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)
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The entire page
Twitter Dashboard design concept
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Photographs and other media links should be displayed inline. Like Twitstat does.

Reply and retweet should be inline as well.

Featured Journalism

What will happen to news publishers? A guess based on what’s happening right now

The financial crisis speeds up the newspapershift. Media diverges. Newspapers become television, television becomes a press agency. And everything becomes the web. Probably not a single news websites makes enough revenue to employ the same amount of journalists traditional media like newspapers and television employ. The result is a shift. Not in demand, in distribution. What will happen, and how will this shift change organizations?

Here are some ideas and thoughts that I think make sense. Please help me sharpen this concept, or point me at my fallacies. It would be interesting to have a discussion about this.

It all starts with information. Information is and will be infinite accessible everywhere. All smart devices will be connected. This is different to old media where the medium was not infinite and thus choices and timeframes were necessary.

In a connected culture information is directly online accessible, mass media and press functions less as a generator and more as a directional and filter service.

In a connected culture distributed services like Google and Facebook are the new mass media. To reach a mass audience you need to distribute your content through these new mass media. If old media no longer controls the medium it will change our organizations, how newspapers work and what kind of people will be working at newspapers or directional services.

Online you need more websites or less people. Link or syndicate the information that is already out there and focus on the value you can add.

The new rules of information?
I think the expertise journalists have is valuable. The traditional structure of a newspaper is restraining them from using their full online potential. Here is a paradox, because you need the traditional structure to publish a newspaper.

The newspaper is a middle man, this is where you already see a shift. Press agencies have become influential distributers on the live web, and consumers have become influential fire starters. To adapt to the new rules of information (everyone is a publisher), a newspaper should shift up or down the chain. Become a networked company or focus.

To be profitable in a hyperlinked economy you not only need to distribute your information, you should also distribute your costs.

What could the newspaper of the future look like?
Newspapers are in a race. I don’t believe paper is sacred. And I see no real advantages in paper compared to modern media. Even when e-readers become mainstream we probably want books and maybe magazines on these devices, we don’t want newspapers. We want something tailored to the medium. We want news as it happens. News is not a book, it is all about now, about relevancy, about why and what is happening. This consuming pattern is irreversible.

A modern news organization might not have that many people on the payroll. Journalism could become primarily a freelance job. Everything a journalist does can be done virtual. Journalists don’t have to work together in the same building at the same time. News very rarely happens in the building of a news organization, news happens somewhere else or is made by investigating. Being a reporter is a networked job. Your value is in your knowledge and your personal offline and online network. A journalist should feel at home in a networked culture.

If this shift happens journalists will work primarily on a free marketplace, like photographers. They will connect through online organizations (agencies) or virtual marketplaces that connect distribution channels (newspapers, search engines, social networks) and journalists.

These organizations act like press agencies distributing articles or information to all outlets. You can subscribe to specific feeds of information, buy articles, ask for research, or set assignments. If we can have public funded journalism, we can also have research or stories payed by media portals. If you want exclusive news or research the price will be higher. If you’re a very good and trustworthy journalist your value will be higher.

The focus of a news publisher is how they sort information and on what news topics they focus. What news publishers can add to the knowledge and information that is already out there is focus and a filter. This focus and filter is their revenue model, the rest is a mix of syndicated, linked and original information.

Like a group blog. You can’t pay the salary of a hundred bloggers to write content, but you can make money with a group blog. You need to invest your money smart and use it for those things that really set you apart from others. Use money to create unique value that defines your brand.

News is free
I think news (defined as what’s happening right now) will always be free for the consumer. This doesn’t mean news has no value. For end-users it will be free. News will always atract people. By presenting, sorting, linking and packaging the news websites, search engines and networks can make money that funds new journalism and drives new traffic.

Where Attention Flows, Money Follows.

This blog post was also published on the online journalism blog, there are some interesting comments you might like.

Featured Notes

Ideas are everywhere, you just need to go out and find them

LED lines off
Everyday I commute to work. I can choose to go by car which gives me freedom, loud music, open windows, traffic jams and parking problems. Or I can go by train which gives me time to read books, make this blog post, do some work, have my neighbor sit annoyingly on my lap and hate the smell of my fellow commuters in the morning.

I like both :)

Two ideas
I’m not a traffic expert by any means, I’m just an end-user. Driving to work this week made me think about a few things. Just some ideas that may be already out there (I think so), and maybe they are not. I don’t know about them, since I’m not an expert in this field. Please let me know in the comments if this is.

First I passed a police car doing speed control using the latest laser equipment. I think speed control can be good and is necessary to maintain safety in some places.

In the Netherlands we are kind of overdoing it since it is a pretty solid cash flow. The police checks day and night on the most obscures highways. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only car driving there and the weather is perfect. The system is not flexible in any way. If you’re driving too fast you get ticketed.

Photo Creative Commons, TomTom by Argosnet
Photoshopped by me.

This made me think about the TomTom navigator. These devices are very popular. It would be nice if I could tap the screen when I spot a speed control. If more drivers would do this the information would be more reliable. Or drivers could also tap the screen if speed control has moved. Because it knows where the car is it can directly distribute this information to other cars around.

This would not only be great service to the users of a navigator, it would also make them use the navigator more frequently, since people probably aren’t using it driving to work.

In the image above
1) A speed control point is visible
2) Tap the screen and direction the speed control is checking. This information is automatically distributed to other cars and can warn a driver if he or she drives too fast.

Then driving along I ended up in a traffic jam. Every time there is the same traffic jam at the same spot. Most of the time it gets worse because people are changing lanes at the wrong time.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use LED lights to lighten up the stripes on the road and turn these into a solid line when necessary. LED lights are relatively cheap (at least cheaper for an economy than daily traffic jams) and a strong visual barrier should stop people from changing lanes.

LED lines on
Photo Creative Commons, German Highway by Elmada Photoshopped by me.

Go! and connect to your users
These are just some thoughts. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about these things. There are so many people using services every day and they have good ideas, but do not share these ideas.

Not all of these ideas are good, possible to implement or original. But the tools are around to easily connect to the people using your service and use the knowledge your users have.

The ideas are out there, the tools are out there. Just find your way to connect.