The blog formerly known as The Dobbs Method

The State of the Internet

Posted in Economics, Internet by Taylor Dobbs on 02/10/2010

Mashable posted a simple but very informative infographic about the state of the internet. It had information on demographics of internet users, usage statistics, a quick summary of the blogosphere, and probably most upsetting: internet statistics by nation.

The United States has the slowest broadband internet speed by far of all developed nations. If this isn’t depressing enough, my wonderful state of Vermont is ranked 47th in the nation for internet speed.

Considering America is forfeiting its manufacturing sector and moving almost entirely to an information economy, this is an extremely dangerous reality. It’s like being a fossil-fuel based economy and not producing any-

…well anyways, it isn’t good.

I’m all for Obama’s $8 billion rail stimulus, but I think (for once) AT&T is investing its billions more wisely this year, with $2 billion going to network improvements. This is a situation that will hopefully be fixed as quickly as American consumers realize how far behind the curve we are as a country and demand faster and more widespread broadband connectivity. Unfortunately for me and other tech-friendly Vermonters, I don’t think the movement is going to start anywhere near here.


Mashable’s “8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist” Plus One

Posted in Journalism by Taylor Dobbs on 02/08/2010

Social Media news site Mashable put out a post naming 8 traits that all journalists should have in tomorrow’s world of journalism. It was a great story, and is definitely on track to being right on, as journalists and organizations that have these traits are already seeing higher success than those who are slower to adapt. Most of the traits are essentially in reaction to a shrinking journalism workforce, but their 8th point is key, and often marginalized in discussion of journalism in the internet age. Click the link above for elaboration, but these are the eight traits listed:

  1. Entrepreneurial and Business Savvy
  2. Programmer
  3. Open-minded Experimenter
  4. Multimedia Storyteller
  5. The Social Journalist and Community Builder
  6. Blogger and Curator
  7. Multi-skilled
  8. Fundamental Journalism Skills

I’d say this list is very good, based on what I’ve seen. Another item that might be added, though, is specialization. While the media through which journalists give information is clearly becoming more dynamic with online video and audio, the road to credibility is increasingly hard to travel in the internet age. With the erosion of gatekeeping organizations, anyone, however qualified or deserving, can write about anything and be published for the same audience as the most qualified of professionals.

My #9: The Beat is Back! It’s going to be difficult to gauge someone’s credibility on a topic in an age when even the most credible of journalists are posting in personal blogs. The distinction will be made, I think, in a journalist’s focus. The more a journalist works a specific beat, the more connections they are able to keep (and maintain through social media tools), thus climbing the ladder in this field. Sure, the one-man show and  other small organizations are exempt here (and this a large portion of news orgs), but freelancers especially will need to develop a strong online portfolio in order to sell stories in a time when credibility is so central an issue.

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