We’re all journalists!

Yesterday Jonathan was involved in a bit of a news incident. One of the buses at his college exploded into flames as it was sitting waiting to leave the college where he studies.

This happened around 4:30pm. According to the local press the fire services were called at 4:26.

By 17:44 the first comments were being added to a Facebook group.

A bit later than this an article was being written on the local newspaper’s site featuring photos and videos taken by students on their mobile phones. The article was posted to Twitter at 18:17.

By 18:44 one of the students (Sam Pratt) posted:

Within two hours and 10 mins since the Runshaw bus fire, a Facebook group was created, 4 videos and 12 photos were on it and the LEP had already covered it on their website. How’s THAT for social media?

By 20:48 it was in the BBC web site with what looks like a security camera picture.

The BBC site has a single 150 word article with a single picture.

The Lancashire Evening Post site has a 650 word article a single video and 7 photographs. There’s also 8 comments (mostly pointing people to the Facebook group)

This morning there are nearly 1200 members of the Facebook group. There are 30 photographs and 8 videos. There are are over 180 different comment threads as well as comments on lots of the photos and videos. Some videos have also been posted to YouTube.

I’m sure that this scenario is being played out all over the world right now because we’re all reporters of the news now.

The Lancashire Evening Post sites say: “See The Evening Post on Friday for exclusive pictures and comments from eyewitnesses", why should I? I’ve already read the eyewitness reports from hundreds of students and seen more than enough photographic evidence.

I’m sure that there is still a need for journalists, but it needs to be about adding value.

I could spend hours doing this…

Discipline is such a key issue for productive work especially when there are so many distractions around. Let me give you my ultimate time wasting recipe:

  1. Check your corporate email for unread items.Island Hoping
  2. Read the first two emails by which time you should be bored
  3. Wonder what is happening on Twitter.
  4. Browse through the fresh set of updated. It is essential that you are following enough people to guarantee a fresh crop of tweets every time you look. This is easily done by following a number of news accounts.
  5. Once bored of tweets skip over to your RSS reader to see if there are any updates. Like twitter it is vital to be following a whole stack of feeds. The syndicated and group blogs are the best for guaranteeing updates on every visit, LifeHacker and BetaNews are good examples.
  6. Read posts until bored. The key is to never get to the end of your unread list ensuring that return visits result in further reading.
  7. Continuing the blog theme jump over to your WordPress Dashboard. This is the first of many information sources that you are convinced give you important information each time you visit.
  8. From your WordPress dashboard take particular interest in one or maybe two vital statistics justifying your next stop – Google Analytics.
  9. Google Analytics will highlight some interesting searches that have reached your site – it always does. Justify to yourself a quick trip to Google Webmaster Tools for further information.
  10. If there is any danger of you getting to the end of the statistics before you have successfully wasted enough of your valuable time you can also skip through the Bing Webmaster Tools and the Yahoo Webmaster tools. Three search tools are normally enough, but if you want to waste even more time other search engines are available.
  11. Your next stop is your personal email – again, read a few posts but never get to the end of the unread items available.
  12. Hopefully your personal email will highlight some justification for going to Facebook, but if it doesn’t just go there anyway. Don’t waste your time on applications or silly games – that would be a real waste of time. Spend time reading status updates and looking at photos of people you have never met.
  13. It’s time now to graze through some of the corporate tools that you have available. Portals and dashboards provide more information than you could possible consume. This can soon be justified as work even when you are only mooching around. Justifiable time wasting is the best form.
  14. The next activity that is vital to your time wasting credibility is your ability to browse around new sites. The BBC is particularly good for this there are endless possibilities in news and Sport.

If you are in danger of having to do some real work, by getting to the end of the list, you can, at any point, return to the top of the list.

If you have followed the guidelines correctly there should always be something to do.

Also, remember that you can carry on these same distractions when away from the office by use of a SmartPhone or other such device. Location should not be an inhibitor.

Following this recipe should ensure that you always look busy and avoid unnecessary activities that may result in something being produced. Alternatively, you could just redefine these activities as work and then you will have completed everything there is to complete.

Working through this kind of distraction reaction process is what I’m sure many people do and will do, but it isn’t good for you, or for your brain. Being able to cope with the lure of these attention giving sirens will be a defining feature of the future workforce.

Social Networking – Changing Society

I’ve just sat down for tea (dinner if you are in the south of England or some other countries) with the family.Loch Awe

The topic of discussion this even was a story about a friend of my daughter who had been told off in school by here teacher.

What for I heard you asking?

For putting on here Facebook status: “I hate [the teacher]

I’m sure that this little story is being played out with different characters and different technology all over the world but the essence is the same.

It’s a changing society in which we are all going to have to learn new skills and take different precautions.

It never would have happened in my day.

Please make me one of these: Universal profile

Jimmy and Grandad 2.0I have identities all over the Internet, and internally; blog, flickr, linkedin, facebook, etc. each one of them have some form of a personal profile where I get to talk about who I am and what I do.

There are lots of very clever people working on the problem of how I get to these things without having to authenticate everywhere. But I want more than that, I want to be able to have a single place where I have my profile information.

Why should I need to tell each of these systems the same information? If I change my job it should be updated within the relevant systems.

The emerging identity federation model probably has a lot to tell us in this area. People started from the premise that identities should be stored in one place and every other system should trust that one place. This didn’t work, because there wasn’t trust between all of the systems. The same will be true for profiles. I don’t want everyone to see all of the profile, I only want the people to see the parts of my profile that are relevant to the access that they have and the system that they are using.

Technologies like Facebook Connect go someway towards resolving this problem, but I’m not sure that they have really learnt the lessons from the identity people.

I want to be in control of what goes where, but I don’t want to have to maintain the same stuff everywhere.

I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that this is a problem, and as the famous quote goes: “"The future is already here – it’s just unevenly distributed." – William Gibson. So I’m also sure that I have missed some form of amazing development in this area that has the potential to make my winging sound like the ramblings of an idiot.

Anyone else think that this is a problem we need to get resolved?