Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

December 11 2011

08:02

News distribution - Google plans to combine Gmail with Google+ Circles

What have Google's Gmail integration plans to do with the future of journalism? - It is one answer to the question, how news will be distributed in the (near) future.

Digital Trends :: Mentioned on the official Gmail blog this week, Google announced plans to integrate Google+ Circles into the Gmail interface and has already started rolling out this new feature on Gmail accounts. On the left side of the interface, Gmail users will find a new link that brings up all Circles connected to their Google+ account. Users have the ability to add someone to a Circle through the Gmail interface. When clicking on an email from any contact that also has a Google+ account, Gmail users will be able to view the most recent Google+ wall post from that person on the right hand side of the screen next to the email message.

Continue to read Mike Flacy, www.digitaltrends.com

November 14 2011

21:45

A Newsroom Primer: Starting Fresh With Google+ Brand Pages

If newsrooms avoided creating an account on Google+ when the product asked brands to stay away, the time has come to build your brand inside the social-networking tool. Last week, Google opened up brand pages for all to use.

But before you set it up, there's an important thing you need to know: You can set up a brand page that is attached to your personal Google account, but at this point, only one person can manage a brand page.

My newsroom had an already existing Google account (that had a profile suspended on Google+ when it initially launched because brands were not allowed inside the social network). I rebuilt the new KOMU 8 News page using that Google account because it means I have a core group of people who have access to the username and password without having to give away my personal username and password. It also means you have to bounce between different browsers to manage your personal account and the brand account. There are pros and cons to both options. Either way, you have to agree to Google Pages' Terms of Service before you can move forward.

setting up your brand

komugoogle+.png

Once you agree to the terms, you have a chance to add your brand's avatar and create a tagline. This is the short summary of your brand that anyone will see when they look it up. You want to be concise and have fun with it if you can. My newsroom is focused on mid-Missouri, but Google+ has helped us expand our coverage. So our tagline is "Mid-MO and beyond. The most innovative + in the news biz." The New York Times' Google+ page says, "All the news that's fit to +."

There is no requirement to use a "+" in your tagline. I promise.

Once you have a tagline and an avatar, Google+ recommends you send out a post and share the arrival of your new brand. You can do that immediately or you can take some time to build out the look of your page.

managing your page

If you choose to work on your page, you can add a few things to it. If you just posted a URL to your website, you can also add a phone number, email and physical address if that's something you think is important. Be sure to verify the email you share on the page. (A little verification link will pop up minutes after you save your changes.) This is just a step you can take to prove to Google that you really do represent the brand. You can also add photos and additional links that help your Google+ consumer learn more about you.

Once you post, you need to revisit your page and hit refresh to make sure you see any new reactions. I'm often adding my personal Google+ profile in the posts so readers know they can also respond to me. I hope that will help keep me up to date with the responses to the content I post on our brand page.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned after working inside the Google+ brand pages for a while:

  1. Your brand must get circled before you can add anyone into your brand's circles. This helps prevent spam inside Google+, but it also makes it a lot harder to keep track of how and who to circle. Adding people into your circles is a slow and manual process. The +KOMU 8 News page is focused on our regional market of mid-Missouri, but our Google+ audience extends around the world. I've created circles for regions in my market and beyond to help me track what people are saying. I haven't been able to keep up with our 6,500-plus circlers because Google continues to restrict the number of people I can put into circles. Hopefully, that process will change soon. I am committed to adding people into our circles so I can listen and learn from the many people who are talking inside this space.


    Time magazine is trying an idea I tested out the first time my newsroom was inside Google+. The Time page has asked its consumers to tell them what topic circles they'd like to be in. The question was so successful, they had to ask it a second time because the brand had reached its 500-comment limit. Each person who pitches a topic circle has to be manually added into the brand's circle. Hopefully, someday Google will make it possible for brands to create public circles and allow anyone to put themselves inside.

  2. You don't get alerts when your brand is mentioned or added into a circle. I rely on those alerts with my personal profile. My only workaround on this is by searching my brand in the Google+ search bar. I don't know if it shows everything that is said about my brand, but it gives me a chance to comment and +1 content that includes my brand.
  3. Hashtags work. This is another way that's worth trying to keep up with the way people want to engage with my brand. My newsroom tested out an idea where we asked our G+ readers how they heard the national Emergency Alert System by adding a #KOMUalert hashtag. We didn't hear from a lot of people, but it was clearly a quick and easy way to track a topic. It can't hurt to share hashtags on your brand and see if others will use them.
  4. Take advantage of sharing circles. One of the best ways to make sure your brand is included in a collection of recommended media brand pages is to build one of your own, and contact and share your newly created page with people you know who are active on Google+. Promote the heck out of your page so everyone knows it exists. Of course, once you promote it, make sure you follow through and add content there!

Here is a list Google created of the differences between a Google+ profile and a brand page.

Our newsroom's page is asking for input at every turn as we build the page. Google+ gives you the opportunity to share extended content, links, images and video. Try it all out, and get opinions from the people who have circled you. Our newsroom is also using Google Hangouts every Monday through Friday as part of a nontraditional social media-based newscast called U_News@4. I was impressed to see ABC's "Good Morning America" test out the idea of using Hangouts on its show and spent a good chunk of time on it during one morning broadcast this week. CNN and Fox have also found opportunities to use Hangouts in recent months. Let's keep this going! Get creative and see if Google+ offers new ways to reach media consumers and beyond.

Jen Lee Reeves worked in television news for the majority of her career. In the last six years, she has moved from traditional journalist to nontraditional thinker about journalism and education. Jen is currently the interactive director at KOMU-TV and komu.com. At the same time, she is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and was a part of the inaugural class of Reynolds Journalism Institute fellows (2008-09).

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

November 12 2011

19:45

Google purchased Katango to automate Google+ circles

eWeek provides with some insights into why Google has purchased Katango.

eWeek :: Google said it has purchased Katango, whose social software algorithms the search engine provider will likely use to automate the population of Google+ Circles. With over 40 million users and counting since June 28, Google+ is humming along. Google will use Katango's software to improve its Circles social construct, which allows users to follow anyone on the network and partition clusters of users. 

Continue to read Clint Boulton, www.eweek.com

September 19 2011

21:30

Google+: Social Media Upstart 'Worse Than a Ghost Town'

I wanted to log on to Google+. I swear I did. But the thought of it made me tired.

I recently wrote a piece for MediaShift on the perils of tweeting interview requests. Like I've done for past pieces and many of the posts on my blog College Media Matters, I carried out all the expected social media promotion.

I retweeted the MediaShift tweet that announced the piece's premiere on the site. I posted the link on my Facebook profile page as a status update. I dropped it onto Digg and recommended it on StumbleUpon. I placed a chunk of it on my blog with a referral link. I responded to some comments. I even emailed a few friends and colleagues with a heads-up and accompanying bitly link. And then there was G+.

A few hours after the post went up, I received an email confirming MediaShift executive editor Mark Glaser had hyped the piece in a note on Google+. Moments later, someone responded to it. It was a great motivation to respond or post something on there myself.

An Internal Enough-is-Enough Battle

But then something funny happened. I sighed out loud. I got the dreary feeling that often comes midday when my body begs for a catnap. I simply couldn't bring myself to sign on to the service. I let it go, shrugging, thinking I'd get to it later. But I never followed up.

On one level, the response continues to strike me as silly. I'm sure the promo-post would have taken a moment or two tops. And I have nothing against G+. On the contrary, I signed up like every other wannabe tech geek when Google first rolled it out.

I played with the whole Circles thing. I invited a few family members, colleagues, and even students -- something I've avoided on Facebook. I created a profile I must now have floating in cyberspace in at least a dozen slightly different iterations. And I have been on the service here and there, mostly just to see what's what.

But as much as I want to really dive into Google+, I admit I am fighting an internal enough-is-enough battle. As Glaser mentioned on a recent Mediatwits podcast, "There are a few things that are slightly better [than Facebook and other existing social media platforms], but what's really making a huge difference? You know, that's the problem. There's nothing really groundbreaking."

A Social Media Step Too Far?

In that respect, is it possible that G+, at the moment, is simply a social media step too far? Are there only so many daily destination-and-connection sites a person can invest time and effort overseeing?

As Forbes.com contributor Paul Tassi wrote last month within a column doubling as a eulogy for the service, "The fact is, very few people have room to manage many multiple social networks ... since there is only so much time in the day to waste on the Internet. Add in Google+, effectively a duplicate of Facebook, and there just isn't space for it."

I am writing to second Tassi's declaration: Google+ is dead. At worst, in the coming months, it will literally fade away to nothing or exist as Internet plankton. At best, it will be to social networking what Microsoft's Bing is to online search: perfectly adequate; fun to stumble onto once in awhile; and completely irrelevant to the mainstream web.

To be clear, I do not buy the beta argument anymore. G+ still being in beta is like Broadway's "Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark" still being in previews. It has premiered. Months have passed. Audiences have tried it. Critics have weighed in. It is a show -- just not a very entertaining one.

Worse Than a Ghost Town

As it stands, my Circles are sparse. The stream of updates has basically run dry -- reduced to one buddy who regularly writes. My initial excitement about signing on and inviting people to join me has waned. Nowadays, I apparently get tired just thinking about it.

Take my recent MediaShift piece. Less than a week after its posting, more than 300 tweets and retweets linked to it. Between my blog teaser and its MediaShift placement, it got hyped on Facebook by dozens of users. Close to 50 people StumbledUpon it on my blog. On Google+, meanwhile, it was mentioned five times.

Omaha World-Herald columnist Rainbow Russell says it best, noting, "It's a not-vicious-enough-to-be-interesting circle: Nobody posts on Google+ because nobody posts on Google+. My Google+ home page is worse than a ghost town. It doesn't even feel haunted."

Dan Reimold is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa. He writes and presents frequently on the campus press and maintains the student journalism industry blog College Media Matters, affiliated with the Associated Collegiate Press. His first book, Sex and the University: Celebrity, Controversy, and a Student Journalism Revolution, was published in fall 2010 by Rutgers University Press.

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

August 01 2011

09:33

HowTo - Save time and post on Google+ and Facebook simultaneously

The Economic Times :: With the entry of Google+, there is a new social network to share your updates and pictures. However, going to each social network's website and updating status is a pain. A simpler way is to use the Circles feature on Google+.

Here is how it works:

I usually have Facebook open as well. Thanks to the HowTo by The Economic times, I entered www.facebook.com/mobile into the address field of my browser and waited for the startpage to appear. If you are logged into your account you will notice that Facebook tells you about your upload email address already on the first page as well. Mark and copy it. Then simply open a new tab and go to Google+. Click on Circles. You have to add a new Circle. Label it e.g. "Facebook Update". "Add a new person" and paste your upload email address you've copied from Facebook before in the field for email. You have to give the person a name (be creative). Now you are ready to post updates via Google+ simultaneously on Facebook as well.

Continue to read economictimes.indiatimes.com

July 28 2011

12:27

Google+ Circles will impact how and where you're (news) site will rank on result pages

Google + will have large impact on SERP (search engine result pages) rankings. You want to rank better on Google? Then you should read through Danny Sullivan's article. 

search engine land :: Want to rank better on Google? - Get people to add you to their Google+ Circles, and that seems to be a potentially huge boost, based on a search. Prove it yourself. Danny Sullivan just did it. He writes: "I’m Friends With Ford When I looked for cars about an hour ago, I found a listing for Ford at the bottom of the first page of results, in the 10th position. In addition, there was an enhancement telling me that Ford had shared this link: and 'You're connected to Ford Motor Company on Google+' ..."

Continue to read Danny Sullivan, searchengineland.com>

July 23 2011

13:53

How to measure social influence on Google+ (Plus)? ("talk" not "count")

Venture Beat :: VentureBeat tapped Joe Fernandez, CEO and founder of social influence monitoring firm Klout, to talk about how users can measure their influence on Google+. Although Klout isn’t measuring Google+ influence (yet), Fernandez gives some solid advice on how to build a great reputation and “score” on the service.

[Joe Fernandez:] When measuring your effectiveness, consider more than how many people have you in their Circles. Instead, [look at] how many people react to your content and how much reach those people have. Influential people on the system get the most +1′s, shares and comments from other influencers.

Continue to read Jolie O'Dell, venturebeat.com

July 08 2011

14:00

This Week in Review: What Google+ could do for news, and Murdoch’s News of the World gets the ax

Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week’s top stories about the future of news.

Google’s biggest social effort yet: This is a two-week edition of This Week in Review, so most of our news comes from last week, rather than this week. The biggest of those stories was the launch of Google+, Google’s latest and most substantial foray into the social media landscape. TechCrunch had one of the first and best explanations of what Google+ is all about, and Wired’s Steven Levy wrote the most comprehensive account of the thinking at Google behind Plus: It’s the product of a fundamental philosophical shift from the web as information to the web as people.

Of course, the force to be reckoned with in any big social media venture is Facebook, and even though Google told Search Engine Land it’s not made to be a Facebook competitor, Google+ was seen by many (including The New York Times) as Google’s most ambitious attempt yet to take on Facebook. The design looks a lot like Facebook, and pages for businesses (like Facebook’s Fan Pages) are on their way.

Longtime tech blogger Dave Winer was unimpressed at the effort to challenge Facebook, and Om Malik of GigaOM said Facebook has nothing to be afraid of in Google+, though All Facebook’s Nick O’Neill said Google+’s ubiquity across the web should present a threat to Facebook.

But the biggest contrast people drew between Google+ and Facebook was the more intuitive privacy controls built into its Circles feature. Ex-Salon editor Scott Rosenberg wrote a particularly thoughtful post arguing that Google+ more accurately reflects social life than Facebook: “In truth, Facebook started out with an oversimplified conception of social life, modeled on the artificial hothouse community of a college campus, and it has never succeeded in providing a usable or convenient method for dividing or organizing your life into its different contexts.” His thought was echoed by j-prof Jeremy Littau (in two posts) and the Guardian’s Dan Gillmor.

Google’s other ventures into social media — Buzz, Wave, Orkut — have fallen flat, so it’s somewhat surprising to see that the initial reviews for Google+ were generally positive. Among those enamored with it were TechCrunch’s MG Siegler, ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick, social media guru Robert Scoble, and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley (though he wondered about Google’s timing). It quickly began sending TechCrunch loads of traffic, and social media marketer Chris Brogan brainstormed 50 ways Google+ could influence the rest of the web.

At the same time, there was some skepticism about its Circles function: TechCrunch’s Siegler wondered whether people would use it as intended, and ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez said they might not be equipped to handle complicated, changing relationships. In a smart piece, marketing exec A.J. Kohn said Circles marks an old-fashioned form of sharing. GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram, meanwhile, said Circles look great, but they aren’t going to be much use until there’s a critical mass of people to put in them.

Google+ and the news: This being a journalism blog, we’re most interested in Google+ for what it means for news. As Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman pointed out, the aspect of Google+ that seems to have the most potential is its Sparks feature, which allows users to collect recommended news around a specific term or phrase. Former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee said Sparks could fill a valuable niche for news organizations in between Facebook and Twitter — sort of a more customizable, less awkward RSS. The University of Missouri’s KOMU-TV has already used it in a live broadcast, and Breaking News’ Cory Bergman gave a few valuable lessons from that organization’s first week on Google+.

CUNY j-prof Jeff Jarvis gave his thoughts on a few potential uses for news: It could be very useful for collaboration and promotion, but not so much for live coverage. Journalism.co.uk’s Sarah Marshall listed several of the same uses, plus interviewing and “as a Facebook for your tweeps.” Sonderman suggested a few changes to Google+ to make it even more news-friendly, including allowing news org pages and improving the Sparks search and filtering. Still, he saw it as a valuable addition to the online news consumption landscape: “It’s a serendipity engine, and if executed well it could make Google+ an addictive source of news discovery.”

A bit of Google+-related miscellany before we move on: Social media marketer Christopher Penn gave some tips on measuring Google+, author Neil Strauss condemned the growing culture of Facebook “Likes” (and now Google +1s), and GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram offered a rebuttal.

Murdoch kills News of the World: In one of the most surprising media-related moves of the year, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. suddenly shut down one of its most prominent properties, the 168-year-old British tabloid News of the World, on Thursday. The decision stemmed from a long-running scandal involving NotW investigators who illegally hacked into the phones of celebrities. This week, the Guardian reported that the hacking extended to the voicemail of a murdered 13-year-old girl and possibly the families of dead soldiers, and that the paper’s editor, Rebekah Brooks (now the head of News Corp. in Britain) was informed of some of the hacking.

Facing an advertising boycott and Parliamentary opposition, Murdoch’s son, James, announced News of the World will close this weekend. (The Guardian has the definitive blow-by-blow of Thursday’s events.) It was a desperate move, and as the New York Times, paidContent, and many on Twitter noted, it was almost certainly an attempt to keep the scandal’s collateral damage away from Murdoch’s proposed BSkyB merger, which was put on hold and possible in jeopardy this week.

Though the closing left hundreds of suddenly out-of-work employees, it may prove less damaging in the big picture for News Corp. than you might expect. NotW only published on Sundays, and it’s widely suspected that its sister tabloid, the Sun, will simply expand to include a Sunday edition to cover for its absence. As one Guardian editor stated, the move may simply allow News Corp. to streamline its operation and save cash, and Poynter’s Rick Edmonds called it a smart business move. (Its stock rose after the announcement.)

There’s plenty that has yet to play out, as media analyst Ken Doctor noted: The Guardian pointed out how evasive James Murdoch’s closing letter was, and Slate’s Jack Shafer said the move was intended to “scatter and confuse the audience.” Brooks, the one that many thought would take the fall for the scandal, is still around, and the investigation is ongoing, with more arrests being made today. According to The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta and CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis, though, the buck stops with Rupert himself and the culture he created, and the Columbia Journalism Review’s Ryan Chittum said the story has revealed just how cozy Murdoch is with the powerful in the U.K.

Making journalism easier on Twitter: Twitter has been reaching out to journalists for quite some time now through a media blog, but last week it took things a step further and launched Twitter for Newsrooms, a journalist’s guide to using Twitter, with tips on reporting, making conversation, and promoting content. The Lab’s Justin Ellis gave a quick glimpse into the rationale behind the project.

A few people were skeptical: TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis suspected that Twitter’s preaching to the choir, arguing that for the journalists who come across Twitter for Newsrooms, Twitter already is a newsroom. The Journal Register’s Steve Buttry called it “more promotional than helpful,” and suggested some other Twitter primers for journalists. Ad Age’s Matthew Creamer added a tongue-in-cheek guide to releasing your anger on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the Lab’s Megan Garber reported on the ideas of NPR and Andy Carvin for improving Twitter’s functionality for reporting, including a kind of real-time influence and credibility score for Twitter sources, and a journalism-oriented meme-tracking tool for developing stories.

Mobile media and tablet users, profiled: There were several studies released in the past two weeks that are worth noting, starting with Pew’s report on e-reader and tablet users. Pew found that e-reader ownership is booming, having doubled in six months. The Knight Digital Media Center’s Amy Gahran reasoned that e-readers are ahead of tablets right now primarily because they’re so much cheaper, and offered ideas for news organizations to take advantage of the explosion of e-reader users.

Three other studies related to tablets and mobile media: One study found that a third of tablet users said it’s leading them to read print newspapers and magazines less often; another showed that people are reading more on digital media than we think, and mostly in browsers; and a third gave us more evidence that games are still king among mobile apps.

Reading roundup: Bunches of good stuff to look through from the past two weeks. I’ll go through it quickly:

— Turns out the “digital first” move announced last month by the Guardian also includes the closing of the international editions of the Guardian and Observer. Jeff Jarvis explained what digital first means, but Suw Charman-Anderson questioned the wisdom the Guardian’s strategy. The Lab’s Ken Doctor analyzed the economics of the Guardian’s situation, as well as the Mail and the BBC’s.

— This week in AOL/Huffington Post news: Business Insider revealed some leaked lackluster traffic numbers for Patch sites, and reported that Patch is undergoing a HuffPo-ization. That prompted Judy Sims and Slate’s Jack Shafer to be the latest to rip into Patch’s business model, and Shafer followed up to address rebuttals about non-Patch hyperlocal news.

— Google+ was the only interesting Google-related news over the past two weeks: The Lab’s Megan Garber wrote about Google’s bid to transform mobile ads, potential new directions for Google News, and Google highlighting individual authors in search returns. The New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan also wrote on Google’s ongoing war on “nonsense” content.

— A couple of paywall notes: The Times of London reported that it has 100,000 subscribers a year after its paywall went up, and Dorian Benkoil said the New York Times’ plan is working well, the Lab’s Megan Garber wrote about the Times adding a “share your access” offer to print subscribers.

— Three practical posts for journalists: Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman has tips for successful news aggregation and personalized news delivery, and British j-prof Paul Bradshaw reported on his experience running his blog through a Facebook Page for a month.

— And three bigger-picture pieces to think on: Wetpaint’s Ben Elowitz on the shrinking of the non-Facebook web, former Guardian digital editor Emily Bell on the U.S.’ place within the global media ecosystem, and Paul Bradshaw on the new inverted pyramid of data journalism.

July 03 2011

21:16

Mac pioneer Andy Hertzfeld and the thinking baked into Google+ (Plus) Circles

CNET :: Thirty years ago, Andy Hertzfeld was a young computer engineer working at Apple Computer on the first Macintosh under the leadership of Steve Jobs. As Jobs had repeatedly promised the small team, their creation would change the world, and he was right.

Today, Hertzfeld's passion for technology and his experiences at Apple have been baked into Google+. Hertzfeld's role on Google+ was primarily building Circles. CNET interviewed Hertzfeld by phone to ask more about the ambitions of Google+, the thinking that went into Circles, his next projects at Google, and some broader industry trends.

Continue to read Scott Ard, news.cnet.com

20:56

The idea behind - where did Google+ (Plus) Circles come from?

Asia Digital Map :: One of the coolest features on Google+ is their flagship feature “Circles”. One might argue, this is the same feature as “friends lists” on Facebook, but Google+ Circles keep you in better control in managing different social circles you are a part of. Where did Google+ Circles come from? - The whole idea behind Google+ Circles, links back to the ideas of ‘social graph’ and ‘social clusters’. The social graph of a person, describe how he/she is related to the other human beings on earth, and how they acquired those relationships.

Idea behind of Google+ - continue to read Amitha Amarasinghe, www.asiadigitalmap.com

July 01 2011

15:36

Mediatwits #11: Can Google+ Overtake Facebook, Avoid MySpace's Fate?

danny_sullivan headshot.jpg

Welcome to the eleventh episode of "The Mediatwits," the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift's Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali, the founder of PaidContent. This week's show looks at the recent launch of Google+, a more fully formed social network that is taking on Facebook. Google+ is in an invite-only mode but both Mark and Rafat had a chance to try it out. Special guest Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land joins the show to spell out just how difficult Google+ will have it trying to overtake entrenched social networking king Facebook.

Plus, MySpace, the former social networking leader, has fallen on hard times, with News Corp. recently selling it in a fire sale for just $35 million, a far cry from its sale price in 2005 for $580 million. What went wrong? Could the same thing happen to Facebook? And how can Google+ be the next Facebook and not the next MySpace?

Check it out!

mediatwits11.mp3

Subscribe to the podcast here

Subscribe to Mediatwits via iTunes

Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Rafat back from Uzbekistan

1:50: Rafat says it's easy to unlock an iPhone

3:25: No one uses Facebook in Uzbekistan

5:44: Rundown of topics for the podcast

First impressions of Google+

08:20: Rafat annoyed by people talking about Google+ on Google+

10:10: Mark says there's nothing groundbreaking to make people switch

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan joins in

11:35: Background on Danny Sullivan

13:40: Google +1 buttons don't go into stream

16:40: Google+ lets you start fresh with friends in circles

17:45: Danny is exhausted thinking about having to categorize all his friends

19:40: Danny likes the Hangout video chats

MySpace sold on the cheap

myspace-logo-200.jpg

23:20: Justin Timberlake now has stake in MySpace

26:15: Rafat says MySpace founders weren't strong leaders

27:10: Danny never liked MySpace because it seemed "messy"

28:30: Google search deal actually hurt MySpace

More Reading

Google+

Google's Facebook Competitor, The Google+ Social Network, Finally Arrives at Search Engine Land

First Look: Hands On With Google+ at Search Engine Land

Google+ Project: It's Social, It's Bold, It's Fun, And It Looks Good -- Now For The Hard Part at TechCrunch

9 Reasons to Switch from Facebook to Google+ at PC World

How to invite your pals to Google+ at CNET

Exclusive: Myspace to Be Sold to Specific Media for $35 Million at AllThingsD

The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace at BusinessWeek

Stealing MySpace book at Amazon

Weekly Poll

Don't forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about Google+:




What do you think about Google+?customer surveys

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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

March 15 2011

02:14

Circles and Euclidian Rhythms: Off the Grid, a Few Music Makers That Go Round and Round

Loopseque on the iPad. Courtesy the developer.

We continue our 3.14 celebration with a round-up of circular logic.

There’s no reason apart from the printed score to assume music has to be divided into grids laid on rectangles. Even the “piano roll” as a concept began as just that – a roll. Cycles the world around, from a mechanical clock to Indonesian gamelan, can be thought of in circles.

Imagine an alternate universe in which Raymond Scott’s circle machine – a great, mechanical disc capable of sequencing sounds – became the dominant paradigm. We might have circles everywhere, in place of left-to-right timelines now common in media software. Regardless, it’s very likely Scott’s invention inspired Bob Moog’s own modular sequencers; it was almost certainly the young Moog’s exposure to the inventions in Scott’s basement that prompted that inventor to go into the electronic music business, thus setting the course for music technology as we know it.

See:
Raymond Scott’s Circle Machine
For more background: “Circle Machines and Sequencers”: The Untold History of Raymond Scott’s Pioneering Instruments [as reprinted from Electronic Musician]
One superb modern re-creation, via Synthtopia

Scott’s creation was shaped the way that it was partly out of mechanical necessity. Now we’re gifted with the ability to make any form we like for our electrified music tools. Circles can have appeal not because they’re somehow novel, but for just the opposite reason: they’re ubiquitous, intuitive, and geometrically elegant. So, let’s first consider these in their most abstract, in software.

Euclidean Rhythms

Incredible things are happening to our understanding of music theory as the gap between fields is shortened. Say what you will about the state of communication in our modern society; for the self-motivated, the trip “across the quad” (between academic departments) has nothing on the trip across the Internet.

Godfried Toussaint, a computer scientist with a strong math background based at Montreal’s McGill University, has a whole body of fascinating writing linking math, geometry, and music. One research paper has had a big influence on many of us, myself included. Here’s the beauty of math: an algorithm developed by Euclid in Alexandria around 300 BC also works for calculating timing systems in neutron accelerators and makes nice poly-rhythms for music. It’s rather amazing we don’t talk to each other about math more often.

Toussaint’s paper:
The Euclidean Algorithm Generates Traditional Musical Rhythms [PDF, 2005]

Our friend wesen wrote about the technique, suggesting it could be used to generate new rhythms, and included code in Lisp:
Generating african rhythms using the euclidean algorithm

wesen even made code for his amazing MiniCommand sequencing box, which I hope we’ll see more of this year. (I should have some time to work on it myself.) The actual demo is part of the way through the video:

The algorithm – the recent Bjorklund reinterpretation of Euclid’s millenia-old work – has in turn found musical life in other languages:

Python – the bjorklund algorithm and generative music[astomo.us]
Ruby – Rhythm Generation With an Euclidian Algorithm [Aleksey Gureiev]
More Ruby – jvoorhis GitHub
Java – Generating Musical Rhythms [Kristopher Wayne Reese]
Pure Data + Java – Dave Poulter
Flash/ActionScript (pictured above) – Euclidean rhythms [Wouter Hisschemöller]
Max for Live (pictured below) – Euclidean sequencer [Robin Price]

I’m implementing a touch interface for it now using Pd, Processing, and Android; I had hoped to share it by now, but I’m still fleshing it out – I’ll give it away when it’s done.

You’ll notice in these, too, the similarity to the original Scott Circle Machine, down to the sweeping arm. But that’s a benefit: glancing at them on paper, Mozart and Haydn look the same, and they use the same musical technology, but think of the musical variety that results.

A Few Circular Sequencers

Circular sequencing interfaces are plentiful – indeed, I hope that this story prompts lots of people to say “hey, what about …?” Here are a few examples.

DominoFactory’s dial uses drifting circular geometries to control musical patterns. Created by Hiroshi Matoba, a young designer/DJ, it’s one of a body of work this student creator is building:

17 Dec, 2010
at ImageRama in Kyushu University(Fukuoka/Japan)

dial is a software sequencer using circle to control loop sequences in real time. I imply “speed sync” circular notation system which differ to “angle sync” in my past work “Overbug”.

Now under developing with openFrameworks and Bullet Physics. I use ofxConsole for custom CUI in this version.

*ImageRama is one night event hosted by Genda lab. in Kyushu univ., we setup surround sound(5.1ch) and 1 full HD projector. thank you for all stuff!!

See also Matoba’s earlier Overbug, which assembles polyrhythms in lacy, overlapping wheels, like some strange, elaborate clockwork:

Overbug

You can download it for yourself for the Mac; it even has Snow Leopard support.

Also from Japan, Nao Tokui has taken these ideas in another direction, still, with “mashup” application and, in three dimensions, his original Sonasphere. The latter was one of the first interfaces to really fire my imagination as far as alternative user interfaces and three-dimensional sequencing.

http://www.sonasphere.com/

For an instance of a commercial application, see the iPad Loopseque, the development of which we profiled extensively here on CDM in August:
Loopseque, New iPad App, Offers Circular Sequencing and Visual Inspiration

The one shortcoming for me of that application is the inflexibility of the grid, which is why the Euclidean ideas above interest me, but it’s still a lot of fun.

Dan Trueman (on the faculty at Princeton) built his own Cyclotron for experimentation with cycles, with work going back to 1996. The clever invention here is the use of the spokes themselves as musical information. Quite a lot more detail and code in Processing and ChucK:
Cyclotron project page

Rui Penha and Polygons

Rui Penha deserves his own category here, I think, as he’s done a great deal of research. He has worked with polygonal shapes as a way of displaying evenness in rhythms, and he’s built not only novel interfaces, but entire musical compositional environments using these paradigms. They’re all downloadable, too.

Instrument A, pictured below, uses sampled sounds and pre-composed loops which you can then assemble into a layered composition.

Gamelan, in the video at the top of this story, uses cyclic, circular notation to make interlocking parts of music more visible, in the style of an Indonesian ensemble. I was struck by this myself as I’d constructed a (much cruder) demonstration of the same idea for a talk in Ireland; here, Rui builds it into an entire interface. Also, there’s a meaning to the symbology of the circle: Gamelan looks for other networked players with which it can interact, making this a communal experience – and it can even be used to play a real gamelan ensemble, via robotic apparatus controlled wirelessly.

Políssonosis perhaps the most sophisticated of all of these, mapping those shapes into three dimensions and making the evenness of rhythms more apparent. See video, top, and the same ideas below.

Hardware and Kinectic Art

No discussion of circular design would be complete without the legendary synthesizers of FutureRetro, which uses a cyclical interface to divide patterns and even arranges synth parameters around the rotational theme. You can now pick up an Orb for $550.

http://www.future-retro.com/

It’s worth coming full (cough) circle here and revisiting the mechanical ideas, as I think part of what grounds these abstractions is the progression of time in physical contraptions. That’s what inspires the rotating arms above and so on. Because it’s so fundamentally tied to a motor, there are too many rotating soundmakers to name, but here are a couple. They’re inspired by a discussion following our post last month:

Music, Like Clockwork: Modular Music Boxes with Rotating Wheels, Inspired by monome

Invisible Rhythm worked from the notion of a music box to make their analog drum machine Rhythm 1001.

See also the Conspiring machine – thanks to an unfortunate use of Flash, I can’t link directly easily, but head to http://www.kristoffermyskja.com/, choose work, and then select Conspiring Machine (or some of the other, related ideas) from the left-hand column.

I’m going to turn loopy if I keep going, so I’ll leave it there. But have you found circular sequencers to be musically useful? Are there hardware or software designs you appreciate that I missed here? Research worth checking out? Or are you committed to the rectangle – and if so, can you explain why?

Happy PI day. May your oscillations always be in phase.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl