Twitter

•May 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had a Twitter account for just under a year now. When I originally got into it, it was because I greatly admired figures like Stephen Fry and Alan Carr (God knows what I was thinking…) and I had heard about some new website where they were keeping their fans up to date with their career and personal lives.

There was also this weird promise that you could interact with the figures you decided to follow, and that other people who admired you would follow you too.

Of course it didn’t end up that way at all and I quickly stopped following all the “celebrities”.

These days I follow blogs that I like to read (i.e Popjustice and Digital Spy), so that I can know exactly when a new article is put up, and whether or not it will interest me. I also follow a handful of musicians and bands so that I can keep up to date with tour dates and material release.

I also use it to link to my Tumblr blog. Whenever I write a new post, my Twitter automatically updates itself to provide a link to said article. It also provides a brief description so those who see can know whether or not it will interest them, like how the professional blogs I read use it.

This is the thing I like about Twitter. I don’t really see it as social networking, or at least not how I use it.

I’d like to think that if I became a successful blogger, people would follow my Twitter account for the same reasons. And this is really how should other media companies and journalists should be using it, as a place to share links to the things that either interest them or are produced by them.

As far as an environment to be used for serious journalism, it can also be a great way to break stories exceptionally fast. Especially now that it can be used with on-hand devices like mobile phones. But as a place where debate can be formed, it’s too small and limited to fully realise that kind of dream

Video News

•May 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It might be a cliché example to write about, but I can’t help but always be fascinated by the video content on CNN‘s website.

It’s no secret that I have always experienced more impact and felt much more involved when consuming news in video format, compared to reading an article.

But for someone like me, who absolutely hates watching news programming on television (I don’t really dig the scaremongering thing), this website provides a way around it.

Little, bite-size chucks of video news. They range from interviews to mini topical reports.

What amazes me, is the amount of content available to choose from. There are a mass of different categories to choose from, plus sections dedicated to international news. You can narrow it dow until you’re left with a page of videos linked to whatever subject you’re interested in hearing about, and then simply scroll away, taking in the information, watching the things YOU want to. Leave out all the rest.

The videos are all around a minute to 4 minutes in length. Perfect for when you’re in a hurry, travelling in the  morning, or having a quick break.

The few times I have visited to the site, I always go straight to the video section, and start watching. Videos play continuously after one another, which can seem a little annoying, but you soon realise why it set up like this when you are lost in your 7th interview and can’t dtop yourself from watching more.

In my own opinion (and this is obviously related to my age, interests, attention span and aversion to watching television) news works so much better like this. But i can’t see it ever switching exclusively to a format like this. Ever.

But the design, layout and way the videos are integrated and implemented are perfect and I think many other news sites could learn from this.

Implosion

•May 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This is some weird, completely random and bizarre website I stumbled upon when looking at badly designed sites.

Granted, there are worse culprits out there, but I went for this one because it doesn’t actually make my eyes want to bleed out when I look at it.

The problem I find with sites like this is, you can never quite get your head around where to start with all the information included. It’s as though the creators didn’t want anyone to get lost in a multitude of link-clicking, so figure they should just shove everything on the homepage. Well they failed.

You can start from any place on the page that you want, but I guarantee you won’t make sense of anything, and by the time you give up, you’ll still be clueless as to what the site is supposed to be about!

To be quite honest, this is just the homepage. The rest of the site MIGHT be a little better once you click and move on. But then.. where should I click? I’m not gonna lie, I was actually to scared to navigate through the site, fearing I would get lost in some cyberspace maze of green backgrounds and childish, multi-coloured font…

It worries me sometimes that people can physically think this is a good idea and that their site looks fine like this. I mean come on, horizontal AND vertical scrolling?!?!?!?!?

Implosion Group? Never has a name sounded so appropriate…

Animals!

•March 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Assignment for University. Thanks to Madee for helping, and to the people who agreed to be interviewed 🙂

This assignment was one of my favourites.  I don’t want to sound like a slacker, but after getting through most of all the heavier work, it was nice to be able to just mess about with the camera and zoom recorder for a couple of weeks, pick an interesting or completely random topic to work with, and just basically have a lod of fun.

I’ve worked with both pieces of equipment extensively when I was at college, where I had been taught all about composition, recording and interview technique, location and all the other things you have to think about, so really these two exercises were nothing more than a nice refresher for my brain.

Because of my prior-knowledge, I assumed this would be quite easy, and as I’m sure you can probably tell, not all my hard-working effort when into making it, because i simple wanted to just enjoy the project as much as I could, without getting bogged down.

So of course there are plenty of flaws with both my audio and video podcasts. Sound quality dipping here and there, editing being rather shoddy, framing not handled with the utmost of care.

I’ll admit I found Audacity quite frustrating and hard to work with. I’m completely and utterly an Adobe Audition guy. You’d think both programs would be rather similar, but to my surprise… not so much. The reason for the dangerously bad editing on the video podcast is because for some reason I decided I should perhaps also experiment with some other software for that too, seeing as though I’m also very familiar with Final Cut Pro.

I’ll tell you know, so we never ave this trouble again… iMovie is not the way forward…

Perez Hilton Review

•February 1, 2010 • 1 Comment
Perez Hilton at the 2009 American Music Awards

Image courtesy of burningkarma at Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/burningkarma/4128642400//)

Could we really review Perez Hilton’s infamous site in the context of blogs? Its mindless fun, I’ll give him that, but is it meaningful or thought provoking in any way? Does it prompt any kind of debate or intelligent conversation?

At first glance the blog is basically a never ending stream of photographs, annotated with childish doodles and scathing observations. At a closer glance… well it pretty much looks exactly the same.

It can be forgiven for the fact that he probably started out by just simply posting his opinions on celebrities and gossip, but as his site has become more and more popular, it has become more and more twisted. You could say that the hype and the attention has gone to his head. In order to keep people interested and keep people talking, the stories he reports on (or even the stories he claims to break) have to be even more sensational and unbelievable than the last.

The way that the blog could redeem itself would be for it to also serve as a place of reader interaction, discussing the stories and images he sporadically posts throughout the day. However, take a look at the comments section on any random post, and you’re likely to find several people either expressing their disgust for the person(s) mentioned, or even their hatred for Hilton himself…

Clearly this started as a blog that attempted to keep people up to date with the latest gossip, but it has since transformed into a space to share negative opinions and express anger.

“Looking Back…”

•January 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

USA Today created an interesting piece of interactive journalism on their site last month. “Decade in review: 2000-2009” starts off as a seemingly highly produced slide show, giving the user a simple navigational ability; moving from left to right through a procession of pictures that allegedly sum up the past decade. The pictures are pretty good (not overly stunning), but luckily, just when you might get bored of moving slowly through every single picture, they’ve added a sort of calendar at the top. This way you can hover over a specific landmark in time and choose which ones you would like to see. As I said before, the quality of the pictures is okay, and some of the events they mention bring back a lot of memories. It’s a nice, simple, carefree way to look back at some of the milestones of the decade.

But what makes it start to get even more interesting is the “staff commentary” feature. This gives you the option to see short interviews with some of the photojournalists. The interviews are interspersed with more pictures, that are even better than those in the slide show. It’s also more engaging to actually see someone talking and hear their personal memories about those particular years, what were their most interesting stories that they had to cover etc. Most of us only ever actually see the news coverage of big events, and rarely hear the actual feelings of those involved in capturing the news, so this feels like a nice insight into their work and their world.

One thing that lets it down, is the availability of only one image per event in the slide show. I think it could have been better if each event had its own little slideshow within it of a few more pictures, perhaps showing how things progressed. However, its better than simply looking at the pictures in a newspaper or magazine. The staff interviews could have perhaps been transcribed and added in too, but actually hearing and seeing the person makes it much more engaging and forces you to connect with it in some way.