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Posts tagged ‘twitter’

How to empower a brand online

According to a recent social media report carried out by web monitoring company Nielsen, American Internet users spent a combined total of 53.5 billion minutes on Facebook in May 2011.

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Will Google Circles be the next Facebook or the next Google Buzz?

One of the biggest talking points in the social media world at the moment is this: when is Google’s next entry into the social space going to arrive and just how will it take on the giants of Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare?

According to technology blog The Next Web, Google is set to launch a new social networking service, Google Circles, in May. As yet, we know very little about this fledgling service, but what we do ‘know’ is that it is rumoured to be a content sharing service, providing users with the ability to share photos, videos and messages with only the “most appropriate of social contacts in their lives, not with all contacts in bulk”.

Google Logo

Copyright - Google

Online rumours surrounding Google Circles hit fever pitch over the weekend when Read Write Web claimed the service would be unveiled on Monday at South by Southwest Interactive. Needless to say, Google was quick to quash the rumours but fell short on commenting whether or not the product existed or not.

Its existence seems rather assured, especially if you consider O’Reilly Media CEO, Tim O’Reilly’s now hastily deleted Tweet: “I’ve seen google circles, and it looks awesome. Tip of the iceberg too.”

As an idea, it seems reasonably sound, despite being a sure fire way to abuse our “social circles”. The idea of “social circles” i.e. more targeted content sharing appears to be a step towards a new phase in social media communication, which is more personal and relevant to its intended audience. But to be brutally honest, it does all seem like too little too late. Facebook, for instance, already offers users the ability to share content with specific sets of friends and groups, although with obvious limitations. Will Google Circles make an impact? For now it seems too difficult to tell, but one thing’s for sure: Google will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the PR disaster that was Google Buzz and that the service reaches people in a much broader way than Orkut has since its launch in 2004.

On paper Google Buzz sounded fantastic – a new tool allowing users to share messages, web links, photos and videos with friends directly through Gmail.  The problem arose from Google’s eagerness to compete with Facebook too quickly, by tapping into their existing 176 million users. As a result people started being followed by others without agreement, which lead to a plethora of complaints just days after it launched. Google was forced to concede defeat and announce that is was overhauling the service, which forced it to allow users the ability to opt out.

As for the future of Google Circles – although we don’t even know for sure if it exists – some industry analysts remain unconvinced, “Whatever Google comes up with, it almost certainly won’t be a competitive social network that mimics Facebook.”- Matt Rosoff, SFGate.com.

So the question remains: why does Google want to go into direct completion with Facebook? Facebook is stronger than ever, with over 600 million users – will anyone really want to join a new service which offers the same basic tools? Even Twitter, which celebrates its 5th birthday next week, now provides users the ability to see photos and watch videos included within Tweets within the body of the site.

Whatever happens, the idea of a new addition to the market is definitely cause for excitement. But for now, we will have to wait until May to find exactly what it will do to the social media spectrum we have become accustomed to. Or won’t do…..

Reporting the G20 Protests in Central London – the benefits of using Web 2.0

For an aspiring journalist last week’s G20 protests outside the Bank of England highlighted the benefits of Web 2.0 for the reporter superbly.

Social Media came into its own throughout the entirety of the protest. The Guardian, The Times and the BBC all had reporters posting on Twitter and other mediums.

Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity, equipped with my Nokia N95 I headed down to capture the action. Once I arrived I instantly found myself catapulted into a crowd swarming with journalists armed with recording devices, cameras and mobile phones. It was astonishing to see such an army of people all trying to capture the moment with portable devices, whilst camera crews struggled to gain a prominent position amongst the restless crowds.

Deciding not to cross the police barrier, I positioned myself right behind the police line adjacent to Royal Bank of Scotland. Managing to secure a prime view of the action I set about capturing video and pictures whilst posting updates to my Twitter account. However it wasn’t long before these tools came into their own, as the crowds grew hostile and violence set in.

G20 Protests get Hostile

Having joined Qik, moments before departing City University I began streaming video of the action for my fellow course mates immediately. My efforts quickly attracted viewers, with many more viewing the footage since. Videos of the days action are available here. I was amazed how easy it was to generate original content from the ground, which I was able to post direct to my blog.

Having the power to produce instant content like this is invaluable. The more people that produce content the bigger the picture the audience gets of what is happening. The only trouble then is keeping up with the updates and highlighting what is legitimate.

As the day unfolded it became clear how powerful the role of citizen journalism is, and how crucial tools like Twitter are becoming in reporting events live from the ground. In many ways this was the first real test for Twitter. Visitors to The Guardian, The Times and the BBC websites where all exposed to rolling coverage from the likes of Paul Lewis who were posting live up to the minute information from the Square Mile. It was certainly the first time the site has been used at such length to describe the events of a major news event.

As newspaper ABC’s continue to fall, the Web 2.0 model online is becoming much more appealing. Whilst every media outlet in the UK descended on the Square Mile that afternoon to report on the violence and the attacks on Royal Bank of Scotland the fact that I was also posting pictures to Twit Pic direct from my phone via text and sending updates direct to my Twitter followers, highlights the necessity of news organisations and journalists to find the best ways of packaging and distributing this date to the public. Content in this form is not unique, it is expected, but it is how this presented to the reader which attracts attention. My attempts where relatively small scale, but the fact that was able to do so raises concerns about what is next. There is only so far citizen journalists can go though.

However if increasing numbers of people are able to generate this content cheaply and people are able to access it for free, what is the future for the linear news article or straight news report. Is there still a demand for the news in this format?

G20 Arrest

Speaking on Media Talk this week Janine Gibson, editor of guardian.co.uk, described the use of Twitter and Google Mapping as: “The best way of telling the story.. it’s an an incredibly useful way to show the users what is happening in different pockets of London. Twitter has a very simple function, which becomes perfect for saying – What can you see? What are you doing? It becomes really useful because what your representing is all the strands of the story.

“Even with broadcast cameras on a story like that, you only see one linear thing at a time. This was not a linear narrative story, you’ve got pockets of different temperatures you need to take, lots of different narratives to bring together and there is something something fantastic about being able to see all those strands simultaneously and work your way through which represents what it is.”

If nothing else, last week demonstates that social media and Web 2.0 are the future for reporting, however despite Robin Hamman discussing here the new technologies and opportunities for covering events like the G20 protests, if more and more people take up these tools, what can be said for the future of journalists and the news organisations they work for?

The Year of the Tweet

It would seem a Twitter revolution is happening.

With the Chinese New Year being celebrated across London on Sunday it would seem we should be celebrating the year of the ‘tweet’ rather than the year of the Ox.

Initially sceptical to the social networking site, I have to confess that I have become increasingly addicted in the past few months.

Jonathan Ross

Regular Twitter user Jonathan Ross

As an aspiring journalist, I understand the importance of breaking news and communicating on the web. Never before has it been so important. Whether you love it or hate it – twitter offers those possibilities.

It was therefore incredibly eye-opening to listen to Robin Hamman lecture last week at City University, on the uses of social media not only in researching stories but in developing contacts and unearthing the latest news.

However, concerns of privacy and accuracy are still very topically. In a world now where everything is online we are open to new dangers, but as Robin Hamman described, we control our online profile, through our tweets, blogs and Flickr accounts. Whilst these dangers are around us, the opportunities for improved communication are endless. My biggest concern is that Twitter becomes so exposed that its purpose and current benefits will disappear.

I raise this becuase in recent weeks the media seem to have also fallen in love with Twitter with the likes of  Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry discussing the site on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross and Phillip Scofield actively tweeting on This Morning

Twitter seems to making the news everyday with the most popular users being named today and Demi Moore failing to understand the power of the site this looks set to continue.

Only time will tell what the future holds but for the time being I urge fellow journalists to embrace the revolution and use the site as a fundamental component to reaching out to a greater part of society.

Update 4/02/08

Chris Moyles and Andi Peters now on Twitter it’s dominating Radio 1 this morning.

Are Journalists to blame?

There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer to this question, and it seems journalists themselves are divided over the issue. Todays Media Guardian is a prime example of this conflict.

In his column Jeff Jarvis criticises, Adrian Monck, head of Journalism at City University, former Daily Mirror Editor now Guardian blogger Roy Greenslade and Paul Fashri of the Washington Post for absolving journalists of responsibility for the fall of newspapers.

After reading Mr Jarvis’ comments I was left questioning my thoughts. What is the cause of this dark period for newspaper sales? In order to answer this I have established two simplified basic questions in which to answer. Is the internet to blame? Or is the journalist to blame?

If we take Adrian Monck’s view then:

“Declining newspaper readership has nothing to do with journalism…The crops did not fail because we offended the gods.”

If we accept this view then the standard and quality of journalism produced by the press has had no affect. Whilst to some extent I agree, the nature of the media in recent years appears to have moved closer to American sensationalising crime and in some respects not catering for public interest, for instance reduction in crime is not as important as small rises in crime.

Despite this, the nature of the public and there demand in my opinion has dramatically changed. People do not seem to care about real news anymore, the celebrity world we live in seems to have taken over. However the celebrity model doesn’t fit. Those that are obsessed are surely more likely to buy a weekly magazine than a daily paper or already know what is being reported in the case of those who actively follow Big Brother.

Paul Farhi summed this up by saying:

“Newspapers are in trouble for reasons that have almost nothing to do with newspaper journalism and everything to do with the newspaper business.”

So is the decline down to journalism, or lack of public interest or something else….

Mr Jarvis stresses that as journalist “we did not see change coming soon enough and ready our craft for it’s transition. After my fortnightly online journalism lecture with Chris Brauer this morning I would tend to agree. The vast array of developing media outlets like newsmapping, oration, newsline, 12 seconds.tv, twitter and phoneshow to name just a few, the potential for journalism on the web is huge.

Citizen journalism is increasing sharply and the greater availability to communicate and share information, – whether it be through blogging, video casting, social mapping or simply social network sites like facebook, – creates a market which not only provides immense scope to generate news but creates a demand for instant news which newspapers cannot compete with. It is therefore unsurprising that a number of newspaper titles are facing an uncertain future, where is a rather strong guarantee none will disappear before the end of the year as some predict, the long term future is less than concrete.

Mr Jarvis adds:

“It is our fault we did not give adequate stewardship to journalism and left business to the business people. it is our fault we sat back and expected some princely patron to support us.”

The internet is not everything. Journalism needs to re-invent itself. The newsroom needs to be stripped down and re-evaluate. The defining principles of journalism re-established and new media embraced and monitored to ensure newspapers are not left behind. There does not seem to be an easy answer to this question, it appears it is simply down to personal opinion.

I am therefore going to go out on a limb and disagree with both parties. I don’t believe that either side is solely to blame. The development of new media, changing news agendas, and the pyramid structures of newspapers which as Greenslade states, removes journalists of any power are to blame for the decline in newspapers. The future is in harnessing new technology enabling journalists more freedom, which thankfully through blogging this can somewhat be achieved.

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