New Media – Stay N Alive

The Kindle Technology Will Be Disposable in The Future

Esquire E-Ink TechnologyToday the buzz of the tech blogosphere has been the coming launch of a new, bigger and thinner Kindle which will target newspapers in a way some are claiming will save the dying industry. MG Siegler is calling it a hail-mary, last-ditch pass that will most likely fail. Dave Winer and Robert Scoble think otherwise, stating the potential for networked devices, and the convenience of such devices to relieve the need to carry multiple books or papers while traveling, or visiting the beach.

I suggest this game is far from over for the Newspaper industry. When I worked at Media General, a large, Publicly-traded media organization that owns Newspapers and TV stations throughout the southeast, we were talking about technologies such as the Kindle even 5 years ago. This stuff isn’t new to them. They know this is the future.

Here’s why I think we’re far from the Newspaper industry going out of business: Paper. The Newspaper industry knows paper – they thrive on it, and their business is dependent on disposable forms of media. They have hundreds of years experience in paper. Media General itself has newspapers that root in the Civil War era. This is the paper you can have delivered to you, which you can throw away when you’re done. There’s something about the tangible feeling of paper that people enjoy. The problem is it’s wasteful and with the amount of paper used, it’s rather expensive. It’s also at times not very convenient.

Enter the Kindle. The Kindle brings the power of Ink technology to digital form, in a single box you can take around with you, download new content, and refresh that content daily as new content arrives. The problem with the Kindle though is it is Amazon’s brand. It’s their power to determine the formats papers need to be in, and what they look like. It’s their power to determine revenue models. Newspapers still have their own brand to maintain. Relying on one technology for that won’t work.

In addition, the Kindle still doesn’t quite hit that disposable paper niche that Newspapers are so good at. The power of the Newspaper industry is that they are local – they currently own the media distribution of entire cities and towns, and know those towns in a way no other media entity can know. For this reason, having a local paper-boy deliver a disposable paper to your door adds to that personal touch – nothing digital can replace that in-person relationship people have with their local Newspaper. Add to that the local relationships with local businesses and the ability to generate very personalized ads thanks to those relationships. It’s hard to beat that with a much larger, digital entity.

In essence, in a timeline of events, we have gone in our world’s history from tablet forms of writing – gold, brass, slate, and more, to paper form, to ink forms of writing on top of paper and mass distribution because of that via the printing press and computers. Now with the Kindle, we’re going back from Paper form, back to the tablet. It’s a non-disposable, re-usable form of writing.

I predict this cycle will repeat itself. We actually already have the technology in front of us. Last year we saw Esquire magazine release a magazine with a cover written in digital ink, along with a digital ad for Ford on the back. They’ve proven it’s possible, and they were able to fully maintain their brand by doing so.

What will happen is memory technology will get smaller and smaller for the amount of memory you can store content like Newspapers. Batteries are already getting smaller. The technology you see on the Kindle today will be able to be produced in tangible Paper form in 2 years I predict. At that time, you’ll see the News stands full of single sheets of paper, the dimensions of the new Kindle, but in disposable, paper form, with the Newspaper corporation’s brand and advertising all over it. You’ll be able to purchase it for not much more than the price of a single newspaper today (in theory, it ought to be cheaper to produce). It will integrate with Facebook. It will integrate with other viral technologies. It will even potentially have GPS, not just for networking and viral promotion, but for ad analytics and tracking, making the Newspapers valuable again.

While the newspapers are dying now, I predict they’ll be back. This technology is just around the corner in affordable measures from us. Will the Kindle survive? I think so, but I don’t think it will fully compete with the Newspapers. I think it’s Apples and Oranges – the Kindle is presenting an entirely new distribution mechanism that will manifest itself on many other devices as well. Paper itself is not going away. It is going digital.

Photo courtesy mstearne.

The New Media/Journalism Panel Friday and My Thoughts

mediums2_300_144604_n543030955_526717_5433.jpgAs I said earlier last week, Friday I was on a New Media and Journalism panel with Paul Foy of the AP and Fields Mosley of KUTV Channel 2 news here in Salt Lake. As the blogger of the group, I had a unique opportunity to share some of the new advances in Media. I gained a new perspective on journalism and shared my thoughts over on (where I regularly blog – subscribe to see more of my posts there!).

Here’s a brief quote:

“As the blogger of the group, I was obviously the least experienced in the field of journalism. I actually felt quite awkward at times feeling they thought I was out of place, and was that “guy who sits in his pajamas in his parents’ basement”. (I actually brought that up, mentioning only half of it was true – I’m actually at Jiffy Lube as I write this, awaiting my car to receive its safety and emissions certification. And yes – I’m dressed.) However, in reality, in a room of PR and marketing professionals in the tech field, they were actually the ones out of place, and I think that became evidently clear as one of the audience members asked who in the audience had published some sort of content about the event we were in during the event. Almost all of the audience, including me, rose their hands. The traditional news reporters were the only ones without their hands raised, further showing the sad state of our news media today.”

Old Media is dead. Read more over on

WordPress and Intense-Debate Take First Steps Towards Integration


A few of the Automattic developers are announcing a new beta program for blogs in which blog owners can enable Intense-debate and Disqus-style e-mail replies to comments on a blog (this blog uses Disqus comments). Such an announcement comes on the heels of Automattic’s purchase of Intense-debate, and according to Joseph Scott (one of the developers), the feature was actually co-written by one of the Intense-debate developers, Jon Fox.

According to the various posts, soon users will be able to comment on blogs, and when they comment, the blog owner will receive notice of the comment via e-mail. The blog owner can then respond straight from the e-mail without having to go back to the website to comment.

This integration seems to be just the first step of Automattic integrating with Intense-Debate. Other competitors that provide similar offerings are Disqus, and JS-Kit. Disqus doesn’t seem to be worried however, claiming that only 5% of Disqus blogs are based on WordPress (I personally, am a big fan of Disqus). Such a unified effort should worry the competitors however – where so many blog owners are now seamlessly integrated into a hosted commenting solution, every reader of those blogs will now also be required to integrate. It will be interesting to see what the response from the competition will be.

The beta is for users only. No word on if self-hosted blogs such as Stay N’ Alive will be provided an update.

Erick Schonfeld Misses the Point – It’s About Quality, Not Quantity!

blogging.pngLast week Erick Shonfeld, a writer for TechCrunch, posted a rather uninspiring article after Technorati released their “State of the Blogosphere” stating that “The More [bloggers] Post, the Higher [they] Rank”. In it, he argued that because a majority of the Top 100 blogs tracked by Technorati post more than 5 times a day, and 43 percent of those post more than 10 times a day, that the quantity of those posts is the reason for those blogs entering the top 100 of Technorati. While perhaps true for some, I argue it may be the means, but definitely not the reason the top 100 are where they are.

On Technorati, Quality Trumps Quantity

Let’s face it – every site in the top 100 in Technorati is there because they have put time into their posts. Sites like TechCrunch and Mashable and ReadWriteWeb employ bloggers to professionally blog for them, giving those bloggers the time and motivation to put effort into the posts they write. They have editors which look over the posts each author writes and those editors add an additional level of quality to the posts that they write. They all started small and have grown to the level they are, enabling them to keep the spots they are at.

Because more time is spent on each post, and these sites are able to crank out many of those quality posts, yes, they get more links in a short amount of time. More people are interested in them. They get the breaking news first because startups and other PR firms know that they generate traffic and buzz. This keeps them interesting.

Quantity Plays a Very Small Part

However, I argue that quantity is not the reason most of these people are in the top 100. The problem with quantity is people get bored of you. When you’re cranking out so many posts a day that people can’t keep up they begin to tune out. Sure, they may still subscribe to your feeds, but they start to reduce your importance in their minds. You get links only because you’re cranking out so many posts in a short amount of time. In fact, I suggest this isn’t healthy for the blogosphere. The blogosphere thrives on being personal and unique, not robotic.

Therefore these blogs may have gotten to where they are because of quality, but that does not mean they are invincible. Posts like Erick’s seem to imply that they are and that the little guy has no way of getting “into the blogging elite”.

It is Possible to Get in the Top 100 and Not Post Every Day!

I was reminded of this point when Chris Brogan very humbly made mention on his blog that he had broken the top 100 blogs on Technorati. While Chris does post almost every day and sometimes more than once, he also skips days at times, and I can tell you that blogging is by far his top priority! Chris writes quality, well-thought out posts that make you think and teach you things. He’s not a news breaker, unless he thinks you can learn from it. People like this, so they link to him. He has become more than just a “blogger”, but a “thought-leader” and example.

Seth Godin is another example. Currently Seth is number 17 on the top 100 of Technorati. He’ll never let you know that, by the way. Seth posts short, thoughtful posts, once a day, which make you think. You feel inspired after reading just the short paragraph or two that he writes. Seth too is considered a thought leader because of this. He could care less about quantity. His quality is what has made his blog.

Robert Scoble is another example. There are days and even weeks he goes without blogging, but when he speaks, he speaks with passion. He tries to inspire, and show you by his actions what the upcoming technologies are. Because of this, lots of people link to him.

Then there’s Guy Kawasaki. Guy’s last post was 2 days ago. He blogs because it’s fun. He blogs because he has something to share, not because of a duty to blog. Guy got in the top 100 naturally, not because of an army of bloggers working for him.

You Can Do it Too!

I’ll be first to admit that I’m not there. True, it would be cool to be there, but frankly, it’s not important. What’s important is that you stop focusing on the robotic nature of blogging just to blog, and blog because you care. Blog because you have something to say, and blog because it makes sense.

It doesn’t matter if you blog 5 times a day, once a day, or even once a week. If you write quality posts, lead in your thoughts and actions, and show that in your writing, others will link to you. Despite what Erick Shonfeld says, don’t listen to him – quality trumps quantity any day, especially with Technorati.

(Image courtesy

Louis Gray Tops Robert Scoble in Web Presence

pictures-909f19f1ff5645b2b95c94e0d9fc74d6-large.jpgpictures-251dca2ee33f11dc8d47003048343a40-large.jpgAs many are aware, it’s hard to avoid personalities like Louis Gray and Robert Scoble on the internet these days. Chances are that if you belong to a social network, and have friended them, they have interacted with your updates on the particular networks you belong to in one way or another. Louis and Robert seem to have a particular “omnipresence” to them, and both have an amazing knack for tracking the latest news and updates, and most importantly staying up with the actual people they follow. If you mention one of their names anywhere on the internet, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll know and respond in some fashion or another.

Louis Gray is relatively new to this however. Scoble has touted him as being “the next Scoble“, but in reality he has only become popular in just the last year or so. Scoble has been pretty popular for several years now, and a lot of his ability to be in so many networks at a time comes from experience. I’ve witnessed both of their abilities to multi-task and share and follow activities of others they follow first-hand, and it’s quite amazing to watch! Both are just as good at actually listening to most of the people they follow on each network they belong to.

A great example of this is in a panel at BlogWorld Expo last week, Stowe Boyd (aka StoBo) said something which Drew Olanoff re-tweeted. Scoble just so happened to be driving back home, but next thing we know, Robert was joining the conversation through FriendFeed and Twitter, all from the wheel of his car! We hope that Maryame was the one driving. Both of their abilities to know what is being said that is important at any given time is amazing.

In doing some research today though, it appears that Louis Gray may have surpassed Robert Scoble in the number of networks he belongs to. Doing some research on the recently announced, the username, “scobleizer” is on 26 of the listed networks. I am unaware of any other username that Robert Scoble uses around the internet, so we have to assume this is all for him. “louisgray”, the main username for Louis Gray, is on 18 networks. However, if we take the username, “louismg”, another username he uses (taken from his FriendFeed shares), we get 15 more networks he belongs to. Add to that the username, “asypta”, which Louis uses on stumbleupon and delicious, we get 5 more. That would, assuming these are all his usernames, make Louis Gray involved in a total of 38 networks. This is why Louis Gray has been so successful over the last year. I believe Louis Gray has just become “omnipresent”.

Any other names you can think of that rival Louis Gray or Robert Scoble in network involvement? I believe these two are tops in my book.

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Facebook Rumors, Religion, and the LDS Faith

telephone.pngIt all started with this post today. A supposed “employee ‘close to the deal'” told blogger, Zach Klein (who doesn’t seem to allow comments on his blog) that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History division had made an unsolicited bid to purchase Facebook. Nothing else – no other background, no other resources to confirm the deal. Soon after, ValleyWag, the first to the scene and first large blog to publish anything about it, was blogging rumors they are well known for spreading. Soon after, Venturebeat and the Industry Standard were blogging about it, quoting Brady Brim-DeForest, who ironically was claiming this as news, not a rumor at all – I’m unaware of where he got it, but his news broke after Valleywag’s. TheInquisitr, while I’m sure had no ill-intentions, even made fun of the manner with some very radical and somewhat inaccurate claims that I know have offended some members of the LDS Faith that read the blog. The blogosphere seems to be a mess today in regards to regard for religion, faith, and respect for one another’s belief. It appears the LDS Church has become the punch-line of the blogosphere’s Jokes and I’m getting really tired of it.

Now, let’s talk about rumors. The blogosphere is known for spreading rumors – I’ve hated them from the get-go, but let’s face it, it’s a part of many blogs out there, and it may not be going away any time soon. (I think I could do an entire post about rumors in and of itself) I expect an occasional rumor about Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo, or Facebook employees leaving the company because they are mad with Executives, or even a crazy one like the iPhone 2.0 coming with 2 cameras and iChat video support. Frankly, I never share those (well, rarely), but they are fun to read because, well, they’re funny. But rumors like an entire Faith buying a huge company like Facebook are ridiculous, unfounded, and frankly offensive to me that anyone would take such a rumor seriously when the Faith is my own. It’s a religion, people – tell me one reason a religious Faith would need a social network like Facebook to further its mission. Do you seriously believe any religion would be so stupid as to try this? People would leave Facebook in droves if that were to happen, and a network like Facebook has no good way of building up the members of the Faith itself. The claim is absolutely ridiculous, and I can’t believe established bloggers are taking this serious enough to share with others! There seems to be a serious lack of understanding between the blogosphere and the LDS Faith and I’d like to figure out a way to put an end to it.

Let’s go back to earlier this year. You may remember my “Shame on You TechCrunch” post I wrote awhile back, calling out the writers at CrunchGear for an extremely biased, and very misunderstood and inconsiderate interview of Penn Juliette, in which he claimed Mormons had “magic underwear” (as a Mormon, I affirm to you, that my underwear is not magic), and went on to encourage him as he talked about how easy religious women were, degrading women at the same time. While I still will not read CrunchGear because of that, I have lifted my boycott of TechCrunch (just because there is no way to avoid it – I also did not know Arrington at all at the time), but as you can see, there is a blatent misunderstanding of the LDS Faith in the blogosphere. CrunchGear still stands by their article and has refused to make any statement to the contrary.

Now, to give credit to those that have blogged about this today, Eric Eldon (of VentureBeat) does have a great point in that the LDS Church does actively invest in stock to retain and increase the value of its members donations through Tithing, and Facebook employees are selling stock. Like Louis Gray, I too give 10% of my wages in the form of Tithing to the Church, and I sincerely hope they invest it wisely and don’t just waste it away. I know their investments are wise though, and even the “widow’s mite” is considered and cared for. The Church itself never publishes these investments and it would be impossible to know if some are in Facebook or some are in Microsoft or some are in Google. They take these donations as sacred, and every effort is taken to maintain the sacredness of those donations. However, an outright acquisition of Facebook would be proposterous and completely out of line with the Church’s history.

Every one of these bloggers could have done a simple Tweet in fact, and quickly gotten a response from Mormons on how ridiculous the claims are. Or they could have shot Louis Gray, or me, or Matt Asay, or Phil Windley, or other Mormon bloggers an e-mail asking us if the claims were true. It took me about 5-10 minutes to send an e-mail to the LDS church and get a response back (which, btw, said the claims are not true and unfounded), and in fact, the LDS Church CIO is even on Twitter – an e-mail or even simple dm to him may have done the trick.

Now, I’m not necessarily trying to call out these specific bloggers, but rather point out the problem in general – I respect most of them in fact and really enjoy their regular blog posts. I’m just trying to make a shoutout to the blogosphere that we’re here if you have questions! Let’s start an open dialogue about the Mormon Faith – do you have questions? We’d really like to answer them before you assume and blog inaccuracies in the first place. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me, Louis Gray, or any other Mormon blogger if you have any hestitancy before posting an article. It’s time we put an end to this nonsense, once and for all.

The Internationalization of Media

olympics.jpgI love the Olympics. It’s a time of competition, a time of pride, generally a time of peace, a time of celebration, and very much a time of new technology and media. I’m noticing something this year however and frankly, as an American it’s a little scary. Ironically, it has nothing to do with the athletes – it’s the lack of competition between American media and their international competitors.

It was a post by Robert Scoble on FriendFeed and the ensuing comments in fact, along with several other posts I’ve seen around the internet, that got me thinking about this. Scoble mentioned, “I hate NBC. They aren’t putting the Olympics on live. That really sucks.” Patricia Anderson responded, “How can you not agree with this? Hey, Robert, do you have access to CBC? I’ve been liking their coverage.” Phillip Jeffrey responded, “I’m watching CBC in Canada. Do you think it would be any different if another network was covering the Olympics in the States?” It appears the Canadian Broadcast Company is getting some serious attention this time around now that it is easier to access their broadcasts internationally, and they’re out-doing NBC in their own game by broadcasting some of the games live. NBC had better pay attention.

I’m noticing as I’m now on the internet much more than I am on the TV that I am getting the news about Olympic events way before I am able to see them on TV. It kind of spoils the fun of the Olympics to tell you the truth. I don’t blame the online news agencies giving me the news as it happens though – that’s what news is all about, and what I want! I’m blaming the companies like NBC that won’t give me the coverage I want as it happens. They have succumbed to the merits of their advertisers to try and sell content at the time that makes their advertisers most money, when, in reality they are ignoring the potential worldwide audience they could be obtaining through means such as the internet. The issue here is, they are only targeting American advertisers!

With services such as, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed, the audiences in America that traditionally watch the Olympics on NBC are now getting updates real-time, some from people actually there, and this news is beating NBC and making their viewers want more live coverage. Viewers are no longer getting this information from NBC.

NBC traditionally has had no competition for the Olympics – it has traditionally been just one media company in the USA that could broadcast the Olympics. However, I can now go online and find many things, real-time, with absolutely no issue finding the access I need. NBC now has competition world-wide and I certainly hope they realize this soon. They’re missing a huge advertising opportunity here that I don’t think they have considered.

In the past, media companies in the USA were built from small town to small town until larger companies would buy them out and build a conglomerate out of those smaller subsidiaries. I’m afraid that’s changing though as we become a more worldwide audience and can talk to each other, worldwide, much easier, and this shift will move from small town to small town, to instead country to country. The large US media companies need to be thinking International now as they grow or this rich, free speech system we have in America right now could be beat by competitors worldwide. This is an issue we should all have concern for.

Are there international efforts you are seeing that have been successful amongst media companies? Is this lack of international competition something we should fear? Let’s chat in the comments below and on FriendFeed!