Twitter as social media’s ‘degree zero’

A few rules for the Twitterati, thanks to ReadWriteWeb.

I was kind of blown away by the mention of SocialFlow, which will help maximize the chances of your tweet getting noticed or retweeted. This idea of monitoring conversations among your Twitter followers and then auto-launching your tweet into the fray breaks down the notion of conversation. You are optimizing your chances of being heard, yet in a way you aren’t responding to anyone. You’re kind of a canned commentator. This is more about getting heard than hearing.

Twitter kind of strikes me as social media stripped bare, and I think that allows us to learn a lot from it. It has three primary uses: Conversation, advertising and mobilizing links. If you combine the three, you have social media – and the Internet, for that matter – in a nutshell.


How green was my valley: The ‘toxic’ print, digital divide

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds has a great analysis of this Pew report about the newspaper industry’s search for a new business model.

It’s painfully bleak. So bleak that one executive says the game is over, and no one will innovate now because they don’t want to blamed for the inevitable newspocalypse.

It may be an oversimplification to characterize this as a cultural catastrophe. The news is part of a system, and like any system, we usually only grasp the tip of the iceberg. The problem is, as Bateson might put it, you can’t extrapolate the rest of the iceberg from what you see above the surface. What you see are inevitably partial components of larger, deeper circuits. Economics, reader habits, technologies, broader cultural trends, lunar tides … who can say for sure what newspapers are truly up against. But this Pew study clearly indicates that the hull has been breached.

And still more thoughts on digital adaptation

Then there’s this from GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram.
Here’s the perspective that you aren’t selling news, you’re selling a relationship. This is true, but traditionally this is a relationship based on a contract: I pay you X, and you deliver me news that I can use/trust/enjoy/discuss/etc.
This is the social realm that always surrounds the news. Online, it precipitates as something measured and monetized as the “click.” That’s the issue. In the digital realm, the relationship is much more directly equated with revenue. Suddenly, you can see how much value is placed on the content, and this value is yoked much more tightly to the social. And this social realm now is filled with so much more content. Everyone has so many more news-provider pals. The news consumer is the belle of the ball.
It’s a much dicier proposition for content providers, especially if they are making this content available for free. Not necessarily doomed to fail. Just much dicier.

Thoughts on digital adaptation

From TechCrunch, more musings on the end of print and what newspapers must do to adapt to a world of digital news.
I’m mainly posting this for my own benefit, as a reference point. I think adaptation is a more difficult and complex process than starting fresh. But adaptation also is the nature of the web. What other choice do you have when confronted with something so fluid, chaotic and nomadic? What are the economics of the rhizome?

The magical world of runaway inflation

Hogwarts ain't cheap

Centives at one point calculated the cost of the first year of Hogwarts. Bottom line, it would cost about $42,752. Most of the real gems are in the comments section.
As it turns out, calculating this is far more difficult than one might think. And then there’s the whole issue of why anyone in the wizarding world would lack cash. Why did the Weasleys struggle financially? Couldn’t they just create more cash? Of course, that raises the specter of runaway inflation and the tragedy of the commons. You’d think they would’ve abandoned hard currency for some sort of magical points system.
I guess we have to assume that there’s some kind of magical non-magic to money in the wizarding world. That is, it cannot be manufactured or otherwise tampered with through magical means.
However, for all their magic, wizards and witches in this universe still seem as thoroughly enmeshed with their economic system as any of us. Their world, like ours, is a realm of rich and poor, celebrity and greed, avarice and repression. Shockingly, slavery still exists in the land of magic. Yet if money is somehow not a part of magic itself, by what mechanism does it infect this world? Money seems to diminish magic as nothing more than a technic. Magic is something practiced, yet wizards remain economic creatures.

Boston Courant’s digital ‘bah humbug’

Great article on Nieman Lab about the weekly newspaper Boston Courant, which is in expansion mode, but in print only. In fact, the paper won’t go online until there’s a business model that makes sense. This, despite the fact that 8 years ago the paper paid a Ukrainian developer $50,000 to create a site. To this day, it remains offline.
The article points out that this is a calculation that other small papers are making. Giving content away online looks more like a death knell than salvation for these papers.
I like how this paper’s owner dismisses digital media as “toys,” which means no one has figured out how to turn them into revenue engines.
Is he wrong?

Gizmodo’s muddle-born argument

This is an interesting post from Gizmodo, which I’m sure is in reaction to something that I should care about, but I don’t. What I do care about is the conflation of things that shouldn’t be conflated, and how this utterly unhinges what otherwise is a valid point. Here’s how things start out, in a bit of muddle:

Gizmodo is not objective. It never has been, I don’t think. And I hope it never will be. Because the point isn’t to be something as meaningless — and frankly, false — as objective. The point is to tell the truth.

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