April 1, 2009

April Fool’s spoof re newspapers, social media

The Guardian says all its articles will be published on Twitter, in 140 characters or less. Very well played.

A mammoth project is also under way to rewrite the whole of the newspaper’s archive, stretching back to 1821, in the form of tweets. Major stories already completed include “1832 Reform Act gives voting rights to one in five adult males yay!!!”; “OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more”; and “JFK assassin8d @ Dallas, def. heard second gunshot from grassy knoll WTF?”

March 31, 2009

Google in an ethical screw-up

Google has a screwed-up UI that causes people to buy PPC ads they don’t want to buy. But Google doesn’t refund all the money wasted this way. Bad Google.

March 31, 2009

Twitter shows some directions for growth

TechCrunch pointed out a Twitter jobs page. The specific job TechCrunch mentioned* isn’t up there any more, but at the moment I write this, 18 others are (copied below). That’s considerable growth, given that the same page says Twitter has fewer than 30 current employees. Note the emphasis on search and the mention of Japan.

*Care and feeding of celebrity tweeters. Celebrity tweeting is actually a subject I’ve written and even been interviewed about several times.

As of this writing, the full list is: Read more

March 29, 2009

Where I think the information ecosystem is headed

The debate about the future of the information ecosystem rages on. As you might surmise from my choice of words, I’m on the side that says something new will rapidly evolve to fill niches vacated by the demise of a teetering economic model. To a first approximation, there are two major reasons to believe this:

  1. People have deep-seating cravings to opine, educate, and otherwise expostulate. Many will gladly do it for free. And labor represents the lion’s share of information-industry costs.
  2. What’s more, a significant fraction of news is something large organizations have a vested interest in releasing. To the extent that’s true — and there certainly are major exceptions in areas such as debunking and investigatory journalism — ordinary enterprises can be and indeed already are a major source of resources for the information ecosystem.

Here are some of the species I believe will thrive or at least survive in the part of the ecosystem focused on enterprise IT news: Read more

March 25, 2009

The grand discussion on the future of journalism

The past few weeks have seen a huge outburst of commentary about the perilous states of the newspaper business in particular and journalism in general. Having been a little busy, I haven’t found the time to chime in seriously. That said, my views include:

Highlights of the recent discussion include (but in no way are limited to): Read more

March 12, 2009

Infobionics attempts something sleazy

Infobionics is attempting low-rent, sleazy search engine optimization.  Below is the text of an email I recently received on their behalf: Read more

March 7, 2009

Yet more NoFollow whining

Andy Beal has a blog post up to the effect that NoFollow is a bad thing. (Edit: Andy points out in the comment thread that his opposition to NoFollow isn’t as absolute as I was suggesting.) Other SEO types are promoting this is if it were some kind of important cause. I think that’s nuts, and NoFollow is a huge spam-reducer.

The weakness of Andy’s argument is illustrated by the one and only scenario he posits in support of his crusade:

The result is that a blog post added to a brand new site may well have just broken the story about the capture of Bin Laden (we wish!)–and a link to said post may have been Tweeted and re-tweeted–but Google won’t discover or index that post until it finds a “followed” link. Likely from a trusted site in Google’s index and likely hours, if not days, after it was first shared on Twitter.

Helloooo — if I post something here, it is indexed at least in Google blog search immediately. (As in, within a minute or so.) Ping, crawl, pop — there it is. The only remotely valid version of Andy’s complaint is that It might take some hours for Google’s main index to update — but even there there’s a News listing at the top. This simply is not a problem.

Now, I think it would be personally great for me if all the links to my sites from Wikipedia and Twitter and the comment threads of major blogs pointed back with “link juice.” On the other hand, even with NoFollow out there, my sites come up high in Google’s rankings for all sorts of keywords, driving a lot of their readership. I imagine the same is true for most other sites containing fairly unique content that people find interesting enough to link to.

So other than making it harder to engage in deceptive SEO, I fail to see what problems NoFollow is causing.

January 23, 2009

Plinky: The microblogging apocalypse is upon us

Plinky — a tool to help people come up with things to microblog when they don’t actually have anything to say — has launched.  I’ve posted an anti-Plinky rant in response.  The gist — but with plenty of links so that you actually know what I’m talking about — is:

[Plinky] is like throwing a cocktail party, getting the conversation going, then encouraging your guests to run out in the street with megaphones spreading their drunken chatter. Except in this case what people are drunk on is not actual booze, but rather the promise of “social media marketing” and “building your personal brand.”

January 8, 2009

The Twitter fail whale has resurfaced

I’ve had a multi-week service saga trying to get my Dell desktop computer fixed. So I Twittered about the fact that my last email on the matter of multiple freezes/cold reboots per day hadn’t been answered for 3 1/2 days.  A Dell representative almost immediately messaged me.  Then, like so many service representatives, he asked me to repeat what I’ve said many times before (only now 140 characters at a time).

Except I couldn’t get the direct message through for a while, because I ran into the Fail Whale.  Nor is that my first recent encounter with same.

If Twitter goes back to being maddeningly unreliable, I will likely go back to living without it.

After multiple weeks with a malfunctioning computer, I am NOT in the mood for even petty problems like this.  Arggh …

January 2, 2009

Daniel Tunkelang idealizes Twitter

Daniel Tunkelang has a couple of recent posts decrying what amounts to, at least in his eyes, the abuse of Twitter. (My word, not his.)   For example, he writes in criticism of Loic LeMeur:

Twitter is a communication platform, not a marketing platform, and there’s a subtle difference.

But I’d disagree that there’s a bright line separating the two.  In particular, I think most business blogs serve or should serve as both, in no small part because the areas of marketing and communication overlap heavily. And in my opinion Twitter (microblogging) and ordinary blogging aren’t that far apart.

Earlier this evening I posted praise of the BI expert Twitter community — of which Daniel is indeed a member — even while admitting that unlike other members, I “follow” too many Twitterers to actually keep up with their posts.  Daniel refers to following patterns like mine as an attention Ponzi scheme, Read more

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