How Social Media is Changing the Definition of News

This year Twingly was at BlogWorld Expo (#bwe09) in fabulous Las Vegas – the yearly expo for new media enthusiasts and proffessionals. I participated in a panel session with Mike Lee, Robert Scoble and Mark Evans about how social media is changing the definition of News. The discussion circulated around an array of topics like business models, credibility, the role of the editor and syndication. Here follows a brief summary of what was said on scene.

Competition and narrow margins lead to a dumbing-down of news in general. Mainstream media moves towards the lowest common denominator in reporting, reducing it to entertainment in order to find a message that is interesting to as many people as possible.

Media is very far from the ideals of the 60’s when news were all about doing the right thing and educating the readers. Especially in the US a whole day of news reporting can be spent almost on a single story that is mere entertainment and have very little actual impact on people’s lives.

One of the big changes going on behind the scenes is that online news are getting a large part of distribution through the social web. Google is still the largest driver to news sites but Facebook and Twitter has become often the second largest source of traffic for news from global sites all the way down to hyper-locals. According to Robert there are also news sites in the US that see as much as a third of their pageviews coming from Iphone users, which is an incredible amount.

One of the needs journalism serves is to verify sources of breaking news. The same sanity checks are not always performed when news are published through social media. The realtime web has driven the news cycle down to five seconds and a rumour can very quickly spread to millions of people without verification.

There are some trends that counter this problem, as people become more and more aware of the issue they will be more reluctant to spread rumors without verification. More and more people are also walking around with cellphones capable of shooting high quality video and photos, increasing the probability that eyewitnesses can publish proof of what actually happened.

Curation is rapidly becoming a buzz-word with services like Twingly Channels and Twitter Lists allowing people to create news flows and share with others.

In order to adapt to the new media landscape, traditional media needs to commit to change. There is a very high inertia from within the organizations and their cost structures. They are also in great need of finding a sustainable business model.

A telling fact of the importance of social media is that for the first time BlogWorld Expo has major sponsorships from brands like Ford and Bud Light. Companies are increasingly aware of the impact of the social web.

In conclusion, the social media has indeed changed the distribution of news, diminshed the news cycle into seconds and made it both easier and more difficult to verify news stories and sources. Among our media partners, we see many good example on how to interact with the social media and the real time web. Since the readers are hooked on the real time web the media houses are following. Exactly how and in what way is to early to say, but there is no doubt that the effect on the definition of news is permanent.

*Thanks*

A few days before new years eve and it’s time to start summarizing the year of 2009. During the past year, Twingly has received several awards, statements on honourable “lists” and other kinds of appreciation.

Internetworld: Swedens 100 best websites
Readwriteweb: Top 10 international web products of 2009
Readwriteweb: Top 100 real-time web companies
SIME Rising Stars of the North
IT challenger of the year in Sweden
Among the 7 hottest web companies in Sweden
The Techcrunch Europe top 100 Startups
Uppstickarna 2009

We are very proud of being lifted this way and we love the attention. So here’s a special thanks to all of you that have awarded us in any way. It means a lot to us!


Image credit (CC): jaredchapman

A little Social Charity Wonder from Berlin

Sometimes great things happen as a result of many little things. Like real social stuff for and from real people, and even in real-time (not to forget to mention the trend of 2010).

Today happened a small fairytale resembling the Christmas Carol from Charles Dickens. Place: Berlin Charlottenburg in Germany.

It started last Friday when the blogger Sachar Kriwoj involved people on Twitter and via his blog Massenpublikum (German for “mass audience”) to help a little flower shop in his district from being closed. The story is that the owner was forced to close the shop for half a year because of a severe health issue. When re-opening it a few months ago he quickly realised that it would be too hard to build up again what he achieved previously. Therefore he decided to close the shop after Christmas, abandon his dream and simply work as an employee in another flower-shop, applications he sent already. Like he put it “There are people who are worse off than me”.

Now, to Sachar’s girlfriend this was not just any flower shop but her favourite one. The two of them learnt the story and that in total 10.000 Euro were needed in order to keep the shop open. 4000 Euro could already be collected via private sources, but where to take the rest from?

Sachar added the case simply as a new project on Betterplace.org which helps to collect money for projects worldwide and of all backgrounds. He tweeted the message out to his followers like “if everyone of my followers would give less than 2 Euros then we would make it”. Lots of retweets followed and lots of people got engaged during just 5 days – and despite skeptical voices even from the blogosphere the target was reached! 144 supporters helped to make it happen, and thanks to blogger Sascha Lobo who put in the last couple of hundred Euro, even one day earlier than the deadline, which was the end of day tomorrow, on Christmas Eve.

The result: the shop owner has an entirely new perspective for 2010, something he did not even dare to dream of about five days ago. Sachar and especially his girlfriend like many other people keep their little favourite flower-shop.
And what about the ones who tweeted, blogged and contributed financially? They can be very proud of being part of something really special.

The #blumenladen (“flower shop” in German) is not only one of the best examples for the true and positive powers of Social Media I ever experienced. It is also one of the great examples to show how to use Social Media for Charity purposes and shows how powerful it actually can be.

Wouldn’t it be great to make more of this happen in 2010?

Merry Christmas everyone, and have a great start into a happy, healthy and successful New Year 2010!

Twingly Predictions for the Realtime Web 2010

With the Realtime Web hitting the mainstream in 2009, the outlook for 2010 couldn’t be more compelling. The realtime web will get more available to the mainstream audience and we will see an explosion of truly realtime conversations where the interaction is more back and forth than today’s semi-broadcast usage patterns. Below are the trends and events we see will shape the realtime web during 2010.

Facebook will continue their path towards becoming a search engine for the realtime web, and their take will include searching within your own social graph. We predict their public search engine will include search options to limit search results mirroring the new privacy settings. Thus allowing users to search within the history of friends, friends of friends or everyone.

Twitter clients like TweetDeck and Seesmic will open up access to their users for plugins from other services. At the same time, other services for the realtime web will implement the Twitter API, creating new usage patterns for existing Twitter clients. There will no longer be any need to build a desktop app from scratch, it will be easier to plug your application into an existing app. Twitter unleashing their firehose will also increase the usability of web apps and Twitter clients. And we will see a new set of services using data mining techniques on the global flow of tweets, while other services will emphasize the hyperlocal.

With the increasing availability and quality of location-based filtering for the realtime web, it will become more and more valuable for individual users to be on the scene of events, to be an eyewitness instead of just repeating reports from others. Photos and video will become an increasingly important part of the reporting, in order for individuals to back up their accounts of what is going on, right now, right there.

The value created by this development will foremost be leveraged by event organizers and publishers covering events and news. Blogs and news outlets will increasingly thrive on people giving attention to the present in real time.

The most promising outlook for 2010 is that in a year from now it will not be only Twitter and Facebook that represent the realtime web towards a larger audience. Realtime search-engines and desktop clients will present a richer echosystem, including photos and videos, geolocationed to allow streams of information to give a clear and, more often than before, a truthful picture of ongoing events.

Image credit:

TVI24 new Portuguese Twingly Partner

From today the Portuguese TV-Channel TVI24 is connecting their site to the blogosphere by using Twingly.

This means we now are working with four partner sites in Portugal and we think it’s great to see another TV-partner joining just like SVT, BBC and TV2. Four big partners in Portugal also make it to one of our biggest markets after Sweden, Norway and Germany.

But it’s not just an important market for us, Portugal is also having one of the most interesting blogospheres in Europe with a lot of debate, conversation, engagement and of course – a lot of linking to each other and newspapers. It’s therefore wonderful to see more newspapers and companies understanding the value of connecting to the blogosphere by linking back to the blogs linking to them.

Don’t forget to check out the Twingly Top 100 to see the most influential blogs in Portuguese, lots of these not only being situated in Portugal but also in Brazil.

TopLeague.co.uk joins the Twingly League!

Today we are extremely proud to announce our second media partner in the UK after BBC with BBC Shownar!

The football site TOPLEAGUE.co.uk starts now linking back to the blogosphere using Twingly. Thus they are our first UK partner for Blogstream.

On TOPLEAGUE keen followers of the English Premier League have the possibility to get the latest news and podcasts related to their favourite weekend passtime and their favourite club.

Premier League is not only popular in England but all over Europe, even in Sweden lots of topleaguepeople follow how Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, ManU and the likes are doing during the season.
Naturally, footy is also a widely discussed topic in the blogosphere – and footy fans are passionate. As you might know best from yourself.

So if you’re a football lover and blogger then grasp the opportunity and be seen on TopLeague.co.uk by connecting to their articles.

Happy blogging!

Travelling 'n blogging with Fritidsresor

FritidsresorAnother great company is joining the partnersphere of Twingly: Swedish travel company Fritidsresor. They have just started to use Twingly Blogstream on Fritidsresor.se and will also implement Twingly on their travel community reslust.se later on.

As you might have noticed lately, many of our incoming customers are non-media-companies. It’s an exciting development, since it shows that a wider range of corporations are starting to understand the importance of bloggers. And more to come, stay tuned!

Twingly Live about #cop15 on DN.se, sponsored by Vattenfall

Today we’re excited to introduce a new business area for Twingly – sponsored realtime services for media web sites.

First up is a special version of Twingly Live for the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, #cop15. This Twingly Live is integrated directly at the Swedish news site DN.se and is sponsored by the energy company Vattenfall. It is the very first project testing our new sponsorship model for realtime services on media web sites.

We believe this solution is showing one of many possible ways into the future for media web sites, since it both connects the editorial content to the real time web and create new revenues for the web site. This is something our new rock star Annie will work on in the upcoming months, so please contact her if you’re interested in a partnership.

The Cop15 Twingly Live is showing news articles that tweets with the hashtag #cop15 is linking to. As always with Twingly Live and Channels, it’s totally realtime. And of course the service can be customized depending on the needs of our future partners.

Welcome Annie, our latest addition to the sales team

We’re pleased to tell you about another top notch addition to the Twingly team: Annie Sarabia is joining us as a Business Developer.

Annie has been working with advertising agencies in Austin, Miami and New York within media. She will now operate from our head office in Linköping. She will both work with our existing European markets as well as the US.

Her experience from media planning will be crucial for us when we now start to work with advertisers and our media partners to monetize the realtime web in new ways. This is a new business area for Twingly ahead from now on and Annie will start work on some different business development projects together with the rest of the team. One part of that project will be to start building relationships with media agencies.

We’ll recruit more rock stars to our team in 2010. If you think you’ll fit, please contact us!

Help making authorities more open with Twingly

Do you want authorities to be more open for bloggers? Well, now is your chance to make it happen. If you write about the Climate conference in Copenhagen next week, don’t forget to “twingla” www.se2009.eu.

One of our new customers this fall is The Swedish EU Presidency site, se2009.eu, that have been showing bloglinks on their articles for the past couple of weeks. To us, this is not only exciting because they’re a new type of customer, but also because they really are showing the way for how governments and official authorities should work with openess, transparency and social media in the future. As the editorial team of se2009.eu explained in their guest blog post here at The Twingly Blog:

“We are the first holders of the EU Presidency to connect our website to blogs in this way. This is a trial. After the end of the year, there will be no more news reports on se2009.eu and the trial is concluded. After this, we will evaluate our work and how Twingly has worked for us. We can already say that we would be pleased to see more authorities follow suit and try connecting their websites to blogs.”

To get this to work well, we need some help. Next week the Swedish EU Presidency will reach its height with the Climate conference in Copenhagen. We know many of you will blog about this and when you do so – we have a call to action for you: Link to se2009.eu!