online news imageThe news media is experiencing a renaissance. As we end the year, its state in 2009 can be summarized as a year of turmoil, layoffs and cutbacks in an industry desperately seeking to reinvent its business model and content. But despite the thousands of journalism jobs lost, the future has much hope and opportunity for those that are willing to adapt to a changing industry.

Much of that change is happening now. And in the coming year, news organizations will look to approach monetization and content experimentation that is focused on looking at the web in a new way. Newsnewsnews

in 2010 will blur the lines between audience and creator more than ever in an era of social media. Below is a look at several trends in content distribution and presentation that we will likely see more of in 2010.

1. Living Stories

Living Stories Image

One of the difficulties of the web is being able to really track a story as it develops and creating engaging formats for long-form articles. The article page is often the only thing that a reader sees and not the story in its full context. In 2010, news organizations will design stories that are more suited to the way readers consume online content.

One early sign of this is the recent collaboration between GoogleGoogleGoogle

, The New York Times, and The Washington Post on the Living Stories project, an experiment that presents coverage of a specific story or topic in one place, making it easy to navigate the topic and see the timeline of coverage on the story. It also allows you to get a summary of the story and track the conversations taking place. This format contextualizes and personalizes the news.

2. Real-Time News Streams

Our news consumption has morphed into a collection of streams. Whether it’s from our TwitterTwitterTwitter

homepage or an RSS reader or a FacebookFacebookFacebook

feed, we get bites of information that sometimes satisfy us or direct us to places where we can get more information.

The move toward real-time news is increasingly important, and media critics and professors like Jeff Jarvis predict these streams will replace web sites. That change may not come in 2010, but streaming news elements will become a an integral part of traditional news sources. We’re already seeing Twitter streams and other visualizations incorporated into news home pages with updated financial and market information from new sources like Google Finance.

The challenge however, is that journalists need to accept that news breaks through real-time social media platforms like Twitter, said Alfred Hermida, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia School of Journalism.

3. Blogozines

blogozine image

Another format that takes effort, but can be an engaging alternative to the traditional blog post is the blogozine. This could be great to keep a reader engaged in a long-form story. Though I don’t think we will see the death of simple blog posts, a rich-media and rich-layout approach from blogozines will gain momentum in 2010.

4. Distributed Social News

This year the social news trend gained momentum with the explosion of Twitter. Moving into 2010, news organizations will further distribute their content across social platforms that allow its users to create a personalized and socialized news stream. Personalized search has emerged in 2009, and 2010 will see more sites integrating applications that allow users to create personalized news streams.

More news organizations are beginning to establish a presence across multiple platforms and social sites, and it’s not just the popular sites like Twitter and Facebook anymore. Newsweek, for example, started a Tumblog because the “format is adapted especially well to magazine journalism, since it encourages a deeper engagement.”

Robert Quigley, social media editor at the Austin American-Statesman, said he thinks news sites will continue to exist for a while, but the “smart news sites will extend their tentacles into the spaces where people are communicating, and talking about news.”

5. News Goes Mobile

Globe and Mail Mobile Image

In general, 2010 will see a distinct transformation in the way people consume news as smart phones become ubiquitous. And as more startups enter the market of mobile transactions, news organizations could develop strategies or provide services for transactions to take place on mobile apps.

News companies should be prepared with a mobile-first strategy. Instead of just selling ads to business customers, news organizations can help small businesses develop applications that help them do business in the mobile marketplace, said Steve Buttry, C3 coach at Gazette Communications.

Mathew Ingram, communities editor at The Globe and Mail, said mobile also has great potential to increase the number of content consumers, especially if it is done in a geo-targeted way to reach a local audience. Something that news organizations should also be prepared for is e-readers gaining a larger market and the emergence of the Apple Tablet, which publishers like Wired Magazine are already getting ready for. Meanwhile, Time Inc. and other magazine publishers are looking to create a Hulu for magazines where consumers can purchase and manage digital subscriptions.

6. The Year of Geo-Location

Geo-location services will be the buzz of 2010, though it’s difficult to predict which services will rise to the top. Geo-tweets could take this space, but companies like FoursquareFoursquareFoursquare

and GowallaGowallaGowalla

, which combine geo-location with social gaming, are highly addictive and have a lot of potential, especially with an advertising format that serves its users.

Mathilde Piard, social media manager at Cox Newspapers, said there is a lot of potential for news sites to get into the market of events and venue listings. “There are event listings and business directory listings out there but none that are good enough yet,” Piard said, and “Geo-tagging goes hand-in-hand with this stuff.”

Also, imagine the opportunity for news companies to work with advertisers to make ads more relevant to location. Imagine an iPhone app that buzzes when you walk by a bar telling you the daily drink special, Quigley from the Statesman said.

7. Story-Streaming

The 3six5 Image

New storytellers means new ways of telling stories. We will see more story-streaming with the growing popularity of simple blogging platforms like PosterousPosterousPosterous

and TumblrTumblrTumblr


An example of this is a project from Daniel Honigman and Len Kendall called the3six5, which aims to get 365 people – one for each day of the year – to write about something that is happening in the world that day and how it relates to them. Though neither Honigman or Kendall are journalists, the storytelling format of life streaming is what attracted the two to start the project. Honigman said it is an experiment in crowdsourced storytelling.

8. Social TV Online

2010 will see some big improvements in online video and even greater shifts of viewers moving away from their TVs to watch online as companies like Hulu and others reinvent the space. The coming year could see sites like HuluHuluHulu

becoming profitable, and even extending to international markets to increase viewership.

We’ve seen TV shows like PBS’s News Hour moving to YouTube, and 2010 will see an increased push for TV to reinvent itself online. One way of doing this is through “social TV.” Hulu, for example, lets Facebook friends watch shows together, and has account, rating, and sharing elements akin to social giant YouTubeYouTubeYouTube

. We’ll see social TV take center stage in 2010.

9. Marketers as Producers

Winning the Web image

Marketers are also beginning to skip the journalist as a middleman to produce their message and are instead producing it themselves. Mike Sprouse, chief marketing officer at Epic Advertising, started a 28-page monthly (printed) magazine called Winning the Web. The magazine includes commentary and content on emerging trends in online marketing, and is produced by just two people working full-time. It’s distributed to about 3,000 people and is completely free.

Sprouse sees more marketers and other professionals in general moving into the direction of producing content themselves. He said most companies have a blog or a Facebook page, and going into the coming year, more companies will shift to produce content themselves in a “thought leadership” approach.

10. Social News Gaming

Chuck Me Out Image

With social gaming sites growing in popularity (Facebook’s Farmville is bigger than Twitter), news media companies will surely experiment with creating their own social news gaming applications. Social gaming is highly addictive and if a news organization were to effectively execute their own game, it could serve as a way to keep news consumers coming back and a way to present stories or information in new ways.

NBC introduced a social media game for its series “Chuck” called Chuck Me Out that lets users gain points for spreading news about the show or getting friends to watch it. The person with the most points by March 8 will have their photo appear on the show or win one of another several prizes. Perhaps a similar concept could be applied to news content in 2010.

More journalism resources from Mashable:

8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist
10 Ways Journalism Schools Are Teaching Social Media
The Journalist’s Guide to Twitter
Why NPR is the Future of Mainstream Media
Social Journalism: Past, Present, and Future
Everything I Need to Know About Twitter I learned in J School
10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy

Image courtesy of iStockphotoiStockphotoiStockphoto

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SEO Internet Market research firm witnesses Google Caffeine Real Time search update and expects big surge in Social Media marketing.

Online PR News – 26-December-2009 – SEO Internet Marketing firm Irbtrax observes preview of Google Caffeine ‘Real Time’ search results and the increased emphasis on Social Media Marketing that will result when Caffeine is fully launched after the holidays. Caffeine is the most comprehensive Google Search Engine application since 2006, and clearly places a greater emphasis on Social Media sites like Twitter, as well as newsworthy Blogs.

According to Irbtrax founder Scott Moir-

“There is no doubt we’ll see a new surge in the use of Social Media Marketing once Caffeine is fully launched. I expect many online businesses to quickly turn their focus toward becoming Social Media savvy, creating a great opportunity for Social Media experts to ply their trade.”

There is no doubt we’ll see a new surge in the use of Social Media Marketing once Caffeine is fully launched. I expect many online businesses to quickly turn their focus toward becoming Social Media savvy, creating a great opportunity for Social Media experts to ply their trade.

For a detailed outline of important changes Caffeine is expected to have on websites and their related Internet Marketing efforts visit:

Irbtrax is currently negotiating with several Social Media marketing firms to develop a mutually beneficial business relationship, because SEO Internet Marketing and SoMed can play a combined role in enhancing user/client experience and results.

For a glimpse of how SEO Internet Marketing can benefit Social Media visit:

About: provides specialized Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Market Research Solutions for business’s seeking a competitive advantage. Including optimizing your Web Marketing efforts for Google Caffeine. After all, being cutting edge is good, but being leading edge is far better.

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Social media caught fire with mainstream audiences this year. Despite the economic recession, sites like Twitter and Facebook saw tremendous growth. There were lots of mistakes and successes along the way.

My top ten most memorable social media moments for the past year are:

The Hudson plane crash update was the tweet heard across the country. Sarasota resident Janis Krums snapped and tweeted a photo of the miracle landing of a plane into the Hudson River: “There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.”

The Iran election protests organized on Twitter showed people the power of citizen reporting. Citizens of Iran used the medium to organize and report on Iran’s presidential election protests, and U.S. residents used social media sites to successfully lobby for increased news coverage of the protests. The U.S. State Department even stepped in to ask Twitter to delay a planned upgrade to allow Iranians to continue reporting what was happening.

The dumbest Tweet of the year, a communications flub, ironically came from an executive of a slick New York City public relations firm. A vice president of Ketchum dumped on Memphis, the hometown of a major client, Federal Express, before meeting with the company, BNET reported. He tweeted, “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say ‘I would die if I had to live here!'” He and his company later apologized..

The most damaging Facebook post came from a girl who complained about her boss, whom she had friended. He fired her in a reply to her comment, according to the message exchange posted at Come on, people. Think twice before posting.

An amateur singer got more than 100 million views on YouTube, landing her a top-selling album. YouTube helped thrust Susan Boyle, an unemployed church volunteer, into the limelight with a video of her singing on Britain’s Got Talent. Jill and Kevin Heinz found YouTube fame as well when their walk down the aisle in a St. Paul Minn. church turned into a dance led by their enthusiastic wedding party.

The movie “Paranormal Activity” became the first film to get a national release after people demanded the movie through Twitter and Facebook. The horror movie, produced for $15,000, grossed more than $62 million as of October.

Google includes real-time search results that pick up social media posts. As more people turn to social media sites for breaking news, Google announced on YouTube this month that it will include them in their search results.

Zynga, maker of social media games ” Mafia Wars” and “FarmVille,” was valued at $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.

After a highly publicized race with CNN, Actor Ashton Kutcher became the first Tweeter to collect 1 million followers. Kutcher crossed the 1 million mark on April 17 narrowly beating CNN’s breaking-news feed, which had 998,239 followers at the time. He later told Larry King, “We now live in an age in media that a single voice can have as much power and relevance on the Web, that is, as an entire media network.”

What’s number 10, you ask? A Facebook friend request from my cyber phobic mother was the most memorable social media moment to me.

Seth Liss is’s News Community Manager. You may reach him at

From the Team at WebWitches

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It was quite a year for the revolution that is Twitter, Facebook & Co., so sOCial sunday asked some of our pals what they thought was their social media highlight of 2009 …

  1. “Watching Google and Bing scramble over how to get and implement social media tweets and updates into search. They’ve really jumped to try and figure things out.” – Danny Sullivan,
  2. “Use of social media in recent popular protests in Iran. It showed the power and resilience of social media to organize and to resist central control. It is both powerful and dangerous — depending on which side you end up on.” – Don Patterson,
  3. “Twitter as a news ticker. Some of the biggest news stories — accurate and inaccurate — broke on Twitter. That mainstreamed it and made other services like Facebook emulate it.” – Marisa O’Neil, OC Parks
  4. “The rise of Twitter from plaything of the uber-nerd to the biggest story in American media. It shows the influence the technology/web world has on the culture now.” – Jim McCarthy, Goldstar
  5. “The amazing engagement that we have seen with each of our social campaigns. There hasn’t been one flop to-date and every campaign has generated a lot of buzz, some industry attention and tons of engagement.” – Tracy Marks, Souplantation
  6. “San Diego ReBar (social media training) camp. We strictly marketed it using Twitter, Facebook and a blog. It sold out in 60 days. Let me know that Sociall Media had hit the mainstream.” – Jim Marks, Virtual Results
  7. “New rules on disclosure from the FTC. This will help trustworthy and ethical social-marketers and will help to eliminate the unethical who are out to trick and scam people.” – Mirna Bard, NuReach Global
  8. “Little Facebook app called FBML which lets you add and create customizable pages to your Facebook Fan page.” – Jen Dwyer,
  9. “How Twitter and Facebook, while still far from perfect, became useful business tools for the social media-savvy.” – Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia U.
  10. “Hosting enthusiastically received Gov 2.0 series with participation of 200 people in Orange County and reach of more than 400,000 impressions nationally — and even worldwide.” – Ted Nguyen, Orange County Transportation Authority
  11. “Hands down, the death of Michael Jackson. While traditional media outlets were scrambling to confirm the news, it had already spread like wild fire through the Twittersphere.” – Rochelle Veturis, LPA architects
  12. “For Twitter to become the media darling of the year. It swept mainstream media, Hollywood.” – Charles Harris, Coast2Coast Experts
  13. “Finding ways to use Twitter effectively. Mall of America giving parking updates; stores giving limited time discounts via Twitter, “contests” via Twitter.” – Chip Ahlswede,
  14. “Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars demonstrated how (1) power has shifted from those who can afford to pay for media distribution to those whom can create it and (2) that corporations lost control of their brands.” – Ron Ploof,
  15. “140 conference in LA, OC Twestival. Both allowed me to meet a tremendous amount of new, great connections.” – Justin Moore-Brown, Mobo Media
  16. “Twitter revolutionized my world. I connected with many new friends on Twitter around the world. My friends are from every conceivable walk of life, from CEO’s to nurses, college professors to artists.” – Carol Lee, Surterre Properties
  17. “Google’s product releases as a whole. Voice; the Droid phone — Android OS, Verizon’s network, Motorola hardware; Chrome browser; Chrome OS; Wave; etc. And lots of little improvements to existing products.” – Mark Davidson, Shift+One

[ Want social media tips by email? CLICK HERE! ]

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popcornChances are you’re going to find yourself with some down-time over the holidays. Sure, you could go for a jog/swim/insert other energetic activity but let’s face it, after all that turkey and egg nog what you’ll really fancy is a semi-snooze on the sofa as you strain to watch some TV over your bloated belly.

Ever at your service, we’ve pulled together a list of what we consider are ten great geek films. We’ve left out anything adapted from a video game (they are almost all universally rubbish anyhow) and anything featuring robots, Vulcans, Jedis, and Keanu Reeves as too obvious to waste space on the list, focusing instead on computer-related flicks.

So, without further preamble, here are 10 great movies to geek out to over the holidays – so grab your popcorn and enjoy.

1. Pirates of Silicon Valley

Tom and Jerry, Popeye and Pluto, Steve and Bill. The duo that changed the computer industry forever are pitched against each other here in a made-for-TV movie following their intertwined early years. Enjoy Woz and be sure to look out for a young Steve Ballmer.

2. The Net

Gibson-gulping, pizza-eating Sandra Bullock wishes she never hit control and shift in this cinematic outing that sees her identity stolen by the evil digital elite as she uncovers a plot as improbable as her casting.

3. Hackers

“Their only crime was curiosity.” Well, that and really bad hair. Offering up a rad baddie that rides a skateboard despite being middle-aged, the prevalence of floppy disks in the film alone will make you nostalgic for the days of dial-up.

4. Wargames

Lovable nerd Matthew Broderick nearly starts World War III in this geek classic that sees his teenage hacker taking on WOPR, NORAD’s supercomputer, in a “game” involving nuclear missiles and the potential annihilation of the planet.

5. MacHeads

“I’ve never knowingly slept with a Windows user.” For some an operating system is a tool, for others it’s a way of life. This documentary follows the latter. Compelling, whether or not you subscribe to the cult of Mac.

6. Sneakers

Geek cinema goes all-star with this hacker slash conspiracy flick that features, among others Robert Redford, River Pheonix and Dan Akroyd as just a few of the stars discovering secrets about a “black box” they think the NSA has hired them to retrieve. Needless to say, all is not as it seems.

7. Antitrust

Tim Robbins takes a thinly-veiled turn as a sinister Gates figure heading up the NURV corporation where idealistic programmer Ryan Phillipe gets hired after college. If you like your geeks glossy and your plots full of holes, then this one’s for you.

8. Electric Dreams

So Eighties it’s almost painful to watch at times, Electric Dreams offers a plethora of gadgets from the decade as well as a self-aware “Pinecone” PC that forms one point of a love triangle. Will the geek get the girl? You’ll have to watch it to find out…

9. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

We’re taking you back a ways with this 1969 movie that sees a very young Kurt Russell get an electrifying experience that gives him the brain of a computer, hence the tennis shoes reference of the clumsy title. The tech is sooo dated, it’s a little like a history lesson too.

10. Office Space

We’ve saved the best for last. A cult classic, Office Space’s geek credentials come from the plot line that sees disenfranchised cubicle-dwellers create a virus-like snippet of software to rip off the company for a bunch of money, but the whole show is stolen beautifully by Milton and his attachment to his red stapler.

BONUS: Primer

Impressive for its measly $7,000 budget, this recent cult classic follows a mind-bending story about a group of hackers who accidentally build a time machine. It’s so confusing it’s sure to make you wish you could go back in time yourself and ask Santa for the foresight never to try to understand how the plot of this head scratcher works.

Image courtesy of iStockphotoiStockphotoiStockphoto

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