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Go Read This | Apps nudge ahead of websites for smartphone reading | Lean Back 2.0

I’m intrigued by this news. I know how tempting it can be to use an app rather than even the best browser on a smaller screen (and by the way Chrome mobile for Android is my flavour). Even so I find it hard to believe that the app is the end point of this development. I( can’t help but feel that the app is a way-point of a kind, a diversion that will eventually lead back to the browser as that form adapts better to smaller screens.

But when an app is done right, with a clean and uncluttered design, it can make the digital reading experience on a smartphone significantly more comfortable and appealing than browsing the same offering’s internet equivalent.

The latest research from comScore, a digital marketing firm, supports this very premise, with its latest report into US mobile phone industry trends for May 2012 suggesting that 51.1% of its respondents 30,000 mobile subscribers used downloaded apps on their mobiles, compared with 49.8% that used browsers. This shows an increase of 1.6 percentage points over February of this year, while browser usage increased by just 0.6% over the same period.

via Apps nudge ahead of websites for smartphone reading | Lean Back 2.0.
PS, well worth reading the Economist Group’s Lean Back 2.0 blog, full of interesting insights!

Go Read This | Book Blog | The Spectator

A wonderfully snide analysis of Eason (Ireland’s largest book retailer) in The Spectator Book Blog the other day.

Foreign retailers have it no easier. In the States, Borders is poised to collapse; whilst in Ireland, shrinking giant Eason can’t stop making a loss. Radical measures that should have been taken years ago are finally in the offing. Eason has been forced to introduce another loyalty card package and establish in-store interactive zones, in addition to giving its outlets a lick of paint and a squirt of Fabreeze. The firm is also working to narrow its stock categories, having conceded, like Waterstone’s, that it can’t compete when it comes to shifting Sophie Kinsella. Most conspicuous of all, Eason is relaunching its website to boost sales.

via Book Blog | The Spectator.

What’s Going On With Tumblr?

All of a sudden everything seems to be getting designated a platform even when the claim is a little weak.

The latest is Tumblr which frankly, if it is anything other than a service provider is a network or maybe, at a stretch, a social network and perhaps, an emerging community (but a very fractured and erratic one). In some ways, Tumblr is like the webring of the 21st century the only difference being that it is nicely designed and ‘ultra-hip’.

Yet Tumblr seems to be attracting a huge amount of interest from media and publishing companies as this Read Write Web blog post makes clear:

“Part of what we do is experiment on different platforms, and it seemed apparent to us that there was a sizable number of NPR fans on Tumblr,” he says. “It’s less about pageviews and more about engaging a community that enjoys NPR.”

Carvin says NPR is taking a very experimental approach to Tumblr in terms of curating content to share, engaging one-on-one with followers and determining how to voice the blog.

He adds that he is eager to get feedback from fans, but that there is no “grand plan” for what they intend to accomplish.
NPR Looks to Engage New Audiences On Tumblr.

Taking the Tumblr plunge is just as stupid as taking the Twitter plunge or the blogging plunge if you haven’t the faintest idea why you are doing it? Why on earth would NPR get involved in this while at the same time admitting that they don’t have a ‘grand plan’?

Sure, experimentation is interesting, valid and worth engaging in, but this kind of shot in the dark stuff reeks of chasing an illusory ‘cool’ crowd.

Tumblr is interesting in its own way and there seems to be some kind of community building there, but Tumblr is NOT the solution for publishers and media companies, their own websites offer so much more opportunity for engaging with audiences, audiences who are coming TO them, not being interrupted BY them. Quite a few publishers could spend some time sorting that side of things out before running off to the next pretty ‘platform’ they see.

Still coughing, which is annoying!
Eoin