Google ties Google+ and Blogger closer together

There’s now some tighter integration between Google+ and Blogger with new functionality introduced today that prompts you to share the new Blogger post you just published with your Google+ network.

This is mildly interesting – the only thing that’s surprising about it is that Google is continuing (for now) to support Blogger instead of completely switching everything over to Google+ – but does open up a raft of thoughts about how publishers promote their work on social networks.

Right now I’m using (obviously) WordPress and have that platform’s Twitter tool installed so that this post, when it’s published, will be distributed there automatically. Similar tools are available for Facebook and other networks, all of which are focused around giving the publisher control. But right now Google is the only one company that owns both a long-form publishing platform *and* a social network, meaning it can make that integration even tighter and, as I allude to above, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if at some point down the road the two tools are merged into one.

More than anything though this news, combined with Hootsuite’s announcement that they were finally opening up Google + Pages access to all levels of their users, shows that Google realizes there needs to be *some* level of automation to the publishing on their social network. Yes, there might have been a massive user growth spurt in the last couple months and some brands are having great success there, but enterprise level users in my experience like having a single publishing dashboard so they’ll have to continue to meet that need.

What will now be interesting to see is what sort of additional tools Google does or doesn’t add for other, non-Blogger platforms that encourages people and publishers to promote their work on Google+.

Dave Matthews Band: Mercy

Really looking forward to this new record from DMB. I’ve been a fan for a long time but their last record, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, really felt like a return to more energetic form for the band. Anxious to see if that continues here.


Variety ankled itself

The nut graf in the LAT update on the status of one of Hollywood’s premiere trade publications:

But its key misstep seems to have come in 2010 — a year after Bart left the top editor’s post — when it put up an online pay wall. That took the paper out of the breaking news game, allowing Deadline, which was already beating the trade to innumerable scoops, to fill the void. Folks in town got into the habit of going to Deadline and other free online sources for news

I stopped linking to Variety about two and a half years ago because of that paywall. And I’m sure a lot of other people did as well.

But let’s be clear here: Variety – and THR along with it – still features some of the best writing about the industry that’s out there. While it may be losing the web traffic battle, something that undoubtedly comes from the paywall decision, the quality of the material being produced is heads and shoulders above most of the blogs and news sites that have risen from its ashes. It’s just too bad it put an impediment in the way of people reading it and didn’t adapt more quickly to the publishing needs of the current environment.

It’s nice to see someone still focusing on RSS reading

There was a time when there were a lot of posts being written about the intricacies of pinging PubSubHubbub and how often RSS feeds refreshed in the various readers on the market. But then social networks came along and people started to use them instead of news readers, something that never made much sense to me since you then a slave to the stream and missed anything published while you were looking away. RSS let you time-shift your reading and it’s still the way I consume most of my news.

All that is by way of intro to NewsBlur, the first company I’ve read about in a while that seems interested in maintaining a pure RSS experience. As opposed to something like Flipboard, which may use RSS in the backend but doesn’t expose it to the reader. Which is fine since that’s just an example of how powerful, albeit ultimately invisible, RSS can be and why those who dismiss it are missing out on what I still maintain is the most exciting technology of the social web.

I’ll be trying out NewsBlur on a limited basis (they have a freemium model and I’m going to see how the free version stacks up to Google Reader) and seeing how I like it. It may not be perfect, but it’s great to a company that realizes the power of pure RSS feeds and is doing something to capture that.


Defining the Realtime Search Needs, the popular URL shortening service that no longer wants to be known as just a URL shortening service, is trying once again to make a play for search attention, launching Realtime as a “real time” search feature that taps into the site’s treasure trove of link information.

While that news is interesting enough it has me thinking more generally about real-time search and what’s needed to make something a truly competitive and alluring offering.

First it’s clear that knows who their audience is. It’s not the everyday Twitter or Facebook user but instead is a publisher, whether that role is being held by a news outlet of some sort or a company/organization. Those are the parties who are going to get the most out of whatever information is surfaced through this or any other sort of real-time search engine.

But what sort of information would need to be available in a real-time search to make it truly useful on an ongoing basis?

  • Identification of first-movers: Yes, something has reached critical mass now, but who was the first to flag it? If you can track this down then you, as a communications professional, have a chance to identify them as being an important cog in the distribution of a message.
  • Identification of large blossoms: This is the next step from the first point in that it’s important to see when – and through whom – a link or message experienced big spikes in saves/clicks/distribution.
  • Actionable information: Don’t just show when something happened, let me use it in some manner. How can I export the data? How can I interact with the people who were part of the conversation? What value does the data have for me and the program I’m managing?

These are overly broad points, it’s true. What’s important to remember, though, is that each person’s needs are going to be different, particularly as you start to dig into that third point about the information that’s found being actionable in some manner. There’s a lot that can fall under that umbrella but those are going to differ based on different companies, programs, target audiences and other factors.

What is known, though, is that real-time search is still a wide-open field for the most part since the market to date has been filled with lots of false starts and quickly abandoned efforts. There are a few players making a go of it but for the most part they just act like regular search engines, without some of the special functionality that real-time search begs for.

The danger, of course, is that having access to real-time statistics and information will cause paralysis via overload as publishers analyze what’s going on right now to an extent that they can’t make future decisions. That’s a very real concern here since when you have data that’s shifting (potentially by the minute) it can be hard to then feel confident enough to look away and execute on something.

All that being said it will be interesting to watch how this attempt at search works out for and for the industry as a whole. There will need to, as is the case with many things, be a critical mass of people who begin to use it and talk about its usefulness to then push it into mass adoption, something that seems to have eluded previous attempts in this game.

Movie Trailer: Cloud Atlas

I can say with very little doubt in my mind that this trailer packs less explanation of what the movie’s plot is into 6 minutes than most trailers put into 2:30. That being said it does look like a trippy visual feast, though my concern is that with the Wachowskis at the helm this is going to be so much more superficial than the same sort of time-twisting/character-swapping story would have been in the hands of Charlie Kaufman or someone along those lines. Not that they make bad movies but I’ve never been impressed with the emotional depth of their stories.


2001 as high-octane action flick

I didn’t want to like this fan-recut trailer for 2001: A Space Odyssey that reimagines the movie as a high-speed action flick (I have a low tolerance for these types of things) but it is so well done, with just the right techno music soundtrack, that it won me over more than a little.

Plagarism and the meaning of “truth”

Whether they’ve plagiarized material already published by someone else, or invented sources and quotations outright, I’ve found in more then 10 cumulative years of teaching at both institutions that more often than not the fabricators just don’t get that what they did was wrong. They’re more stunned than embarrassed; they’re more indignant than repentant. Looking into their eyes, I just don’t see the kind of flushed, visceral shame that you might expect from such acts. Unethical behavior is a huge problem on most college campuses, and although faculty and administrators are doing their best to tighten regulations, plagiarism, in particular, is on the rise.

Why, is still something of a mystery. The usual theory among journalism educators has to do with the cut-and-paste and sampling culture of the Internet, which has forever eroded boundaries between “original” and stolen work. But it seems to me that something more insidious is happening here. Could it be, that even when faced with dictionary descriptions of “plagiarism” and “fabrication”—terms that are discussed in most journalism classes at the beginning of each semester—some students simply agree to disagree?

via Do they get that it’s wrong? : CJR.

This seems to me to be an example of living in the post-modern world where we no longer have any consensus on what is or isn’t “truth.” Everything is now up for debate depending on each individual’s perception and what their “reality” is. That makes it difficult to impart any sense of write or wrong into some people and also makes it hard to discipline anyone for transgressions. Sure, a rule or guideline may be written down and understood but when it comes down to actually calling anyone on violating it then the conversation turns south as the wrongdoer seeks to explain why his or her worldview or circumstances allows them to interpret that in their own way, and often to their own benefit.

Undermine yourself

Macmillan Knows Publishing Is Doomed, So It’s Funding the Future | PandoDaily.

What an interesting idea: Hire someone to undermine your existing business model through the funding of start-ups and other means, then figure out how to use them to adapt to a changing market.

Aerosmith: Legendary Child

Joey Kramer on the drums is awesome.