Monthly Archives: August 2005

podcasting politics

[Keyword: ].

Tony Blair does it, George Bush does it, but according to a New Zealand firm, no one’s podcast election interviews before. The collection of casual fire side chats at The Voice Booth isn’t going to change any election result, and it’s not been used to release new policy or communicate other new content, let alone otherwise unheard voices. But I have to say I like the informal and non-confrontational approach. The site owners claim hits of up to 80,000, quite high for a small country.

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Geotagging, blogchalking, and simple ego massage

[Keyword: ]. Always good to have a comment commented on (and to comment back on the commented comment. Okay, I’ll stop now.) – Steve Outing has picked up on some of my thoughts on ‘mapping the news’ in response to his earlier article.

This prompted me to revisit a term I came across earlier this year – blogchalking. Blogchalking is a technique intended to help people find blogs (and presumably websites) in a particular area. Simply put, it involved placing a simple line of text on your site – for example: this is my blogchalk: United Kingdom, West Midlands, Birmingham. A search on Google for “blogchalk: United Kingdom, West Midlands, Birmingham” would throw up any other sites with a similar phrase (but only in the sense that a search for “online journalism” would throw up sites with that phrase).

However, further digging proved quite fruitless in finding out where this technique had come from, and whether it actually works. The site where it seems to have originated – www.blogchalking.tk – is obviously now owned by someone who just sells advertising. It takes a trip to the Internet Archive to find an older version of the site from the days when it actually mattered. Either way, it’s clear the technique seems to have died a death.

Much better is geotagging, a little bit of HTML that resides in your meta tags and helps identify your geographical location (or the location of a place that you’re writing about). Andrew Turner’s article at Linux Journal gives a great overview of what you can do with this, including some very useful comments. After a quick read the following metadata was added to this blog’s template HTML (I’ve omitted the triangular brackets as otherwise Blogger assumes I want to place meta tags here and makes them invisible):

meta name=”ICBM” content=”52.5382, -1.8347″
meta name=”geo.position” content=”52.5382;-1.8347″
meta name=”geo.region” content=”GB”
meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Birmingham”


If nothing else this will give you an excuse to use an “Intercontinental Ballistic Missile” tag (aren’t you glad the American military no longer owns the internet?).

What’s happened to Murdoch?

[Keyword: ]. Suddenly he’s throwing money at the web. Not content with declaring the need for newspapers to wake up to the net, and spending a stupendous amount on internet company Intermix media, he’s now reported to be “expect[ing] to invest another $1bn or so in online properties”, including a search business. The Guardian goes on to say “He hopes to build an internet portal that would exploit the range of assets owned by the sprawling company.” Ah yes, portals. I remember them.

News maps

A few months ago I reported on an experiment in using BBC news feeds to create a ‘news map’ which you can click on to see stories in locations around the world (http://www.world66.com/mapsonomy?rss=http%3A//newsrss.bbc.co.uk/rss/newsonline_world_edition/front_page/rss.xml Now Poynter reports on a similar experiment using Google Maps .

It’s a great idea – and looks lovely – but I predict people are likely to rely on existing paradigms and navigate to stories using the old World > Asia > India (for example) system for a while yet.

PS: For a similar map of blog locations look at http://ojournalism.blogspot.com/2005/06/finding-local-blogs-if-youre-in.html.

How people interact with and relate to digital media

[Keyword: ]. Here’s a lengthy report for you to get your teeth into: the Online User Experience Study (PDF) from the Online Publishers Association. 49 pages which “identified 22 experiences that describe and define of how people interact with and relate to digital media, and determined how each of those specific experiences impact site usage.” Thankfully (or not, if you prefer not to waste so much paper printing), each page is in PowerPoint style, i.e. not much to read – although there’s also an overview (PDF) which is more succinct at 12 pages (you can also read the key points in the press release).

The most useful section is the recommendations pages – quoted below:

“1. The first stage is to look at the experiences that have a stronger effect on usage and
sort them into two groups: those that your Web site must provide at a high level to
continue to be in the game, and those that could differentiate you from competitors.

“2. From the remainder, choose two or three experiences whose current levels are lower
and/or ones on which you think you can make strides.

“3. Establish a benchmark measurement of the experiences on which you will focus.

“4. Create “experience-oriented” content aimed at enhancing your target experience. This
could take a variety of forms, including new criteria for content selection, different
story treatment, additional tools or features, etc.

“5. Assess audience reaction.”

“Creating Free PDF Files”

[Keyword: ]. Reasons to love the net #3,457: a simple link from Poynter can save you over £200:

PDFonline.com allows you to create PDF files from a wide variety of formats, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and JPEG files. Just attach a document by browsing to it on your local computer (PC or Mac), choose a file name for the new PDF and enter your e-mail address. Within minutes, you will receive your PDF file via e-mail. If you are worried about spam, the site tells you: “You don’t have to use your personal email account. Simply create a separate email account, or a free account at Yahoo or Hotmail, specifically for this purpose.” One drawback is that you can only convert documents that are under 2MB each (you have to break up the document if it’s that big).”