Tag Archives: robert scoble

War, assassination, and Strictly Come Dancing: What news did you first hear on Twitter?

This is just a bit of curious fun. I can think of a few stories I heard first on Twitter. They are:

  • The assassination of Benazir Bhutto (via @martinstabe)
  • The Chinese earthquake (via @scobleizer)
  • The deaths of Bo Diddley and Ted Rogers
  • The resignation of Roy Keane as manager of Sunderland
  • Bank of England lowering interest rate to 2%
  • Russian tanks moving into South Ossetia
  • And, er, the Strictly Come Dancing voting scandal-that-then-became-a-fiasco (via @aarons)

It’s a curious mix of the general and the very specific. And I’m sure there are others I’ve since forgotten.

I asked the Twittersphere what events they first heard there, and the recent events in Mumbai featured highly, along with some of the above. Others included Michael Grimes hearing about the arrest of MP Damian Green via Twittering Labour MP @Tom_Watson before it hit the BBC, Dilyan Damyanov hearing about the death of Michael Crichton, and medeamaterial hearing about Ingrid Betancourt’s liberation from the FARC: “full five minutes after reading it tweeted by several people it was on TV”.

Conrad Quilty-Harper mentioned the OJ Simpson guilty verdict “and countless others first via @BreakingNewsOn“. Dana_Willhoit said “It’s amazing. I was a newspaper reporter – now I turn to Twitter for my news.”

What news stories can you remember hearing first on Twitter? Are there certain types that seem to spread better than others?

N97 gets touch screen – but here are 10 reasons the iPhone already sucks compared with the N95

Nokia have unveiled the N97 and Robert Scoble makes a compelling case for its superiority over the iPhone. Curiously, many of his points mirror ones I had prepared in a blog post comparing the iPhone to the N95, giving me the perfect excuse to finally publish it.

The iPhone is overrated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Yes, it’s got great usability, but for a journalist it just doesn’t compete. And here are 10 reasons why:

  1. A crappy camera. 2 megapixels is terrible – the N95 has 5. Not to mention auto-focus, flash, etc. etc.
  2. No video camera. Inexcusable in the YouTube age. Yes there are workarounds but…
  3. You have to jailbreak the iPhone to use streaming services like Qik. Installing Qik (or Bambuser, or Shozu) on the N95 is pretty straightforward. The fact you have to jailbreak the iPhone at all says a lot about Apple’s attitude. Nokia’s Symbian operating system is open (if not open source yet).
  4. You can’t save webpages. Once again, you can on the N95.
  5. No alternative browser. Opera Mini is great on the N95.
  6. Battery power. You can at least have a spare battery for the N95.
  7. No recording of audio. You can on an N95, and email it to Posterous for instant podcast.
  8. Walled garden for apps. Apps on the N95? Get them anywhere, without the worry that Nokia will lock them out in the future.
  9. Fiddly keyboard. Particularly difficult when there are…
  10. No external keyboards. You can buy a number of cute bluetooth keyboards for the N95 which make it possible to type updates and blog posts very quickly.
And that’s not to mention bloody expensive. If you know of any solutions to these weaknesses, let me know. You see, I do have an iPod Touch…

Seesmic and Disqus providing video comments for blogs

It seems Seesmic is already fulfilling its promise as ‘the next Twitter’ insofar as it’s being used for previously unforeseen purposes. Last night I was able to post a video comment on a blog post thanks to a teamup between Seesmic and the comment tracking service Disqus. Continue reading

The Chinese earthquake and Twitter – crowdsourcing without managers

There’s been an earthquake in China, and the Twittersphere is alive with it. I’m going to write a post on this and keep adding to it through the next hour or so. Let me know anything interesting you’ve spotted @paulbradshaw

The first interesting point is Tweetburner: its most-clicked links shared on Twitter are almost entirely about the earthquake, and show some interesting uses:

China Earthquake tweets on Tweetburner

  1. A Google map of the earthquake location
  2. A BBC blog post about Twitter coverage of the earthquake
  3. A Twitter user’s tweet about experiencing the earthquake (in Shanghai)
  4. A Google translation from Chinese to English of tweets from Twitterlocal
  5. The Earthquake Center’s page on the earthquake
  6. CNN’s report
  7. A picture which appears to be capturing the earthquake in an office
  8. A Summize search for ‘earthquake’

Here is crowdsourcing without the editorial management. How quickly otherwise would a journalist have thought of using Twitterlocal with a Google translation? And how soon before someone improves it so it only pulls tweets with the word ‘earthquake’, or more specific to the region affected? (It also emphasises the need for newspapers and broadcasters to have programmers on the team who could do this quickly) Continue reading