Posts filed under 'New York Times'
By Molly Galler
This morning Leena Rao reported for Tech Crunch that Skype has launched Skype 5.0 with new features, most signifcantly, intergration with Facebook. While Skype has become the standard go-to for video calling, there was no social aspect to the service. Rao described the new integration:
“After logging in via Facebook Connect, you’ll be able to see your Facebook News Feed with the Skype interface, post status updates that can be synced with your Skype mood message and comment and like friends’ updates and wall posts.”
As a Skype user, I am thrilled to know that I can now access my entire Facebook social network and enjoy the free Skype services (phone calls and video calling) with all my Facebook friends. It will be interesting if the two companies collaborate to add new dimensions to this partnership for their joint users.
In addition to integrating with Facebook, the New York Times reported two weeks ago that Skype has also struck a deal with Avaya to intergrate with corporte phone systems. Verne Kopytoff detailed the news:
“Hoping to make inroads into big businesses, Skype joined on Wednesday with Avaya, a major seller of corporate phone systems. As part of the deal, Avaya will integrate Skype into its bundle of products for customers in the United States. . . Skype and Avaya both say that Skype could be used in calls centers and by sales staff. The technology would reduce corporate phone bills and allow consumers who use Skype to call companies free from a computer.“
While the Skype products may seem simple, their strategic decisions to align with the largest social network and a major telecommunications provider for businesses is nothing short of genius.
Hear that? It’s your Facebook friends calling!
October 14th, 2010
By Ben Haber
The June 19th issue of the Economist features a cover image of President Obama standing on beach in Louisiana, looking down in deep thought and seemingly pondering how the BP oil spill raveled out of control and the negative impact it could have on his upcoming re-election campaign.
However, that’s not what the picture is actually about. A New York Times article reports that the Economist modified the cover image which was shot by a Reuters photographer.
The unaltered image, shot on May 28 by a Reuters photographer, Larry Downing, shows Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard and Charlotte Randolph, a local parish president, standing alongside the president. But in the image that appeared on The Economist’s cover, Admiral Allen and Ms. Randolph had been scrubbed out, replaced by the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico.
Reuters has strict guidelines when it comes to photographer, especially following their 2006 photo scandal when a photographer doctored a picture of an Israeli air raid on Beirut (pictures below).
In an email, Economist deputy editor Emma Duncan told the Times that Admiral Allen was removed by the crop, and that Charlotte Randolph was edited out of the picture because no one knew who she was. Duncan claims that goal was not to isolate President Obama, but to have readers focus on him while the article examines the oil spills damage to business in America, not the President.
July 6th, 2010
By Kyle Austin
The iPhone-leak saga rolled on today as news broke that the home of Gizmodo editor Brian Chen was raided by California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT – couldn’t make this name up) last Friday night. According to Chen’s account of the story, the team broke down his front door without him present, seizing four computers and two servers, in serving a warrant issued by the Superior Court of San Mateo.
The warrant and the ensuing confiscation of Chen’s computers hinges around the investigation into if Chen, Gizmodo and its parent company Gawker Media committed a felony by paying $5,000 for a lost, iPhone prototype. Was picking up the lost iPhone in a bar, asking around a bit and then selling the iPhone to Gizmodo a felony? Was the subsequent purchase of lost goods a felony? John Gruber thinks so.
Meanwhile, Nick Denton and Gawker seem happy to see this saga continue (free marketing and publicity). In fact, they’ve taken the issued warrant and seizure to propose that the Shield Law protects Brian Chen from the search and seizure as a journalist (full Gawker memo below). Denton proposed via Twitter that this case may finally give us the answer to the age old question – Are Bloggers Really Journalists? He may be watching too many old newspaper movies.
The Shield Law was established to protect journalists from having to give up sources that may have committed a crime, which would likely not apply in this case. Especially, if prosecutors are basing the search and seizure on the premise that Chen has committed a crime himself in this case. Therefore, while the reality is that California has been clear in defining bloggers as journalists (especially those working at a media company such as Gawker), the statue may simply not apply.
To make matters even more interesting (for conspiracy theorists) — many bloggers are pointing out that Apple serves on the steering committee of REACT.
Just another day in Silicon Valley.
April 27th, 2010
By Molly Galler
Yesterday in San Francisco Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rolled out some big plans for his baby at the company’s 8th developer conference, f8. After combing through all the tech round ups, here are the major take aways:
Facebook global domination, one thumbs up at a time: The most notable announcement at f8 was that Facebook’s “Like” feature will now be available on any website that wishes to add the cheery sign of approval to its site. You can indicate your favor for anything on the web – a song, a recipe, a celebrity gossip post – all with one click.
While many support this web-wide expansion, others have strong concerns. John Sutter of CNN writes, “A consequence of these “like” buttons will be that your friends’ Facebook profile photos will start showing up all over the web. If you see your friends’ smiling faces online, it’s an indication that they have clicked a “like” button on the website you’re visiting. In a way, they’re recommending it to you.”
While those concerned with privacy issues are shrieking and scrambling in horror, marketers are smiling and planning ways utilize this public display of brand loyalty to move the sales needle.
Log in, plug in: In addition to the “Like” feature on websites outside of Facebook itself, the company is also going to allow sites to show Facebook user preferences without needing to log into that specific site. For example, if you frequent the music site Pandora, you will be able to see your friends’ music preferences based on their Facebook music preferences. Miguel Helft at the New York Times dives deeper with Pandora CTO Tom Conrad:
“It makes it really, really easy to ring your friends into Pandora and discover the music they’re experiencing,” Mr. Conrad said. Mr. Conrad started listening to a band and a picture of one of his Facebook friends who likes the same band showed up. With a click on that picture, we were able to see all the other bands that his friend also liked.
The features also allow Pandora to know which bands users have included in their Facebook profiles and begin playing music from those bands. That makes it easy for Pandora to begin playing music for new users without requiring them to type in their music preferences.
“Pandora is finally social,” Mr. Conrad said. And he said that Mr. Zuckerberg deserved all the credit for the changes. “You get a personalization with no clicks, and that was Mark’s idea.”
My friends and I already share Pandora station and Grooveshark playlist recommendations and this takes out the need for a third party mode of sharing. Tech and social media guru Robert Scoble tweeted this morning to his 121, 500 plus followers:
@scobleizer: OK, I’m sold on the new Facebook stuff. The new Pandora is FREAKING AWESOME.
So what does it all mean? In his keynote address at f8 Mark Zuckerberg explained, “The Web is at a really important turning point now. Most things aren’t social, and they don’t use your real identity. This is really starting to change.” This new expansion of Facebook preferences into the broader web begins that transition from stagnant to social on the broadest of scales.
These moves are not altruistic, of course. Facebook is opening the door to a whole new set of tactics from marketers and promoters, as well as increasing new opportunities for their own revenue stream.
Jon Swartz of USA Today wrote, “If successful, these functions could help Facebook gain valuable insights about millions of consumers and help it sell more advertising in its escalating rivalry with online ad leader Google.”
You hear that Google? Mark’s coming for you.
Former Fortune writer and author of the soon to be released book The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick, summed it up best in a tweet today:
@DavidKirkpatric: Facebook’s f8 yesterday represents a sea change for the company–now the world clearly sees the scope of its ambition.
April 22nd, 2010
By Molly Galler
Today and tomorrow the 92nd Street Y in New York City will be home to Jeff Pulver’s 140 Characters Conference. The gathering gets its name from the maximum number of characters allowed in one post on Twitter, affectionately know as a tweet.
Unlike other conferences where presentations can last an hour plus, at the 140 Characters Conference panel discussions are 20 minutes maximum and key note addresses tap out at the 15 minute mark.
What exactly are these Twitter lovers talking about? The conference’s website reads:
“At #140conf NYC we will be taking a hard look at something Jeff Pulver calls “The State of NOW” and the continued effects the worldwide adoption of social communication platforms such as twitter is having on a number of industries including: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising, Politics, Education, Music, Television, Comedy, Real Estate, Public Policy and more. The take aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the next wave of effects Twitter and the real-time internet will have on business in 2010 and beyond.”
Seems broad, no? The list of speakers at the New York City event range broadly in areas of expertise as well. The roster includes:
o Alexis Maybank, Founder of Gilt Groupe
o Anny Curry, NBC’s Today Show
o Bruce Upbin, Managing Editor at Forbes
o David Carr, Reporter & Blogger at New York Times
o Dennis Crowley, co-founder of FourSquare
o MC Hammer, Musician
o Ivanka Trump, The Trump Organization
o Joe Randazzo, Editor of The Onion
o Michael Ian Black, Comedian & Blogger
While it may not seem obvious at first what this motley crew has in common, that’s precisely point. Social media is limitless in its reach. It bridges gaps between types of businesses, country borders and even foreign languages. The 140 Character Conference is proving that individuals can maximize the opportunities provided by this event, without even needing to physically be in the room.
The beauty of this type of conference is that it uses the micro-blogging site Twitter as its starting point, which automatically makes it relevant to anyone on the site. Then the conference added a hashtag (#140conf) making updates from those at the event easily identifiable, and more importantly, searchable. All of the best sound bites, images and videos are being fed directly into your Twitter stream right at your desk.
Here is a small sampling of the expert advice pouring into my Twitter feed this morning:
@acarvin: Carr: you’re standing in line w/ mopes at Starbucks and you look at your Twitter feed and you become calm. Makes sbux tolerable. #140conf
@SarahCaminker: Twitter is a human enabled RSS, adds a human element where people are curating their own feed. Via @carr2n #140Conf
@LaurynBennett: Having a successful brand = having a consistent voice and message across all your businesses and audiences. @ivankatrump #140conf
@JulieSpira: Eric Kuhn @CNN says everyone at CNN is tweeting from the CEO/Pres. down. #140conf
@LaurynBennett: “Rule #1: Never forget the brand – your message MUST be in concert with your brand values.” ahthankyouverymuch, @Donny_Deutsch #140conf
@JulieSpira: @GavinPurcell says Late night with Jimmy Kimmel has been on tv for 13 months. Started as a daily video blog for 5 months before TV #140conf
Jeff Pulver’s goal with this conference was to “explore the state of now” and you can join in, right this minute, with one simple step: logging into Twitter. Some of the most influential players in media and business are offering free advice and all you have to do is listen.
No cash to get to New York? Inflexible travel schedule? No problem. Watch the conference live on UStream via Pulver’s blog and check out the full list of speakers and their Twitter handles.
April 20th, 2010
By Molly Galler
Today is the first day of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, TX. From all corners of the earth musicians, film makers and techies join forces for a week of round the clock events and celebrations.
This year, taking center stage on the tech side are GPS based social networks. If you are an active Twitter user, you have seen these updates in your feed. Perhaps a friend has announced they’ve become the mayor of Starbucks thanks to Foursquare. These social networks are becoming more popular and their hope is to become widely adopted by the end of this week.
Caroline Waxler wrote a piece today for Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Tech blog in which she explains that two heavy hitters in the location-tagging social network space, Foursquare and Austin based hometown hero Gowalla, are viewing South by Southwest as the perfect venue to show their network’s superiority. On the head-to-head match up she writes:
“This is so closely watched at South by Southwest not because people feel like they’re witnessing magic but more for two reasons: One, everyone loves a good rivalry and two, South By Southwest attendees by definition love to geek out. (It’s affectionately known as “spring break for nerds.”) And, what better way to do that than to compete over who is the top visitor to the various venues associated with it? Foursquare is even giving out temporary tattoos to commemorate those achievements.”
Why all the fuss over this one conference? Jenna Wortham of the New York Times wrote on today’s Bits blog:
“For start-up hopefuls, capturing the fancy of the attendees is almost as important as checking out the panels and parties. The high concentration of tech savants supplies a rare opportunity for companies to woo the eyes and clicks of early adopters and influential Twitter users and bloggers capable of elevating their sites and services out of obscurity.”
SXSW runs today through Sunday March 21st and in that time frame Foursquare and Gowalla hope that the heavy hitters in tech will not only adopt their social networks into their daily lives, but spread the word to the masses. One location at a time.
March 12th, 2010
By Ben Haber
Earlier this week New York Times business reporter Zachery Kouwe resigned following a plagiarism debacle. While attention was originally drawn to an article that appeared exceptionally similar to a story in The Wall Street Journal, an investigation found that additional articles by Kouwe appear to have been plagiarized from various other media outlets.
Kouwe’s job was focused on writing for the Times‘ DealBook section and blog, which requires relatively short posts and articles about the large amount of business-related news.
While I was not in Kouwe’s position, I’d imagine that he spent most of his days browsing through press releases and news to identify topics for the blog, and used these releases and article as sources for information. Yes, he should have been more diligent in writing this information in his own words, but I don’t think this is entirely his fault – there is a problem with the system.
As blogs and breaking news reporting have taken over our news cycle, reporters have begun using other media outlets as sources more regularly. It’s easy to simply throw in a boxed quote onto a blog post – and enables you to get the information to your readers more efficiently and quickly then re-writing it yourself. However, if Kouwe simple posted large amounts of Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek content into his articles, the Times’ would suddenly look like the Business Insider – which they definitely don’t want.
While only Kouwe knows if his plagiarism debacle was intentional or not, it’s clear that his job was to produce a lot of content daily through news announcements and articles, because there was no way he had enough time to actually investigate news like in the past. Is it his fault that he wrote his articles a little too carelessly or the Times’ fault for putting him in this position to begin with?
February 19th, 2010
By Molly Galler
Paul Levy is the CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston, but that is probably not why you recognize his name.
In addition to his post as Chief Executive Officer of a major teaching hospital in a world renowned medical hub, he is also the founder and author of a health care blog called Running a Hospital and is an active Twitter user from the handle @PaulFLevy.
We met with Paul yesterday afternoon to hear about his social media success and naturally, to pick his brain.
Paul began his talk by saying, “All communications from a company should reflect that company’s values.” Agree.
He went on to say that, “At our place, the mission is to treat our patients the way we would want a member of our own family treated.” Agree again. As a side note, Paul continually referred to BIDMC as “our place,” giving a sincere sense of responsibility, community and family to the place he drives into each morning for work.
Given his position on corporate communication, and his company’s mission, in 2006 he decided he’d like to start a blog; a blog that reflected the company’s values and furthered their mission. Thus, Running a Hospital was born.
One of the first blog posts Paul published that caused quite a stir, publically disclosed central line infection rates at the hospital. The hospital staff had set a goal to lower infection rates, and Paul wanted to share their progress. He didn’t ask permission, he just posted it. Does that make you nervous?
The response did something miraculous. Knowing that their success was being publically documented, the medical staff felt an additional resurgence and enthusiasm for meeting their goal. Paul said, “That was the moment I like to say I invented transparency as a management tool.”
Not only did he see the blog as opportunity to motivate and reward his staff, but he had another idea. What if all the other areas hospital also posted their infection rates? Let’s just say, the response was not positive. I believe the word Paul used was “hostile.” No surprise here, as the BIDMC team committed to reducing their rates and sharing their progress, other hospitals felt threatened and exposed. Hello, competitive edge.
While they may have started to position themselves uniquely from the other local hospitals by sharing information on the blog, did it impact their business and revenue?
You bet it did. The Vanguard health system began to send its patients to the BIDMC emergency room instead of a competitor they had long been referring their patients to. This referral shift caused a 10% increase in patient volume. Not too shabby.
While the medical community is clearly paying attention to the blog (it is currently ranked #11 on the Healthcare100.com blog list), is anyone else?
You bet. When speaking to reporters at the Boston Globe, New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Paul will frequently begin to tell a story and the reporter will interrupt and say, “I know, I read it on your blog.”
When I asked why he chose to communicate through a blog, Paul asks, “Why wouldn’t I use a tool like this? I can share my point of view with a much larger audience than I ever could via a medium like say, the telephone.” He also goes on to say, “A blog is a lower risk method of communication. There is no risk of being misquoted.” If you are wondering if he really writes each post himself, he says, “I assure you my media team does not write these posts, in fact, I get in trouble for scooping reporters on stories without knowing it! I get the idea to write about something, and I do.”
When asked how patients have responded to the blog, Paul shares that, “Patients seem to enjoy the blog. Several of them have sent me their personal stories and when I ask permission to share the stories via the blog they always say yes. Then they forward it to everyone they know.” I think we’ve all been guilty of that type of family email!
Paul’s social media reach extends far beyond the blog. He is an active Twitter user with over 2,900 followers. He only follows 170 people which he explains are, “people I trust and who I am interested in. Their tweets have become my news stream. Twitter has become my librarian.”
Paul is also an active user of Facebook. In fact, during his talk he encouraged everyone in the room to “friend” him. He shared that he receives comments and messages from employees and friends in their twenties who he would otherwise never hear from via corporate email. He is on Facebook to reach people where they are, via the mode of communication they identify with.
Paul has also worked with his team on pages on the social networking site Grateful Nation. They have an employee challenge to see who can raise the most funds for relief efforts in Haiti. They also have a team running the Boston Marathon and that team has put their fundraising pages on Grateful Nation.
Paul Levy is a man who rather than fear the uncontrollable nature of social media has decided to dive in, learn, create, and share via the myriad of available social media tools and networks.
He has inspired his staff both inside and outside the workplace, he has challenged his competitors, and he has positively impacted his business’ bottom line. Now that’s called running a hospital.
February 2nd, 2010
By Molly Galler
Back in October 2008, I wrote a post about charitable organizations embracing donations via text message to help meet their end of year fundraising goals. This week the island nation of Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake and two high profile charities, the Red Cross and Yele (founded by Haitian musician Wyclef Jean), urged those wishing to send aid to make a donation not via check, email, or even online donations, instead they asked for one simple item – a text message.
By text messaging a special code to the Red Cross or Yele you could make a donation to relief efforts in Haiti with the push of just a few keys on your phone. Last week I wrote about some of the exciting mobile technologies unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and its clear that the mobile trend is not just for tech, it has spread to non-profit.
The Red Cross text message donations are being managed by a company called mGive. mGive’s chief executive, Tony Aiello, told Jenna Wortham of the New York Times, “Catastrophic fund-raising is different from the everyday fund-raising that we help facilitate. This is a huge tragedy, and we simply hope to help provide relief. . . Mobile giving is currently outpacing the early days of online giving.”
How popular is the donation method exactly?
In an interview with MSNBC’s Suzanne Choney, Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless said, “All mobile texters in the United States have contributed $4 million to the Red Cross Haiti earthquake relief effort, the largest outpouring of charitable support by texting in history — by far.”
Nelson went on to say, “Previous donating-via-text message efforts raised $400,000 after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and $200,000 after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami by all wireless customers in the U.S.”
And it doesn’t end there. To get out the word about donating via text, concerned individuals posted the text message codes on a plethora of social networks, making the plea viral.
Jennifer Van Grove of Mashable wrote a post today praising the Red Cross’ decision to use mobile and social media to raise awareness and more importantly, to raise funds. Van Grove said, “The Red Cross’s involvement in the relief effort is to be commended. Not only did it immediately set up the simplest donation method possible, but its social media presence and outreach, when combined with the State Department’s involvement, has turned this into a viral funding initiative, topping Twitter trends and inspiring action.”
This week it has become clear the most effective method of raising funds is to reach people where they are: on their phones and on social networks. When launching a fundraising campaign, in the wake of a crisis or otherwise, fundraisers should consider that their staring point is in fact mobile.
January 14th, 2010
By Molly Galler
This week is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and each morning we’ve been inundated with updates on the newest unveilings from the electronics giants.
Today’s news seems to be focused on the internet going mobile. I am not talking about on your laptop or on your smart phone; I am talking, actually on the move. In your car.
Yes, that’s correct Ford has announced it will soon make an internet dashboard that will become a standard feature in all of its vehicles.
In today’s New York Times article titled “Despite Risks, Internet Creeps Onto Car Dashboards,” Ashlee Vance and Matt Ritchell give all the details of the new system:
“A complex new dashboard console from Ford, which it plans to unveil Thursday, brings the car firmly into the land of electronic gadgets. The 4.2-inch color screen to the left of the speedometer displays information about the car, like the fuel level, while a companion screen on the right shows things like the name of a cellphone caller or the title of the digital song file being played. An eight-inch touch screen tops the central console, displaying things like control panels and, when the car is not moving, Web pages. The system has Wi-Fi capability, two U.S.B. ports and a place to plug in a keyboard — in short, many of the features of a standard PC. The automakers’ efforts are backed by companies that make chips for PCs and that want to see their processors slotted into the 70 million cars sold worldwide each year.”
In addition to the new dashboard USA Today is reporting that Ford is also commissioning tech companies to create apps for this new system, one of which will read your tweets from Twitter out loud while you drive.
Obviously the concern here is safety. What does Ford have to say for itself? Jim Buczkowski, the director of global electrical and electronics systems engineering at Ford said, “We are trying to make that driving experience one that is very engaging.”
While in general, the concern here is that distracted drivers make for unsafe driving conditions for all, from a PR and marketing perspective, this also changes the game.
Currently, tradition media, both print and broadcast, is struggling to hold onto it’s advertisers who are opting for the higher traffic online and mobile outlets. Without advertising it is impossible from some of these traditional outlets to stay afloat. Brining mobile off of laptops and smart phones and into people’s cars give those advertisers one more reason to choose to advertise with online and mobile, as opposed to with traditional print or broadcast media which could be the final nail in the coffin for some of these struggling outlets.
Is Ford driving away with the future of traditional media?
January 7th, 2010