puzzles, or by "being new 'scoops' of fact or thought."

  • Kevin: Data collection: Mobile phones provide new ways to gather information, both manually and automatically, over wide areas.
  • Kevin: I realised recently that I feel so comfortable online and the culture of the internet and social web is so much a part of my life that it's sometimes difficult for me to articulate to people who aren't steeped in this culture on how to engage with people online. To me, it's like breathing. But this study unpacks a lot of issues on how to generate, foster and nurture conversations. It's a very useful skill, and it's something that I think that journalists resist because they don't see it as part of their jobs. This is a good read, and although it's focused on education, there are a lot of lessons about building participation and conversation online regardless of the application.
  • Kevin: My colleague Charles Arthur thinks out loud very effectively in this piece and comes to the conclusion that we 'need new wrappers for journalism'. I think that this goes to the heart of the matter that. The problem for the business of journalism right now is the unbundling of the commercial package that has supported print journalism for much of the last 150 years. Advertising-based revenue streams that support newspapers have been disrupted by digital competitors such as Craigslists, and Google. The difficulty for newspapers is that new advertising providers are more efficient than aggregating eyeballs with content. Charles says: "To repeat: journalism is the process and publishing is the wrapper that you put around journalism in order to make it profitable and sustainable."
  • Kevin: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has wasted no time in sending an open letter to the new culture minister with an ‘economic stimulus plan for local media’, which includes a "tax credit for individuals who buy quality media" and "A levy introduced on commercial operators who benefit from quality public service content – including local news – but do not contribute to its production". Laura Oliver asks how 'quality media' will be defined. That is one of the biggest issues for public support of journalism, outside of established public broadcasters, who decides who gets the money.