Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Snippets - notes on the on-line world

Recently I have had a burst of spam comments. Not huge numbers, just annoying because I have to go through and delete the comments. I have also noticed an increase in the Twitter equivalent, followers seeking click-backs to some fairly dubious sites.

Over on Thinkers' Podium in No thanks  Bruce had a very negative take on the transformation of "my on line friends" into "speed dating". I have to agree. When I got the same notification I initially took it as just another piece of spam, then realised the Facebook connection.

Geocities closing, a post on Neil's ESL blog, alerted me to something that had escaped me, Yahoo's decision to close its geocities service. While it is in fact a long time since I looked at geocities, I felt quite nostalgic.

I see that Rupert Murdoch is not interested in buying Twitter. I don't think that I would be either. It is still hard to see how just how the service might make money. Facebook, too, is trying to find ways of monetising its service. I can see more opportunities here because people spend slabs of time looking at Facebook, making advertising a better bet.

Mind you, I think that Facebook has become over-crowded. As an aside, I was somewhat amazed to discover via Facebook that my old blogging friend Legal Eagle's robot name is Killing and Accurate Troubleshooting Youth! Now without giving too much away, I have to say that this name stands in marked contradistinction to LE's real character.

Facebook and overcrowding. I suppose, simply, that the volume of posts/comments/updates becomes hard to manage. I have just 44 friends, eldest has 409! I wonder how she copes.

One of the things that I have noticed about the "old media" in their latest responses to the impact of the internet including the rise of social networking tools is the renewed emphasis on subscription models as a way of making money. I still don't think that this is going to work in the way they want.

I would not subscribe to a newspaper on-line as the web sites are presently structured. I might subscribe if the full paper was on line with a decent search facility that allowed me to access back material. I think that part of the problem with the "old media" is that they have an either/or mentality, and its not like that.

Take a newspaper. In Australia at least, there is still a demand for print versions. However, not everybody can or will access this, so there is a basis for an on-line version. However, if you take the whole paper on-line doing away with current sites, you only get access if you pay, then people will stop visiting.

So, or so it seems to me, you have:

  • the print version
  • a free on-line site that contains part of the content. This brings people and provides a base for advertising
  • Then you have a subscription to a full on-line version. This is marketed especially to reach an audience that cannot access the print version.

To all this, you add other value adding features. The papers are very bad here. As an example, their blogs are often irregular and out of date. To my mind, they don't fully engage the audience. Then, too, the papers don't take full advantage of their reader reach.

In all this, I think that experimentation is the key. Try things, and see what works.  


Legal Eagle said...

Jim, yes I found my robot name hilarious!

Facebook is a bit of a pain sometimes. I like it as an easy way of keeping in touch with far away friends (particularly my English school friends and my Australian friends who are overseas).

But the dating stuff is really annoying - My Aquarium got changed to online dating, and next thing I knew I was being spammed with eligible singles until I blocked it.

I have 200 odd friends - I can't possibly imagine having 400! I'm not quite sure how I got so many, but there's relations, primary school friends, high school friends from England and Australia, uni friends and friends of husband, and friends from 6 different workplaces...

Twitter - I just don't get it at all. I joined, but have made a grand total of about 5 updates. I really just don't have that much to say about myself!

Legal Eagle said...

Oh and I should add to the Facebook crew - my blogging friends. It truly is a global village!

Jim Belshaw said...

LE, speed dating troubles continue. Four in twenty four hours! Glad you added your blogging friends!