Opinion

The Great Debate

from The Great Debate UK:

Free may be a radical price, but is it progressive?

padraig_reidy-Padraig Reidy is news editor at Index on Censorship. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Mainstream consumer media is, it is agreed, in trouble. The idea of paying for one or two newspapers a day is now confined, it seems, to quaintly old-fashioned types who boast of their ignorance of the Internet, or business who actually need the information in the pages of the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Wire services’ content is processed so fast by subscribers that one can barely spot the time difference. Local newspapers are seeing their stock in trade diminished. When one’s entire life is catalogued on Facebook and Flickr, there’s little thrill in having your picture in the local paper, or indeed huge necessity in publishing births, deaths and marriages. And why place a classified ad in a newspaper, when we have eBay and Gumtree?

The solution? Some, such as "Wired" magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, would suggest simply giving things away. Anderson’s new book, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" is available for free from the web until 1 August, while the hardback edition will be sold, at a price, in shops and on Amazon.

The idea, Anderson tells the Los Angeles Times is that some of those who download for free will also buy the book, if they are sufficiently impressed, of course. It’s a principle that has already been seen at work in the music world, where Radiohead released ‘In Rainbows’ freely on the web, and later released the album to shops, without any noticeable decline in sales.

from For the Record:

Citizen journalism, mainstream media and Iran

dean-150Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

The recent election in Iran was one of the more dramatic stories this year, with powerful images of protests and street-fighting dominating television and online coverage.

Because traditional news organizations were essentially shut down by the authorities, it fell to citizen journalists -- many of whom were among the protesters -- to provide the images that the world would see, using such social media as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

from For the Record:

Counting quality — not characters — in social media

dean-150Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

Are we too connected?

In recent days and weeks I’ve been wondering if our mobile phones, Blackberries, text messaging and constant access to email and social media have brought us too close together for our own good.

Or maybe the quality of our connected life is only as good as the information we share.

Facebook, shmacebook: What’s the next great thing?

John Abell

John C Abell is the New York Bureau Chief for Wired.com and edits the Epicenter Blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

Facebook is the 800-pound gorilla in the social media space, with some 200 million members, a valuation of perhaps $5 billion and a base that has expanded well beyond its early roots as a private hangout for bored Ivy League students.

But, like the ad says, life comes at you fast — and there is nothing more unforgiving than internet time. So, are the best years ahead for Facebook, or is the finicky mob of cool kids — and now their parents and grandparents — already peering down the road for another Next Great Thing?

The Black Hole: How the Web devours history

ericauchard1– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Academics, family researchers and even baseball history nuts have noticed recently how some important archives of older newspapers from around the world have vanished off the Web.

The problems have surfaced since PaperofRecord.com, a collection of more than 20 million newspaper pages of papers ranging from the Toronto Star to Mexican village periodicals to newspapers as far as Perth, Australia, merged into Google News Archive.

Ad strategy at root of Facebook privacy row

ericauchard1– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Social networking phenomenon Facebook has beaten out arch-rival and former market leader MySpace by most measures of popularity, except the one that pays the bills.

While Facebook has outpaced MySpace in bringing in members — it has 175 million active users at the latest count, compared with around 130 million for MySpace — it has struggled make money from them. While MySpace is closing in on $1 billion in revenues, Facebook generated less than $300 million in sales last year, reports say.

Facebook ruined my life

— Linsey Fryatt is editor of stuff.tv. The views expressed are her own. –

linseyfryatt-stufftvIt’s facebook’s fifth birthday this week. And while I love every status-updating, picture-tagging, friend-stalking pixel of it, I often wish it had never been invented.

Its obvious time-thievery and propensity to turn me into an obsessive page refresher, jonesing for my next next notification fix aside, I find Facey-B was the first step in a downward spiral (if spirals can have steps) to my entire life being played out online in some form or other. And I’m exhausted.

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