Yesterday WordPress released an early Christmas present for all us bloggers with the update to 2.9. The update is mostly chocked full of bug fixes and improvements to the wordpress code. Below is a breakdown.
1. It’s faster: Although not a listed improvement, many users, including myself, are seeing that sites are running faster with the 2.9 upgrade.
2. Built in Image Editor: WordPress now includes a basic image editor including crop, edit, flip, rotate and scale images all available through the media library and when uploading/inserting images into posts.
3. Batch plugin updating: Now more updating each individual plugin site wide, under tools, in the update tab, a new option to update all plugins at once makes managing multiple sites more easy and the updater checks to make sure the plugin updates are compatible with your version of WordPress.
4. Oembed support: no more embed codes for inserting videos. Just paste the url for the video on its own line inside your post and the video will automatically be embedded. Currently all the major players like Youtube are supported with more providers coming.
5. Sitewide Trashcan: No more accidentaly deleted posts or comments; the new trashcan saves the posts for thirty days.
Below is a WordPress video highlighting some of the new features.
The below is a rant I wrote for a school discussion topic for my mass media behavior class and I thought I would post it here too.
The digital revolution and the growth of the internet has vastly changed the music business with the availability of cheap multiple track recording software, and the sharing and social networks the internet has made possible. I think that the idea of “making it” has drastically changed in the past fifteen years. I am reminded of the movie, Airheads, where the protagonists take hostage of a radio station in attempts to get their demo tape aired and get a recording contract. The idea that today any artist would be signed by only listening to their demo tape is laughable as well as the idea that signing the record contract would make the artist rich.
The digital age and file sharing has greatly hurt record companies and radio stations, but has been used by artists new and old to grow and strengthen their fan bases. For artists, selling records is no longer where the majority of their money comes in from, it’s from touring and merchandise, and ancillary revenue streams that come from being a star. The business of selling 20 dollar CDs as been replaced with 99 cent download singles and 3.99 dollar ring-tones; for too long record companies and the RIAA fought to protect their old business model instead of innovating and embarrassing new technology. They thought for too long that using DRM would force people to purchase their licensed digital goods, but often forced consumers to other places to find music.
Radio stations too are fighting to protect their long held business models in the new landscape of audio options that consumers have as the number of devices that listeners increases. With satellite radio, iPods, CDs, and internet radio, and others there is no lack of choices in audio entertainment where terrestrial radio once dominated. Video killed the radio star and the internet killed the radio station; radio stations can no longer charge their outlandish CPM rates with declining listener-ship and cheaper, more effective targeted advertising that is available on the internet. Radio ownership deregulation reduced the variety in programing and the days where DJs had actual influence on which songs get played are long gone. Clear Channel has national syndicated programming that airs across the country reducing costs and jobs; this also gives them huge sway with record companies that are trying to get their music played.
A topic that wasn’t covered in either side is the consolidation of music venues and ticketing agencies and the impact that has on newer artists. Earlier this year, Live Nation and Ticketmaster announced a proposed merger worth 2.5 billion dollars that would merge the largest ticket seller and largest venue/concert promoter. Luckily the merger has been meet with some vocal opposition, mainly in the UK as the merger would almost certainly create a monopoly on first rate concerts and shows. Already large music acts like Michael Jackson and Madonna sign deals with Live Nation because they no longer need the support of a record company to get their music out there, but the problem is for newer and indie acts that can be locked out of Live Nation venues. The merger could mean higher ticket prices and could almost eliminate the secondary ticket market.
The first episode of “Put This On,” a video podcast that comes from two “Monsters of Podcasting” Jesse Thorn (host of “The Sound of Young America” & “Jordan, Jesse, Go”) and Adam Lisagor (member of the “You Look Nice Today” podcast) made it’s web debut today. Put This On is a change from the normal tech based talk that often comes to mind when talking about podcasts. Put this On also is different in how it got started, they used Kickstarter.com to help raise funds to get the podcast project started. Kickstarter.com is a site that touts itself as ” A New Way to Fund Ideas and Endeavours” and provides a place for those with an idea and the willingness to to the footwork to gain funds to get started. Many of the Kickstarter.com projects come from artists wanting to make a book, record a new album, and other projects of the like. Thorn and Lisagor were able to use Kickstarter.com in a way to test the virtual waters to see if their idea for Put this One would work and to attract sponsors and gain the startup cash to get the series started right.
Thorn and Lisagor were looking for $1,500 to start “Put this On,” and within days of announcing their intentions and using twitter to get the word out quickly exceeded their initial goal and at the end of the funding round had pledges from people and businesses in total of more than $3,900. In full disclosure, I was one of the backers pitching in a couple of bucks to the cause. Most of the donnors pledged fifty dollars or less while Metafilter.com (a longtime sponsor of Thorn’s other podcasts) stepped up with $1,500 in return for a post-roll advertisment by Thorn and Lisagor that airs at the end of each episode.
The production value of “Put this On” is excellent and should serve as an example for anyone who wants to start a video podcast and really shows that online video has grown up to take on old media. Certainly, anyone who has ever worn jeans or ever will should check out the first episode of “Put this On.” I think the use of Kickstarter.com is an interesting development in the world of podcasting. It is a twist on the donation model that many podcasters have tried, but with varying degrees of success. Not only do the donnors have the enjoyment of seeing the project come into reality, but they also feel a sense of ownership as they were there on the ground floor, getting the project started. It will be interesting to see what Jesse Thorn and Adam Lisagor come up with in future episodes of “Put this On” as they attempt to educate people on how to dress like grownups. I will admit that I could use the advice as there was a period in middle school where I wore sweatpants everyday, and despite what Michael Jordan’s hanes commercials would lead you to believe, sweatpants will not help your jump shot or help you in the ladies department either.
As part of Pepsi’s new re branding campaign and super bowl promotion, Pepsi teamed up with Saturday Night Live to produce 3 Pepsi themed commercials that aired during last night’s broadcast. There is an unofficial pepsuber twitter account for Pepsi fans. There was some outrage from people that SNL sold out, but I think that it is the kind of interesting innovative marketing promotions that advertisers need to think of in order to stay competitive in the down market. The Pepsuber ads are just one part of Pepsi’s whole super bowl weekend ad push called Refresh Everything. They are also doing the Pepsi smash concert and there is the Will Arnett hosted Refresh the Super Bowl Party online at YouTube, where they produced short clips and invite people to upload videos of their own Super Bowl parties. All three SNL ads are posted below and the Refresh Super Bowl Party ad too.
With Macworld and CES going on this week, I’ve been looking forward to this year’s SXSW. This will be my first SXSW and I’m really looking forward to getting to see some of the panels and all the going ons at SXSW. Last year a lot of new media and social networking start-ups have been hit hard and even the big technology blue chips like Microsoft have had to announce layoffs. This brings me to my point. In these troubled times (take a drink) companies that normally throw huge parties during south by southwest are expected to drastically cut their budgets or not throw parties at all. This, I find to be very sad. At a time when people throughout the tech sector face layoffs, we need free beer. It will be a true travesty of epic proportions that any nerd find themselves walking down sixth street sober. Without the social lubricating elixir of free beer and an open bar, the code monkeys of the world will curl up in their shells like a armadillo along side a dusty country road. I urge tech compaines to keep the beer flowing, if not for us but for the future of the web.
It’s been two weeks since Revision 3 announces changes to its programming lineup. I personally have been missing Internet Superstar and Pop Siren. Sarah Lane, Martin Sergent, and Jay Speiden were among some of the first people hired by Revision 3 and helps formed the company in its beginning days. Rev 3 CEO Jim Louderbeck cited a weak economy and problems finding an audience with the shows Rev 3 canceled and ended distribution deals with on October 27th.
In the days following the announcement they was a strong out lash by loyal viewers angered over the death of their favorite shows on the Rev 3 network. There have been rumors about a “consulting” deal with Martin Seargent in efforts to silence some of the firestorm waged by the angered viewers but nothing has been officially announced by Rev 3.
This brings up an interesting thought about the difference between new media networks like Revision 3 and the big TV networks. In the Revision 3 network all the shows work together and there is cross promotion across the network within the shows themselves. In the old media ways, the cast of Heroes and Chuck don’t share office space like they do at Revision 3. There is a stronger family feel at Rev 3, many of the shows share the same staff and there is an all for one vibe. This makes it harder when the company feels that cuts have to be made as it did when it took this defensive action to cut shows and staff in order to better help the company weather the rough seas of the weak economy and looming recession.
Martin and Sarah are scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s TWIT. Leo has mentioned several times that he would like to hire Sarah and maybe something will be officially announced on the show.
In this down market and the outlook that it will stay like this and probably get worse better it gets better advertisers are looking to the web for innovative ways to reach consumers. It is harder and harder for advertisers to justify the large costs of network television ad campaigns and are turning to the web to reach their consumers.
In the so called “long tale” smaller online media producers are able to provide ad opportunities to very niche markets that advertisers spend huge amounts of ad dollars in attempts to reach. Its the alpha consumers that are the first ones in lines to buy the iPhone and it is those same consumers that are plugged into web video and new media. These consumers react to large corporations like comcast attempts to use social networking to improve customer service. Web video advertising comes in different forms and most likely in the pre or post roll ad where a normal TV ad is just inserted into a completed video and then distributed. More and more advertisers are dipping their toes into new media and are finding success with new and innovative ad campaigns targeted to niche markets.