Mumbai Attacks and the Future of News

It’s too early to digest the still moving situation in India. But watching twitter and the Indian government’s response to the messages being posted from around the world it is clear a new era in world wide event coverage has begun.

Twitterific!

I know some of you are just desperate for more commentary on the worlds of policy, politics, and pop culture….well its time for the gift that keeps on giving…I’m on twitter. Interested…check me out…

twitter.com/jamesbedell

Did Obama Twitter You?

I think we can all agree one thing that has helped get Obama to the rarefied air he is without his entire team’s mastering the art of publicity on the Web. The Web has been around long enough that this isn’t the first time it was a major factor but they are certainly using it to a massive advantage. One of the things I loved that Obama did was announcing that he had picked Joe Biden as his running mate by using Twitter. Twitter is far and away the most used micro-blogging web application in use today. As of this very moment, over 66,000 people receive updates immediately as they are posted.

So what is so special about Twitter? Can’t his web site do the same thing? The main advantage of Twitter is that you can send and receive “Tweets” from any cell phone that can text message. Now, I’m sure there was a large amount of people waiting by there phone or on the computer in their underwear waiting for the announcement that came at 3 o’clock this morning, but in the grand scheme of things the actual announcement was not the big deal. It is the fact that it got even more people interested in the campaign.

The very cool thing about Barack Obama is that it appears he has almost as many people he follows as follow him. I highly doubt Barack is even the one doing the “tweeting” or reading of these messages, it is probably some young volunteers or the like. Yet it opens up the possibility of easy two-way communication with him if he were so inclined.

You can follow Obama on Twitter and follow this fascinating campaign in yet another way.

What? Another Blogging Buzzword?!@$

Let’s face it. Most of us reading this will have a blog. I’m sure all of us belong to at least one social network (Facebook, MySpace, etc.). I will bet that a small number of us belong to a micro-blogging service. Micro-blogging is starting to explode all over the place. There are two main ones out there right now (at least in my not so humble eyes) that cover opposite ends of the micro-blogging spectrum. There is the now infamous Twitter, and its complete alter ego called Plurk. I would like to introduce you to Plurk, as I feel it has something that Twitter does not lend itself well to: extended conversations.

Plurk sets itself apart in many ways, but the first thing you will notice is that it is not oriented top to bottom like a normal web page. Instead, Plurk completely ignores the way the rest of the web works by having a left-right timeline instead. At first, you think this is one of stupidest design choices you have ever seen. However, once you get used to it, it actually works quite well.

Plurk also introduces the concept of “karma”. Basically, the more “positive” things you do, the higher your karma will rise. The more reciprocal friends you have, the more involved discussions you participate in, the more people you invite, and more will help to add to your karma. Unlike something like Twitter, it does encourage you to actually participate and not just pimp your blog about your cat all the time. As your karma rises, you also unlike the ability to change your profile design with more exclusive designs and more.

As stated before, Plurk lends itself to more extended conversations and you will find plenty of very serious conversations going on at any time. Plurk does have its quirks. It is missing the one and only feature I truly miss from Twitter: the ability to update by text messaging. However, by the sounds of it this should be coming soon. Since there is more actual chatting though, it’s not super necessary as it is with Twitter. The orientation of the timeline will take some getting used to as well.

So do you really need yet another site to keep an eye on daily? The one thing I will say about Plurk and Twitter is that I have found a lot of like minded people and definitely set up some business contacts on both systems. Look to see more from Plurk and all of the other micro-blogging services in the mainstream very soon.