Who would be a teacher? I mean, really. They have a tough time of it. Parents expect them to be day babysitters without letting them do it right, if a pupil fails it’s not the pupil’s fault, it’s the teacher – it’s a no-win job. You give too much attention to someone, you get labelled. Give too little, you get labelled. All the power is in the hands of the child and not the adult – something many a child exploits.
In days gone by, you would have pupils trawl through the phonebook to get your details and phone you up, annoying you – now they do it on social media instead, forcing teachers to use locked accounts or not be on platforms for fear of what is said if they engage with pupils.
And now, along comes this idea that teachers should provide out of hours support via social media to pupils – and the NASUWT union, along with Dumfries and Galloway Council want to stop this from happening.
Which is wrong, because you know what? It’s a bloody brilliant idea. For everyone concerned – teachers, pupils, the country.
I caught the tail end of a chat on Twitter between Phil Adams from Blonde, Allan Barr and Mike Coulter (names that won’t be strangers to you if you have an interest in social media in Scotland) about Path – and tied in with more recent chat about Pinterest, I started to wonder: are we seeing the same fragmentation of social media that we saw in TV in the UK when Sky TV came along?
I’ve moaned often enough that the Scottish press doesn’t seem to do enough to try and grasp digital opportunities so it would be churlish not to mention the new Scotsman iPad app that’s been released today. But does it beat buying the paper or getting it via the likes of PressReader (where you can get all the papers you want – from across the globe for £19 a month)? Let’s have a look…
It’s The Scotsman newspaper in an iPad friendly format (the old iPhone app wasn’t that great as I said in this Scotsman iPhone app review). You get a bunch of stories from the paper/website and the digital edition claims it will update during the day. You also get the option to view the traditional paper format. It’s £7.99 a month – which is a good deal – and the first month is free. You may even get the Evening News for free (more of that in a minute).
Hell yes. More and more news is being consumed this way – on tablets and phones, so it most certainly is. This is the future. And even though The Scotsman isn’t what it was – it went through a period of being hellbent on losing the traditional audience – and the website it (slowly) rebuilding its way to former glories that Stewart Kirkpatrick made of it – this is a good thing. It’s still an influential paper, especially on the East Coast.
Umm… let’s split this up…
The fact The Scotsman has done this is good. We need more Scottish press embracing possibilities.
What’s utterly brilliant is the setting for ‘Read the paper from the back’ (it’s buried in the settings options) – that’s great for those who start with the sports section and whoever came up with it should get a gold star. Great consideration of audience.
It’s very stable and quite quick. There’s some nice options with each story to share via email, Facebook or Twitter and it takes your settings from what is already on your machine – no need to input your details again. There’s also a nice ‘related stories’ link at the end of each.
It’s genuinely free for a month. It doesn’t ask for your card or PayPal details up front, hoping you’ll forget to cancel (like so many sites do)
You can get Jobs, Announcements and so on – it takes you to The Scotsman site so this is always the fresh material that it should be.
You can archive stories and editions.
(in no particular order)
The video could do with better mics. Quite a bit of background hiss.
There’s no back button on any of the pages so you always have to click the Home button to leave a section.
The first few attempts at downloading the edition of the day are horrifically slow – three minutes on a 50MB wifi connection (for comparison, PressReader pulled today’s edition down in 26 seconds – the whole thing) – and I can’t tell if the Scotsman pulls down the whole edition or streams pages at a time as there’s a 2-3 second lag when you flick through pages.
The stories at the top – seven stories in the ‘cycle’ but only two are from today. Five are from yesterday.
While there’s options to share, it doesn’t tell me if any my friends have read/liked/tweeted the stories. Similarly, there’s no ‘what are my friends reading’ option which could have boosted engagement.
When you go to Jobs, Announcements and so on, the UI changes and you are suddenly in the territory of The Scotsman website. This is bad. The UI experience should be consistent so that if someone is accessing these pages from the app that they still have all the options at the bottom (in fairness, they do have it at the top but it’s just a button saying ‘done’ which takes you back to the app.)
WTF is the ‘Remember the Children’ thing all about? Make a virtual star in the night sky to remember a baby or child no longer with us? I mean really, what the fuck? Crass, insensitive. Just what was the thinking behind this one? Cheap and manipulative in my opinion – and seems to be something a bunch of papers are doing. Nice idea but to me, just… no. And yes, I think the same about the poppy field for soldiers and the daffodils for cancer victims. At least those are a bit more relevant than stars in the night sky.
What times of the day does this update? Will it inform me by email? How will I know? Do I need to just click and hope?
What about the Evening News stream at the bottom – is that the full paper? Just the highlights? Will the Evening News be getting an app? What about the Scotland on Sunday? A standalone app or will it appear on Sunday in this one?
Why isn’t there a one-touch button for sending comments (to appear on the website) or Letters to the Editor? Is there an option to read web comments?
What time does it update in the morning? Does it come out the same time as the streets edition or is it 9am?
Over time, will it remember what I have read or shared and put those sort of stories first?
This is a very decent app and deserves to make The Scotsman money. It’s probably the best Scottish newspaper app out there at the moment and hopefully sparks others into getting out there. £7.99 for a monthly subscription isn’t bad – if it includes the Evening News and S0S then it’s even better.
Will I be buying it? Probably not. I may subscribe for a month just to give it some cash, but that’s it (unless you get the full Evening News/SoS). Why? I use PressReader on my iPad and here’s why I’ll be sticking with that…
£19 a month gets me all-I-can-eat press from more than 2000 newspapers from more than 100 countries. Every day I turn on the app and I get downloaded at 7am the print editions of The Scotsman, The Courier, The Press & Journal, The Herald, The Guardian, and The Indepdendent. Every evening I get The Evening Times, Evening Telegraph and the Evening Express. Now on top of that, for no extra cost I can get the Daily Mail, Daily Express (English editions), access to the likes of The Engineer, Marketing Week, Sunday Herald and many other weekly publications. I can also get plenty of other regional UK titles if I’m doing a PR search for local press – or foreign press.
Basically, it’s a steal and even at £7.99 The Scotsman app can’t compete with it. I can forego the likes of the odd video interview and save my £7.99 – but in fairness that may change. If there’s enough new fresh content that is non-paper and appeals to me, I’ll be there, waving my credit card.
And what they put up today is an optimistic start.
Anyone who’s picked up an iPhone 4s will know that the voice recognition software Siri is part of the phone. Now if you get it in the UK, it comes with a man’s voice, in other countries you get the male or female voice.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out why Apple has limited the voices for now – you can bet extra voices will come, just like they have for Sat Navs and Tom Toms (like this Scottish Sat Nav voice by Whyte & Mackay Master Blender Richard Paterson), and some will be charged for.
But in the meantime that means there’s going to be a lot of angry men with their iPhone 4s…
Scotland sees new alcohol sales rules coming into place this weekend with the aim or curbing cheap multi-buy discounts being one of the primary goals.
But, as The Drum and The Law Society of Scotland point out, there are always unintneded consquences. In this case, it’s to do with the part of the law that states you cannot advertise alcohol within 200m of the actual alcohol.
That’s going to hit social media, especially the use of mobile…
There’s been a few instances recently (including one where I was giving a quick Twitter masterclass to some police at 2am but that’s a story for another day) where it’s been clear that for many in the Scottish emergency services – regardless of it being the police, ambulance service, coastguard or fire and rescue services – social media is still something that’s viewed with a range of emotions from suspicion to hostility or ignorance. Recent events down south have done nothing to help get rid of that viewpoint either.
Now I believe social media could be a fantastic tool for the 999 services – from building grassroots community relations to helping prevent crime and get results on crime – and I’d like to do my bit to help.
I’m willing to offer free one-day training course/presentation on social media which will be backed up by the courses being made available as podcasts – video and audio – for others in the forces to view/listen to at their leisure.
The courses will cover:
As stated above, there’s no charge for the course (though travelling expenses may be incurred depending on location). If anyone is interested all they have do is get in touch via the email address or phone number at the top right of the page.
The UK press today is blaming social media for helping spread information and details about the riots in Tottenham and elsewhere and two platforms in particular are getting the coverage/blame – Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger.
Twitter’s getting attacked for the real-time nature of updates while BlackBerry Messenger is being attacked for being a private communications network (that’s free, hence the popularity).
And while some are asking if this is another kick in the downward spiralling BlackBerry, could it actually be the opposite and be seen as a defining moment in securing the teen marketplace ahead of iPhones and Android devices?
I am utterly delighted to be announcing ex-Digital Editor of the Daily Record and STV Local Editor Iain Hepburn has joined Contently Managed as the country’s first Director of Brand Journalism allowing us to add to our social media package to businesses in Scotland.
This, as they say, is exciting times folks…
I used to crack the joke that you know you’ve arrived when your work appears on the major BitTorrent piracy sites and I’ve seeded things (legally) in the past myself but I had a chuckle this morning to note that a book by one of Scotland’s best journalists, the Daily Record’s Gary Ralston – a book about the founding of Rangers Football Club (link to book’s official, content-rich site) – has turned up on one of them.
I’m not going to name the link for obvious reasons (here’s the legal Amazon link) but you know that digital is becoming more and more a part of everyday life when this happens to Scottish sports authors! And I think – think – Gary is the first Scottish reporter to be torrented/pirated this way! (Don’t know if he’ll see it as a compliment though).
Having said that, how should authors handle their books appearing on piracy sites? Read on for some tips for authors dealing with piracy and some surprising case studies.
I do a fair chunk of speaking and social media workshops and while I enjoy them, I’ve noticed lately that I’m relying too much on PowerPoint and Keynote and being a bit lazy. On top of that, in Scotland – a country where for many in the media ‘digital’ (never mind ‘customer engagement’) is still a dirty word – could do with raising its game a bit, so this is my efforts at trying to raise the baseline.
To that end, below there’s a link to a series of social media presentations I’ve done – free to you – over the last year or so, covering social media successes, social media in a crisis, social media basic advice and some semi-advanced (for Scotland) social media advice. There’s versions for iPods and computers as well as the plain PDFs. (And yes, some parts may be a little out of date, but the general material is sound.)
If you’ve ever been curious about social media, wondered about how authors, lawyers, accountant, hotels, bars, general businesses can make social media/digital engagement work, then these are the podcasts for you.