Off The Written Path

Entries Tagged as 'Tech Blog Posts'

Tumblr and the Washington Post

March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Tumblr screen shot.

There were two things that struck me in a recent post in Mashable about the Washington Post Tumblr blog @innovations. One is that the blog  explains how some stories are reported at the Post (which as a journalism student I think it’s awesome, check out this post about the design of the NCAA cover).

 The other thing is, I know nothing about Tumblr. What is it?

If you look in the About section of Tumblr you will find this gem from the

“Weblogs? Been there, done that. Facebook? It’s full of kids. Twitter? That’s so 2006, darling. No, the smart thing to be doing online these days is tumblelogging, which is to weblogs what text messages are to email – short, to the point, and direct.”

 So, from reading the other quotes on the About page I get that Tumblr is a microblogging site akin to Twitter. But if it’s just like Twitter what is the big deal about Tumblr? Why not just use Twitter? Well the answer is that it is not just like Twitter.

I found the best explanation for my questions about Tumblr in a post  by  Jennifer Van Grove  in Mashable. She says that  Tumblr fills the space between Twitter and a blog. Tumblr is microblogging, but it is a whole lot more. It does not confine you to 140 characters, you can pick your own theme for your Tumblr blog, and you can also share photos on Tumblr. But it can be done in a fast and easy way like Twitter. One thing I should mention is that from reading other Tumblr blogs and posts about Tumblr I get the sense there is a very specific and tight knit community of Tumblr users that help give the site its life. 

For a full list of everything you can do on Tumblr look at their ‘why everyone loves Tumblr” page.

 Their ‘About Tumblr’ page basically says you can “share anything” and “custumize everything” in a Tumblr blog.

And while searching for answers about Tumblr I ran into another microblogging site Posterous which is apparently trying to take Tumblr’s crown in microblogging ‘rich media content,'( that means blogging photos, video, audio, ect., in your posts).  

Next post: Posterous, What is it?

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Soldier Transition Project Storyboard

March 10th, 2011 · No Comments

The Soldier Transition Project aims to tell the story of soldiers who seek out an education after having served their country in a time of war.

We want to answer the questions:

  1. What is it like to go from a war zone to a college campus?
  2. What challenges do Soldiers face adjusting to life as college students?
  3. How can the transition be made easier?

 The planning process for our multimedia project is as follows:

  • Identify the elements of our multimedia project: We have a “nut graf”  that explains our purpose, we will have profiles of featured soldiers, and a resources page that will help soldiers with transition.
  • Identify the media we will use in our multimedia project: The “main event” will be a Soundslides show. We will also incorporate video, audio, text, photos and social media. We are still considering other elements such as a possible timeline.
  • Storyboard the elements: Here is our MindMeister storyboard.


The next step to our storyboard will be planning how each element will be displayed in our website. Our next benchmark is identifying the layout of our project entry page and conducting interviews for our Soundslides show.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Facebook Journalism On The Rise

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Facebook is not only a place to connect with friends, it is now more and more a way to connect with news. A recent post by Vadim Lavrusik on Mashable talks about this growing trend.

Facebook journalism is on the rise because the social media site is becoming more public, Lavrusik says.

The recent Egyptian revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power has been called a “Facebook Revolution.” Activists in Egypt used Facebook to organize, and journalists used it to connect to the pulse of the Egyptian community.

Lavrusik mentions that AlJazeera English was able to track planned protests, gather information, and find sources from the revolution through Facebook.

Other benefits of Facebook for journalists include:

  • Building sources
  • Gaining insight into the ‘voice’ of a community through status updates
  • Tapping into a community that you might not have access to, such as Libya

Lavrusik reminds journalists that they still need to contact people and check their facts before they use material from Facebook. For more on how journalists can use Facebook take a look at this Mashable guide.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Crowdsourcing in Libya Aids Traditional Media

February 27th, 2011 · No Comments

Videos, pictures and news of the uprising in Libya are making it out of the country, but the images are not all coming from traditional media. A post in Mashable by Radhika Marya tells of how crowdsourcing is providing traditional outlets, like CNN, with some of their coverage of the Libyan uprising.

I have noticed that the Libyan revolt has not been as visible in the media as the revolution in Egypt. International journalists don’t seem to have the same kind of access to the Libyan people as they did in Egypt. But crowdsourcing is clearing the obstacles standing in the way of traditional media outlets.

“One Day on Earth,” a collaborative video project on the web, is now serving as a resource for news from Libya. Members of the One Day on Earth community have provided videos, news and photos about the uprising. 

 Brandon Litman, executive producer for the project, is quoted in the Mashable story as saying:

 “Social media, local filmmakers and citizens armed with cameras are a key source of information in today’s media, especially in situations like what is happening in Libya and the Middle East.”

According to the Mashable article Litman believes social media, such as crowdsourcing, can “knock down the walls” that traditional media faces. 

I saw in CNN that some international journalists were invited into Tripoli by Libyan officials. Such a situation easily lends itself to spin, with officials restricting the places journalists can go to or only taking them to places they want people to see (although the move seemed to have backfired in this particular case).   

In this instance it seems that crowdsourcing rises to the top as a direct link to the people of Libya, serving to help tell the story of the Libyan people without the regime spin.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

TBD Discontinued

February 24th, 2011 · No Comments

I was sad to read in that TBD has basically come to an end.

 Washington City Paper quoted Erik Wemple, TBD editor, as saying “TBD will become a niche site on arts and entertainment.”

 Mallary Jean Tenore also says in her story that Mandy Jenkins, who spoke to our class recently, is one of the people who lost her position at TBD.

Although I’m sorry to hear Mandy will no longer be working at TBD I’m excited to see what her next project will be. In class she came across as an innovative self-starter and I can’t wait to see what what she does next.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts