Tag Archives: digital technology

goCatch app controversy

Andrew Campbell and Ned Moorfield

GoCatch is a smartphone app that allows passengers and taxi drivers see each other’s current location on an GPS map. Passengers can request the closest cab by making a booking via the app. The app’s goal is to make the taxi system more efficient by providing passengers with a faster service and taxi drivers with more jobs.

Its developers received funding from the government and have since launched goCatch across several states including Victoria, Queensland and NSW.
Not everyone is happy about that though. NSW Taxi Council is not happy, as reported by the media sources listed above.

Sydney Morning Herald

Digital Media

The article has a well rounded collection of opinions from both sides.

I felt the article was slightly biased against the app, but I didn’t know why. After squinting at individual sentences and picking them apart I came to the conclusion that quotes taken from app developer Mr. Campbell are a good device used to emphasize the angle. Here they are:

“So if someone is not a taxi driver, downloads it and drives around in their old beat-up Commodore or something then when they actually arrive to pick you up as a passenger you’ll see that they’re not a driver and you can immediately report them or whatever.”

and

“So when a taxi arrives, you need to sort of use your own common sense and make sure it is a taxi before you get in it. Don’t get into a taxi if it’s not a taxi I suppose.”

The quotes make the developer appear slightly dismissive of the issue, which I’m sure he’s not, but its a good choice of language to manipulate the reader’s opinion.

Layout:

Hyper-linking: present! SMH hyper-linked the words ‘NSW Taxi Council’, ‘goCatch’ and ‘Collaborative Solutions’ (which is the name of the govt. initiative that supported goCatch)

Reporter’s Twitter link: present!

Comment functionality: absent! How, how, how can the DIGITAL life section of  SMH lack the comment functionality? Ironic, huh

The Telegraph.com.au

This article took an angle that was more sympathetic towards the goCatch app. These quotes from Andrew Campbell highlight a different side of the story to the one told by SMH and Brisbane Times.

“The taxi industry is dominated and some people say monopolised by powerful industry stakeholders.”

“Because it is a largely monopolised, self-regulated industry, there is simply no incentive for improvements in efficiency, customer service, driver conditions, safety and standards in general.”

Layout:

My favourite functionality of the page was the Related Coverage box embedded in the article.

Why? Because it actually contained related coverage.  Stories concerning the taxi industry, taxi drivers and passengers.

On the bottom, a tool bar listing such social media widgets as MySpace, Yahoo and Digg presented itself to readers.

Very useful.

I think covering goCatch is newsworthy because the news is timely (it comes after the Taxi Council’s comments), it has proximity (the app is australian), it is relevant (we all use taxis from time to time), it has conflict (the clash between the new and the old systems of taxi booking) and it has currency (because there are other similar apps and lots of issues both legal and social to explore)

 

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Filed under digital technology, new media, news, social media

Social Media and Disclosure

Just wanted to share something that the CEO of the company I’m interning with tweeted the other day. Kinda sums up the impact of social media, kinda mindblowing.

I love finding stuff like this through random tweets. And I frequently do. The other day I somehow stumbled across National Geographic’s prediction for the most typical person in the world.

I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a woman. Always had the impression there were more women than men in the world. Oh well maybe that’s just in Russia.

Anyway the web works in tangled ways. There is an amazing amount of information floating out there, connected in seemingly bizarre and unrelated ways. I just have to give an example, which left me slightly disturbed in many many ways and illustrated how the technology is literally creeping into every aspect of our lives.

I read the blog of Penelope Trunk (you can also find her blog on my blog roll, its called the brazen careerist) and in one her posts she mentioned that Bill Zeller , the programmer who created Mytunes committed suicide. He left a 4000 word essay of a suicide note explaining the reasons behind his decision.

Well curiosity killed the cat. I clicked on the link. I read the whole thing with the fascination of someone who can’t help but stare at the horrific car accident on the side of the road as they pass it by.

It is a very hopeless letter as you can imagine. But how do you think the letter got online in the first place? Bill Zeller sent it via email and apparently he also put it up on his website before hand. And that’s what kinda scares me. The fact that an intensely personal thing like that can circulate globally. What effects will/does it have on other people? Will it help anyone or will it make someone think that suicide is justified in certain circumstances? Or is it both?

I guess what I’m trying to say is;

Social media seems to breed willingness to share the most intimate information. It can offer what face to face interaction cannot. An outlet for despair you might say. The web (if its uncensored) gives you the ability to speak and be heard, and yes, judged while maintaining complete anonymity. You can test drive your most secret hidden dark thoughts and check the responses to see if it might be alright to say these things out loud and get help and support.

In Bill Zeller’s case, the greatest tragedy is that he had the opportunity to do that, to see that many people had gone through the same thing. He could have gotten help. But he didn’t wait.

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Social Media Analyst- A Brand New Job on the Market

At one of my media lectures the term “social media analyst” innocently uttered by a media savy lecturer (Kate Crawford) floated around the class, causing confusion and chaos. Most people had never heard the term. Some (like me) have, but were left with only a vague idea of what it means. One girl said she was working as one.

It’s not surprising. After all a social media analyst is a new role. So have a look.

Social Media Strategist for a university in USA

TO SUM IT UP: A social media analyst works for a company, any company that uses social media networks in some way.

He/she looks at HOW people interact with facebook, twitter, myspace and others.

BASED ON THIS: he/she comes up with trends and conclusions.

TRENDS: are used as a means to achieve different ends, depending on the given organization.

The data is USED STRATEGICALLY AND CREATIVELY for coming up with a plan to help the organization achieve what it wants.

FOR PR/MARKETING COMPANIES:

If the company is marketing a brand such as PEPSI, it might want to promote awareness and get more fans on its facebook page. Analysis of facebook user patterns will help the company and Pepsi to target specific groups; interact with fb users more or on a different level; come up with ways to engage people and get more exposure.

FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC SECTOR COMPANIES:

If the social media analyst works for a media outlet such as Sydney Morning Herald, it might want to make sure that the reputation of the newspaper stays intact or that journalists know how to use social media in their work. Analysis of twitter will help journalists tap into a rich informational data base and help them utilize the tools of twitter to find sources or spread information correctly.

So that’s all I can say for now.

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University – the digital playground

As I was walking down the billion sets of stairs of UNSW it became blatantly clear to me that this place is a viral gold mine.In the nearly empty evening time campus people are scattered randomly along sides of buildings, benches and even toilets surfing the net, sending emails or skyping family members from india, russia and china. And that’s freakin awesome.

SO I had to stop and blog about it before the revelation flew out of my mind. The fact that I am now sitting down on random uni lawns, yet still effortlessly connected to the web kinda reinforces my point. I can almost feel myself entering a bizzare invisible digital air as soon as I step on campus. I can do my work anywhere, sitting or lying down, standing up or in a lecture. As a very impatient high strung, twitchy person I get really bored really fast during class. So now I can do my assessments, looking up academic articles or read the news. And I don’t feel guilty because if anything I am being more proactive and learning more than I would from the bloody lecture.

The amazing thing is I have seen incredible change, a drift to digital technology in universities that is far above what I expected. In 2006 the thought of having constant internet access in uni was highly improbable and the deficit of power plugs for lap tops killed any desire to drag one with me. Now I have an iPad which is not only light as a feather in comparison but I can also charge it practically anywhere on campus.

I just spent 3 hours engorged in a PR report at the library which has created a study space designed almost specifically for free agent internet users. Comfy chairs and long wide benches that you can climb like stairs and stretch out on. And of course power plugs galore, everywhere.

To summarise: I am just so happy that my short attention span in lectures now has a cure and always will from now on. And that I can blog my thoughts while lying down on grass.

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Filed under blogging, digital media, digital technology

Hello world!

Hello Global Citizens.

I can write those words and countless more and send them out into the endless world of the web. I don’t know who will read them (if anyone), where, when and how (lying down with an iPad, or in at a uni lecture on their iPhone). That is our world now. The world of web 2.0 and social networking and random bits of information drifting in digital space. It is changing the way people interact, what they know and choose to find out, how business is done and how change happens. How Change Happens.

That is what I want to write about: Change. Change through the digital.

How the digital is used as a tool to change something, whether it is in business, politics, journalism, charity or social movements…

It is my way of making sense of this revolution and finding ways to bring about change myself.

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