Disconnecting, Reconnecting at #SXSW

Started off the morning with a great discussion on Disconnecting the Dots: How Our Devices Are Divisive. Roy Christopher, a grad student from the University of Texas at Austin and a one-time University of a georgia student, talked a bit about how technology was getting in the way of communicating wi each other and ourselves. Lots of notes on that, but I still need to parse a good chunk of it.

When we got to the Q&A segment, I asked whether he thought our brains were going to evolve fast enough to parse so many small pieces of information after we sent generations developing the ability to connect the dots and look at trends. Several audience members joined the conversation (apparently, not many people attend the 9:30 sessions, so there weren’t many to start with) and we talked about photography, standardized testing and the so-called “new math” that is confusing at least one other parent.

After a brisk, rain-drop-dodging hike to the Sheraton, I sat in on the Open for News: Journalism Inside Out presentation lead by Ian Katz and Jemima Kiss from The Guardian (that’s them to the right). The conversation wandered around the idea of using social media for reporting and asked a lot of good questions. How do you balance your resources between curation and reporting? Do you hire reporters or community managers? At the Guardian it is the latter and they are used to both oversee comments and to find sources to connect with reporters.

I asked whether the live blogs they are doing generate enough traffic to make them worthwhile, based on my own habit of reading them in chunks, usually after the fact. Katz reported their live blogs have hit 500,000 page views on some topics. And their site only gets 2 to 3 million views a day as it is.

Apparently, I am not reading the web right …

Mark E. Johnson

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