Posts Tagged 'Nokia N95'

SXSW Interactive ≠ Social

I have to say the SXSW on Saturday was a blast. The free beer and meeting so mant interesting, intelligent people was a heady mix.

Yesterday was a little more subdued. I had a pretty sore head for one thing and, also, I thought it was about time to check out some of the panels.

I missed the best one, it seems, which was the horrifc cringe-fest that was Sarah Lacy’s interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. While that was going on, I was sitting in on a panel about given users design freedom in applications.

A couple of things came to mind from this experience:

1. I’m not really that bothered about going to panels.

2. Web designers (especially the guy from Google) have a habit of treating their users in the same way that newspapers treat their readers.

There is this implicit assumption that, however innovative your users may want to be with your product, the creators still know best. It’s a strange ownership thing that I want to understand more about. Is it, perhaps, because deep down we do not provide or create platforms to empower other people, we do it to gain power ourselves?

Another thing that’s been bugging me is the overuse of the term “social media”. It’s certainly the buzzword for this festival. I guess it’s better than the word being “anti-social media” but, in many cases, that might be more apt.

Maybe it’s the product of thousands of voices trying to be heard in one space, but I’ve noticed a lot of people shouting about how “social” their product or job is, without actually seeming to have any social skills themselves. It’s like the loud guy who walks into the bar telling everyone how fun and popular he is but, after about five minutes, you realise he’s just a bit dull.

It occurs to me that by designing something to be interactive does not make it social per se. Social is a more subtle thing, built upon personal relationships, emotions and communication. I’m not sure where this is going, but I get the feeling that understanding this is pretty key to understanding how journalists should be working with their readers…

Someone who has got this whole social stuff down to a fine art is podcaster, blogger, writer and general media tart Ewan Spence, who I met properly for the first time yesterday and was bowled over by his passion and enthusiasm for both the digital medium and the people behind it. Ewan is an example of what happens when this type of publishing works for you… I’m meeting more and more of these people and learning a lot, but can’t quite put it all into words yet!

On the technology front, I’ve been enjoying using Qik to live stream video on the Nokia N95. I’m still making some errors with it but I will start to post stuff to the blog today. I like the way it allows people watching the video to send you messages. Although I guess it makes the video less intelligible for people watching after the event.

I’ll really hate the fact I’m going to have to give the N95 back when I get home. It’s a great tool.

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Preston: Day 3

So after last night’s technology melt down, I’m back up online tonight but I don’t have much time to blog.

I’m off out in a few minutes with the Nokia N95 to record interviews with sports fans about how and when they access information on sports. Yes, this means I’m off to roam the pubs of Preston waving a £300 phone about the place.

Luckily, I am in a group of six others. The “field project” is supposed to give us experience of using multimedia for journalism and also to understand how people get the information they want (and, crucially, at what time).

The last two days have gone by in a bit of a blur with so many ideas flying about I feel simultaneously wired and exhausted. Yesterday was particularly intense with a forum of Digital Editors. Some really interesting stuff came up about Flickr which I will blog more about later when I have more time. There’s also some fantastic stuff to say about the launch of the website EveryBlock. Suffice to say, I have a lot of catching up to do!

One way of tracking some of the stuff I’ve been looking at is my del.icio.us account, which I’ve been trying to update whenever possible. Also I’ve been tweeting a lot but, as the way I have used it has varied from a repository for thoughts to a tool for classroom gossip, I’m not sure how useful it is (there’s another post in that too!).

Today we have been messing around with video and looking at basic video editing packages. The laptops we are provided are capable of running Avid and I’d love to get a chance to play with that at some point (I had a brief lesson on Media100 a long time ago), but we haven’t really had time on this course.

I’ve also been thinking about the application of bug-tracking wikis to newly launched newspaper websites. More to come on that too…

Right, I’m off to face the pub-going, sport-watching folk of Preston!

Preston: Day 1

Phew! The first day of the residential is over. So, before a large glass of wine helps me to forget everything we’ve learnt today, I thought I better write a few quick notes.

The biggest thing for me was how much technology is out there that journalists should and could be using right now.

I remember being very impressed when playing with Google Earth on a friend’s iPhone – the GPS functions was stunning (Any rich person got an iPhone going spare btw? I’d love one, but can’t afford it!). It was brought home to us today that in just a few months everyone will have mobile GPS on their phones and will start expecting information to be geotagged. We should be doing that now!

Another one was mobile video. Here is another view of Preston (can’t get it to embed) and our lecturer Mark streaming video from his Nokia N95, which is now part of the mobile kit for all Reuters journalists.

Mark’s using Bambuser, which streams driectly to the web. It is still in alpha so, as with Seesmic, I’m going to have to put it on the list to play with later. But it made my head spin to think how easy it is to capture breaking news on mobile video and have it online instantly.

Other good sites to play with: Jaiku and ShoZu.

Right, off to the bar…


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