Read & Respond – Week 5

In these next few weeks, we’ll focus more closely on mobility. First, I want you to read up on two concepts we’ve discussed in class: Mobile First, and its relation to UX (user experience). The first linked article lays out some pros and cons, but what would you add to that list? I’d also like you to look at this week’s Briggs chapter as users as well as students. How up-to-date is he on the subject? Is he telling you anything new, or is this all old wisdom to you, the so-called Digital Generation?

Since we’re on the subject of the up-and-coming, let’s talk about one of the up-and-comingest of subjects: Google’s Glass.

Some of you will find this fascinating; others will be possessed of an urge to slap the guy. Is this what’s coming next (Glass, not slapping)? Even Vogue magazine has an opinion on the subject. My friend and colleague Jeremy Littau at Lehigh University is an early adopter (of pretty much everything – Hi Jeremy!), so naturally he’s been fiddling with Glass for the past few months. Have a look at these seven takeaway points. Based on what you’ve seen of it, can you suggest a few potential applications of Glass for journalists, advertisers, or PR professionals?

Naturally, there are naysayers as well.

Aside from hardware, we’ve got mobile apps to consider. Twitter can certainly be used from a landlocked workstation, but it really shines in how it lets you instantaneously publish from the field (a few death stories that jumped the gun notwithstanding). Check out this tandem of links from reportr.net: “Why journalists should break news on Twitter” and “What goes into a good tweet.” Useful information? Do you agree? How does it square with Briggs’ perspective and what we’ve discussed in class to date?

Finally, here’s a tweet from @GeorgeBray that sums things up perhaps a little uncomfortably:

Food for thought, yes? Be sure to post your response a comment to this post by noon, Monday, September 16.

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30 Responses to Read & Respond – Week 5

  1. I think that the move to mobile first fits right in line with today’s journalism. In other words, people want information, and they want it fast and easily. I think that the biggest downfall for mobile first, more for the users of mobile, is the fact that there is a gap between those companies that have mastered the concept and those that have not.

    Many people my age are well aware of how to use Twitter. Reading through Briggs’ chapter 4, I could easily skim over sections that discussed hashtags and retweets because I’ve been doing that for years. I think that Twitter is a good example of mobile first. Even though it may have not been initially created that way, I know that many people use Twitter strictly on their mobile devices. I rarely ever check Twitter on anything other than my cell phone. The company has done an excellent job in creating a mobile app that lets people easily share information and their thoughts.

    The craziest thought, for me at least, was the fact that in a short amount of time, Briggs’ information will probably be outdated. New technology will come along that has done what Twitter has done, and it might do it better.

    I love the Google Glass. I have never used one before, but the information that I’ve read/seen about it seems very interesting. For PR people, it would be awesome if Google Glass could come up with a research app. This app could conduct observational research on how a company’s product is used, and put that information into analytical data.

    I absolutely think that journalists should take advantage of the “microblogging” that Twitter offers. Just as Briggs states, “The ease of publishing, combined with the ease of consuming, has contributed to microblogging’s rapid growth.” Who doesn’t want to be the first to break a story? Sure, you’re limited to 140 characters, but links make it easy for readers to catch the whole story, and possibly read more of your/your company’s work.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I’m so glad to get your thoughts on Glass from a PR perspective – that’s not my background. Tell us more: What might such “observational research” look like? There’s probably a blog post in there for you.

  2. I think the Design Shack article, “Mobile First Design: It’s Great and Why It Sucks,” http://designshack.net/articles/css/mobilefirst/ is an important reminder that mobile web design is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. I didn’t find any new information really. I thought it was very interesting that 25% of mobile web users are mobile-only. I think at this point, I would’ve expected that number to be a little higher. It seems like everyone has a smartphone or tablet out constantly. Society is busier than ever today, and it seems like people are always on the go. Therefore, dependence on mobile web is becoming more and more prevalent. I was also not surprised when the article mentioned many mobile sites are watered-down versions of actual websites. That’s almost expected because people design what they know first and then adapt it. But to stay ahead, I think people need to take the same amount of time and effort designing mobile sites as they do original sites. The viewers expect the mobile site and the website to be equivalent, otherwise it can be frustrating for mobile users, especially those new to technology and mobile site use. I really think mobile is an important part of our society today and people should embrace it if they expect to be successful.

    I can see where Google Glass could be beneficial to a journalist on the go, especially in the 24-hour news cycle. It could help journalists check facts quickly when they’re on their way to or from a story, especially television reporters who work on a strict and often short deadline. Using Google Glass to check facts or research a story could give them more time to edit and perfect a video story. I’ll be the first to admit though I find it a little weird, and I also get the feeling it’s in a bit of a primitive stage, but I think it could be really effective. For example, Jeremy Littau mentioned that sharing is not yet fully activated. Professional journalists rely heavily on sharing. If a journalist wanted to share a video on site of a story on their Facebook page from Google Glass, they could not yet do that. He also mentions captioning photos can be difficult. As journalist it’s important for the caption to be factual and grammatically correct. He also mentions the WiFi has issues. This could be a huge blow especially to a journalist on the go who needs something NOW. Granted, most of us have smartphones, so that could be a backup, but if you’re relying solely on Google Glass, this would be a potential problem. Also, the battery life appears to be a concern especially for a reporter who is on the road all day long and only at the station or newsroom when they’re preparing their story for newscast or print. I think Google Glass is an interesting idea that needs perfected before we can determine how effective it will be and how much it would be integrated into professional journalistic society.

    I think Twitter is a great tool for media today. However, I agree with Hermida that Twitter is not the place to break a story. I’ve seen so many news organizations try and break a story on Twitter, but misconstrue information because they didn’t check facts or did not check their information closely before tweeting. For example, much of the Boston Bombing coverage on Twitter turned into speculation after the subjects were thought to have been identified. By breaking a news story through the organization first, there’s less likely of a chance that things will be incorrectly conveyed on twitter. I do understand the other side of the argument, but I’m more of a fact-checker first, news story later. I understand breaking the story first adds credibility to organizations, but getting the story correct also builds viewers trust. I think you can make an argument for either side. I also agree with the MIT study that the most effective tweets are a mixture of information, humor, and encouraged conversation. The point of social media platforms is essentially two-way communication. Without encouraged communication, there’s no need for viewers to follow you or try and express their opinion. Most readers are looking for you to bring them new information so they can express their opinion about it. I think the article was very convicting about my own tweets. I should probably be more informative as opposed to making statements about my life that aren’t relative to anyone else. For example, no one probably cares that the Feature Twirlers got new warmups. Twitter can be an effective information source when used correctly.

    A few things struck me from the Briggs chapter in reference to Twitter. The first was, I never really considered Twitter microblogging until this chapter put it into perspective for me. Secondly Briggs says, “The primary goal of using social networks, however, is not publishing it’s connecting.” This is such a true statement that I think many overlook. As much as it’s important to publish frequently and consistently on Twitter, it’s also equally as important to listen to what your audience and community is saying. The third thing that really stuck out was that at no other point in history have journalists had this much connection with their audience. I think it’s extremely important that journalists take advantage of this connection in an effort to help better their reporting skills an their knowledge base. We can learn a lot from our audience if we just take time to listen.

  3. ebuchman5 says:

    As strange as it is to say, I think I agree with the mobile-first approach, but I don’t think it’s wise to ignore the desktop application altogether. I think by doing that, you segment quite a bit of the population- all I think of is my grandmother, and she uses the internet quite a bit (but still asks me to program contacts into her cell phone), so clearly, not everybody uses the mobile application. It seems to me it would be wise to have two different teams working on both of these elements simultaneously instead of cutting one out completely. I tend to agree with the article “Mobile First Design,” because like the author said, only 25% of internet users are strictly mobile-only, and to me, that number isn’t striking enough to convince me that desktop-applications need to be cut out completely. I think both platforms are still equally important right now because web developers are catering to two completely different generations.

    Along with that, the social media platform of twitter has obviously really taken off since its inception in 2006, and I think the concept of microblogging is perhaps the most popular idea that nobody has ever heard of. When I first heard of twitter, someone likened it to “facebook without all the mess (i.e.: it’s just a bunch of status updates).” I don’t necessarily agree with the BBC and other organizations that have told their reporters to not break news on twitter, because I think it’s hands down the most efficient system. Even if the news is longer than 140 characters (which it will be), twitter gives you the opportunity to post several tidbits of information one right after the other, instead of having to constantly post updates to the website as your only source of reporting. Briggs suggests in his text that the main goal of social networks isn’t even publishing- it’s connecting. By using twitter as a means of breaking news, however, I think it only makes sense to use it because it allows for more interactivity between citizens and news organizations. I think Briggs is fairly up-to-date with twitter and social media, but I don’t think he will be for long. And it’s no fault of his own, it’s just how quickly things change, it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of it.

    I have to admit, especially after watching these two videos, I think the Google Glass is really strange. I suppose I can see benefits to working professionals in the journalism field, but that’s about it. As a journalist, I could see how having instant access to research, twitter accounts, e-mails, etc., would be extremely useful- but isn’t that what we have a phone for? I don’t know, maybe I’m missing the point, but I don’t see why we need to have a device over our eyes to do essentially the same thing we can do from our phones. I do agree with Jeremy Littau, however, I think this device is in the very beginning stages and will likely be capable of doing and handling a lot more tasks when it is eventually put out in the market for consumers (if it’s put out in the market for consumers).

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Good point – we can’t forget the grandmothers of the world. In fact, I think students in states like WV are important parts of the conversation because many of them know people (or ARE people) who are late to the online access game, or might not even be there yet. My parents in northwestern PA only got off dial-up access a few years ago! It’s not everywhere yet, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

  4. ryanglaspell says:

    I think that it is hard to deny that the digital media age is shifting quickly towards a more and more mobile platform. Yes, there are still 75% of people that aren’t mobile-only users, according to the designshack article. That doesn’t mean that that 75% aren’t primarily mobile though! If a society is projected to be less involved with desktops, and more with smart phones and tablets, then to not acknowledge that while designing is counter-productive.

    Briggs’ chapter doesn’t seem to be too outdated. All of the stuff he says rings true, especially about microblogging. Briggs attributes Twitter’s rapid growth to its simplicity and flexibility. In addition, it’s the connectivity to followers that keeps Twitter a driving force. One of my favorite lines of Briggs is, “The primary goal of using social networks, however, is not publishing. It’s connecting”.

    It’s this interactivity that brings so much potential to Google Glass. While the concept makes sense, the application of it still seems a little strange to me. And the Vogue slide show reminded me of the citizens of The Capitol in the Hunger Games. But this even more rapid form of microblogging gives Google Glass the hopes of revolutionizing journalism just like smart phones did a few years ago. The biggest pro that I immediately see (other than the fabulous fashion) is Glass’ immediate connection and simple usability. While there are the inevitable bugs that have yet to be worked out, and while the consumer allure isn’t quite there, it seems to be a valuable journalism tool.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Heh – nice Hunger Games reference. Fashion and technology are strangely appropriate bedfellows in how the latest thing in each often looks so alien to the rest of us.

  5. iamoore says:

    From the first two articles about mobile first design and user experience I though of some new pros and cons. One pro is that people viewing a particular site on their mobile device get a viewing experience specifically designed for them, instead of a scaled down site that doesn’t work well. However I also feel this has some cons, one of which is that people are constantly on their phones and now have no incentive to view websites on their computers. This means people will be on their phones more than they already are and are interacting with people face to face less.
    Overall I think the information provided in the Briggs chapter is known by a lot of people especially in our field. Throughout our classes and education we have been looking for the best way to use twitter and other social media as a tool for our journalism. If I was not a journalism major I believe that a large amount of this information would be new to me. I started using twitter for a class in the j-school and have since been building my skills. This being said I still found the information from this chapter and the “what goes into a good tweet” article to be helpful. Both articles emphasized the importance of letting your personality show through your tweets and making an effort to connect to your audience. These are important because I sometimes find that my twitter posts do not encourage conversation and if I were to do this it would get more feedback and be more useful.
    I found the information about the google glass interesting, although i and thought about some possible apps that would be good. I think twitter would be excellent utilized if individual tweets popped up the second they were received. This may be what happens but I was not sure after the information provided. I think that a really cool idea would be a movie or television identification app. If you saw something that looked interesting you could record a quick clip of the program similar to music identifying apps and it would tell you the name of the movie or television show. This being said, after reading the seven takeaway points article I am in no hurry to rush out and try to get some google glasses because as of now I think there seem to be too many issues with it, and things that can be done better on my phone.
    I agreed with the point made by Alfred Hermida in his article “why journalists should break news on twitter” where if journalists break news on twitter it would be helpful because people would see the news coming from a reliable source affiliated with a major news network sooner, instead of hearing from people you have no information on about their credibility. This being said I do think there are some negatives that have come about from the immediate news atmosphere created by sites like twitter. In the Briggs reading he said the new concept is publish first, filter later. I find this very harming to journalism because the need to get the story out the fastest has lead to a large amount of false information being published and then corrected as the story becomes more clear. This is leading to many people sharing incorrect news and spreading stories. The most offensive example of this is the case of Sunil Tripathi who was wrongfully accused by reddit sleuths and this information was shared completely ruining the reputation of someone who turned out to be already dead.

  6. I think my view on mobile-first design goes along with what some of the commenters were saying in the first article: why have a one-site-fits-all approach in the first place? I understand it can be difficult to create separate sites for mobile and desktop, but it makes them both as effective as they can be. It reminds me of the rule: don’t connect your Facebook updates with your Twitter feed. They are completely different forms of media and they should be treated as such. Same goes for mobile vs. desktop; they should be treated as separate so they can be fully efficient.

    A lot of what Briggs said was stuff I already knew (like the basic functions of Twitter.) However, some of it was new. I never really thought of Twitter as microblogging before. (That made it more significant than I originally gave Twitter credit for.) I don’t think he’s too outdated. His tips on how to write a good tweet are pretty useful, especially using links to make the story a connection.

    As for Google’s Glass, I’m not a fan. Perhaps I haven’t looked into it enough; perhaps I still like the idea of calling a friend, reading a paperback book outside or thumbing through the Sunday paper, but I think this makes us robotic (not to mention, it’s a brain tumor waiting to happen.) The idea of being connected to the Glass, a smartphone, a tablet and usually a desktop computer seems like overkill. I can see it’s professional use for journalists and government workers, but I sincerely hope it doesn’t span beyond that into every-day life.

    For journalists, PR specialists and advertisers, apps for research and email would be pretty helpful. Having social media applications like Facebook and Twitter would obviously be helpful, too. I think it’s important to post news stories and breaking news on Twitter because it travels so much faster and opens up the conversation. But again, why use Google Glass when I can just use my smartphone?

  7. zvoreh says:

    As time goes by new technology will appear and we will adapt it is what humans do, so it is not interesting to hear that journalism is adapting to the new mobile age. What is interesting is how journalism is adapting to the new mobile age. Some are journalist are weary to jump right in to it, but when the advantages are fully realized the ability take journalism mobile opens up so many new doors.
    The Briggs article, despite being out of date does make valid point about a new age ofjournalist who can simply carry a smart phone and mobile report the news. This idea is reinforced in later the same article.
    With more and more mobile devices capable of capturing video, and images the modern-day journalist has some very cool tools at his or her disposal. One tool that has yet to be proven is the Google Glass.
    This device allows users to take images and video with voice commands, very useful when you have both hands on the wheel and the movie star in front of you crashes his 2 million dollar car; can you say “breaking news”
    Another advantage of Google glass is the ability to look up information on the fly; interviewing a politician and need to verify his answers mid interview, Google it.
    I personally feel like with the advent of new mobile technologies there will be a new age of mobile journalist who will work from the street not the office.

  8. cricha18 says:

    There is no denying that we’ve moved towards a more digital-age but as the readings suggest, we’re also moving towards a more mobile-friendly environment. We now have access to a host of information right at our fingertips, no longer do we have to wait to get to our computer or TV in order to figure out what’s going on, to look up information. How are people adapting to the technology and the shift to more mobility? I think it’s very interesting to see how journalists are adapting to the change in technology use as well. In the Briggs text it talks about how social media sites, like Twitter, have changed things and introduced the concept of “micro blogging.” Journalists can keep the public updated with what’s going on.

    In the Briggs text it also talks about how journalists no longer have to carry around a lot of equipment like they used to in the past. These days all a journalist really needs is a smart-phone. A reporter can take pictures, record video, and tweet updates about a breaking news item all with their phone. This makes the idea of “one man banding” that much easier and has thus allowed journalist to be more up-to-date and to establish a greater connection with their audience.

    As far as Briggs’ text being up-to-date and containing relevant information I think, for the most part, it does. There were a few ideas that were discussed that I felt were important, such as Twitter being considered “micro blogging.” I also thought the article about BBC not allowing breaking news to go on Twitter fast was rather interesting. On the one hand I do agree with it because I think breaking news should be verified within the news organization first before it is posted, but on the other hand if it is pertinent information then it should reach the public as quickly as possible.

    The concept of mobility has allowed for greater convenience, although there are still some concepts that’ll take some getting used (i.e. the Google Glass). Not to mention there are still a large number of people who have not made the transition to using more mobility and this ever-growing technological society. However I think it’ll cool to see how mobility evolves just as technology does.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Make sure you’re addressing specifics from the readings (not only Briggs) to make your points. You start down that path in referencing the BBC article, but there’s a lot that’s not addressed here.

  9. kevinmduvall says:

    Another pro of mobile first design is that it allows more content to be accessed anywhere. For example, people traveling can read what they need (or want) to read on their phones with 4G/LTE/whatever else if they are in an area without public wi-fi connection. If a person’s preferred news source does not have a workable mobile site (because it developed for computers first), he or she have to wait to read it. Waiting isn’t the worst thing in the world, but for journalists and others working online, it is important to have access to breaking news.

    A con I would add to the list is that there are some things that are not, and probably never will be, well suited to reading on a phone. The first example to come to my mind is an infographic. On a phone screen, the font is too small to read; but if readers have to zoom in to read an infographic, they lose the design of the graphic, which is integral to understanding it. Since phones can’t get bigger and still function as phones, there will always be things that don’t quite fit in with mobile.

    Briggs’s chapter does not contain a lot of information I hadn’t heard before, but I did find it poignant. It’s not news that people use Twitter as a news source or that brands use it for marketing, but Briggs makes the case for Twitter as an important communication tool, rather than just something for media professionals and narcissists who want everyone to know their thoughts. His reference to Clay Shirky’s quote about living in a “publish first, filter later” world shows that Twitter isn’t perfect (and there are plenty of death hoaxes to back up that claim), but his examples of Arab Spring and Shawna Redden demonstrate Twitter’s potential. Both stories delivered hard news—the kinds of stories people should know—in a way that provided proper facts and offered human perspective on the events.

    This kind of breaking news offers a sense of community that people might not find in traditional media. Rather than a newspaper or TV anchor telling people what is going on, “ordinary” people can hear it from their peers. This idea ties into the article on why journalists should break news on Twitter—it makes journalists part of a community with their audiences rather than talking heads doing one-way communication. News isn’t a commodity to be sold, but information people need to know. Informative tweets are an important point from the article on what makes a good tweet. I’m reminded of one of our first blogging class rules—“It’s not about you.” Let’s face it; if you’re not a famous person, people (other than your friends) want information from you that is useful to them in some way, be it informative or simply entertaining.

    Google Glass doesn’t seem too useful to me so far; it doesn’t look like the glasses do much that couldn’t be done just as conveniently with a smartphone. I wonder if there was really a demand for wearable mobile devices (like Google Glass and smartwatches) or if tech companies just needed something new to market. Still, I can see some uses for journalists. They could break news even more quickly by being able to say it rather than typing it and being able to access Twitter or their publication’s website instantly. Its capabilities for retrieving content easily that Littau talks about are both efficient (because drivers don’t need to be installed) and helpful for storage (because it has automatic back-up to G+). And of course, all professionals would benefit from saving time by being able to respond to emails while working on other things.

  10. samanthacart says:

    Mobile

    Johnson’s list of pros and cons seems very accurate and inclusive. However, I think there is an entire conversation to be had on the pros mobile brings to personalized advertising. Research shows that mobile versions of apps such as Facebook lead to a greater amount of clicks on advertisements. Before I did this week’s readings, I considered myself more partial to the desktop applications of technology. I hate reading on my phone, because the print is so small. However, the more I read, the more I realized how much I use my phone to view entertainment websites and use social networking sites.

    Briggs

    I know I’m supposed to be part of a technologically advanced generation, but I actually learned a lot from Briggs’ chapter on “microblogging.” I guess I never considered Twitter to be a form of blogging. I personally find the limited amount of characters and demand to be witty frustrating and prefer posting on Facebook. I mostly use Twitter to get news and keep up with friends that have altogether abandoned Facebook. That being said, it is obviously a great application for getting news headlines out quickly, while having to fill little space and ensuring that your audience will read them in a timely fashion.

    In response to Hermida’s article about breaking news on Twitter, I think that can be dangerous. While utilizing Twitter to spread a story quickly and inform the public is great, there are many examples of a story going viral based on false information, such as the example we discussed in class about the Boston bombing suspect. Journalists should not tweet information from a “reputable source,” allow that information to go viral only to find out that it’s false—it seems unethical.

    Google Glass

    Last semester in Dana Coester’s interactive media and audience building class, we had to do a group assignment where we created an app for Google glass. While my group lacked the creativity to create something really amazing, another group in our class really wowed with their idea. They suggested that in the future, Google glass would be as popular as cell phones and would be integral in our daily lives. Glass would initially observe our daily routines and then begin to generate suggestions, such as creating our shopping lists for us based on what we usually buy or suggest an alternate route to the gym we usually go to every Monday, Wednesday and Friday due to a car wreck. They did an amazing job and really made me thing about the future of wearable technology.

    However, we also had to acknowledge the limitations of Google Glass. Is it comfortable to wear? What sort of affects will it have on users’ eye sight? Will it be distracting to drivers, pedestrians, etc.? These are all issues that will have to be fixed before Glass becomes the new mobile device. It’s also interesting to think about Google Glass as a form of mobile and how designers will have to restructure their sites to be seen on the small screen inside the Glass.

  11. ryanfadus says:

    When it comes to mobile phone users, specifically smart phone users you are either in the loop or not. For example, older people don’t have a mobile and therefore don’t have access to some of the information that the rest of us have. However, with people wanting information faster than ever that could very well change in the next few years. When it comes to certain functions though I personally don’t feel as though the desktop will be replaced anytime soon. While phones do provide a lot of things to users, there are some I just don’t think they will be able to do. The simplest comparison is the fact that desktops can hold a lot more information on them then phones and with so much nowadays people are going to want to retain that on something that could be lost or stolen.

    When glancing through Briggs’ reading this week, I felt as though he was a bit behind on the times. Almost every one now knows how to tweet and make posts on Facebook and I felt he was just reiterating what many people already know. He is somewhat up to date with the information since he has a good grasp of it, but I feel like he was trying to explain it to someone who didn’t know how to use Twitter.

    From the way the technology has been advancing I feel as though Google glass could be around for a while. Once it takes off and becomes popular and affordable there is no question the things that could be done with it. Plus soon it will be like phones and there will be a new one or two coming out every year. Glass could become very helpful for journalists as time goes on as well.

    For starters, it could be a faster way to find information on a particular subject you are covering. It could possibly even help you with an interview by providing you with more information that you could ask questions about. A great application I think would be for it to record the entire interview whether it is through video or voice recording. The possibilities are really limitless and could even make the job easier for those in the field.

    The last two articles have some good in depth information that Briggs’ chapter I feel fails to have. They show useful ways of making tweets professional while at the same time showing how to compose a business like tweet of breaking news. Both of these articles use pictures to show to how to be effective on Twitter. While Briggs doesn’t use many pictures to show what he is talking, in this instance I feel in could be effective in getting his point across.

  12. acampb22 says:

    I think the idea of a mobile-first design is a movement toward meeting the growing demand for mobile use. Mobile devices are our present and our future. Social media outlets, websites, and news organizations would be hurting themselves to not advance and adapt to the mobile design. Sitting at a desktop computer is simply less and less common while pulling an Iphone out of your pocket is second nature.

    As for the Google Glass, I think this may be taking things a bit too far. The idea of mobile technology is to constantly be up to date and connected to the world around us. In my opinion, Google Glass almost takes users too far out of reality. Walking around with a screen over your eyes (and not in the most fashionable design either) seems antisocial and impractical. I think it is very likely that this new technology is a fad and new advances will bring us something much more practical.

    Briggs’ chapter describes Twitter use as microblogging. I think this is an interesting and up to date idea (for now) and I think our society is still figuring out how to use this most effectively. For example, journalists need to understand how to use Twitter as a news outlet appropriately and how to use it as a connective device. Twitter is not a one-way conversation and I think it’s important for journalism to utilize this to the fullest.

  13. frostedtsaar says:

    It’s not enough now to merely have a mobile version of your site. I can see that in my everyday browsing on my phone, where I’ll click on a link and be taken to some ugly, scaled-down version of the site I wanted. It makes me want to leave the page. However, when I see a website that has that responsive, sleek, made-for-mobile design, I’m inclined to stay, and maybe save the site for later viewing.

    The statistic included in the Design Shack article surprised me at first. “25% of mobile Web users are mobile-only”? But then I thought about it, and realized that probably 80% of my entire Web usage is on my phone. It’s grown to the point that it is actually easier and faster to check my email and social networks, search for things, download maps – nearly everything is better on my phone than PC. The one exception being serious typing and any other business things.

    This shift shows in how we report the news now, too. Briggs shows this by giving examples from Twitter being used to report plane crashes and product reviews first. He notes that “even Google can’t do this.” He could have just as accurately said, “No other news medium can do this.” Journalists have to start embracing microblogging – and all the new technology that goes with it – in order to bring people fast news still keeping with the accuracy the public needs.

  14. When it comes to modern journalism, the phrase “Mobile First” is one to live by. I have put the mobile first mantra to the test in the field, and while it is difficult, it is endlessly rewarding and is a powerful journalistic ideal. On the publishing side, I have a hard time stomaching John Johnson’s “cons” to creating mobile-centric web layouts. Yes, its hard to design them, and yes, it’s not going to be as fun as designing desktop layouts, but mobile sites are eminently important, and ignoring them because they’re expensive and difficult is not going to help your cause. Good news, though: as more journalists live Mobile First, more designers will as well. This means we’ll be seeing some talented mobile website designers in upcoming years.
    On the reporting side, Mobile First isn’t a black-and-white manifesto. Many reporters know that they should be tweeting or live blogging, but a great deal of them are inhibited by their employers, a lack of technical skill, or just general laziness. When it comes to integrating social media or live internet coverage into their workflow, most journalists (even the ones in the Digital Generation) don’t know what’s going on. I wouldn’t say that Briggs is outdated in his assessments – the Digital Generation is armed with the skills necessary for comprehensive mobile journalism, but the majority of them haven’t recognized social media as a powerful publishing platform. Look at any 18-21 year-old’s Facebook or Twitter feed and tell me they’re taking it seriously. And how many times do you see “official” Twitters made for a journalism class, abandoned and never used?
    I can’t get into the ethics of mobile reporting with any semblance of brevity. That’s for another post. In the meantime, I think people need to realize that we are no longer separate from our digital identities – what you post online is who you are. We all need to recognize this and examine our digital presence, for if you reconcile the two, you can make social media a powerful publishing and networking tool.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Interesting distinction between what we (as journalists) KNOW, and what we DO. When you say “that’s for another post,” think about its application to a blog post as well – I’d be interested to hear a more detailed version of how these concepts apply to your focus on design.

  15. trentcu says:

    Though I suppose that mobile-tailored web platforms are becoming a necessity due to the massively growing utilization of mobile devices, they often seem insufficient and somewhat limited in scope in comparison to their desktop counterparts. In general, I do not detect the volume of information on a smart phone-displayed page as I do on a laptop-display page.

    Beyond the constructive difficulties and creative limitations cited by Johnson, I’ve also read about concerns regarding the commercial viability of mobile platforms, relative to desktop, revolving around how mobile users are far less likely to click on, or even notice, advertisements. That could obviously become a major issue in terms of satisfying the common objective of generating revenue.

    I feel that Briggs largely rehashes the the technogical and practical progressions to mobile. They’re progressions that I believe pretty much everyone of this generation is cognizant of.

    As for the glass, I’m not the biggest fan. It seems like a somewhat intrusive device that I’m honestly unsure of how frequently I would like to wear. I’ll admit that it does seem to enhance potential for mult-tasking by allowing an individual to assess information on the glass while utilizing another device.

    Twitter and “microblogging” are definitely becoming predominant platforms for dispersing information. They’re inclusive nature and low access barrier to participation make them very expansive social mediums. Briggs places emphasis on the growth of “real-time” media they’ve enabled and how they have revolutionized the world of reporting as a result. The emerging conflict between the likes of Twitter and traditional forms of media is quite fascinating to me, as it highlights how the likes of newspapers and broadcast outlets must incorporate social media into their reporting in order to maintain their relevancy.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You write “In general, I do not detect the volume of information on a smart phone-displayed page as I do on a laptop-display page.” Why not? Aren’t both devices capable of displaying the same volume of information, just in different formats? Can you give a clearer picture of how you see this distinction?

  16. The shift toward mobile first as a design strategy seems to be the only logical decision considering how many users are already mobile only. While 25% doesn’t seem impressive that is still a large and likely growing minority among media consumers. The pros and cons presented in the article are compelling as well. He acknowledges that this is new territory for a lot of designers, but is that such a bad thing? By focusing on developing from a mobile first perspective the user experience should improve across all platforms.

    Early adopters and innovators of this approach are already ahead of the curve but with a new set of challenges it will be interesting to see how the rest of the industry catches up. I think that if I were to add to the pros and cons one example of a negative may be that because of the relative increase in difficulty with mobile first developing it may delay certain websites coming to the market. With high demand for a fast paced, “I want it now!”, consumer base that could prove a problem for some. Another pro however, may be that new challenges and competition should motivate companies to improve their mobile experience, ideally, giving the users the best result of their design energies rather than a modified desktop version.

    In relation to the Brigg’s chapter, the information seems to be fairly current. They have an understanding of the basic functions, although so do a lot of people at this point. The microblogging point was an interesting take for me but makes a lot of sense, especially for journalism. Being able to connect and reconnect breaking stories through different networks of users makes Twitter a very important tool for web journalism. Utilizing links to expand on stories and helpful tips on writing a good tweet are important points as well.

    Google Glass is an interesting product and could have the potential for certain journalistic applications. However, it seems like there are too many drawbacks at this point in its development to make it a reliable tool for field or web journalism. Limited viewing screen and battery life don’t stand up against the handheld phone’s ability to send and receive text and videos. I agree with Littau’s observations, it does certain things well, photo and video publishing and sharing, but needs work for basic functionality like battery life and WiFi.

    The Reportr.net articles make interesting and progressive points about breaking news on Twitter. I think that this also becomes a necessity for reputable news sources to try to involve themselves in this arena because of the credibility they can lend. Surely, they don’t want to be beat to a breaking story but that competition already takes place in the 24 television news cycle so this should be no different.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That battery issue is a BIG one, and not just for Glass. Location-specific apps like Foursquare suffer because of their tendency to suck up battery life; in a perfect world, such check-in apps would be frictionless, constantly scanning and providing you with an easy user experience, but doing so is a huge drain on battery life (at the moment, anyway).

  17. rachelwvu says:

    I wish they WOULD focus on “mobile first”! Some web pages meant for desktop view still can’t be viewed. Some sites are hard to get around on because they don’t have a mobile version, and some mobile versions of sites lack content that the original website offers. Granted, there are people who only use a desktop; however, the present problems in the mobile access need to be no more. I’m not complaining because I use my phone way more than my laptop. It’s just easier. I basically pick up my laptop to do homework. Hopefully web designers will get on that!

    In 2009, I can remember thinking “what a douche” while looking at the dude taking lecture notes on his Ipad. At this time, it was rare to see these (believe it or not). Now, it’s nothing to see the majority of a classroom filled with students on their Ipads or tablets.

    I think people will warm up to Google Glass, just like I have to the Ipad. When they first hit the shelves, only the most nerdy, tech savviest people will have them (no offense). I think many people, myself included, are quick to judge simply because we haven’t tried it ourselves. Google Glass will probably be a success because people want to know what’s happening. They don’t want to miss ANYTHING.

    They might be more useful to some than others, just like Granny and her smart phone. For instance, Glass could really raise the bar for journalists. There’s a constant need to stay informed and break the news first, so Glass will make their lives easier; however, if you’re a journalist without Glass, you’re at a disadvantage. Basically, everyone will have to wait and see when it actually gets here. I highly doubt I’ll buy one, but check back in four years, and I might be chilling with my Glass and Ipad.

  18. dkrotz says:

    I believe that it is important for journalists in today’s world to be able to use Twitter as an necessary means of communication. Twitter doesn’t need a full story to be written in order to report what is happening. Reporters can reach out to their viewers or readers in a short, precise message which tells what is going on. And, while it’s very important to get the information correct (don’t do what CBS Sports did and report that Joe Paterno had died before he actually did), it’s a very useful medium to have.

    Most people today are very familiar with how social media and Twitter works and the majority of people, at least in this generation, have an account and are able to access information as it happens. I believe a lot of the popularity of news being reported first on Twitter is because of what Briggs says. He states that microblogging (like Twitter) allows its users to participate in the “live web” which keeps them more informed and up to date on what is actually happening now. Just this morning, I saw the news story on CNN about the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, and I immediately clicked over to my Twitter feed to see what was happening right now with the story. Reporters won’t constantly go in and update their stories and re-publish them in a paper or on a website with minute-by-minute updates. Twitter allows people to get information as it unfolds, and that is why it is so important and really a great tool for any reporter.

    Google Glass is a very innovative product which could be useful down the road for reporters, but I think that it will be a while before it catches on. As Littau says, the device still needs some work and connectivity to other apps before it will really become as useful as it can be. However, I actually know someone who owns a pair, and it is a very neat perspective to view every day life.

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