August 20, 2009

Thumbs Up for Topix at SXSW

by amy at 11:42 AM

Vote for my PanelPicker Idea!

It’s that time again. Time to cast your vote, make yourself heard, and decide the agenda for the 2010 SXSW Interactive Conference.

Last year, Chris Tolles moderated a lively panel on User Generated Content. LA Weekly wrote a great piece about it (complete with tips for how to rock SXSW).

Topix is again in the running, with a great panel on “Driving Business through Community.”

Give us the thumbs up and Tolles will buy you a drink in Austin.

The Panel Picker closes September 4th, so vote today!

August 19, 2009

"Daily Telegraph" Modern as Namesake

by tolles at 3:16 PM

An article in the Daily Telegraph, making the "what's all this, then?" argument that the "social media revolution is going nowhere". came my way on Twitter via Andrew Keen.

The author makes a bunch of vaguely arguable points, damns the medium with faint praise, ("Twitter made the world stand up and listen" but failed to bring down the Iranian regime, so is therefore useless, is the gist of it) and in facts ends the article with a "how to use social media" guide. Likely his editor, then tops the whole thing off with the linkbait headline.

But the best riposte to this piece is none other than the actual page where the article appears. Between the the "How to use Twitter" block, and the GIANT CHUNK OF REAL ESTATE for the social network every newspaper likes, Digg, it is quite clear that the Telegraph's business practices reflect that social media is a big part of the the equation for them. There are no less than FOUR separate blocks of pixels, er , references to Twitter on the page here. Subtlety is not a concern for the Telegraph and its use of Twitter.

Obviously, this was a cynical exercise in baiting, or rather soliciting just this sort of response. But jumping Jesus on a Viagra ad, the juxtaposition of what Matt Warman states and what the Telegraph does is cause for a pretty big chuckle. (And the smart guys behind the Telegraph efforts even have the Twitter referrer on this baked into the URL).

So, pointless exercise in being wrong, or well executed pageview generator? The Daily Telegraph -- journal of Luddites, or truly the state of the art version of 2009 journalism? Vomitous applause, to Matt and the Telegraph here.

Let's take a look at the Telegraph piece and all of the myriad of social networking elements on the page (maybe 20% of the screen real estate?):


August 18, 2009

Comments give public a rolled up newspaper to smack union

by tolles at 1:02 PM

Great story on SFGate from the Chronicle regarding how their commentary helped show the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, who had threatened a BART strike, just what the public thought of this during these difficult economic time.

We here at Topix do pretty well with local discussions with over 140,000 comments a day, but in San Francisco, SFGate rocks, and there were over hundreds of comments on several articles on the issues reflecting what people think about the Union, and its threat to strike.

A particularly nice feature of the SFGate's comment system is the "Most recommended comments". Some of the highlights here with hundreds of "votes" behind each of these:

It is incredible that, at a time when California is really on the ropes partially because of bloated payrolls for those working for the State, these workers would even consider striking. How about a lockout followed by a last, best, and final offer, and then hire people who want to work and replace these greedy people! --sheridanw

I was really hoping for the strike because: 1... A lot of lazy jerks would get fired... 2. A lot of people who are out of work would be able to get a new job... 3. I would get to work from home! --inmyopinion

In a region where every politician of note is a Democrat, and the Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, is currying the favor of a core constituency by promising to be be a "warrior for labor", commentary on the SFGate provide a key and critical place for the public to make its opinions known about issues that a one sided set of elected officials can't touch with a ten foot pole.

I've said this before, but SFGate gets my vote for best use of comments for a newspaper in the US, for actually referring to them in its articles, and wielding their commentariat as a club against the vested interests that prevent discourse on subjects where a few really obscure the opinions of the many (homelessness, unions, club closings, etc). It's a shame that they don't use our commentary system, but I'm a big fan of a major US daily standing behind the opinions of its readers.

Bravo to Carla Marinucci for calling this issue out!

Update: I just noticed Carla wrote up an additional piece on voters, unions, and commentary sentiment here., which is also worth reading.

August 2, 2009

Twiistup: Conversation with Jason Calacanis and Chris Tolles

by tolles at 6:16 PM

Got a chance to bat cleanup at the Twiistup conference down in Los Angeles with a conversation around startups with Jason Calacanis. His show This week in startups had me on as the guest, which also served as the closing plenary session for Twiistup

Jason and I responded to several questions from folks from the audience, as well as from people on the web.

Anyway, here it is. Was a fun show. Jason has really built a great audience here.