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The Digital Economy Bill – What’s it all about? March 18, 2010

Posted by kewroad in anti-piracy, government, internet, politics.
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Since the announcement of the Digital Economy Bill in last year’s Queen’s speech this pending bit of legislation has received a lot of attention and as it moves from the Lords to the Commons this week the debate around this continues to intensify. The question is what is it all about and why is there so much fuss surrounding it?

The gist of the whole thing is that it aims to reduce internet abuse with a particular focus on copyright infringement with measures such as cutting off persistent offender’s internet connections. The act will also increase the criminal liability level associated with “making or dealing with infringing articles” and “making, dealing with or using illicit recordings” to a maximum of £50,000.

ISPs will also have to pay closer attention to their users if the bill goes ahead as failure to report suspicious activity will result in fines of up to £250,000. It also proposes new powers for the government to control the use of the UK domain name space and has the potential to give Peter Mandelson unlimited power to enforce copyright by bringing into law any measure relating to file-sharing on the Internet, without the consent of Parliament.

TalkTalk have launched a mock music video to voice their opposition to the bill and BBC Panorama has done a report on the bill and its potential impact, but many felt that is focussed too much on the music industry and did not address human rights issues or the way it would impact the future of society.

With the general opinion being that this bill will be pushed through before the general election it looks like we will all have firsthand experience of this new legislation sooner rather than later so let’s hope they work out all the bugs before we get cut off from the internet for watching the wrong video on YouTube!

David vs Goliath Starring Google as David With guest appearances from Facebook and Twitter in the role of Goliath February 12, 2010

Posted by kewroad in Facebook, Google, social networks, Twitter.
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In the online world Google is undoubtedly seen as a giant among mere mortals, but in some arenas this is far from the case. I am talking about the social media scene where Facebook and Twitter are leading the way and Google is running along behind trying to keep up as best it can.

The weapon Google has chosen in place of the traditional slingshot is Google Buzz, a new add-on for Gmail that, as they put it, will ‘Go beyond status messages’. Users of this new service will be able to share all types of info from photos and videos through to websites within the existing Gmail service.

Using their existing email system may seem a strange option as platforms like Twitter and Facebook have made their mark on the world by moving away from emails and using instant messaging and other quicker forms of communication. By integrating with Gmail, Google gains instant access to 176 million existing email subscribers, some will just see this as another email add on and not a threat to the social media status quo but others may see this as a sleeping lion, waiting for Google to yank its tail and start a social media revolution.

With a host of failed attempts at social media in their past including Orkurt, Dodgeball, Jaiku, and OpenSocial some may think this latest effort is destined to failure. But I am also sure that a few years ago people would have laughed at you if you asked when they last Tweeted and who their celebrity doppelganger on Facebook was.

Google certainly doesn’t look like they are ready to give up on the social media scene just yet and even if they are the David of the piece for now I would not be surprised if a growth spurt and promotion to Goliath is not far off.

140 Words on Twitter Becoming the Word of the Year 2009 December 2, 2009

Posted by kewroad in blogs, internet, social networks, Twitter.
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Twitter:

  • The sound of a succession of chirps as uttered by birds
  • A free social networking and micro-blogging service

Not so long ago there was only one meaning for the word Twitter, but this year the brand name of a micro-blogging powerhouse has been crowned most popular word of 2009, joining previous winners change, hybrid, sustainable and refugee.

2009 is the first year that a technology brand rather than a political issue has topped the chart.

Other developments in 2009 have included Darlington becoming the first UK town to have an official ‘Twitterer-in-Residence’ who will be paid £140 annually to inform people about news and events in town via Twitter (@TheDarloBoard). There is also a man who has hooked his house up to Twitter to let him know when he has forgotten to turn his lights off (@andy_house).

The internet now drives opinion not the print media October 18, 2009

Posted by kewroad in 2009 predictions, information technology, internet, Journalism, new media, pr, print media, social networks, Twitter, Uncategorized.
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The furore since Thursday evening over the Daily Mail’s Jan Moir’s take on the death of Stephen Gateley serves to demonstrate that communications and opinion is no longer in the hands of journalists alone.  Twitter not only ‘breaks news’ – it also provides the facilitate to quickly garner masses of public opinion around news.   In the old days, a journalist would express a view and all that might happen is a letter from Mr Angry from Bournementh in the letters page the following week.   Many of might have wanted to comment but didn’t have the inclination to write a letter.  Not only does the popularity of Facebook and Twitter  now enable people to comment instantly but these social media tools also enable us to come together collectively, quickly and forcefully to drive comment and lead opinion.

Is this new wave of influential public opinion revolutionary? Well almost.  When before could a swell of opinion be expressed so quickly and powerfully? Long-term, this must have a positive effect on the old powers of the handful of media moguls who have long domintated the printing presses. Surely, long-term, it will be public opinion that drives the news agenda.  This new power of the people can’t be underestimated. Such was the rumpus caused by the Daily Mail article that the  newspaper lost significant advertising revenue. The mail had to remove adverts from big brands like Marks and Spencer, Nestle, Visit England, Kodak and the National Express. 

As the Observer recently reported, the print media is changing beyond all recognition and will never be the same again. We are currently living in a period of incredible change in communications and social media. No one really knows what the outcome will be, all that is for sure is that it won’t be the same as before. 

Sue Grant

Twitter: Next Generation of Citizen Journalism? June 30, 2009

Posted by billyburnettgbc in Journalism, new media, Twitter.
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I didn’t learn of Michael Jackson’s death on the news, nor did I read it in a newspaper or online, I heard about it on Twitter, the fastest growing medium of so-called citizen journalism.

I was in a public house near my flat and as a friend frequented the little boy’s room I took the opportunity to load up Tweet Deck on my iPhone.  I was suddenly met with over 300 “MJ related” Tweets, with an assortment of hash tags and tiny URLs which I could use to follow the story.  This was citizen journalism in action and I became part of it the minute I decided to Retweet and subsequently break the internet.

As the fastest growing website in the UK, experiencing a 22-fold increase in the past year, Twitter is now not only used by many for communication, but also as a source of news.  This is supported by a recent study by industry analysts Hitwise, who found that during May, links from Twitter accounted for 1 in every 350 visits to a website.  The figures also revealed that Twitter was the 27th most popular source of traffic to media and newspaper websites in the UK.

But is this a sustainable medium, not in terms of enthusiastic users but in terms of quality?  On the same day that I learnt of the news surrounding Michael Jackson, Tweets were also circulating around the death of Jeff Goldblum, culminating in an Australian news channel covering the news.  A term we are referring to internally as Tweeting Whispers.

Another challenge facing the use of Twitter as a source of news is the opportunity for misuse. Habitat has hit the headlines over the past couple of weeks when an overenthusiastic “intern” decided to leverage the popularity of hash tags surrounding the Iran elections and Apple iPhone to promote a special offer by Habitat.  On this occasion the site was simply misused to promote a special offer, but what if it was to send people to an infected website etc.

The challenge for Twitter is on how to address these problems. Does it put in place technical solutions that could potentially inhibit growth and functionality?  Or does it leverage the Twitter audience and create a new system of rating or reporting tweets?

The task ahead is unenviable however there is no doubt without some action from a predominantly unchanged social networking platform the Twitter platform will be replaced.  I am already thinking of a tool where you aren’t allowed to use vowels.

what’s the future for the newspaper industry? March 23, 2009

Posted by suegrant46 in internet, new media, pr, recession, social networks.
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70 US papers have closed recently resulting in 5000 job losses and the latest victim, the Seattle PI, which was 150 years old has reduced its workforce from 120 to just 20 journalists now contributing to only an online edition.

Did the newspaper industry make a big mistake by so freely letting their content go online without considering first how to create long-term revenue streams?  It’s too late now but as print advertising revenues fall away dramatically and newspapers and publications are closing or reducing their staff to less than a third of what they once were – they are left scrabbling to sort out where revenue is going to come from.

The business models have to change. It’s likely that revenue will come from a range of sources rather than one and it could be a combination of digital advertising, part paid for subscription content and e-commerce partnerships.

Specific focus and knowing the target audience is key.  In fact, isn’t it also about establishing an ongoing dialogue with those audiences? Identifying who that audience is and then communicating with them as a community rather than simply a one way broadcast is essential. The old ways are dead. It will require change and fresh thinking from the media giants if they are to survive.