Coolhunt Log #14
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Scott Cooper, MIT researcher with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Steve O'Keefe, moderator
MODERATOR: Could you tell us where you're calling from?
SCOTT: Today, I'm calling from my home office in Newton Highlands, MA.
MODERATOR: I'd like to remind everyone of the rules of the Coolhunt. We do at least one site, one blog post, one comment on another blog, and try to make one personal connection via email or phone.
MODERATOR: I'd like to mention that next week on the Coolhunt we're going to have a guest speaker with Syndicom's SpineConnect.
SCOTT: I'd like to report that I posted to dailytech and mediavidea, praising them for their reporting on the big story on Digg reversing its position on posting some antipiracy code. YouTube also spread the code via a video where one guy wrote a song
that included the code, and it has played more than 45,000 times. It appears that the code is being enshrined.
MODERATOR: Today we're starting our search on The Wall Street Journal online. We're looking at this because we looked at The New York Times yesterday and discussed how the news items often lead our coolhunts.
SCOTT: News organizations are scrambling to discover ways to stay viable. Last week the Boston Globe was so desperate that they were allowing advertisers to slap stickers onto their newspapers. Local news agencies now are asking viewers to send in cell phone videos for news stories. Newspapers have to refocus what they see as their mission. National news organizations are focusing more and more on local news, and The Wall Street Journal seems to be lagging behind in nonpaying content.
MODERATOR: In today's news Rupert Murdoch has offered a $60 stock price on The Wall Street Journal stock. Scroll down the page in the What's News column to the article beginning "Dow Jones's board took." This is one of the free articles about the $5 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. You'd think that Murdoch would want the journal to change to make people pay for some articles while selling ads to offer other articles for free.
SCOTT: The Wall Street Journal does well financially with it's business model because it is the newspaper of record on business journalism.
MODERATOR: The Financial Times of London (http://www.ft.com/home/us) also charges for its online content, as do some other organizations. From the home page in the At a Glance box to the right and midway down, in the Most Popular column on the right there's an advice article on buying a laptop where Walter Mossberg gives some tips, both in the online article and in a video. However, there's no way to respond to the article. Allowing readers to comment allows a more robust community. Now, we'll see how The Wall Street Journal handles blogging. At the bottom of a post there are no comments. But The Wall Street Journal also offers many articles where blogging on them is not available.
SCOTT: There are 93 comments for the second one, but the visual presentation does not connote a vibrant community. It doesn't look dynamic visually.
MODERATOR: Also, you can't comment on a comment, or review and rate comments. But they do allow you to comment anonymously. Some even look as though they've been edited or truncated. It's not very Web 2.0 friendly. Now type in "All Things Digital" back in Google. This is a very sharp, colorful site and features Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher on the opening page. On this site you can add comments to the articles.
SCOTT: This is fascinating. It makes you wonder if All Things Digital exists because journal reporters rebel against strictures of The Wall Street Journal, or maybe because The Wall Street Journal is sitting on the fence regarding print versus online content.
SCOTT: Scroll down to All Things Digital on the bottom panel and click on "Read more." This takes you to the About Us page. Down at the bottom left is a block beginning "Because the site is wholly owned. . . ."
MODERATOR: So it's very interesting that they mention that this is an autonomous start-up owned wholly by Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal.
SCOTT: Do we know what would happen if we reposted something from here to another site.
MODERATOR: I think reposting might be bad, but linking to it would be educational.
SCOTT: I noticed some snootiness regarding their comment policy, insinuating that comment quality on blogs other than Dow Jones are of a lower quality. It seems a bit elitist.
MODERATOR: Now I'd like us to go to nola.com. We call it the website for the Times-Picayune, the paper of record for New Orleans.
SCOTT: It's like The Boston Globe at http://www.bostonglobe.com/, which can also be reached through http://www.boston.com/.
MODERATOR: Last year at the conference in New Jersey of the National Association of Online Journalists, online publications became a valuable means of news dissimination. After Hurricane Katrina, nola.com crashed many times because of heavy use. John Donnelly said at the conference that 80% of the readers for the print version don't use the online version, and that 80% of online readers don't use the print version. He summed it up that there are two kinds of people who want differing forms of news access.
SCOTT: That makes perfect sense. News organizations are making attempts to direct people to the online world. Note that evening network news broadcasts show that more can be read about news stories on their website. They're looking to get people from every direction.
SCOTT: I notice that here in Boston, channel 5 has been the award-winning serious network that directs you to online news stories. More and more, the reporters on TV are blogging on the websites.
MODERATOR: Notice on nola.com the blog by Walter Williams of Mr. Bill Saturday Night Live fame on the left near the bottom of the page. While he may not be popular enough to have a column in the print version of the Picayune, he has a blog here with the occasional comment. Back to the previous page leading to Mr. Bill, BLOGS & FORUMS, we'll view the full list of forums. You've seen the blogs, now see what the citizens are saying in the forums. You may have to enter profile information, which you wonder how accurate the data going in is, because personally I never enter the correct information on myself for age, gender, zip code, etc.
MODERATOR: Many of the social networking measurement devices, such as We Feel Fine, don't ask for information but rather cull it in an automated manner. Note that there are a number of comments nesting under comments on the Marigny/Bywater neighborhood, which is where my office is located. You'll see about 40 comments on our page here today. Post 11948 starts "Does anyone know who" from May 2, asking for removal of a dead cat under a house. You'll see here how many different pieces of advice this person gets from political philosopy to humor to Metro Disposal System website policy information. The point is that the feel and content of this forum, albeit localized, is citizen journalism, which is not even on the blog anymore. People are posting neighborhood surveillance information such as who's working on power lines, who looks suspicious, etc. It's a very interesting subculture.
SCOTT: Boston.com also has some good neighborhood blogs at boston-online.com, which is a directory showing numerous neighborhoods.
MODERATOR: I'm going to take the link to forums to see if it's similar to the threaded ones on nola.com. There are discussion boards here, and you can get a sense of the traffic showing 2,805 topics and 50,740 posts from 1,038 registered users. Analysis of the numbers starts to reveal meaningful results.
SCOTT: We see in nola.com that this is real life going on.
MODERATOR: It's almost minute by minute. There are many questions regarding information that any city that's undergone disaster would see. It's a good referral networking system.
MODERATOR: Let's look at The Wall Street Journal opinion page called OpinionJournal, which is not accessible from The Wall Street Journal home page. This is a list of editorials, political diaries, etc. Just the Political Diary blog costs $3.95/month to find out what people are saying.
SCOTT: Note the sample editions of Political Diaries are over a year old.
MODERATOR: We have just enough time to go to TheWashingtonPost.com. You can access it without a subscription and there is some premium content available. Take the link to Capital Briefings, scrolling about midway down and in the center of the page under NEWS COLUMNS AND BLOGS. Paul Kane has a log dated today, only a couple hours old. You'll also see that there are two comments on the FCC fines piece. This shows broad-based comment participation.
SCOTT: One thing that the Washington Post does is a "politics blog" encouraging their bloggers into being talking heads on TV such as on MSNBC's Countdown to feed traffic both ways, on TV and online.
MODERATOR: We are out of time. Thank you, Scott. We've been talking today with the co-author of Coolhunting: Chasing Down the Next Big Thing. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog -- whether they're about any connection problems you're experiencing or commentary on the subject of today's coolhunt. The transcript of today's coolhunt will be posted with previous ones at The Swarm Creativity Blog: http://swarmcreativity.blogspot.com.
Join us on Friday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper.
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