Tag Archives: techcrunch

On publishing – and deleting – allegations online

TechCrunch’s Paul Carr has a thoughtful piece on “cyber-vigilantism” where citizens witness or experience a crime and go online to chase it down, name the alleged perpetrators, or pressure the authorities out of complacency:

“[W]hen that naming happens, the case is over before it’s begun: no matter whether the accused is guilty or innocent, they are handed a life sentence. Until the day they die, whenever a potential employer or a new friend Googles their name – up will come the allegation. And, prison terms notwithstanding, that allegation carries the same punishment as guilt – a lifetime as an unemployable, unfriendable, outcast. There’s a reason why the Internet is a great way to ruin someone with false allegations – and it’s the same reason why falsely accused people are just as likely to harm themselves as guilty people.”

The post was written after TechCrunch decided to delete a story about an alleged sexual assault and is a useful read in provoking us as journalists in any medium to reflect on how we treat stories of this type.

There are no hard rules of course, and associated legal issues vary from country to country.

In the Judith Griggs case, for example, was I right to post on the story? My decision was based on a few factors: firstly, I was reporting on the actions of those on her magazine’s Facebook page, rather than the ‘crime’ itself (which was hardly the first time a publisher has lifted). Secondly, I waited to see if Griggs responded to the allegations before publishing. Thirdly, I evaluated the evidence myself to see the weight of the allegations. Still, I’d be interested in your thoughts.

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Search Options: Google adds more intuitive search tools, ‘takes on Twitter’

It’s often said that Twitter’s big advantage over Google is its ability to allow you to conduct ‘real time search’ – if an event is happening right now, you don’t search Google, you search Twitter.

But today Google has announced a series of features that, while still not offering real time search, take it just that bit closer. For me it is the most significant change to Google’s core service in years. 

Here’s the video:

This week, while talking to my students about the ability to search by date in Google, the computer assisted reporting blogger Murray Dick mentioned how unreliable the feature was, so I wouldn’t get too excited. 

What is new, however, is the ‘recent search’ facility, which brings up results from the past hour or two. Continue reading

Mobile phones as servers – one to watch

One of those rather dry-sounding reports on TechCrunch that some-company-has-raised-some-investment-for-some-technology caught my eye recently, because in par 2 comes this:

“Conveneer is building a mobile platform called Mikz, which will be able to assign a URL to your mobile phone, making the content on your phone accessible on the Web. In essence, it turns each mobile phone into a Web server. Once your phone has a URL like http://joe.mikz.me, other Web applications and services can ingest the data that is locked in your phone, and also your phone can take advantage of common Web APIs. Mikz can pull information off your phone such as your contacts, GPS coordinates, photos, music, ringtones, and other files. It creates a Web interface for your phone.”

Now, it’s one thing to realise that your typical phone now is more powerful than the PCs of a decade ago, but the real power in computers is their networked nature. This technology – if realised – could open up some incredible possibilities. One that immediately occurs is the possibility to make data on phones searchable -mash that up with GPS data and you can imagine saying ‘Find me images or video on mobile phones within 30 miles of today’s major news event’.

There are likely many more possibilities – and I’d welcome your input here on what this would make possible…

Post more = rank higher. We knew it already, but here’s the evidence.

The second part of Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere report is out, with more obvious headlines: the more you post, the better your blog does. Here’s the detail from TechCrunch:

“Blogging is a volume game. The more you post, the more chances there are that someone else will link to one of your posts. (Technorati rank is based on the number of recent links to your blog). The majority of the Top 100 blogs tracked by Technorati post five or more times per day, and a full 43 percent post more than 10 times per day. Meanwhile, 64 percent of the 5,000 blogs ranked lower than 600 post two to four times a day, which is still a serious commitment.”

For ‘Technorati’, you can also read ‘Google’, as it also ranks pages based on how many incoming links they have (among other things).

This really only confirms what own experience – and those of millions of others – suggests. But I would add a caveat.

While regular posting definitely increases blog traffic, a well considered, high quality post can be just as effective. Posts like the 21st Century Newsroom series generate a constant stream of visits to this blog, for instance. Another point is that frequent posting can result in good posts being buried beneath other ones when people check their RSS readers.

The best strategy, it seems, is a balance of frequency with quality.