July 18, 2008

Twitter delivering news is a only a start

Steve Outing is right when he talks about Twitter as a news source on friends' activities.

In his July 18th post, he says:
"My local newspaper didn’t tell me that my friend Yann crashed on his mountain bike and ended up in the hospital this week. Twitter did, since he posted a note to his Twitter followers about the accident.

I think this points out a problem and an opportunity for newspapers. Problem: they don’t offer people the micro-local and personal news and information that makes a difference in people’s lives. Opportunity: they need to offer the micro-local and personal news and information that makes a difference in people’s lives."
But even as I agree with the opportunity, there are two obstacles, as I said in a comment:
"Now if I could only figure out a way for alarms to signal when Tweets, Facebook statuses, LinkedIn notices, FriendFeed postings, Plurks, Google alerts, etc need immediate attention

And would you believe I still know people who won’t go online, much less share such information."
It is true that I tend to go overboard, which is the only way to explain why I couldn't remember my real Digg login this morning - I know I have dugg more than 2 online things since 2007.

Surely, there are more folks who are mixing up relationships - I want to know immediately when some are hospitalized, others I can wait until the next time I log in. How do I sort those items automatically?

Even more frightening is that for as much as some of us may use computers to communicate there are those who still use paper and pen or the phone.

It will/would take huge amounts of training to set people up with their individual feeds. Then, to show them how to find friends? Yikes. I am lucky that the 1930s marital scale shared by Susan Beebe on FriendFeed didn't include a line about being patient when showing your spouse how to find folks to follow on Twitter or I would have fared even worse in the quest for perfection.

Complicate that with the other social media programs, much less news feeds, and we are in trouble.

I'm not saying it is impossible - just that from experience I know that having something isn't enough. You have to offer training.

I know many feel they need a tour guide to Flint's online newspaper.

July 17, 2008

Worry time? Husband wants my online info

Did you hear that sinister laugh? That was my husband shortly after I said I didn't have many friends.

See, this is the guy who had two Facebook friends for the longest time and knows that I have a few hundred more there. He's kidded me about the iPhone glow that sometimes lights our house He's heard me typing to update my status at Twitter, leave a comment at FriendFeed or chat on GoogleTalk and AIM.

What I can't remember is if that friend conversation was before or after he asked for a list of all my online homes - with passwords. He says he wants the list so that when I die he can let folks know why I'm not posting anything.

He assures me there is no need for him to compile a similar list as I already have access to his online world - email accounts.

I knew I was different. The Pew Internet & American Life Project's typology quiz confirmed it by telling me I'm like only 8 percent of Americans in my use of technology. And even in that class, I'm untypical.

I'm an Omnivore, Pew says. That means I use a lot of online tools to do a lot of things. I blog, I make web pages and sites, I remix, I send text messages, I post my status, and belong to way too many social networking groups. (I said too many, not Pew.)

But I have been online for a long time - starting back in the days of gopher. I can date myself by naming my former Internet service providers, starting with a university-provided account and including names such as Prodigy and Compuserve.

i knew I was different at home. My husband and I use our computers differently.

He is more apt to be offline, using Quicken, Word, or Access. Online, he's tracking possible investments,reading the news at ABC.com or mlive.com or dealing with the health insurance PDFs and forms.

I'm more likely to communicating - Twitter, texting, or even old-fashioned email - and researching or exploring via friends' recommendations through Social Median or Toulu or FriendFeed.

Even in the non-normal group of information users, I'm unusual.I fit the norm of only one characteristic of an Omnivore, according to the Pew quiz - I am among the 64 percent who are white.

What I'm not - and most Omnivores are:

  • Male (70%).
  • Young. The median age is 28; just more than half of them are under age 30, versus one in five in the general population.
  • A student. (42% versus the 13% average) of Omnivores are students.

Take the quiz and find out what type of Internet user you are.

And, by the way, if you get a note from my husband in the next few days saying I'm dead consider asking for an investigation. My health isn't that bad and death isn't expected.

July 13, 2008

How long are you a journalist?

That's a big question for me. How long do you remain a journalist after you accept a buyout from a media company?

How long can you "do nothing" or nothing in the news business until you need to drop out of Wired Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists and ....

Am I a journalist as long as the pay from the buyout? You know, two weeks pay for every year etc.,

Are you grandfathered in if you have worked more then 30 years as a journalist? Can I pretend I retired even if I am not collecting a pension and are not old enough anyways. Or did you need to officially retire?

Can you keep calling yourself a journalist if you are working on an article you hope to sell? (And do web sites buy multimedia projects?)

What if you start teaching? Full time? Part time?

Do you have to collect a paycheck? Or can you volunteer?

If I am blogging, does that count?

And if I am not a journalist, what do I put down on forms? Formerly a journalist?

Originally published on Wired Journalists, where they haven't kicked me out yet.