Monday, April 26, 2010

Social Media

Still thinking about time and place. Settling back into Exeter so less likely to visit London again this week. I have started two new things at "Tales of Things" for Internet world, a stand for Brand Republic and the keynote theatre featuring Meg Pickard. This may be a way of asking a question. Or it may need to continue. What I wonder about is what these "Media Groups" actually think about print. Haymarket and the Guardian both seem to be moving online but still the print versions are a bit negative about digital. I did not find anything in the Guardian or Observer about the Digital Zone at the London Book Fair. Not long ago there was questioning piece about the "paperless office".

Blogger Jo Francis has reported on the digital aspect of the London Book Fair on her blog, but claims that the screen of the iPad is smudgy so not easy to read.
Top tip for putative iPad purchasers: you'll need to carry a microfibre cloth with you at all times, the screen's ability to pick up fingerprint marks is on a par with that of a black glass coffee table from Argos.

So at Internet World there will be Brand Republic with a stand and Guardian social media with a keynote. What to think?

Readers of Printweek could get involved in production of digital content. I asked at the Digital Zone if there would be a presence at IPEX and the view seemed to be that this was a different world. Last year there was an Espress book machine at the bookfair, later delivered to Blackwells on Charing Cross Road. Jo Francis has commented about the quality of the binding and also the problems with spare parts that closed it down for weeks at a time. However the idea of getting short run production closer to retail is worth investigating. Currently it seems that short runs are delivered into the existing national distribution. Generally I think there are ways for print companies to develop as part of communication, even though mostly digital.

Also, as Haymarket develops online what to make of the Printweek views?

Meanwhile Emily Bell has a few worries about Facebook and what established news organisations should be doing.
o completely spurn out of hand the incredible reach this platform could offer would simply be madness, at a time when finding a relevant audience for news and other content is the biggest challenge. But to hand over all of this activity wholesale to Facebook suggests that within five minutes there will be another head-scratching session as media executives hunt for the teaspoons from the family silver Google left behind.
I think it could have been sensible to make more of Guardian Talk, a board i have contributed to. The public can start a new topic as suits their interest. There has never been any promotion in the print Guardian. No Guardian staff have ever contributed anything as far as I know, except one prepress bit of news on PDF. The format for Comment Is Free assumes that the journalists set the topic. Comment is closed after quite a short time. The only coverage of OhmyNews that i know about has been on the Technology pages, now closed down. True, the not very funny series on a fictional citizen journalist has ended, but not much factual content has replaced it.

So will Facebook make more sense for most people? Probably. There is no print version with a dissonant view.

It will be interesting to see what turns up online from Earl's Court this week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rusbridger tests the iPad

The Observer had a long review of the iPad from Alan Rusbridger. There may be some clues for the future of the Guardian. He likes the options for video and rich content. He would prefer a keyboard but seems to think about it as a device for people to consume content. Maybe this is why it gets more space than other devices. He is a bit dismissive of the Kindle and Sony Reader. The issue is not covered that there could be damage to eyesight if staring at a backlit screen too long. I think there is still a demand for text and also through moving text about people can select and comment. The iPad is only one option.