Friday, August 13, 2010

Navel gazing on a Friday morning

Back in June I decided to stop publishing posts to TalkingNewMedia and move on to other projects. But a week into July I couldn't help myself and I posted something new. Then I decided that I would continue posting here but cut back the effort considerably while I began work on "the next big thing", whatever that turns out to be.

This decision was partly based on the nice feedback I received, especially from publishers and developers outside the U.S. I spoke to media pros in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Luxembourg and other places that, it turns out, were happy to see that TNM was still alive. Traffic has rebounded a bit from the early summer lull, but TNM will never be an actual media venture since serving the media industry with a news and information service is, well, not worth it.

Looking at the recent traffic reports its fun to see all the international traffic. For reasons I can not explain, Belgium is where TNM gets the second most traffic -- maybe we need to do a TNM meet-up in Brussels?

But the Google maps shows no traffic at all in China and most of Africa, and I can not help but think this says something (though I'll leave that to you to decide).

One thing that has struck me about media journalism is the absolute pettiness of the media outlets that serve this industry. One thing they pretty much all share in common is an unwillingness to link and credit their sources. Every editor and reporter pretends that they have discovered a story for themselves. Give me a break.

Unlike the tech field, where sites routinely link and credit each other, the media field seems allergic to the idea that there are others out there working. I solved this problem early on by creating a small section that grabs headlines from a small list of sites to share with TNM readers. Let's be upfront, I thought, about what is out there.

The newspaper industry was saddened late last year when news hit that E&P would be folding, having failed to find a buyer. I actually posted test posts on the subject back in December before my official ribbon cutting on January 4. (My very first test post was about the first Sports Illustrated tablet demo.)

In January news came that the trade magazine would be rescued. But here we are eight months later and E&P still has its Nielsen era website design intact, a testament to the industry's resistance to change.

(In the area of B2B media, both Folio: and BtoBOnline have created websites that serve their daily e-newsletters instead of web readers -- what's up with that?)

If you read TNM regularly you know that I normally don't point the finger at the trade press that covers our industry. But it gets frustrating being in an industry where its thought-leaders tell publishers "don't develop for the iPad", or don't know a link from a quote. Come on, it's 2010, for crying out loud.

Here is an apology to the folk over at RareWire, the developer of the new Atlantic Monthly iPad app. I spoke yesterday to founder and CTO Matt Angell about his new company and their plans for tablet app development.

Sadly, I learned a tough lesson about what happens when you upgrade your smartphone's OS: some of your apps may stop working. You see I use a great little microphone from Blue called a Mikey. It attaches to the end of your iPhone and delivers great recordings. But for some reason yesterday I recorded 32 minutes of . . . nothing. And since I don't take notes, and since I love including as many direct quotes as possible in my interview posts, it turns out that this was 32 minutes wasted.

Hopefully we can redo the interview, but if not I know that RareWire will be releasing some new media apps very soon and I can use the occasion to give TNM readers a little more background on this new developer of tablet media apps.