Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Delicious Today: viral, social networks, bbc, radio

As part of my research internship at CPB in Washington, D.C. this summer, I'll start today a daily posting of online readings that I find to be useful to people interested in digital media or public broadcasting. All the reading links will also be available on my social bookmarking page,

#1: Bill Wasik’s new book: The view from atop the spike of viral culture
Bill Wasik talks about what makes content viral and the difference between viral and popular content. "When I think about viral, I think about not just the quantity of attention but the speed of it." So viral content has to be compelling and contagious at the same time.

In the digital era, content is still the king, and viral content is the king of kings. In my presentation to CPB Radio yesterday, I used two examples of viral content: Oregon Public Broadcasting's online video about an electric car drag race and Minnesota Public Radio's "Challenged Ballots: You be the Judge" web feature. They're produced with low-tech, plain video and scanned images, but resonate deeply with the audience.

#2: Report: Social Networks Growing while Other Social Media Sites Stagnate and Decline
"Report shows that internet users are beginning to now center their digital life around social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Orkut, choosing to share their content within these sites instead of on services with a single focus, like Blogger or Flickr."

Implication: public broadcasters may need to think about providing an aggregation space where people can access, mix, and share content from different local and national radio and television stations.

#3: BBC News widget becomes default news provider on iGoogle UK
#4: BBC to share videos free with UK news sites, starting with Daily Mail, Guardian, Telegraph and Independent
"The video news sharing proposal marks a significant shift in relations between the BBC and rival media companies. ... The BBC has embarked on a series of partnerships with commercial media companies."

This is a smart move on the BBC's part to extend its reach and to "fend off government proposals to top-slice the licence fee to help support other public service broadcasters." Should public broadcasters in U.S. also re-evaluate their relationship with commercial media? At present time when serious journalism is facing unprecedented financial challenge, there should be some opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

#5: The future of radio –- technical innovation
From James Cridland, Executive Product Manager, A/V Products at BBC

"A hybrid receiver – one capable of using internet and broadcast – is the most interesting place that radio is headed right now." It "brings the best of both worlds to a listener – a reliable and free over-the-air, mobile, mass-market audio source, and a personalised connection to that station as well."

As a big fan of shortwave radio when I grew up in China, I want this hybrid. Period.

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