Tag Archives: live

What a news organization looks like in a social media driven web

Social media is becoming a very influential referrer. Website like Facebook and Twitter generate growing amounts of traffic websites. They work best for the live web (news) and for memes. And they are in the race to become serious competition for Google in getting the right people on the right page.

Social media (Twitter/Facebook) is the new Google (making the web more useful with its service). It doesn’t care about page rank. It cares about what people think and how trustworthy and influential people are.

Google and Twitter are very different in a number of ways.

Google

  1. Longer URL, the longer the better
  2. Getting bigger websites to link to your website
  3. Know and find
  4. Authenticity
  5. Ranking content
  6. Optimization
  7. The best of time

Twitter

  1. Short URL, an URL is waste of space
  2. Getting influential online people to talk about your website
  3. Follow and discover
  4. Creativity
  5. Ranking people
  6. Lobbying
  7. The best of now

What does this mean for news reporting?
The major news websites and publication systems weren’t really designed for SEO. They are still catching up, far behind the current technological state blogs are in.

While media and journalist are still blaming Google the second disrupting innovation for their Industry is already taking place. And this time they won’t be able to blaim a company.

What about the editors? Google was about systems, about technology. The current wave of social media is about people. Are the news editors – the current and a new generation – ready?

The link
A news organization in a social media environment doesn’t have to create content, it creates context around links. It directs you. That’s the function of a news organization. Guide you as a customer to the best information you can find. Sometimes this mean (re)writing a summary or story, other times it means linking to other good stuff.

It’s also about value. If you – as a content creator – are not adding much to what’s already out there you can’t expect to have a sustainable business model. If you don’t add much, you won’t get much.

The link is the most important asset of the web. It is for Google and it is for Twitter. In a social media driven web it’s not about the content the link directs to. It’s about who presents the link. Linking builds trust. You have to earn this trust by linking to things that add value for your audience.

Jay Rosen, professor at NYU on the ethic of the link

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The Urban Explorers 2009 video interface

The Urban Explorers video interface (live report) from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

For the music and art festival Urban Explorers festival I made a special video interface. During the festival reporters uploaded video with their mobile phones. The video was categorized on artists, venues and makers based on the video title. The project used the Blip API.

Give it a try.

Video interface for the Urban Explorers festival 2009

The report was done by Eclectro.nl reporters. I was supposed to be a reporter as well, but missed the festival because of the birth of Benjamin.

The process of building the interface can be found here.

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The Value of Portable Social networks

CNN / Facebook
CNN videostream with Facebook integration (zoom)

The Obama inauguration was broadcasted everywhere. Every upcoming video sharing-, hosting- or distributionservice did something around the big Obama event.

I think the most exiting and successful combination was what CNN did together with Facebook. CNN had a high quality live videostream with Facebook updates from your friends talking about the video stream.

The power of distribution
Current TV
Current TV on the web (zoom)

Current TV was also broadcasting the event on television and used Twitter. Which is great for television, because television is a one-to-many medium and you can easily interact with the television by using a Twitter client on your phone or laptop.

Facebook was the best option for the web. Watching video on the web is more a personal and more interactive experience. This is what Facebooks adds. You’re watching the stream, not with the world (like Twitter+TV) but with your friends/contacts.

The computer is much more personal compared to a television and thus the interaction should be more personal as well. My social network is not your social network. It’s a distributed conversation.

Portable Social Networks
These kind of combinations or applications can only be created if social networks are (partly) open and allow services like CNN to use the network. For this event CNN didn’t create conversation tools, networks or any other infrastructure. They just connected the dots of Facebook to the dots of what they do best. Making live television.

This is what happens when services open up. You get the best of both worlds. Portable social networks are the future.

NY Times
NY Times
The New York Times homepage (zoom)

Ustream
Ustream
Ustream (zoom)

Joost
Joost
Joost (zoom)

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Castrol Perfomance Index, for those who love live statistics

Castrol Performance Index screenshot

Note: this post ended up in my drafts and should have been posted during the European Championship, sorry :)

Statistics are wonderful and the web as a central mechanism to connect databases creates a great mechanism to share and interact with data.

One great example of statistics is the Castrol Performance Index. For this European Championship the Castrol Index distributes all the games data live on the web. You can immediately see which player played where and how they are doing.

You can compare players, ball possession, shots on goals and more. All this information is live during the game. The exciting part of these kind of websites is that they add something to television that only the web can add. It doesn’t make it more interactive, but it does give it more information depth.

Suddenly the game that looks so simple gets a new layer of data and statistics. I didn’t know that for example the Dutch goalkeeper van der Sar already ran over 1300 meters in the first 34 minutes. Did you know that most of the players run around 10 kilometers during a game.

I can see that players that should be attacking spend most of their time on the wrong part of the field. This information adds context to the video footage, and it is context only interactive media can add. I don’t have to see this data all the time, I can just open it when I’m interested in how the players are doing.

I don’t know if this is what interactive television should be, but I really like how this is adding an extra dimension to live footage.

See also this earlier example by the Dutch Broadcaster NOS

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Making the web more live

CNN Breaking News
The web is becoming a more live medium, the medium itself isn’t changing it is how we publish to it. I think the ‘live web’ is the most exiting development since the rise of social networks. You write a Twitter notification on your mobile phone, post a picture to the web or stream a live video with Qik or Seesmic. Often recording is publishing.

When you write a blog or create a podcast your entry has context in itself. It has a start and it ends. Most postings on micro blogs don’t have context in the messages. The context is in the stream or in time. For example Twitter messages often make sense in your personal timeline or in the conversation within your personal network.

Twitter and Qik are just the first services. Realtime platform independent micro services, that distribute contextless fragments of information are here to stay.

This sense of a ‘live medium’ is something that is changing the web as it is and how we use it. It will change search, or at least sorting search results and it will change reporting news.

A service like Twitter makes news travel fast. This makes it the #1 breaking news source for a lot of people. Why? Because it is reporting as it is happening. It isn’t always right, but it is reporting, open for conversation and correcting itself. It is live coverage and it is a storytelling experience.

News on the web is presented like news on paper. This is good since text on the web is – apart from certain screen specific style rules – the same as on paper. An article is written, checked and published.

Spreading the news
These services like Twitter are making reporting news a more public process. For example if something happens the first people who notice are there when it happens. Uploading messages, pictures and video, to a personal community or group of friends.

With Twitter people start repeating (or retweeting) messages distributing the news among followers and informing a very large audience within minutes. This is the signaling part. It’s not about being a citizen journalist. It is about telling your friends what you are doing, or what you are seeing.

The signal reaches the audience at the same time it reaches the journalist. A journalist has to check the story, is it true? Should I publish about this or wait until it is checked? The reader is expecting that his favorite news website knows more about it and visits the website after hearing about the news. Often resulting in a bad user experience, since there is nothing on the news website about the subject.

What is the role of journalists and media in this? Should they directly report serious rumors? Should they check for more sources. I don’t know. It has to be somewhere in the middle I think. A situation where journalists are producing with updated versions.

CNN
I think CNN is giving this a very prominent place on the CNN website. Maybe because they are from television and reporting breaking news is what they are good at. They are using storytelling mechanisms on the website. Reporting what is happening right now, and directly updating it when the story turns out to be something different.

These are the breaking news messages CNN showed last week. I heard the news about Hillary ending her campaign through Twitter and CNN was one of the few news websites with the news on it.
CNN before
CNN message before

CNN after
CNN message after

Your thoughts
What are your thoughts about this? When should news be published on a web site and should we adapt the design of news sites to make space for a more storytelling ‘as-it-is-happening’ approach? Or does this make news websites vulnerable for misinforming the audience?

This blog post was published on the Online Journalism Blog

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Urban Explorers 2008, reviewing the experiment


While waiting for Murcof at the airport we asked Jimmy Edgar if he would like to improvise something on an old Casio keyboard. Recorded on the roof (full recording) of Schiphol (Amsterdam airport / AMS)

The festival was a great success. Exhausting, but really great. During the festival we made around 400 posts on the special microblog.

What worked
Mobile services worked very well. Sending a photo through Mobypicture and directly sending an audio file through Gabcast give a really strong storytelling experience. Twitter messages are like SMS. Great to keep context in the timeline without actually having ‘to produce’ something.

Avatars on Eclectro Live

I think our idea to connect everything you post to an avatar (like Twitter), and make the coverage as personal as possible really helped keeping it clear for our viewers. At least for how much this is possible given the enormous amount of information produced. Organizing it on time gives a very good overview of what was important or special during the festival.

Microblogs are really strong live applications. Afterwards they are less exciting to watch. You can use it as a collection of material where you can search items for articles elsewhere.

The WordPress XMLRPC is wonderful. From the 400 posts we have published almost none of those was made on the website itself. The posts were created using other websites and automatically posted to Eclectro.nl/live. Making publishing really easy.

What didn’t work
Video is difficult. Or at least uploading video is difficult. if you record a video it is still difficult to upload. When we recorded a video in high quality using a mobile phone (N95) the files get easily close to 10 Megabytes. If you want to upload/e-mail these files using UMTS you’re not only giving your battery a hard time, you’re also making it impossible to upload anything else during this process. Wifi often wasn’t available and when it was it was too unstable to upload or e-mail video.

I think services like Qiktv or Seesmic Mobile are interesting because the web-server is recording instead of your camera. Unfortunately those services can’t directly post a recording to a blog, yet.

We used a photo camera for recording video as well. This worked very well, the quality is good and Flickr is a great service for distributing files shorter than 90 seconds. The files recorded with the 8 Megapixel Sony Camera are around a 100 Megabytes. Uploading a 100 Megabytes in size. This requires you (or your laptop) to spend at least a few hours on a restaurant Wifi. Missing out on the festival. In the end we uploaded most files at night or in the morning.

We recorded the interviews on DV camera. This worked perfect, since there is no urge in getting the longer interviews directly on the web.

Two blogs
My idea was to maintain two blogs. The Eclectro blog and the Eclectro Live blog. /Live would be about us, a personal story about how we experienced the festival. The main blog would present interviews and reviews. This was just too much. We simply couldn’t make all this in a weekend and have a good time.

Ideas for live blogging / micro blogging
Op de parkeerplaats
zoom
You need a central spot with a computer and good internet connection. A central spot on the festival where you can empty a camera and upload a batch of files.

Think about what you want to do and if this is possible. Think about how you keep it clear to your audience what they are looking at. Most people don’t know what is happening and they have to understand what it is and why you are publishing. We explained it with a short introduction movie.

A few people asked me to add more structure to the website and make it easier to scan what happened over time. I think we need even more timeline based structure in a next version.

If you are telling a story make sure to tell everything. Tell what you expect and afterwards tell if your expectations were right or wrong. Make returning jokes / running gags. Keep it personal and keep your audience informed.


Jimmy Edgar performing on stage later that day


Hauschka is playing at the Urban Explorers festival 2008, Dordrecht, Netherlands from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.
Hauschka adds little things like bells, plastic and metal to the piano using tape. A piano mash-up :)

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We started!


Inge talks to Greg Haines about why he moved to Berlin and about making a living as an artist.

We started with the Urban Explorers festival live coverage. We are using WordPress as an aggregator for information we publish on several other websites like Flickr, Mobypicture, Seesmic, Vimeo, Ustream, YouTube, Twitter and more.

The next days we will be running around the city of Dordrecht. Everything we do can be followed on the special micro blog. This afternoon we will be picking up two artists at Amsterdam airport. Tonight we sleep in an old squatted villa in the centre of Dordrecht.


Hauschka talks about how he works

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RGBoy performing live @ Eclectro


Eclectro Directo: RGBoy live concert from Jan Dybala JD Video on Vimeo.

Once a month we organize a webcast at Eclectro. We use the website Ustream to broadcast a DJ-set or concert live from the DJ his living-room. All the DJ needs is a computer, webcam and internet connection.

Last friday the RGBoy-chiptune-heroes performed in front of the webcam. They performed a live gameboy concert including visuals. The entire performance was broadcasted live from Myslowice, Poland.

A chiptune, or chip music, is music written in sound formats where all the sounds are synthesized in realtime by a computer or video game console sound chip, instead of using sample-based synthesis. (Wikipedia)

The video above is a compilation from fridays performance. The tracks RGBoy plays are; my new PT82, super muter, secret level, 1980.

RGBoy live in your living room

During these performances we invite viewers to use the Ustream chat-box. This increases the ‘live experience’ and enables contact between viewers and performers. The talks are often about technical problems, quality, track titles, personal matters or just to tell how great the artist is.
Chatbox Eclectro Directo

Utrecht meets Chicago
The next Eclectro Directo live performance will be friday the 30th of May. This time we will use the Mogulus website. Since this will be a live performance broadcasted simultaneous from two locations. Maurice Dohmen [moos] based in Utrecht, Netherlands takes care of the sound and visual artist Jorrit Poelen based in Chicago, USA takes care of the visuals.

Eclectro Directo Live: May 30th, 20:00 (Amsterdam time) / 1 PM Chicago Time


Eclectro Directo promo from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

Are you an electronic artist / producer / DJ and would like to perform live for the Eclectro webcam, let us know.

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