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Bitly launches ‘bitmark’ social bookmarking service

May 29th, 2012 | 28 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Bitly, the popular link shortener used by the BBC, Independent, Daily Telegraph and many other news websites, has today announced its ‘bitmark’ service.

Anyone who uses social bookmarking sites like Delicious or Pinterest will be familiar with the idea of saving and sharing articles they find interesting. Bitly has added this functionality to its already popular link shortening service.

As Bitly explains on its blog:

So, what are bitmarks? It’s a better name for bookmarks. Bitmarks are the interesting links you collect across the web — a hard to find recipe, an article, an awesomely hysterical video. It’s anything that you find and want to save and maybe even want to easily share. You can organise them into bundles based on a theme or share them with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email. You decide whether each bitmark gets published to your public profile or saved privately, so that only you can see it.

Since Bitly started in 2008 more than 25 billion links have been shortened on the site, according to the company. More than 80 million links are shortened on Bitly every day and they are clicked on 300 million times. Its easy-to-use analytics makes it popular with publishers that want to track their social media reach.

Until now it has been used a tool rather than a destination page, but the company hopes the new focus on social bookmarking will foster a community around the site.

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Could technology actually be a gateway to long-form journalism?

There’s a useful post on PoynterOnline this week in which author Mallary Jean Tenore details some of the best tools and technologies available which support the future of long-form journalism on the web.

These include Nate Weiner’s Read It Later, which can “save, share and organize URLs”. He explains that this means users can return to the whole article offline at their own leisure, rather than simply bookmarking the URL.

“Read It Later is essentially the article’s second chance. It actually improves the likelihood that the article will be seen,” Weiner said via e-mail. “If any article is there, the user put it there. And in order for a user to have put it there, they would have to have visited the publisher’s site.”

Other examples include Marco Arment’s Instapaper, which not only saves web pages but also creates RSS feeds of saved stories and an ‘Editor’s Picks’ feature based on the most bookmarked content and Twitter account @LongReads, created by Mark Armstrong, for a constant stream of long-form journalism examples.

See her full post here…

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Digg launches recommendation engine

July 2nd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Search


Digg is launching a new recommendation engine – offering a first play with the new technology to a random sample of Digg users to test this week.

The beta device will analyse users past ‘Digging’ activity to uncover other users and content that may be of interest to them.

Digg intends to roll out the technology later on in the week to all users.

“The Recommendation Engine is a cool way to discover new content on Digg. Now that there are more than 16,000 stories submitted to the Upcoming section every day, it’s difficult to sort through everything to find the best content,” Digg founder Kevin Rose wrote on his blog.

“The Recommendation Engine uses your past digging activity to identify what we call Diggers Like You (who you can see on the right hand nav) to suggest stories you might like.”

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Innovations in Journalism – socially referred and aggregated news from Yahoo! Buzz

June 19th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on.

You’ll know and use Digg and the geeks will be into Reddit – loving it now its gone open source – but there is another one worth looking at, and it’s a biggie. Welcome to IIJ, Yahoo! Buzz.

1. Who are you and what’s it all about
My name is Tapan Bhat and I am senior VP of Yahoo! Front Doors and Network Services.

Yahoo! Buzz beta is an extension to Yahoo.com that unites people with the most remarkable content from websites across the internet and brings the most “buzz-worthy” stories to the Yahoo! homepage.

It determines the most popular, must-read stories and videos from large news sources as well as niche blogs around the web, with an approach that combines user votes with search popularity to determine a story’s Buzz ranking.

2. Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Yahoo! Buzz can be useful to journalists on multiple levels. It can provide increased exposure for your great content. The most popular stories also may be selected by our editorial team and featured on Yahoo.com.

In addition, Yahoo! Buzz offers valuable insight for anyone interested in what is buzzing about and looking for timely story ideas or resources.

3. Is this it or is there more to come?

After only three month in beta, Yahoo! Buzz receives around 8 million unique monthly visitors worldwide according to comScore.

We’ll continue to listen to the feedback from publishers and our users to make sure the site continues to find the most relevant and interesting content online.

Since launching with around 100 large and small publishers, we have gradually been adding new publishers to the beta program and now have around 300 publishers participating.

In the coming months, we’ll continue adding more participants and once Yahoo! Buzz is generally available any publisher will be able to participate.

Looking ahead, Yahoo! Buzz will form the basis for an open ecosystem of publishers, advertisers and consumers.  We’ll develop this ecosystem by building out unique new syndication and monetisation tools that help publishers share relevant content, connect to more advertisers and reach a broader audience. Over time, we expect this to extend into a powerful content exchange that connects owners of content with distributors of traffic.

4. Why are you doing this?
While the homepage has always featured engaging stories and content, our editors could only scratch the surface before. With Buzz we can add more depth to the front page by bubbling up the best content from around the web, as indicated by users.

In addition, it creates a comprehensive, categorised database of content from across the web that can eventually make the Yahoo! network better.

5. What does it cost to use it?

Yahoo! Buzz is entirely free to use.

6. How will you make it pay?
As mentioned earlier, our primary goal is to further Yahoo!’s leadership position as the best starting point on the web and offering more relevant content brings people coming back to Yahoo! again and again.

During the beta process for Yahoo! Buzz, we will also be finalising our monetisation approach, including ways in which we may give prominent promotion to content from Yahoo! partners when appropriate.

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Innovations in Journalism – share your links. Wait, isn’t that Del.icio.us? No, it’s more social – it’s Mento

May 20th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Uncategorized

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. This week’s ticket comes via Mento – sharing links, real social like.

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
Hi, I’m Gregor Hochmut. Mento is a platform for sharing links with the people around you. They could be co-workers, family, thought leaders you look up to – or simply friends who send you a humorous video every now and then.

Del.ici.ous and other bookmarking platforms have mostly focused on “saving” links for private use.

Mento, however, wants to focus on the communication and conversation that takes place – beyond the limited usefulness of email and instant messaging – when you share a link.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?

In its current version, Mento is most useful as a collaboration tool for journalists. A group of could join together and put links about a shared topic in a common channel. Links in the channel would be visible to the team.

They could comment on each other and have a permanent, searchable archive for their links.

In addition, Mento is a simple communication tool for sending recommendations to people, its careful not to overwhelm with email so you get just one a day with all the links – or you can subscribe by RSS.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?
Journalists and publishers will be interested in the next expansion of the service. We intend to offer an easy publishing tool where you can create a branded, editorial link channel and publish it.

Imagine an RSS feed of relevant links that your editorial staff gathers on a daily, weekly or monthly basis – but the feed would be a public website (fully co-branded) that’s designed for regular web users who can easily subscribe to your link selection by email and other convenient means.

4) Why are you doing this?
There is more and more noise in our information environment every day and it’s getting harder and harder to filter the meaningful signals.

We’re on a mission to make your daily information streams more manageable and more meaningful.

5) What does it cost to use it?
Mento is free and always will be for the end-user.

6) How will you make it pay?

Along the lines of the branded editorial channels mentioned above, we will consider the economics of offering a professional link publishing service – but we have not finalized the business model for it so far.

In the meantime, we have had surprisingly good results with Google’s contextual AdSense program on the current Mento site since the advertisements are targeted based on the links that the user sends and receives.

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Social Media Journalist: “The problem with most news organisations is a lack of editorial understanding of social media” Kevin Anderson, Guardian blogs editor

Journalism.co.uk talks to reporters across the globe working at the collision of journalism and social media about how they see it changing their industry. This week, Kevin Anderson, Guardian.co.uk.

image of Kevin Anderson

1) Who are you and what do you do?
Kevin Anderson, blogs editor at Guardian.co.uk.

My title is misnomer seeing as desk editors handle most of the commissioning.

My role is two-fold. I spot newsworthy items bubbling up in social media – blogs, social news sites, Twitter, etc – and report on that or pass it along to the appropriate site editor.

I also seed and develop strategies to promote Guardian content in those social networks. My current focus is what I call real-time innovation. I use emerging tools for editorial purposes and feed back lessons we learn into our editorial development process.

2) Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
People ask me how I stay on top of it all, and I say that my network is my filter. I have Twhirl and IM on constantly, sitting in the background. New media professionals and contacts around the world pass me things I need to read or stories I need to follow up on through Skype, Twitter, IM and Del.icio.us.

Popurls.com is a great one-stop site for buzz, especially for the US elections, which I’m following right now. NetNewsWire, Flock and Ecto are my blogging tools of choice.

The Flock browser is good in a number of ways. Its Flickr uploader is great – better than Flickr’s until recently. It also allows you to add sites to multiple Del.icio.us accounts.

You can go from reading your RSS feeds to blogging instantly in Flock, as it pulls NetNewsWire functionality into the browser too.

For publishing, a combination of Ecto and any good blogging platform creates the best multimedia journalism tool that I’ve ever used.

I recently got a Nokia N82. With its stellar camera and integrated Flickr uploader it has a lot of promise , but it’s hampered by poor data plans in the UK.

The mobile carriers are focusing on USB-based data plans to link computers to the mobile web, which maybe a good start, but there are still too few good data plans for phones.

I end up relying on WiFi, which on the N82 is much better than on previous phones.

3) Of the thousands of social media tools available could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or newsgathering tool?
I think in terms of editorial objectives and then find an applicable tool. In 12 years of doing online journalism, I’ve had to learn hundreds of desktop tools, content management systems and now a dizzying range of social media tools.

You have to be aware of them to work effectively. Knowing about the tools allows me to do something on deadline without worrying whether it can be developed on time.

However, the problem with most news organisations isn’t a lack of tools or technology but a cultural lack of editorial understanding of social media, internet media and internet culture.

Most news organisations continue to try to force their existing editorial strategies into the social media space instead of considering editorial strategies that are appropriate for the space.

Online video isn’t television on the internet, just as blogs are not about publishing a newspaper with comments.

I can use Twitter both as a newsgathering and promotional tool, or I can just use it to broadcast headlines at people.

Social media can increase loyalty from visitors to a site and increase the time they spend on the site, but it’s not about the tools but the way that journalists use them.

4) And the most overrated in your opinion?
I hate to sound like a broken record because others have said this before, but I really think Facebook is overrated for the majority of our audiences.

Traditional journalists who had never seen, much less used a social network before, hyped it because it was a revelation to them.

However, for those who had used social networks before, it was YASN – yet another social network – only shinier, with 20 per cent more Web 2.0 goodness.

I believe in freeing content and making it available where the audiences are, so it makes sense for content to be easily available to Facebook users and for news organisations to have a presence there.

News organisations can learn things from the success of Facebook, but they should also study the life cycle of social networks and learn not only from their successes but also from their failures.

Allowing like-minded readers or viewers to connect and interact using your content as a focus is a good social media strategy.

Hosting and taking an active role in the conversations around your content is also a good social media strategy.

Building a site or service that externalises community and keeps the ‘unwashed masses’ at a safe distance from journalists creates nasty overheads. It also means managing communities and brings nothing to your journalism and very little to your site visitors.

Why would Facebook users decide to move to InsertNewspaperHere-book?

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Innovations in Journalism: Flock’s social web browser

May 9th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Uncategorized

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today, it’s the evolution of the browser with social browsing software from Flock.

image of Flock logo

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
Hi I’m Evan Hamilton, community ambassador for Flock.

Flock is a software company that is building a unique, social browser off of the technology that powers the Mozilla Firefox.

It takes browsing to the next level by integrating a number of social networking and media services.

While you can still surf the web normally we also bring in updates. Photos and videos from your friends show up in the media bar at the top of the browser, your friends appear and update within the people sidebar, and myworld collects all your online information (feeds, favorites, media and friend updates) in one place.

Additionally, we make sharing great online content easier by allowing you to drag and drop photos, text, and links from any website (or your media bar) to friends in the people sidebar, web-mail, blog posts, and comments.

Flock will automatically embed or link to this content. It also integrates with services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Gmail.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Journalists spend most of their time collecting research and then compiling it into stories. Flock makes it incredibly easy to have the latest news at your fingertips for consumption and collection.

Its feed reader will pull in updates from whichever websites you wish (assuming they have an RSS feed set up).

Found a piece of content you want to file away for a later story? Flock comes with a “web clipboard” to which you can add photos, videos, text and links to use later. Grab whatever you find compelling on a page and drop it into a folder for the article you’re working on, then access it later.

It’s all contained within the sidebar, not on your hard drive, so you can collect whatever you need before posting your blog or using it in your article.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?
There’s much more to come. Flock 1.2 will be coming out shortly, which introduces more integrated services.

Later in the year, Flock will be updating to the codebase powering the yet-to-be-released Firefox3. Beyond that, Flock has many plans to innovatively improve upon your web browsing experience.

4) Why are you doing this?
The web has dramatically evolved in the last few years, but the web browser has not. Web pages are no longer the only destination on the web; now we have photo and video objects, friends, and pieces of information.

Traditional web browsers require you to view this content within the context of a web page, but Flock provides a unique view of this content that makes it easier and faster to consume and share the things you love.

We felt that nobody else was stepping up to really support the next generation of the web, and so we decided to build on the fundamentally sound Firefox technology and build a browser that supported our activities on the new web.

5) What does it cost to use it?
Totally, 100 per cent free. Flock does not and will not cost you any money.

6) How will you make it pay?
It makes money the way all web browsers do: through the search box. Flock has a deal with Yahoo! in which any search that leads to a user clicking a sponsored link generates revenue.

This is unobtrusive and established, and is only the first of many opportunities for Flock to share revenue with partners.

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Search Engine Journal: using Del.icio.us to analyse site performance

April 30th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Handy tips on how to use social bookmarking tool Del.icio.us to discover why people are tagging your content and what keywords they are using.

The tool can also be used to assess the popularity – in terms of bookmarked content – of your competitors’ sites.

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Innovations in Journalism – AccessInterviews.com

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today, it’s indexing interviews across the web from Access Interviews.

image of access interviews website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
My name is Rob McGibbon and I am a freelance journalist with a background in writing – mainly celebrity interviews – for various national titles. I launched Access Interviews.com in January 2008 after two years of development.

The website provides a unique index to the world’s interviews with subjects of all kinds and in every category. AI is a totally original concept, which is not bad going in such a crowded web world!

The site works on an open editorial platform. Web editors on newspapers and magazines and individual journalists submit links to the interviews, which they have published on their own websites.

Access Interviews does not carry the actual content but instead links back to the copyright owner’s website and automatically maintains a full searchable archive of the links to interviews that are submitted.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
It is useful in many ways to journalists.  It is ideal for research because Access Interviews only carries genuine, professionally sourced interviews.

This material is often the most important for a journalist. You can save a lot of time you might otherwise waste on Google by going to AI first.

Access Interviews is also a great tool for journalists and publishers to promote their work. Individual writers can create a portfolio of their interviews, which is particularly useful for freelance journalists who work across a number of titles.

Newspapers or magazines can also promote their archives as a way of drawing new readers to their website or hard copy.

Some magazines and provincial newspapers have small circulations but get great access to high profile personalities because of the credibility of the publication.

Our website is a powerful independent platform to showcase exclusive work and bring a new audience to the work of smaller publications.

The AI site is also the perfect way of establishing the true origin and copyright of an interview. This is incredibly useful for journalists who originate so much material, only to see it ripped off in this digital world.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?

I am already developing three other websites that will be launched later this year, but the priority is to get Access Interviews fully established and being used by the journalists.

There are already extensive plans to expand AI, so this is my focus.

4) Why are you doing this?
More is definitely not always best and the internet is living proof. It is congested with worthless and often inaccurate content. Interviews are the golden source of content and I want to create a 24-carat resource for journalists and to generally promote the value of the professional interview.

5) What does it cost to use it?
It is free to use and there is no need to register. Click and go. How can you resist?

6) How will you make it pay?
Regretfully, the money side is very much phase two. I expect any business-minded person would hear me say that and scream or laugh.

Essentially, my plan is to make a great website that becomes indispensable to journalists and users generally. By doing this, Access Interviews will have a powerful readership which, in turn, will make it an interesting proposition for big brand advertisers.

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Innovations in Journalism – Skimbit

April 16th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on.

Ever tried to organise an event or share research on email for more than two people? Nightmare, hey? Fear it no longer. Today’s IIJ is social scrapbook and decision-making site Skimbit.

image of skimbit website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
Hello, I’m Alicia Navarro.

Skimbit is start-up I founded, it’s a web tool for gathering the best bits from sites you like, so you can analyse, share, and get feedback on your findings.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Skimbit is great if you are compiling research and want your results presented in a visual, professional way.

You can form groups and together you can compile research on a chosen topic – all to the same web page. You can also use other people’s research as the basis for your own projects.

3) Is this it?

Hell no! We have exciting product developments in the pipeline, including more ways to skim a page, more ways to view and analyse findings, and a very exciting new user interface upgrade.

4) Why are you doing this?

I came up with the idea for Skimbit after organising one too many group holidays. The process of copying and pasting links to villa or cottage sites into an email, sending to friends for feedback, and collating everyone’s responses, was arduous and inefficient. I also found the process of researching the purchase of a TV difficult, because there were so many factors to consider other than price.

So I designed Skimbit to specifically deal with these issues but found that it had even more wide reaching uses – in fact, a huge proportion of our users have the service for compiling business research.

5) What does it cost to use?
Absolutely nothing! We do offer a white-label of our service that companies can license, and we customise it fully so it becomes part of their site, but for the general public, its free.

6) How will you make it pay?
We earn revenue from licensing out a white-labelled version of the service, and we earn advertising revenue, and soon we will earn some affiliate commissions. But the core ethos of Skimbit is that we don’t influence the content for our benefit: Skimbit is your tool for conducting research, and we don’t push products or sites at you.

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