Blogging declines among under-30 set

4 02 2010

A new report on “Social Media and Young Adults” by Pew finds several interesting trends, the most pronounced of which is a decline in blogging.  Wirelessly connecting in general, though, continues to rise among teens and young adults.

Teens particularly disdain Twitter, to which those over 30 continue to flock. And in a bad sign for Facebook, users are now equally split between over-30s and under-30s. That finding  holds up in the sample of my household, where the half that is in college grows less enthusiastic about Facebook while the older segment finds itself battling obsession. We’re already seeing clear indications among the younger half that Facebook use is growing hopelessly passe.

The study shows that online activity is near saturation points among the under-30s, while I was surprised that far less than half of those over 65 are online. I’m sure that curve will flatten rapidly, but it still is cause for consideration in communications strategies aimed at wide demographic groups.

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FT editor says come on in, water’s fine

4 08 2009

This is rich. The editor of that venerable peach journal of capitalism, The Financial Times, urges other newspapers to hurry up and join the FT in charging for content. The editor, Lionel Barber, says:

“What I would say to the competition and to the rest of the world is that it’s getting late. If we move now we can assure ourselves of a prosperous future.”

Translation: “Don’t leave us hangin’ here, fellas.”

Further, he warns other newspaper editors not to compete on price, because that would be wrong. Some capitalism, there!

But I do think he’s right to focus on brand and business model, and the FT is ahead of the pack there. He doesn’t see ad revenue as the answer, although it ought to supplement paying readers.

Competing with the BBC is a prickly issue for private news gatherers in the UK, and the interviewer badly wants the FT to pick that fight, but Barber won’t go there. Nor will he attack blogs that cut and paste news content. He doesn’t see that as competition. He sees the players as those with big brands built on credibility and value. Lot of sense in that.





AP vs. Internet

28 07 2009

Something else I missed while on vacation: The Associated Press is taking a new hard line against unlicensed use of its stories on search engines and Web sites.

Reaction was swift from bloggers, of course. Then the AP granted an interview to CJR business writer Ryan Chittam, who concludes that bloggers are overreacting and that individual bloggers have nothing to worry about.

Danny Sullivan at Daggle, however, points out many unanswered questions, and the AP is not going to answer them for now.

I think the AP is trying to stand on principle while tacitly acknowledging reality. I agree that the Google news page and other giants should pay for news content. I also agree that neither the AP nor other content providers are going to waste legal fees chasing down the millions of individual bloggers who link to their work. I’m not worried for now.  

I would, however, like to see Google, along with major bloggers, work on a solution rather than always opposing AP. Somebody has got to pay for news gathering else we lose it.





NYT: Iran coverage bends journalism rules

29 06 2009

CNN IranAcknowledging that it’s a bitter pill to swallow, the New York Times notes that the traditional media’s embrace of feeds from Iran via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and blogs “amounts to the biggest embrace yet of a collaborative new style of news gathering — one that combines the contributions of ordinary citizens with the reports and analysis of journalists.”

Many mainstream media sources, which have in the past been critical of the undifferentiated sources of information on the Web, had little choice but to throw open their doors in this case. As the protests against Mr. Ahmadinejad grew, the government sharply curtailed the foreign press. As visas expired, many journalists packed up, and the ones who stayed were barred from reporting on the streets.

In a news vacuum, amateur videos and eyewitness accounts became the de facto source for information.

The newspaper admits that in publishing this material first and asking questions later, the news media violates one of the first rules of journalism: “Know the source.” Often, the nature of the content relayed by tradtional media — as well as its context, and timing — are so vague as to add little understanding to what is going on. So far, there appears to be little mischief or deceit among the anonymous transmittals from Iran. The unusual circumstances in Iran, though, seem to have opened a few eyes among traditional media.

Bill Mitchell, a senior leader at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists, said the extent of user involvement shown in the Iran coverage seems to be a new way of thinking about journalism.

“Instead of limiting ourselves to full-blown articles to be written by a journalist (professional or otherwise), the idea is to look closely at stories as they unfold and ask: is there a piece of this story I’m in a particularly good position to enhance or advance?” he said in an e-mail message.

“And it’s not just a question for journalists,” he added.

I’ve got to admit I’ve been queasy about the use of so much unsupported and unverifiable information, particularly the highly emotional imagery. There is danger of inflaming a reaction that could lead, again, to rash intervention and unwise foreign entanglements. I’ve railed at broadcasters’ running and rerunning footage about which they know practically nothing, other than that it contains blood and violence. I suspect journalists and politicians of projecting their own agendas onto these vague images.

Still, I come back to thinking that some information is better than none. It’s better for us to have a glimpse, however obscure, into something obviously massive and possibly historic. Maybe later on we can know and understand what we are seeing today — if the media and audience attention span allow.





BusinessWeek: Social Media Marketing Myths

8 04 2009

According to BW, it’s not easy or cheap, but if you’re not marketing via social media, you’re behind.

That makes sense for most of the BW audience, but there are plenty of examples of big and small businesses dipping their toe into social media using in-house resources and negligible budgets and achieving extraordinary results. It’s not the bells and whistles, it’s the quality of the conversation.