Just Popping Out For Some Milk

…or possibly a holiday. Either way, this blog will go quiet for a couple of weeks. No guest bloggers, no Guido-esque dashes back from the beach to post, and no-technology save for the Fraser Nelson-option Nokia 2630.

Meantime, here are the five most popular posts from this blog since we got things under way six or seven weeks ago. All beautifully crafted, all worth a (second) read:

  1. Five Ways News Organisations Should Use Twitter
  2. Fox News Anchor To Rupert Murdoch: ‘Mr Chairman Sir, Why Are You So Great?’
  3. What Would Google Do? Fail Quietly.
  4. The Independent Adds Video. Why?
  5. What Chris Brown’s YouTube Apology Tells Us About New Media

How The Guardian’s Crowdsourcing Experiment Ran Out Of Steam

This morning, news of a crowdsourcing success. This afternoon, a high-profile example seemingly a little stuck in the mud.

Six weeks ago the Guardian invited its readers to help it trawl through hundreds of thousands of expense claim documents released (in redacted form) by Parliament.

Within three days 20,000 people had helped classify 160,000 pages. The paper was rightly proud of its crowdsourcing experiment and splashed the news across the front page of its Monday print edition.

But now it seems user involvement has slowed to a trickle.

These are the bare facts:

We have 458,832 pages of documents. 23,185 of you have reviewed 201,587 of them. Only 257,245 to go…

By my reckoning, around 500 documents were processed last week. At this rate, we’ll be nearing 2020 before the project is complete.

This is not to say the experiment has failed but the paper does need to work out how it ties up some loose ends. If it cannot re-energise the crowd, that is.

Related:
 – Is That The Sound Of The Crowd? Just Maybe.
 – Crowdsourcing 1920s-Style
 – What MPs’ expenses tells us about the clash between new and old media
 – The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and BBC: Lessons in Crowdsourcing
 – BBC Goes Crowdsourcing To Save The NHS

The Week’s Most Read Posts (20-26 July 2009)

Is That The Sound Of The Crowd? Just Maybe.

There’s a good chance you are not one of the Birmingham Post’s 12,700 daily readers and therefore may have missed something of a landmark event in crowdsouring.

Help Me Investigate, the public journalism project designed to kick-start investigative reporting with public involvement at its heart, has its first story in print today.

Via the pages of the Post, it reveals the worst places to park in Birmingham, a story based on an initial inquiry by a resident called Stacey and followed up by seven others (including, it must be said, some intimately involved in the Help Me Investigate project).

The Freedom of Information request that led to the release of the parking data was written by Heather Brooke, she of MPs’ expenses fame.

For the record Alum Rock Road leads the list with 4,000 tickets handed out last year. In total Birmingham City Council issued 135,656 parking tickets in the year to 2009.

So far the crowd is modest but this morning’s Post story points to interesting things ahead.

Related:
Crowdsourcing 1920s-Style
What MPs’ expenses tells us about the clash between new and old media
The Guardian, Daily Telegraph and BBC: Lessons in Crowdsourcing
BBC Goes Crowdsourcing To Save The NHS

links for 2009-07-24

Tracking Obama’s Global Appeal, YouTube-Style

One of the by-products of social media is that it reaches people and places in the sort of numbers conventional platforms cannot reach. Let’s call it the Heineken effect.

So Flickr has become the go-to place for pictures, Twitter for news and views, YouTube for video.

If you want to be seen or heard in difficult to reach places, you need to be on the social media platforms that have hit critical mass. Or at least link from those sites.

Some fascinating number-crunching from Micah Sifry, blogging on the Personal Democracy Forum techPresident, provides first hand evidence of this phenomenon.

Using publicly available YouTube usage metrics, Sifry has tracked the popularity of various speeches made by US President Barack Obama.

Here’s a snapshot:

Bulls-eye.

Just like the US President, you need to stop being precious about your own content. Make it available, make it embeddable and extend your reach.

Related:
 – What Chris Brown’s YouTube Apology Tells Us About New Media
 – G20, YouTube And The Three Phases of Amateur Video

Here’s Why Twitter As Glorified RSS Misses The Point

If  you simply use Twitter to pump out a stream of headlines and links from your news website, you miss the opportunity to do things like this:

channel4news: http://twitpic.com/bbe8l – As the floodwaters lap about his feet, Krish bravely presents the Noon prog.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy presenting Channel 4 News at Noon
Krishnan Guru-Murthy presenting Channel 4 News at Noon

A flood in ITN’s Studio 6 may not add to your understanding of (important) world events but the fact that the Channel 4 News* team went into contingency-overdrive this morning has more than a passing appeal.

Using Twitter to share what’s happening behind the scenes gives the viewer a sense of the “inside” and a flavour of the personality and character of the programme and its maker. It may even cement the relationship between programme and viewer.

Or perhaps that’s reading far too much into it. Either way, you would have clicked on the link.

Twitter as glorified RSS misses the point.

(*Declaration of interest: I used to work there)

Related:
Five Ways News Organisations Should Use Twitter