Posts Tagged ‘linking’

“Sloppy” Technology Blogging – an Editor’s Dilemma

August 25, 2008

I was pleased to read this blog post from Dan Rayburn at business of video.com (a blog I’d never come across before).

Key quote:

“Where is the fact checking by these authors? How about speaking to the companies involved before you write the article? You’re trying to decipher what someone from the BBC said on his blog and implying things as “facts” which is inaccurate. I had no problem contacting both networks involved to confirm the accurate info as I read it from the BBC blog.”

There’s been some speculation on blogs ever since Anthony Rose announced that the iPlayer would be using h.264 on some of its video on the Internet blog (disclaimer- which I edit in case you didn’t know) a couple of weeks ago.  As Dan points out:

“No where in Anthony’s post did he say anything about “switching” from Akamai to Level 3 or “replacing” Akamai for Level 3. Bloggers are implying that Akamai was the “previously chosen” provider and that Akamai has lost their BBC buisness, which is blantantly inaccurate…”

This kind of speculative blogging Dan points to sometimes gives me a dilemma.

Should I link to these posts in the Internet blog’s delicious stream even if they are interesting but wide of the mark? Or I should I ignore them on the grounds that they are gossip?

A post like this one on the excellent Telco 2.0 blog is going to be of interest to my readers. It’s speculative (phrases like “bandwidth wars” need to be taken with a pinch of salt) but is based on interesting data.  And I think my readers are clever enough and mature enough to make up their own minds about whether it’s right or wrong .

They’re certainly more clever than me. Much of the hard core technical detail goes way over my head. I was employed to edit the Internet blog not because I am a technology specialist but because (hopefully) I know how to talk online.

And the great thing about blog posts like Dan’s is that they give me stuff to link to and continue with that conversation.

Just like some of the wilder stuff that’s been written about the BBC and Microsoft if you ignore it, it won’t just go away. You have to intervene to have any effect.

And on a purely personal level I’m like Marlene Dietrich. If I see someone saying something about the BBC I know is inaccurate and I can show it is with a link, (even if it’s nothing to do with my work) well I can’t help it.

Marlene Dietrich from spike 55151 on flickr

Marlene Dietrich from spike 55151 on flickr

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Emily Bell: What Conversation Exactly?

April 30, 2008

N.B. My personal views. Not my employers.

I was interested to read Emily Bell’s column about the BBC in Media Guardian on Monday.

There is an irony of course in saying “we need to start a new conversation about the BBC” in the dead format of a newspaper column. It’s not a blog so there’s no opportunity to comment. So there’s no chance of a “new conversation” actually happening.

But since Emily wants a conversation I’ll try and start one.

It’s also ironic that Emily’s column appears on the same day as Steve Hewlett’s which casts doubt on Channel 4’s plea that it’s in terrible trouble (a point also made in Media Guardian’s podcast last week).

Personally I think to blame the BBC for C4’s predicament is odd. As Maggie Brown (another Guardian writer) says in this week’s Ariel, C4’s troubles are in part of its own making (I quote: “C4 needs help… but not dollops of cash to splosh around”).

Is the BBC really to blame for the rise of Google?

For the recession? For the downturn in advertising revenue (inside the UK the BBC doesn’t have any impact on advertising revenue)?

Can all the troubles of the traditional broadcasters and the newspapers be laid at the BBC’s door?

I appreciate that from the outside the BBC can seem like a huge death star crushing all before it (when you’re on the inside it can seem like a cross between Kafka and the Keystone Cops – the Borg it certainly isn’t!). But it’s an absurd overreaction to say:

“But the ecology of some parts of the UK media is now so uncertain and fragile that it can be depleted by a single blow from the end of the BBC’s tail as it rolls over in its sleep.”

This is just not true. When the BBC wants to launch a new service it now has to go through all the regulation the rest of the industry has always wanted precisely to prevent this happening.

I also disagree with Emily about newspapers. Newspapers (like the Guardian itself) seem to me to actually understand what’s going on better than the traditional broadcasters. I predict they will thrive and give the BBC some healthy competition.

At least Emily has the grace to admit that the BBC has done all that everyone has asked of it. I happen to think that the BBC Trust is doing a good job (and can hardly be accused of being a management poodle after it closed BBC Jam). But there are people inside the BBC who think the BBC’s creativity, ability to innovate and public service remit is being stifled by over regulation and constant sniping from the rest of the industry.

Emily’s suggestions deserve examination.

“Maybe the iPlayer should have everything?”

Errm… well that wouldn’t exactly help the commercial sector as it wouldn’t be able to have adverts on or raise revenue. Project Kangaroo is a much better bet. Essentially this is a collaberative, commercial version of the iPlayer: the BBC helping commercial broadcasters make money. Perhaps if the Guardian wants to make money out of video they could be a partner in Kangaroo. I’m sure they’d be welcome.

“…shouldn’t BBC radio pages on bbc.co.uk carry buttons and players for all commercial rivals in those regions or market segments?”

It’s true the BBC needs to link out to other sites and providers more. And I suspect in the coming year we will see a lot more of this. But this is a cultural problem which will be solved as more and more people in all media companies (not just the BBC) realise the importance of linking. Heavy handed attempts to force the BBC to link will just result in a lousy user experience.

It’s also true that the BBC should be more open and help the rest of the industry with sharing ideas etc. Mark Thompson has said he wants this. Anyone who reads my blogs will know this is something I believe in. And I like to think that in a small way the Internet Blog that I edit and more importantly things like BBC Backstage are steps in this direction. But again this is a cultural problem which won’t be solved overnight.

It’s unusual (and a strange kind of conversation) to attack someone and in the same breath ask for their help.

Perhaps Emily could make some more suggestions about the ways the BBC and the rest of the UK media sector could work together.

The Power Of Nick Robinson

March 5, 2008

One of the reasons I do this blog is to remind myself of how blogging works. WordPress‘ stats give me a live update of how many hits I’m getting and where the traffic is coming from. And because the numbers are very low it’s much easier to get a quick snapshot sense of what’s going on.

And when I say low I mean low. My blog really is at the very end of the long tail. Somedays the tail doesn’t wag at all, and I get no hits whatsoever. My best day ever has been 350 hits (mainly due to a link from Biased BBC). Tiny numbers.

I shouldn’t be surprised that a link from the sidebar of Nick Robinson’s blog to my blog post would bring me traffic (88 hits on one day last week). But it did surprise me that even though the conversation on Nick’s blog has moved swiftly on, yesterday I got another 87 hits, most of them from Nick’s blog.

Sometimes it seems like a wave. You don’t do anything, yet you still get traffic.

Linking, tagging and searching are the basic things that make blogs (and the internet) work. This is easy to forget, as blogging sometimes seems to be about what you write. It isn’t. It’s about how and how often you link and tag.