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February 20 2012


Resources for learning about social media

I have been collecting posts, articles, tutorials and general how-to materials that relate to how journalists use social media. I started about two weeks ago, as I prepare for a workshop in Singapore.

They are curated here: Social Media and Journalists.

The collection is housed at Scoop.it, a curation site that goes a step beyond social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and Diigo, and which privileges text and tagging — rather than visuals (like Pinterest). For this particular project, I’m finding it very useful.

One example of its utility is that I can offer up a link to a subset of the complete collection by using my own tags: see all posts tagged with “Instagram.” This kind of selection is always useful in teaching and training. Unfortunately, you cannot combine tags (e.g., Instagram + howto) to narrow the search results.

I could have chosen Tumblr for this project, but I’m liking the way Scoop.it works. One of its best features is that when you “scoop” a link using the Scoop.it bookmarklet, the Scoop.it interface opens in a one-third-screen vertical overlay (shown in the first screen capture above). This allows me to scroll up and down in the source material, which makes it easy to write my annotations and choose my tags. I don’t have to flip between browser tabs.

The toolbar shown above appears at the bottom of every posted item. It’s fast and easy to edit your posts and to change or add tags. It’s also easy for others to share your posts on a variety of social networks.

A big drawback is that I can’t download or otherwise preserve my collection. If Scoop.it goes bust, I will lose all my work. There is an RSS feed, but the links go only to the Scoop.it posts; there is no link to the source material in the RSS feed. Bummer.

Scoop.it isn’t brand-new — the site launched in November 2011.

December 27 2011


Public Media: A Wish List for 2012

What's the No. 1 innovation that's needed in public media in 2012?

I posed that question to the public media group on Facebook, as well as to some additional colleagues via email. The responses ranged from a focus on cultivating a culture of innovation, to calls for more innovative content approaches, to the need to grow public media's audience to provide greater support for our existing innovations. And according to some, what's needed more than anything -- more than any individual innovative approach -- is a shared, collective vision of where public media needs to go next.

Here's a selection of the responses I received:

"I think what's still needed most is a change in the culture so that innovation and risk-taking are supported and encouraged." - Ian Hill, community manager, KQED

Several people agreed with Ian, only some of whom were comfortable being quoted in this piece. Adam Schweigert, who recently departed public media (a temporary hiatus, he insists!) after 7-plus years in the system, said creating a culture of innovation "will do a lot to help recruit and retain new voices, increase diversity, (and) lead to further innovation in content and technology ..."


Need for Resources

Veteran journalist Max Cacas, currently defense editor at Signal Magazine, but with long ties to public media, argued that a culture of innovation is well and good, but we first need the resources to support such a culture. He offered a specific recommendation:

"I think what is needed is an 'innovation seed bank' that public radio/TV/media outlets in smaller markets can tap into so that they can make efforts to serve new audiences without compromising their existing and ongoing services."

Which raises a great question (one that was still being debated on Facebook, last I checked): Does building a culture of innovation create resources to support said innovation ... or do the resources indeed need to come first?

Kelsey Proud, online producer at St. Louis Public Radio, noted, "Some things can be done without money, but others, like equipment purchases, simply cannot."

Yoonhyung Lee, director of Digital Media Fundraising at KQED, feels that we have plenty of innovation in the system ... What's needed are bigger audiences to help translate innovation into sustainability:

"(Innovations) don't necessarily pay the bills. And they don't necessarily garner the kind of audiences that ONE prime-time program, ONE hour of drive-time listening would. Innovations are great, but if we can't find the audiences to support them ... well, does that falling tree make a sound if no one is listening?"

Tech Not Always the Driver

Of course, when you ask a question about innovation, people tend to respond with their own definitions of the admittedly broad term. Some emphasized that while "innovation" often connotes "technology" in this day and age, technology should not necessarily be the driver:

"While it is a significant driver of change, technology for technology's sake has little meaning. Our imaginations must lead technology. Media makers must first decide what difference they want to make, and for whom -- then figure out the tools to get them where they want to go." - Sue Schardt, executive director, AIR

On Facebook, producer Stacy Bond agreed, voicing her opinion that we should be using technology "to innovate on-air (and in ways that are truly cross-platform, not just safe ways of paying lip-service to cross-platform)." Scott Finn, news director at WUSF in Florida, wants to see expanded digital reporting and original investigative reporting at the state and local level; "then," he said, "we need to develop the digital infrastructure to share stories across stations and with NPR."

Public media veteran Michael Marcotte agreed that sharing was key, but wants to see it on an even broader scale. While he agrees resources and culture change are key issues, he thinks the main innovation needed in 2012 is a shared vision, and a plan to go with it:

"We share the mission of public media, but we don't act in coordinated fashion for the long-term success of the entire system. I think 2012's innovation should be a national, collective, shared effort to define and refine the vision that drives strategy, policy and investment approaching 2020."

In a recent piece for Current, Melinda Wittstock -- founder of Capitol News Connection, a startup that recently closed its doors -- called public media a "cozy, clubby world," where "risk is a four-letter word." What do you think? Is public media risk-averse? Do we need to begin taking more risks in 2012? If so, which risks should we take?

What risks will you be taking in the new year?

Amanda Hirsch is a writer, online media consultant and performer who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. The former editorial director of PBS.org, she blogs at amandahirsch.com and spends way too much time on Twitter.


This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on the Integrated Media Association's Public Media Innovators Project, a weekly blog series about the people and projects that are helping make public media a relevant and viable media enterprise for the 21st century.

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

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November 30 2011


How to Manage Human Capital: Tips and Resources for Nonprofits

Continuing our series on how nonprofit organizations can tap into the human capital potential, I thought it might be helpful to pull together some resources that will help nonprofits avoid common pitfalls and follow best practices when working with volunteers.

Whether you are a nonprofit just starting to use human capital or have already established internal structures to manage your volunteers, engaging them in meaningful and productive ways can be both rewarding and challenging. 

Volunteers can bring a wide range of skills and experiences to build your capacity and boost your mission-driven work.  We hope these resources will help make the work of managing volunteers a little easier and keep your volunteers happy to boot!

To get you started, we have a lot of tips and resources to share from members of the TechSoup and Net2 community.

How and where to get volunteers:

  • On the Net2 Blog - We asked the Net2 community to share best practices for finding passionate volunteers and how nonprofits can use the Internet to make finding volunteers more efficient and effective. We got a lot more. Check out this amazing list of Net2 community contributed tools, tactics, and best practices. 

Webinars - Resources to help manage and retain volunteers:

The HandsOn Network

An arm of the Points of Light Institute, The HandsOn Network is the largest volunteer network in the nation and includes more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers in 16 countries and a powerful network of more than 70,000 corporate, faith, and nonprofit organizations. 

We did a quick search in their Tools and Resources Library and found some great resources:

  • Starting A Volunteering Program in an Organization (PDF) - This document reviews some important steps in the creation of a volunteer program.
  • Take Root: Volunteer Management Guide (PDF) -  A comprehensive guide for that includes volunteer management, recruitment, retention, recognition strategies and much more.
  • Volunteers as Leaders (PDF) - A step-by-step guide for non-profits to develop volunteer leaders. From developing a volunteer leader framework to recruiting, equipping and supporting leaders.
  • eVOLve: technical assistance for mobilizing volunteers - Sign up for this monthly electronic technical assistance brief, where you will find tips and tools to help you inspire, equip, and mobilize volunteers in your community. Check out the eVOLve archives.
  • Economic Impact Of Volunteers Calculator - Ever try putting a value on the time volunteers give to an organization? This tool can help you. It estimates the appropriate wage rate for volunteer time based on what the person does, the value of specific tasks according to market conditions as reported by the US Department of Labor.

Here are the full search results of HandsOn resources for non-profits.

Risk Management and Legal Issues

As nonprofits consider using volunteers they are often concerned about risk management and legal issues. I am no legal expert, but the Nonprofit Risk Management Center says a little prevention can go a long way. 

Here is a select list of useful (free) articles:

Visit the center’s Volunteer Risk Management page or a full list of their paid resources and services.

We realize there are lot of resources on volunteer management out there. It’s almost overwhelming! We have to tried to round up the ones we thought would be most useful for nonprofits as they consider how to best manage human capital. 

If we missed anything or you’d like to share something else with the Net2 community, we encourage you to leave us a comment. 

September 01 2011


The ultimate responsive web design roundup

Responsive design is the new darling of the web design world. It seems that not a week goes by that there aren’t new resources for doing it, opinions about how to do it or even whether to do it at all, and new sites that make beautiful use of it.

It can quickly get overwhelming trying to keep up with it all.

Here we’ve compiled a list of more than seventy resources for creating responsive designs.

Included are articles discussing responsive design and related theories, frameworks and boilerplates for responsive layouts, tools for testing your responsive designs, techniques for resizable images, and a whole lot more.

Then, to top it all off, we’ve collected a hundred of the best responsive designs out there right now to inspire you and give you some real-world ideas.

Articles and Publications

Below are a number of high-quality articles talking about responsive design and the techniques that go into it. Some might include a few code snippets or other technical information, but for the most part, these are concept-level discussions.

Responsive Web Design

This is the original post by Ethan Marcotte that was posted on A List Apart. It discusses the reasoning and principles behind responsive design, as well as practical techniques for creating responsive sites.

Responsive Web Design Book

Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte, published by A Book Apart, covers the state of the responsive web, flexible grids, flexible images, media queries, and how to create responsive designs.

The Practicalities of CSS Media Queries, Lessons Learned

This post, from Bloop, is a fantastic overview of how to use media queries (and their pros and cons compared to creating a dedicated mobile site), as well as some useful tips for implementing them. Some useful code snippets are included, too.

Big vs. Small: Challenges in Responsive Web Design

This article discusses some of the challenges responsive web design can present, including the unique considerations that are required as desktop screen sizes continue to grow, while at the same time many users are now accessing the web more on tablets or smartphones.

Beginner’s Guide to Responsive Web Design

This Beginner’s Guide from Think Vitamin offers a great introduction to responsive design, including information on fluid grids and media queries.

Responsive Web Design: What It Is and How To Use It

This introduction to responsive design from Smashing Magazine is a great primer on the subject. It covers the basic concept, as outlined by Ethan Marcotte, as well as practical concerns for creating responsive designs. Code examples are also included.

Responsive by Default

This article from Andy Hume discusses why the web is responsive by default, and that designers have been forcing it to be un-responsive for years. It’s an interesting idea, discussed mostly from a developer’s point of view.

Content Choreography

We often talk about responsive design strictly from the technical end of things, but the entire point of responsive design is to improve the content experience. This post from Trent Walton talks about just that, how stacking content isn’t always the best solution, and what can be done instead.

Understanding the Elements of Responsive Web Design

This post from Six Revisions covers the basics of responsive design: flexible grid, flexible images, and media queries.

A Brief Overview of Responsive Design

Here’s another great basic rundown of what responsive design is and how to achieve it, this time from 1st Web Designer.

Responsive Web Design has Created Opportunities Across the Board

This post covers some of the opportunities that responsive design presents for designers and developers.

Designing for a Responsive Web

This article from Webdesigntuts+ discusses responsive design in terms of fluid grid, fluid images, and media queries.

Experimenting with Responsive Web Design

This article from Lee Munroe gives a simple overview of responsive design, particularly media queries, as well as some examples.

CSS3 Media Queries

Web Designer Wall offers a great roundup of media query code snippets, responsive design examples, and more in this article.

20 Amazing Examples of Using Media Queries for Responsive Web Design

This post from Design Shack offers up some great examples of responsive design, as well as plenty of information how to create your own responsive sites.


This post from Adactio covers some of the confusion that often surrounds responsive design, breaking it down in simple terms and offering some useful insight.

A Richer Canvas

This article from Mark Boulton discusses some of the advantages that responsive design, CSS3, and other tools give designers and content creators, specifically that we should be designing from the content out, rather than the other way around.

Some Thoughts on Responsive Web-Design and Media Queries

This post from Jon Phillips discusses some of the potential downsides to responsive design and, more importantly, offers some great solutions.

Responsive Web Design and Mobile Context

This post discusses how mobile devices are being used for browsing web content, and how that can affect your responsive design choices.

The New Front End Design Stack: The Role of Responsive Design

This post from Acquia discusses the importance of responsive design, offers some great examples, the technical elements that go into creating responsive designs, and more.

Responsive Web Design from the Future

Responsive Web Design from the Future is a presentation by Kyle Neath that discusses the future of web design in relation to responsive design principles.

To Hell With Bad Devices: Responsive Web Design and Web Standards

This is an in-depth look at responsive design, discussing device-specific design, what responsive design means for apps, and more.

The Pros and Cons of Responsive Web Design

Plenty of articles discuss how to create a responsive design, but not that many discuss the good and bad things about responsive designs. The Pam does just that, giving a fairly comprehensive list of the positives and negatives associated.

11 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design Isn’t That Cool

This post from WebDesignShock outlines some of the potential challenges and problems that responsive design can present.


The tutorials below will teach you about CSS media queries and other responsive design techniques.

Quick Tip: A Crash-Course in CSS Media Queries

This Nettuts+ tutorial offers some basics for working with media queries, complete with video tutorial and code snippets.

Adaptive Layouts with Media Queries

This tutorial from .Net Magazine offers a look at basic CSS3 media query techniques. It includes plenty of code snippets and practical information about crafting your own responsive layouts.

Responsive Web Design: A Visual Guide

This video tutorial from Tuts+ offers a great introduction to what responsive design looks like, with examples. It then explains how to create your own responsive design, taking into account both the visual and technical aspects.

CSS Media Queries & Using Available Space

This post from CSS-Tricks explains the concept of using media queries to take advantage of the available space in the browser viewport. It includes plenty of useful code snippets and examples.

Working with Media Queries

Here’s a short tutorial for working with media queries, with plenty of code examples. It’s basic and to-the-point, but a perfect introduction to basic media queries.

How to Use CSS3 Orientation Media Queries

Media queries are great for adjusting the way your responsive design displays on different browser sizes, but a lot of designers overlook the orientation controls. These allow you to change the way your site is displayed based on whether a device is currently oriented to portrait or landscape mode, which is useful for both smart phones and tablets.

Optimizing Your Email for Mobile Devices with the @media Query

We often overlook HTML email newsletters when thinking about responsive design, but considering the number of people who are likely to view your HTML emails on their phone, it’s a good idea to use media queries in this case. This post from Campaign Monitor explains how it’s done.

How to Use CSS3 Media Queries to Create a Mobile Version of Your Website

This post from Smashing Magazine explains how to use media queries for creating a mobile site or otherwise linking separate stylesheets.

Adaptive & Responsive Design with CSS3 Media Queries

This fantastic post from Web Designer Wall includes a responsive design template, as well as a tutorial on how the template was created. It’s a great resource for those who like to learn new techniques by dissecting finished projects.

Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and the Less Framework 3

This article from SitePoint offers thorough instructions for creating a responsive design using HTML5 and the Less Framework. It includes all the code you’ll need for the final design, as well as a good breakdown of what that code does.

Tools and Techniques

The techniques and tools below make it a lot easier to create designs that respond the way you want them to. Many are for handling images (arguably one of the more challenging aspects of responsive design), but there are others, too.

CSS Effect: Spacing Images Out to Match Text Height

Depending on your layout, you may need text to line up properly with images, regardless of how the images and text are spaced. This technique from Zomigi shows you how to do just that.

Hiding and Revealing Portions of Images

Resizing images can only take you so far with responsive designs in some cases. At times, it’s more important for a particular part of an image to be visible or readable than for the entire image to be shown. That’s where this technique from Zomigi can come in handy. It makes it possible to dynamically crop background and foreground images as your layout width changes.

Creating Sliding Composite Images

This technique, from Zomigi, lets you create what appears to be a single image but is actually multiple images layered on top of one another. In this way, you can control the exact placement of different elements of the image as your browser viewport changes size and shape.

Seamless Responsive Photo Grid

This gallery from CSS-Tricks offers up a seamless photo grid that automatically resizes your images and the overall grid to fit your browser viewport.

Responsive Data Tables

Responsive design techniques aren’t very friendly to data tables. It’s easy to end up with tables where the type is so small it’s impossible to read. Or you can specify a minimum width, but then that kind of defeats the purpose of a responsive design. This technique from CSS-Tricks offers a solution for responsively displaying tabular data on a mobile device.

Foreground Images that Scale with the Layout

So it’s easy enough to create scaling background images, but foreground images are a little trickier. This article covers a technique from Zomigi for creating foreground images in your content that will scale with your layout.


FitText is a jQuery plugin for scaling headline text in your responsive designs. Using this, your text will always fill the width of the parent element.

Sencha.io Src

Sencha.io Src is an image hosting service that sizes your images to the appropriate size for the device requesting them. Images are also optimized for efficient repeat delivery.

The Goldilocks Approach to Responsive Design

This post by Chris Armstrong talks about the “Goldilocks Approach” for creating responsive designs that are “just right” for any device.


Responsive-Images is an experiment in mobile-first images that scale responsively to fit your design. The idea is to deliver optimized, contextual image sizes in responsive layouts.


Lettering.js is a jQuery plugin that gives you precise control over the way your web typography appears, which can be a big plus in maintaining readability in a responsive design.

Fluid Images

This technique from Ethan Marcotte creates fluid-width images for your fluid designs. It also works for embedded videos, and there’s a workaround for IE compatibility.


Respond is a lightweight polyfill script for min/max width CSS3 media queries, to make them work in Internet Explorer 6-8. It’s only 3kb minified, or 1kb gzipped.


Modernizr is a toolkit for HTML5 and CSS3 that provides JavaScript-driven feature detection combined with media queries.

Responsive Web Design Sketch Sheets

If you wireframe your designs on paper, you’ll find these Responsive Web Design Sketch Sheets to be very useful. There are a couple of different layouts you can download for free, each of which shows a handful of likely device viewports.

Frameworks and Boilerplates

Frameworks and boilerplates can greatly speed up your design process. The good news is that there are tons of boilerplates and frameworks already available for creating responsive designs.

Golden Grid System

The Golden Grid System uses a 16-column base design for widescreen monitors. On tablets, the columns will fold into an 8-column layout. And on smaller smartphone screens, the columns fold again to 4-columns, allowing the design to adapt to anything from a 2560 pixel wide screen down to a 240 pixel screen.

The Semantic Grid System

The Semantic Grid System allows for fluid layouts and responsive designs, while also using semantic markup (which is sorely lacking from most grid frameworks).


Gridless is an HTML5 and CSS3 boilerplate for creating mobile-first responsive websites. It includes no predefined grid system and no non-semantic classes.

Less Framework 4

The Less Framework is a CSS grid system for designing responsive sites that adapt to the size of the browser viewport. It has four layouts: default (for desktops and landscape mode tablets), tablet layout, wide mobile layout, and mobile layout. This is a good option for designers who want a responsive design but don’t necessarily want fluid columns.

Responsive Twenty Ten

Responsive Twenty Ten is based on the Twenty Ten WordPress theme. There’s also a plugin available to turn your Twenty Ten child theme into a responsive design.


Columnal is a CSS grid system that’s a “remix” of some other grids, with added custom code. The elastic grid base is taken from cssgrid.net, while other bits of code are taken from 960.gs.

1140 CSS Grid

The 1140 CSS Grid System is a flexible, fluid grid that will rearrange based on the browser viewport. It’s designed to fit perfectly in a 1280 pixel wide monitor, but becomes fluid below that.

320 and Up

320 and Up uses the mobile-first principle to prevent mobile devices from downloading desktop assets. It’s an alternative to starting with a desktop version and scaling down.


Skeleton is a boilterplate for responsive, mobile-friend designs. It starts with the 960 grid but scales down for smaller screens, and is designed to be both fast to get started with a style agnostic.

Fluid Grid System

The Fluid Grid System is based on a six-column grid and has 720 different layout possibilities. Because of its simplicity, it degrades well in older browsers.

Fluid 960 Grid System

The Fluid 960 Grid System is based on 960.gs, but has a fluid layout regardless of browser size.


Foldy960 is a responsive version of 960.gs. It consists of some extra classes and other things for turning a 960.gs design into a responsive design.


SimpleGrid is another responsive grid framework that supports infinite nesting. It’s configured for screens at four different sizes, including 1235px and 720px.

Testing Tools

These tools make it much easier to test your responsive designs without having to use a bunch of different devices.


resizeMyBrowser is a useful testing tool for responsive designs. Just click one of the predefined browser size buttons and your browser will resize. Each size is labeled with the name of at least one device that uses that resolution.


responsivepx is a browser testing tool that lets you enter a URL (local or online) and then adjust the height and width of the browser viewport to see exact break-point widths in pixels.

Responsive Design Testing

Matt Kersley has created this browser testing tool that lets you see exactly how your site displays at common browser widths, starting at 240px and going up to 1024px.


Screenfly shows you how a website will look on various devices, including internet-enabled TVs and mobile devices.

Adobe Device Central

A number of Adobe Creative Suite products come with Device Central, which can be a very valuable tool for testing your responsive designs. It lets you not only preview, but also test your designs on the device of your choice.


Below are 100 examples of fantastic responsive designs. There are a lot more sites out there using the technique, and new ones are launched every day. One great resource for finding new sites is Media Queries, a gallery dedicated specifically to sites using responsive design techniques.

Profi Span

Forgotten Presidents

Ben Handzo

Aaron Shekey

The Highway Hurricanes

dConstruct 2011

Merlin Ord & Media

The Happy Bit


Easy Readers: Adaptive Web Design

More Hazards More Heroes

Facts Regula

Hi, My Name is Andrew



The Obvious Corporation

Geek in the Park



10K Apart


Food Sense

New Adventures in Web Design Conference

Cisco London 2012

Team PAWS Chicago

Diablo Media

Andersson-Wise Architects

Designing with Data

Full Frontal 2011

Aaron Weyenberg

Web Design Yorkshire

Winnie Lim

Urban Svensson

Luke Williams



Toronto Standard

Design Professionalism

Impact Dialing


Johan Brook

Dust and Mold Design



El Sendero del Cacao

Dustin Senos

Kisko Labs



Patrick Grady

Trent Walton




Ash Physical Training

Mark Boulton

The Modern Gentleman

Build Guild

Do Lectures

David Hughes

320 and Up


Really Simple


Leica Explorer

Spigot Design


Jason Weaver

Joni Korpi


Converge SE

Pelican Fly

Simple Bits

Information Architects

Andy Croll

Hicks Design

8 Faces

The Sweet Hat Club

Little Pea Bakery


Andrew Revitt



Philip Meissner Design



UX London

Jeremy Madrid

Brad Dielman

Thomas Prior


Herjen Oldenbeuving


City Crawlers Berlin


Robot…or Not?

Marcelino Llano

Caleb Ogden

A Flexible Grid

Simon Collison

More roundups

Here are some more great responsive design roundups from other sites.

Written exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

Are you using responsive design techniques in your projects? Know of any resources we missed? Let us know in the comments!


July 08 2011


Webinar: Digital Toolbox for Journalists

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas is about to launch a series of four online seminars focused on digital tips and tools for journalists. The four webinars to be offered in July will cover the following topics: Writing for the Web (in Spanish), Social Media Techniques and Tools (in English), Data Visualization Basics (in Spanish), and Data-Driven Reporting (in English).

Registration for the webinars is open until full capacity is reached. Each webinar costs $30, but participants who are fluent in Spanish and English can enroll in all four webinars for the discounted price of $80.

Here is more information about the webinars and details on how to apply.


May 15 2011


A highly recommended social media guide

One of the better collection of social media links and tips online is this page from Columbia Journalism School professor and Dean of Student Affairs Sree Sreenivasan, who organized Social Media Weekend this week at Columbia University. The page includes everything from tipsheets to videos. And part of what makes it so useful is that he is continually updating it, so that while many online guides quickly become out-of-date, this one’s usefulness continues to evolve along with the social media world.

May 12 2011


Amazing deal: 50% off ReadWriteWeb digital media conference


2WAY SummitCyberJournalist.net is pleased to offer its readers 50% off registration to the ReadWriteWeb 2WAY Summit June 13th and 14th at Columbia University in New York City. This is shaping up to be a fantastic conference, including speakers such as Union Square Ventures’ VC Fred Wilson, Mahalo founder Jason Calcanis, NPR social media guru Andy Carvin, Gawker Media founder Nick Denton, Hunch co-founder Chris Dixon, and many more.


The conference will also include highly interactive breakout sessions, some of which have been proposed and will be led by RWW readers.

Click here to get the special discount.

For full speaker and program information, visit http://www.readwriteweb.com/2way/

February 27 2011


Oscar Search Trends

Google has created a special Oscars site that lets you see which movies and nominees are getting searched the most in each category. You can create charts for each category that can be customized for the last 30 days, the last 12 months or all years.

February 26 2011


10 Notorious Google Bombs

Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow noticed something weird this morning. When he searched for “murder” on Google, the second result was for the “Abortion” entry on Wikipedia. “However you feel about abortion, this Wikipedia page is pretty clearly not the second-most relevant document regarding murder on the entire English-speaking World Wide Web,” Doctorow wrote before calling on the Reddit community to help.

– The Atlantic.

February 21 2011


Real-time tweets from Egypt, Libya, Bahrain on Google Maps mashup

Software developer Virender Ajmani created a Google Maps Mashup that plots recent tweets from Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Iran in real-time. Check it out here.

(via HuffPo)

October 31 2010


Which tools were used to create the top honorees at the ONA 2010 Online Journalism Awards?

I'd be really interested in knowing what tools were used to create the winners in the 2010 Online Journalism Awards. So if you were involved in any of these sites and feel like letting us know, this entry's a wiki.

Bonus points for including the number of online developers and content editors.

If nothing else, it might provide something of a (very) rough estimate for newsroom decision-makers to see what kinds of resources (read tools & bodies) a organization might need to commit in order to create award-winning online journalism.

September 23 2010


Data and predictions about mobile app growth

A new report from Borrell Associates looks at the rapid growth of mobile apps with data on what’s happening now — and predictions of what’s likely to happen over the next five years — as the media world becomes increasingly mobile.

A  few nuggets:

  • The average smartphone has 22 apps.  But after 6 months, only one of those original 22 is still being used.
  • More than a half-million apps are downloaded every single hour
  • Nearly all the advertising action on apps appears to be national.  There are scant local dollars to be had just yet.
  • By 2015, nearly two-thirds of all “online” advertising will be served up by a mobile device.

September 21 2010


How technology is transforming journalism education

PBS MediaShift has written an excellent series looking at the way that journalism education and training are shifting. “Beyond J-School” examines how journalism education has had to change with the times, and includes two audio podcasts (with journalism profs/innovators), a video show, a post on teaching social media, a story about a “Journalist Law Program” and a look at how some students created their own mini-media empires while studying at college — no J-school necessary.

Here are all the features in the series:

How to Teach Social Media in Journalism Schools by Alfred Hermida

5Across – Beyond J-School, a video roundtable show hosted by Mark Glaser

Revamping J-Schools in Australia to Bring in Citizens Agenda by Julie Posetti

How to Conquer Journalism Students’ Fear of Technology by Jen Lee Reeves

Business, Entrepreneurial Skills Come to Journalism School by Dorian Benkoil

4 Minute Roundup – Helping Journalism Students Get Tech Skills by Mark Glaser, with guest Jen Lee Reeves

Spending the Summer in Journalist Law School by Nick Baumann

How College Students Became Mini-Media Moguls in School by Dan Reimold

Columbia, Medill Training New Breed of Programmer-Journalists by Craig Silverman

4 Minute Roundup - NYU’s Jay Rosen on Rethinking J-Schools by Mark Glaser, with guest Jay Rosen

NYC J-Schools Take Divergent Paths on Training, Hyper-Local by Davis Shaver


Real-time Web + journalism = Real-time reporting

In a new essay, OJR’s Robert Hernandez uses the recent incident of the gunman at the Discovery Channel’s headquarters to highlight how the real-time web is changing journalism — including some good examples of how it can help and complicate the story.

“This next phase has the power to improve and advance our journalism, but also puts our core journalistic values to the test.”

The real-time web, he says, means “journalism without a safety net… it’s hyperlocal AND global journalism… it’s working under the deadline of now, 15 minutes from now and 15 minutes ago.

“The journalism game has changed — again. And this won’t be the last time,” he says. “While technology evolves, what are constant and never-changing are our core journalistic values.”

September 07 2010


Channel 4′s latest web project reinvents quotations for the Twitter age

Quotations are ubiquitous, from Facebook and Twitter to media coverage and watercooler chats. But the experience of finding a quotation online is often messy and reliant on amateurish sites that seem to rely on the same old quotes – and that’s the problem a new Channel 4 project is aiming to fix. By Jemima Kiss

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jemima Kiss, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 2nd September 2010 12.05 UTC

“My favourite quotation is £8 10/- for a second-hand suit,” Spike Milligan once said.

Quotations are ubiquitous, from Facebook and Twitter to media coverage and watercooler chats. But the experience of finding a quotation online is often messy and reliant on amateurish sites that seem to rely on the same old quotes – and that’s the problem a new Channel 4 project is aiming to fix.

New Zealand quotations (1)
Photo by PhillipC on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Quotables wants to reinvent the quotations dictionary. Co-founded by Channel 4 and the Arts Council, there’s a focus on literature but also some priority C4 areas including comedy, news, the arts and independent British cinema. C4′s new media commissioner for factual, Adam Gee, said that despite the number of quotations sites already out there – from Wikiquote and ThinkExist to BrainyQuote and QuotationsBook – there’s room to do much better, because many of those reuse the same databases and rehash the same misattributions and inaccuracies.

Charlie Brooker: “Snakes. They’re like bits of rope, only angrier.”

“We had the realisation that the way we interact with quotes online is really lacking in many respects,” said Gee. “It’s not a fun experience or an easy experience, and when you do find something you have no idea if it is accurate or not. Quotables is starting from a blank sheet, built from the preferences of an active community.”

Oscar Wilde and Socrates will make the cut eventually, but there’s as much of a focus on events, TV and popular culture; the end of Big Brother has been a focus for Channel 4.

Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Gee said there are four dimensions to the project. He hopes Quotables will become to quotes what Delicious is to links, a standard utility for saving and sharing. There’s also a buzz element, capturing trends in quotes on different days; Tony Blair was a hot topic yesterday. And over time it value as a reference tool will increase, as will its community.

David Gibson, from the Edinburgh Fringe: “I’m currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone.”

Is the popularity of short quotes a symptom of how the internet is rewiring our brains, impairing our ability to process long-form content? These are 75-word quotes. “By having these nuggets from great works of literature, great speeches, great articles, we’re encouraging the entirety to be read and that’s part of the ongoing programme of functionality. One aspect is we’re building a batch upload process of independent publishers so they can upload a selection of the best quotes from recent publications, and it gets published alongside links to Amazon or their own online shops. But concision is really about encouraging a more considered, careful submission so people don’t submit a whole paragraph – what is the essence you are put across?”

Quotables was conceived and commissioned by Channel 4, built by Mint Digital and co-founded by the Arts Council and Channel 4. Gee describes it as halfway between a standard Channel 4 commission and an investment, more like that of 4ip. The aim is to make Quotables a sustainable, standalone business and it already has an office base and small team in Glasgow. Gee would not say how much had been invested in the project.

Terry Pratchett: “Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

“It’s not extravagant but it’s not tight. And it has been budgeted for the long view. The emphasis is on building a lovely experience and a core of enthusiastic users and around them a community people enjoy being a part of.” He said that as well as advertising, there are plans to help the project sustain itself by adding merchandising – “Moo-style” hard products.

“People have been very generous in sharing the repositories of inspiration,” said Gee. “Quotables has the edge over what’s out there at the moment; the fact you have proper tools for the quotes – the ability to edit tags, the ability to correct things, for finding duplicates, proper attribution and more accuracy. And a system of lists as well as tags so you can keep your own stuff sorted.”

All of which reminds me of a line my Dad used to say was by Virginia Woolf, along the lines of: “Efficiency cuts the grass of the mind to its roots.” I’ve never been able to find it – does anyone know?

There’s more from Quotables on its blog and you can subscribe to daily quotations from Quotables on Twitter.

Woody Allen: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

• Elsewhere, Channel 4 is working with Six to Start on a project with the working title ABC – Arts Buzz Culture. “It’s an early-warning cultural radar system, particularly picking up on online buzz around discovering and sharing arts and culture events,” said Gee. If you frequently find events are sold out or are over by the time you’ve heard about them, this will be for you. It’s a working prototype, and the design side is being developed with Rob Bevan of XPT. “It’s a difficult design job – you’ve got to make it seem very simple and not overwhelming. The creativity and brilliance of the design is hidden in its simplicity, in many ways.” It’s personalised, social – and due out in 2011.

Dolly Parton: “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I’m also not blonde.”

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August 12 2010


Six digital trends to watch

Edelman’s Steve Rubel and David Armano have identified six digital trends and how organizations should address them.

Here is a brief summary of the trends, from Armano‘s blog, followed by their full presentation.

  1. Marketing in the age of streams
  2. Your customers, consumers and employees are no longer only visiting static Web pages but participating in conversations which increasingly occur off domain in “streams” flowing from Facebook, Twitter and even apps. In order to catch them, you must be highly relevant in their streams.

  3. The Googleization of media
  4. Quality Content and potent social connections in addition to traditional keywords are influencing how visible you are to the search engines. Everyone is media.

  5. The data decade
  6. Data is increasingly becoming available to anyone and everyone. From it we can derive insights into behaviors. We must become “data junkies” to fully harness this trend.

  7. Business becomes social
  8. Moving from designated spokesperson to employee engagement at scale—business itself is beginning to look more social as organizations start to engage all stakeholders in open and mutually beneficial ways.

  9. Location, location, location
  10. Where you are is becoming the new what are you doing as multiple platforms begin to adopt the new geolocation status update generating new kinds of data.

  11. Private becomes public
  12. Despite privacy concerns, applications and behaviors which support social sharing are still going strong as what is considered private becomes re-defined as we continue engaging in networks.

August 02 2010


7 tips on increasing traffic and engagement using Facebook

Facebook recently analyzed how the 100 top media sites are using its social plugins, as well as the pages of several top media organizations and the stories they posted, including their content, types of status update, and time of day. Among the findings were that certain ways of implementing the new Like buttons, such as including thumbnails of friends, could result in  3-5x greater click-through rates.

Facebook’s Justin Osofsky outlines in more detail what Facebook found and best practices in 7 areas:

  1. Driving audience and traffic through implementing the Like button. Websites experienced 3-5x greater click-through rates on the Like button when they implemented the version that includes thumbnails of friends, enabled users to add comments (which 70% of top performing sites did), and placed the Like button at the top and bottom of articles and near visually exciting content like videos and graphics.
  2. Driving audience and traffic through Publishing to users through Pages and Like button connections. In our analysis of stories published by top media organizations, we found that (a) stories involving emotional topics, passionate debates, and important sports events have 2-3x the activity of other stories, (b) status updates which ask simple questions or encourage a user to Like the story have 2-3x the activity, and (c) stories published in the early morning or just before bedtime have higher engagement.
    1. Increasing engagement by implementing the Activity Feed and Recommendations social plugins. Sites that place plugins above the fold and on multiple pages receive more engagement. For instance, sites that placed the Activity Feed on both the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites with the plugins on the front page alone.
    2. Increasing engagement by using Live Stream for live events. The Live Stream box, as notably implemented by CNN for the Obama inauguration, can create engaging experiences on partner sites. For instance, during the World Cup, there were over 1.5 million status updates through the Live Stream box on media websites such as Univision, TF1, ESPN, Cuatro, RTVE, and Telecinco.
    3. Increasing engagement by creating timely pages. In addition to analyzing engagement on stories, we also examined the effect of creating focused sub-pages and found that they can have substantially higher engagement. For example, stories published from a World Cup-focused Page of one major media company had 5x the engagement rate per user than stories from the company’s main Page.
    4. Increasing engagement by using the search API to create highly engaging visualizations that draw on status updates from Facebook users who share their posts publicly. The New York Times created an engaging visualization around the World Cup which sized players based on the frequency of public status updates. Your site can do the same through any topic of your choice, and show the buzz around everything from news items to events to local debates.
      1. Seeing what’s working with Insights. Finally, media organizations can understand their customers better through Facebook Insights. For example, one major German news site found Insights to be particularly helpful when it was trying to engage a younger audience online. Insights helped them optimize and understand the activities that continued to engage this audience.

        Below is a video of a recent presention from Osofsky about publishers can use Facebook’s technologies.

        July 28 2010


        New report: Internet more important than newspapers, but still not trustworth

        Newspapers are now less important than the Internet as a source of information, yet the majority of online users say most online information is not reliable, according to the 10th annual study of the impact of the Internet on Americans by the Center for the Digital Future.

        The study also found that 70 percent of online users believe that Internet advertising is “annoying,” yet 55 percent of users said they would rather see Web advertising than pay for content.

        Among the study’s findings:

        • Americans on the Internet — For the first time, the Internet is used by more than 80 percent of Americans — now 82 percent.   Weekly hours online — The average time online has now reached 19 hours per week.  Although more than two-thirds of Americans have gone online for a decade, the largest year-to-year increases in weekly online use have been reported in the two most recent Digital Future studies.
        • Gaps in Internet use in age groups — Not surprisingly, Internet use continues to increase as age decreases, with 100 percent of those under age 24 going online.  However, a surprisingly high percentage of Americans between 36 and 55 are not Internet users: among respondents age 46 to 55, 19 percent are non-users; among those 36 to 45, 15 percent are non-users.
        • Low adoption of new media — Although new media is used by large percentages of  Internet users age 24 and under, overall large percentages of Internet users never go online to do instant messaging (50 percent), work on a blog (79 percent), participate in chat rooms (80 percent), or make or receive phone calls (85 percent).
        • Does technology make the world a better place — The percentage of users age 16 and older who said that communication technology makes the world a better place has declined to 56 percent of users from its peak of 66 percent in 2002.
        • Internet and Political Campaigns — although more than 70 percent of users agree that the Internet is important for political campaigns, only 27 percent of users said that by using the Internet public officials will care more about what people think, and 29 percent said that the Internet can give people more of a say in what government does.
        • Buying online — 65 percent of adult Internet users buy online (the same as in 2008), and make an average of 35.2 purchases per year (up from 34.1 per year in 2008).
        • Internet impact on traditional retail declines — 61 percent of Internet users said that online purchasing has reduced their buying in traditional retail stores — down from 69 percent in 2008.
        • Top 10 online purchases — 59 percent of Internet users said they purchase books or clothes online, followed by gifts (55 percent), travel (53 percent), electronics/appliances (47 percent), videos (46 percent), computers or peripherals (41 percent), software or games (40 percent), CDs (40 percent), and products for hobbies (38 percent).
        • The study found that as sources of information – their primary function – newspapers rank below the Internet or television.  Only 56 percent of Internet users ranked newspapers as important or very important sources of information for them – a decrease from 60 percent in 2008 and below the Internet (78 percent), and television (68 percent).
        • Even lower are the percentages of users who consider newspapers important as sources of entertainment for them, now considered important by 29 percent of Internet users, and down from 32 percent in 2008 – also last among principal media.
        • Eighteen percent of Internet users said they stopped a subscription to a newspaper or magazine because they now get the same or related content online – down slightly from 22 percent in 2008, but nevertheless a strong indication that print newspapers can be sacrificed by a significant percentage of Internet users.
        • Internet users were asked where they would go for information provided by their newspaper if the print edition ceased, 59 percent said they would read the online edition of the publication; only 37 percent said they would instead read the print edition of another newspaper.
        • Twenty-two percent of users who read newspapers said they would not miss the print edition of their newspaper.
        • Sixty-one percent of users said that only half or less of online information is reliable — a new low level for the Digital Future Project.
        • Even more disturbing is that 14 percent of Internet users said that only a small portion or none of the information online is reliable – a percentage that has grown for the past three years and is now at the highest level thus far in the Digital Future Project.
        • Also revealing is the percentage of users who have limited trust even in the Web sites they visit regularly: although 78 percent said that most or all of the information on the sites they visit regularly is reliable (a decline from the previous two years), 22 percent of users say that only one half or less of information on sites they visit regularly is reliable.
        • Even search engines such as Google and Yahoo – traditional stalwarts of online credibility – have lost some of their luster.   While 53 percent of Internet users said that most or all of the information provided by search engines is reliable and accurate, that percentage declined slightly in the current Digital Future Study and is well below the peak of 64 percent in 2006.
        • 36 percent of users said only about half of information provided by search engines is reliable and accurate, and 12 percent said only a small portion or none of it was reliable.
        • Only 46 percent of users said they have some trust or a lot of trust in the Internet in general.  Nine percent of users have no trust in the Internet.

        June 14 2010


        YouTube launches News Feed

        YouTube is launching a new feature called the YouTube News Feed, which will highlight breaking news videos on YouTube.

        YouTube’s Head of News & Politics Steve Grove says:

        We’ll be working with the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism to track news as it breaks on YouTube. The news feed will provide a stream of breaking news videos on YouTube, with a focus on strong visuals, non-traditional sources and the very latest uploads: videos like this natural gas well explosion in North Texas, this citizen’s election fraud investigation in New Jersey, this activist’s painful run-in with the sharp end of a fisherman’s hook in the Mediterranean sea, or even this run-away elephant in Zurich, Switzerland.

        You’ll find the feed on CitizenTube, our news and politics blog at citizentube.com; you can also follow it via our twitter account, @citizentube.

        May 02 2010


        How did you get so smart? (i.e. Where do you go for your daily reading?)

        I'm going out on a limb here and guessing most of you here find a lot of your reading from your twitter stream. That said, where else do you go for a good read? I'm guessing http://news.ycombinator.com/ will be on many of yours lists as well...

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