Post 12, 2009: Twitter means journos always have react quotes

Maybe I am dense, but while writing a story this morning it hit me – I can now get instant reactions on almost any topic or issue via. Twitter. A quick search, a few cut and pastes and …. bang! … the voice of the people, fresh from the Net can adorn any story.

I slipped a couple into this yarn.

It’s kind of nice to know that there is now such a fine resource out there. It’s also nice to know that the material is written in a human voice, unlike the quote the story contains. It was sent to me via. a PR company.

There are questions about how to use Twitter in this way, of course. It can be hard to know if a Twitterer is really just an ordinary member of the public or truly representative of the community. I think permission is cool – you can block updates if you don’t want your Tweets re-used.

I’ve decided to always link to Tweets and quote them whole. And I won’t be using them for every story.

But to add the “person in the street” reaction that is a journalistic convention, I think Twitter is very valuable.

(More so than blogs, on the topics I cover, a blogs are dominated by vendors or their employees. And they tend to spend their time calling one another names or spruiking their latest wares, rather than offering useful reactions).

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Post 11, 2009: My completely random guess at what Apple will do next

The Macosphere seems to have assumed for some time that Apple has a tablet device of some sort up its sleeve, perhaps in the form of a big iPod Touch that one could use as a web tablet at home (a bit like a CrunchPad). Or at least some kind of Netbook response.

I’ve been thinking about this and wondering what Apple could do. Experience tells me their stuff needs a value add and use case others won’t consider.

So I reckon Apple will make a laptop with a detachable touchscreen. Connect the screen and you’ll be able to use it as a normal computer, complete with full keyboard. Detach it and you get a virtual keyboard, but WiFi access to data and apps on the laptop hard drive. Or if the main laptop is powered down, you get a web tablet offering a browser and access to web apps.

Why this arrangement? My belief is that the iPod Touch and iPhone are used an awful lot as web tablets in the home and office. There’s demand for such a device. And there are times when a very light computer designed mainly for reading – and very light typing – is appropriate. Tieing the web tablet and netbook to the heavier duty computer – and keeping the whole package portable – has immense appeal, IMHO.

Do I have any evidence for Apple considering this approach?

Not a shred. Not an atom.

But over here similar ideas are at least getting an airing. I am not a lone nutter, for once.

Post 08.1, 2009: PR truthiness fallout

I’ve been working with the PR agency that prompted me to write about “PR Truthiness” and the results were quite interesting.

Another member of the team there was very precise in explaining what a spokesperson could and could not comment on. They’d never done so before, or certainly not with the same depth.

In one way it’s appreciated, because it is a response. I feel my file there is probably marked “MAKE SURE YOU EXPLAIN EXACTLY WHAT THE INTERVIEW IS ABOUT OR HE WILL BLOG ABOUT US!!!”

I think it misses the point, though. The previous pitch simply had too much truthiness and that’s a stain that will take some time to fade.

Post 10, 2009: Some reasons why Twitter is and is not the new e-mail.

I’m getting a fair few Direct Messages and @messages from Twitter friends – and folks like PRs.

They’re using it as an alternative to conventional messaging tools like e-mail.

Is it a good idea?

Perhaps, because Tweets are:

  • Short! (mercifully so compared to many emails)
  • Intimate, thanks to Twitter’s rules it is very hard to spam someone
  • Deniable – Email is pretty reliable these days and false positives in spam filters are rare. Twitter’s flakiness as a message delivery system is therefore potentially useful!

Perhaps not, because:

  • Twitter is unreliable – if you want to communicate something important, will Twitter get the job done?
  • Twitter messages don’t queue well. Many Twitter clients – and Twitter itself – collects @messages. But while I, for one, process all my emails every day, I might go days without reading every @ message I’ve been sent.
  • I have a whole application that collects and stores email and makes them available offline. Most Twitter clients rely on a live link to Twitter and do not store many messages, reducing the chance I will read a tweet vs. reading an email.
  • Direct Messages generate email anyway – so why use Twitter?
  • Can you really say that in 140 characters? (Yes, probably, but I am saving that for another post)

What do you think?

Post 9, 2009: Enough already with the GFC as the reason to buy new IT

In product design laboratories around the world, are designers trying to make computing products more complex and more costly to operate?

Of course not.

Yet yesterday, and just about every other day this year, I’ve had vendors tell me their products are now money-savers and therefore essential for businesses impacted by the global financial crisis. As if more efficient products are not welcome in any financial climate. (And as if simply buying new products is the answer, given that there are also implementation costs to consider – and who has the free cashflow for that, these days?)

Yesterday’s event even advanced the argument that by making additional capex on new printers, businesses could improve their financial position to cope with the GFC by lowering costs. Somehow, throwing away old printers would also make them greener. And the whole announcement was supposed to represent the vendor’s very own “stimulus package.”

Spare me.

That’s what about half the journos in attendance at the event were also thinking, because they left half-way through. I reckon they did so because the event contained such crass simplifications of big issues.

Long story short? I reckon The GFC as a reason to buy IT has joined green IT as a dead meme, both killed by overuse, thin logic and reliance on stating the bleeding obvious and hoping it makes you look clever.