Mark but the badges of these men (and women), my lords (and ladies)

Gratuitous politically-corrected Shakespearean quotes aside, I just thought you might like to know that I knocked up some badges for the PR Friendly Index last night.

I’ve listed them below with suggested HTML below each image. Just copy and paste the HTML into your own page, and it should work. You can also find the badges at the bottom of the PR Friendly Index page, and in the PR Friendly Index FAQ.


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_160x33_1.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="160" height="33"></a>


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_160x33_2.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="160" height="33"></a>


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_120x30_1.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="120" height="30"></a>


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_120x30_2.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="120" height="30"></a>


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_160x160_1.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="160" height="160"></a>


Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!

<a href="http://brendancooper.com/the-pr-index/&quot; title="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" target="_blank"><img src="http://thefriendlyghost.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/pr_friendly_badge_160x160_2.gif&quot; alt="Click to see Brendan Cooper's PR Friendly Index of top PR blogs!" border="0" width="160" height="160"></a>


The Friendly Chat: Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy has been working in both agency and in-house PR roles across North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America since 1991 and is currently responsible for Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility for Microsoft in Ireland.

Prior to joining Microsoft in August 2005, Tom was director of corporate communications for Cape Clear Software and his most recent agency posting was as general manager of EMEA consulting for Text 100, where he helped clients plan and execute PR plans in multiple countries across the region.

Tom has worked with companies across practically every technology industry sector including BEA Systems, Corel, Gateway, Intel, Marrakech, Microsoft, StorageTek and Visio. He has been blogging about Public Relations since 2002 and when time permits he writes the Murphy’s Law blog. He can be contacted at tpemurphy -AT- hotmail.com.

Why did you start blogging?

I started in March 2002, running the PR Opinions blog which talked about, funnily enough, PR. From August 2006 I moved across to Murphy’s Law.

I didn’t really start with any objective. I just thought there wasn’t much good PR content out there, and decided to use a blog to collate my own thoughts and ideas, and store material and links. You could almost think of it as a pre-del.icio.us in that respect.

People then started commenting, and it took off. It became a ‘real’ blog. Recently however, I’m finding I lack the time to post as often as I would like.

How do you think your professional life has benefited from blogging?

When I started there were only a few other PR bloggers around, such as Phil Gomes, Jim Horton and Richard Bailey. The numbers started growing quickly but I found being in at a comparatively early stage did give me an advantage.

For example, I was working with a small software company at the time, and was not only aware of blogger outreach but able to do it, simply through being a blogger myself and knowing what it was about. This was a fairly unique offering at the time.

What has been your single greatest blogging success?

Actually, it was while working at that small software company. We were marketing a technical product and so identified some 20 key US bloggers that we felt would be able to give an informed (and hopefully favourable!) review. Of them, about ten reviewed it, and a spike of online interest occurred as a result.

Two weeks later there was a huge spike, and interest grew exponentially. This was because people were reading the reviews and commenting on them – that is, word was spreading. It appeared in trade journals, then made it to the New York Times and then the San Jose Mercury News which, for us, was the bullseye.

What are the top three things you’d ask people to consider when they start a blog?

1. Think about who you’re writing for and what you want to say. A blog isn’t really a blog if no one reads it!

2. Be realistic about your expectations, particularly regarding the amount of time you’re prepared to spend on it. Time is an ever-decreasing commodity.

3. Get out there and engage. When you blog, you’re part of a community, and this involves giving as well as taking.

If Twitter is microblogging, how would you say it fits alongside blogging?

I think Twitter is like being partially deaf – you only hear part of the conversation! I find Twitter interesting personally, I just don’t have the time to participate in it. I also find it’s populated by Web 2.0 advocates, not ‘real’ people whom I would want to reach on behalf of clients.

The bigger issue is that people are being swamped with information nowadays. This isn’t helped when all sites are being touted as useful to all people. They’re not, and never could be. People just don’t have the time to engage with all of this.

Things are always evolving and particularly now, particularly in social media, we’re in a real state of flux. In five years’ time new tools will have emerged that we couldn’t imagine life without. And, by the same token, some of today’s tools will have disappeared.

I think we will start finding a balance between them, and between our use of traditional ‘offline’ media and online. Online is not the death-knell of offline, and let us never forget that the most effective form of communication is face-to-face.

What are your predictions for social media in 2008?

I see two basic trends:

1. Large online organisations/sites will become the most important. Below that there will be massive fragmentation with lots of smaller social sites vying for attention. This will be a nightmare to monitor, let alone to figure out how best to use them. The focus, as always, should be on the audience. What will they use all these things for? It’s impossible to say.

2. Continued flux. Things are far from settling down. A couple of years ago Myspace and Bebo were very popular in Ireland, now Facebook is in the ascendance.

Of the corporate blogs that built buzz (‘Tis the time for lists), which is your favourite, and why?

I think Dell have done a really good job. They were having a harder time than other people but they put their hands up and opened themselves to the criticism being levelled at them. They continued to listen and learn some very tough home truths.

I also like what GM are doing. Theirs is a territory not often associated with social media so they’ve been particularly open-minded here. Their blogs feature a lot of executive opinion, open customer engagement, and content from advocates and critics alike.

You have advised people on how to get into ‘New PR’. What has been their reaction?

I actually detest the phrase New PR! It implies ‘replacement’, that is, something that is better than what went before. This is not the case. PR is PR, it’s about conversation, always has been, always will be. It’s just the channels and tools which change. So, while social media is ‘new stuff’, it’s still within the remit of PR.

This is how I frame it when I talk to PR people, both evangelists and more traditional types alike, and it resonates with them all. They react well to this advice.

What is your favourite social media tool/site/technology?

If I were on a desert island which would I want? FeedDemon. It’s a great application. It makes reading RSS so easy, it’s very user-friendly, it enables me to monitor and search feeds, set up alerts, everything I need. It’s simple and effective – and free now, although I was a paying subscriber initially.

Which blogger do you most admire?

Good grief, this is like asking me which of my kids is the least ugly! I love them all in equal measure.

So, did you get the latest PR Friendly Index then?

My assumption is: no. Because it hasn’t appeared in my feed, and I’ve sounded other people out who also cannot see it.

This has happened the past three issues of the index.

I can only assume it’s something to do with the content. Perhaps it’s too long? Maybe it contains too many links? So possibly, WordPress or Feedburner spam it out? Who knows?

Main thing is, the latest index is out so if you fancy taking a look, it’s here.

The PR Friendly Index for February 2008

All change!

Key below, index below that, explanation below that.

You might also find the FAQ useful.

 

KEY
 
  Technorati Authority – blogs (not links) linking to a site in the last six months
 
  Technorati Inlinks – links coming into a site according to Technorati
 
  Yahoo Inlinks – links coming into a site according to Yahoo Site Explorer
 
  Google Hits – hits for a site’s URL
 
  Google Blog Hits – hits for a site’s URL according to Google Blog Search
 
  Google Blog Hits over the past Month – hits for a site’s URL over the past month according to Google Blog Search. This is given more weighting than other metrics to promote blogs with recent online activity.
 
  IceRocket – recent posts that link to a site according to IceRocket

 


1   +1  Micro Persuasion 2,762  
4,306  
557,000  
50,500  
5,335  
4,933  
1,984  

2   -1  Online Marketing Blog 3,069  
6,335  
166,000  
37,000  
1,211  
1,113  
1,188  

3   0  PR Watch 644  
2,076  
381,000  
42,100  
410  
128  
409  

4   0  PR 2.0 Silicon Valley 648  
1,395  
61,600  
6,330  
446  
127  
703  

5   +1  NevilleHobson.com 451  
847  
91,700  
7,800  
1,541  
49  
426  

6   -1  a shel of my former self 525  
1,010  
98,700  
6,900  
1,042  
26  
510  

7   +2  PR Squared 460  
938  
53,100  
3,350  
330  
39  
429  

8   +1  Web Ink Now 478  
1,484  
42,700  
2,990  
353  
82  
392  

9   -1  The Buzz Bin 412  
1,080  
36,700  
2,210  
251  
98  
603  

10   +4  Media Orchard 178  
494  
44,300  
3,910  
328  
26  
181  

11   -4  Communication Overtones 331  
809  
48,200  
1,560  
46  
32  
407  

12   +3  Strumpette 170  
325  
29,700  
5,290  
311  
20  
163  

13   -2  Pop! PR Jots 250  
401  
59,300  
1,420  
39  
17  
199  

14   +6  Paul Gillin – Social Media 237  
326  
27,000  
1,510  
163  
30  
126  

15   +2  Pro PR 188  
393  
31,700  
1,060  
285  
20  
192  

16   +6  Spinwatch 121  
293  
57,200  
11,700  
26  
17  
108  

17   +4  Young PR 147  
279  
26,400  
837  
312  
15  
186  

18   +5  PR Works 133  
320  
21,400  
912  
215  
12  
134  

19   +4  A PR Guy’s Musings 113  
178  
28,400  
2,070  
255  
9  
67  

20   +8  Tech PR Gems 95  
269  
11,200  
1,520  
14  
38  
164  

21   +4  PR Blogger 173  
287  
35,700  
1,700  
5  
13  
98  

22   -9  The Bad Pitch Blog 216  
324  
42,900  
1,070  
12  
6  
138  

23   -5  Strategic Public Relations 171  
256  
39,000  
863  
11  
6  
139  

24   -5  PR Meets the WWW 190  
253  
41,400  
938  
3  
7  
125  

25   +1  The Flack 3  
176  
62,700  
1,260  
104  
20  
81  

26   +5  ToughSledding 90  
168  
20,200  
375  
61  
21  
79  

27   -15  Todd Andrlik 391  
600  
10,800  
2,050  
390  
0  
224  

28   +12  On Message Wagner Comms 170  
206  
25,200  
853  
1,178  
3  
34  

29   +10  PR Conversations 93  
220  
12,100  
1,140  
19  
8  
63  

30   +16  Piaras Kelly PR 48  
75  
33,000  
1,230  
104  
14  
31  

31   -15  Canuckflack 167  
241  
11,900  
3,240  
4  
3  
131  

32   +15  Murphy’s Law 76  
103  
22,700  
519  
90  
9  
46  

33   0  PR Communications 106  
151  
18,800  
869  
13  
6  
54  

34   +7  Heather Yaxley 137  
226  
16,600  
773  
6  
3  
139  

35   -6  Common Sense PR 221  
437  
4,440  
3,830  
0  
2  
221  

36   +14  Teaching PR 79  
155  
5,570  
102  
44  
21  
72  

37   -7  Occam’s RazR 4  
195  
9,350  
920  
53  
12  
137  

38   +5  Engage in PR 62  
240  
5,550  
547  
25  
7  
61  

39   -7  Blogging Me, Blogging You 88  
138  
25,500  
572  
9  
4  
57  

40   -4  KDPaine’s PR Measurement 82  
131  
10,200  
344  
14  
9  
78  

41   -7  Corporate PR 118  
179  
35,800  
541  
6  
3  
42  

42   +3  PR Disasters 64  
103  
10,800  
1,790  
28  
3  
42  

43   -1  IndiaPRBlog! 48  
119  
14,700  
2,410  
18  
2  
72  

44   -7  Media Guerrilla 66  
105  
11,900  
1,200  
62  
2  
53  

45   -10  Drew B’s take on tech PR 94  
138  
25,100  
309  
63  
2  
44  

46   +22  Flack Life 5  
76  
14,300  
1,230  
85  
13  
32  

47   +6  Naked PR 82  
151  
6,160  
779  
20  
3  
40  

48   0  Brendan Cooper 48  
118  
2,500  
851  
9  
12  
57  

49   -11  Cooler Insights 56  
137  
20,400  
748  
4  
4  
43  

50   +9  Valley PR Blog 47  
97  
3,670  
956  
11  
8  
48  

51   -2  ….the world’s leading…. 62  
130  
8,150  
155  
30  
3  
61  

52   -8  PR Studies 80  
118  
20,900  
283  
5  
4  
29  

53   +8  Getting Ink 60  
145  
1,780  
420  
28  
3  
44  

54   -3  Wadds’ tech pr blog 54  
99  
8,010  
339  
13  
5  
44  

55   +25  PR Newser 33  
98  
54,200  
465  
13  
2  
26  

56   -4  The New PR 43  
59  
9,720  
210  
156  
2  
34  

57   -1  The PR 2.0 Universe 31  
80  
17,500  
408  
27  
2  
21  

58   -3  Beyond PR 32  
82  
19,900  
423  
3  
3  
17  

59   -2  bitemarks 48  
74  
20,800  
604  
1  
2  
22  

60   +2  The New Marketing 33  
55  
3,410  
208  
17  
4  
31  

61   +11  Wired PR Works 29  
114  
2,160  
349  
8  
3  
35  

62   +1  Onalytica 29  
69  
3,980  
255  
18  
4  
16  

63   +12  The PR Place 20  
36  
9,570  
165  
31  
3  
19  

64   +4  The Rosemont Loving 40  
61  
15,800  
194  
3  
3  
11  

65   0  PR Meets Marketing 5  
78  
267  
432  
0  
12  
55  

66   +23  wordymouth 10  
21  
1,380  
1,310  
15  
5  
13  

67   -13  Tech PR War Stories 33  
105  
4,590  
177  
25  
1  
40  

68   -41  Peter Shankman 8  
0  
347  
1,690  
12  
6  
18  

69   -6  Priscilla’s World 26  
49  
1,880  
309  
0  
4  
20  

70   -3  Alan Weinkrantz PR 20  
29  
4,250  
340  
2  
3  
20  

71   +11  GREENblog 11  
30  
4,900  
129  
22  
2  
17  

72   -2  Media Artifacts 22  
55  
1,360  
179  
1  
2  
24  

73   0  note to editors… 18  
40  
1,260  
38  
1  
5  
17  

74   -3  PR 2.0 26  
50  
6,290  
109  
0  
2  
13  

75   +2  Active Voice 28  
54  
8,380  
127  
0  
2  
6  

76   -10  media mindshare 18  
0  
6,110  
153  
1  
3  
10  

77   -3  First Person PR 24  
35  
951  
50  
0  
3  
21  

78   +6  The Thicket 14  
21  
949  
505  
14  
2  
10  

79   +2  Public Relations Rogue 15  
30  
848  
66  
1  
3  
22  

80   -22  Glass House 28  
32  
11,000  
2  
0  
2  
13  

81   -3  PR Voice 34  
68  
1,360  
126  
0  
2  
6  

82   0  my(PR)palette 16  
29  
1,030  
85  
0  
3  
15  

83   +16  Point oh 34  
38  
7  
507  
3  
0  
17  

84   +4  DummySpit 14  
38  
2,720  
63  
0  
2  
12  

84   -5  Fusion PR Forum 17  
39  
461  
9  
2  
2  
18  

86   -1  PR Girlz 15  
26  
6,070  
10  
23  
0  
11  

87   -1  Corporati 9  
26  
10,600  
8  
1  
2  
7  

88   -2  copypunk 18  
44  
1,530  
10  
0  
2  
7  

89   +2  Tech for PR 10  
26  
1,570  
91  
0  
2  
12  

90   +3  point being: 8  
28  
2,900  
169  
0  
2  
6  

91   -31  In Front of Your Nose 8  
12  
67  
7  
6  
6  
2  

92   -2  Indian and Global PR 6  
22  
4,730  
88  
1  
2  
6  

93   +1  All Things PR 7  
27  
3,610  
81  
0  
2  
9  

94   +3  nerd-in-residence 9  
21  
473  
251  
0  
2  
6  

95   -3  PR (in a jar) 11  
23  
1,280  
2  
0  
2  
11  

96   0  The Spud Gun 10  
27  
970  
10  
0  
2  
6  

97   -2  The last man in Europe… 9  
27  
1,540  
8  
9  
0  
7  

98   +2  Small Business PR/Marketing 4  
11  
372  
71  
0  
2  
8  

99   -1  PR India Post 1  
0  
399  
6  
0  
2  
8  

100   -24  Don’t eat the shrimp 1  
2  
33  
441  
0  
0  
0  

This month, the PR Friendly Index has had a substantial facelift, as you can see.

This is following comments that the 1-10 scale didn’t show the true nature of the difference between blogs. So, I’ve decided to abandon the scale, and simply show the results for what they are.

It bears out interesting results. Not only does it show that the top three or four blogs really are way ahead of the rest – a fact which was masked by the 1-10 scale – but it also shows how some blogs do well in some areas but not in others.

Canuckflack is noticeable here, in that it has a strong Technorati Authority figure but performs weakly in others. In aggregation, this means Canuckflack is placed below other blogs that have substantially smaller Authorities but better all-round performance.

I’ve also abandoned Blogpulse in favour of IceRocket. This is a purely pragmatic measure: I can use ImportHTML calls in Google Spreadsheets to compile IceRocket figures, which I cannot do with Blogpulse. It’s much quicker and easier. I would love to use Blogpulse but ideally they will produce an API like Technorati to allow the little people like me to do stuff like this.

I’ve also removed Technorati Rank because it just looks weird on a chart. You get the impression that a large bar on a chart implies a large rank, when in fact it’s the other way around: the lower the rank, the better. It just proved so counter-intuitive that I decided to scrap it.

The metrics are scaled to fit the page, so you should compare the metrics like for like, not with each other. So, compare the chart of Technorati Authority for Micropersuasion with that for, say, PR Watch. Don’t compare Micropersuasion’s Techorati Authority chart with its Technorati Inlinks chart, because they’re on a different scale.

There are also removals, additions and changes:

  • Removed – Client Service Insights because you have to sign in now, which imho stops it from being a blog, and PRactical PR seems to have disappeared.
  • Added – Point Oh and PR Newser, simply because they asked me nicely, and it works well to have two out, two in.
  • Changed – Don’t Eat The Shrimp now has its own domain, New View From Object Towers is now In Front Of Your Nose at a new domain, and PR Differently now blogs as Peter Shankman. They have all fallen down the index as a result of their domain moves, but should start creeping up again as they pick up momentum.

Taken together, these changes produce some results which I can only describe as odd. Wordymouth, Piaras Kelly and Teaching PR have taken big leaps up. Wagner Comms continues to rise, but hasn’t posted much recently. There are some big losers too, such as Tech PR War Stories and Todd Andrlik (sorry Todd!)

I’ve been through the figures to make sure these are valid results – many times, hence the delay in publication. They are correct. So I’ve decided not to fret it too much. It’s probably something to do with the other new/changed blogs coming in and pushing existing blogs around, as well as changes to the metrics. Let’s see what happens next month when we’re comparing more like with like, given the metric changes this month.

And, of course, this is another weakness of these metrics: they continue to go up whether or not a blog is active. I never said this index was perfect.

Flockovery: the Flock browser, and musicovery music, um, thing

Two discoveries: the Flock browser; and musicovery.

First, Flock. Bills itself as ‘the social web browser.’

What this means is that it integrates itself into your social media. You log into Twitter using Flock, and it imports the people you’re following. You log into Facebook, and it pulls in your Facebook friends. It also grabs any media streams for sites such as Flickr or public photos in Facebook. It tells you when there’s an RSS feed for a site, and makes your public bookmarks on del.icio.us as immediately accessible as any private bookmarks on IE or Firefox.

So it presents the social media resources you may have available without even realising it.

It’s based on the Mozilla open-source code of Firefox, so despite being Flock v1, you can pretty much use it with as much confidence as Firefox. In other words, it works.

Is Flock needed? It’s an ‘app above the apps’ in that it gives you a central, standard way in which to treat your social media. It will evolve much more quickly than IE because it’s open source, and will attract people who are into social media to make it a truly social media browser.

But is the social media element enough to make people – ahem – flock from IE (which most non-web-savvy use because it’s there) or Firefox (because it does a perfectly good job of web browsing anyway)?

Probably not. But it’s an interesting approach to web useage. It acknowledges that we are browsing less, and looking at what other people we either know or have something to say that we are interested in, more. That’s why it’s a social media browser. If you find Google more useful, stick with IE or Firefox. If del.icio.us or Digg or RSS are more your thing, then check it out.

Second discovery: musicovery. Free, streaming audio based on your preference.

I recently wrote about how devastated I am to be locked out of Pandora due to geographical misfortune. Let’s face it: Pandora’s stuffed. It has no way out. But by God, it found music I wanted to listen to. Let’s take an example: I love Nick Drake. So, if I typed Nick Drake into Pandora, its genome approach to music would give me seemingly endless male vocal with solo guitar, all night. Perfect.

The alternative, Last FM, gives me music that people who Nick Drake like, like. So it can all too readily cut into whining female vocal with power guitar – Alanis Morisette – or saccharine American balladry. I don’t like this. I am not the same as some of the people who like Nick Drake.

Plus, if I really want to use Last FM properly, I need to download and install something. This is not right. One day we will look back at such a concept and laugh.

But what I really don’t like about Last FM is also what I don’t like about its – and many other social sites such as Facebook – interface. It’s fiddly. I can get immediate gratification with music, it’s true, but then there are *so many more options*. It’s too much. I just want music. I want a site that does one thing, and one thing well.

I remain astonished that such social media sites succeed. I await the day someone invents a social media site with a decent interface – by which I mean one that draws people in with BIG buttons, graphics, smooth animation and so on. It’s important. I know this, because I used to design interfaces.

Enter musicovery. OK, so it might follow a user-reference algorithm (I suspect strongly that it does but the site doesn’t give me enough information to say whether or not that’s true). So, it’s like Last FM in that respect. You can also select by genre (ie tag) like Last FM. But it seems to have a Pandora-like approach: you say whether you want slow or fast tempo, and whether or not you like a track, which is sort of Pandora-ish.

But it also has an exciting innovation: how you feel. Do you feel, or want to feel, dark, energetic, positive or calm. And it seems to work. I’m listening to dark, calm music at 1:30 am in the morning, and it suits me. I could work to this music tomorrow (and probably will). For me, its algorithm is better than Last FM’s.

And perhaps this is because its interface is better. It asks the right questions. And it also present the possibilities graphically. It presents me with the music I’m listening to, *and* its musical neighbours. I can quickly cut between them, through point-and-click (remember that phrase?).

Musicovery offers graphically what Pandora did. It’s attractive. You’re intrigued the moment you get into it because it’s immediate and obvious. And I’m sure that music and good graphics get closer to emotion than text and menus ever could.

That’s emotion. Rationally, where it could succeed where Pandora failed is that it offers a music quality that is just below what you would want to listen to on a hi-fi – but you can pay 4 US dollars (ie next to nothing) to get really good quality. I’m currently ‘unwiring’ my flat so that I can integrate music, video and web – basically, everything digital – across every outlet, such as TV and stereo. I may well pay musicovery to give me its intuitive way of accessing decent quality music in my lounge. That’s its proposition, and I buy it.

Musicovery is also charming in that it features Anglicised copy. You can find ‘more infos’.

So there you go. One day, two discoveries. Lots more to come, I’m sure, but like the compulsive discovery monkey that I am, I love ‘em. Until something better comes along.

CNN’s new citizen-journalism site: beta, or blur?

What on earth is CNN playing at? It has a history of sacking or proscribing employees who had the temerity to blog, and yet it has just launched a beta website based on user-produced news.

Neville Hobson recently posted on the plight of ex-CNN employee Chez Pazienza who was sacked for covertly running his own blog. Chez could have been slightly silly in that, as someone who should have been sensitive to the issues around blogging in the communications industry, he failed to disclose what he was doing. I certainly asked my employer if they had any objections when I started this blog.

But Chez has also fallen foul of a company that apparently has no clear-cut blogging policy. He has effectively been sacked through interpretation of his employment contract rather than an absolute transgression.

CNN has form in this respect. Kevin Sites, a CNN war correspondent, was pressured into stopping his war blog which you can still see online its curtailed form.

So I’m quite amazed that suddenly CNN is endorsing citizen journalism without apparently having confirmed its position on the matter to its own employees.

Moreover, it seems to be abdicating responsibility for any of the content it carries: as the blurb on the home page runs, “CNN built the tools, you take it from there.”

I’m not convinced this is a sustainable position. We’re already seeing debate on the responsibilities of ISPs to monitor and mediate what they carry. What’s the difference between an ISP carrying pirate material, and a news media outlet delivering inaccurate, outdated, plagiarised or even defamatory material?

I wonder how significant the ‘beta’ label is in all this. Google Mail has been around for quite some time and yet still carries the beta badge. Google Reader only came out of beta badge fairly recently. I understand the concept of the ‘permanent’ beta now that apps are delivered online, but I do wonder whether it enables companies to abrogate a certain amount of responsibility as in, “Oops, sorry guys, it just didn’t fly so we’re taking it down” before they get into real trouble.

And given CNN’s seemingly ambiguous position on the whole issue of citizen journalism, I wonder when it’s going to know whether or not the site ‘worked’?