Edward Vielmetti has an interesting take on Ben Hammersley's post from yesterday re. metadata and publishing...
Metadata only works when you un-meta it and deal with it again as data. The list of metadata elements that I care enough to keep updating is not just meta; it's a first class real list, one that has to be treated as a first class citizen and not just some accidental system artifact.
Three points that have been rattling about in my head since reading Ben's and now Ed's post.
First, capturing and associating the metadata necessary for publishers needs to be as natural as possible. For a writer / journalist / blogger, or any type of content creator, that means that it not only needs to be part of the workflow, but it needs to actually add value to the piece they're creating. Hyperlinks are a simple example of this; they can illustrate a point, add context for the reader, act as a punchline. And annotating content with hyperlinks has become an easy and natural part of the writing process.
Second, workflow should focus on the things where humans add value; hyperlinks are obviously one, and non-obvious contextual tagging. Let machines do the obvious stuff -- scanning for proper nouns, place names, company names, addresses / locations, stock symbols, etc.
And third, as I've pointed out a few times here, I think the biggest challenge will be integrating the social and the real-time into the digital magazine experience. Clay Shirky made a great point at SxSW this year: that basically by definition content that's more than about 500 words long is not about now. So, what's the best way to connect content that was about then with a community experience that is about now? And how can all this (meta)data help?
Ben Hammersley comes through with part two of his three part series on what needs to happen to magazine publishing to take advantage of digital distribution. The key? Metadata.
The necessity above all else of keeping your metadata might seem like a geeky affectation – something that is really only of interest to librarians (itself not a bad reason) or trainspotterish data-completists – but it is in fact the simplest and cheapest route for a publisher to future-proof their business.
So why do everything you can to keep metadata intact? Because it’s from this information that new products can be automatically created, at a scale and rapidity that would be impossible otherwise. With every piece of metadata that you don’t throw away, you gain a factor more potential ways of slicing through your content and delivering it as a separate product, simply as a result of a database lookup.
See also Fred Wilson's post today, People First, Machines Second:
But 8tracks can now take the human intellligence that is contained in all of those playlists and do something interesting. They can have their machines go through all of them and create a 'best of best of' playlist. It could be just the most popular tracks across all of the best of 2009 playlists or it could be weighted by the times each playlist was played or it could be some other algorithm. My point is simple, if humans are doing the curation upfront, then you can turn the machines loose and get some interesting results.
When the Facebook data team released a bunch of data about diversity on their network, my first thought was "Oh, man -- can't wait to read Danah Boyd's blog on this..." Here she is, with a terrific understatement ("Of course, this is bloody messy.") and a crucial point on the different levels of access to social media.
It's not just a question of what you get to experience with your access, but what you get to experience with your friend group with access. In other words, if you're friends with 24/7 always-on geeks, what you're experiencing with social media is very different than if you're experiencing social media in a community where your friends all spend 12+ hours a day doing a form of labor that doesn't allow access to internet technologies.
Worth reading in full.
Just getting around to NY Mag's piece on The Warm-Fuzzy Web:
In this new world of nice netiquette, technology is designed to make it easier for everyone to love one another. After all, if you're not your "real self" online, how will Leighton Meester know it's you who loved her dress at the Teen Choice Awards?
Gold stars welcome on this post. After all, how else will I know that you love my oh-so-last-week link blogging?
One of my favorite music bloggers just also happens to be a well-known venture capitalist. Here's Fred Wilson's Top 10 Records of 2009.
I'm only a casual gamer, but I always enjoy reading Dan Cook's blog Lost Garden. Today he posted a few notes on where he sees the web-based Flash game market going in 2010; this item sticks out:
As developers figure out that the game lives in the cloud not on a portal, they'll start treating social networks as one of many marketing channels and stop equating 'social game' with Facebook alone. Viral loops will evolve into game driven marketing, a set of highly scalable, automated, experimentally verified techniques that drive an exponential acquisition of players. You need a server, you need players, you need a method of communication and notification. You do not however need a social network per se. Expect modular marketing systems built into some high end games that target multiple social networks, consoles, email address books, flash portals and any other concentrated source of potential customers.
Jonathan Rosenberg, Google:
There are two components to our definition of open: open technology and open information. Open technology includes open source, meaning we release and actively support code that helps grow the Internet, and open standards, meaning we adhere to accepted standards and, if none exist, work to create standards that improve the entire Internet (and not just benefit Google). Open information means that when we have information about users we use it to provide something that is valuable to them, we are transparent about what information we have about them, and we give them ultimate control over their information.
Google talks a lot about openness and their commitment to open source software. What they are really doing is practicing a classic business strategy known as “commoditizing the complement“. Google makes 99% of their revenue by selling text ads for things like plane tickets, dvd players and malpractice lawyers. Many of these ads are syndicated to non-Google properties. But the anchor that gives Google their best “inventory” is the main search engine at Google.com. And the secret sauce behind Google.com is the algorithm for ranking search results. If Google is really committed to openness, it is this algorithm that they need to open source.
When I say the Twitter API may be an open standard, I mean something different than when Jonathan Rosenberg says Google likes open standards. I mean it's open in that anyone can implement it now. A smart developer can implement the Twitter API in a matter of weeks. Rosenberg means that the process of defining the standard is open. He would start a process to define a standard that in two or three years a team of 20 programmers could implement in another two or three years. Those are the kind of results that his version of "open" delivers.
It all sounds great and Google certainly is a champion of open systems with Android and Chrome and countless other projects. Google is making a very public effort to claim the mantle of openness. But the battle for this mantle has been going on for a long time. Two years ago, I wrote a post titled “Who Is The Opennest Of Them All?”. What I noted then bears repeating. (...)
Open intent is great. No person or business should need to or advertise being open. But if you are as big as Tiger Woods, Google, or Goldman Sachs you are best to just leave the subject alone and just be great at what you do. Or buy your damn stock back, and talk about how closed you can be. That would be cool too.
UPDATE: And John Gruber:
It’s the biggest pile of horseshit I’ve ever seen from Google.
Your new favorite blog for the next seven minutes: That's Not Art, from Garrett Murray.
People post ridiculous "art" to Tumblr. These pieces frequently make it into Popular. I reblog them here and call them out for being stupid.
More like this, please.
Anil has two really great and non-obvious points for developers in his post The Twitter API is Finished. First, support RSD (yes!). Second, overload the source element.
The source element of status updates in the Twitter API is very interestingly open-ended, and supports use of URLs. Instead of merely advertising your client app, smart use of rel attributes and URLs here could help bootstrap some very interesting new potential.
Ben Hammersley, who knows a thing or two about online and magazines, shifts the perspective a bit on the design challenge for e-books. Yes, it's about the form factor of the device...but it's also about the editorial and production workflow.
So a real design challenge for e-books isn’t to design the user experience (which is dependent at the end of the day on the device capabilities anyway, which are pretty much unknown) but rather on designing a system that would allow existing publishers to transition their operations from ramshackle print to All Knowing Digital. We already know much of this: you can take the lessons from blogging CMSs, add in photography handling from places like Photoshelter, combine metadata collection from sources like Google Maps and OpenCalais, and version control from Git, and you’re halfway there. Combine it with process changes, where you require writers to file direct to a system that forces them to add in metadata for example, and you’re closer still. Of course, in two sentences I’ve described a process that really encompasses the whole old-media crisis, but I do think it’s a challenge that can be met.
This post is part one of three; looking forward to the sequels.
There's a ton to dive in to here, but the core difference I'll point out between this concept and the Sports Illustrated one is Bonnier & BERG chose to focus on the user instead of the content. This wasn't about the exclusive photos and real-time sports scores...this was about how a tablet could deliver a great experience for the user.
As for the social pieces: even though this demo was similarly light on demonstrating what the opportunities are for a rich, connected reader like this, I'd trust that this user-centered approach would lead to the right mix of ingredients.
David Jacobs has been telling me that I absolutely have to read Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball; it's 700 pages long and Simmons post on ESPN.com about the bits that didn't make it into the book are what's convincing me.
That, and grafs like this:
A big theme of my book is The Secret of winning basketball, something Isiah Thomas explains to me at a topless pool in Las Vegas. (The Secret, in a nutshell: Teams only win titles when their best players forget about statistics, sublimate their own games for the greater good and put their egos on hold.)
I like this Secret, and who wouldn't want to hear stories about Isiah Thomas in Vegas? There goes my holiday break...
Katie Spotz, who is planning to row across the Atlantic Ocean: “I see this as a form of active meditation.” Amazing.
This just killed me last night.
I love New York, king of all the cities
Lived up by the Guggenheim 'til I got some kiddies
Moved to Connecticut, bye George Pataki
Volvo to the dry cleaners, pickin' up my khakis
Shopping mall is close, my community is gated
My shorties are all private school educated
Home theater system, 60 inch plasma
Clean suburban air much better for my asthma
Still hit the city, Times Square keep it real
Hard Rock Cafe for the appetizer deal
M&M store, Disney Store, I'm in heaven
I own this town from 41st to 47
Tickets to the Lion King, that show is fantastic
Leave half an hour early so I can beat the traffic
I can get home really fast drive my rock some EasyPass
Land of cheaper gas and the upper middle class
...but I'm sure I got some wrong. Corrections welcome in the comments.
This is obviously fan-produced, which makes me love it more.
(Via GeekWeek: "the folks who fight for the rights of computer-generated polar bears are gonna be so pissed!")