Articles about "Location-based social media"

NBC Philadelphia station reports the news on Foursquare

Lost Remote
The local NBC station in Philadelphia has started reporting news on location-based social network Foursquare. Initially, NBC 10 will pick one lead story a day and have a reporter check in on Foursquare from relevant locations and leave text and photo news updates. Later, this will extend to multiple stories and individual Foursquare accounts for each reporter. “Local news is truly driven by location and the act of checking-in further connects our audience to the news we deliver each day,” Chris Blackman, the station’s vice president of news, told Lost Remote. || Earlier: Wall Street Journal launches Foursquare partnership Read more

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How TapIn plans to master location-based news for the iPad

A new iPad app released Tuesday, TapIn, takes some bold approaches to location-based news and to mobile business models.

TapIn puts news and local information on the map.

“We think that it’s going to serve as an interesting prototype for the newspaper of the future,” said Luke Stangel, chief marketing officer of the app developer Tackable (a startup incubated by the San Jose Mercury News) in a partnership with MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group.

“We think about the newspaper that our kids and our grandkids are going to be reading. Increasingly, it’s not yesterday’s news on dead trees delivered to your house. And it’s not necessarily even a website.”

Most mobile news products developed so far resemble print newspapers or text-based websites, he said. TapIn is an attempt to design something different. The experience is dominated by an interactive map, with layers of markers for news, video features, events, shopping deals, movies and user-contributed information.

A handful of things about TapIn distinguish it from other apps and make it notable for other news organizations to watch.

A focus on the relevance of location

Most players in online news are trying to solve the big relevancy question — how to display the most relevant content for any given user. Some try to determine what topics you like, or what your friends have read. TapIn places its bet on location as the best driver of relevance.

Users can view map markers for news, features, events, movies and more at the same time.

It’s not a perfect solution. Some stories can’t really be mapped to a specific place. A flu outbreak occurs everywhere, but nowhere in particular. A baseball game is played at the local stadium, but doesn’t interest only people who live in that neighborhood. And then there are the 81 road games played in other cities you can’t map at all.

But it’s a good solution for a lot of community news, such as crimes, business openings or road construction. If that is the bulk of your content, the location-based filter works well.

Geotagging with computers and humans

Any effort at location-based news requires geocoding — designating a location for each story. The temptation is to let a computer algorithm do this based on the cities and places mentioned in the article. But any attempt to do so stumbles on what I call “The Springfield Problem.”

There are at least 40 places named Springfield in the United States, including five different ones in Wisconsin alone, and many more in Canada, the U.K. and Australia. How does a computer know to which Springfield your article is referring?

Another geocoding challenge is that not every location mentioned in a story is central to that story. If a man commits a violent crime downtown on 1st Street, gets arrested on 5th Street and is taken to the county jail, you don’t want the algorithm to map that story at the location of the jail. The big stuff happened downtown.

To solve these problems, the TapIn team is developing a hybrid system in which an algorithm would identify places in the story and determine their latitude-longitude coordinates — but a reporter or editor makes the final choice of which locations are appropriate for the map.

Geocoding is “a little bit of science and a little bit of art,” as Stangel put it. Computers bring the science, humans bring the art. That’s a smart, balanced approach that minimizes staff effort while protecting the user experience.

Letting users earn free access

TapIn is free to download and use for now, but a price may be imposed later. And the folks behind it are considering an interesting model that others should consider, too.

The idea, Stangel explained, is that you pay to use the app but you can earn your way to free access by engaging with it in certain ways. TapIn users can earn points for writing comments, sharing content, clicking on ads or taking actions that help improve the app community. Users who earn enough points could redeem them for free access or other rewards.

Earning free access is a great idea for several reasons. People are less hesitant to pay if they think they could get the money back later. The developers give users a strong incentive to continue using the app, and to use it in beneficial ways. This creates a feedback loop where users contribute to the community and engage with ads, leading to more users and advertisers.

Building in a user-generated content system

TapIn doesn’t settle for just mapping newspaper stories and data feeds. It uses those to attract a community of users, who it hopes will post their own map items called “gigs.”

The “Create a Gig” button is featured prominently.

Gigs can be many different things, Stangel explained, such as a garage sale notice, a comment about the food at the airport, or a traffic complaint. One of the big post-launch questions is how people will decide to use gigs.

User-generated content systems are always tricky things to set up. With too little structure, they devolve into noise. With too many restrictions, they are ignored. So I think TapIn will have some work to do in tuning the gigs system to be useful over time. But their commitment to the idea of user engagement through the app, instead of just one-way content distribution, is notable.

It’s common among other location-based apps, such as Foursquare, or apps specifically designed for citizen journalism, such as Meporter. But few mainstream news organization apps have such direct user contribution systems.

Use of iPad and iPhone, but for different things

The TapIn app I’ve been describing is for the iPad. There is a companion app for the iPhone as well, but it does different things, such as accessing your saved discount deals for use on the go or posting gigs. It doesn’t include the map and other news browsing features.

The developers were smart, in my opinion, to consider where and how people use the different devices, and customize each app to those needs.

“The iPad is mostly a consumption device. You have a huge map and you can pinch and zoom and read these full screen things and you can go through the videos and look at the photo slideshows,” Stangel said. “The iPhone is much more utilitarian, it’s a digital wallet, it’s a way for you to upload content to the map.”

The iPhone app may get more features over time, he said, but it’s important to see the two devices differently.

Expansion hopes

For now, TapIn only serves news from the MediaNews newspapers in the San Francisco Bay region. Later versions may include more map layers with aggregated news and data, such as posts from blogs or other local news sites, or Yelp reviews.

The long-term goal is to expand the app to the Los Angeles and Denver markets, where MediaNews has other clusters of newspapers. If it’s very successful, Stangel said, TapIn could become a national platform for other news organizations to plug in their own news, ads and local deals. Read more

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The opportunities and challenges of Meporter, a new citizen journalism mobile app

A mobile app called Meporter aims to help citizen journalists report on events and breaking news.

Meporter launched Tuesday afternoon at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. The app is purposefully simple: Witnesses use it to report news events, and others use it to browse nearby reports.

“We like to call it the local, mobile news desk,” founder and CEO Andy Leff told me in a phone interview. Users can “report, update and read local news as it’s happening from their phones.”

A couple things about Meporter’s approach stand out: The company is offering to license these reports to news organizations, and it is offering real rewards and possibly even payments to the users who create content.

But it faces similar challenges as other apps that depend on a network of users to create and view content: demonstrating its usefulness and attaining a critical mass of users.

Meporter is only available on the iPhone right now, but an Android version should be released in two or three months, Leff said.

Opportunities for news orgs and citizen journalists

Leff said some news organizations have approached him to license the reports filed via Meporter. He is negotiating those arrangements.

This is the screen where users file their reports.

A reliable system for gathering and sharing eyewitness reports could be valuable to news organizations seeking to increase neighborhood-level news despite shrinking newsroom staffs. A service like Meporter is not going to provide coverage of city hall politics or school board policies, but it can work well for images and descriptions of house fires or videos and reviews from a concert.

And for the people who submit those reports, Meporter offers tangible rewards for participation.

Like Foursquare and many other social services, users earn badges for certain milestones and accomplishments (posting five, 10 or 25 stories, for example). Meporter calls its badges “press passes.”

But unlike most other services, those badges are actually worth something. Meporter seeks companies to sponsor badges for certain accomplishments; users who earn those badges can claim rewards from the company.

For example, Leff said, Forbes magazine sponsors a press pass for people who post at least 10 stories in the “business” category. Those users can then claim a free six-month subscription to Forbes. Meporter is pitching local sports teams to sponsor press passes for users who post a certain number of sports stories, Leff said.

In addition, Leff said that if Meporter does create profitable deals with news organizations, it will split that revenue with the users who created the reports. That’s a notable commitment in a time of much debate over the treatment of volunteer contributors to for-profit content sites.

Similar to other content sharing services, Meporter users retain the rights for any content they post, according to the terms of service. But they do grant a very broad license to the company to use the content however it wants and to syndicate that content to any other company.

User base and differentiation among the challenges

The map lets you browse for reports near your current location.

The biggest question is whether Meporter will succeed in developing a large enough network of people creating and viewing reports. If no one is posting in your area, you probably won’t be reading often. And if no one is reading, users won’t be motivated to post. The app showed me a handful of posts near my location in Arlington, Va., though they were posted by Leff, who lives in the area.

The app allows users to easily forward their posts to Twitter or Facebook, which could help it gain awareness in the early stages. That kind of Twitter integration helped the photo-sharing app Instagram reach 4.5 million users in just seven months.

The accuracy of users’ Meporter posts will be a concern for traditional news organizations. Meporter logs the location of the phone so that people can’t claim to be someplace they’re not.  Readers can also see how many stories someone has posted before and browse those stories to evaluate his reliability.

One thing Meporter will have to do is differentiate itself from other apps in this space.

National media have had their eye on citizen journalism for a while. Users of CNN’s smart phone apps can submit reports with its iReport feature, but those reports are far more varied in topics and not aimed at local events. The Associated Press app has a “send to AP” tool, but those reports aren’t public. CBS has an Eye Mobile app that was released in 2008, but it hasn’t been updated since and is aimed at local.

Other startups may pose some competition. One called Intersect lets users post and browse stories by the time and place they occurred; Intersect has partnered with The Washington Post in the past. A not-yet-released app called Tackable will encourage sharing of local breaking news photos, at first in California.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is for Meporter to stand apart from Twitter, where people are conditioned to share breaking news and photos. (Of course, Meporter users can publish their reports quickly to their Twitter accounts, so it’s not an either-or situation.)

Leff gave a few reasons why Meporter should emerge as a better starting point for local news than Twitter:

  • Single-purpose: Twitter is a communication platform for anything: news, products, personal updates, jokes and memes. Meporter will focus exclusively on local news, making it a better place to post and find that content, Leff said.
  • Geolocation: Twitter geolocates only a fraction of tweets, and even those have questionable accuracy. Meporter will pin down an address or GPS location for each event and will filter browsing to items within a couple miles of your location.
  • Categorization: Meporter posts are assigned to topical categories (such as business, crime, entertainment, health, nightlife and sports), making it easy for readers to filter by their interests. Twitter has no such capability other than keyword searches and hashtags.

Whether that’s enough to make Meporter a hit, we’ll have to see. But it’s worth keeping an eye on.

As smartphones end up in the pockets of most people in the near future (Nielsen predicts by the end of 2011), you can pretty much count on an eyewitness with a smartphone at most news scenes. Some system must emerge to facilitate the sharing of their photos, videos and reports. Perhaps Meporter will be that system.

Here’s a short video showing the service:

Read more


Facebook Deals threatens Groupon, could further erode newspaper advertising

As Poynter’s Rick Edmonds noted last fall, “deal of the day” services show how retailers are moving from mass advertising to direct marketing. Now those services are threatened by Facebook Deals, just launched in five U.S. cities. Marshall Kirkpatrick describes how Facebook’s massive user base, demographic information and location check-in could make “roadkill” out of Groupon and LivingSocial. Users will learn about Facebook Deals through their news feeds, not simply email. “Groupon and Living Social offer nothing but deals,” Kirkpatrick writes. “Facebook puts deals in between pictures of your sister’s baby. Which do you think you’ll click through more often, all other things being equal?” A key advantage for retailers: While competitors take a share of revenue, Facebook Deals may be free. Whoops: TechCrunch learns about Deals launch through a New York Times slipup. || Earlier: Groupon offers opportunities and threats for newspaper advertising. || The dark side: Groupon deal financially crippled small bakery. Read more

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Holovaty: EveryBlock’s new community focus will ‘help you make your block a better place’

Monday afternoon, EveryBlock announced a major shift in focus, from a geographically-based, hyperlocal news site to a “platform for discussion around neighborhood news.”

In describing the changes, founder Adrian Holovaty wrote on the EveryBlock Blog that the site is moving away from a one-way, data-oriented news feed to a platform for human interaction based on that news:

While we’re not removing our existing aggregation of public records and other neighborhood information (more on this in a bit), we’ve come to realize that human participation is essential, not only as a layer on top but as the bedrock of the site.

“With this in mind, we’ve changed our site to be oriented around community discussion. The EveryBlock experience is still centered around places — blocks, neighborhoods, custom locations — but we’ve rebuilt it from the ground up to be about participation more than passive consumption. … (Instead of the “social graph,” it’s the ‘geo graph.’)”

The site now highlights “neighbor messages” on the home page and on place pages, and it invites people to add their own messages. To foster community, EveryBlock now enables users to thank each other for posts and has established a reputation system.

By clicking a star next to a post, users can subscribe to receive notifications of any comments. EveryBlock will use the most-subscribed items to create a feed of “top news” for any city.

The other major change – in addition to the new look — is the ability to “follow” places. Holovaty explains:

“Previously, if you were interested in the news around multiple places — say, your home and your office — it was very manual. You had to search for your home address, read the news, then search for your work address, read the news, etc. Now, you can log into your EveryBlock account, “follow” those places by clicking the big “follow” button or using our quick follow page, and your EveryBlock homepage will give you all the news from your followed places, in one place, along with an easy way to post messages to those places.”

Holovaty will join us Tuesday for a live chat at 1 p.m. ET to talk about EveryBlocks’ new focus and look. One question I’ll ask, and I’m sure he’ll be ready for, is what role geographically-based data has in this new vision of EveryBlock. Come with your questions.

Twitter users can ask questions ahead of time or during the chat using the #poynterchats hashtag. You can revisit this page at any time to replay the chat after it has ended.

<a href=”″ mce_href=”″ >Adrian Holovaty discusses new community discussion focus of geo-data site EveryBlock</a> Read more


Cincinnati Enquirer uses bacon to fight Foursquare for local audience with Porkappolis

The Cincinnati Enquirer plans to beat Foursquare at its own game.

The paper is rolling out a location-based services (LBS) app, Porkappolis, that will understand the city in a way national competitors like Foursquare, Gowalla or Yelp can’t, according to’s Brian Butts.

The basic functionality of Porkappolis is similar to Foursquare's check-in service.

The app, named in honor of the city’s former “Pig City” fame as a hog packing center, will offer the usual LBS features: check-ins at local businesses and other landmarks, digital badges and leaderboards for loyal users, plus a secret ingredient: bacon.

“Bacon” is the local factor that helps differentiate the homegrown Cincinnati effort from its national competitors. In Porkappolis “Bacon” is literally a tab within the app that provides relevant geo-targeted information to the user. Information, the paper believes, that is most effectively gathered and served by a trusted local source like the Enquirer.

“I can pull up Bacon and click a button and see where all the [closest] happy hours are,” said Butts. The tab will also include location-aware restaurant listings, news and a calendar of events from “It reeks of Cincinnati,” he said, “but in a good way.”

The app will feature locally themed badges such as “Chili King,” received for 10 check-ins at local chili restaurants and “I love Cincinnati” which is earned with 50 check-ins.

Porkappolis is a white label version of the DoubleDutch LBS app.  Butts, the Director of Digital & Technology for Enquirer Media, told me last week they had been working with the app developer on the project since August 2010.

The paper was planning an internal soft launch of the app earlier this year, but Jason Falls at Social Media Explorer caught wind of the project and wrote about it in December. Butts told me that coverage led to a post in a local Cincinnati blog, and the internal beta test turned into a still small, but public external test.

Porkappolis HTML5

An HTML5 version of the app is being developed for Android and Blackberry smart phones.

Butts said the app benefited from that early feedback and the iPhone version is now moving out of beta and is expected to re-launch in the iTunes store shortly. An HTML5 version for Android, and Blackberry phones, is also in development.

According to Butts, the city’s cellular phone market has traditionally been dominated by Cincinnati Bell, which did a brisk business in BlackBerry and, more recently, Android smart phones. The team at Gannett-owned decided the best way to serve that audience was to build a single Web app to serve non-iPhone devices.

Butts said part of the effort includes a planned trip to Cincinnati Bell to test the HTML5 app on the full collection of smart phones the wireless provider has on hand. “We hope to come out with a really good list of handsets that support it,” he said.

The strategy highlights an underpinning of the project: Know your audience.

One of the things they needed to do early on, Butts said, was understand local phone users and how and why they might use location-based information.

“We don’t want to copy Foursquare or Gowalla,” he said. So, “Is there something you can add to that equation, something to add to that experience” to make Porkappolis different?

Local is the key, Butts argues. “We will never be the local eBay,” he said. “EBay is the local eBay.”

But, “Has Foursquare or Gowalla reached that point yet? I don’t think they have.” Read more


Tackable works with San Jose Mercury News on crowdsourced photojournalism app

A private company is working in close collaboration with The San Jose Mercury News to build a smart phone app that could put newspapers at the center of a social network focused on photography.

The app, called Tackable, enables people to share photographs tagged with their location and gives editors a way to solicit photos in connection with news events and assignments.

Spartan Daily Tackable app

An early version of the Tackable app is being tested by the Spartan Daily at San Jose State University.

Tackable’s developers are sharing offices with the Mercury News interactive group as they work on features and figure out how the app would fit into the paper’s workflow.

In return, Tackable is building a modified version of the app for the 20 papers of MediaNews’ Bay Area News Group, which includes the Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune. (Tackable is working with other newspapers, too.)

One of Tackable’s cofounders, Luke Stangel, said the app is being developed specifically for news organizations. Newspapers are “perfectly poised to run social networks,” he said. “We are excited that journalists are at the core” of this project.

Stangel told me on Thursday that he expects MediaNews to start using the app within two months, with a consumer version available soon after. A beta version of Tackable is available for the iPhone, with an Android version in the works.

How it works

The Tackable team is also working with San Jose State University’s student newspaper, the Spartan Daily, to test a similar version of the app. That one works like this:

  • A news editor or reporter makes a photo assignment that is published to the app.
  • People using the app can accept assignments and submit images via their iPhones. They get “karma” points for completing assignments.
  • Users can submit and share images without an assignment, too.
  • News editors can select photos shared via the app — assignments and others — for use online or in print.
  • Submitted images are geotagged and presented on a map within the app and on the Web.
  • Users can share the photos on their other social networks and comment on them within the app.

In some ways, the concept is similar to Intersect, a Seattle-based social storytelling service. Intersect enables users to organize their stories into story lines that they can tag with a place and time to create an “intersection.” Users can then scroll through other users’ story lines and see if their stories intersect.

Intersect uses an iPhone app too, although the service isn’t mobile-only.

How Tackable could fit into newsgathering

Stangel said newsrooms could use the app to request photos for everything from parades to holiday events to breaking news.

For readers and editors, the advantage of Tackable’s social network, he said, is that it’s based on location, not relationships.

He pointed to the potential for a live stream of images to emerge for a news story such as the uprising in Egypt. “There are certain events [for which] you need to connect with people who are actually there,” not just those commenting on Twitter or Facebook, he said.

So far, the Spartan Daily has based most of its assignments on campus landmarks and events. Each assignment is worth a specific karma score. This week, students who make the app’s leaderboard are eligible for a free doughnut from Psycho Donuts.

Rewards foster participation

Rewards and game mechanics are important because users, especially early adopters, need an incentive to stay engaged with the app. The key to any user-generated-content project is attracting enough of an audience to make the effort self-perpetuating.

“It is a classic problem,” Stangel said. “You need to have content to get users and you need users to get content.”

That challenge is one reason Tackable decided to partner with newspapers. Local newspapers come with built-in audiences, as well as a platform to publish reader-submitted photos — another incentive for participation.

Shared photos can be reproduced anywhere

Readers will be able to follow participating news outlets — or even individual reporters and editors at several different newspapers. Readers can also follow friends and other contributors to monitor the photos and comments they submit.

Once the MediaNews app is rolled out, Tackable will be made available, for free, to any media outlet. And like Twitter, all of the activity on the network will be public, including assignments and photo submissions.

That may pose a concern for editors, considering that anyone could publish photos submitted for a news org’s assignment. But Stangel said the Tackable team believes openness is the only way to make the app’s social network viable.

That openness also raises some legal challenges, as contributors will need to release their photography for editorial use. Stangel said those details are still being ironed out.

The Tackable team believes their app could reshape newsgathering. Imagine, Stangel said, “you can connect instantly with anyone, anywhere on the planet, over something you can see live” on your phone or computer.

“If we can replicate this globally, you will never have to wait for news,” he suggested, “because a citizen journalist [will have] already created it” and posted it to Tackable.

Here’s a video demo of the app:

CORRECTION: The original version of this post misspelled Luke Stangel’s name. It has been corrected. Read more


20 SXSW Interactive panels that journalists should attend

This year’s South by Southwest Interactive panels will emphasize how technology is revolutionizing the way we share content, consume information and engage with the communities around us.

The interactive event, which will take place March 11-15, is best known for highlighting emerging technologies such as Twitter, but many of the panels — the final batch was announced Monday — have a strong journalism component.

In looking through the list of confirmed panels, I was struck by how many of them focus on why people are using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Gowalla, and what this could mean for the future of content sharing and distribution.

I also noticed that there are several panels on public media. And the majority of panels are led by men. Similar to last year, about 70 percent of the panelists are men, said SXSWI event director Hugh Forrest.

I’ve looked through all of the proposed panels and selected 20 that I think journalists would find worthwhile, in social media, mobile, community engagement, productivity, privacy and more. Given how many panels there are, I’ve probably left out some good ones. Feel feel free to add your picks to the comments section of this piece or respond to @Poynter via Twitter.

Social media

You Like Me, You Really Like Me
So, what’s the value of the “Like” button on Facebook? Facebook CTO Bret Taylor will address this question and talk about how the Like button can extend the life and relevance of a news story. He’ll also discuss whether likes are replacing links and how the Like button will evolve over time. When it comes to the Web, Taylor says, the “most valuable insights are no longer abstract algorithms, but the connections between people and the things they care about.”

Beyond the Check-In: Location and the Social Web
This panel will look at how the “ever-present human desire to share” leads to success for check-ins using location-based services such as Gowalla and Foursquare. Josh Williams, co-founder and CEO of Gowalla, will explain how people’s propensity to share where they are and what they’re doing is changing the way we communicate.

Williams will also share insights on how geolocation has shaped mobile technology and what’s next for Gowalla and other mobile-social services. He plans to address questions that would be of interest to both journalists and news consumers, including this one: “OK, so I’ve shared all the places I’ve been and connected it with photos and videos. Now what do I DO with all that data?”

Exploring the Twitter APIs
This panel is worth going to if you want to find out how the Twitter API works, how some of its new features came to be, and how it might look and work in the future. In particular, Matt Harris of Twitter will talk about what you can and can’t do with Twitter’s API. The panel is bound to be technical, but at the very least it will help you gain a better understanding of how APIs work.


Designing iPad Interfaces – New Navigation Schemas
Lynn Teo of AKQA, an agency specializing in interactive marketing, will look at trends and best practices in iPad application design navigation. Based on an assessment of more than 50 iPad apps, Teo will provide an analysis of navigation methods and will answer questions such as: “Are there specific wayfinding and browsing mechanisms that make for a satisfying and productive iPad user experience?” and “How effective are the navigation approaches? Why are some more/less effective than others?”

App, Shmapp, Tell Me What Works Across Platforms!
This panel could be of interest to publishers and developers who want to better analyze consumers’ behavioral patterns to “develop the best possible mobile application and mold the app to harness the advantages of each platform.” Aaron Forth, director of product design at Intuit’s, will look at how mobile apps have changed the way companies interact with their companies and will explain how developers can create behavioral-based apps for the iPhone and Droid platforms.

Behind the Curtain: Secrets of Mobile Application Wizardry
Razorfish’s Paul Gelb says “tens of thousands of developers and hundreds of thousands of mobile applications have gotten it wrong” and have failed to attract active users. Gelb plans to show participants how they can do it right and will talk about the biggest mistakes that developers make when creating apps. He’ll also offer tips on how to measure the performance of a branded application.

Community engagement

Tech Power to the People! Digital Community Engagement
Latoya Peterson of (and a Poynter sense-making fellow) will look at best practices for engaging minority and low-income communities. She’ll be joined by other panelists, who will explain how they have used blogs, mobile campaigns, apps and other methods to engage their communities and transfer skills.

The panel will address ways to help those who have been left behind in the tech revolution and will tackle questions such as: “What are the best ways to provide information on technology while dealing with issues of literacy and comprehension?” and “How can mobile campaigns (for both smartphones and dumb phones) be used to mobilize communites?”

Creation, Curation, and the Ethics of Content Strategy
Margot Bloomstein of Appropriate, Inc., a brand and content strategy consultancy, will explore the “ethical debate of curation and creation” and look at how curators create meaning. Bloomstein will also address ethical and copyright issues that arise when people mash up professionally-produced content, user-generated content and citizen journalism. Perhaps most interestingly, she’ll share thoughts on what user experience designers and editors can learn from museum curators and exhibit designers.

The New Sharing Economy
Neal Gorenflo of Shareable Magazine says sharing has become “an industry” that’s critical to the way we mobilize and socialize as a society. Last year, Shareable magazine and Latitude Research conducted a related study to better understand the new “psychology of sharing.” Drawing on the study’s findings, Gorenflo plans to answer questions such as: “What are the perceived benefits of sharing?”; “What motivates someone to try sharing initially?”; and “What are the barriers to sharing, and how do we overcome them?”

Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned From the3six5 Project
If you want to learn more about how to effectively crowdsource, check out this panel led by Len Kendall of the3six5. The crowdsourcing project, which led to a book, told the story of an entire year from the perspective of a different person every day. Kendall will address some of the challenges that arise when you crowdsource content and will offer tips for getting people to contribute and improve when no tangible rewards are at stake.

Open Wide: New Models for Public Media
Jacquie Jones of the National Black Programming Consortium says public media needs to do more to reflect the public’s needs and engage communities at the local level. She’ll explain this  during the panel and will talk about how to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society. She’ll talk about what role the government has in funding new participatory models of public media and will address questions such as: “Are there revenue-generating models associated with these new platforms and strategies to more fully engage the public? How do creators get paid?”

Personal improvement

Fail Big, Fail Often: How Fear Limits Creativity
As a journalist, it can be difficult to embrace failure when you’re working on deadline and under a tight budget. But Jeramy Morrill of Big Spaceship says failure is a necessary part of creation. During his panel, he’ll talk about how our responses to failure improve or decrease our potential as creative thinkers, and how to get satisfaction out of the process of “failing forward.”

I’m So Productive, I Never Get Anything Done
Media columnist David Carr of The New York Times will look at how technology contributes to, and detracts from, journalists’ productivity. He raises relevant questions for journalists who want to strike a better balance between consuming media and creating it: “Is your desktop a window on the world or just a view of the prison yard?” and “What specific steps have you taken to bifurcate your world into productivity and recreation?”


Let’s Get Naked: Benefits of Publicness v. Privacy
In advance of his upcoming book, “Public Parts,” the City University of New York’s Jeff Jarvis will talk about what Google, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, government, and companies should do about privacy. He’ll also look at how we can achieve open government and business; how we can protect the openness of the Internet; and how the ethics of privacy and publicness should inform our decisions in business and social interactions.

Oauth, OpenID, Facebook Connect: Authentication Design Best Practices
James Reffell of Designcult will talk about the benefits and challenges of using third-party authentication services such as OpenID, OAuth and Facebook Connect. He’ll share best practices for password selection, account creation and login/logout, and will talk about how third-party authentication services work and how they affect user experience. He’ll also share insights on how today’s users view authentication and passwords and will help you determine whether you should use these authentication services on your news site.


Hacking the News: Applying Computer Science to Journalism
During this panel, Burt Herman, founder of Hacks/Hackers, will talk about how computer science can help make journalism more personalized and flexible. He’ll also look at how journalists and developers can collaborate to re-engineer journalism’s future, and the opportunities this could create for social integration, structured data and APIs.

Newstopia: The New Business Models For News
Mark Briggs, who’s working on a book about using digital tools to launch and sustain a new media news business, will look at new forms of journalism that are succeeding. He’ll focus on why traditional outlets are struggling while new media sites such as The Huffington Post are thriving. He’ll also explain what this trend means for people looking for jobs in journalism and will share lesser-known success stories about media news startups.

Unpacking Gender: Men, Women, Technology and More
This panel will address the lack of women in technology and will challenge gender biases. Debbie Chachra of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering plans to answer questions such as: “How do I unconsciously send messages that reveal how I think about gender?” and “How can I more realistically think about the experience of women in technology environments?” Though not directly tied to journalism, the panel speaks to an issue that journalists, hiring managers and technologists would benefit from taking into account.

Q&A With Google & Bing On Website Ranking
This looks like a worthwhile panel if you’re interested in search engine optimization and driving traffic to your site. Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of Search Engine Land, will join Google’s Matt Cutts and a representative from Bing to talk about ways to increase your site’s ranking online. They’ll address questions such as: “What are best practices to do well with Google & Bing?” and “What are common design techniques that should be avoided?”

The Death of the Death of Longform Journalism
As much as technology can distract us from long-form journalism, it can also be a gateway into it. So says Max Linsky of, a site that aggregates long-form journalism dating back as far as 1899. During his panel, Linksy will talk about the tools that are making it easier for people to read long-form stories, how they’re being used and how some publishers are taking advantage of them.

He’ll answer questions of interest to publishers, such as: “Who’s making money on digital longform journalism and who isn’t?” and “How do mediating tools like Instapaper address gaps in the user experience of reading?” Read more


New Gowalla app offers unified check-ins, friend updates

Fast Company

Gowalla is taking a page from media pundit Jeff Jarvis, who in a 2007 blog post said, “Cover what you do best, link to the rest.”

Gowalla is doing what it does best by acting as a “socially curated guidebook,” as CEO Josh Williams says. And it’s linking to its competitors –  Foursquare, Facebook Places and Twitter.

Austin Carr writes that the latest iPhone version of the app, which was released Thursday, turns Gowalla into a unified location tool. A Gowalla user can now connect the app to Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter and check in to all three services. They can also see their friends’ activity on each site.

This is a major shift in strategy for the location-based startup and one aimed at commoditizing the “check-in” experience in favor of tools and features that may be more easily differentiated, such as Gowalla’s curated trips. And playing off Jarvis’ advice, it’s also a great lesson for digital media organizations: when it comes to the Web and mobile, build on what you do best and integrate the rest. Read more


Facebook wants to be at the center of the mobile experience

Facebook may not be building a mobile phone, as has been rumored, but it does want to be at the center of almost everything you do with your phone in the future.

Ryan Kim writes that Facebook’s mobile announcement Wednesday touched on three themes: mobile identity, unified location check-ins and local deals for consumers using Facebook Places. Kim explains each:

  • Mobile identity: “enabling a single sign-on for mobile apps so users can sign in with one button click, without having to fill in a password.”
  • Unified location check-ins: “Opening up its location API for Facebook Places so developers can fully integrate Facebook’s location service into their apps.”
  • Local deals: “Offering support for businesses to offer local deals to existing and new customers. When a user checks in at a location, a business owner can offer individual discounts, loyalty rewards for repeat customers or group discounts for people who check-in with friends.”

There’s more detail in the GigaOm post.

During the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a “made for Twitter” moment when he said that his company is not building an iPad app because the device is “not mobile. It’s a computer.” He later clarified that the iPad is not mobile in the same sense as a phone. “We all love Apple products here, and we want to work with them and all that. I just want to keep the event focused on what we’re doing today.” Read more