journalism goes social

social media as we know it, is any online technology that serves as a platform for us to share ideas, content, experiences, opinions, and actually have a conversation about the ideas that pertain to our interest.

but what’s the deal with the incorporation of social media into journalism?

take Chicago Tribune as an example.

Chicago Tribune has been using online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, to establish online presence for their loyal readers, who eventually become their friends and followers. By sharing appropriate, high-quality content through these new social platforms, chicagotribune.com picks up traffic

somebody asked during my Q&A presentation if this trend is going to penetrate journalism in Singapore, and i thought why not. social platforms can act as ‘social lubricants’ to make the newspapers in Singapore more approachable, not just to the younger, tech-savvy generation. in fact, the straits times has already jumped in the bandwagon and now have both twitter and facebook.

i think social media acts more than just ‘social lubricants’ to connect with readers. they help the news agency to better understand its readers, take note of emerging trends and breaking news, helps to monitor conversations and stay in the loop of what the consumers are thinking/doing (market research) – all of which will create a sense of loyalty to a particular newspaper.

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the machine is us/ing us

classy, thought-provoking video about Web 2.0. especially in the last 30 seconds when it reminds us not to take anything that serves us for granted.

pay attention to attention

Mind-Map: Continuous Computing

credits: ™gerlynn

the mind map above sums up what we discussed during one of the in-class seminar sessions led by my classmates.

because i thought the line between multi-tasking and continuous partial attention was a bit murky, i did some research of my own. before we had this class discussion, i thought the term continuous partial attention was familiar, and then i remembered it was mentioned by Pat Law, who was a guest lecture last week. she said our attention is divided as information (in the context of the use of social media) pours in.

this is further explained by the original creator of the term, Linda Stone. She says “to pay continuous partial attention is to pay partial attention – continuously”. She points out there is a new trend in which one will select technologies that protect us from too much clutter or “noise” and enable us to focus on rich experiences, relationships and information.

in other words, continuous partial attention is about filtering information, and the better you are at filtering when you are required to really pay attention, the better you are at processing information.

so is that good?

i can only think that continuous partial attention means that one gets better at scanning through information and identifying which is relevant and which isn’t. so you get your work done faster, as you try to maintain and maximise the benefit out of the information.

author steven berlin johnson describes one form of multi-tasking as “skimming the surface” of the information, and picking out the relevant details. he says, “you are paying attention, but only partially. that lets you cast a wider net, but it also runs the risk of keeping you from really studying the fish”. this is what Linda Stone coins as “continuous partial attention”.

however, what’s the difference between multi-tasking and continuous partial attention?

they are both motivated by different impulses. how so? when we multi-task, say, we eat bread and e-mail. we make the bed and talk on the phone. excuse the shabby analogies. with multi-tasking, one or more activities is somewhat “easy, or “reflex” or automatic. take ‘eating bread’ and pair it with another activity that requires more attention and cognition, like ‘writing e-mail’. when we multi-task, we are motivated by a desire to be more efficient and more productive.

however, when we pay ‘continuous partial attention’, we are motivated by a desire not to miss on anything. there’s a differentiating element that set ‘multi-tasking’ and ‘continuous partial attention’ apart’ – a characteristic vigilance that’s only present in continuous partial attention. we are always high on alert and we always strive to prioritise, while at the same time, scanning the terrain if we are missing other information. it’s like, we’re on the ‘live node network‘. always-on, and always wanting to stay connected.

is anything real anymore – week 3 in gist

disclaimer: what i present to you here is not definitive. how is that even possible? augmented reality is rapidly evolving faster than i can type. it is merely a sketch of how i see augmented reality, aided with knowledge gained in class, obviously.

here goes nothing.

augmented reality. if you take the meaning of these 2 words literally, what comes to mind? ‘changed reality’ or ‘elevated reality’?

well, you’re not far from truth (ha! reality).

augmented reality helps you to increase the perception of the physical environment by means of interaction. it is a way to present information by blending it with how they see the world around them. it uses technology to enhance our senses and generate a richer experience of our immediate surroundings, which we quaintly refer to as “the real world”.

perhaps one is more familiar with the integration of augmented reality in mobile phones. on a smart phone, GPS (Global Positioning System) and other sensors, such as the compass, one can use it to estimate the position and orientation of the phone. but augmented reality is more than just that.

this video was shown during class. Pattie Maes is speaking of the research she and her team at MIT are doing on a project called “Sixth Sense”.

see how dynamic augmented reality is? it’s evolving each day, and the possibilities of how it can be incorporated into our everyday lives are infinite. while watching the video, amidst the howls of oohs and aahs, some of us might have something nagging at the back of our heads, like, “yeah who wants to wear big pieces of machines, walking around looking like a fool?

luddites. AHA! gotcha.

people, it’s the context. it’s the inherent idea that counts. as with all the things that have the potential to change, the device will inexorably get smaller and more presentable and more wearable and more convenient to use.

watch this Nokia promo video:

augmented reality will likely change how view the world, change how we think (scary), and change how we behave (scary too). augmented reality won’t even be recognised as an advent of the technology world. its very possible ubiquity in the future will hide that fact. we’ll just be using its growing smartness for the most humdrum of chores.

i have to admit that until the day i had to do a presentation on augmented reality, i was muddled of what it is. when it was further explained and illustrated by my lecturer, i realised that augmented reality is the next paradigm shift that may take over our lives.

Stephie’s stay in social media

Quirky Queen (alliteration! yeehaw!) of the Fashion Nation, stephiesays was a guest lecturer last week. i thought she was wearing a really cute, vintage dress.

she was there to tell us more about social media and how one can leverage on it for business, work, school et cetera. one thing really amazed and still amazes, me though. she’s one remarkable entrepreneur who is very passionate of her work, and i think she deserves respect for that. i think i meet more people who grumble and whine and lament about their work and life in general than people who are truly interest-driven and finds passion that keeps them fueled. she used to be an accountant, and one day decided to ditch her job and became a full-time blogger slash fashion entrepreneur. and it was a risk worth taking after all. her fashion blog shop is a huge success. i really look up to her for being bold enough to follow her intuitions and beliefs. she seems very grounded too, what with her busy schedule traveling around the world and at the same time managing her business online.

but i digress.

so stephiesays was telling us how she uses social media to get her business going. her acclaimed blog shop has a lot of us raving about her cute little knick-knacks and vintage stuff. judging from her 2 different twitter accounts, it’s obvious that she uses twitter for different purposes. her ‘business account‘ serves an avenue for her to update her customers of her latest products, not so much in the in-your-face kind of advertising way, but more…uhm, ‘conversational’ while her ‘personal account‘ serves as a tool to bridge the gap between her and her customers.

there you go. a very smart move to keep your customers loving you and your business. she’s gonna stay for some time now. woohoo

week 2 in gist

im not saying other topics are just frivolous and unimportant, but the topic that really stands out for me this week is ‘Wisdom of Crowds’. i remember hearing it for the first time in my lecturer’s room last week when we were asked to choose the topics that we wanted to lead a discussion on. and my initial reaction was like, a ‘eureka’ moment for me because firstly, as is with other new terms/words/things that i hear for the first time, i was intrigued. secondly, ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ sounds philosophical to me. like something a wise philosopher would conjure, so i thought maybe that topic would make an interesting debate. haha!

during class discussion, ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ reminded me of ‘word-of-mouth’. i thought i could see some similarities between the two and the only difference is that ‘word-of-mouth’ sounds more like a marketing, or consumer behaviour term. you see, wisdom of crowds means ‘collective intelligence’. and this ‘collective intelligence’ supposedly influences one’s decision. ‘word-of-mouth’ means as people talk about how brilliant a product is, one will buy their words, and eventually buy the brilliant product. there. do you see the ‘influencing’ factor? i do.

it also reminded me of Bernoulli’s ‘Law of Large Numbers’. it’s a theory of probability that says the average of results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the expected result. that means, the more one tries, the more likely he is to be correct. spot the similarity. both ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ and ‘Law of Large Numbers’ use aggregation.

and as inane as it might sound, it also reminded me of the clichéd english idiom, ‘two heads are better than one’. hahah, go figure.

as i’ve learnt during tutorial, Google uses ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ as a basis for its search results ranking. And if you google any term or definition, more than half the time, the first result comes from, hold your breath, wikipedia. even for all wikipedia’s flaws and fallacies (because anyone can edit the content to his own liking), it appears to be the number 1 search result. is this ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ at work?

apart from aggregation, for ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ to stand its ground, the people within have to be independent – they should be making decisions on their own. this brings about ‘decentralisation‘ – that power is not in one central location and decisions are made by select individuals (this is where diversity of opinion comes in) based on their speciality and specific knowledge.

question is, if that’s ever possible. in my opinion, it’s bordering impossibility because any ideas that a group of people have must have originated from at least one of the individual members within the same set. i think it’s human nature how sometimes, our opinions are determined by those around us. James Surowiecki believes in ‘crowd behaviour’ but even for all its triumphalism, the cynical me thinks that the crowd is not really wise. many instances in history happened because the crowds made bad decisions, or rather, making bad decisions because the people were acting as a crowd and not as an individual. hmm to each his own. im sure everyone judges wisdom of crowds differently? right? or are you judging the way you are because you’re following the crowd?

and here’s something to lose sleep over. is ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ a sign that one has no backbone to stand his ground/decision? that one has the mob herd mentality and that he is blindly following the supposedly ‘intelligent’ crowd? and when beliefs converge, do they converge to consensus?

week 1 in gist

ive been somewhat quiet on the msn front lately, inversely more active on twitter. the first thing that i do when i log on, is to check my tweet updates. no more signing in on msn, because not only can i talk with the people on my msn list who have twitter, but also with the people not on my msn list. i guess, that’s what twitter allows us to do – striking random conversations with people without overstepping personal boundaries.

actually, there’s more to that than just ‘talking to people’ or ‘telling people what you’re up to’. quoting the analysis of social media, “we shouldn’t dismiss every twit on twitter as banal self-obsession”, because people do not only talk about mundane stuff. they share links, news etc too. twitter is a very important tool for an individual and/or a company to brand themselves – a point much emphasised by my lecturer.

i used to lock my tweets because i thought it could give me a sense of control – i could choose the ‘followers’ to read my tweets because my tweets could be ‘offensive’ and ‘inappropriate’ sometimes. but i just learnt that it’s crucial for one to create an online presence, that i’ve decided to unlock my profile, and start to tweet in a neutral and safe manner. i’ve decided to use my tweets as a tool to represent myself – this is how i want people to see me. then, they can do their ‘personality profiling’ or something along that line, to deduce what type of person i am, my likes, my dislikes, my favourite music, etc etc. i can vent, curse, and cry in my private twitter account.

what else?

i learnt about wordpress too. it’s quite intimidating, what with the interface being vastly different from the blogging softwares that im used to like tumblr, livejournal. but i think i can get used to wordpress. and i also learnt about the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, which is further elaborated here.

then there’s this one word that i learnt which is fast becoming my favourite – luddite (someone who opposed to new technology).

not feeding us anymore

apparently, facebook has made changes in its ‘news feed’ system. we, facebook users can now opt either ‘news feed’ view or the ‘live feed’ view.

‘news feed’ means that we can see what’s the most interesting activity that has happened in the day while the ‘live feed’ view shows us real-time action of what is happening right now.

click here to read more.

news feed versus live feed? which would you prefer?

well, this is good news (pun totally intended) for those who absolutely hate unnecessary barrage of facebook statuses, relationship statuses, annoying game scores et ceteras. im one of those haters. personally, i dont really care about this facebook revamp because either way, i’ll still be ‘informed’ of my friends’ or my friends of friends of friends’ (read: people i dont care about) updates. only difference is that news feed shows stale information (because it’s happened earlier in the day. not real-time = stale), while live feed shows too much.

but there’s another group of people who are so very anti-news feed change, they’re throwing brickbats at facebook. even to the extent of ‘not becoming a fan of facebook anymore’. haha. click here to see all sorts of negativities hurled at facebook.

berlin goes online

berlin just launched an online memorial. click here.

there’s a berlin twitter wall!

though The Fall of The Wall does not directly impact us Asians, i think this is a great way to get everyone to express their thoughts and feelings related to the fall of the berlin wall.

i love how history and real-time action merge on this online platform. what juxtaposition.

not advertising avenue

social media is indeed the new age word of mouth.

facebook and twitter “work like a virtual focus group, a bulletin board, a marketing campaign and branding exercise rolled into one,”. click here to read more.

i have to agree that social media is a remarkable platform to get closer to the target market/audience, to share ideas, to find out what’s preoccupying people (current fads, what’s in and what’s not), to develop marketing strategies, to forge one-on-one relationship with consumers, et cetera.

however, as quoted in the article, “there is a fine line between giving people a steady stream of useful information and bombarding them,” we have to bear in mind that social media is not an advertising space. use social media as a ‘conversational tool’ rather than an advertising space. as long as you keep your messages brief and succinct and ditch all those marketing fluff, customers will keep coming back for more. the conversational element in your messages actually adds a warm, personal touch.

well, i think social media is great but in the end it all comes down to how one uses it wisely to his advantage.