INJO4: Technorati & Dave Sifry

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Good Old Trend

Technorati: An introduction for Journalists and Publishers

Dave Sifry started out asking the audience how many were working journalists or publishers, and also how many that already used the service. Only 20% were using it, some what surprising I thought.

Sifry emphasised that the media landscape is changing, and also the increasingly difficult differentiation between advertising and non-advertising in content. Not only was the media changing, but also the places where one can get the media from. Examples like YouTube, MySpace were mentioned. This part was hardly news for anyone reading this blog, but fair enough – a good introduction for the crowd.

He described what he hoped to become a shift in journalist attitude that was “this is what happened today” to “this is a very small part of what we could manage to find in this enormous news flow that happened today”. Something to that effect at least.

Sifry encouraged journalists to get involved in the conversation through tracking what is being spoken about right now. Technorati can today show content that was posted just under 60 seconds ago, making it ideal to pick up instant reactions regarding current events.

Under the topic “Using Technorati in journalism”, Sifry outlined three major points:

Search: Get the real-time conversation
A way to discover not only what people are talking about, but also as a way to find sources to more information. Finding the people behind the blogs so that you can contact them for further research.

Discovery features: Gauge the Zeitgeist
Technorati look at what 75 million people are talking about and track the most active conversations. This can be used to find new ideas for stories.

Authority: Understand your sources
“Every single person has a reputation”, Sifry said. Technorati can be used as a good way of checking what is being said about people. And it’s also a good way to find out more about people doing rants and raves – being able to understand their context and background.

Sifry continued with a Sun Microsystems case study. Sun regularly listens to the conversation about their products, and they provide a link to a Technorati search from each product page (see an example here).

Sifry finished with an interesting answer to a question about how Technorati themselves innovate. He said “don’t build the right system first” meaning that most projects fail anyway, and that one should focus on getting systems out there fast and then listen to the responses and change them accordingly. They try to work with new feature development within two week cycles. Two out three projects on average fails, but according to Sifry this was a good thing. Provided that you revalue what is a success, and what isn’t.

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