Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Site searches - tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttoo baffling for words

Several times a day, an automated message drops into my inbox telling me the most searched for terms on the Liverpool Echo site.
It's an idea we appropriated from the Manchester Evening News a while ago and, as well as just being an informative overview of what users are looking for, it's proved popular with newsdesk types as it can give a heads-up on a story we don't know about.

We use analytics all the time to look at what is popular on the site, but the automated search-terms round-up will often flag up a name that's being repeatedly searched for; if we don't recognise that name, it may well be connected to a news story - we've found out the names of fatal rta victims before they were released by the police through friends searching for the story by name on the site.

We've also had some random ones - The World being searched for in the latest one is a cruise liner that visited Liverpool at the weekend but how do you explain the phrase 'knicker sniffer' being the top searched for term on the site recently? There wasn't a court case because we checked, but there were dozens of searches for it. Police could offer no enlightenment either... but I bet there will be a court case coming up in the near future involving that term (although probably in slightly more legalese).

But today's is a little baffling:

That's 'tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt' and 'tttttttttttttttttttttttttttsssssssssssssss', just to be clear. No way it could be a repeated, random elbow on a keyboard surely? But we've puzzled and come up blank. Answers on a postcard please.

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Thursday, 12 August 2010 could be an inspiring approach to hyperlocal news

I nosed around the newly-launched website today, and came away a bit of a fan-girl.
TBD, which is from the same brains as Politico, is a real foray into hyperlocal journalism and could just be one of the models the rest of us in mainstream media end up emulating.

It offers local news and community information from Metropolitan Washington DC, has reporters, editors, producers, and 'community-outreach specialists' (a  new one on me) to produce original journalism, curate news from other media - mainstream and independent (I'm including local bloggers in independent media; after all, they're creating content) and engage audiences. 

There's a detailed review of the site and its genesis on the Huffington Post (see the links at the bottom of this) but I don't agree with their idea that journalists will be watching this with concern. I think a lot of us will be looking at it and thinking 'that's exactly what we need to do'. Ultimately, it could inspire better things.

It’s very new but already I really like this site, both from the point of view of a journalist and that of a user; it’s how I think local news company websites should aim to operate. I can certainly understand why US industry watchers say the Washington Post is eyeballing it. 

I like it as a journalist because:
  • It’s seriously packed with news, features and information
  • It’s packed with news happening right now (truly  - the homepage splash changed every time I reloaded the page)
  • It updates constantly
  • It has loads of sources of information - both from TBD staffers, mainstream media, social networks, bloggers and users
  • It’s an active site - doesn’t rely on feeds/UGC
  • It ‘gets’ hyperlocal
  • It does live fact-checking

I like it as a user because:

  • It’s easy - news, features, sport and essentials. Plus a great site map.
  • No flashing ads, no massive rollovers, no banners with tiny close signs
  • Pithy articles, eye catching video, good images
  • It lets me choose my local news
  • Live fact-checking (yes, its still great)
  • Excellent commuter information
  • I feel involved
  • It’s thought about what mobile apps users might value

In fact, the more I wandered around the site the more I found to like. It doesn’t have a big news corporation feel to it, and maybe that’s what’s so attractive. It offers the slick, polished set up of a MSM company without feeling unwieldy and over-designed. I think the residents of Metropolitan Washington DC are very lucky.

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Thursday, 5 August 2010

Graphs, charts and tools to monitor your Twitter growth and reach

After Hanoi-based Steve Jackson (@ourman) tweeted "Is there any online software that will turn your Twitter activity into a graph?" I had a look through recommendations he received in reply and I thought I'd give them a try, alongside some of the ones I use regularly, or ones I've stumbled across and meant to use.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Infographic: the information explosion

Lovely infographic to pore over here from Wikibon..
It forecasts consumer generated content, how it will impact on business - and where all this information will be stored.

The last section 'Who's responsible for the content' is particularly interesting;  if enterprise is responsible for the content created, they have to find a way of storing it (and a way of paying for that storage.Will the Library of Congress really be so keen to shoulder the burden of storing every tweet if the usage continues to grow (it's just notched up its 20 billionth tweet)?
The infographic highlights an IDC estimate that, in 10 years time, business transactions on the internet (B2B and B2C) will reach 450 billion per day. That is a boggling amount of data.

A final point (and far less boggling) is the US language and UK landmark mashup on this infographic which sees the pitch at Wembley Stadium becoming 'the field'...

Information Explosion & Cloud Storage
Via: Wikibon

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