Wednesday 28 April 2010

PhD references for blog commenters

Not sure what the PhD examiner is going to make of my references. Here is one I've just written:
‘hodgeey’ in N. Robinson, ‘Return to the Fray’, Newslog, 5 Jan 2009,, (Accessed 28 Apr 2010).
I feel the apostrophes are necessary for some reason. You see:
hodgeey in N. Robinson, ‘Return to the Fray’, Newslog, 5 Jan 2009, etc
just looks like I've drifted off during my referencing, made contact with some random keys with my head and woken up just in time to finish the reference properly.

But I really do mean 'hodgeey', which I feel I can only communicate by adding some additional marks on the page.

Monday 26 April 2010

Should I be worried? Facebook, privacy and Foursquare

Paul Bradshaw, on the Online Journalism Blog, looks at journalistic uses for Foursquare, the geolocation tool that helps you "unlock your city".

(Does it not work in the countryside due to inevitable problems with a lack of mobile phone signal? This suggests rather sadly that the countryside would remain permanently "locked down" or perhaps more positively there might be some areas of the country where we actually stop staring at 3 inch screens once in a while and admire the view. Anyway, I digress.)

I should perhaps try Foursquare and other location-based services but I'm rather concerned about revealing my location on a regular basis. I mean I can see the potential power of geolocation for I just worrying too much?

Maybe I am. Shortly after Facebook introduced their Social Graph concept a few days ago, I promptly pulled all of my 'interests' from my Facebook page. I feel like this was an over-reaction on my part.

But I have always kept Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with personal contacts who I know well. Facebook's desire to put more and more of my personal information 'out there' is beginning to make me wonder whether at some point I will need to start all over again and treat Facebook more like my Twitter feed - open, but altogether less revealing about my personal life.

I note that Ros Atkins at the BBC has already jettisoned his friends on Facebook in order to build relationships with listeners to his radio programme. In his regular email to listeners he wrote recently:
"The trouble was that I had 'friends' who I know from my personal life, and lots more of you who I've come to know through W[orld] H[ave] Y[our] S[ay]. It didn't seem like a great mix. So the mates have gone, and now it's strictly WHYS."
So it looks like my Facebook friends might be sent packing at some point. We'll just have to rely on the knowledge that we are friends in 'real life' to see us through.

Friday 23 April 2010

What I've been writing

I've been working on a chapter comparing the coverage of the 2008-9 Gaza conflict on blogs and on the BBC. This, I've discovered, is not for the faint-hearted.

As good as BBC content is, there are only so many hours of TV and radio of the same topic you can listen to in one go. And as interesting as reading the blogs has been, after a while trawling through mountains of material leaves you wondering what you were trying to achieve when you started.

That's a bad place from which to try to start comparing the two. But we'll get there. I say we...I mean me. Ludicrously underpaid research assistant internship anyone?

Still very much early days for this chapter - about two thirds of the way through an initial draft.

In the meantime, I've still been writing the odd blog post to keep my hand in.

Talk Issues

If you haven't found my contributions on Talk Issues yet and want to know about some of the defence issues that are relevant to the General Election hop on over:

1. Whir of helicopters drowns out real defence questions
2. Are you going to vote on the basis of defence policy?
3. The Liberal Democrats: Strident change or Trident tweaking? (Probably more than you wanted to know about nuclear weapons).

Michael Yon and Embedded journalism

I've just written a quick blog post on this subject at Frontline. Wired has all the details.

Friday 9 April 2010

'Don't Tweet': A Twitter song dedicated to Stuart MacLennan

A (very) little educational song entitled 'Don't Tweet' to the tune of Don't Speak by No Doubt...

Don't tweet
I know just what you're saying
So please stop explaining
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts.

(Shame. If only you had taken heed from those who have gone before you...)

So Stuart,

Don't Tweet (like that please...)
I don't know what you were thinking
We don't need your reasons
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts (you more than us, I'm afraid).

Apparently, true Twitter fans should deplore Stuart's persecution because Twitter will be less interesting now. And after all, let those of us who have not tweeted something a little silly cast the first stone.

I'm looking forward to Stuart's return to Twitter. No doubt he'll be posting more mundane things like what he had for breakfast...

Thursday 8 April 2010

Fancy a crash course in social media on Monday?

Word is that an odd place or two is still available for my social media training course this Monday.

Some people have said it "sounds great" and is a "brilliant price".

Click here for more details and email to book a place.

Tuesday 6 April 2010

More evidence of the merger between blogging and journalism

A new survey by PR Week found that 52% of bloggers [in the US, I think but might also include Canada] consider themselves to be journalists. This left me wondering what the other 48% of bloggers considered themselves to be. Perhaps, just bloggers.

Nevertheless, it led to an interesting post by Simon Columbus on why he considers himself a writer rather than a blogger or a journalist.

The study also suggested - perhaps rather obviously - that print and magazine journalists use blogs and Twitter less for research than their blogging counterparts:
"While 91% of bloggers and 68% of online reporters "always" or "sometimes" use blogs for research, only 35% of newspaper and 38% of print magazine journalists suggested the same."
"Newspaper and print magazine reporters also source Twitter less frequently than their media counterparts, with 19% and 22% saying they have used a Twitter post in a story. This is sharply different from bloggers (55%), online magazine/news (42%) and even TV news (48%)."
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