Dennis Haarsager's rolling environmental scan for electronic media. "Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." --Jerry Garcia "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." --Bob Seger
My friend Steve Rathe sent me the following from Deanna Zandt, which, in the tradition of social media sharing, I’m passing on to you, dear reader, without permission. Hoping a little link love will make this OK. Be sure to follow the links in order.
About two months ago, I started using dlvr.it to cross-post shortened links from this blog to Twitter. I soon discovered that I could use it to track Twitter's impact on my blog traffic in real time. To my initial surprise (but makes more sense on reflection), some 4-5% of my "followers" click on the link within a few minutes of posting. It's pretty well peaked out within an hour or so at a median of 7 or 8% or "followers." Top performers get to around 15% of "followers," but in most cases that's because of retweeting, which you can detect because traffic builds for a longer period.
Tweets, therefore, have a very short useful lifespan. I tend to do blog posting late in the evening, but it makes sense, if you're using Twitter to build blog traffic, to save these and post during higher periods of Twitter usage. --Dennis
Jeff Jarvis on Leo LaPorte’s This Week in Google show, pointed to the great Facebook in Reality video on YouTube, originally from Idiots of Ants. It’s a couple of years old, but it sure nails the extreme stretching of notion of relationships involved in Facebook’s “friending” process. Highly recommended.
For a more serious treatment of this topic, see Umair Haque’s March post on thin relationships. --Dennis
My candidate for a must-read post this month is Umair Haque’s (@umairh) essay on this topic in his HBR blog. He says that the Internet is “largely home to weak, artificial connections, what I call thin relationships.” He writes further:
Nominally, you have a lot more relationships — but in reality, few, if any, are actually valuable. Just as currency inflation debases money, so social inflation debases relationships. The very word "relationship" is being cheapened. It used to mean someone you could count on. Today, it means someone you can swap bits with. ¶ Thin relationships are the illusion of real relationships. Real relationships are patterns of mutual investment. I invest in you, you invest in me. Parents, kids, spouses — all are multiple digit investments, of time, money, knowledge, and attention. The "relationships" at the heart of the social bubble aren't real because they're not marked by mutual investment . At most, they're marked by a tiny chunk of information or attention here or there.
Those of us in public media have embraced social media and have found it valuable, at least for enhancing connections with listeners and viewers to spread the word about content or events. But we should be careful not to equate it with real mutual engagement around content that impacts the lives of people who hear, read or view it over our media. --Dennis
Consultant Terry Heaton writes about the excellent results that WLEX-TV in Lexington, Kentucky is having with its switch to a web site that presents news in a ongoing stream, similar to how blogs are done. You can view it at lex18.com. Heaton writes that they hit 9 million page views for 2010 by the end of February and its bounce rate is under 50%. Lexington is the 62nd Nielsen DMA. Be sure to check out the “time on site” graph.
The concept has a simple logic behind it, if you think about it. Present the news in a manner familiar to people who use the web, not in the manner that recreates a newspaper page on the site.
Thanks to Cleve Callison for a link to this interesting article by Greg Ferenstein, which begins:
On the campus of Penn State University, a rivalry between a rogue campus blog
and the official newspaper has become a fascinating mirror of the strife between
old and new media. In only a matter of months, the unofficial campus blog Onward
State, has marshaled the power of social media to compete with the
award winning 112-year-old campus paper The Daily
Collegian. With one-tenth of the Collegian’s staff size,
Onward State has constructed a virtual newsroom that collaborates in
real-time with Google Wave, outsourced its tip-line to Twitter, and
is unabashed about linking to a competitor’s story. ...
More than half the comments to this blog are spam (I delete them before they're published and report them to TypePad). This one from a term paper company is amusing: "It is glad to see this blog, it is good that and detailed fun to read this, nice informative blog, Thanks for share this article." Guess they don't write the term papers they sell. --Dennis
I’ve been meaning to post for quite awhile on a lengthy (30 pp) essay by Pierre Bellanger, Founder and Chairperson of Skyrock, the French-based social network/ radio station (in itself an innovative mash-up). I do a lot of reading in media topics, and think this is the first time I’ve seen Goethe invoked. But what an interesting invocation! He writes:
… As regards the essence of its content, radio is an audio presence. Presence means the co-existence alongside me of another human being with whom I share the present moment. Radio is both about humanity and immediacy. Radio is the audio link between another person and me at the same time. ¶ Therefore, in radio there is an inseparable unity between the present and presence. To understand this better, it is necessary to read Goethe … Goethe wrote to his friend, the musician Zelter, and shared his thoughts on the present and presence which in German are a single word: Gegenwart. ¶ Goethe talks about an intense experience of the moment, a presence in the present and that is radio. It is only worth anything in that moment and in the human intensity which occurs at that moment. ¶ The vector of that experience is sound. …
The essay draws a distinction between just digitizing radio (e.g., HD Radio in the U.S.) and how radio can be something much more in the internet age.
I’ve just ordered Jaron Lanier’s new book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto based on a review in Slate by Michael Agger. He writes:
… As near as I can make it out, Lanier's view is that the Web began as a digital Eden. We built homepages by hand, played around in virtual worlds, wrote beautiful little programs for the fun of it, and generally made our humanity present online. The standards had not been set. The big money and the big companies had not yet arrived. Now Google has linked search to advertising. The Internet's long tail helps only the Amazons of the world, not the little guys and gals making songs, videos, and books. Wikipedia, a mediocre product of group writing, has become the intellectual backbone of the Web. And, most depressingly, all of us have been lumped into a "hive mind" that every entrepreneur with a dollar and a dream is trying to parse for profit. …
It seems to be a critique in many ways of how derivative content has become in the Web 2.0 age; how we’re replacing creativity with rehashing what’s come before.
Today’s episode (hour 2) of the NPR program, On Point with Tom Ashbrook is a discussion of the book with guests Lanier and long-time Web visionary (co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto), David Weinberger. --Dennis