Posts Tagged ‘social media’

iPhone therefore iDistracted

April 28th, 2011 by Dale Hobson

I was on vacation last week, and while I usually manage to get the Listening Post out during my off-time, sometimes circumstances intervene. In this case my downfall was visiting Boston, where they keep many things one would actually want to buy. Those of you familiar with my rants know that I am a reluctant cell phone user; until just recently I used mine exactly as if it had a rotary dial on the front and connected to a wire in the wall. But my family feels differently, and so we walked out of a Boston Verizon store with three brand new iPhones (along with a crushing new monthly financial burden).

Once out the door, I used it to guide me (the blue blob floating on the Google map) step by step to a good bookstore in the Downtown Crossing neighborhood while my wife and daughter shopped elsewhere. There were many like me out in the streets walking hunched over their screens, like those weird old dudes who sweep the beaches with metal detectors. If enough of us wander obliviously under city buses, within a few generations natural selection will no doubt provide the survivors with an extra eye on top of the head, or else iPhone will make an app for that.

While drinking coffee at the location selected by my search parameters “organic fair tade coffee,” I started looking for all the cool apps that everyone evangelizes about, instead of talking about their kids.  So I got the Poetry App and the Facebook App and the Public Radio Player App and the eLumination app (which has strong retro appeal by flashing text messages across dark rooms via Morse Code) and a bunch of other apps that will consume whatever time I had remaining in my life for contemplation and prayer–or writing the newsletter on my off-time.

Listening Post blog barcodeOne of my favorites is the $.99 QuickMark App, which reads and writes bar codes. A barcode in Harvard Square on an event poster delivered a video of the band to my iPhone; one in a restaurant window delivered their menu and specials of the day. Cool. If you get your iPhone out now (you know you want to anyway) and scan the code here, it will deliver you to the home page of the Listening Post blog–unless you are reading this on your iPhone, and it can’t take a picture of itself, or you are reading this on the home page of my blog, in which case it sends you back to where you already are.

But that’s OK, because most new technology is about providing the illusion of motion and industriousness, without the actual effort or result.

Built by hand

January 27th, 2011 by Dale Hobson

A long-running question around the station–long in internet time, anyway–has been how do we use social media such as Facebook to properly serve our audience.  At first we thought the best way, given the amount of staff we have available to do everything we do, would be to automate the process–to treat social network sites as little more than alternate destinations to our regular site. Following that couse, we plugged feeds from our news page and our blogs into the Twitter and Facebook pages and let ‘er rip.

We have found that this strategy works OK for Twitter, which has become more of a resource for true news junkies. They want everything, and they seem to be happy to sort the flood of information out for themselves. But Facebook proves to be a different kettle of fish. Facebook users want a more personal approach, and they let us know it. When we fed them too much stuff too often during fund drives, we heard about it. When our automated feeds delivered too many items in a clump onto their pages, they skipped over them and let us know that this was not how we should be doing business. Clearly–time for Plan B.

The only way to make social interaction more personal is to do it with a person. So, while you will still be able to find our automated feeds via Facebook, (Go to our Facebook page and click on the “RSS/Blog” tab), that will no longer be what you see when you first arrive, and it will not be what is shared to your Facebook page from NCPR’s page. Instead, a real live human (me, as it so happens) will be taking time throughout the day to select those items that best fit what our audience uses Facebook for.

Facebook a less news-driven world, so–for example–an update on politics inside the Albany beltway might be skipped over in favor of something that makes you think “My friend Joe would love this. I think I’ll pass it along.” David’s great piece today on kite-skiing and kite-buggying comes to mind. Or Diesel the He-Cat from Upper Jay, today’s Photo of the Day. At root, sharing is our business, and what we share should no longer be left to the whim of robots. We want you to share with others what we share with you. This being the North Country, what could be more natural than going for a personal touch and building it by hand. Drop by the NCPR Facebook page and say hi. I’ll be checking in throughout the day every weekday.


April 8th, 2010 by Dale Hobson

We’ve been served a virtual eviction notice by our blog service provider. After May 1, they will no longer automatically transfer our postings (including the Listening Post blog, the In Box news blog, and half a dozen others) into the NCPR domain. They have offered alternative accommodations, but we are unhappy with the view, and have decided to make the move to hosting this big chunk of ourselves.

As Ben Franklin (aka Poor Richard) said of moving: “Two removes equals one fire.” Blogs are, in theory, portable, like a mobile home. But in practice of course, the wheels are off, two sheds and a deck have been built on, hay bales anchor the roof, and your truck can’t haul the load. This week I have been doing the equivalent of pouring the new slab, digging the well and getting utilities run in, but it will be a while before it feels like home again. There are thousands of posts and tens of thousands of comments to unpack. Please excuse the mess.
The perfect mobile home would emulate the turtle. A used NASA space suit perhaps. Tired? Just lie down in a snowbank. Home base could be any AC outlet. Getting to work? Maybe one of those cool jet-packs! But I digess…