Friday, February 27, 2009

Spotted [Portable offices]

Man in a 3-piece suit in the middle of the Maryland/Euclid pay lot conducting a conference call over an earbud.

And it's 38 degrees.

Can someone explain the drama? [Substitute paranoia for reality]

I can barely bring myself to comment on this, but I'm going to try.

Newspaper publishers are all up in arms because Google is now serving ads on news search results.

Can't do it. The reality is too bright. I can't even find the words to state the obvious.

Ok. I'll try harder.

Google ads, as any blogger will tell you, make pennies. They only make many pennies if you have many stories. So, if any of the single news sources returned in any said Google News search were to make the amount of pennies owed it based on the fraction of the result for which it's responsible, it would not be many pennies. Not to mention that the search is only being done where it's being done because of the promise of many scattered results.

Each publisher is more than welcome to develop their own intelligent search ad serving software and site-crawler and do exactly what Google's doing.

What's that? Oh, right.


Gawker's Owen Thomas apparently has the energy to intelligently break this down with a little less snark.

Hey forest, meet tree [Missing the point]

In this TVNewsday article, Harry Jessell asserts that the "demise of the papers" leaves the door wide open for "TV stations . . . to become the dominant local Web sites."


Well, let me take that back. In theory, I could agree with this. However, in practice, without completely re-defining what it is that a TV does, this is simply moving around the FAIL.

The advertising model is broken. This was a discussion in broadcast with the rise of the DVR, then we got distracted by the newspaper implosion. And let's not forget that one of the most popular websites in the world (Facebook), cannot make money off of advertising.

In the article Jessell brings up the recently announced ESPN website focused on Chicago sports, as "plunging into the local online marketplace," which is technically correct. But the real key here is that they are using online to deliver highly desired, in-depth content to a proven audience that happens to be localized. Because it's ESPN, this can be a 360 dive - web, print and broadcast - all leveraging each other to likely support a number of monetizeable products.

Local TV stations are not poised to replicate this unless they take a step back and approach things in a completely different way - which Jessell points out. He also points out that they can't do this alone. Partnering up with other entities will be key. But the really what this would take is a mind shift - a shift away from chasing advertising dollars and a shift back toward the basics. Because, really, content is king.

Spotted [It's cold outside]

SLU student in flip flops with wet hair walking to class.

Because, really?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Which part of "not the WSJ" is confusing to you? [Grasping at straws]


Newsday thinks is can charge for its web content.

I truly don't understand how people make these decisions. Because, really.

Ken Doctor has the energy to verbalize why this is a bad idea here.

Is some communication too much to ask in these already frustrating times? [Piling it on]

My husband, within a week of being laid off, interviewed for a mid-high level job in his field. The organization had been looking to fill this position for a while, and because the local paper is bleeding jobs, had interviewed quite a few likely capable candidates. So by no means was my husband a shoe-in - especially since the job specialized on a subject my husband isn't familiar with. After the interview, they said they'd let him know either way.

After a few weeks without hearing anything, he followed up with an email. No response. That was two weeks ago.

Today, on craiglist, a posting for said job.

I know folks get busy and take forever to make hires, but if you say "let you know either way" and you're hiring for a semi-senior position in an industry where everyone knows everyone and the walls are crashing in, let a brother know.


Because, really.

Live and in virtual person [The press is falling]

Though everyone's on edge and continuously waiting for the other shoe to drop, it's still horrifying when it happens, especially when we all remember, as humans, that all this drama comes home to roost at the doors of actual people, with families. And even more so when technology allows us to get a front row seat. It was announced today at noon that Denver Rocky Mountain News would publish its last edition tomorrow. How's that for short notice?

Denver Rock Mountain News liveblog of the actual announcement >
Denver Rocky Mountain News newsroom Twitter account >

Because, really.

Give me my notes back [The Book that is Face]

My response to a Tangelos posting about the abundance of note-memes on Facebook as of late:


I admit, I got sucked into the 25 things note. At first I was annoyed, but then I started reading them and they were actually really entertaining and sometimes touching and insightful. I was entertained enough to feel guilty not giving back, so I even wrote my own. People who would NEVER participate in things like that were participating. In my circle, the titles gradually changed to “If [insert name of person who wouldn't be caught dead participating in a chain email] is doing this, I guess I have no excuse… 25 things about me.” Some of the material was so good I made a “top 25 25 things” post where I mixed up a list of all of my favorites from different friends. It was a “chain letter” by nature, but the content and inspired interaction felt like the rest of the Facebook experience.

But now it’s out of hand.

I’ve always taken great pains to explain to the Facebook-resistant that Facebook isn’t like MySpace. That if you choose to only add friends you actually know and avoid 3rd-party applications, the majority of interaction is actual interaction and not just clutter. But this whole note thing is threatening that, as notes are a native app and removing it means you miss out on actual notes. I wish they’d develop a “note game” app so this phenomenon can stop cluttering the note-sphere. And now the album game is encroaching on the photo-sphere.

I want my native apps to work like expect them to - when someone writes a new note I want to get excited about reading something substantive, random or at least original. When someone tags me in a photo I want it to be an actual photo of me, or of something specifically representative of me. Now I’m starting to ignore notes, and I’m glad my favorite American Idol re-capper has taken to the blogsphere so I don’t have to worry about missing his weekly wildly funny and original recap note in a sea of “My First Born” or “One Word” notes.

The thing I loved most about Facebook was the ability to control my experience. Until now, the expected user behavior has pretty much matched and remained consistent within each app. When there were variations they were at least in the same spirit. But this notes thing… it’s like the masses have found a way to work SuperPoke into a standard wall posting. Annoying.