Ada Lovelace Day

About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

links for 2009-10-23

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

links for 2009-10-22

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

links for 2009-10-21

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Alan Mutter has a pretty scatching post on the 98-page Columbia University report on Restoring American Journalism. "The annual sales and number of jobs associated with the media industry are not sufficiently large to make them a priority for a federal bailout during this period of unprecedented economic distress. The federal investment in improved rural broadband penetration contemplated in the stimulus package would give consumers a greater choice of information than a handout targeted to a limited number of defined news organizations. Assuming for the sake of discussion that a handout were in the offing, who would choose which news media to support?"

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

links for 2009-10-20

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: The Postcode Paper looks quite a bit like Everyblock on paper. "It gathers information about your area, such as local services, environmental information and crime statistics." They see it as "a prototype of a service for people moving into a new area. In our exercise we imagined you might receive it after paying your council tax for the first time."
  • Kevin: Dave Winer shares some lessons from the hyperlocal project, InBerkeley.com. He says: "I thought we could apply the same approach that worked in bootstrapping weblogs, RSS and podcasting for a local site. One or two people start writing about their personal experiences. A small audience develops. Debates, discussions follow. More perspectives. At every step you invite people to participate. You always ask for the people who used to be called the audience to become full participants. That's how the idea scales. As I said, it worked for blogging and related technologies. Permalink to this paragraph

    Instead, what happened at InBerkeley.com is that the people thought we were running a news organization, and they did stories the way reporters do them. That can't possibly work, imho — for the same reason the news industry is in crisis."

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

links for 2009-10-17

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: A nice overview by Ken Sands of changes in site navigation and social network integration by US news sites. Ken makes some great points when he says: "Even the best designed newspaper Web site home pages suffer from what I call "linkorrhea." With so many newsroom constituencies to serve, designers typically end up linking to several stories from every section of the printed paper, as well as linking to Web-original content such as blogs, slideshows and videos. Add in multiple ad spots and the home page looks more like Times Square than, say, Google, the epitome of simplicity."
  • Kevin: Mathew Ingram with the Globe and Mail in Canada discusses 'walking the walk' of transparency after removing an article that he and his editors thought breached some of their editorial guidelines. Matt explains why they did and why they explained it: "My argument was twofold. By not responding, I argued that we were ignoring a conversation in which we should be taking part. And by removing something without explaining why, I argued that we were effectively breaching our trust with readers, in however small a way. While an editor slamming his own organization might be damaging to our brand, I argued that the trust of our readers was also a key part of our brand, and that we had to do everything we could to maintain it. That, I think, is the fundamental purpose of being open and honest in the first place." It's a great argument for transparency.
  • Kevin: I'm still getting my head around Google Wave. I think it can be a powerful collaboration tool, but I've still yet to have my aha moment with it. Like all tools, I need to figure out what it's good for and see if it fills any unmet needs that I currently have in the tools that I use.

    However, my current scepticism about it aside, here is a great list of tools and gadgets for Google Wave.

  • Kevin: "CIOs who don't make the transformational jump from that old model to the new one of aligning IT with their companies' customers are hurting their companies and stunting their own careers." I write a lot about technology in the course of my work and think a lot about technology and IT in the course of my work, and I think there is a lot of value in this. In terms of news organisations, I'd have to say that from the website to the IT, too much technical focus tends to be put on internal needs that do not deliver value to audiences.
  • Kevin: "Google Webmaster Tools has just launched a “labs” section, where you’ll find new features that may be early in the development cycle and not quite as robust as the rest of the tools. The features available so far are Fetch as Googlebot, which lets you see exactly what Googlebot is served when it requests a URL from your server and Malware Details, which shows you malicious code snippets from your site if it’s been flagged as containing malware."
  • Kevin: "From direct mail to web design, A/B testing is considered a gold standard of user research: Show one version to half your audience and another version to the other half; compare results, and adjust accordingly. Some very cool examples include Google’s obsessive testing of subtle design tweaks and Dustin Curtis’ experiment with direct commands and clickthrough rates. (”You should follow me on Twitter” produced dramatically better results than the less moralizing, “Follow me on Twitter.”)

    So here’s something devilishly brilliant: The Huffington Post applies A/B testing to some of its headlines. Readers are randomly shown one of two headlines for the same story. After five minutes, which is enough time for such a high-traffic site, the version with the most clicks becomes the one that everyone sees."

Friday, October 16th, 2009

links for 2009-10-16

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

links for 2009-10-15

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Paul Bradshaw gives an excellent list of plug-ins for journalists for WordPress. He highlights plug-ins that easily pull in other feeds and embed iFrames easily. Postalicious looks like a great plug-in to automatically publish links from a number of bookmarking services. I'll definitely be checking out the WP Web Scraper. That looks very powerful.
  • Kevin: Must read post for journalists about comments. " KNS reporter Jamie Satterfield has taken a the innovative (for the news industry) to walk amongst the trolls. She has posted some 50 responses to comments on those stories in an effort to help readers understand more about the case.

    To borrow Scripps' mission: Satterfield is shining light in an area of the Web site where rumor and opinion runs wild. And perhaps not surprisingly, when users see that a reporter is responding to their questions, they take notice. It cuts the riffraff and raises the level of discussion. "

  • Kevin: Legislation to save newspapers comes at a cost says Jack Shafer of Slate: "It weakens the enterprises that are rising from below to compete with them to deliver advertising and, yes, deliver news." 'New people with fresh ideas' are going to take media in a new direction.
  • Kevin: James Cridland looks at the various content management systems and the build vs buy versus free discussion, although he's not going to completely tell all in this post. Instead you have to come listen at the Radio at the Edge conference. It is a nice overview of some of the development, mostly in the UK, of CMSes and the technology behind them.
  • Kevin: Dan Blank gives a great list of lessons on building media revenue streams. If there is one lesson from the Great Recession is that many media companies became too reliant on a single, business-cycle sensitive revenue stream: Advertising. Without a diversified business, they are fully exposed to the ups and downs of the economy. Taking lessons from B2B publishing, he lists a number of possible routes to new revenue streams. One of my favourites: "Promise High Value that Solves Problems".

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

links for 2009-10-13

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

links for 2009-10-10

Posted by Suw and Kevin

Friday, October 9th, 2009

links for 2009-10-09

Posted by Suw and Kevin

  • Kevin: Yang-May Ooi looks at Google's Sidewiki. She says that businesses always are nervous about blogging because they don't want the negative comments. She takes a different point of view from media reviews of Sidewiki and says that businesses need to pay attention to this tool. "My own view is that whether Sidewiki in its current form stays or goes, the trend is towards an open-source approach to commenting and discussions and we will be seeing more public, free-for-all (in all sense of that phrase) spaces for everyone and anyone to throw in their tuppence worth."
  • Kevin: "When longtime newspaperman and Web entrepreneur Alan Mutter started his blog, "Reflections of a Newsosaur," in 2004, he did so on a lark — thinking that he'd just experiment and learn about the technology. But after posting a few thoughts about the state of the news industry and the coming wave of new media, and then posting a few more, and then a few more, he was hooked. In the five years since, his blog has become a staple in the media world, a regular voice in the ongoing conversation about how the the media will somehow monetize content and save quality journalism."
  • Kevin: Headshift's Robin Hamman looks at the law surrounding marketing, PR and transparency. "Just about everyone I speak to in marketing and PR these days is talking about using blogs and social networking services to engage directly with consumers and other audiences, with many actually doing it - blogging or tweeting for the brands they support. However, before you go down this route, or try to enlist bloggers and social networkers to do it for you, there are several little known laws and regulations you should be aware of," Robin says.
  • Kevin: Is your site ready for success? It's not just about having the servers in place but also about social functionality design. "At the Future of Web Apps conference Kevin Rose (Digg, Pownce, Wefollow) gave a cool presentation on the top 10 down and dirty ways you can grow your web app." In terms of social, Kevin Rose urges people to engage, connect and interact with your community.
  • Kevin: Good tips from Alison Driscoll on how to set up a Facebook group. Events, messages and adding keywords to improve search will all help in creating a successful group.
  • Kevin: "This chapter is part of a new book, 'Playing Footsie with the FTSE?' edited by John Mair and Richard Lance Keeble, a collection of 20 articles by leading journalists and academics that asks why leading financial journalists and commentators failed to predict the biggest economic crisis in 70 years." I might just buy this book. I think the hindsight is not necessarily 20/20 when it comes to journalist failure to foresee the financial crisis and write credibly about it. There were many writers in the business press raising warning flags. The problem is that general interest newspapers and magazines didn't spot it. I read an article in Bloomberg magazine in July 2007 warning of the danger of CDOs. Still this book might be interesting as a post-mortem and better ways to cover the complex world of international finance.