Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

What I’m reading

Friday, September 25, 2009 11:51 - by

This is a new feature on BeatBlogging.Org where I share the links of the stories that I’m reading. This will be different than The Dose of social media, as these stories aren’t just social media related. Also, I’m thinking about doing a once-a-week social media roundup too.

Monday Dose of social media: Facebook to top $500 million in revenue this year

Monday, July 6, 2009 13:44 - by

Facebook’s ‘09 Revenue to Top $500 Million — Facebook is starting to take off as a company and expects to have billions of dollars of yearly revenue within five years. See, you can make money off the Internet.

News orgs need to start developing platforms and communities. Making money off of just reporting will be a tough sell moving forward.

How I tweet: Just the FAQs — This is how a master tweeter Guy Kawasaki tweets. Learn from the best.

A few tidbits:

  • Guy follows everyone back because that allows people to Direct Message him. DMs are limited to 140 characters and Guy finds them much more efficient than e-mail.
  • Guy uses TweetDeck on his Mac. It’s probably the best desktop application around (available on Windows and Linux too).

Search photos on Twitter with twicsy — This is the best photo search for Twitter that I’ve found so far. A useful tool for content producers.

14 iPhone Apps With Push Notification for Productivity — By far our favorite use of Push notifications on the iPhone so far are instant messaging applications. Now a content producer can stay logged into IM on the go and the iPhone will pop up notifications when new IMs arrive.

Twitter Cops: Nobody cares what your eating — This is a hilarious Twitter spoof video. The video highlights something to take note of, however. Most people probably don’t care about the mundane details of your lives. But Twitter can be a fantastic tool for work. This video contains strong language. (link via @NickHeller)

Thursday dose of Social Media: Mobile, not Internet, access exploding in poor countries

Thursday, June 18, 2009 17:35 - by

Mobile access far outpacing Internet access — In low-income countries, Internet access grew 700% this decade, while mobile access grew 7000%.

All around the world, mobile is quickly becoming the new frontier to conquer. Smart content producers realize this, especially those who operate globally. In many countries, there is far greater access to mobile products like cell phones than there is to computers.

“If you want to reach the poorest countries in the world, it looks like mobile phones are your best bet.” In the U.S. we see much of the same. While many poorer people in the U.S. do not have computers, most people have a cell phone (pay as you go is exploding right now).

What does this mean? This mean news organizations need to start producing more products and content that work on mobile platforms — and not just mobile platforms like the iPhone that skew wealthy.

Facebook makes it easier to search your inbox — This should be welcome news to all those content producers who have been using Facebook as a way to get in touch with contacts.

Facebook’s inbox was fine for basic communication, especially if you didn’t use it that much. But, become too active on Facebook, and it became a mess. The new Facebook inbox has more powerful search tools, makes it easier to filter messages and, perhaps most importantly, has a way to flag spam.

Hopefully Facebook gets ahead of the spam wagon, because MySpace is plagued by spam and is all but worthless as a personal communication tool because of it. I’m also hoping by having a way to flag spam,Facebook will catch on quicker to phishing schemes.

Google readying microblog search? — “About a month after saying it was taking real-time search seriously, Google seems to be preparing a microblogging search tool.”

Earlier today we reported on the new real time search engine for Twitter, CrowdEye, and rumors are swirling that Google is looking to get into the microblog search game too. It just makes sense.

Twitter is a phenomenal communication tool, and it is helping to change the world right now. But searching Twitter — especially as it grows and grows — isn’t very easy. It’s one thing to search random topics, but it can be very hard to discern what is going on with a major topic.

Every second hundreds of tweets are sent out about Iran. How do you make sense of it all? That’s where better search technology would benefit all of us greatly.

There is a lot of room for real time search, and expect Google to be at the forefront of it.

How to be generous: a guide for social media brands — This simple guide will help you use social media better. The core message of this guide is to forget what you knew in the past, because social media is a totally different kind of media.

The guide implores people and companies to A) celebrate your customers and B) share more of yourself. this means that companies have to take customers seriously and realize that they are human beings (and not just a random person to sell something to). It also means that to be successful on social media you have to be social and offer people something that they couldn’t get otherwise.

Another key point is that if you’re on social media in order to build or promote a brand, you should be having a positive effect. If you go about offending people on social media, for instance, that’s not going to help build your brand.

iPhone 3.0 a cut-and-paste win for Twitter — Copy and paste was the last major feature missing from the iPhone. Now that it is no longer missing, the iPhone has become a pretty complete reporting tool. You can blog from it, send in tweets, snap photos and video and more.

Twitter and Twitter users are going to be big winners with the new iPhone OS. It’s hard to be a prolific Twitter user if you can’t copy and paste. This makes sharing links on the go really hard.

Just uploaded a photo, story or video on the go? Now, finally, it is much easier to share the link to that content in Twitter, Facebook and other social networking platforms while on the go.

Tools that may help redefine beatblogging and reporting (and get reporters out of the office)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 13:06 - by

The last few weeks have seen some new tools released that could help transform how reporters and beatbloggers go about reporting and connecting with their communities.

I’m a big proponent of reporters and beatbloggers having “office hours” in the community. Why be tethered to a desk in a newsroom? Get out and meet your audience.

Being in an office is a strategic disadvantage for most journalists. How much news actually happens in the newsroom (besides layoffs and buyouts of course)? Almost all news happens in the cities we live in, in schools, in court houses, at prep sporting events, at town hall meetings, etc.

Almost everything that an office can offer a reporter — phone, computer, Internet connection, etc — can now be had on the road. Any local diner, coffee shop, high school football field, court house, etc can become a suitable office for a modern journalist.

The big advantage of reporting from the road is that it allows journalists to get details that they might not have gotten otherwise. Being able to report from the road is helping to redefine breaking news coverage. With a smartphone, a journalist can send in text, photos and videos on the go.

This can give a journalist a big leg up on reporting a story. More importantly, it leads to better coverage. Journalists — especially newspaper journalists — can now provide great breaking news coverage to match their in-depth second-day reporting. Now journalists can provide the full package, and with modern tools, they never have to step foot into the newsroom to do so (except maybe to pick up said tools).

No longer does a reporter have to waste time getting back to the newsroom to report a story. My proposal is to equip every content producer/beatblogger with at least a laptop, smartphone and mobile Internet access. Having a standalone digital camera that handles photos and videos better than a smartphone might not be a bad idea either.

Here are some of those tools that may help redefine reporting and help move journalists out of the newsroom:

The Verizon MiFi

Think of the MiFi like this: It’s a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that fits in your pocket. It uses Verizon’s excellent 3G network (many say it is the best) to create a portable hotspot.

It uses the same cellular network that smartphones and laptop data cards use, but it has some distinct advantages over the latter. First, the MiFi doesn’t have to be plugged into anything, unlike a laptop data card. That means it doesn’t suck your laptop battery dry.

Second, it’s a personal cellular WiFi connection wherever you go that can be shared by up to five devices. That means that you and your coworkers could share one MiFi access point.

Sending three journalists to cover one event? You’ll only need to bring one MiFi with you, which brings me to the second big advantage of MiFi. A news org doesn’t need to give every content producer his or her own MiFi. Instead, an office can have a pool of them to share.

Besides, a modern journalist will always have at least a smartphone with a cellular data connection with them. Ideally, a modern journalist would have a smartphone with a data plan and a MiFi at all times. But these are less than ideal times for journalism, and having a pool of MiFis may be a good way to save money.

Expect to see other carriers like AT&T, T Mobile and Sprint offering similar devices in the next year or so.

Here is what the NYT’s David Pogue had to say about the MiFi:

The MiFi is remarkable for its tiny size, its sleek good looks, its 30-foot range (it easily filled a large airport gate area with four-bar signal) — and the fact that it’s cordless and rechargeable.

It’s always exciting when someone invents a new  product category, and this one is a jaw-dropper. All your gadgets can be online at once, wherever you go, without having to plug anything in — no coffee shop required. Heck, it might even be worth showing the grandchildren.

Engadget also had glowing things to say about the MiFi:

The MiFi is drop-dead awesome in basically every meaningful way, and we’d be shocked if every top-tier carrier in the world wasn’t actively looking into adding it — or a device very similar to it — into their lineup. Unless you have a very specific, compelling reason that you require an ExpressCard or a USB stick style modem, the MiFi’s simplicity, flexibility, tethering capability, and no-compromise performance make it the way to go for your mobile data needs.

iPhone 3G S

What I really like about the new iPhone 3G S is its ability to not only shoot video, but also the ability to easily edit and share it on the go. Just being able to shoot some video is not good enough, even if you can wirelessly upload it. Being able to edit raw footage down is an important part of any video editing, and being able to easily edit videos on a smartphone is a big deal that could make journalists much more efficient with breaking news video.

With the new iPhone, a journalist could shoot video at a breaking news event, interview some people there, edit the videos and upload them to YouTube for instant sharing. The new iPhone also has MobileMe integration, which would allow a journalist to upload the video to a file server and for an editor back in the newsroom to grab it. The latter method would allow an editor to place this video into Brightcove or some other service that allows branding and advertising.

Yes, this is still cellphone video, but breaking news is all about breaking news. It’s not about how great the video quality is. People just want to be informed.

The Hudson River plane crash is an excellent example of why a smartphone (and social media) can be such a powerful reporting too. The most iconic photo from the event was snapped with an iPhone and uploaded to TwitPic.

The great thing about the new iPhone is that it has raised the bar for all other smartphones. Expect to see the ability to easily edit and upload videos from a smartphone being more and more common in the coming years.

As of right now, however, the new iPhone’s combo of photo/video capabilities, App store and ease of use make it my top recommendation for mobile journalists.

Digital cameras and netbooks

I’m not listing specific digital cameras or netbooks here, because there are plenty that will do the job and well. The big breakthrough here is really in price. There are many compact digital cameras for under $200 that take good photos and surprisingly good video. Along with falling compact digital prices come falling DSLR prices.

Entry-level DSLR cameras like the Nikon D60 can now be had for less than $550 with a decent lens included. I would seriously consider equipping any of my content producers that showed a talent for photography a camera like the D50.

At the minimum, having a pool of cameras like the D60 that content producers could use would be quite helpful. With a device like the MiFi and a laptop, photos could be easily edited and posted to the Web from almost anywhere.

Netbooks — the low cost, small laptops — are also falling in price. A decent netbook can be had in the $200-300 range. The big advantage of a netbook over a standard laptop is size. A small netbook is small enough and light enough to be tucked into many purses and almost any bag.

Because netbooks are so small and light, they are much easier to always have with you. Netbooks may also make a good choice for news orgs that invested money in desktops and don’t have the cash to buy full-sized notebooks.

What you can get rid of:

  • Office phones — There is no real point to journalists having landlines, especially if we are encouraging journalists to get out into the community more. A smartphone can more than handle this duty.
  • Less specialized employees — The era of specialized journalists may be coming to an end. By specialized, I mean people who only write, edit, take photos, etc. Most content producers should be able to at least write and take competent photos and video. A news org may still want a few dedicated photographers and videographers around for big stories and high-end content. Journalists will probably be specializing more in beats and niches and less in a specific content production means.
  • Desktop computers — There really is no need for reporters to have a desktop computer anymore. The only thing a desktop does well is tether a reporter to the newsroom. Some specialized employees — the few the remain — may still benefit from the power of a desktop, but laptop computers are the better choice for just about every other journalist.

Daily Dose of social media: Android growing fast

Thursday, April 23, 2009 13:25 - by

Android Growing Fast, But Not as Fast as iPhone — The mobile space is just starting to explode with several advanced smartphone OSes on the market. The iPhone gets most of the press, but there are other platforms that news organizations and content producers should be keeping a keen eye on (and producing products for). Android is one of those platforms:

Looking at AdMob’s statistics, the HTC Dream, the first Android-based phone, generates 2% of their US requests and is now the fourth smartphone overall, behind the iPhone, BlackBerry Curve, and BlackBerry Pearl. It has also managed to capture 6% share of the smartphone OS market in the US.

Remember that Android is only on one handset right now, and it is still doing pretty well when it comes to mobile Web usage and mobile apps. Android will be appearing on several more handsets later this year and should really begin to take off. Smart news organizations will be watching Android closely. Any smart news organization already has some mobile-focused products and probably at least one iPhone app.

Would You Pay for a Facebook Vanity URL? — “Apparently, Facebook has been asking some of its users whether they would be prepared to pay for a vanity URL. That means having something meaningful as the address of your Facebook profile; for example, “” instead of a random string of characters.”

I could see companies like The New York Times being interested in an easy-to-remember URL like Or how about I don’t know how much people would be willing to pay for this feature, but I can imagine that many companies would be interested in paying for an easy-to-remember-and-SEOed-up URL If a company is getting value out of Facebook’s non-sensical URLs than it will certainly get even more value out a quality vanity URL.

Facebook, like Twitter, could make money by selling premium features to business customers. Companies are making money off of social networks and wouldn’t mind spending a little money to make even more money.

6 Twitter Search Services Compared — There are several options available for searching Twitter, and Mashable compares six of them. was the benchmark they used, and they were able to find alternative search engines that were either more powerful or simpler than

Of all the alternative search engines that Mashable looked at Twazzup is probably the best option for content producers, due to its feature-rich nature:

Starting with Twazzup, this is Twitter Search on steroids. For any given query string, you can see results down the left column that are updated in real-time.

A feature I like, albeit slow at times, is if you mouseover an avatar, a bubble pops up with another look at the avatar, a “follow” link to their homepage, and other information from their settings, such as locations, bios, website links, and the number of followers and friends.

Other features are vertical down the right column, including popular tweets, avatars of the trendmakers (those who are responsible for the most retweets), related photos, and the most popular links that people are tweeting or retweeting. In this case, since I typed in “mashable,” you can see @mashable and @tweetmeme. While not an immediate fan of the related photos section, I can see its usefulness during breaking events to be able to view popular twitpics without having to click tweeted links.

Trying is a prerequisite of innovation

Thursday, April 9, 2009 14:21 - by

Joe Ruiz is the nightside Web editor for in San Antonio, Texas. You can find him on Twitter or at his blog. He is currently working as one of the new media track leaders for the upcoming National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention scheduled for June in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With a smaller staff at my news organization, we’re at a disadvantage when it comes to covering some stories the way they deserve, but one of the strengths of our newsroom has been breaking news coverage. I have a few people who’ve taken to using social media tools for our work, and it’s actually helped us do our jobs better. One of our reporters and a few of our video journalists have started using Twitter and Qik to provide news coverage faster than our counterparts.

It’s been fairly simple with the technology and even more so because my coworkers believe it’s to our benefit as a news organization. Let’s face facts: No matter what technology is available, if you don’t have people willing to try, it means nothing. We’ve been lucky since more and more people in our newsroom have been willing to accept the benefits — or at the very least, try them out — of social media and its strengths.

One of my favorite examples has been our recent coverage of an apartment fire . One of our VJs carries a jailbroken iPhone loaded with Qik (he’s one of five VJs with Qik installed). Once the fire call came out, Sam Lerma headed to the scene and immediately began streaming with his iPhone. He had some extra scene video as well as an interview with the fire department spokesman. But here’s where we did better than every other news organization in town: We had it live. Using Qik’s embed code and adding it to our story, we streamed Sam’s interview and had promotion from our breaking news coverage to give us a nice boost on our page views and time spent on our site.

Of course, our story’s no Hudson River plane ditching, but it’s one of the ways we bring breaking news to our readers. I know we’ve done a good job because when news breaks, our numbers spike. We’ve earned the respect of our readers by offering them another way to get news as fast as we can provide. One of our reporters keeps his iPhone ready to do video and send photos so we can show images without having to wait for videos to be fed.

While most of our guys have iPhones, two have Samsung phones that also work with Qik, so it’s not necessarily that you need the latest, most expensive technology. You have to be, however, willing to try with whatever you have or can afford. Social media is a wonderful tool when used correctly, but as I wrote above, you have to be willing to try what’s available.

The best tools mean nothing if you’re not willing to try.

Daily Dose of social media: Chrome can’t be pwned, nor owned

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 11:08 - by

Google Chrome, Mobile Browsers Survive Security Challenge — After one day at the Pwn2Own challenge, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari all fell victim to malicious exploits. For those who don’t know, Pwn2Own is a yearly hacking contest to test the security of Web browsers. Google’s Chrome was the only one of the four to survive the challenge:

The lone survivor in this year’s contest is the newcomer: Google Chrome.

Chrome was affected by one of the flaws that brought down the rest of browsers, but thanks to the tightly-sandboxed way that Chrome runs, no one was able to actually exploit the flaw, which is good news for users facing every more sophisticated attacks.

With most browsers offering roughly the same range of features and comparable speeds (you knew browsers where running out of ways to stand out when they start advertising JavaScript benchmarks), security is fast becoming an important benchmark for many users. But it’s also a very touch one to measure.

Journalists are increasingly working on the Web, and many of you work almost exclusively on the Web. Proper security from malicious Web attacks can prevent you from losing your work or having your data comprised. Chrome has two things that should really appeal to people relying on a Web browser for work: security and stability.

It’s all worth noting, despite a higher prize for compromising a mobile browser at Pwn2Own, no one was able to successful run an exploit on one. That phone in your pocket might be your safest browsing experience.

iPhone Makes Up 50 Percent of Smartphone Web Traffic In U.S., Android Already 5 Percent — Despite being out less than two years, the iPhone has the majority of smartphone Web traffic in the U.S. iPhone users use the Web all the time and download lots of apps. News organizations need to start developing products that work well on mobile, especially the iPhone and other smartphones with rich Web experiences. Before the iPhone came around, mobile browsing wasn’t fun, but now it’s a big part of many people’s lives:

The gains shown by the iPhone and Android show what is possible when phones are built with fully capable browsers and support a rich array of Web apps.

Google’s Android platform is already up to five percent of smartphone Web traffic in the U.S. Android has a rich Web experience like the iPhone, and as more people gets phones like these, more will be utilizing their Web capabilities. With Palm’s Pre due out later this year, this is destined to be the year of the consumer smartphone.

Blackberries largely appeal to business users who use their phones for e-mail and for calendars. But consumer-oriented smartphones are beginning to take over and news orgs have to get on this platform early. So, if your news org gives out Blackberries for business purposes, don’t let that cloud your judgment of what is possible.

It won’t be too long before having a smartphone with a rich Web experience is the norm, not the exception.

And yes, people are getting rich selling apps on the iPhone App Store.

Happy Birthday Twitter! — Yes, Twitter recently turned 3 years old. For the first few years, Twtter was very niche, but now it’s exploding. Try it out.

Posting to a blog from a mobile device

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 13:52 - by

I’m writing this post from my iPhone using the free WordPress application.

There are several instances where having the ability to blog from a mobile device is handy. I have a mobile data plan, so I can send in little updates from wherever I am. In a breaking-news, hyper-connected world, the ability to inform people quickly and easily is important for news organizations.

It’s not always practical for reporters to have their laptops with them. But news reporting shouldn’t be tied to one platform or technology.

The TypePad app (which is superior to the WordPress app) has a feature that will post to your Twitter account when you make new posts from the app. It’s also easy to upload photos to your beat blog with both apps.

In addition, many of the best beat bloggers take ownership over comments on their blogs by moderating comments themselves. Both WordPress and TypePad make it easy to moderate comments on the go via their Web interfaces (although I prefer TypePad’s mobile site). Neither, however, allows for easy moderating via their iPhone apps. Expect to see this functionality in the future.

With mobile apps like these, it is easy for reporters to publish content within seconds. Once a reporter gets back to a computer, he can add more details, photos and links to a post. This is just one more tool to allow beat reporters to cover their beats better.

Below you’ll find a sample photo. Sorry I didn’t have any breaking news photos.

About BeatBlogging.Org was a grant-funded journalism project that studied how journalists used social media and other Web tools to improve beat reporting. It ran for about two years, ending in the fall of 2009.

New content is occasionally produced here by the this project's former editor Patrick Thornton. The site is still up and will remain so because many journalists and professors still use and link to the content. offers a fascinating glimpse into the former stages of journalism and social media. Today it's expected that journalists and journalism organization use social media, but just a few years ago that wasn't the case.