Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Short and Long of It

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  • Tom Beard,

    Re: the difference between Twitter & Facebook. The distinction seems to be gradually collapsing, but it seems that Twitter is generally favoured by erm, how shall I put it? Early adopters? Techonology enthusiasts? Oh, all right, geeks.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    But I can't do what some of my friends have done and give up on FB for keeping up with friends, leaving it just for "catching up with family". That seems a little patronising to me, with the implication that it's only clueless uncles and cousins who would be stuck with FB, when all those in the know are switching to Twitter.

    But I'd say that, at least until recently, about 90% of my Twitter followers/followees were web professionals or enthusiasts (coders, writers, designers, consultants), but only about 50% of my FB friends were. The other 50% were nurses, moteliers, hairdressers, painters, policy analysts, jewellers, full-time parents, planners, cobblers, musicians, architects, fashion designers, bartenders and so forth.

    Things are gradually starting to change, and it may just be about my varied circles of friends, but Twitter in NZ still seem to appeal more to people who are interested in technology for its own sake. As strange as it may seem, there are people out there who don't know what Webstock or Foo Camp are, think that CSS is a Brazilian electro band, don't drool over iPhones and don't care about whatever Joss bloody Whedon is doing next.

    Sorry if that sounds like a bit of a rant, but as much as I love Twitter, it won't be my exclusive online social networking tool until it broadens its demographic reach a little.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    That's a horse.

    Usually, we just tape a buncha cats together.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Fish,

    I use RSS readers (initially Bloglines, now Google Reader) for the past 6 years and generally check every day. With mobile internet now I catch up with feeds whenever I have a bit of time, often as my evening reading before going to sleep. I must admit that feeds that have to open on the original site are a pain on the iPhone - when you go back to Google Reader it reloads the page and all the posts you have just read dissappear (or are marked as read - you can still find them but not user friendly).

    PA has never been on my RSS reader - it is too important for that! I'm on the mail list and receive your email (just about) every day with a list of the new stories, open the ones that interest me then leave the PA/S page open all day to follow the comments (hope it doesn't skew your stats too much!)

    I discovered Hard News when living in London in about 1995. I remembered Russell from his journalism days before I left NZ in 1986 and found HN a great way to keep up with what interested me in NZ - seems like another age now. I think the website started about the time I moved back to NZ in 2000. Addition of comments has doubled the value.

    Musings on various subjects bought up today:

    In regards to Lance Wiigs' post - It's ok to be different. I guess he just has a short attention span.

    Surely people have the page bookmarked! and publicaddress.net is a great domain name. These days Mr Wiig if you are unsure of a domain name just type it into google rather than the url bar...

    I have used wordpress (along with other blogging platforms) and one of the big irritants is the targetting by hackers, you are forever updating the source code with 'vunerability fixes', not much fun if you host your own sites and aren't comfortable using command line.


    Please don't go to threaded comments, just confuses everything.

    When I signed up to Twitter I wondered what I would use it for, but like a lot of you it is now the first thing I check in the morning. I don't post much, but follow a group of people whose opinions I value; and it is great for real-time searches and following current events.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Ugh, just Karl, although "the Karl" is probably more correct nomenclature.

    And @nzben, while we're doing that.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Did I mention that when you linked to me regarding the Karl and the painted ladies, I got more hits than NBR, Computerworld, and NZHerald Technology combined?

    I've had various things linked in Hard News posts and seen a spike in my web stats, but a few weeks ago Giovanni made a comment here with a link to something I'd written and it gave me a similarly big jump in numbers. Really cool!

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1863 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I don't have a big enough sample to infer causality, but the sites that I have felt the most involved in over time have all had bespoke content management systems. Ok, so I'm really only talking about here, and nzmusic.com. But I actually wonder whether having to learn the ropes produces a greater sense of ownership. Certainly at nzm, there tended to be a bit education of new arrivals.
    nzm also shows the downsides of having your own cms. The coldfusion based model there slowly ground to a halt as the site & archive's continued to expand. Server downtime, and a not entirely smooth move to a new system I think contributed to its decline.

    As for RSS. I seem like the kind of person who should use that. But I actually like visiting websites. It's a bit like picking up a newspaper and flicking through it. Public Address is typically how I start my lunchbreak. I find the distinction between PA and PAS at times quite useful as well. On busy days, I'll just stick to reading the posts, and never quite get to PAS.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Oh, yeah. It's not immediately obvious:
    @Ghetsuhm

    I LOVE twitter. It's always one of the first tabs I open. It does social calendar, banal personal trivia, poetry, word-games with British comedians - whatever you want it to do.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Isn't she is the adult film actress who entered Italian politics?

    Don't make me get out the Italian stereotype bingo card, 'kay?

    Noted. I'll refrain from mentioning the Italian politician who entered... etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Lance: I never ever use your cow because it sucks, but let me tell you what your cow is like. Problem #1, it doesn't give enough milk.

    People who actually use PA: Um dude? That's a horse.

    Furthermore, that's not a teat you're pulling on.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I've had various things linked in Hard News posts and seen a spike in my web stats, but a few weeks ago Giovanni made a comment here with a link to something I'd written and it gave me a similarly big jump in numbers. Really cool!

    Let's try this again. Robyn amongst other things is the author of my favourite ever one page blog.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • jeff constable,

    Not sure whether it's been covered already (busy day - haven't had the usual slacking-off time) but the only change I'd like to see to the comments would be the ability to 'see all' comments. Or at least more than the 20 currently allowed - it gives a better sense of continuity when you can quickly scroll between earlier & later comments in a thread. Especially since several topics may be being discussed at once - which is one of the wonderful things about PAS.

    I don't comment here often but I love this community. Even Craig. Or is that especially? I'm never sure..

    Sydney, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Can't say I would be a fan of threaded discussions either - but I am desperately trying to think of a way of making replies self tagging somehow.

    I also can't remember the last time I went to PA rather than PAS.

    Facebook is quickly falling into the category of clubs I don't want to join because they would have me...I hate it when peole link to a facebook page and I am expected to sign up in order to see stuff. This has happened a lot on twitter lately.

    Glad to be part of a community that likes to read and engage with ideas that are well formed and demand time/attention.

    Oh and thanks to Leo for the Ohrwurm.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 727 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Lance: I never ever use your cow because it sucks, but let me tell you what your cow is like. Problem #1, it doesn't give enough milk.

    People who actually use PA: Um dude? That's a horse.

    Oh f*ck it! I was over at Lance's blog wanking on about incommensurability and now I'm totally trumped by Emma's comedy genius!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Don't make me get out the Italian stereotype bingo card, 'kay?

    How could you, what with your arms waving around like that and all...

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 204 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, I hope that clean shirt/one sock invite is for Drinnan rather than me.

    Hey, if you've got the time I be waaay slutty. But, seriously, who hasn't faced a blank screen and a deadline while not having anything worth saying? I can forgive that, but Drinnan seems to have had a bitchy little hard on about Media7, and Russell personally, from the start and it's fucking boring. Pardon my Anglo-Saxon.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Not that there's anything wrong with having a bitchy little hard-on in print, but being boring about it? Oh, wrongness let me count the ways...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    So, where is Giovanni originally from again? I forgot.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    but Twitter in NZ still seem to appeal more to people who are interested in technology for its own sake. As strange as it may seem, there are people out there who don't know what Webstock or Foo Camp are, think that CSS is a Brazilian electro band,

    Weird, I'm on Twitter for all the free music links and vicariously enjoying @johubris's weekend adventures.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    the multiple subjects in the blog posts (I don't mind their length) make it impossible in the comment sections to react meaningfully. The commentary is on a million different issues and there is no threading possible.

    Hmm. I'm not entirely sure what threading is. Is that when there are different threads for different topic-y things? I go to several forums that are like that, but they are just that - just forums. The community here is about discussing the blogs of our beloved Head Bloggers, I would have thought, in which case, threading would be somewhat irrelevant. And as for making meaningful comments, and it all being very confusing. What I think it this: many of the conversations on here reflect very accurately the way that the people who contribute here converse in general, I have found. All disjointed etc because, let's face it, when you're interesting and you think about alot of stuff, there's alot of stuff to say. Can't be doing with these people that don't talk like that. Or who use words sparingly. Some say "Still waters run deep", I say " Sometimes shallow waters is just shallow waters". I have to say that it is my distinct pleasure to have met fellow PASers a few times (some with very naughty regularity) and every time, it's exactly like trying to follow the conversation here. You have to be quick, quite willing to butt in, and very willing to listen. You may not always understand what you're hearing, but you can always bring it back down to your own level, at some stage.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    My suggestion....

    At the top of each page, you have links for "System > Public Address Cafe >" and a little below that, "Page 1 2 3 4 5 6" of the topic I'm in.....

    Then at the bottom, you have the "Page 1 2 3 4 5 6" repeated, but not the "System > Public Address Cafe >"

    So if I i've read down to the bottom of all the posts on this page, I can easily skip to a different page of this discussion... but if I want to go up one level to see which other discussions have new posts... I have to scroll back up to the top of the page first....

    Its only minor, but there's plenty of room on the page. Cheers!

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Another vote here against threading - ideas unfolding in a stream of consciousness narrative style is much better, more like a real discussion. One feature I would find super useful is the ability jump to the first new post since I was last on. I tend to catch up fairly intermittently.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    And yes, I'd also support the requests of others for a "skip to where I was up to last" feature (not that I know how you'd do that?).

    If you don't consciously remember what page number you're up to in a quickly moving thread, (I'm getting better at it), it can take a bit of clicking back a few pages to find the last comment you remember reading, before catching up...

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    It wouldn't be so much where you were up to, but the last comment that was displayed to your browser that session (whether or not you actually read it or not). That is usually close enough.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    I too like the length of the Public Address blogs but hey, if it's haiku you want, haiku is here...

    The Community of Weblogs aspect of Public Address may seem foreign to others as it is one of the points of difference. Even the OED defines a weblog as "typically run by a single person." Of course among the other points of difference is y'all...

    What I like about the unthreaded forums is not repeating what other have writ because it's not buried in an adjacent thread.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    Will the new version of the site give me the ability to go back in time and slap my cursor away from the Post Reply button?

    That'd come in really handy.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

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