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May 29 2013

14:27

Get Pinterested, Storyboard style

Join Nieman Storyboard on Pinterest! We’re expanding our reach via categories on everything from reporting resources to tip sheets. Among our growing number of boards:

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 12.09.08 AMNarrative news: Fresh quick reads, pinned daily. Up now: How Twitter is shaping the future of storytelling, via Fast Company.

Nieman store: Links to details about the great and growing number of works published or sold by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, including our popular Telling True Stories anthology and The Future of News as We Know It, by Nieman Journalism Lab, one of our sister publications.

Inspired: Storytelling curios in journalism and beyond. Hemingway’s recommended reading list for young writers; the nine stages of story as told by a vase of flowers; a Dorothy Parker telegram proving all writers suffer; Henry Miller’s writing commandments; Harvard professor Stephen Burt on the intersection between poetry and news (from our sister publication Nieman Reports); former Nieman Fellow Megan O’Grady on the beauty of the counter-narrative.

Interviewland: Q-and-A’s on narrative journalism and more. Conversations, so far, featuring Joan Didion, David Finkel, John McPhee, Hunter S. Thompson, Janet Malcolm, Chris Jones, Joshuah Bearman, and Junot Diaz.

Gear: We’re addicted to great pencils and pens and notebooks and gadgets and organizational ideas — and we like to share. So enjoy that.

Best of Storyboard: Good pieces you might’ve missed, including, for instance, a rollicking storytelling talk with ESPN The Magazine‘s Wright Thompson, and seven storytelling tips from Nora Ephron.

Wish list: We’re hoping someone writes a great narrative about … at the moment, cicadas.

Also: Reading lists, class props, miscellany, tattoos, and more to come.

Have fun in there.

August 29 2012

05:07

Amazon Researchers: Pinterest doesn't generate a lot of sales. Facebook? Twitter?

Business Insider :: A post on Twitter generated far more revenue—$33.66 an order—than Facebook, at $2.08 an order, or Pinterest, at 75 cents an order.

Zappos' study - A summary of a Bloomberg article Owen Thomas, www.businessinsider.com

HT: Sam Decker, here:

Wow...Amazon Researchers Say a Twitter post drives 16x More Revenue vs Facebook.read.bi/OI055m via @sai

— Sam Decker (@samdecker) August 29, 2012

August 15 2012

15:42

13 ways of looking at Medium, the new blogging/sharing/discovery platform from @ev and Obvious

[With apologies to Wallace Stevens, the finest poet to ever serve as vice president of the Hartford Livestock Insurance Company.]

I.

Medium is a new online publishing platform from Obvious Corp. It launched yesterday. Obvious is the most recent iteration of the company that created Blogger, Odeo, and Twitter. Blogger was the outfit that, until it was bought up by Google, did the most to enable the early-2000s blogging boom. Odeo was a podcasting service that never really took off — 20 percent ahead of its time, 80 percent outflanked by Apple. Twitter — well, you’ve heard of Twitter.

Ev Williams, the key figure at every stage, tweeted about Medium yesterday in a way that slotted it right into the evolutionary personal-publishing chain he and his colleagues have enabled: Let’s try this again!

II.

Medium has been described as “a cross between Tumblr and Pinterest.” There’s some truth to that, in terms of presentation. Like Tumblr, it relies on artfully constructed templates for its structural power; like Pinterest, it’s designed to be image-heavy. But those surface issues, while interesting, are less consequential than the underlying structure of Medium, which upends much of how we think about personal publishing online.

III.

When the Internet first blossomed, its initial promise to media was the devolution of power from the institution to the individual. Before the web, reaching an audience meant owning a printing press or a broadcast tower. It was resource-intensive, and those resources tended to congeal around companies — organizations that had newsrooms, yes, but also human resource departments, advertising sales staffs, and people to man the phones when your paper was thrown into the bushes (we’re very sorry about that, Mrs. Johnson, we’ll be happy to credit your account).

The web, by reducing potential worldwide access to basic knowledge of [1996: Unix and <table> tags; 1999: how to input FTP credentials; 2005: how to come up with a unique login and password; 2010: how to stay under 140 characters], eliminated, at least in theory, the need for organizations. (Vide Shirky.)

IV.

In theory. In reality, organization still had some enormous advantages. Organizations are sustainable; they outlive the vagaries of human attention. Some individuals flourished in the newly democratic blogosphere. But over time, people got bored, got new jobs, found new interests, or otherwise reached the limits of what people-driven, individual-driven publishing could accomplish for them. The political blogosphere — the cacophony of individual voices on both left and right circa, say, 2004 — evolved toward institutions, toward Politico and TPM and The Blaze and HuffPo and the like.

Personal publishing is like voting. In theory, it’s the very definition of empowerment. In reality, it’s an excellent way for your personal shout to be cancelled out by someone else’s shout.

V.

That was when a few smart people realized that there was a balance to be found between the organization and the individual. The individual sought self-expression and an audience; the organization sought sustainability and cash money. Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

So Facebook built a way for people to express themselves (by providing free content) to an audience (through their self-defined network of friends), while selling ads around it all. It’s a pretty good business.

So Twitter (Ev, Jack, and crew) build a way for people to express themselves, in a format that was genius in its limitations and in its old-media model of subscribe-and-follow — again, transformed from institutions to individuals. It’s not as good of a business as Facebook, probably, but it’s still a pretty good business.

So Tumblr, Path, Foursquare, and a gazillion others have tried to pull off the same trick: Serve users by helping them find an outlet for personal expression, then build a business around those users’ collective outputs. It’s publishing-as-platform, and it’s the business model du jour in this unbundled, rebundled world.

VI.

What’s most radical about Medium is that it denies authorship.

Okay, maybe not denies authorship — people’s names are right next to their work, after all. But it degrades authorship, renders it secondary, knocks it off its pedestal.

The shift to blogging created a wave of new individual media stars, but in a sense it just shifted traditional media brands to a new, personal level. Instead of reading The Miami Herald or Newsweek, you read Jason Kottke or John Gruber. So long, U.S. News; hello, Anil Dash. They were brands in the sense that your attraction to their work was tied to authorship — you wanted to see what Lance Arthur or Dean Allen or Josh Marshall or Ezra Klein was going to write next. The value was tied to the work’s origin, its creator.

And while social networks allowed that value to be spread, algorithmically, much wider, the proposition was much the same. You were interested in your Facebook news feed because it was produced by your friends. You were interested in your Twitter stream because you’d clicked “Follow” next to every single person appearing in it.

VII.

Degrading authorship is something the web already does spectacularly well. Work gets chopped and sliced and repurposed. That last animated GIF you saw — do you know who made it? Probably not. That infonugget you saw on Gawker or The Atlantic — did it start there? Probably not. Sites like Buzzfeed are built largely on reshuffling the Internet, rearranging work into streams and slideshows.

It’s been a while since auteur theory made sense as an explanation of the web. And you know what? We’re better for it. In a world of functionally infinite content, relying on authorship doesn’t scale. We need people to mash things up, to point things out, to sample, to remix.

VIII.

Where Medium zags is in structuring its content around what it calls “collections.” Here’s Ev:

Posting on Medium (not yet open to everyone) is elegant and easy, and you can do so without the burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. All posts are organized into “collections,” which are defined by a theme and a template.

The burden of becoming a blogger or worrying about developing an audience. That’s a real issue, right? I’ve talked to lots of journalists who want to have some outlet for their work that doesn’t flow through an assigning editor. But when I suggest starting a blog, The Resistance begins. I don’t know how to start a blog. If I did, it’d be ugly. Or: I’d have to post all the time to keep readers coming back. I don’t want to do that. Starting a blog means, for most, committing to something — to building a media brand, to the caring and feeding of an audience, to doing lots of stuff you don’t want to do. That’s why ease of use — the promise of Facebook, the promise of Twitter, the promise of Tumblr — has been such a wonderful selling point to people who want to create media without hassle. Every single-serving Tumblr, every Twitter account updated sporadically, every Facebook account closed to only a few friends speaks the same message: You can do this, it’s simple, don’t stress, you’ll be fine.

IX.

So Medium is built around collections, not authors. When you click on an author’s byline on a Medium post, it goes to their Twitter feed (Ev synergy!), not to their author archive — which is what you’d expect on just about any other content management system on the Internet. (The fact we call them content management systems alone tells you the structural weight that comes from even the lightest personal publishing systems.) The author is there as a reference point to an identity layer — Twitter — not as an organizing principle.

As Dave Winer noted, Medium does content categorization upside down: “Instead of adding a category to a post, you add a post to a category.” He means collection in Medium-speak, but you get the idea: Topic triumphs over author. Medium doesn’t want you to read something because of who wrote it; Medium wants you to read something because of what it’s about. And because of the implicit promise that Medium = quality.

(This just happens to be promising from a business-model perspective. Who needs silly content contributors asserting authorial privilege when the money starts to flow? Demoting the author privileges the platform, which is nice if you own the platform.)

X.

At one level, Medium is just another publishing platform (join the crowd): You type in a title, some text, maybe a photo if you want, hit “Publish” and out comes a “post,” whatever that means that days, on a unique URL that you can share with your friends. (And let me just say, as a Blogger O.G. from the Class of ’99, that Medium’s posting interface brought back super-pleasant memories of Blogger’s old two-pane interface. Felt like the Clinton years again.)

XI.

Ev writes that a prime objective of Medium is increased quality: “Lots of services have successfully lowered the bar for sharing information, but there’s been less progress toward raising the quality of what’s produced.” That’s probably true: There are orders of magnitude more content published every day than was the case in 1999, when Blogger launched as a Pyra side project. The mass of quality content is much higher too, of course, but it’s surrounded by an even-faster-growing mass of not-so-great (or at least not-so-great-to-you) content.

Medium takes a significant step in that direction by violating perhaps the oldest blogging norm: that content appears in reverse-chronological order, newest stuff up top, flowing forever downward into the archives. Reverse chron has been key to blogging since Peter Merholz made up the word. (Older than that, actually — back to the original “What’s New” page at NCSA in 1993.) For the pleasure centers in the brain that respond to “New!,” reverse chron was a godsend — even if traditional news organizations were never quite comfortable with it, preferring to curate their own homepages through old-fashioned ideas like, you know, editorial judgment.

Medium believes in editorial judgment — but everyone’s an editor. Like the great social aggregators (Digg is dead, long live Digg), Medium relies on user voting to determine what floats to the top of a collection and what gets dugg down the bottom. (A reverse chron view is available, but not the default.) It’ll be interesting to see how that works once Medium is really a working site: Will a high-rated story stick to the top of a collection for weeks, months, or years, forever pushing new stuff down? Will there be any way for someone visiting a collection to see what’s new since she was last there? The tension between what’s good and what’s new is a long-standing one for online media, and privileging either comes with drawbacks — new material never reaching an audience, or good stuff being buried beneath something inconsequential posted 20 minutes later.

Considering Obvious Corp.’s heritage in Blogger and Twitter — both of which privilege reverse chron, Twitter existentially so — it’s interesting to see Ev & Co. thinking that a push for quality might entail a retreat from the valorization of newness.

XII.

There’s been a lot of movement in the past few months toward alternative, “quality” platforms for content on the web. Branch is based on the idea that web comments are shit and that you have to create a separate universe where smart people can have smart conversations. App.net, the just-funded paid Twitter alternative, is attractive to at least some folks because it promises a reboot of the social web without the “cockroaches” — you know, stupid people. Svbtle, an invite-only blogging platform, is aimed only at those who “strive to produce great content. We focus on the writing, the news, and the ideas. Everything else is a distraction.”

This new class of publishing platforms, like Medium, is beautiful — they share a stripped-down aesthetic that evokes the best of the early web (post-<blink> tag, pre-MySpace) modernized with nice typography, lovely textures, and generous white space. (Medium, in particular, seems to be luxuriate in giant FF Tisa, evocative of Jeffrey Zeldman’s huge-type redesign back in May.)

This new class has also been criticized with a variation on the white flight argument — the idea that the privileged flee common spaces and platforms once they stop being solely the realm of an elite and become too popular. (Vide danah boyd. Also vide your favorite indie band, the first time you heard them on the radio.)

For (just) a moment, strip away the political implications of that critique: What each of these sites argues, implicitly, is that the web norms that we’ve evolved over the past decade err toward crassness and ugliness. That advertising — which all these sites lack, and which is proving to be less-than-sufficiently-remunerative for lots of “quality” online media — is an uninvited guest in our reading experiences. That the free-for-all of a comments thread creates broken-windows-style chaos. That the madness of the web might be tamed through better tools and better platforms. That the web’s pressure to Always Keep Posting New Stuff leads to a lot of dumb stuff being posted. It’s a critique of pageview chasing, a critique of linkbait, a critique of content farms, a critique of SEO’d headlines — a yearning for something more authentic, whatever the hell that means.

I think we’d all like to know what that means. And how to get there.

XIII.

Is Medium the route there? I’m skeptical.

I’m unclear who, beyond an initial crowd of try-anything-once types, will want to publish via Medium, as lovely as it is. Or at least I’m unclear on how many of them there are. The space Medium, er, mediates is between two poles. On one side you’ve got people who want to hang out a shingle online and own their work in every possible sense. On the other, you’ve got people who are happy in the friendly confines of Facebook and Twitter, places where they can reach their friends effortlessly and not worry about writing elegant prose. Is there an audience between those two poles that’s big enough to build something lasting? Is this Blogger or Twitter, or is it Odeo?

But even if Medium isn’t a hit, however that gets defined these days, I think Ev & Co. are onto something here. There are seeds of a backlash against the beautiful chaos the web hath wrought, the desire for a flight to quality. There will be new ways beyond ease of use to harness the creative powers of the audience. And there will be new ways to structure content discovery that go beyond branding authorship and recommendation engines. Those trends are real, and whatever happens to Medium, they’ll impact everyone who publishes online.

Blackbird photo by Duncan Brown used under a Creative Commons license.

August 13 2012

15:46

August 09 2012

15:50
06:07

Pinterest opens to the public

Pinterest :: For those of you who haven’t joined Pinterest yet, this means you can sign up without waiting for an invite: all you have to do is go to Pinterest.com to get started. In addition to using your Facebook or Twitter login, we’re also opening registration so you can sign up with just your email address.

A report by blog.pinterest.com

HT: Liz Gannes, AllThingsD

August 04 2012

13:34

Pinstagram arrives for iPad before Instagram, Pinterest

Mashable :: Pinstagram, a mashup launched last month combining hot Internet properties Instagram and Pinterest, has launched its app for iPad. The app beats both startups it builds upon to launch an iPad app. Pinstagram presents your Instagram feed in Pinterest’s signature waterfall layout. It also lets you pin your favorite Instagram photos to your Pinterest boards.

A report by Zoe Fox, mashable.com

August 03 2012

11:43

Can Facebook capitalize on the social discovery trend?

ReadWriteWeb :: The people at Powerhouse Factories, a brand strategy consultancy, point to recent statistics that show people are spending less time on Facebook. The change isn’t massive - yet - but Powerhouse social media expert Taylor Weigert believes that the trend reflects people splitting Facebook time with more specialized social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and Deviant Art. All these sites focus on social discovery: finding new connections, ideas and products through social media.

Facebook may face a big problem - A report by Dave Copeland, www.readwriteweb.com

July 27 2012

08:34

Is Pinterest of interest to publishers?

Digiday :: Social platforms can be trendy. Outside of the big boys — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — there’s a second tier that trades the title of the Next Big Thing. Lately Pinterest has had its turn in the spotlight. Yet for many news publishers, which often tend to judge social platforms by the hard metric of traffic referrals, Pinterest is a dud. Publishers like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Self are experimenting with it but overall Pinterest is not driving that much traffic.

A report by Josh Sternberg, www.digiday.com

April 28 2012

06:07

Pinterest: Is it worth to become part of your social media marketing mix?

Engauge :: Social network Pinterest has exploded in the last few months as a visual platform ripe for brands that value the aesthetics, although it’s not without its risks. There are a number of brands already testing the waters, including Chobani, Gap, West Elm and Michaels. While there is real value in the platform, before jumping in, companies need to understand the role Pinterest will play, not just in their social mix, but also in their entire marketing program.

To get a handle on the opportunities, we needed to sift through the buzz, explore the usage patterns and analyze the data. So we worked with HPCC Systems from LexisNexis Risk Solutions – an open source, enterprise-proven Big Data analytics provider.

Download the paper from here www.engauge.coma

April 26 2012

16:03
06:37

Pinterest: Corporate branding and recruiting great talent

"Pinterest can be a great tool for companies to use for recruitment, but also great for potential candidates to get a better idea of the company and what they’re getting themselves into," writes Megan Bernstein.

memeburn :: Many companies are often looking for ways to recruit new talent. But finding the right person to not only suit the position, but suit the company and its corporate culture can prove to be trickier than you would imagine. As an employee, a company might look fabulous in the interview process but do you know what working for that business is really like?

Continue to read Megan Bernstein, memeburn.com

Tags: Pinterest

April 23 2012

20:38

Pinterest rival Fancy gets fancier with “match by color” visual search

TechCrunch :: High-end design, fashion and travel-focused Pinterest rival The Fancy is rolling out several new features today, including a new slideshow option, the addition of four more languages, and a new visual search engine that allows users to search for items with similar colors.

Continue to read Sarah Perez, techcrunch.com

Tags: Pinterest
15:41
08:05

Student experiment: Is Pinterest useful to document breaking news event?

The Digital News Test Kitchen | University of Colorado Boulder :: Pinterest is the new star in the social-media scene, having grown in its short life to the third-largest online social network behind Facebook and Twitter. It can boast of being the fastest-growing digital social-media service ever; its growth rate eclipses historical growth rates in the early years of both Facebook and Twitter.

Is Pinterest a useful tool for documenting a significant news event?

An experiment - Continue to read CU JMC, testkitchen.colorado.edu and also here.

Visit CUIndependent http://www.cuindependent.com/

Visit NewsTeamBoulder http://newsteamboulder.org/ 

Visit 4/20 Pinterest http://pinterest.com/dnewskitchen/4-20-at-cu-boulder/

Visit Mobile 420 Coverage on Ustream Channel link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/4-20-at-cu-boulder

April 18 2012

11:58

Honda targets Pinterest users: $500 to take a "Pintermission", a 24-hour break

AdAge :: With the launch of its official Pinterest page less than a week ago and a new social-media campaign targeting Pinterest users, Honda is one of a few auto brands to make a big marketing push on the platform. "It's such a fast-growing social-media network and seemed like a really good, different, creative outlet for us and a chance to use a visual medium to promote our cars," Lauren Ebner, assistant manager of social media at American Honda Motor Co., told Ad Age.

Continue to read Rupal Parekh, adage.com

April 11 2012

15:56

Daily Must Reads, April 11, 2012

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

1.YouTube adds pay-per-view to live streaming (GigaOm)



2. Trust in online ads grows while trust in ads in traditional media falls (TechCrunch)



3. Can other stand-up comics duplicate success of Louis C.K.'s distribution model? (Fast Company)



4. LinkedIn launches tools to help businesses target followers (Online Media Daily)



5. How local TV newsrooms are using Pinterest (Lost Remote)



6. Even Amazon, eBay have joined the Pinterest bandwagon (PaidContent)



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 ».

March 30 2012

13:00

March 29 2012

16:14

Daily Must Reads, March 29, 2012

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

1. Journalists forced to go camera-free while covering healthcare law talks (TVNewser)



2. The president joins Pinterest (SocialTimes)



3. Fox planning a national sports network to rival ESPN (The Wrap Media)



4. News orgs mine social media for data, but the results aren't perfect (Poynter)



5. New Google product aims to be a pay wall substitute (PaidContent)




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 ».

09:35

21pc of Pinterest users likely to buy product after seeing it on Pinterest

AllThingsD :: Here’s a stat worth bookmarking: 21% of people who identified themselves as Pinterest users said in a recent survey that they had purchased a product after seeing it on Pinterest.

Hat tip: Luca Caracciolo, t3n

Continue to read Liz Gannes, allthingsd.com

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