Monthly Archives: October 2009

Crawling the news


A few weeks ago, I had to read through a bunch of blogs and websites covering the UK newspaper industry. It made me feel very sorry for those guys. Basically, articles and posts on those websites fall into one of two categories. The first is “disastrous revenue reports/circulation figures” – any sign that the decline in these numbers is slowing is taken as a sign of hope these days. The second category may be called “where are you, new business model?”. One of the hot topics at the moment: news aggregators, in particular Google News. Newspaper websites like those links to their articles but they grow increasingly uncomfortable over Google taking their content for free. And Google has responded… Continue reading

Friendship based on algorithms

how do you know

What’s this now? A “News Feed” and a “Live Feed”? Facebook has changed its interface again. I didn’t immediately understand. Apparently, the Live Feed includes everything that’s currently going on in my social online world, and the News Feed just features some highlights. In other words, Facebook believes that a lot of the stuff my friends are up to is simply not relevant. Fair enough, I heard a lot of people say that the previous News Feed had become slightly overwhelming. But how does Facebook know what the interesting stuff is? Continue reading

The file vision


As I may have mentioned before, I’m working in the broadcasting industry at the moment. The broadcasting industry is changing. Everybody tries to get rid of those good old tapes and do everything with digital files. But why? I know this sounds like a funny question. But when you think about it, it’s a bit puzzling. Why do computer files appear so much more appealing than videocassettes? We may immediately think of reduced costs, efficiencies, platform convergence and other ready-at-hand business phrases. Ultimately, however, we should look at the people in and around broadcasting and how they chat amongst each other. Continue reading

Who Needs Information?

Radio KAOS

Pink Floyd has been with me all my life. My dad was listening to “Animals” when I was born. In the first 17 years of my life, I was involuntarily introduced to all of their other albums. Ever since they helped be overcome the worst moments of homesickness in the U.S. at the age of 18 – in particular “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall” – I have started to discover them for myself. Much to the liking of my dad, of course. When I asked to play me some Pink Floyd-like music the other day, it came up with “Who Needs Information?” by Roger Waters, a solo piece by one of the band members. Listening more closely, I thought it provides a very interesting perspective on communication – and the ever so timely warning that more information won’t solve all the world’s problems. Continue reading

Alumni communications – On how to keep in touch with those who left


A few days ago, we published the 5th issue of “Beyond the Pond” – the alumni magazine for all former students at Jacobs University Bremen. It’s called “Beyond the Pond” because on the university’s campus, there’s a little artificial pond that enjoys great fame and popularity among students (see picture above blends it with a swimming pool that used to be in its place). Maybe because it’s the most scenic part of campus (sadly enough); maybe because, year after year, it attracts a loved-up pair of ducks to its waters, which then produces some of the world’s most adorable ducklings. Now, that’s not the point of this post. I meant to say something about “alumni comunications” in general. Just why and how should former students/employees and their university/company talk to each other? Continue reading

Communication and the City


This post was conceived over two cappuccinos in a cute little cafe in Northern London this afternoon. I found this cafe by searching the web for “best cafes in London” and got there by looking it up on Google maps. Finding the best places to go and figuring out how to get there – these are only two of the ways in which the Internet can help us navigate through urban landscapes. Are there other ways in which communication technology influences our lives in metropolitan cities? Continue reading

“A spaceship plunges out of the night sky”


Right at this moment, I feel very intrigued by NASA’s approach to selling today’s moon mission action to the wider public. They must have hired some serious PR guys to put some exciting spin to their techy science stuff. At the end of the day (or rather at about 12:30 GMT), it’s about intentionally crashing two satellites into the moon to discover whether the mess this makes contains any traces of water. That’s not how NASA tells the story on their website though. Continue reading