January 2012 Archives

January 30, 2012

Frictionless or not, on Facebook or not, people love to share on the web

The release of 60 new apps that employ Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” has sparked another round of internet debate about the value of the functionality. Here’s my take.

Read the full post.

“Slow social media” - This is my jam

At the Guardian, most days we have a five minute talk about something digital during morning conference. Often it is our own products and services we showcase, but sometimes we talk about something outside the building that has caught our eye digitally. Last week I was talking about This Is My Jam.

Read the full post.

January 29, 2012

Online newspaper metrics? The grey lady doth protest too much, methinks

There’s been quite a fuss around the latest set of usage figures for news websites, with comScore suggesting that Mail Online has overtaken the New York Times as the world’s leading online newspaper. The Times has taken the odd step of both disputing the figures and the relevance - saying the inclusion of thisismoney distorted the number by adding an extra million or so. Spokesperson Eileen Murphy added: “a quick review of our site versus the Daily Mail should indicate quite clearly that they are not in our competitive set.” The grey lady doth protest too much, methinks

Read the full post.

January 27, 2012

Do you hunger for stories, or hunger for sales?

In this month’s Carnival of Journalism, Michael Rosenblum asks why journalists can’t get themselves together and charge more for their work, or take on more of a business and entrepreneurial role. I think the desire to do journalism and the desire to make money may well be mutually exclusive.

Read the full post.

January 26, 2012

Content strategy lightning talks night

This week I went to the Content Strategy Lightning Talks night in London - 11 talks in an hour-and-a-half taking in topics like semantic mark-up, web governance, open source software, feeling gloomy and kicking things in the pants.

Read the full post.

“Pulling the news from the social media noise” - Storyful’s Markham Nolan at #cmLDN

Last night I went to the Community Managers meet-up in London. Markham Nolan was talking about how Storyful sources social media content from accidental citizen journalists.

Read the full post.

January 25, 2012

“Verbs. Zombies. UX.” - Mary Hamilton at London IA

We don’t really do “headline” slots at London IA, but at January’s meet-up, we’d kind of figured that it would be hard for anybody to top the gun-wielding zombie antics of Mary Hamilton. “Verbs. Zombies. UX.” was her tale of running Zombie LARP, which, for the uninitiated, involves paying for the privilege of running around a deserted shopping mall trying to survive a zombie attack. Her talk explained how they try and create a real-world user experience using just a few verbs.

Read the full post.

January 24, 2012

“In Praise of Side Projects” - Alexander Baxevanis at London IA

Alexander Baxevanis started his talk at January’s London IA with a confession - “I’m addicted to side projects”. He went on to outline some of the benefits of having side projects, and five rules for making them work.

Read the full post.

January 23, 2012

“Designing the design process: Rem Koolhaas and OMA” - Sjors Timmers at London IA

Here are my notes from Sjors Timmer’s talk at January’s London IA, about the design process of OMA and OMA founder Rem Koolhaus.

Read the full post.

Happy “Community Manager Appreciation Day” 2012

Today is “Community Manager Appreciation Day”. If you’ve ever taken part in online community, used UGC for research or entertainment, or chased up story leads from comments left across the web, you probably owe it somewhere to an unsung community manager. I’m not normally a big fan of organised recognition, but I believe, especially in the news space, that community management is a dangerously under-valued skill.

Read the full post.

January 21, 2012

Ebook strategy article for TheMediaBriefing

I’ve written a piece this week for TheMediaBriefing site about ebooks - “Why your news brand should take part in the ebook publishing revolution

Read the full post.

January 19, 2012

Low numbers + small change = BIG NEWS

Headlines today have suggested that the murder rate has gone up by 5%, or that knifepoint robbery has gone up by 10% in England and Wales. The figures also show that crime overall has dropped by 4%. Reporting crime statistics is a data journalism minefield however, and last year I attended a fascinating set of talks on the subject.

Read the full post.

January 18, 2012

“Steam multiplied muscle, but computers multiply thought” - Sinclair digital literacy rallying cry from 1983

A 1983 advert for Sinclair Computers still rings true as a rallying cry for digital literacy in our schools.

Read the full post.

January 17, 2012

Digital literacy for all - still a long way to go...

I’ve been wholeheartedly behind the Guardian’s digital literacy campaign. But how do we stop looking like nerdy zealots - who who would give up programming contractor rates for a teaching salary?

Read the full post.

London IA and Hacks/Hackers London on 18 January

There are two great free events going on in London tomorrow if, like me, you are interested in either UX or journalism. Or the UX of journalism.

Read the full post.

January 16, 2012

There is more to “women in tech” than booth babes

There is always debate about the value of pseudonymous comments on websites, but I thought this comment underneath Kate Bevan’s recent piece on Comment is free about booth babes at CES summed it up perfectly.

Read the full post.

January 13, 2012

Design error pages for users, not IT consultants

I came across this tweet yesterday, by an IT support company called IGC Technical Solutions: “Windows 8 has a redesigned Blue Screen of Death, It's worrying that Microsoft has taken the time to update something that shouldn't be seen.”

Worrying? What nonsense. Here’s why you should design error pages for users, not for IT consultants.

Read the full post.

January 11, 2012

SEO is dead. Again.

The launch of Google’s “Search, plus Your World” launch has started a round of people exclaiming that SEO is dead. Again. I’m trying to find out exactly when the fatality took place - and the earliest claim I can find is March 2005.

Read the full post.

January 10, 2012

Even if we can’t legally define journalism, we should at least define our journalistic principles

An Oregon judge has inadvertently sparked a wider debate about the nature of journalism, as Cleland Thom reported for the Press Gazette. I think a public set of principles is one key way for publishers to set themselves aside from the general hubbub of the internet.

Read the full post.

January 9, 2012

Don’t expect the IOC to understand social media at the London Olympics - their website lives in 2009

Paul Adams, an ex-Googler now at Facebook, has written a great blog post about why the announcement that volunteers at the London Olympics won’t be able to use social media is not just King Cnut-like, but a missed opportunity. It is no surprise the IOC doesn’t understand social media.

Read the full post.

Social media stories with happy endings

Everybody loves a social media story with a happy ending - by which I don’t mean that PR stunt about that other Martin guy. Here are two that have caught my eye over the last few days, involving a student trying to get an internship, and the Muscatine Journal in Iowa.

Read the full post.

January 8, 2012

Dear Patrick Pexton, innovation is not a synonym for new

The Washington Post’s ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton has claimed that the paper is “innovating too fast.” I should imagine it will be news to many observers of our industry that news organisations are innovating at all, let alone too fast. “I want The Post to continue to innovate” he says, ignoring the fact that many of the things he lists in his post are simply “new”, rather than innovative. And many of the problems he raises have nothing to do with technology.

Read the full post.

January 6, 2012

Blog comments - a pause for thought

Mathew Ingram wrote yet another great post on GigaOm the other day entitled “Yes, blog comments are still worth the effort.” He was responding to what is beginning to seem like a trend for bloggers deciding not to have comments on their site. I’m one of them - and here’s why I need a break from them.

Read the full post.

January 5, 2012

Forthcoming events and talks

Some dates for your diary if you’d like to see me talking

Read the full post.

Google+ survey for FUMSI

If you’ve got two minutes, and you use Google+, then I’d really appreciate it if you could find the time to fill in a quick survey I’m running about the use of the service. The results will feed into some articles that I am writing for FUMSI.

Read the full post.

January 4, 2012

Editing the Guardian’s Facebook ebook

Over the holidays the Guardian published the second ebook collection that I have edited them. Following on from “Who’s Who: The Resurrection of the Doctor”, I’ve tackled “Facebook: The rise and rise of a social media giant”. Here are some notes on the editing process of the book.

Read the full post.

How a press release trumped the Lawrence murder verdict - a new low for the Express

At some point yesterday, actual human beings who actually call themselves journalists decided that the verdict in the Stephen Lawrence trial wasn’t the most important news story in the UK. Instead they decided to lead the Express with a PR puff piece.

Read the full post.

January 1, 2012

Martin Belam CV


Read the full post.

Read more about…