Not since 9/11 has there been such a user rush to the internet as when news broke, then slowly trickled in about the condition and now death of pop legend Michael Jackson.  I am a Michael Jackson fan and am shocked that he has died, and more so, by the speed at which information surrounding his death has become available.

However, unlike previous world news events, the is the first clear demonstration that user interest in a story can now in effect be measured and influenced by a person's hunger for information about a story using social media websites.

Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Wikipedia groaned under the strain of users wanting to update, tweet, watch and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.  At one point, Youtube posted on their site that watching videos has been suspended, presumably due to excessive demand.  Twitter became oversubscribed (which isn't that rare these days).  Wikipedia strained not only from the barrage of hits to the Michael Jackson page but also as "Wiki-Editors" argued over edited and restored versions of the article stating at that point wether or not the King of pop had died as at the time, reports were still unconfirmed.

Whilst the number of people online grows and have the ability to access content whilst mobile, media organisations the world over are struggling to feed the public thirst for information about the most important stories.  One of the problems they have is that a catch 22 now exists.  Previously, we all received news via newspapers, TV and news websites.  But, with the advent of blogging, tweeting, digging and all the other social media tools out there, the public in effect provide real-time surveys to news-room editors informing them about what we are interested.  News outlets now feel obliged to report non-stop on whatever we are fixated on until our interest dies down instead of other things that might be more newsworthy.

Interestingly, I noticed these other events reported in the UK that have all been reported today that I reckon would have received far more exposure were it not for news agencies ability to respond to end-user demand for information about a particular story instantaneously: -

  • The actress Farrah Fawcett has died at the age of 62 from cancer
  • Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England has said that the banking crisis is easing
  • "Tens of thousands of cases of swine flu could be emerging each week by the autumn, the chief medical officer says"


That last headline would normally have the tabloid press telling us to run for the hills and not to drink the tap water.

Still, it is us humble surfers that now decide what is news worthy....

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s2smodern

Even though there is a link to my old blog site and the end of this blog I felt that some of those posts still carry relevance now in that the subject matter still annoys, pleases or excites me in some way.  I have decided to re-post one of them here as it is still relevant and probably always will be....

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Last night I was getting ready for the start of my night shifts by staying up late.
As part of my regimented routine I was surfing the net for hours with the TV on in the background. I ended up at YouTube where I thought I'd have a nosey through some music bootlegs.

I decided to look up some Beatles stuff (because no one's ever looked for that before!) and put "Little Help From My Friends" as the search term. From that I stumbled on to a version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Bon Jovi. Notably, this was a cover of Joe Cocker's arrangement of the song (as performed at Woodstock and on the TV theme to the Wonder Years). What really astoundeed me though was the number of idiots that post comments on YouTube about artists music vids - particularly when they start ranting about how the "beatles were better" or "Bon Jovi kick Beatles ass". OH PLEASE, SHUT UP ALREADY! whining fools... grrr

To say one thing is better than another implies that similarities exist to make them comparable. The Beatles and Bon Jovi are from completely different musical genres. Also, if one iconic band perform a version of another iconic bands' work then surely it is seen that the former band are doffing their hat to the latter???

People need to learn the different between a band performing a cover version of someone else's work and an arrangement of someone else's work: -
A "cover" is a performance of a song that preserves the musical elements found in the original even if the style of the covering band is different in sound to that of the original.
An "arrangement" is where an artist has taken the some or all of the lyrics and provided an original interpretation that is markedly different to the original.

Some expamples of covers: -
No Doubt's cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life"
Guns N' Roses cover of Wings "Live and Let Die"

Some expamples of arrangements: -
Joe Cocker's arrangement of the Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends"
Michael Andrews & Gary Jules arrangement of Tears for Fears' "Mad World"

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s2smodern

My colleague and good friend Lee revealed to me the other day that he is participating in the "RacingThePlanet - Sahara race".

RacingThePlanet is a unique category of rough country footrace that take place over six days, 250 kilometres and in remote locations around the world. Competitors must carry all their own equipment and food. They are only provided with water and a place in a tent each day.

Aside from the fact that he wants to have nightly cook-outs in the sand and improve his tan, Lee is taking on this mamouth challenge in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign for whom I hope he raises big wads of cash.

Please use the link on the left to view the Facebook page Lee has created which details all aspects of the admirable challenge.

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s2smodern

So, the new site layout is on, the forum is now glitch free and the eStore is working...

Hopefully, more new things will follow.  I'm working on a few ideas at time of writing that may or may not make the next wave of things to try on the site.

In the meantime, feedback is, as always, welcome through the forum.

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s2smodern

How many series of Big Brother are to be made by Endemol here in the UK?  Please, somebody tell me that I am not alone in thinking that it ran its course years ago?

When it first appeared on our TVs it was almost laboratorical.  A bunch of guinea pigs thrown in a house whilst we all watched them for 10 weeks.  What really made it compelling was that they all seemed to be normal everyday people.  Sure, they were very aware that they were being filmed and their daily lives broadcast to the public but they got on with their "living in a box" experiment.  All of which made for unmissable viewing.  Finding out that "Nasty Nick" had sneaked a pencil in to the house and was writing things down in an attempt to influence public voting in the competition was fantastic TV.

However, nine series later and the Big Brother production team seem to be concerned about offending the Oxford English Dictionary editorial staff regarding definitions of the word "diverse".  when choosing BB contenstants now, a varying selection of backgrounds isn't enough.  It seems that to get short listed as a contestant on BB you must posess a quality that is far from "run of the mill".  Contestants qualities these days appear to be from the outer fringes of society.  Sex changes, schizophrenia and chlosterophbia aren't enough anymore.

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s2smodern