Tag Archives: malcolm coles

Tweet Rewinder, a promising mobile app to allow you to rewind Twitter

SEO expert Malcolm Coles has helped to create Tweet Rewinder, a nifty idea to help you rewind Twitter, according to this post on his blog.

The video below explains how this new mobile web app, now in private beta, allows you to catch up on the tweets sent by people you follow in real time. This could mean catching up on a news story, journalism conference or a TV show. Indeed one of the promoted uses is to follow a hashtag, such as #bbcnews, and replay the Twitter conversation while catching up with the programme on the BBC iPlayer, 4OD, or similar.

Coles, who developed the app with Raak, details which parts of the service are free where users will require a subscription. There are also screenshots to provide a taster. There is also a write up on The Net Web.

Rewinder from Adriaan Pelzer on Vimeo.

The LA Times on the role of its SEO chief – ‘the key is feedback’

The Los Angeles Times has reported some pretty impressive traffic figures recently – in fact LATimes.com managing editor Jimmy Orr says it is the only major newspaper website in the US to be increasing in traffic.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk Orr reported that for the six months from March to August 2011 the site saw a 33 per cent increase in page views, a 30.1 per cent increase in unique users and a 74 per cent rise in traffic from Google, when compared with the same period last year.

Nieman Lab has written about what it sees as several contributing factors to this success, such as the integration of Facebook’s commenting system, “a full embrace of blogging”, plus the addition of a new SEO chief, Amy Hubbard. In an interview with Journalism.co.uk Orr explained exactly what Hubbard’s role entails, which is overall to ensure journalists’ work gets read.

We do ourselves a disservice if we’re not identifying the content correctly so we are being very aggressive about correctly labelling it.

But he added that Hubbard’s role is more of an educational one than adding an additional subbing stage for articles.

She is on the front line in the morning so she is able to catch stories and headlines as they come in and work with the copy desk and the bloggers.

If she sees something that needs to be changed she’ll send an email or walk over and explain why changes could work in the LA Times’s favour.

Another part of Hubbard’s day is to review headlines and the information entered into the various fields. She will then “kind of give them a grade”, Orr said.

The key is feedback. She can’t just be the one changing things. She has to go around and talk to other people and say “your headline was too long” or “you forgot to identify what the story was about” or “it was a print headline”.

In Orr’s view a web headline must stand alone and tell the reader exactly what the story or the post is about. It should be “short, punchy and descriptive”, he said.

A quick browse found several examples of headlines that do just that. Take “Man impaled with garden shears through eye socket recovers” and “SUV crashes into home; driver tries to flee on skateboard“, for example.

http://twitter.com/#!/latimes/status/108998759618330628

Five headlines, not one

Writing for Journalism.co.uk SEO expert Malcolm Coles has previously explained that news sites need to think about writing five headlines for a story or blog post: the on-page headline, the HTML title headline (for the browser field), the headline for Google News, the headline for the channel page (such as the homepage) and a headline for Twitter.

Asked how many headlines the LA Times writes, Orr said there might well be four or five with one on-page headline, often a different HTML title headline and alternative headlines for Twitter and Facebook.

The one for Twitter can be much more engaging. The Twitter headline can be much more fun, much more dramatic, much more inquisitive. We often look to see if there is a hashtag for a discussion and include that.

A quick check found many of the on-page and browser headlines are different but that most Twitter and on-page headlines are the same.

Keyword research and influencing editorial

Orr explained that Hubbard is doing some keyword research to find out what is being searched for but explained it’s mainly a “common sense” approach to understanding how readers look for content.

Asked if editorial decisions are ever made based on what is being searched for – such as “labor day”, “bohemian rhapsody” and “wii u” which all make the list of hot searches on Google Trends in the US today – Orr explained Hubbard may make suggestions on this.

She might let a blogger know that the HP Touchpad is selling for $99 but she’s not assigning stories. It’s more of an informing process.

Here is some more from Journalism.co.uk on SEO:

#jpod: SEO success stories – the LA Times on its traffic hike (which includes parts of this interview with Orr)

#jpod: Does SEO kill the carefully crafted, clever headline?

How to: get to grips with SEO as a journalist

How to: write headlines that work for SEO

Malcolm Coles: Four sites already implementing cookie law

Malcolm Coles has posted four examples of UK websites already implementing the new EU cookie law that came into force on 26 May.

Websites were given a year to “get their house in order” by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and work towards getting web users to agree to accepting the dropping of cookies – small text files placed onto a users computer.

The ICO has warned companies, however, that they should not leave it until 25 May next year to start complying and has already written to some websites following complaints received since 26 May.

The independent body has received criticism for not telling websites exactly how to get users to agree to accepting cookies, but said sites do not necessarily have to opt for a tick box agreement and can instead find another way of getting users to take “positive action” in order to agree to cookies being dropped.

The four sites that Coles highlights as already implementing cookie law are: the ICO (they had to, didn’t they?), All Things D, the Radio Times and the Island Web Works website on the Isle of Man.

Here is the example from All Things D and Coles’ comment:

It reads: “Some of the advertisers and web analytics firms used on this site may place ‘tracking cookies’ on your computer. We are telling you about them right upfront, and we want you to know how to get rid of these tracking cookies if you like. Read more.

“This notice is intended to appear only the first time you visit the site on any computer.”

It only appears on your first visit to the site (I presume they use a cookie to do that!).

Malcolm Coles’ full post is at this link

Related content:

UK webisite publishers need to wake up to new cookie regulations

Websites get a year to comply with new EU cookie laws

Malcolm Coles: Why the Guardian’s future does look bleak

Writing on his blog, SEO expert Malcolm Coles claims the disparity in price between the Guardian’s digital services and print product is a problem for the company’s revenue.

Responding to a comment piece by former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie, which predicts the Guardian’s print edition will be dead in a decade, Coles asks the paper: “Please, let me give you more money”.

A newspaper buyer until he got an iPad, Coles now pays £3.99 a year instead of £230 to read the Guardian everyday in print.

The collapse in what I pay is because I read most of the news for the next day’s newspaper on the Guardian website on my iPad the evening before. And I read anything new on my iPhone on the way to and from work. The newspaper has nothing in that I need.

Read the full post on Coles’ blog at this link.

Daily Mail hides SEO job ad in search crawler file

It’s possible that SEO types have a sense of humour. Evidence comes courtesy of the Daily Mail, which has hidden a job advert for an SEO manager inside a file that should only really be read by search engine crawlers.

The job ad was discovered by eagle-eyed SEO man Malcolm Coles in a robot.txt file, which blocks the crawlers from indexing certain parts of the site.

Disallow: /home/ireland/
Disallow: /home/scotland/

# August 12th, MailOnline are looking for a talented SEO Manager so if you found this then you’re the kind of techie we need!
# Send your CV to holly dot ward at mailonline dot co dot uk

# Begin standard rules
# Apply rules to all user agents updated 08/06/08
ACAP-crawler: *

Very clever. People who don’t read these kind of things need not apply, obviously.

Is the BBC really falling out of love with blogging?

From reading recent media news you might think the the BBC’s passion for blogging was cooling.

First off, we learnt (via the Times initially, and then confirmed by the BBC) that the corporation is to significantly cut back its web content and reduce the number of online staff.

Then on Tuesday evening, BBC political editor Nick Robinson said he no longer read the comments on his own Newslog. Rather than widening the political debate, commenters were “people who have already made their minds up, to abuse me, to abuse each other or abuse a politician”, he said at an Election 2.0 debate at City University London.

Finally, as academic and blogger Alfred Hermida flagged up, the BBC Strategic Review labelled the blogosphere as “vast and unruly”. The report says:

Above the vast and unruly world of the blogosphere, professional media power may actually concentrate in fewer hands. Individual plurality may increase but collective, effective plurality decrease – with societies around the world left with fewer reliable sources of professionally validated news.

Professor Hermida, who specifically researches the BBC,  was surprised by the language and suggests reminding director general Mark Thompson that the BBC is part of the blogosphere itself:

Perhaps Forrester analyst Nick Thomas when he says that “Mark Thompson does not ‘get’ digital in the way that even his much-maligned predecessor John Birt did.”

But before we get carried away with the BBC’s blogging / web apathy, let’s take a step back. Malcolm Coles’ easy-read guide to the Strategic Review comes in handy here.

For one, as Coles notes on Econsultancy, halving the number of sections on the site is not quite the same as halving the size of the site. “The overall quality will be improved by closing lower-performing sites and consolidating the rest,” he reports.

And proactive web interaction will be developed. From Coles’ post:

The BBC also plans to open up its programme library (outside the areas with high commercial value) “over time” within BBC Online as a publicly accessible ‘permanent collection’.

The review says it will make programmes available on demand “alongside the component parts of those programmes (segmentation), programme information (full catalogue) and additional, complementary content (programme support”. And the site will look to deliver audiences through propositions like the BBC’s Wildlife Finder “which maximise the public value of archive programming”.

(…) It’s pledged to “turn the site into a window on the web” by providing at least one external link on every page and doubling monthly ‘click-throughs” to external sites: “making the best of what is available elsewhere online an integral part of the BBC’s offer to audiences”.

Anyway, read the report – or Coles’ summary – for yourself. PDF at this link.

Who are you calling Twitters?

It looks like an Express.co.uk story about the BBC and Twitter has been removed. Originally available at this link http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/152233/Is-the-BBC-run-by-a-bunch-of-Twitters-, it now shows as a missing story.

The story, ‘Is the BBC run by a bunch of Twitters?’ can, however, still be found via the cache. As Malcolm Coles noted on his blog yesterday, the Sunday Express claimed that some BBC Twitter accounts, such as Radio 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire, were being followed by only one or two people.

But does the Express understand how Twitter works? Coles first suspected that the journalists muddled the account names, and now claims they’ve mixed up ‘follower’ and ‘following’ numbers.

So Radio 5 Live’s @vicderbyshire actually has 3,692 followers but only follows 2 people (in fact, perhaps thanks to the story, her number of followers seems to be on the rise).

Oops. Journalism.co.uk tried to clarify the situation with Express.co.uk. But it’s no comment for now,  and we’re waiting a response from the legal department who deal with all enquiries about missing stories.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters in 2009 (and who to watch in 2010)

With the proviso that journalism blogs and bloggers come and go, we have selected our own personal favourite journalism bloggers and tweeters. These are our absolute must-reads. We realise this is a somewhat subjective exercise, so please add your own in the comments below, or via Twitter to @journalismnews.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters of 2009

As chosen by John Thompson, founder, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@GordonMacmillan, @malcolmcoles, @adamwestbrook, @paulbradshaw, @mikebutcher, @marcreeves

Best blogs:
Malcolm ColesJon Slattery, Adam Tinworth, OJB, Adam Westbrook (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Laura Oliver, editor, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@georgehopkin, @nigelbarlow, @MrRickWaghorn, @gordonmacmillan, @psmith

Best blogs:
Sarah Hartley, Alison Gow, Adam Tinworth, Martin Belam, Jon Slattery (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Judith Townend, senior reporter, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@gingerelvis, @samshepherd, @badjournalism, @jowadsworth, @digidickinson

Best blogs:
Jon Slattery, Martin Moore, Charlie Beckett, The Media Blog, Sarah Hartley (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by the Journalism.co.uk team:

Five blogs to watch in 2010

  • Marc Reeves: former Birmingham Post editor, with new projects on the go.

Five Tweeters to watch in 2010

  • @timesjoanna, for her excellent social media and online journalism links.
  • @michaelhaddon, former City student with an interest in political online media; now working at Dow Jones.
  • @joshhalliday, at the centre of the UK student journalist blogging conversation; lots to look at on his own blog.
  • @coneee, the NUJ’s first full-time blogger member, currently completing an MA at City University.
  • @marcreeves, for the latest on what the former regional editor is up to.

Malcolm Coles: Gordon Brown letter – Sun misjudges readers’ mood

This is a cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ website www.malcolmcoles.co.uk.

Update: There are suggestions on a Guardian story that the Sun moderators haven’t been putting through comments that are critical of the Sun’s position …

Is the Sun censoring pro-Brown comments?

Is the Sun censoring pro-Brown comments?

Original post
The Sun is running a campaign against Gordon Brown. But I’ve analysed the comments on its website – and readers disagree with its stance by a ratio of more than 3 to 2.

Gordon Brown letter story in the Sun

Gordon Brown letter story in the Sun

The paper has exploited the grief of Jacqui Janes over her son Jamie’s death in Afghanistan to attack the PM – because his handwritten letter of condolence was supposedly disrespectful due to sloppy writing and (disputed) spelling errors.

It’s loathsome journalism that ignores the effect of his disability (the PM is blind in one eye).

And it seems Sun readers are mostly on the Prime Minister’s side.

Of the 100+ comments on the story (don’t worry, I’ve nofollowed those links) when I checked, 111 expressed a view for or against Jacqui Janes or Gordon Brown (the rest commented on other issues or corrected people’s spelling errors). Of these:

  • 42 were anti Gordon or pro the Sun’s stance.
  • 69 were pro Gordon or anti the Sun’s stance.

So that’s more than 60 per cent who don’t agree with the Sun, and less than 40 per cent who do.

Sample comments from those who agree with the Sun’s stance:

Comments agreeing that Gordon Brown was wrong

Comments agreeing that Gordon Brown is “discusting”

Some comments from those opposing it:

Comments defending Gordon Brown

Comments defending Gordon Brown

Conclusion
The Sun is channeling this woman’s grief into a personal attack on the Prime Minister.

It’s refusing to make allowances for his disability (maybe we could next attack the war wounded for being workshy benefit scroungers?).

And it’s facilitating her breaking data protection laws by releasing a recording of a private phone call.

The whole thing is sickening – let’s hope that observing its readers’ reactions will lead to an end to this (not that this happened in the Jan Moir case) – and preferably prosecution of the Sun over the data protection offence.

Malcolm Coles: Growth of newspaper Twitter accounts running out of steam

This is a cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ personal website. You can read other posts by Coles on the Journalism.co.uk Editors’ Blog at this link.

UK national newspaper Twitter accounts are continuing to grow – but at an ever slower rate, according to the latest figures for the 130 accounts I’m tracking:

The detail
These 130 accounts had 1,801,811 followers on November 2, up by 137,568 from 1,664,243 on October 1. Of that increase, 95,007 (or 69 per cent) was for the @guardiantech account (which benefits from being on Twitter’s suggested user list).

(NB – the Telegraph seems to have deleted its badly spelled @TelegraphScienc account, so I’ve restated October’s figures to be for 130 accounts, rather than the 131 I used to track).

The biggest mover was @MirrorFootball, up 11 places to 81st (from 455 to 809 followers), suggesting the Mirror is finally making some use of Twitter (most of its other accounts are near the bottom – and only appear to have moved up a place because of the demise of the Telegraph’s Science account).

As ever, the full spreadsheet is here or you can see the iframe below.