Categories
Journalism Live Web Notes

Thoughts about the near future of news distribution based on some trends

Thoughts about how and what will change in news distribution in the next 10 years, by extrapolating some movements that are happening right now.

Let me know how you think about this, and please correct me if you think my assumptions are wrong.

1. Display advertising revenues will keep fading.
Banner supported is not a sustainable business model for news websites. Pageview prices are declining, inventory goes up and banner blindness is very real. News “engagement” is shifting to social networks.

At the same time brands are looking for brand experiences involving customers. They are building their own or public platforms to connect with customers. Display advertising is not adding enough value, even when it’s cheap.

NGO’s are practicing, funding or hosting journalism. They not only hire journalists they are hosting and distributing the stories themselves.

2. Television will take revenge.
With internet enabled television sets, the tv becomes a more interesting medium. There is always something to watch. Social layers will make live events more interesting. Especially news and sports events. Television interfaces need to change. We need new interface thinking for televisions. We need what the iPhone interface did to the mobile interface design thinking of all mobile phones.

3. Mobile becomes the #1 internet device.
Phone users outnumber computer users. Technology fits in phones and the lifecycle of a phone is shorter compared to a computer. The phone is a personal device, most computers aren’t. It’s the #1 communication device and this makes it the best device to share news. Todays modern mobile phone can do most things a computer could do in 2007.

4. Serendipity redefined.
Serendipity was something that belonged to newspapers and magazines. Serendipity was about the stories you found by accident in newspapers and magazines, small surprises. The web brought a new kind of serendipity, you found stuff by browsing. Social networks enhanced this experience. You find stuff because of your network. The “new” serendipity isn’t captured in media, it’s in the people. This is serendipity on a completely new level, it’s personal.

5. Databases become public
I don’t want to go into a discussion of when or if we ever will get a semantic web. What you can see is that more information becomes public and it is more structured. When databases go public more people can combine information to make new information, more people can practice database journalism.

6. Information availability and accessibility explodes
The web is still growing and it will probably never stop. As interfaces, global coverage and search evolve more people get easy access to all of this information. More information is a good thing, all you need is good filters. Those filters can be computers or human.

7. The real time web, we are all continuously connected.
Continuously connected, sharing more and more personal information. Maybe for safety, for fun or for voyeurism. Sharing creates online existence. Everything you do is information, combine this with point 5 and 6.

8. News agencies will no longer lead the discussion
They will keep losing the signaling function, because everyone is a (re)broadcaster in his or her own network. And they will find it difficult to control, lead or own the discussion. Discussions become fluid, you can start them, but you can’t own or host them.

Conclusive thoughts:
News is and will be a more social experience.

Your (social) network will be important to help you make order out of information chaos.

News outlets will act like hubs for people sharing the same ideas.

The media- or informationlandscape polarizes, like magazines. More media will engage on the same level, making them working great together or strong competitors.

Information will be free. All you have to do is connect the dots instead of creating them.

News will be about guiding and analyzing, almost like a curator. If you’re a good curator, you add value.

Curators are often people.

The news eco system will be much more decentralized, making it stronger.

The system how news distribution works right now is just not made for the media of tomorrow. The traditional ecosystem for news will be disrupted.

The new eco system will inform us better.

Categories
Experiments Interface design Live Web Projects

What Twitter could look like

Some sketches I made a while ago to illustrate what I think a web-based twitter client could look like. I really like the Tweetdeck application, because it integrates lists in the most obvious way, showing all the posts like a dashboard. I think the basics of Tweetdeck could be very well made into a web-based dashboard.

What it would look like in your browser
Twitter Dashboard design concept (screenshot)
Bigger image [+]

The entire page
Twitter Dashboard design concept
Bigger image [+]

Photographs and other media links should be displayed inline. Like Twitstat does.

Reply and retweet should be inline as well.

Categories
Journalism Live Web The Social Web

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

Categories
Interactive Video Journalism Live Web Mobile Projects

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.

Categories
Interactive Video Live Web Notes

Interface experiments for a new live report

Over the last few years I’ve worked on different live reports for different kind of festivals. I like what you can make with (almost) realtime information based on the API’s of other services. For the Urban Explorers festival in May this year I started working on a new interface.

The amount of aggregated information can be overwhelming for people, so I’m looking at how can you keep it understandable for new visitors. Or in the case of Urban Explorers for people who never visited or will never visit the festival. UE is a music and art festival that takes place in different venues in the city of Dordrecht.

Blip API
The idea is to start working with the Blip API. And cover the festival with an interface that only shows video. There will be Twitter coverage and blog posts, but the idea is to create a narrative that can be sorted based on people, performances and maybe venues.

I haven’t exactly figured out what it should look like, but just started to make some interfaces to see what works and what doesn’t. I you have ideas or great examples, please share them in the comments.

Last week the Next Web conference was organized in the Netherlands. This tech conference generates a lot of online media like tagged twitter messages. And was a perfect try-out for working with streaming video and twitter. I combined some old scripts and designs and made https://www.wilbertbaan.nl/thenexthack.


The Next Hack from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.


The Next Web live video + tweets experiment – Yunoo presentation from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I looked at a full screen interface that could work in a pop-up or fill your entire screen. It looks a bit like my old videoblog (https://www.wilbertbaan.nl/videoblog/index.html). I like these type of interfaces for live events because they are more experience based (click on what you see) instead of search based (like youtube).


Interface Experiment 1 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I started moving the video, since all tag result pages will give different amount of results the blocked interface looks nice, but it has limits in what it can show. And it looks weird if you haven’t got enough video to fill the entire interface. Both interfaces below are completely dynamic and can show only one item or 30.


Interface Experiment 2 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.


Interface Experiment 3 from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

I just make interfaces
It’s amazing that all those examples are made on top of infrastructure of other people. Blip is perfect because multiple people can send video using a mobile phone and I can get the source files from the server using the Blip API. It’s pretty weird how much difference you can make with only interfaces.

Last.fm Lovewall
Last year I made the Last.fm lovewall. A bluetooth based installation that matches people based on Last.fm data. This installation or something different build on this technology might find a spot at the festival as well.


Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall (interactive bluetooth installation) from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

Categories
Interactive Video Live Web Online Identity The Social Web

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)

Categories
Experiments Featured Live Web Music Online Identity Projects

The Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall installation (video)


Eclectro Last.fm Lovewall (interactive bluetooth installation) from Wilbert Baan on Vimeo.

Yesterday we had the first Eclectro party. As written in the last post I was working on a bluetooth/last.fm application. And it worked :)

The Eclectro Last.fm lovewall is an interactive installation that uses bluetooth to scan for mobile phones. Visitors are asked to change the bluetooth name of their phone into their Last.fm username.

A laptop scans the room using the open source Roomware software. It connects to random visitors and searches the Last.fm database for similarity. It then shows the similarity on a big screen by showing the profiles. A percentage and five artists both have in common.

Review
The installation worked well and I got a lot of very positive feedback by enthusiastic visitors. A few things I learned.

  • It is possible to have a zero percent match but still have artists in common.
  • Similar artists are often Gorillaz, U2, Muse, Air.
  • It is very easy to join, people see something happen and they think it’s too difficult to join. If you tell them that all it takes is changing the bluetooth name of their mobile phone they are really surprised.
  • Explain, explain, explain.
  • People like seeing their avatars on a screen. Only showing avatars would probably make a successful application by itself.
  • Make the screen dark. I used grey photographs and still the brightness of the beamer lightened up the entire place.
  • The internet connection at public places is almost always difficult (unstable/low signal).

The interface with testdata (working demo)

Open in new window

And the photographs

Last.fm + Roomware installation
on Flickr

Last.fm + Roomware installation
on Flickr

Opbouwen
on Flickr

Poster Eclectro loves Last.fm bluetooth friendfinder
on Flickr

Zaal
on Flickr

Standby3
on Flickr

Starborough test de dj-tafel
on Flickr