Friday, September 07, 2007

Is Facebook blinded by hype?

Danah Boyd, who earlier wrote about the class divisions among social networking sites (Facebook vs. Myspace), now writes how she is confused by recent actions taken by the currently hot social site, and I agree with her.

The site is making far too many decisions in a very short time frame, which I think may be destabilizing for the huge user base in the long run.

The Facebook guys seem to be after daily media headlines instead of providing a stable user environment.

I don't like the lights in my living room changing every day. I don't want a new circuitry every day.

Facebook has been taken in by the media spiel of being the Google-beater and so it is doing all it can, the IPO clock running all the time.

There are dangers of overreaching. It took Google almost a decade to reach where it is today. But the A-listers want to be validated ASAP or their punditry is worth zilch.

My hunch is that the web 2.0 gurus are sad because we have seen just one billion dollar deal (Youtube) in the current Web 2.0 boom versus so many during the earlier bubble, including one billion dollar + deal that made Mark Cuban the 'Enterpreneur/Guru' he is today. Does any one remember Much money is being made in the Silicon Valley on the strength of PR savvy and hucksterism than anything else.

Danah says,
I am utterly confused by the ways in which the tech industry fetishizes Facebook. There's no doubt that Facebook's F8 launch was *brilliant*. Offering APIs and the possibility of monetization is a Web 2.0 developer's wet dream. (Never mind that I don't know of anyone really making money off of Facebook aside from the Poker App guy.) But what I don't understand is why so much of the tech crowd who lament Walled Gardens worship Facebook. What am I missing here? Why is the tech crowd so entranced with Facebook?

I'm also befuddled by the slippery slope of Facebook. Today, they announced public search listings on Facebook…

I think you must read the whole post and the comments, most of who seem to be people who know social networking.

Labels: , is gone (soon)

What is with our .com fixation? Coming in wake of which spent spent millions on changing to, pioneering social networking site has gone in for some remodeling and will change its address to instead of the idiosyncratic nomenclature aped by many.

However, Scachter says he will be some ‘redirection magic’ so that users are not disappointed.

For a site that has 1 million users and 100 millin unique URLS bookmarked, is ‘so’ normal, something that jars our image of a minimal and useful service.

What’s next?

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

To succeed, Citizen Journalism needs bold reporting

One of the reasons cited for the dull fare and subsequent insipid activity on hyperlocal sites including the now defunct Backfence may be attributed to the plain and painful reality of stories on display not being bold enough.

Many bloggers have been bold Citizen Journalists, writing fearlessly, doing exposes, doggedly following causes they believe in.

How come citizen reporters on CitiJ sites are not enterprising enough?

Till late 2006, I was the Managing Editor at a blog network in New Delhi. We had many talented writers who were quite passionate about their subjects but I found that they were not as passionate when they wrote, sounding too automated.

There were ownership issues involved.

Being a PAID blogger provided security but it was no incentive to writing with an original voice on blogs, something that makes a blog stand out.

Could a similar thing be happening to Citizen contributors at CitiJ/Hyperlocal sites?
Could better editorial guidance help bring out the best in Citizen Reporters?

Or, are we walking in circles here?
Maybe citizen reporters are self starters.

Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas and Burmese investigative reporter May Thingyan Hein won the 2007 Knight International Journalism Award winners. Working in regimes that excel at shutting people's vices, these bloggers have given ' first-hand reports, videos and photographs have attracted thousands of readers and the attention of mainstream news outlets, which have begun to pick up his hard-hitting stories.'

Wael Abbas has been arrested, interrogated, and beaten, but all that couldn't bring down his enthusiasm for fearless reporting.

It remains to be seen how we channelize this spirit onto Citizen Journalism sites.
Aggregating all the best reporting might be a good beginning.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Newspapers, go Digg yourself

A Cover story in the Economist was titled, "Who Killed the Newspapers?"
No one did. The papers killed themselves.

Like Ostriches with their heads stuck in stuck in sand, they see nothing but darkness brought out by Google News, in other words the newspapers CEOs are too lazy to put on their thinking hats.It wouldn't be a bad idea to outsource the newspapers' CEO's jobs to India, China, Philipines, Eastern Europre and what have you.

The recent deal done by 4 wire services with Google News is a stab in the back for the papers. The wire services get some money from Google for displaying news and are promised ad revenue from resulting traffic as well - the fee part is okay, but no one is making big Google ad money except some enterprising bloggers and blog networks.

Now, newspapers will be stuck with 'second hand' news wire stories and with huge salaries budgets to boot.

The only out is to be creative about generating advertising from online services:

For starters, they can form an AP-like cooperative again and create something like 'Digg for the best News Writing for the day' - having the best of both worlds, Digg-like user freedom (free to vote, free to comment) free to submit their own content and Newspaper like editorial curation - this can be a contender in the face of Google news. the stories are better and the aggregation (& story piling) is meaningful.

Despite its weaknesses, Digg is popular because it sends traffic to submitters, provided the stories are good (some Gaming doesn't harm at all)

It is another matter that the traffic seldom results in ad revenue and so the papers will have to find creative ways to generate advertising - the Guardian model of 'Dailycandy Style Special Offer from the paper' are a way to start.

If you need more validation: Recently, British Papers were reported to have increased their American readership.

The reason?: A big part of the traffic was sent by, which is one of the pioneering aggregators.

News Indexing is hot and newspapers ought to get in it.
Digg, Drudge Report, Guardian - there is a solution in there somewhere.

Related MediaVidea Stories
Bloggers' Page as the new Op-Ed page
Digg Bashing: A Roundup
What if Top Digg Users were all Journalists

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