The opposite use of Facebook

I’m now on the other side of media. After spending so many years working in PBS and in publicmedia I just began a new gig in commercial television. Consolidation, concentration and economies of scale are what has and is going on. I guess the thought is that with overall viewership down, combining operations to reduce inefficiencies and cross promote programs through other outlets (transmedia) the cost per viewer will be acceptable. Social technologies are used on the commercial and non-commercial sides to support “audience engagement” or promote “the conversation” and to harvest sources. In one instance, Facebook “Likes” and Twitter “Follows” further qualify traditional ratings. In another, to drive clicks to web properties.  To what end?  Beats me – could the rationale be to keep increasing the pennies generated by “other media”?

All this “why” aside, broadcasters are driving viewers to their Facebook pages and twitter streams. That’s the goal. Up the likes. Up the followers. Pour the bread in to the webpage and hope for a better tomorrow. I kinda understand this and have learned a good many techniques and underlying principles to help reach this goal. The idea is that development on the net will pay off eventually and benefit core viewers the most for now and the brand later. But here is a different objective. Use this stuff to increase the ratings. To drive more viewers to the show. Huh? Right?

OK. Let’s give it a shot. Why tune in? How to make appointment TV more relevant? It’s asking a lot these days to have a viewer stop what they’re doing – and tune in to your show at a specific time. This is further complicated when the show isn’t live. Two thoughts here. “Hey friends, look at me, I’m on TV!”, but you have to watch at a specific time and day because it’s fleeting and has little value beyond now. And two; host a conversation during the airing to gossip with me about it! This plus a less throw back goal, let’s build a network of sources and develop a citizen corps.


In our Knight Foundation News Challenge grant proposal, we refer to one of the techniques we’re developing as “Enhanced Live blogging.” I’ll describe just how and why these techniques should be included in your production design to stream line workflow and create more material to serve and engage your constituents. Let’s start with that term constituent. The conversation about our lives, what’s new,  has been going on before TV, newspapers and the internet. As media evolved into a convenient collection of information for our consumption, it subtly promoted a sometimes unspoken agenda by directing what our focus should be. The notion of Eyewitness news – unless “we” witnessed it and share it with you,  it isn’t news – is based on the idea that there are limited resources to gather information. A gatekeeper must prioritize the stories and decide which are worthwhile to bring to you, the audience. With the wealth of information now available to all people in all areas turns this notion around. A passive audience that absorbs only what is placed in front of them is fading away. Many take an active role in their information consumption and share it in conversations. This sharing takes many forms. Some comment on blogs, others call in on talk shows while others still write letters to the editor.  Some just shout at their TV’s.  A real digital conversation can now occur, we’ll talk more about this later.  But what to we call this new relationship? Not an audience, not a user, not a pure content consumer. The relationship has changed. The media is no longer a lecturer standing at the front of the auditorium reading notes to listeners copying them into their notebooks. It’s more like a study group where participants share their discoveries to further the dialog. So if we are engaged with others and providing the mechanisms to help further their conversation perhaps it is constituents that we serve. The enhanced live blogging concept was designed for live programs, but can also be used for the broadcast premiere of pre-recorded events. Live blogging is a written play by play account of an event from someone at the event as it happens – enhanced live blogging adds video, audio and transcription. Four or more unmanned cameras are positioned around a “talking head” discussion. They are switched live and sent to be broadcast, streamed  or to a recorder. The product of the switched output is a traditional public affairs program. It can be used in long form for audio and video podcasts. Each camera is focused on the individual participant of the discussion. These “quote” cams along with the audio feed of the conversation are isolated and sent along to blogging stations. The live blogger selects relevant statements by marking in and out points.  The product of the blogging station is a branded video clip of the statement and a transcription of the statement that are posted for distribution.  A shortened link that points to the clip is generated and inserted in to the twitter template where the blogger writes a brief headline.  A tweet containing the quote, the link to the video and branding information is tweeted. At the same time RSS feeds are updated and text messages are send to subscribers. A transcription of the quote with the link is also inserted into the topics “chat” stream where others continue the conversation. The relevant points made in this chat stream are curated by an additional blogger or social avatar who participates in the televised conversation by introducing chat points to the televised guests. The live blogger position takes the place of camera operators. The ability to quickly determine quotable or relevant statements are needed instead of knowing how to operator a camera. The live blogger position can be virtualised by sending the isolated audio and video streams to remote individuals who have demonstrated the skills necessary to operate as an enhanced live blogger.

The term “blog” is a shortened moniker for web log. Before the commentary, analysis and pontification  a weblog was literally a list of useful links you shared with anyone else who was  interested in the same things you were interested in.

I am a student of media – from Lippman to Shirky. Brought on by a serious dose of Heffner who opened my mind as an undergraduate.

The point is,  a lot of people are almost always asking me where I get my ideas from. Quite simply, the seeds are from all the stuff I stick in my head.  If I wrote down more words about them,  I might be found in other people’s links too.  So if you have an interest in technology, media, journalism, art and culture – these links are pretty useful.


12 media predictions for 2012

Predictions are always the most interesting AFTER time has passed. These are certainly worth considering if you are in the media space.

1. Social TV startup activity will double
2. Nielsen will buy a social TV data company
3. Get ready for a nasty battle over the second screen
4. Twitter will want to watch TV with you
5. Facebook will increasingly power social TV recommendations
6. TV check-ins will become passive activities
8. Social TV companies will launch (lots) of connected TV apps
9. Netflix will get social, but it won’t dazzle
10. Google TV will make a comeback
11. Start saying good-bye to TV remote controls (finally!)
12. Forget the last channel, TVs will start up smart with social guides

source :

Summary of a Social Media lecture at Princeton

Does Civic Media Help us understand the Arab Spring? A lecture by Ethan Zuckerman at Princeton University 11/10/11

The talk was about how or even if media can affect social change. This can only be determined if the effects of media can be measured. This matrix has been difficult to measure with conventional media because the numbers or ratings are derived from statistical samples and aren’t always accurate. New or digital media that include websites, the blogosphere, tweets, FaceBook and several others, provide accurate and excessive data. The rest of the discussion went about making comparisons of media measurements to civic actions in current events to see what can be derived. This in itself is very interesting, but the tools Ethan Zuckerman uses, some of which are available to the public, is the most fascinating to our discussion.

The selfimmolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a vegetable cart owner in Tunisia is deemed the origin of the Arab Spring. There were no other countries to model the revolt on so it makes a good “patient 1” in analyzing a movement in the time of social media. Twitter and Facebook documented this and earlier similar and unrelated events, but while many advocates like to credit New Media with enabling it all – there’s no evidence to prove this. Somehow through word of mouth, perhaps SMS (texting), an already angry population got together, in mass, and took back their country from a dictator. The government was monitoring all social sites; the population knew it and the only supporters were those outside Tunisia. Expatriates promoted it, perhaps that’s why there was traction – Ethan concludes that’s partially true.

Zuckerman proposes that when New or Participatory Media overlaps Civic engagement, Civic Media forms. This can be explained in four ways. Ecosystems, Participation, Inclusion and Codesign – this discussion concentrates on the first two,Ecosystems and Participation.

Ecosystems – Understand, map and visualize the relationships between traditional and new media, so we can help communities and organizations call attention to stories and issues that otherwise go uncovered.

Zuckerman then sites 4 takes on how social media influences social change

Malcom Gladwell says  it doesn’t  – physical participation is required to make change.

Clay Shirky says the internet enables groups to form and gives voice to activists

Beth Coleman says the internet allows affiliation and this leads to virtual support

And Sami ben Gharbia feels the internet influences broadcast which help coordinate broad social movement

He later illustrates the expatriate connection referred to earlier. Using phone cams,  images are posted to FB and a Nawaalja page for Tunisian expats. It gets the attention of Al Jazeera which puts the news out on (pirate) television.  Locals are aware that the government is monitoring FB for subversives so don’t use it, but learn of the protest from the unblocked Aljazeera TV reports. A combination of old and new media, by design or accidentally causes something to happen.

Some may think those laptop-wielding people at protests like OWS are tweeting and getting the word out, but this is not the case. The media team is monitoring the coverage and trying, where possible, to frame or shape what images and stories get out. Rather like old school public opinion, but now with new tools. This is how one social component works. When the OWS movement first began, a rash of photographs of people holding handwritten signs appeared on FaceBook.  These were used to bring attention to the cause, but were also designed to project a certain way. The handwritten passages then subsided and have been replaced with relevant quotes from historic figures and presented on more graphically designed vehicles. An infographic that shows the relationship between inside and outside tweets of the Tunisian protest is useful and attributable to Kovas Boguta. Another visualization makes the point as well and shows how something is/was going on.

Mr. Zuckerman has a very interesting graphic, familiar to us that show the interaction between different media today.

Looking at some media cloud graphics of the different topics on blogger sites when OWS first began was very informative. We see the evolution in memes between left and right, left and left and right and right over time. Initially, the Left are talking about how it’s growing and cities where the occupiers are forming gets attention while the Right start to knock the gatherings trying out different name calling to see what get traction – As time goes on the conversation grows to a focus of Corporations, Democratic, Labor and more in tune with what the OWS organizers want. – This media cloud is good stuff. It helps see trends and when you get enough social traction, they can show audience users preferences.

Ethan Zuckerman comes from the Media lab at MIT so he also explains the workings of and promotes the adoption of the nutritional label for content. Along these lines, another great illustration showed the types of stories most read in the New York Times over a certain period. It revealed that the Times’ reader is more interested in national news at times of recession and domestic news during prosperous periods. Because everything is digital, it’s data can easily measured to see what type and when stories appear. This can be applied to video only when there are transcripts of the text, which would also be useful. A somewhat troubling aspect of this technology is when it’s married to the devices we use to consume content. From the information found in our content consumption diet we may be able to find if we’re in an echo chamber and not getting any information from outside. And of course, so can advertisers.

Particpation – Civic media helps communities participate effectively in civic life. Participation in civic life cultivates consumers for informative and investigative media. We’re working to help people participate effectively in both local and distant communities.

Zuckerman tells of an early case of civic participation. During the labor vote in Wisconsin when protestors essentially occupied the state house. A sympathizer asked if there was anything they could do to help the protesters. The reply was to ask if they’d could get some pizza from a local pizzeria. Once this was tweeted it grew and the pizzeria was inundated with pizza orders from around the country. The media drove participation which circularly drove more media coverage. This came back to Gladwell’s cry for physical participation or interaction not just tweet or as we used to say in the security world “actionable information” This is also the complaint of many OWS detractors. What do they want? The cycle now seems to be you see some information that pisses you off. You maybe share it or like but want to do something more, but something more – isn’t readily apparent. So you go back and see some funny cat video on youtube. A lesson there for makers of content that does’t ask for something.

The next subject was politically what was going on. Main Stream Politics requires, you petition your law makers they represent you , you vote , sign things etc. But much of what we see with TEA and OWS is the disfranchisement of citizens – they just don’t see things change based on the old way. They feel compelled to take to the streets and DO SOMETHING, because this democracy thing just isn’t working for them us. Other examples of this need to DO something are users changing their avatar to one color to demonstrate support. Or, the more sinister Anonymous who shuts down “offensive”  website with denial of service attacks. And somewhat successful   leave your bank day, which had 1/2 million new customers switch to credit unions from big banks, along these lines you could add American Express’ brilliant Small Business Saturday campaign.

He basically concluded with something that reminded me of the dot com days in tech. He used the South Park example of the 3 phase underpants. Basically it says, Do something you think is cool; don’t worry about the 2nd phase and then in the 3rd phase – PROFIT.

Before Web 2.0 it was start a cool internet company – have someone buy it out, make a profit. Wait, how will the company make money? Not my problem, I sell it before that part. That’s what they said with twitter and FB and many others, Ethan relates it to a movement, start the movement, yada yada  – change the world.


QR Codes, take two! and augmented reality

Imagine these bugs or non-bugs embedded on TV sets (stages not monitors)  and at events – also embedded into the  locations where references from content are made. An environmental report about a stream or a politician’s advocating for commuters at a crowded bridge. Particularly powerful when commuters are aware of this tech on their ride in or out to work. That is how augmented reality extends and engages. Just tell folks what to do and they’ll dig it – another thing to jump on now and lead the pack NOT another me too

If you don’t have google goggles  – get it and try it – you talk or see search instead of typing the query.

on Not just re-purposing content – re designing it!

Rafat Ali is the founder of PaidContent. Here he talks about the idea of content delivery via mobile devices. Read the full article here.

Rafat Ali: As the deluge of media and information has become overwhelming and we are in a state of persistent media stimuli, the tactile nature of touchscreens allow us, for the first time in the digital age, to “get a handle” on this flow, this stream, this river, this flood. It becomes a lot more personal, a lot more immersive, just by the sheer fact that we are touching it.

Also, despite the somewhat shiny-object nature of the apps revolution, what it has shown us is that people are yearning for simpler, faster, more utilitarian and more contained experiences. Touch is the underpinning that enables that thinking.

Further, what that means is that we move away from the click frenzied nature of the web, and the scroll. I think these are among the worst things to be invented from a human-centered design perspective. We will move from a vertical model of digital media consumption to a hybrid-horizontal model, which by its nature is immersive. You can already see it in iPad apps such as Flipboard, which I think are just the 0.1 versions of what is to come.

It is also a matter of time before these devices become a lot cheaper, and mainstream across all societies worldwide. Hence my belief.

AA: How can publishers take advantage of properties that exist on touchscreen devices that were not commercially viable only a few years ago?

RA: I think it requires a lot more than publishers can grasp at this point. It means re-architecting your company around this evolving mode of media consumption. It means bringing design thinking around every piece of content being created within a media company. It may also mean that the start of your media strategy going ahead could be based around portability and mobility, not just another device your content has to be ported to, the dominant media thinking currently.

It also leads you to thinking about packaging, bundling AND even unbundling in a lot of different ways than couldn’t have been imagined just two to three years ago. Consider the example of a children’s books publisher. Imagine the future of the company’s assets, as it gets reimagined for these portable touch platforms. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and implementation.

Then in terms of revenues/payments, the upsell becomes a seamless possibility like never before. Virtual goods is the most cliched but clearly viable example of this. Lots more to come there, both from start-ups and big established players.

FB Facts


Thank you Gareth Case

Facebook, its growth and success in unprecedented. The 50 facts below highlight the true scale of Facebook and its users’ activity. But will we ever see a communications platform of this size again? What’s going to be the next big thing? Google+ hasn’t had quite the impact I was expecting. If a brand like Google can’t conquer the social networking world then what can? Social media as it is today, in my opinion is saturated, surely only a new breed of media and communications could have an impact big enough to make a dent on the current landscape.

1.1 in every 13 people on Earth is on Facebook
2.35+ demographic represents more than 30% of the entire user base
3.71.2 % of all USA internet users are on Facebook
4.In 20 minutes 1,000,000 links are shared on Facebook
5.In 20 minutes 1,484,000 event invites are posted
6.In 20 minutes 1,323,000 photos are tagged
7.In 20 minutes 1,851,000 status updates are entered
8.In 20 minutes 1.972 million friend requests are accepted
9.In 20 minutes 2,716,000 photos are uploaded
10.In 20 minutes 2,716,000 messages are sent
11.In 20 minutes 10.2 million comments are posted
12.In 20 minutes 1,587,000 wall posts are written
13.750 million photos were uploaded to Facebook over New Year’s weekend
14.48% of young Americans said they found out about news through Facebook
15.48% of 18 to 34 year olds check Facebook right when they wake up
16.50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
17.Average user has 130 friends
18.People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
19.There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
20.Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
21.Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
22.More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
23.More than 70 translations available on the site
24.About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
25.Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
26.Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
27.People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
28.Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
29.Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
30.More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites
31.There are more than 250 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices
32.People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
33.There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
34.Al Pacino’s face was on the original Facebook homepage
35.One early Facebook function was a file sharing service
36.The first “Work Networks” as well as the original educational networks included Apple and Microsoft
37.The meaning of the term poke has never been defined
38.There is an ‘App’ to see what’s on the Facebook cafe menu
39.Mark Zuckerburg (CEO of Facebook) calls himself a “Harvard Graduate” when in fact he didn’t graduate (apparently his reply is that “there isn’t a setting for dropout”)
40.Australian’s spend more time per month on Facebook than any other country at over 7 hours on average
41.A Facebook employee hoodie sold for $4,000 on eBay
42.Facebook was initially bank-rolled by Peter Thiel the co-founder of PayPal for $500,000
43.It is the second biggest website by traffic behind Google (at the moment)
44.Facebook is now valued at approximately $80 billion
45.Facebook makes money through advertising and virtual products
46.Facebook was almost shut down by a lawsuit by ConnectU who claimed that Zuckerburg stole the idea and Technology for Facebook (the issue was settled out of court)
47.The USA has the largest Facebook user base with 155 million people which represents 23.6% of Facebook’s total users
48.There is over 16,000,000 Facebook fan pages
49.Texas Hold’em Poker is the most popular Facebook page with over 41 million fans
50.More than 650 million active users