Archived entries for Publishing

Slipping: TechCrunch Reporting

Over lunch today I was catching up on my reading. I was drawn in by one of their headlines (which I saw on TechMeme.com). My interest quickly turned to disappointment because the article was poorly researched, exhibited nearly zero analysis, and sat under a sensationalist traffic-grabbing headline that it failed to back up. I expect more from TechCrunch, and I think they owe their 598k subscribers – me included — better reporting. The #1 blog should lead us to quality and respect by example, not through sensationalism and hollow reporting.

This was going to be a comment on TechCrunch’s site, but I agree with many recent commentators that posting on ones own blog and letting Trackbacks make the connection is the more respectful, responsible, and effective way. I’m not exactly sure why I needed to get this off my chest today, but here goes:

Mr. Schonfel, in my opinion your article and its headline are bad journalism. I believe the data reported by AddThis is insignificant and an insufficient basis for your broad headline. You provided no context or substantiation. I feel that you’ve done your readers a disservice by publishing this article.

You report that AddThis is used “nearly 2 million times per month.” Does that seem like a lot to you? Significant? Does their data correlate or challenge other available data or trends? What, exactly, gives you the confidence to warrant such a far-reaching headline?

I believe you would have done well to report on the overall market size that they are a niche within. Technorati’s About Us page reports, for example, that there are 1.6mm new blog posts PER DAY (sounds like “nearly 2mm” to me); over 5mm new blogs each month; over 100mm blogs total.

In addition to questions of reach, I have to question the use-case and user profile that AddThis.com enjoys. I know you have the button on your site, but can you report what % of your visitors interact with it? Have you cross-checked your total del.icio.us saves witt the numbers AddThis reports? You have both those pieces of data – so that should be reportable.

I’m given additional pause when I notice that approximately 1 in 6 AddThis users us it save to their native Favorites folder! Really? Why would anybody do that? You don’t need a special tool to bookmark a site in your browser, in fact it’s much slower than any of the other available mechanisms (native menus, keyboard-shortcuts, dragging-and-dropping). There’s nothing wrong with people doing that, but it doesn’t make then seem like trendsetters.

In total, I don’t see any reason to think that this article is insightful or relevant. I’m worried about TechCrunch’s integrity when such poor data and analysis leads to such a presumptuous headline.

I’ve taken the time to write this comment because I expect more from TechCruch. You’re earned my attention in the past, and I won’t let my silence help you short change yourself. I’m a big TechCrunch fan, like most of your (alleged) 598k readers, but I expect you to do much better reporting than this sensationalist rubbish. I’ll be back for your next post, and hope it’s much better.

I have two hopes. First, I hope I’ve misread or misunderstood something, and that I’ll have an opportunity to retract this entire objection. If not, but second hope is that this call-to-action encourages greater journalistic integrity, whether new or old media.

Respectfully,
Nate Koechley

@Dom Vonarburg, comment #25 on TechCrunch and a representative of AddThis, please feel free to provide the answers my comment is hunting for.

Shameless Plug – Vote for My SXSW Session

I submitted a session proposal for the 2008 South by Southwest Interactive Festival. There are about 600 proposed talks and panels. Only a fifth of those will be chosen. Though there’s an editorial aspect to the selection process, the primary factor is democratic. So, if you would, please take a moment to review the description of my session and vote for it if you find it interesting.

You need to register on their site before you can vote, but it only takes a second.

As the description says, the talk is based on a book I’m writing with Matt Sweeney. (Yes, writing a book. An exciting prospect, but a challenge, too.)

Here’s my talk’s page on their Panel Picker application. And here’s the description:

The State of Professional Front-End Engineering

An immense body of theory and practice in the front-end engineering discipline has evolved in the past decade, particularly in the past four years. This talk draws from my forthcoming O’Reilly book, separates signal from noise, and codifies the state of the art of Professional Front-end Engineering.

Thanks!

“High Performance Web Sites” at the @media 2007 Conference in London

Opening slide of the presentation

photo by Amnemona

I’ve uploaded the slides from my High Performance Web Sites presentation at the @media conference in London last week. They are available in PDF format (3mb) as well as in PowerPoint format (25mb) as delivered.

Please note an important change: In Steve Souders and Tenni Theurer’s original three-hour presentation (which I remixed into a hour-long session for @media), and in the forthcoming O’Reilly book, “High Performance Web Sites,” there are 14 rules for faster web sites. My talk offered 12 due to time constraints. In the interest of consistency I added the two missing rules to my slides before posting them. The added rules are #12: Remove duplicate scripts; and #14: Keep Ajax cacheable and small. With these restored the numbering used in my slides will match the numbering in the longer workshop and in the book. (The new rules are #12 and #14; the dozen rules I presented have their same numbers except for #12 which became #13.)

I’d like to thank Steve and Tenni and the entire Exception Performance Team at Yahoo! for letting me bring this important content to the @media audience. Thanks also to Patrick Griffiths and the @media staff for the invitation to speak, all their help, and a great conference across the board. Most importantly I’d like to thank my wonderful audience for their time and attention, for our good round of Q&A, and for the feedback already posted on blogs across the web. Thank you.

I hope to see you all again soon. (Maybe at Hackday this weekend?)

Onion News Network Coming April 2007

Here’s the trailer:

I can’t wait!

CNN Practicing Good Journalism

In addition to pointing to CNN debunks false report about Obama, I wanted to summarize it. I struggled a bit, but luckily a great new magazine GOOD summed it up well (emphasis mine):

A conservative magazine started a rumor that Obama attended a madrassa in Indonesia that taught fundamentalist Islam. Then they falsely sourced Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the tip. This might have been a pretty ingenious campaign smear a few years ago, but these Rove-like tricks don’t seem to work anymore. CNN did some good, old-fashioned journalism and quickly debunked the story. Republican strategists should denounce these tactics if they want any chance in ‘08. The American public is finally wise to it.

Let me reiterate their conclusion: this shady business won’t fly in the ‘08 election cycle.

(If you’re not familiar with GOOD, take a look and consider subscribing (100% of your subscription money goes to an organization of your choice.)

Easy Video Editing with Jumpcut

I’d never heard of jumpcut.com before, but Yahoo! just acquired them and after playing with it for a few minutes I agree that it’s pretty slick. (Update: In fact, after remixing the video below in less than 30 seconds, I think it’s actually really slick.)

Jumpcut is a video site, but the coolness is their web-based online video editor. With an easy to understand Flash interface you can rearrange and trim clips and add snazzy transitions. Also cool: you can email video from the video camera on your mobile phone to the site. Every video has a “remix” button, that when clicked makes the video you’re watching editable and mixable with your own content or other content on the site.

You can slice and splice the clips. You can import Flickr photos to use in your videos. You can pull in mp3s and audio clips. Title screens are cake.

As with most video players, this one is in Flash and seems to Just Work.

All and all, a pretty cool piece of web-based software.

Update: Jumpcut announced the acquisition with a “Great Combos” video. I remixed it in 30 seconds:



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