Archive for September 6th, 2012

Today is my day for blogging about other people’s blogs. This time I’m recommending that you read Clay Shirky’s post about why we should save Homicide Watch. If you need more of a nudge, read my TBD post last year about Homicide Watch and an earlier crowdfunding effort.

If you need more of a nudge, check out Homicide Watch. It’s one of the best examples I’ve seen of a local journalism startup. I want it to survive and I hope you’ll contribute to its Kickstarter campaign (I have) to keep it going while founder Laura Norton Amico is at Harvard on a Nieman Fellowship. She needs almost $14,000 more in the next week to reach the $40,000 goal.

I want to see quality journalism thrive. I want to see Laura’s vision, enterprise and innovation rewarded. I want to see crowdfunding grow as a revenue source for quality journalism. Let’s make this work.





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Mathew Ingram

Mathew Ingram might be the digital-media commentator I agree with most often.

On the rare times that I beat him to blogging about a timely issue, I tend to read his post later and conclude that he said what I was trying to say, but he nailed it. And I can’t count how many times he has blogged about something I was meaning to blog about, and I just decided he said it better than I could, so I just tweeted a link to it with an approving comment and checked that off my list of stuff to blog about.

As Twitter has started being more controlling and less flexible with external developers, I have been struggling to find something to say. I know I should say something. I’ve been such a regular commentator about Twitter and an advocate that journalists should use Twitter that my silence on this Twitter business strategy has felt uncomfortable.

But I am embarrassingly ignorant about matters of development. That’s all really magic and mystery to me. When you say API, I still think of American Press Institute, not application programming interface (and I’m not 100 percent sure what that means). I’m reluctant to comment where I’m ignorant (though I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be a first).

For all my encouragement for journalists to use Twitter, I also have criticized Twitter for lousy customer service and wildly inaccurate location bugs (haven’t seen that problem for a while). Early in my days as a Twitter advocate, people often smugly or hopefully told me Twitter would be gone in by the next year (I first started hearing that about four years ago). And I told them that they might be right, but I would learn faster from Twitter about whatever pushes it aside than they would learn on whatever their primary news source is.

I have known that Twitter was going to make some changes to boost its revenue. That has been obvious for years. I anticipated some valuable services for businesses using Twitter and/or some premium features for individuals (I would pay for the ability to edit tweets, for better archival search and some other features). I saw some value in promoted tweets, but I knew those would be as annoying as they have been. Twitter seems to be seeking instead to take more control of the external development that has driven much of its growth.

External development has developed virtually all the features and products that have made Twitter so useful. sI suspect this move is going to backfire for Twitter. But I’m not smart enough in this area to say why or what they should do instead (I suspect and hope they will change course rather than going down in flames).


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