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Archive for October, 2009

Blogs rocking the influencers

by henrycopeland
Monday, October 19th, 2009

The gurus over at influence mapping firm Morningside Analytics recently built this map that illustrates the central of blogs in our liberal and conservative networks in the healthcare and energy policy debates.

Here’s the healthcare map, with our blogs highlighted.


And here’s their map for energy blogs with Blogads.


Here’s the post with more context.

EZ guide to rating “save the media” plans

by henrycopeland
Monday, October 19th, 2009

Here’s my minutely edited version of a brilliant “quick review” guide to saving the media, originally inMetafilter:

Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) crowd-sourced

approach to saving journalism. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won’t work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws owing to the avariciousness of modern publishers.)

( ) It does not provide an income stream to the working journalist
( ) Nobody will spend eight hours sitting in a dull council meeting to do it
( ) No one will be able to find the guy
( ) It is defenseless against copy-and-paste
( ) Users of the web will not put up with it
( ) Print readers will not put up with it
( ) Good journalists will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from unwilling sources
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many publishers cannot afford to lose what little business they have left
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else’s career or business
( ) Even papers run by trusts and charities are already going bankrupt
( ) [Assumes you’ll get very lucky]

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Readers’ unwillingness to pay for just news
( ) The existence and popularity of the BBC
( ) Unavoidable availability of free alternatives
( ) Sources’ proven unwillingness to “go direct”
( ) The difficulty of investigative journalism
( ) The massive tedium of investigative journalism
( ) The high cost of investigative journalism
( ) Unpopularity of weird [any] new taxes
( ) Editorial departments small enough to be profitable are too small to do real reporting
( ) Legal liability of “citizen journalism”
( ) The training required to be even an rubbish journalist
( ) What readers want, in the main, is celebrity and football
( ) The necessity of the editing process
( ) Americans’ huge distrust of professional journalism
( ) Reluctance of governments and corporations to be held to account by two guys with a blog
( ) Inability of two guys with a blog to demand anything
( ) How easy it is for subjects to manipulate two guys with no income
( ) Rupert Murdoch
( ) The inextricably local nature of much newsgathering
( ) The dependence of all other forms of news media on print reporting
( ) The dependence of national press on local press reporting
( ) Technically illiterate politicians [anybody]
( ) The tragedy of the commons
( ) The classified-driven business model of much print publishing
( ) The tiny amounts of money to be made from online ads for small sites
( ) Google is happy to give the click revenue to somebody else for a penny less

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) That the US press dropped the ball on Iraq is a symptom, not a cause
( ) Print advertising pays so well because advertisers *can’t* work out the return they’re getting.
( ) Information does not want to be free
( ) Society depends on journalists producing news that few readers are actually all that interested in, quite honestly
( ) That your friend was misquoted once in a paper does not mean journalism is bunk
( ) Everybody reading the same story is a feature, not a bug
( ) Having a free online “printing press” doesn’t turn you into a journalist any more than your laser printer did
( ) Wall Street won’t allow newspaper groups to back off from 20% profit margins
( ) Newspaper executives are second only to record industry executives for short-sighted idiocy
( ) E-paper still doesn’t give publishers back their ad monopoly and hence its revenue
( ) You can’t charge for online content unless all your competitors do it too, all at once.
( ) Ethics are hard to hold up when your bills are due
( ) Citizen journalists are almost as good as citizen dentists
( ) “Gatekeepers” can help keep out undesirable things
( ) Publishing less often makes you even less relevant
( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Free society depends upon a free press
( ) Democracy is bad enough with the press we’ve already got
( ) You think print is bad? Imagine Fox News, as a blog. That’s what your idea will turn into.
( ) Reader-generated content is to professional news what YouTube is to big-studio movies.
( ) Have you read the comments on news websites? They make YouTubers look like geniuses.
( ) You are Jeff Jarvis
( ) Or Dave Winer

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Sorry dude, but I don’t think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you’re a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I’m going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

(via BoingBoing.)

#FF #HC09 tweet ads

by henrycopeland
Friday, October 16th, 2009

If you head over to DailyKos, you can see the newest twist the SEIU is putting on their Tweet ads.

The recommended tweets, which appear on posts about healthcare like this one, include not only the SEIU, but peer organizations and even individuals like @owillis and @punditmom playing on the true potlatch spirit of Twitter and Follow-Fridays. You can see 3 variations below.

FF smallscreen

HC 09 smallscreen

Tweetbird small

Huffpo gunning for Pulitzer in T&A

by henrycopeland
Thursday, October 15th, 2009

When are people going to get serious about Huffpo’s unseriousness?

Every day brings another round of accolades for Huffpo’s contributions to journalism. Maybe a Pulitzer, pant pant.

But beneath the skin (of buxom beauties) on Huffpo, there’s less beef than many (and Huffpo’s PR machine) give Huffpo credit for.

Take this post titled “Huffington Post Traffic Blows Past LA Times, Washington Post” from the Silicon Valley Insider, for example:

The Huffington Post has now blown past the sites of both the LA Times and the Washington Post, says Compete.com.

Huffington Post had 8.4 million uniques in September, up from 7 million in August. The LA Times site had 8.3 million uniques in September, versus 8.2 in August. The Washington Post took the hardest fall, going to 8.1 million uniques in September from 9.3 million in August.

The post ends by asking “What was that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was just saying about how print publications aren’t writing stuff people want to read?”


Maybe if the LA Times and Washington Post included lots of “content” like “Shauna Sand’s SEX TAPE: Lorenzo Lamas’ Ex’s Explicit VIDEO ONLINE” and “The 10 Creepiest Unintentionally-Sexual Ads Of All Time (VIDEO PHOTOS)” and “January Jones Drinks Beer, Dons Leather, Says Ex-Boyfriend Ashton Thought She’d Fail” their readership (or viewership) would be higher.

And BTW, those happen to be posts 2, 3 and 4 on Huffpo’s list of most popular stories today.

Huffpo most popular 11.15.09

And here’s another recent set of Huffpo’s stunning contributions to journalism. As folks used to say about Playboy, no doubt lots of people read Huffpo “for the stories.”

Pulitzer, anyone?

Huffpo 10-13-09 most popular

New twist on Twitter advertising: light a tweet bonfire

by henrycopeland
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

If you’re a DailyKos reader, you’ve probably seen some new ads by the SEIU today appearing at the bottom of posts about health-care.

The ads look like this…

out of pocket

14 states


The images I’ve posted here aren’t actionable, but if you were looking at the real thing as a reader on DailyKos, you’d be able to edit the tweet and post it.

The ads offer a nimble advertiser a quick and easy way to fan the flames of a hot topic, co-joining blog reader passion and a timely topic to trigger a bonfire of tweets. Shazam!

More fun stuff on the way…

Update: PC Magazine chimes in: “If you’re like me, you’ve been losing sleep at night, worrying that third-party companies haven’t been able to effectively leverage the Twitter platform for their advertising benefit. Have no fear! Check out the admittedly clever ad above from the Service Employees International Union.”

Seeing trees rather than the forest

by henrycopeland
Monday, October 12th, 2009

A new survey seems to undermine reports of Twitter’s impact on movies by looking at the decision-making of individual users. Unfortunately, focusing on individual relationships, the analysis doesn’t take into account the structure of the network that actually generates the stimuli that individuals receive. First, the survey:

“Our research found a significant overestimation of the Twitter Effect,” Kevin Goetz, the president of OTX’s worldwide motion picture group, told me. “The number of people who use Twitter are only about 10% to 12% of all moviegoers. And when we asked people what was the most influential source of moviegoing word of mouth, Twitter finished last, at the bottom of the list.”

OTX did an online survey of nearly 1,500 moviegoers in mid- September, the bulk of the sample being moviegoers from age 13 to 49, the key moviegoing demographic group. When asked what was the most influential source for word of mouth, most respondents picked “family and friends and coworkers,” which scored 40%, followed by Facebook (31%), MySpace (9%), IMDB (8%), with Twitter and online message boards bringing up the rear with 6% each.

“The data suggests that all the media play for the Twitter Effect is really jumping the gun,” says Vinnie Bruzzese, the exec VP of OTX’s motion picture group. “It has an impact, but it’s coming much later on, not as initial reaction. There may be people with a lot of followers on Twitter, but the most influential people in terms of word of mouth are still the people you’re talking to every day — your friends and co-workers.”

But the science of networks dictates that the etiology of infection/influence for individual final users/consumers isn’t as important as the influence on the people in the center of the network, the hub.

As the great new book “Connected” explains, most natural human networks aren’t shaped like this:

Conected options

But this:

Human network

In short, all nodes (aka consumers) are not created equally. As the caption notes, “even though C and D both have six friends, they have very different locations in the social network. C is much more central, and D is more peripheral; C’s friends have many friends themselves, whereas D’s friends tend to have few or no friends.”

Twitter users are, by definition, like person C in this graph — they’re hyper-communicators who are highly networked both online and off.

Local newspapers make for better locales?

by henrycopeland
Friday, October 2nd, 2009

In a brilliant piece of arm-chair reportage, Clay Shirky dissects (literally and literarily) his local paper and discovers that out of an editorial staff of 59, only 6 folks actually report on local news.

Shirky concludes:

There are dozen or so reporters and editors in Columbia, Missouri, whose daily and public work is critical to the orderly functioning of that town, and those people are trapped inside a burning business model.

Shirky’s entire analysis, like just about everything else he does, is brilliant.

But logically flawed? We’d like to believe that local papers make a difference. But has anyone proven that they do? Do towns with newspapers function better? As Shirky himself notes, “Ann Arbor, another midwestern college town and just a bit larger than Columbia, doesn’t have a newspaper at all.” Is corruption or mayhem rampant in Ann Arbor?

Cool new ad for #Sickofit health care

by henrycopeland
Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Health Care for America Now (HCAN) launched a bunch of cool blogads this morning promoting their “sick of it” campaign.

The best, in my opinion, does the very clever trick of pulling into the ads recent tweets that use the #sickofit tag.

If you look closely, you can see that all the clickable elements — tweeter’s nickname, hashtags, any URLs — are visible within the ad.

And if you go look at the ad live on Talkleft (or 100+ other blogs) you can see that each of those elements is separately clickable. This ad has not only the virtue of providing users with more information, timely information, but making the community part of the message. And isn’t that what social media is all about? Maybe we should start a #socialads4socialmedia tag?


Here are a couple of other ad versions running at the same time:



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