Blog readership in Europe is growing, and a study reported in the Financial Times tells us about the content:
While technology, business and politics dominate the overall rankings, personal diary-style blogs are far more popular in Europe, accounting for 43 per cent of the top blogs in Italy and 30 per cent in Europe. In France, blogs about food accounted for 19 of the top 100 blogs, although this category was insignificant in other countries.
Pardon me for being amused — in a warm-hearted way — that food blogs are so prominent in France. But you know, it’s not only a matter of great food playing such a large role in their culture — French newspapers have always been more opinionated that those on this side of the pond. They never bought into this fake “objectivity” deal that Americans go on about. So their blogs don’t need to fill the gap.
The FT mentions findings from another study, also conducted by the Edelman p.r. powerhouse:
… about 23 per cent of those in the UK read blogs, compared with 22 per cent in France and 27 per cent in the US.
In yet another study — of 213 Japanese bloggers in Japan — Edelman researchers found:
Seventy percent of respondents said that among the reasons they blog is “to create a record of their thoughts”; 63.8% said that they blog “to create a record of the information that I have gained”; and, 58.7% said that they blog “to share information I have gained with others” (multiple reasons for blogging were accepted).
Just 4.7% of the Japanese bloggers surveyed said that the primary reason they blog is to “raise visibility as an authority in my field,” whereas 33.9% stated in a similar Edelman/Technorati American-based study of English language bloggers last year that this is their primary reason for blogging — seemingly a significant cross-cultural difference.
A total of 84.5% Japanese respondents said that they blog about companies (their industry, service, products), with 49.3% doing so at least once a week (with 14.6% saying “daily or almost daily”).
Compare that with the study reported in the FT article, which found that among the European blogs:
Coverage of big companies was still limited … especially outside sectors such as technology. British Airways, for example, was mentioned only 20 times in the past six months and French companies such as Peugot are barely visible, even among French bloggers.
The time is long past when we could refer to blogging as if it were a unified activity. Blogs certainly focus on far more topics than politics and technology.
At one of the most talked-about panels at the 2006 Online News Association conference, four kids from affluent schools in the Washington, D.C., area talked about how they use computers, mobile devices and TV.
Barbara Iverson blogged this session in detail. If you missed this panel, you will probably enjoy Barbara’s post a lot. All the people around me laughed often and took copious notes throughout. As someone who works with 20-year-olds every day, I wasn’t very surprised by what I heard. But apparently a lot of journalists in the newsroom don’t know what kids these days are about. (Sad, isn’t it?)
Many people listening to the panel evidently had never heard of the digital natives / digital immigrants idea. It comes from a very readable article (PDF file) published in 2001. The ideas are summed up wonderfully on this well-organized resource page from the Boise Public Library.
There are 60 million of these so-called millennials in the United States, born between 1982 and 2000. Surely you should know something about them.
Today’s average college grads have spent less than 5,000 hours of their lives reading, but over 10,000 hours playing video games (not to mention 20,000 hours watching TV). Computer games, email, the Internet, cell phones and instant messaging are integral parts of their lives.
It is now clear that as a result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. These differences go far further and deeper than most educators [and journalists] suspect or realize. (Source: Prensky, 2001)
The New York Times and The Washington Post both do it — break a longer article into two, three, or more pieces. You can’t read it all on one page. You have to … click … wait for ads to load … aarrgh …
Dan Lockton wrote a good post about this (and got some thoughtful comments too) in his neat blog, Architectures of Control in Design:
I can see that psychologically, an article which looks shorter may be glanced at by a casual reader — who may then become interested enough to continue — whereas one which looks longer may be ignored completely.
You see, not everyone hates this break-up style. I hate it when the site is particularly cluttered with ads. If the page has anything on it that floats or unfurls or otherwise moves around, I will never, ever, click to see the rest of the article. Just not worth it.
Is it sleazy to try to get extra impressions this way? Or is it a reasonable practice in the pursuit of revenues?
What would you tell fine young journalists are the top three things they should do or know to be competitive job candidates three years from now, when they hit the streets in search of gainful employment?
Tell Danny by posting a comment at his blog. There are a few good ideas there already.
Chuck Liddy, a newspaper photographer at The Raleigh News & Observer, writes:
After 32 years of capturing moments with still cameras a few weeks ago I was handed a Sony HDV video camera and set loose at select high school football games on Friday nights.
Yeah, I know, I said it “Hell would freeze over before I’ll ever shoot video” but I’m actually starting to have fun.
And a little more (go on, click and go read it):
Following the action is a little tricky at first, I mean there is no moving the camera away from your face and tracking a play, then getting back on it. Nope you do that and you’re likely to have video of the sky, ground, grandstands or your arm (don’t ask).
Another problem is making comments while the tape is rolling. Like messing up while zooming and saying “S*@t, what the f@$k are you doing you idiot?” Ah, nope it comes out REALLY loud on the tape, since that microphone is now turned ON.
So I make it through the first half without getting run over by a testosterone jacked teenager weighing over 200 pounds, smacked in the head by a flying cheerleader or impaled by one of the flag corps spinning flag thingies.
At The Washington Post, all video they post online is Flash video. No QuickTime, no Windows, no Real. If you want to know why The Post and other news sites have chosen Flash, read The Rise of Flash Video, Part 1, just published in Digital Web Magazine:
Nobody really expected the stranglehold that Apple, Microsoft and Real had on the web streaming market in 2003 to be broken. Yet by Spring 2005 … that is exactly what had happened. Those three web video delivery technologies practically vanished, replaced almost entirely by Flash Video. This is not to say QuickTime and Windows Media are dead technologies. They aren’t by a long shot, but when it comes to putting video on the web, the Flash Player has rapidly become the only game in town.
Part 1 of the article covers the rise of Flash video, where the technology is today and where it might go from here. Part 2 has not been published yet. Thanks to Craig for the tip!
After an overview of the kinds of bad experiences most of us who eschew the IE browser have with Windows Media Player (horrible!), Tom Green writes:
For me, Flash Video became “real” in 2000.
I was in New York attending the inaugural meeting of the New York Macromedia User Group and the evening’s speaker was Hillman Curtis. This was just before Hillman became famous and the room was filled with Director guys who were there to listen to Hillman talk about motion graphics in Flash. During the course of his presentation Hillman played some video in Flash. To say he got my attention would be an understatement.
It wasn’t an instant leap from then up to now.
In 2004 Flash Video was still a bit of a novelty. Two years later it is a standard. It is the video format of choice for two of the most popular sites on the web: YouTube and MySpace. Those two sites are classic examples of that old business adage of “Being at the right place at the right time with the right product.” As the web evolved from a static, page-based format to what the pundits are calling “Social Networking,” the market is realizing that video is a more powerful communications medium than words and images.
And as to the future:
Experimenting with After Effects, I have come to the conclusion that the boundaries are blurring between what we’d call “Flash content” and “video content” in a Flash movie clip. I have been bending video around objects, putting the FLV in a movie clip and applying Alpha transparency and the Blend modes to the movie clip. The upshot is what I call a “meta movie clip.” That is content in a Flash movie clip that is a hybrid of Flash and video content.