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April 25 2012

10:08

Instagram for Android hits 10 million downloads

The Next Web :: Downloads of Instagram’s Android application continue to grow at an impressive rate, today hitting 10 million downloads on the Google Play Marketplace, just 22 days after it launched on the platform.

Continue to read Matt Brian, thenextweb.com

April 24 2012

19:52

April 21 2012

05:33

How Andreessen Horowitz scored with its Instagram investment

The Next Web :: The New York Times piece on the dynamics between top Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and two of its portfolio companies (picplz and Instagram, which was recently acquired by Facebook for $1 billion) confuses me to no end. Basically, it covers the fact that Andreessen Horowitz (AH) was a very early investor in Instagram, which was called Burbn at the time and wasn’t focused on photo sharing. It subsequently backed picplz in a follow-up round of financing around the time Instagram ‘pivoted’ into the photo sharing space as well. Andreessen Horowitz chose not to increase its stake in Instagram after banking on picplz, thus not making more from the latter’s sale to Facebook than it could have.

Clarifying the case - Continue to read Robin Wauters, thenextweb.com

April 19 2012

14:00

Socializing the Space Shuttle's Farewell

More than a decade ago, I was driving down a Tampa, Fla., street when I saw one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen -- and may ever see. A space shuttle, piggybacked on a jumbo jet, came out of nowhere and seemed to fill the entire sky. It was massive -- seeing it on TV was one thing, but seeing how incredibly big it was compared with its surroundings was staggering.

In those days, before social media, I could only tell my friends, not show them. So when I saw the recent Twitter chatter about the Discovery's farewell flight from Kennedy Space Center to Washington, D.C., where it will be displayed at the Smithsonian, I was elated. People could not only share what they saw -- they could share the experience itself.

personalizing a historic moment

News organizations used Twitter to let people know they were carrying it live. But once the 747 bearing the shuttle touched down, and the news cycle went back to normal, witnesses to history were still uploading fresh videos. Many showed how the fighter jet accompanying the flight looked as small as a housefly in comparison.

People shot photos and videos from rooftops, balconies, windows and the ground. Many videos posted on YouTube and other sites included dialog that captured the witnesses' exuberance and awe.

Everyone from members of Congress to us common folk took to Twitter to share their emotions. "Sad to see Discovery retire as it flies over DC," tweeted Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. "America needs a space program we can believe in again."

"Not when there are people on Earth who can be helped with all that money saved," replied one follower.

Hashtags including "SpotTheShuttle" and "Discovery" helped people follow conversations including words such as "beautiful," "incredible," "patriotic" and "amazing." Instagram pictures had effects that emphasized the event's historic nature.

But few things are so serious that they can't be put into an appropriately skewed perspective. When I see the Shuttle atop the 747, I can't help but think about a baby koala on its mother's back. Others take a more common-sense approach.

"If the shuttle can sit on a plane, I'm calling bullshit on overweight luggage," tweeted D.C. resident Alison McQuade.

People will have many more chances to shoot and share images of the Shuttle Discovery. But never again can photos be taken of it in flight. I for one am glad that social media exists to give us the opportunity to share and "socialize" the experience.

Terri Thornton, a former reporter and TV news producer, owns Thornton Communications, an award-winning PR and social media firm. She is also a freelance editor for Strategic Finance and Management Accounting Quarterly.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

April 18 2012

04:43

In Facebook deal for Instagram, board was all but out of picture

Wall Street Journal :: On the morning of Sunday, April 8, Facebook Inc.'s youthful chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, alerted his board of directors that he intended to buy Instagram, the hot photo-sharing service. It was the first the board heard of what, later that day, would become Facebook's largest acquisition ever, according to several people familiar with the matter. Mr. Zuckerberg and his counterpart at Instagram, Kevin Systrom, had already been talking over the deal for three days, these people said.

Continue to read [€, $] -  Shayndi Raice, Spencer E. Ante, Emily Glazer, online.wsj.com

April 13 2012

15:40

This Week in Review: The fallout from Facebook and Instagram’s deal, and e-books’ unclear future

Facebook scoops up Instagram: There were two billion-dollar deals in the tech world this week, and by far the bigger of the two was Facebook’s purchase of the photo-sharing app Instagram. Mathew Ingram of GigaOM has a good, quick roundup of initial reaction to the deal, but I’ll try to sort through each of the angles to the story, including what this means for Facebook, Instagram, and the tech world in general.

The first big question was why Facebook bought Instagram, especially for so much money. The most common answer, voiced most persuasively by GigaOM’s Om Malik, was that Facebook felt threatened by Instagram’s ascendance in mobile photo sharing, one area in which Facebook has struggled. Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson explained why Instagram does mobile photos so much better than Facebook, and Fortune’s Dan Primack suggested that Facebook panicked at all the money Instagram has raised recently.

The New York Times also characterized the deal as a big move by Facebook into mobile media, but there were other key aspects at work, too: Ingram said Instagram’s value lay in its network, and Wired’s Tim Carmody said what matters to Facebook is Instagram’s personal data. Rackspace’s Robert Scoble outlined some of the specifics of that data, and All Things Digital’s Lauren Goode focused on Instagram’s location data. New York’s Paul Ford said Facebook is attempting to buy Instagram’s sincerity: “Remember what the iPod was to Apple? That’s how Instagram might look to Facebook: an artfully designed product that does one thing perfectly.”

So what does this mean for Instagram? TechCrunch detailed the company’s rise, and the big concern was, as CNN’s John Sutter put it, whether Facebook would “ruin” Instagram. Mashable’s Christina Warren urged Facebook to keep Instagram mobile-only and keep it separate from Facebook logins, and Jolie O’Dell of VentureBeat pointed out some of the good things Facebook’s developers could do for Instagram. TechCrunch noted that Facebook’s statement that it would keep Instagram as a separate product is a big departure from Facebook’s unified approach.

That concern over Facebook ruining Instagram indicates a certain revulsion for Facebook among Instagram users, something Om Malik took note of. Forbes’ John McQuaid said the sentiments reveal our uneasiness with the utility-like role tech giants like Facebook are playing in our new social world, and The Next Web’s Courtney Boyd Myers reminded Instagram users that the fact that they loved it so much was a big part of the reason it got bought in the first place.

The next question was for the tech industry as a whole: Does Instagram’s massive purchase price signal another tech market bubble? The Atlantic’s Rebecca Greenfield said it’s just time to accept the existence of a social media bubble, and the Guardian’s Charles Arthur said we may not be at the peak of inflated valuations, though also at the Guardian, Dan Gillmor said we could be near the end of the bubble. But Wired’s Andy Baio crunched the numbers and said Instagram wasn’t overvalued, and if anything, the tech market is rewarding efficiency. Forbes’ Robert Hof, meanwhile, looked at whether we’ll see more social media purchases soon, coming up with some reasons for a slowdown.

Finally, Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman looked at some of the ways journalists have used Instagram, and Reuters’ Jack Shafer put the deal in the context of the larger cultural shift from voice to text to images. “So, Instagram is here,” he said. “What I want to know is: Where is it going to take us?”

Apple, publishers, Amazon, and ebooks’ future: The ebook industry absorbed a blow this week when the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five of the largest book publishers for antitrust violations involving price-fixing for ebooks. (Sixteen states also filed a lawsuit of their own.) Three of the publishers — Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins — immediately settled with the DOJ, and Wired’s Tim Carmody explained the terms of the settlement, which will undermine the model that the publishers created with Apple, though not kill it outright. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan have decided not to settle, and the latter’s CEO issued a defiant letter in response to the suit.

PaidContent’s Laura Hazard Owen wrote a fantastic explanation of what the case is about, but in short, the issue centers on what’s called agency pricing, in which the publishers set book prices, rather than the retailers, and the books must be at the same price across retailers. In 2010, Apple negotiated an agency pricing model with the big book publishers for the rollout of its iPad’s iBookstore, and the DOJ objected to that as price-fixing.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel dug through more of the details from the lawsuit of the alleged price-fixing process, particularly its response to Amazon’s perceived ebook dominance. At the same time, however, as Peter Kafka of All Things Digital noted, Apple was allegedly considering a deal to divide and share rulership over online content with Amazon. A few people said the DOJ wasn’t likely to win the suit: Law prof Richard Epstein said the agency pricing arrangement has more social and consumer benefits than a classic collusion case, and CNET concluded that Apple should be able to win its case, too. Adam Thierer of the Technology Liberation Front put the strategy in the context of copyright challenges, coming out against the suit in the process.

Also this week, we found out that several of the big publishers have refused to sign their annual contracts with Amazon, as Salon’s Alexander Zaitchik reported and Laura Hazard Owen explained. The Seattle Times has been running a critical series on Amazon, which, as the Los Angeles Times pointed out, includes some real concern about Amazon behaving anti-competitively by selling ebooks for too little.

Publishers have argued that that’s why agency pricing is necessary: It’s the best chance to keep Amazon from undercutting publishers and laying waste to the book industry. Web thinker Tim O’Reilly said the government should be watching Amazon more closely than the five companies it just sued, but Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader defended Amazon, arguing that it’s helping enable an entirely new publishing model in its stead.

Christopher Mims of Technology Review said it doesn’t matter if Amazon becomes a monopoly. And GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram also said Amazon’s practices have been good for consumers and good for innovation, unlike those of the publishers: “They seem to have spent most of their time dragging their feet and throwing up roadblocks to any kind of innovation … Their defense of the agency-pricing model feels like yet another attempt to stave off the forces of disruption. Why not try to adapt instead?”

Microsoft’s big patent purchase: The other billion-dollar deal drew less attention, but could be an important one beneath the tech industry’s surface: Microsoft paid just more than $1 billion for more than 800 AOL patents, outbidding Amazon, eBay, Google, and Facebook for the intellectual property trove. The patents involve advertising, search, mobile media, and e-commerce, and includes the patents underpinning Netscape, as All Things D reported.

CNET’s Jay Greene and Stephen Shankland described a few of the more interesting patents potentially involved in the deal and pointed out that Microsoft’s work may have been closer to AOL’s than any other potential buyer. Dealbook’s Michael de la Merced characterized the deal as part of a “gold rush” on patents in the tech world. On AOL’s end, The New Yorker’s Nicholas Thompson worried that the money from the deal will go to appease shareholders rather than create new products, and ZDNet’s Andrew Nusca was also skeptical of the sale’s value for AOL, wondering why the company couldn’t take advantage of the patents itself. “To me, AOL’s decision to sell this part of the portfolio shows a lack of confidence in its ability to execute in these areas,” he wrote.

Remembering Mike Wallace: One of the most legendary figures in the news industry died last weekend — Mike Wallace, longtime journalist for CBS and 60 Minutes in particular. The New York Times has a definitive obituary, and CBS has some more personal remembrances. The Times also collected responses to Wallace’s death, in which he was remembered as a tough-minded reporter: The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta described him as a pioneer of investigative journalism on television. Likewise, New York’s Matt Zoller Seitz gave a thoughtful appreciation of Wallace’s “informed showmanship”: “He was our stand-in, asking the questions that we might have asked if we were there and had his skill and nerve.”

Others had more personal stories: The legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, longtime Philly television columnist Gail Shister, j-prof Dan Kennedy, and The Wrap’s Sharon Waxman. As Kennedy wrote: “I really do think there was a golden age of television news, and Wallace was right in the middle of it.”

Reading roundup: Plenty of other interesting pieces to keep up with this week:

— A few more takes on last week’s purchase of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News by a group of local investors: The New York Times’ David Carr mused on the return of the newspaper baron, the American Journalism Review’s John Morton examined the recent spree of newspaper purchases in a downtime for the industry, and Penn prof Victor Pickard argued for more systemic solutions to save papers like Philly’s.

— A couple of interesting pieces from the academic view of journalism: NYU’s Jay Rosen and MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman talked about trends in journalism at an MIT forum (summarized well by Matt Stempeck), and CUNY’s C.W. Anderson talked a bit about his research on data journalism to Tyler Dukes of Reporters’ Lab.

— The debate over the value of online commenting continues: Animal’s Joel Johnson proposed that comments are worth far less than publishers think, because they don’t draw many readers and don’t make money, but GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram countered that comments are an important check on online authority and that not allowing them tells readers to “go away.”

— News analyst Alan Mutter made the age-old argument that newspapers are failing in their digital efforts in a brief, potent piece decrying newspapers’ poor digital products and weak competitive response, and urging them to pool their efforts.

— Finally, Digital First Media’s Steve Buttry wrote a gracious but no-nonsense letter to newsroom curmudgeons defending digital journalism practices, then wrote about what he learned from its fallout, then addressed the role of news organizations themselves in enabling curmudgeonhood. The posts and comments are a good glimpse into the current state of newsroom culture and change.

Facebook/Instagram logo by Karl Nilsson, iPad photo by Luiz Filipe Carneiro Machado, and old CBS Radio ad by Nesster all used under a Creative Commons license.

April 10 2012

16:45

February 11 2012

18:34

Instagram's new "Sierra" filter and "Lux" feature

TechCrunch :: Photosharing app Instagram went through a subtle redesign recently. In addition to the brand new “Sierra” filter, Notifications improvements and a UI/UX refresh where the feed, popular, share and news buttons have all been divorced of their copy and are now just streamlined symbols, the company has added the “Lux” feature.

The new features explained - Continue to read Alexia Tsotsis, techcrunch.com

Tags: Instagram

February 10 2012

15:17

Daily Must Reads, Feb. 10, 2012

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung.

1. Rodale, Time and other publishers get hit with privacy lawsuits (Online Media Daily)

2. Penguin cuts ties with e-library distributor OverDrive (paidContent)

3. Nielsen: Number of TV 'cord cutters' increases (Lost Remote)

4. WSJ uses Pinterest, Instagram to cover Fashion Week (Nieman Lab)

5. Can you use Twitter to predict popularity of news stories? (The Atlantic)

6. Study: Most people play nice on social media  (Mashable)

Subscribe to our daily Must Reads email newsletter and get the links in your in-box every weekday! 


Subscribe to Daily Must Reads newsletter

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

07:44

The Wall Street Journal's Pinterest and Instagram usage: how to reach sharing-oriented audiences

Niemanlab :: The incredible growth of Pinterest — the (invitation-only) social bulletin board dominated by young and female users — hasn’t gone unnoticed by news organizations. Like Tumblr before it, Pinterest offers the chance to reach massive, sharing-oriented new audiences — but also requires a different, more visual kind of editorial thinking. The Wall Street Journal is giving it an early try by looping in another booming young social app. The Journal has deployed nine journalists to cover Fashion Week in New York, all armed with iPhones and Instagram accounts.

Continue to read Andrew Phelps, www.niemanlab.org

February 09 2012

20:30

The Wall Street Journal covers Fashion Week fashionably, finding uses for Pinterest and Instagram

Aisha Tyler in Badgley Mischka

The incredible growth of Pinterest — the (invitation-only) social bulletin board dominated by young and female users — hasn’t gone unnoticed by news organizations. Like Tumblr before it, Pinterest offers the chance to reach massive, sharing-oriented new audiences — but also requires a different, more visual kind of editorial thinking. The Wall Street Journal is giving it an early try by looping in another booming young social app.

The Journal has deployed nine journalists to cover Fashion Week in New York, all armed with iPhones and Instagram accounts. They are encouraged to file constantly. (For fashion reporters, capturing photos is a form of note-taking.) Their tweets and images are automatically pulled into the Fashion Week section of the Journal’s website. The best ones are featured on Pinterest and re-posted on the Journal’s main Instagram account. The two social networks are perfect companions.

Wall Street Journal Instagram notePinterest is a “really fast-growing social network that a lot of people are super-excited about,” said WSJ social-media editor Emily Steel, who used to cover digital advertising and marketing for the paper — “a lot of people both in the digital media/marketing/tech world, but also consumers who are really into fashion and arts and crafts and food.” In other words, people who may not be big Journal readers.

I was embarrassed to tell Steel I didn’t know the Journal even covered fashion.

“One of the fashion reporters, Elizabeth Holmes — she’s super active on Twitter and Instagram and social media — and what she said is that she’s always gotten a really big boost in followers during Fashion Week, and that people will tell her that they didn’t realize that the Journal covered fashion,” Steel told me. “That’s also kind of the idea with Pinterest…It’s a cool way to expose the Journal’s content to some people who might not know about it.”

The Journal’s Fashion Week pinboard has attracted about 900 followers so far. The Instagram account, a few weeks old, is approaching 8,000 followers.

Steel said she took notice of Pinterest users sharing WSJ content among themselves. A few weeks ago the Journal started building out its own Pinterest boards — a board for hedcuts, those famous dot drawings of newsmakers; a board for historic WSJ front pages; a board for WSJ Magazine covers.

Sometimes it feels like social media moves as fast as fashion. At this time a year ago, Instagram was almost brand new but had already signed up more than a million users. Pinterest didn’t exist yet.

Today Instagram has 15 million users and signs up a new user every second, according to the company. This month Pinterest reached 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors, according to data obtained by TechCrunch, “crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.” Visitors spend an average of 98 minutes per month browsing that site.

Jeff Sonderman said “it’s time for journalists to pay attention to Pinterest,” with its loyal, distinct audience. Time, LIFE, Newsweek, PBS NewsHour, and Mashable are among the other news outlets dipping their toes in the water.

January 08 2012

21:32

Noisy environment - Instagram now flooding Facebook with 6 photos per second

What is the challenge? I guess computing power is not an issue, technically, financially maybe. The real challenge for news orgs and journalists alike is to find relevant content in a "noisy environment."

VentureBeat :: Instagram, the still iPhone-only application, is penetrating the world’s largest social network at a rate of roughly six photos per second, co-founder Kevin Systrom shared exclusively with VentureBeat. The figure means that the filter-ific application is now contributing more than half a million photos to the Facebook experience each day.

Continue to read Jennifer Van Grove, venturebeat.com

December 18 2011

08:22

NBC stations partner with Instagram for viewer photos

Lost Remote :: Several NBC owned-and-operated stations have teamed up with Instagr.am to solicit viewer photos to use on-air and online. While the station sites have their own photo upload capability, the new partnership taps a thriving community of 15 million mobile phone photographers on Instagram.

[Kevin Systrom, CEO:] We’re excited to see the NBC-owned stations using the power of mobile photography to add another dimension to news reporting.

Continue to read Cory Bergman, www.lostremote.com

Tags: Instagram NBC

August 28 2011

16:09

Instacane: hurricane Irene mayhem chronicled via Instagram

VentureBeat :: Hurricane Irene began pounding New York and nearby states this evening, prompting a flood of content related to the hurricane on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and — yes — Instagram. Instagram users hunkered down in New York, New Jersey and other cities in the path of the rather menacing-looking Hurricane Irene are chronicling the mayhem through an online Instagram photo album called Instacane

Continue to read Matthew Lynley, venturebeat.com

July 09 2011

17:40

Om Malik to Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter: what is the future of blogging?

GigaOM :: When the rumors of Google retiring the Picasa and Blogger brands hit the web last week, it sent Om Malik down memory lane. It made him think about blogging in general and how it had evolved. He wanted to write an Om Says newsletter and pinged Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter, and before that, the creator of Blogger, the service that was bought by Google in 2003. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other options, blogging isn’t quite what it used to be.

What is the future of blogging?

Continue to read Om Malik, gigaom.com

January 10 2011

20:42
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