Boom! Apple Disrupts Media Coverage of WWDC 2013 By Streaming The Keynote Live

Wwdc2013 live 300This morning I imagine there must have been a round of collective shock going through the tech media community as word spread that... GASP! ... Apple is going to stream the WWDC Keynote today at 10am US Pacific LIVE on the Internet?

Apple?

Streaming a WWDC keynote... LIVE???

HUH?

Given Apple's intense focus on secrecy, and the fact that the WWDC keynotes have NOT been streamed live in the past, an entire mini-industry has grown up around supplying "live" feeds out of the WWDC keynote. Sites like Engadget, Gizmodo, 9to5Mac, MacWorld and a zillion others have maintained "live blogs" posting the latest updates out of WWDC. These sites have been populated by reporters actually in the WWDC room using smartphones, laptops or whatever other tools they can. Photos were posted from phone cameras. Updates went out to social media.

In fact, past WWDC keynotes have been proving grounds for various forms of "live blogging" software and platforms - as many have collapsed under the crushing load of massive numbers of viewers wanting the latest news out of Apple. It's also been interesting in the past to watch the different outlets and their strategies... having one person typing updates while another posts photos, for instance, while yet another is tweeting or updating other social media channels.

The scarcity of information led to truly creating a "spectacle", as Apple is so good at doing. You had to visit these sites and watch the social media streams if you wanted to know in the moment what Apple was announcing.

It's the way we've become used to monitoring WWDC keynotes within the tech community. We expected today's speech to be more of the same. Each tech news site has been focused on providing the best and most comprehensive coverage of WWDC, knowing that doing so would garner them a large number of new visitors and potential subscribers. They were all gearing up for covering today's event.

And then this morning... BOOM! ... Apple just deflated and disrupted an entire way of covering the event.

Watch wwdc liveFirst word started circulating that Apple had rolled out an "Apple Events" icon on Apple TV allowing Apple TV owners to watch the stream live. Then a link appeared on Apple's website where you can watch the WWDC lifestream. And then Apple actually issued a press release stating that they would be live streaming the event.

With one action, Apple just removed the primary need for all of those live blogs by all the major tech sites, as well as the need to follow streams on Twitter and other social networks. Sure, you can still follow them to get analysis or snarky commentary but there is no longer the need to follow them.

One site, 9to5Mac, has already stated they will be adjusting their coverage:

Update: Since Apple will be live streaming the event on the Web, iOS and AppleTV, we will be doing real-time updates only on our Twitter account and posting stories as they become available.

I expect some of the others will do so as well.

Now... will this actually lead to better coverage of the event for us as readers? In the past, these tech media sites have been competing with each other to churn out the live updates as fast as possible. But with the live stream available directly from Apple, will these news sites instead be able to focus on assembling articles about the announcements? (And will there then be even more articles churned out by the sites?)

It will be interesting to see... we'll find out in about two hours... :-)


P.S. This morning I published an audio commentary on this topic at:

I'll note that at the time I recorded this podcast it was not yet known that Apple would be streaming the keynote live on their website.


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Watching Live Blogs FAIL During Apple's iOS 5 Event

Today was a fascinating day to watch live-blogging services fail in a rather dramatic way.

Engadget... Gizmodo... MacRumors... ArsTechnica... and more...

Thanksapple

Unless you were under a rock or otherwise hiding offline, you know that today was the big, huge, ginormous "iPhone 5" announcement event from Apple. (It turned out, of course, that there was no iPhone 5, but that didn't stop the media frenzy.)

As you probably also know, Apple does NOT live-stream these events. I think Robert Scoble nails their reasons - it's all about control. The PR folks at Apple are also masters at "creating spectacle". These "events" become the huge media events they are precisely because there is scarcity... you can't get the info unless you are in the room.

And so, the "media" get to be gatekeepers to the knowledge again.

Lacking a live video or audio stream, all the interested techies, media and fanboys must turn to live blogs and to Twitter (and Facebook and Google+) to get their updates.

But boy did those live blogs fail today!

Now, don't get me wrong..

I DO understand that providing live updates to an unknown - but very HIGH - number of visitors is hard to do.

I get that... but still it was interesting to see who survived and who didn't (and I mention both below).


Live Blogs That Struggled

One of the first I saw go was MacRumors, who was originally using a service that embedded "live blogging" directly into their web page. That seemed to fail under the load and they dropped back to simply providing bullet updates on their live page.

I was watching Engadget's coverage for a while and it was great ... until it wasn't:

Engadgetliveblog

Even worse, the entire Engadget site seemed to be down at times:

Engadget2

The site went in and out during the course of the coverage but was mostly out for the latter half of the coverage.

Gizmodo's live blog didn't give the same kind of errors, but simply stopped updating for long periods ... and then had problems loading display elements (which I missed capturing):

Gizmodo

Ars Technica did better with their coverage up until about 40 minutes into the event when they stopped updating the site and pointed people over to Twitter:

Arstechnicaliveblog

Their coverage came back... and then froze again several more times.

I would have loved to be watching the stats on the traffic these sites were getting as it had to have been a TON of traffic.


Live Blogs That Worked

Still, some sites seemed to work well through it all. And while I have no insight into how much traffic these sites had versus the ones above, it could also be the architecture they chose to use as well as their choice of content.

Ryan Block's gdgt live gave the best experience I found, integrating both text and pictures to provide a great way to know what was going on:

Gdgtlive

They had a couple of momentary hiccups, but overall they seemed to consistently be publishing more and more content.

Mashable's live coverage was also consistently available, although they went with a more Twitter-esque series of mostly text updates. They added in polls for some more interactivity and also had links to other posts and info. They had a few photos, but not all that many compared to others. However, the coverage was consistent and always there:

Mashablelive

Finally, GigaOm's coverage was noteworthy in that they started out from the beginning to just provide simple text updates to a blog post that you had to manually refresh. No auto-updates... no embedded widgets... just a straight-up blog post with a mixture of text and pictures. Not as sexy as other sites, but every time I refreshed it the content was there with updates.

Sometimes, simplicity can win.

(Now, in fairness, because there was no auto-updating and because I wasn't sitting there hitting the refresh (this was all running in the background on my computer while I ate lunch and was doing some other work), the GigaOm site could have gone down several times between my refreshes.)


Again, I do realize that providing this kind of large-scale coverage is hard, but in the era of "web-scale" and with the availability of content delivery networks, caching services, etc., there are certainly options available to companies providing "live blogs" of events.

Now maybe some of the sites that "struggled" had all that kind of stuff in place and still succumbed to the overwhelming traffic.

Regardless, today was an interesting experiment in seeing what worked and what didn't work. Personally, I'd love it if some of the services that had technical difficulties would write up a bit about what happened and how they were hit.

It would help all of us learn how to scale our sites.

And help people get ready for the NEXT Apple event ;-)

P.S. And yes, there were undoubtedly other sites that were offering live blogs of the event... these were just the ones that I happened to know of or find.


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Social Media Club NH To Meet Oct 6th To Discuss Social Media on Campus, Google+ and more

Socialmediaclubnh
I recently discovered that the Social Media Club of NH will be meeting this Thursday, October 6th, over at my old stomping grounds of UNH in Durham, NH. The Eventbrite invitation has the full agenda and it looks quite intriguing. The first section is about how the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP) is interacting with students via social media for outreach... and having known some of the founders of that program way back in 1988, it's cool to see that not only is the program thriving but it's reaching out into new ways of communicating.

Second up is a session on Google+, which of course most all of us in the social media space are at least monitoring if not using (I'm of course on Google+).

It sounds like a great event and if you can get to the seacoast region there is still time to register.

Alas, I will not personally be there as I will be traveling back from speaking in Chicago on the 6th but I look forward to making it to some future SMCNH event.


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PodCamp NH Begins Tomorrow (Sat, Aug 13) in New Hampton, NH

PodcampnhIf you live in New Hampshire (as I do) and are interested in all things related to social media: blogging, podcasting, digital marketing, Twitter, Facebook, and so much more, PodCamp NH is happening tomorrow, Saturday, August 13, 2011, from 8:30am to 5:00pm in New Hampton, NH.

The schedule of sessions so far has been posted (tip: note that the schedule box has both vertical and horizontal scroll bars - there are simultaneous session tracks), and I've seen from Twitter that a number of great folks are already planning to head up that way.

The latest PCNH blog post has some more info - including that over 70 people have already registered! It sounds like a great event... and so if you are here in the Granite State or one of the surrounding states, please do head on over and check it out - and join in, too, because PodCamps are by design a place for people to collaborate and be involved.

P.S. Alas, I am not one of those 70 people going as I have other family plans tomorrow... but I'm looking forward to getting to one of the PCNH events one of these years...


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The Automattic WorldWide WP 5K: Are You Going To Run It on April 10th?

rundanrun.jpg
Given that to my great amusement I am now a runner[1], I love the idea that Automattic had for a WorldWide WordPress 5K. As they say in the post:

We had a great idea: Get all 80 Automatticians from 62 cities to run/walk a 5k on the same day! This way we can get some exercise together as a company even though we’re apart (though we won’t rule out a softball or Texas scramble at our next meetup).

We want to invite you to join us, WordPress.com users (and self-hosted WP users, too!), in the Worldwide WP 5k – the 5k blogged around the world! The date is approaching, so read on to find out how to participate.

And so they are encouraging people to run (or walk or skip or roll) on Sunday, April 10, 2011... or anytime in the week prior to that. And, of course, blog about it or otherwise tell the world about it.

Naturally, I'm in. :-)

Of course, since I just ran a 5K loop around Keene, NH, this morning the distance will no longer be a challenge for me... I'll just make sure that that Sunday is one of my "run" days. (I run every other day.)

[1] And if I can now be a "runner", I think pretty much any of you can be one, too... as my post says, I didn't set out to become one, and never pictured myself as one... it was just the natural evolution of deciding to start exercising every day originally in the form of walking...


Who Tweeted The Most At Enterprise Connect? (Graphic)

So I knew that I tweeted a good bit when down at Enterprise Connect, but didn't quite know how much I tweeted! Analyst Dave Michels analyzed the last 1500 tweets on the #enterprisecon hashtag and produced this graphic (click for the full-size image):

Enterprisecontweets

Yep, my @danyork Twitter account is that big blue wedge in the upper right. :-) Dave later tweeted out that I had sent out 284 tweets in those 1500 tweets. In truth, I actually sent out a few more, since I used the @voipsa account to live-tweet the security talks on the final day (which is the 6th-highest account, the purple-ish wedge in the lower right).

Kudos to Dave for putting together this chart... fun to see!

P.S. Of course, Lawrence Byrd had to wonder about quantity vs quality... :-)


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BlogWorld and New Media Expo Coming To New York May 24-26, 2011

BlogworldNews out today is that BlogWorld & New Media Expo is coming to New York this May, finally bringing one of their events to the East Coast of the US. Interestingly it is being co-located with "Book Expo" and they offered this explanation:
Two year’s ago at BlogWorld Leo Laporte said during his talk “We are not new media anymore. Now we are just THE MEDIA”. While we all believe that to be true, many in the traditional media are not convinced yet. Since our inception we have had a couple of Big Hairy Audacious Goals. One of them is to foster and accelerate the convergence of traditional and new media. We can’t think of a single better opportunity to help us accomplish that goal. New York City is the center of the traditional media universe. For four days Book Expo America is the center of the traditional publishing universe. By locating BlogWorld and Book Expo side by side we are bringing the best and brightest from both communities together for the first time anywhere. By the way the folks at Book Expo are just as excited about this as we are.

It will be interesting to see how the program evolves. You can follow @blogworldexpo on Twitter and watch the website at http://www.blogworldexpo.com/2011-nyc/. They note in the blog post that they are looking for speakers.

Kudos to the BlogWorld team for bringing their event to New York and I look forward to seeing how it works out!


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Die Mauer! Die Mauer ist weg!

20 years ago, I was sitting in an apartment in an old farmhouse in Madbury, NH, watching some news footage via a satellite link. I was in my final year at the University of New Hampshire studying for a degree in German language. I watched events unfold in utter astonishment... and then called a friend of mine, Thea, who was working at the UNH library... as I recall, my words were simply this:
Thea... die Mauer! Die Mauer ist weg!

She, also a German student, did not believe me... and this was before ubiquitous Internet access where she could have jumped online to see.

It was true, though, and today Germany - and the world - celebrates the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It is, indeed, a momentous day...


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Vermont political blogs team up for 2nd Annual "BBQ & Hamburger Summit" this Sunday (July 15)...

image Want to have a hamburger with local Vermont bloggers and politicians?  If so, head on over to North Beach in Burlington on Sunday (July 15) from 1-5pm for the Second Annual Political BBQ and Hamburger Summit.  The "Frequently Ass-Backward Questions" are at the very least entertaining.  This one, particularly:

Q: I’m a current office-holder, and worried about attending a gathering featuring beer and loose political chatter. Can you give me some assurance that my casual remarks won’t be edited out of context, uploaded to YouTube, diffused across 10 or 15 mega-blogs, and then viewed by 60,000 or 100,000 people as far away as Japan and American Samoa?

A: No.

Welcome to the transparent world, eh?

One of the aspects of "social media" that I enjoy so much is the "social" aspect and the way that this can translate into local events such as this.  I intend to write more on that soon, but today I'll just say that it's cool to me that Vermont Daily Briefing and Green Mountain Daily are putting on this event again.

Last year, I enjoyed reading the first event - "POLITICAL BARBEQUE ERUPTS ON NORTH BEACH; Officials Unable to Count the Injured and Disoriented; Welch Communications Director Hospitalized for “Percussive Gastric Event”; Odum Also Lost; Oh, The Humanity, the Humanity!" (and no one was actually hospitalized, it was an attempt at humor).  Now, it was an election year with the vote coming up in a few months, so naturally there was high attendance from local political campaigns.  We'll see this year in an off-year.  I would assume we'll probably see some presidential campaign crews there (although, with the completely screwed up 2008 primaries, they'll probably mostly be trying to get us to drive down to N.H. to help campaigns there).

This year I'll definitely be attending, since: a) I know about it (I didn't last year); b) it's a 5-minute bike ride from my house; and c) would I turn down a chance to chat with other bloggers?  not likely!

So if you are in the Burlington, Vermont, area this Sunday and want to join in the fun with other VT bloggers and non-bloggers, come on down to North Beach on Sunday from 1-5pm.  Note that you do not have to be a political blogger!

Q: Isn’t this BBQ really just for politicians and political bloggers?

A: No. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, a good cross-section of the crowd will be made up of office-holders and office seekers. And yes, political bloggers will be out in force, as will their readers, especially hard-core readers of Vermont Daily Briefing, Green Mountain Daily, What’s The Point?, and Rip and Read.

But the greater point of the gathering is to bring together any and all politically minded individuals. People from all parties, and all demographics. And friends of those people, and the children of the friends of those people.

In short, no one in America is excluded from the guest list. It’s a wicked big tent.

Fun stuff... :-)