Archive for category Technology

Watching TV on two screens

Because one screen is not enough, even more people don’t only watch TV passively anymore. Laptop on the knees, it became normal to surf on the web while watching intermittently TV.

Nowadays, the so-called Second Screen applications appear on our tablets, giving additional informations linked with the TV’s main program. Useful ?

A familiy watching religiously at TV in the 50’s. Past times. Nowadays, one screen is not enough anymore.

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What does the Second Screen brings to us viewers ?

The second screen provides additional informations, in link with what you’re watching on your TV. An international example are the 2012 London Olympics, an event during witch several main TVs transmitted content about the results of the athletes during the broadcasting on the Second Screen.

The Guardian Second Screen, on tablet

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/8/2/1343916747800/Second-screen-experience-fo.jpg

Second Screen experiences in Switzerland

A swiss example : the RTS “deuxième écran”

In February 2012, the Radio Télévision Suisse launch its own Second Screen system. Up to now, only one program uses the application : the daily evening news “19:30”. During the program, each time a report is broadcasted, complements become available on the application.

Lets have a look at how it works :

From the RTS website mainpage “deuxième écran” section can be found in “Les plus du web”

Or, it’s possible to acess to it directly following this link.

How does the RTS “deuxième écran” looked like for today’s 19:30 ?

Want to know more about Christian Varone topic ? The second screen gives you more elements.

The second screen doesn’t only proposes texts, but also graphics (for the elections periods for example), videos, pictures galleries, and all wich supports the web can provide.

A video made by the RTS about the “deuxième écran” at the moment of it’s launch :

http://www.rts.ch/video/emissions/grand-angle/3956695-le-deuxieme-ecran-du-19h30.html

Playing with Second Screen

 

In December, the RTS will launch it’s new general culture game “Les Imbattables”.

The game itself isn’t very innovative (teams composed by a kid and a senior try to answer questions in a quiz). What’s new is the possibility for the viewer to answer actively to the questions on a tablet, trough the Second Screen. As the question is displayed on the TV screen, it appears also on the tablet with the possibility to answer to it.

RTS future game “Les Imbattables” will use since December 2012 the Second Screen technology.

Usefull, the Second Screen ?

Looking at the swiss example of the 19:30 “Deuxième écran”, it certainly provides some additional informations. The graphics are for example interesting, since they appear quite quickly on TV, sometimes too fast to be analysed properly.

But it appears that most of the content of this RTS Second Screen remains quite light, with just short texts, and the videos simply come from the swiss television website. There are no additional videos coming from youtube or dailymotion, no links : nothing that can really bring the user to new way of knowledge.

The Second Screen is but quite a new born. Some time more should be needed in order to see the concept further developed in the future. The TV broadcasters believe in the future of this technology. As does for example David Wertheimer, president of digital at Fox :

The second screen discussion we’ve been having is just one piece of a strategy that’s all about giving our audiences an opportunity to talk about the shows and share thoughts with the showrunners and the talent. To us, that’s what television in the 21st century is all about.

From : http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/15/showbiz/tv/second-screen-tv-our-mobile-society/index.html

David Wertheimer, president of digital at Fox, believes in the future of the Second Screen.

http://www.adweek.com/files/news_article/first-mover-david-wertheimer-hed-2012.jpg?1345387748

And you,

Are you using Second Screen ? Or do you want to stay an oldschool « couch potatoe » ?

Before Second Screen: couch potatoes. What’s the best ?

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Social TV in Switzerland

By Sandy Sulmoni

The new trend? Surfing in internet while you watch TV. But not to get distracted in the net. It’s to do more: interacting with other people and commenting the TV content. Welcome in the era of Social TV!

  • Television + second screen + interaction = social TV

You don’t have to wait for the coffee break of the next day if you want to talk about what you watched on TV, or share the couch with someone else. Thanks to social media, blogs, apps, etc., you can easily comment and discuss TV content live. That’s the goal of Social TV, no matter if it is with Notebooks, Smartphones, or other “second screens”.

Picture modified.
Original Photo: http://www.anywab.com

Let’s check out a Swiss example. The program “Giacobbo/Müller” on the Schweizer Fernsehen has a personal hashtag on Twitter. During a past broadcast, some users shared their opinions about the hosts, but many more discussed the ugly tie worn by one of the two moderators. As this example shows, in some cases reading the comments can be as entertaining as the program itself.

If you speak a little bit of German, I invite you to watch this video summarizing this new way of watching TV, produced by the German broadcaster ARD.

  •  Is the Swiss audience modern?

Could we be lagging behind? This phenomenon is on the rise in our country. I’m sure that if I ask how many of you have already used social TV, for example while watching a football match or a TV series, I’d receive lots of positive answers.

Watching television while using internet isn’t so rare. As a study published by Publisuisse shows, this parallel use is the norm for 37% of the people interviewed between 15 and 59 years old. 15% of them exchange comments with other members of the audience about the current TV program they’re enjoying. Concerning the frequency, according to a report written by the firm zehnvier, 20% of the people interviewed watch TV in a social way at least once a week. This most occurs through Facebook (71%), while Social-TV-Apps seem to be not very used.

However, as we can read in the study of Publisuisse, the majority of the experts interviewed (78%) forecasts that watching TV passively will still play a big role in 2017.

  •  Some initiatives made in Switzerland

In Switzerland, as well as around the world, companies are beginning to embrace Social TV.

One of the Swiss pioneers is the private channel Joiz. During the 24 hours a day broadcasting, the audience can easily vote, comment, ask questions, etc., through its website, social media and mobile phones apps. Some comments are broadcasted or read live by the moderators.

Facebook messages and tweets are broadcasted and read live
during the programs “JoiZone love” and “Living room”
Source: http://www.joiz.ch

Another example of Swiss initiative is the function “TV Lounge” lanced by the portal Teleboy. Integrated in the traditional TV-Player, “TV Lounge” allows you to see what your friends are watching and to comment, chat or share your opinions on Facebook and Twitter.

Concerning the Swiss public service, SSR SRG is considering Social TV as part of its future strategy. In fact, as said in a press release, it wants to provide the audience new television types by combining traditional television with Internet. For the moment, the “second screen” is being tested by the broadcasting organizations RTS and SRF, while RSI has still to have patience.

As we can see, Social TV seems to become part of our life. Do you think that we will reach the point of seeing the journalists Darius Rochebin, Franz Fischlin or Roberto Cattaneo reading our comments and tweets during the news broadcast?

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Crowdsourcing: how is this concept applied to journalism?

With the rise of the Web 2.0, more and more people get to express themselves on the Internet: by contributing to a personal blog, answering to a poll on a website or making comments on any event the web is talking about. Today, those contributions can be neatly managed by news organisations to make you participate to their news production. And this is the object of this blog’s entry: crowdsourcing the news.

Jeff Howe

The crowd likes to be involved

Jeff Howe is the man who coined the term “crowdsourcing” in 2006 in an article called “The Rise of crowdsourcing.” At the time he was a contributing editor of the Wired magazine. Now he tends to be perceived as The Crowdsourcing expert. But you may wonder…

What is crowdsourcing?

As Jeff Howe well expressed it, crowdsourcing is a process of involving the public, the crowd, into a task by an open call. And this process if often made through a website. The definition could include many sorts of calls, indeed. To a large extent, crowdsourcing can be applied to solving a scientific problem, as the company InnoCentive started to do in 2001, or as IStockphotos managed in outsourcing the task of photographing an event to a voluntary crowd instead of hiring a professional photographer for instance.

Crowdsourcing takes many forms. But one thing makes it unique: it empowers the crowd. As the crowd represents different brains, different competences, it can be even more creative, efficient, innovative and influent than a single man working in his office on a task he has no grasp into.

How news organisations make the most of it?

In the context of Journalism, you can well imagine that the journalist and the news organisation one can work for were primarily the only gatekeepers of news, and you were waiting for them to be informed. If there was a place for you to communicate with the newspaper, there was the “letters to the editor”, and not many more.

Today news organisations have their websites. Moreover, if you give a closer look to them, you will notice they even make a space for you to act and communicate. Not by solely adding comments. There is more!

In England, the BBC has launched Have your Say ; in the USA, CNN opened iReport. And the Swiss news organisations are not the last: The RTS has Vos infos and The 20minutes has the Lecteur-Reporter’s platform. All fell in the new trend. They all let you the chance to be part of their work, or in other words: now the news need you.

As a million of events happen across the world, reporters and journalists cannot cover them all. This is where the audience is powerful: it can improve their coverage.

When terrorists set off a series of bombs on buses and subways in London, who produced the most riveting images and sound bites? The passengers and their cell phones.” [1] When an accident occur next to your home, or on your way to work, you are the first witness of the event and no professional reporter could catch the same tension you were able to grasp when it happens.

With a single photo, a video, a short message, you can make a newsroom get up. You can even make it change its editorial agenda.

 

 

For Bernard Rappaz, Editor in chief at the RTS in Switzerland, crowdsourcing makes a news media quicker than before. Using Twitter, Facebook, and their crowdsourcing tool on their website, the members of the newsroom can compete with the news agencies they are sometimes dependent on. As Mathieu Coutaz confirms himself: it allows the staff to be the first on the scene and to be always closer to the stories that interest the people their work for.

Mathieu Coutaz

Mathieu Coutaz is the content manager for 20minutes online in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The 20minutes is The daily newspaper distributed in Switzerland and this, for free. Its platform “lecteur-reporteur” has been launched in 2006 and the newspaper rewards any contributions that it eventually publishes on its web. What is most, “50% to 70% of the contributions that are selected go on the print edition” Mathieu Coutaz explains. And he emphasises one fundamental point that cannot be neglected: your photos and stories go through a process of verification before getting anything done. “When verified, the contributions of the audience can influence the editorial agenda on the temporal and hierarchical aspects. If it has to be treated before another news, and if the story is worth being published at the top of our agenda, then of course we do it.”

For the one that may want to ask: But isn’t it citizen journalism? In fact, no it isn’t. Robert Niles states this argument in his “Journalist’s guide to crowdsourcing”:

Crowdsourcing does not ask readers to become anything more than what they’ve always been: eyewitness to their daily lives.

In that sense the news organisations save their first role of gatekeepers: the readers don’t write the stories, they only contribute to it: the final decision of its treatement and broadcast still lies in the professional’s hands.

Crowdsourcing at risks

In an interesting article, Darren Gilbert warns that “crowdsourcing can be as advantageous as it can be dangerous.” Although readers are willing to contribute to the news, some are able to get a journalist on the wrong track. He takes the example of a recent scandal that occurred in the United States: a company named Journatic published news gathered from the public. And there were actually wrong!

In Switzerland, all the news platforms I discovered ask for the name and mail address of the contributors, in order to be able to get back to him/her. A mail address can be fake, indeed, but in any case, Swiss news organsations do the verification before publishing, which can avoid some serious faux pas.

To cope it all, crowdsourcing may well bring the public and the news organisation closer than before. It may establish a new relationship between the public and the news media: a trust that could have been lost. But it still needs to be well used in order not to lose what crowdsourcing is for journalism: a relevant tool to make the crowd part of the work, for a better and substantial result.

I am now turning to you

 Have you ever contributed to the news of your local newspaper?

What do you think of the crowdsourcing concept regarding journalism?

 

And to go further…

A new trend in crowdsourcing is for journalists to use special crowdsourcing platforms to gather the information they couldn’t find from their places, such as Ushahidi‘s platform, specialised in mapping crowdsourcing information.

The TED talks also got into the crowdsourcing concept, here is a talk held by Paul Lewis about the impact of crowdsourcing the news for investigative journalism.

And to be always up to date with the last seminars about crowdsourcing and journalism, have a look at the European Journalism Center’s website, it’s worth it!

By Céline Bilardo

[1] Howe, J. 2008.  Crowdsourcing: Why the power of the crowd is driving the future of business. 1st ed. USA: Ed.Crown Business. p.212.

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Professor iPad: Apple meets education

Jessica Richard 

I don’t have an iPad nor children, for the moment. However during my random train path, in a queue or watching popular videos (lolcats, babies, puppies), I couldn’t miss the fact that many mini-humans already owned an iPad and were very comfortable with it. It seems natural in their small skilful hands, like they have been using them forever: scrolling, zooming, switching applications and so on. 

This scene seems more and more natural for me but,

  • What implications does it have on the education of the kids at school and at home?
  • How does this technological tool reshape education?
  • What are the advantages and the downsides of “Professor iPad”?

This is a vast controversy subject and still currently debated. Blogs articles unleash parent’s passions, which are always very reactive when it comes to their heirs. My purpose is not to defend the iPad invasion in the classrooms or to cry wolf but to give an overview of the possibility of an interaction between traditional education and a virtual one.

Mummy, can I have iPad for breakfast please ?

Amazing isn’t it? These kinds of video are blooming on the net for the delight of our zygomatics. What to think of the intrusion of the iPads in our home? A New York Times blogger, David Pogue, has already asked himself: iPad or not ipad that is the question? In his article “A parent struggle with a child’s iPad addiction” the journalist questions his son’s addiction (in his definition of an addiction) for his iPad. After analyzing the benefits and the dangers of the interaction between his son and his tablet, Pogue concluded as follow:

For now, I’m trying to live by the mantra, “Moderation in all things.” As long as iPad use is part of a balanced diet of more physical play and non-electronic activities, I think my little guy will probably be O.K.

The article gave rise to no less than 947 comments…

Source: David Pogue’s blog

Following the impact of the post, David Pogue got interviewed on that subject:

So, a key seems to be parental mediation between the kids and the tablet, which is also recommended for television, video games, telephony, internet access and so on.

The pedopsychiatrist Pierre Delion explains, in an interview, that the traditional games shouldn’t be replaced by screens. However, he doesn’t deny the importance of digital tools in our daily routine. He argues in favor of a support of the parents in the children’s discovery of the virtual games so they could understand the relationship between the real and the virtual. Children with communication problems or anxiety could also find a more comfortable relation in the virtual games than in the traditional ones. Professor Delion reminds us that :

Un enfant ne s’éduque jamais tout seul et l’iPad à mon sens ne doit pas être laissé aux enfants avant 9 ans. N’oublions pas que cette tablette reste un portail vers Internet.

The solution would be found in a balance in the private educational environment. The educational games participate in the development and in the creativity of the children. However, time spent with the iPad has to be clearly limited and controlled by the parents. So the relation between the children and the tablet does not fall into an addiction. In addition, Pierre Delion underlines the fact that the interactive games do not improve young children intelligence.

Source: Techcrunch, Timbuktu application.

Daddy, can I take my iPad at school?

According to Apple, the iPad seems to be the revolution that the education was waiting since Plato’s Academy, revealed by this official video:

iPad is showing up in peoples’ lives all around the world. Now, when we set out to create the iPad, we set out to create not just a new product, but a new category. Tim Cook

It is obvious that this video shows a 100% positive record of the arrival of theirs tablets in the classrooms. It is shown that the iPad can be used from the maternity to the university. Everything is a matter of application(s). At each age its applications. But what evidence is there of this? Some studies have already addressed the issue.

One of the main studies was carried for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a textbook publisher. The aim was to compare the performance of two groups of children at the Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California. A control group used the traditional Holt McDougal Algebra 1 textbook, while an experimental group used iPads with an interactive version of the same coursework. According to The Economist, at the end of the year: 78% of pupils using the interactive text scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the California algebra test, compared with only 59% scoring likewise with the standard textbook.

Students’ interaction with the device was more personal. You could tell students were more engaged. Using the iPad was more normal, more understandable for them. Coleman Kells, principal of Amelia Earhart Middle School.

Moving textbooks to mobile devices will reinvent learning. Marita Scarfi, CEO of digital-focused marketing agency Organic.

However, the major downside has been enlightened: the cost. The Apple iPads are still a $500-plus investment per unit. Funding is still a problem, particularly for public schools, explains Christina Bonnington for Wired. She says that one of the solutions would be sites like DonorsChoose.org which can provide funds for schools. Anyway, the cost shouldn’t stop us from thinking education in that way.

Source: book cover, Tony Wagner, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change The World.

The first iPad summit this year supported that of point of view. As a young student present at the summit reported: participants gave all their attention to a single piece of technology and how it might be applied in the realm of education. Tony Wagner, Ph.D. Harvard professor, highlighted the themes of the conference:

We must change the framework of education to reflect what our students need in the world today. Tools like the iPad allow educators and students to be creative, flexible, and innovative in ways never before seen. The same-old-same-old approach in education has only been driving the failure of the American educational system. If we want different results, we need to do something different.

Three main conclusions emerged from this First iPad Summit:

  1. iPad is simply a tool and not the magical, miracle object that will innovate education by itself
  2. iPad in the classroom must be linked with professional development
  3. iPad in education must be more than a replacement program

Bye bye Candy shop, Hello Apple store!

What are the educative applications? There is a certain numbers of applications destined to teach, develop, train, create and so on. Most of these apps have a recreational side which can transform the learning process into a less painful and boring experience for the children. From the most rudimentary to the serious Khan Academy, the Apple store proposes numerous applications for all ages, free as well as charged. Most of these apps work on the logic of a serious game: software that combines a serious intention, like pedagogical, informational, communicational, marketing, ideological or drive with fun. The vocation of a serious game is to make the serious side attractive with an interaction, rules or possibly with play goal.¹

Source: Apple Store

Switch off your iPad, it’s time to go to bed now !

To conclude, the iPad isn’t a magical solution nor will it replace the contribution of a teacher. However, E-learning may allow developing certain abilities in children who are in an environment where the virtual is increasingly present. It’s central that children learn how to use the tools that they will find later in their studies or in their daily life/routine. Like David Pogue reminds us, the secret is in moderation. The iPad summits will certainly improve the knowledge, in a collaborative aim, of the utility and danger of this esthetic tool. The cost can clearly be a barrier to the spread of that product. We shouldn’t forget that education is profitable new market as well as a good way to attract future customers.

Even if there is still a lot to do and to develop around the perspective of e-teaching, I wish all the best for the collaboration between the teacher and the “Professor iPad”.

Education needs you !

read more: http://www.ipadpd.com/blog.html

1: Wikipedia, http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeu_sérieux

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Instagram: a teen-toy or the new reporter tool?

“Instagram photos cheat the viewer!” Nick Stern’s claim, published in February 2012 on cnn.com, came as a bombshell, engendering pros and cons-reactions in the journalism and photo-reporting world. Who’s right? Let’s have a look!

With more than 30 millions of users and about 150 photographs posted (see article on Wikipedia), the photo-editing and social-networking app Instagram can be described as one of the most successful Smartphone tools. Among its users; teenagers, adults, singers, actors, politicians and, of course, journalists!

Yet the journalistic use of Instagram in a professional perspective has created a huge debate on the web since last February. The vexed question: can journalists and photojournalists honestly use Instagram as a professional tool, to cover a war or a political meeting, or has it to remain a “toy” only good to post pictures of your breakfast or your new nail-art?

To see Benjamin Lowy complete Instagram-reportage on the Afghanistan conflit, click on the picture!

Cheating with reality?

For some photographers no hesitation, Instagram has nothing to do with information and journalism. Here are some of their main arguments. But before, here you go with a video that shows you how Instagram works and what are its main features:

Filters and fake emotions

Photographs bring emotion, related to the subject, to the viewer’s history but also thanks to the way the picture is taken. Regarding this, the anti-Instagramers are clear: Instagram kills the authenticity, creativity and originality of your pictures.

For Nick Stern (see the complete article here and his website here), American news photographer and first anti-Instagram pamphleteer, the pictures taken with the app do not communicate real emotions, conveyed by the photographer, as it should. “It’s the work of an app designer in Palo Alto who decided that a nice shallow focus and dark faded border would bring out the best in the image”, he claims, “The image never existed in any other place than the eye of the app developer”.

“The greatest photographs are created in the mind of the photographer and not in the workings of the camera.” Nick Stern

Moreover, with 14 different filters, the variety of pictures is indeed quite large however rather limited. According to its accusers, Instagram creates therefore photographic standards, which enchain the users, kill their creativity and prevent them from expressing their emotions.

But was it not already the case with silver films? Indeed, during the development process, the photographer could use different chemical techniques such as cross-processing and could therefore add something external to the picture.

Aesthetics against information duty

Showing reality objectively is one of the main goals of any journalists. For the anti-Instagramers, using an app that adds effects on a picture in order to make it look fancier or nicer does not fit the profession ethics. That is why Nick Stern says that “Every time a news organization uses a Hipstamatic or Instagram-style picture in a news report, they are cheating us all”.

However aesthetics is a part of photography anyway such as subjectivity. Photographers are dealing with image and cannot completely distance themselves from the visual dimension of their job.

As Joerg Colberg, an American photographer says “We all know that all photography is fiction: as a photographer you make choices, which influence the photograph enough for it to be more of a fiction than a fact. […] But the photojournalist’s task, no actually the photojournalist’s duty is to minimize the amount of fiction that enters her/his photography. […] The problem with InstaHip in this particular context is it adds a huge amount of fiction to photography, simply by its aesthetic” (see the complete article here).

Filters and effects have always been part of the game.

News Trivialisation

Another problem raised by the accusers is that the majority of the Instagram pictures deal with the users’ every day life: meals, hobbies, fashion, cosmetics, friends, family and pets. Mixing serious news pictures with these trivial subjects minimizes their value and their informational impact.

“Since in the dominant context, people’s social lives, InstaHip photographs are usually not seen as particularly relevant, once you use InstaHip as a photojournalist you’re applying that same kind of thinking to your images. You’re trivializing your message.” Joerg Colberg

Why so unserious?

Maybe the solution would be to create a parallel network, which would share the same technical features and would be exclusively destined to news companies, a kind of Infostagram! But we will come back to that later.

The Like button tyranny

As other social networks, Instagram allows the users to share their pictures on other social medias such as Facebook and Twitter and proposes a comment option and a Like button.

American panelists wondered to which extent “Instagram’s Like button, combined with the image filters, has turned the service into performance art, with people trying to rack up Likes for the most aesthetically striking images” explains Steve Myers in his article on Instagram (see the complete article here). A sort of photographic social desirability!

As we will see later, these social network features can also be positive for journalists. In the mean time, to read more about the Like-culture problematic, click here.

Vintage overdose

You can see it in fashion: vintage is trendy! And photography is no exception to the rule. Instagram, with its Instamatic and Polaroid-inspired effect perfectly incarnates this trend (see this article here). But as Jean Cocteau said “Fashion is what goes out of fashion.” Thus, the risk that Instagram becomes outmoded is real.

What risk for journalism then? Since Instagram becomes has-been, the information broadcasted on it will not be seen as relevant by its users or its ex-users. The value of information will be at stake.

Moreover, is not information supposed to be related to the here and now, to the burning issues and not focused on the past?

Instamatic Kodak 100, 1963

Polaroid One Step, ’80

Connecting people?

Does Instagram look like the Devil to you now? Fortunately some positive and helpful aspects can also be highlighted, all related to the social dimension of the app.

Information network

As already said, Instagram is not only a photo-editing app, it also allows the user to create an extended network, to follow people and to get followers. Videos on Youtube actually show you how to be followed by the maximum of users. Do you remember what we have said about the Like button tyranny?

More seriously Instagram can become a real information feed, through the channels of news companies or through the topics dealt with on the official blog of the app (see here). However, at the moment, the media channels remain extremely poor and unfed. The only one which seems active is the CNN’s, perhaps because of its US origin and destination. Here are some examples taken from Webstagram, the Internet viewer of the app.

One of the rare successful examples of use is the covering of the New York Fashion Week 2012 by the New York Times. The journalists present on the site provided 450 pictures through the account created for this occasion, visible here. With 156’319 followers, the operation was a real success.

Another example: the National Geographic launched a blog fed with climbers’ Instagram pictures called “Field test – On Everest”. The Instagram feed of the magazine, visible here, is also well provided with pictures.

However the company seems less tolerant regarding the pictures sent by its readers. In a message on the company website, the photography director encouraged the National Geogrpahic readers to avoid sending them modified pictures:

This desire of authenticity and objectivity matches the cons arguments presented previously regarding Instagram.

The non-professional Keystone

If the National Geographic had a really ethical reaction regarding photography, this is not the case for some other medias. Indeed Instagram can be used as a kind of a non-professional Keystone.

Let’s think about several showbiz articles written by the 20minutes about Rihanna’s tattoo or Kim Kardashian’s look. The information comes directly from what the celebrities post on Instagram as a primary source. Even if we are talking about famous people, this is what we call crowdsourcing or UGC (User Generated Content).

In a more serious perspective, a new app has been developed, called “Signal”, a mix between Instagram and Foursquare. With this app, you can post pictures and geolocalize them.

Normal citizens and journalists will thus be able to get informed of the events happening in their country or their area. What happened with Twitter during the Arab Spring could also happen thanks to photographs (see complete article here).

Democratisation of photography

One of the main arguments against Nick Stern’s article was that his vision of photography was elitist. Let’s think about Mathew Ingram’s article (available here) who vividly criticizes this vision.

Likewise, the photographer and photography teacher Richard Koci Hernandez praises the new possibilities of interacting with the audience offered by Instagram: “More people are now being exposed to my journalism than ever before […] Now I have access to literally the entire world.” (see complete article here).

Thus, for Instagram-defenders, using this app is also a way to have access to a form of art production, which was by now saved for professionals and artists. But can we honestly put on the same level the technique required by an SLR camera manipulation and the use of a mobile phone?

A matter of perspective

As we have seen, no categorical answer to the Instagram problematic can be given. Asking what a relevant photograph or a worthy photographer should be requires also to ask what photography is. A hobby? A job? An art? The three of them? Maybe the answer lies in the context or the personal perspective in which the picture is taken.

Let’s think about Benjamin Lowy’s work in Afghanistan. He used Instagram but did not betray what the journalist Alex Garcia calls “the vision and mission of photojournalism – [he is] applying a creative aesthetic that adds meaning or accessibility to [his] images” (see complete article here).

Anyway we should not forget that, Instagram or not, photography is always a matter of choice. By then, watch the birdie!

By Lea Gloor

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Social networking through music streaming services

While CD sales have been declining for a number of years now, digital sales are jumping up. iTunes and Amazon are by far the most important actors in this market, but music streaming services grow significantly every day. Let’s have a quick overview of a couple of streaming platforms and their intertwining with social medias.

Written by Arnaud Mittempergher

A survey reported in August in the Wall Street Journal has shown that nowadays most american teenagers use Youtube and the radio to listen to music legally. While this raises an important question about the future of the music industry (read more here and also here), this also says something interesting about the way many young people consume music.

First of all, many of them don’t want to pay for their music anymore (besides online streaming, illegal downloading is still widely used). Then, surfing on Youtube might also underline the fact that it’s important for them to be able to discuss and share tracks with their friends (something iTunes doesn’t provide at all). Considering the latter, it is interesting to note that Myspace was first a social networking service, and it then turned out to be the biggest platform for music artists between 2005 and 2009. However, now that its popularity is slowly sinking, Youtube and other music streaming services are gaining greater popularity.

A big part of Youtube is dedicated to expressing ideas and opinions in the comments and sharing music on other social medias (on Facebook for example)

I’ve decided to focus this article on one of them, possibly the most popular at this time: Spotify. Other successful music streaming services rely on the same concept as Spotify does, but they are either less socially integrated (Rhapsody), or don’t have as many tracks available (Soundcloud or Reverbnation).

Spotify is basically a music application that gives you an instant access to any song you want to hear. It’s a completely legal freemium software. Indeed, users can either use the software for free, with limited hours of usage per week, or pay a monthly fee to have unlimited access. This fast-growing music streaming player revolves deeply around music sharing, as Myspace and now Youtube do. As its CEO Daniel Ek said, “we think music is the most social thing there is, and we think people want to interact with music.”

That’s why Spotify has a really deep social media integration, especially with Facebook. Both actors work hand-in-hand, each sharing benefits in this relationship. Facebook always wanted a music service: it can now keep its users on the network whilst they listen to music. As for Spotify, it can now reach the millions of Facebook users.

Spotify got “engaged” to Facebook last year

For Spotify, the act of sharing music is “really, really important for our business”, said Daniel Ek. “We’ve found that the more social our users are — i.e., they’re sharing music — the faster they grow their own music library. [And] the faster they grow their music library, the faster they become paying customers.” The video below gives you a clear understanding of how Spotify is socially integrated within Facebook.

Using Spotify with Facebook is really simple and intuitive

On the next screenshot you can see how my Facebook page looks like after I used Spotify. The music I shared appears on the left-hand side with my personal comment, the music I just listened to appears on the right-hand side.

An example of Spotify on Facebook

Besides Facebook, Spotify is also well integrated within Twitter and Tumblr. However, these social medias are not the only ones. Which is why Spotify also provides http links to any song, so that you can post it on your website or your blog. The song is then directly played on Spotify.

EXAMPLE : Saez – Pilule

Another interesting website I came across is thisismyjam.com. The idea is very simple : every user has its own page, on which he can publish the songs that he likes. His friends can then comment and share his songs. Like Spotify, this service revolves a lot around social interactions (learn more about it here).

Each song is commented by friends and “followers”

It’s also interesting to note that thisismyjam.com has its own Spotify app, meaning that you can follow your friends’ jams within the Spotify software. You can also click on the artists’ names to see all their tracks on Spotify.

One can easily access all the songs that friends have posted on their thisismyjam accounts

Long story short, the streaming industry is an exciting one where you can find you favorite tracks and listen to them for free until you get fed up. Could you dream of better?

For starters, it is a reliable and interesting alternative to CDs and digital sales. Since its launch in 2008, Spotify has paid over 250 million dollars of royalties to the music industry and Youtube pays “millions of dollars” every month to the largest music labels. Who would do that if music streaming wasn’t a profitable business, satisfying tons of users?

Furthermore, I realized that the concept of music and sharing go hand-in-hand, which is something those streaming services have well grasped. As Chris Gayomali wisely wrote, “the exchange itself is the part about “social” that people genuinely enjoy…Whenever you play a new song for a friend in your car, you can’t help but feel great when they like it too”.

It’s the same social drive that explains the success of streaming services such as Spotify : its popularity also relies on the exchange. Not only is it a way to gain new users through the word-of-mouth, sharing is simply a big piece of fun in music!

What about you, do you also use Spotify? If not, what’s your favorite way of listening to music online? Or do you prefer to own the albums of your favorite artists?

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Tutorial: the use of social networks (Twitter and Facebook) as a journalist

Both Twitter and Facebook cannot be ignored any more when talking about the World Wide Web. Thus are they surely to be considered when using the amazing internet tool as a journalist. Let’s now have a look at how to get the best of it!

Guillaume Laurent

The social networks, by the number of subscribers they gather, are a rich source of information, as well as an amazing showcase. Therefore, it can be used by journalists in a number of ways: to always be aware of what is going on and interesting people, to try to get people to give their opinion about a subject, to get some feedbacks about an article, or to extend one’s readership and number of followers. In the interest of being more accurate, I’ll focus here only on the use of Twitter and Facebook Here are the few tips you will need to be an efficient social network journalist!

Three things to know when using social networks as a source

1-      Verification must without contest be your main concern when using social networks as a source. If social networks can often be much quicker than traditional Medias to provide a story, they cannot be trusted, and the journalist must look around to see if other users or legitimate sources providers can confirm the story.

2-      You have to develop your own trusted network within social Medias. Getting the wider choice among a group of users you now are trustworthy is a powerful asset for a journalist using social networks.

3-      You must be systematic when using social Medias as a source. By doing the same ritual times and times again, you will gain a more accurate judgment about what is said on social networks, and thereafter win a lot in efficiency.

Social Medias as a source for journalists

Social Medias as a source for journalists – Oriella PR Networks

Three things to know when using social networks to gather opinions

1-      Think about your personal experience on social networks. In which circumstances would you give your opinion? Which kind of question would you actually answer and which kind you wouldn’t? It will give you a valuable clue to guess how to manage your audience and get the best of it.

2-      Before looking after opinions, you have to decide if you want to get a number based statistic answer or rather a few interesting witnesses. You will get more answers with a question that can be answered only by “yes” or “no”, but an open question will often give you more information to deal with.

3-      Create a debate. To give their opinion about a specific subject, people must feel concerned, disturbed, annoyed or enthusiasm. Therefore you should give a direction to your question, give something of yourself to push your followers to react. .

Three things to know when using social networks to get some feedbacks about one’s articles

1-      Getting a lot of feedbacks can be dangerous for your website. If you want to advertise using social networks you will have to be ready to assume de consequences. I mean managing properly de comments posted on your page or website. Otherwise, spamming or provocative answers will quickly suffocate the debate.

2-      Before advertising on social networks, you must be aware that everything you will post, included answers to readers, comments or random posts, will be considered as a part of your work and evaluated and criticize in this sense. There for having separates account for your private life and your job can be very useful.

3-      Post pictures and videos to get attention. Even if your work is mainly based on writing, you will have to use pictures and videos. It will surely get you more feedback, and images are what modern internet journalism is all about.

Three things to know when using social networks to extend one’s readership

1-      “Tweet your beat”, the advice was given by Lauren Invik, from the social medias specialized website marshable.com. If you want to get some authority on social networks and bring in something more than the millions of other users, you have to be a specialist. That means tweeting or publishing on Facebook only when you know exactly what you are talking about. Giving your opinion on random subjects is not a plan for a good social networks journalist.

2-       Being a specialist also includes being among the first to get the news about your favorite subject. Therefore is it necessary to give to your audience more than your own stories. Using in a wise way the retweet or share opportunity will help you a lot while trying to please your followers and make your account attractive.

3-      Link as much as possible your publications. The hashtag and the “@” button are crucial not only to reach a wider public, but also to show your sources and make your information safe and valuable. Websites like tagboard.com are based on the use of the “@” and de hashtag and often used by people to look for news about a specific subject.

So, fellow journalists, have you already been using successfully social Medias in your work? Would you add some advices to the previous shortlist? This article is meant to be updated and enhanced by your contribution!

To become a perfect social Media journalist: more advices with this Youtube vidéo from BeatBlogging.Org

More on the subject with this France 2 TV show about Twitter brodcasted in 2010

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