Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ready to Try QR Codes?

More and more people are accessing the web through their mobile phones and tablets (see a cool infographic). Enter the QR Code (aka quick response codes). While they’ve been in use big-time in Japan for several years. They’re just now catching on here. You’ve probably been seeing them around a lot lately. They’re in magazines and direct mail promotions. They’re also popular on posters at events.

With a QR Code reader on your smart phone, you can scan a code and be taken to some content on your phone. It might be a coupon, a video, a mobile website, or something else.

You can get a bit of a crash course by listening to Eric Schwartzman’s On the Record Online podcast where he interviews Wayne Sutton, (@socialwayne) business development and marketing specialist at TriOut, and Master Sergeant Donald Preston of US Forces, Japan. They talk about their experiences using QR Codes for organizational communications and they point to resources for you.

They also point you to a post by Mark Sprague, “QR Codes: Are You Ready For Paper-Based Hyperlinks?” that provides you with an excellent overview along with a list of QR Code readers and generators.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Report on the State of Podcasting

Edison Research recently released it’s latest report on the state of podcasting for 2010. It studied “behaviors, attitudes and consumption habits of the podcast audience in America.”
The study indicates that more than 70 million Americans have listened to a podcast and that podcast listeners have moved out of the early adopter phase and are now more in the mainstream.

Get more of the findings and see the Blogworld presentation where the results were released.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Four Things My Students Taught me about Blogs

I just finished my first semester teaching Introduction to Mass Communication at Northwest Vista College. As part of an exploration on new media, students were asked to pick one blog in the Technorati 100 and follow it for three weeks.

While several of the students regularly read blogs, most had little experience reading them. As part of their final grade, they presented their findings to the class, comparing the spirit of the blog to the spirit of the Cluetrain Manifesto and to our examination of media literacy.

Here’s what they found:

Some blogs are a complete waste of time. This was true for blogs which just re-posted content and links from other sites. It was also true for many of the celebrity-driven blogs and one blog about national security.

Blogs can be reputable sources. Some of the students examined the phenomenon of sites like which are now reputable sources of “breaking news.” This was also true for tech blogs they examined.

Blogs are no more than one person’s opinion. This was the conclusion from several students who followed blogs authored by a singular individual; it is also evidence of the increasing difficulty of separating fact and opinion in the blog medium.

News can spread like wildfire because of blogs. Each student was monitoring a different blog, but during the course of the project, they easily compared crossover stories like the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military, the TSA “pat-down” phenomenon and, particularly distressing for San Antonians, the impending divorce of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker.

It’s interesting to note that while one of the main theses of Cluetrain Manifesto was transparency in organizations, many students could not find “ownership” information for many of the blogs studied. Even in new media, there is a long way to go for outlets to be transparent.