In the history chapter of the Online Journalism Handbook you will find a timeline of key events in web journalism. While working on the forthcoming second edition I recently revisited and updated the timeline. Below are the 41 key events I have settled on — but have I missed any? Let me know what you think. Continue reading
In this guest post, Damian Radcliffe highlights some recent developments in the intersection between hyper-local SoLoMo (social, location, mobile). His more detailed slides looking at 20 developments across the sector during the last two months of 2011 are cross-posted at the bottom of this article.
Facebook’s recent purchase of location-based service Gowalla (Slide 19 below,) suggests that the social network still thinks there is a future for this type of “check in” service. Touted as “the next big thing” ever since Foursquare launched at SXSW in 2009, to date Location Based Services (LBS) haven’t quite lived up to the hype.
Certainly there’s plenty of data to suggest that the public don’t quite share the enthusiasm of many Silicon Valley investors. Yet.
Part of their challenge is that not only is awareness of services relatively low – just 30% of respondents in a survey of 37,000 people by Forrester (Slide 27) – but their benefits are also not necessarily clearly understood.
In 2011, a study by youth marketing agency Dubit found about half of UK teenagers are not aware of location-based social networking services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places, with 58% of those who had heard of them saying they “do not see the point” of sharing geographic information.
Safety concerns may not be the primary concern of Dubit’s respondents, but as the “Please Rob Me” website says: “….on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home… The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”
Reinforcing this concern are several stories from both the UK and the US of insurers refusing to pay out after a domestic burglary, where victims have announced via social networks that they were away on holiday – or having a beer downtown.
For LBS to go truly mass market – and Forrester (see Slide 27) found that only 5% of mobile users were monthly LBS users – smartphone growth will be a key part of the puzzle. Recent Ofcom data reported that:
- Ownership nearly doubled in the UK between February 2010 and August 2011 (from 24% to 46%).
- 46% of UK internet users also used their phones to go online in October 2011.
For now at least, most of our location based activity would seem to be based on previous online behaviours. So, search continues to dominate.
Google in a recent blog post described local search ads as “so hot right now” (Slide 22, Sept-Oct 2011 update). The search giant launched hyper-local search ads a year ago, along with a “News Near You” feature in May 2011. (See: April-May 2011 update, Slide 27.)
Meanwhile, BIA/Kelsey forecast that local search advertising revenues in the US will increase from $5.1 billion in 2010 to $8.2 billion in 2015. Their figures suggest by 2015, 30% of search will be local.
The other notable growth area, location based mobile advertising, also offers a different slant on the typical “check in” service which Gowalla et al tend to specialise in. Borrell forerecasts this space will increase 66% in the US during 2012 (Slide 22).
The most high profile example of this service in the UK is O2 More, which triggers advertising or deals when a user passes through certain locations – offering a clear financial incentive for sharing your location.
Jiepang, China’s leading Location-Based Social Mobile App, offered a recent example of how to do this. Late last year they partnered with Starbucks, offering users a virtual Starbucks badge if they “checked-in” at a Starbucks store in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. When the number of badges issued hit 20,000, all badge holders got a free festive upgrade to a larger cup size. When coupled with the ease of NFC technology deployed to allow users to “check in” then it’s easy to understand the consumer benefit of such a service.
Mine’s a venti gingerbread latte. No cream. Xièxiè.
Ofcom’s Damian Radcliffe produces a regular round-up of developments in hyperlocal publishing. In this guest post he cross-publishes his latest presentation for this summer, as well as the background to the reports.
Ofcom’s 2009 report on Local and Regional Media in the UK identified the increasing role that online hyperlocal media is playing in the local and regional media ecology.
New research in the report identified that
“One in five consumers claimed to use community websites at least monthly, and a third of these said they had increased their use of such websites over the past two years.”
That was two years ago, and since then, this nascent sector has continued to evolve, with the web continuing to offer a space and platform for community expression, engagement and empowerment.
The diversity of these offerings is manifest in the Hyperlocal Voices series found on this website, as well as Talk About Local’s Ten Questions feature, both of which speak to hyperlocal practitioners about their work.
For a wider view of developments in this sector, you may want to look at the bi-monthly series of slides I publish on SlideShare every two months.
Each set of slides typically outlines 20 recent hyperlocal developments; usually 10 from the UK and 10 from the US.
Topics in the current edition include Local TV, hyperlocal coverage of the recent England riots, the rise of location based deals and marketing, as well as the FCC’s report on The Information Needs of Communities.
Feedback and suggestions for future editions – including omissions from current slides – are actively welcomed.