Format My Social Handles, Please

 

From David Chartier:

I think all the big social networks should divide up special characters so they all link to different services properly, then get it implemented with OS and browser makers.

I like this idea. There’s no reason some of the more feature-rich applications shouldn’t include this type of functionality. A lot of them already do smart things like format text that looks like a url as hyperlinks.

Chartier suggests a top down approach in which apps and OSes implement it as a standard, but I think this is more likely to become a de facto standard. It’s just one of those features that makes sense for everyone to implement, a la “pull to refresh”. There’s no reason that @daboyter shouldn’t auto-link to twitter.com/daboyter.

David Chartier, A Modest Proposal For Social Media Names:

Bill Simmons’ Suspension and Journalism

From sixcolors

Bill Simmons’s error wasn’t in stating the obvious, that Roger Goodell and other NFL executives were almost certainly lying about the Ray Rice case in the hopes it would blow over. Simmons’s error was in thinking he could get away with going off ESPN’s script, which has been carefully crafted to appear journalistic and serious without jeopardizing the relationship with the source of their highest-rated programming.

I’ve been looking for a good take on the Simmons suspension for a few days now and found this post from Jason Snell. Jason is a tech journalist/editor gone independent. I respect him a lot.

The idea of ESPN trying to “appear journalistic” is fascinating. “Goodell is a liar” isn’t even a unique concept on ESPN. Michael Wilbon, speaking on the SVP and Russilo show, said that there were two options for framing the conversation around Goodell, he’s either incompetent or a liar. I suppose incompetence is enough of an out to be acceptable in ESPN and the NFL’s book.

This situation reminded me of the controversy (The Verge) over the “Best of Show” award that CNET took away from Dish’s Hopper set-top box because CNET’s parent company (CBS) was involved in litigation with Dish.

It illustrates a problem we’ve always had in the news industry: money. The NFL and ESPN have a huge financial relationship (15 billion dollars huge). Whether or not that relationship informed the suspension, the takedown of the podcast, or anything else, it clouds the issue for anyone watching events play out.

Six Colors, Journalistic Standards:

Some News in Your Tech

I still remember my Granddad sitting at the kitchen table with his oatmeal, coffee, and newspaper. When we were visiting I’d snag the “funnies” and sit with my bowl of cereal and my juice and read with him. I’m old enough to be nostalgic but not quite old enough to still “take the paper”[1].

The Change

News. It’s such a crucial part of how we form opinions. How we understand the world around us. How we interact with people we meet. And few things have changed more over the last three decades.

From newspapers to broadcast news, from 24/7 cable news to a reporter with an iPhone and a Twitter account. News isn’t just getting faster, we’re getting more of it.

The Feed

The news keeps coming these days. Go to Google News and just watch the stories stream in. Go watch your Facebook stream[2] and count the news stories that scroll by. Click a trending topic in Twitter and see if you can read fast enough to keep up. And it keeps growing.

There are myriad places to read and watch and listen to news on the internet. New sites launch all the time. Old sources shut down. Reporters change jobs like most of us change clothes.

The Controls

We need to take control of our news intake. If we just consume what comes in over Facebook or the big news organizations, we won’t learn or understand on our own. We’ll depend on others’ understanding of the world for our news.

You should be intentional about what you read and hear. Think about who you’re going to listen to. Know what they believe and what they stand for. Find sources that challenge your thinking, sources that encourage you to learn more.

So how do we cope? How do we filter the feed? How do we find sources that we trust and understand? Ones that will do their best to inform us on the import things? It’s a lot more complicated than subscribing to your local paper. It takes a little effort.

The Trusted Collection

I’m willing to bet you have at least one news source you trust already. If that’s so, then go to that sources Twitter feed and find out who they retweet. You’ll gather a collection of news sources quickly.

Remember, news isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition anymore. There are always great new sources cropping up. Old sources may decline. Keep up with your sources.

Don’t be afraid to cut one that isn’t meeting your needs anymore. Or better, shoot them an email and tell them how they’re not meeting your needs. If you like them, help them improve. Sources want to meet the needs of their readers. Let them know how they can do that.

The point is, news isn’t a one way street anymore. It’s a relationship. Corral the sources that work best for you. Cull the herd. Help your sources stay strong.

My Corral

My solution has been to use a couple of different types of feed readers[3]. For blogs and articles, I use Feedly. Feedly lets me organize my different feeds into categories. It helps me stay on top of the things I care about the most.

The second reader I use is a podcast app on my phone[4]. Podcasts are a great way to keep up with news. You can listen while you work on other things like clean the house, etc. I use Beyond Pod on my Android, but there are other great options[5]. Find one that works well for you.

One final item: Google News can be a great way to keep up with stories. You can set alerts on various keywords and terms. You can set the frequency for various types of stories showing up. If you want a quick overview of what interests others, the “Top Stories” is quite useful. Spend a little time understanding the features Google News offers. It may have a place in your news reading.

Recap

News is hard. It can be overwhelming at times. There’s a huge number of topics and a whole lot of world to cover. But if we’re willing to do a little work to curate our intake, we can improve the quality of the news we read. We can learn to better understand the world we live in.

It’s important to find sources that encourage us to think. Sources that make us want to learn and understand. Ones that challenge what we believe, and in so doing, help us develop our world view.

What methods do you use to keep up with the news? What are your favorite news sources? Why?


  1. My grandmother “took the paper” till a few years ago when she moved out of her home. She get’s most of her news from the TV now.  ↩

  2. Top right of the screen. I didn’t know what that was for a while.  ↩

  3. Feed readers scan RSS feeds for updates and collect the resulting updates in a single location for you.  ↩

  4. Podcasts are episodic video or audio recordings updated through RSS feeds. I have several here.  ↩

  5. This article from lifehacker has a list of some excellent options. Give Overcast.fm some thought if you’re on iOS. I like it a lot.  ↩

Olympus OM-D E-M10

 

From The Newsprint

I’m willing to bet the majority of people just want to take great photographs. They don’t care about sensor size, chromatic aberrations or apertures. They want to see great photos of their family, their vacation and their life without the fuss of the now insanely technical photography world.

I like Josh Ginter’s style and he just wrote a nice review of a camera I would love to buy. He doesn’t spend a lot of time writing about the technical specs of the camera, but focuses on what it’s like to use the E-M10. We need more reviews like this.

The Newsprint:

Six Colors

Jason Snell (former Editorial Director at IDG) is now an independent writer and podcaster. I’ve always enjoyed Jason’s perspective on technology and his love of geeky pop culture. Six Colors is going to be a great place for news and reviews from Apple with some Sci Fi and Fantasy thrown in. If you’re an Apple fan you should check it out and subscribe.

Six Colors: