April 30, 2010

Seriously, you thought you could hide forever

I am sure my mother had eyes in the back of her head. I am sure the sun will rise tomorrow. I am equally sure that if I say or do something on a computer or device connected to a network I give up the right to privacy.

Perhaps it comes from growing up in a community where many eyes watched and reported the moves of members. Or maybe I learned that private actions are limited while digging through reports, listening to speeches and asking questions to create articles for newspapers, the web and books.

Or maybe I've lived through enough private networks becoming public, seen enough innovations wipe out previous practices and endured company ownership changes that render lifetime guarantees useless.

Teach privacy impossible

So Facebook wants to take over the world.So Facebook will learn more about me if I share my likes within  and off site. We already knew our reputations are dead.

Rather then worrying about teaching people how to keep their behaviors, thoughts and actions quiet why don't we teach them the basic truth that if you share it online someone will find it.  Yesterday it was Google. Today it is Facebook. Let's see who is next.

That's a long way of saying I don't see why someone  would be gleeful that they've managed to fool Facebook by listing concepts and values as interests and activities, a move that ensures useful ads are not served. I don't get playing hide and seek on Facebook.

One last time

I actually like those programs that tell me who I'm following across social networks, that serve up suggestions of what or who I might like.

I agree with Chris O'Brien in the San Jose Mercury News that the benefits of a Facebook monster is that I don't have to keep reinventing my profiles.

Says O'Brien in Sorry, Google, but Facebook is the Web's most important company now:

"The problem with the social Web until now is that each time you joined a new site, you had to create a new identity and refind your friends and drag them along with you. That's a pain, and each time you really had to think about how much time you wanted to invest. You had to build dozens of social networks, try to manage them and remember to check them."

But the changes mean, O'Brien explained, that "now, your Facebook network will just travel with you seamlessly across the Web ... This will make social networking far simpler and more effective for the vast majority of users."

It does means Facebook has a ton of information about me. I'm OK with that. So does my credit card company, Comcast and a ton of others. Unfortunately, a Freedom of Information Act request won't let me know what all they know.

Just go, will you?

I'm OK with Tyler Romeo "not to be a copycat or anything but I'm leaving Facebook." He's going to leave a lot of things through the years.

Nothing in the conversation that followed when Louis Gray shared it on Google Buzz persuaded me to follow Romeo's example.

I still believe don't say it or do it if you don't want to see it on the front page of your "local newspaper." It's just that these days my "local newspaper" has morphed into a global online network.

April 29, 2010

More citizen journalist initiatives starting at Michigan newspapers

Looks like Michigan's Oakland Press will get help in expanding its citizen journalism pool.

Plus more Michigan communities will start relying on neighbors to help cover the news.

The Journal Register, which owns the Oakland Press, Macomb Daily, Royal Oak Daily Tribune, Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant in Michigan and 13 other daily newspapers in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, partnered with SeeClickFix

A shared item on Facebook let me to this article in the Dearborn Press and Guide:
Newspaper group starts citizen journalist initiative.
"The partnership provides SeeClickFix portal pages on JRC Web sites that will allow users to observe, report and follow issues in their communities. Web site users will be able to create watch areas and track items ranging from poor road conditions to blighted buildings."

Think of it as a community neighborhood watch group for news.

The Oakland Press launched a citizen journalism academy in late 2008, even gained circulation when other Michigan newspapers cut back. But the move brought plenty of attention to the Oakland Press.

The company believes this partnership will benefit the communities by:
  • Encouraging the audience to use the SeeClickFix platform to alert fellow residents of impact issues.
  • Empowering residents to work with the company’s journalists to address community needs.
  • Highlighting those who participate and make a difference through news reports.

How's that for a press release reprinted in a newspaper as if it were a story.

The press release at the company site says:

The company expects to expand its network to its other properties, including the other weekly newspapers in Michigan. Those include the Advisor and Source in Shelby Township, Voice Newspapers, Southgate News-Herald, Heritage Newspapers and Morning Star Network, according to the company website.

Meanwhile, the Rapidian on the west side of Michigan is going strong.

Create or die

We are also about a month away from a Journalism That Matters unconference in Detroit.

The idea behind the event is "How can we reshape journalism so that it engages and serves all people & communities?"

A Facebook announcement said:
"A focused, three-day gathering of results-driven journalists, entrepreneurs, programmers, technologists, bloggers, videographers, funders, venture capitalists, artists and educators to discover, assess, shape and create new enterprises and new approaches to participatory media and civic journalism. We'll meeting in St. Andrew's Hall, a National Register-listed former church, with
state-of-the-art TV production facilities next door, and dormitory suite or hotel accommodations.

Learn about Detroit's changing economy as a metaphor for the journalism change and opportunity. Arrive Thurs., June 3, at mid-day, begin with an afternoon orientation, buffet dinner and evening program. Share/work Friday and Saturday using circle-round and break-out 'unconference' collaboration; wrap up and commit to next steps on Sunday morning."

Some expectations:
  • New and unexpected cross-sector collaborations
  • Broadening a community of practice among people who care about journalism innovation
  • Nurture and develop journalism entrepreneurship especially for underserved communities and people of color
  • Learn from stories of successful projects
  • Discover and engage financial/funding sources to seed new projects

Developing the program has started, but much of it depends on who shows up.

I'm registered to go, expecting to work behind the scenes capturing and then sharing some of what is discovered at the event. A few obstacles for me to overcome, but I think some exciting conversations will happen.

April 28, 2010

You can play hide and seek on Facebook

A recent rash of invites to see who has visited my Facebook profile and now a post on how to "stay invisible on Facebook" leaves me confused.

Personally, I want people to visit my profile. I want them to see what I said and I want to read what they write, share, or comment about. I'd love to know how many people just drift by my wall without leaving a shadow.

I never quite got why creating a collage of mug shots of visitors was an application that appealed to so many of my Facebook friends.

Robb Montgomery calls it staying invisible on Facebook.

He sees it as desirable as his lack of traditional interests listed in his profile ensures he keeps his data. After all, how many advertisers are seeking those intersted in "Truth, Grace, Redemption ...."

It means none of the Facebook ads are likely to garner a click from him.

Personally, I'll share some interests and even look at some ads as a way to ensure Facebook stays in business.

I once only shopped at businesses who advertised with my employer. I only used coupons delivered through my employer. It was one small step to assure advertisers that their ads and coupons worked.

I don't want to - and won't - pay a fee to Facebook.

Robb says:
"The choice to have your data sold and traded by people who are not paying you for it is up to you. If you want to lower your Facebook “book value” - your advertising revenue profile - then simply take a look at your profile details from a marketer’s viewpoint and remove specific types of information that identify your branding preferences."
I practice good privacy efforts. It's OK for a business to make money from me.  They always have.

April 27, 2010

Moving on: Cleveland.com exec moving (to) Sideways

waving hand

Adventure is calling an Advance Internet executive who enjoys creating new experiences online. She'll move from the news business to the book business. Or is it she's moving back to a familiar place.

Eliza Wing, president and CEO of Cleveland.com, is the new president and COO of Sideways, a software company based in Cleveland that wants to convert books into multimedia experiences to take advantage of the iPad and other mobile devices.

New look at books

Launch of Sideways, founded by the founder of books.com, is 27 days away, according to a company web site.  Wing gave cleveland.com  more details, saying the new company would formally launch at the BookExpo America conference in New York City on May 25.

It must be hard for Wing to leave Cleveland.com, a site that she helped form after moving from The Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial department. She was named editor-in-chief for Plain Dealer New Media in 1996 to work on the development of a news and information site for Cleveland and named president and CEO in 1997.

Sweet reunion

But, in some ways, it must be a comfortable move. Wing was editorial director for book.com, the first Internet book store, from June 1995 until February 1996.

No successor was named, according to a cleveland.com article where she also said:

"I think cleveland.com is at a place in its history when its ready to take the next step and I'm excited for the company. We're exceeding our revenue goals and our audience is continuing to grow. There's just so much more to do. That was part of what made the decision so hard."

In the past

Wing worked at Rolling Stone and New York Woman before following her then-husband to Cleveland for his new job at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That's when the mother of two started in the editorial department of the Ohio newspaper. That soon led to what became cleveland.com, the online affliate of the Plain Dealer.

Learn more about Eliza Wing, including the first time she lived in Ohio, how she started in the news business, and the fine art of "juggling the workplace as a hockey mom" in a 2005 profile on Clevelandwomen.com.

Online and active

We've met through the years at Newhouse events, new media conventions and, of course, online.  She tweets. has a Google profile and she blogs (just not lately.) She graduated from the University of Michigan, but let's not hold that against her.

April 26, 2010

Regret the error, not repeat the error

Poor Matt Millen. He can't win.

Rob Otto over on mlive.com ensures that Millen's mistake - a comment about who likes fried bologna sandwiches - isn't limited to ESPN watchers. He found a YouTube video with a label that deserves another round of apologies. He shares it in a Ottoman Empire post under the headline "Matt Millen discovers whole new way to embarrass himself at the NFL draft."

Otto should share the embarrassment with his choice of videos.

One of my first bosses at The Flint Journal pounded into me the importance of not repeating an error when publishing a correction. He's also the one who shared the web address with me, knowing I'd smile and start thinking about blue skies and perfection.