Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meanwhile, the R-J Discovers Twitter & Apps

As always, the @reviewjournal is WAY out ahead on this tech t... on Twitpic

OK, this is NOT as bad as it looks. The Review-Journal's Corey Levitan did a feature spotlighting 10 cool Vegas tweeters to follow. That's fair game. They include folks like Jay Fenster of Caesars Entertainment, Tony Hsieh of Zappos, UFC's Dana White and, of course, VegasHappensHere.Com cover gal Holly Madison. All good choices.

So it's a fine thing for the newspaper to do, even if this headline makes them sound like they've just discovered a medium that by now has helped bring down a few governments and launched hundreds of celebrity and political scandals. Not Corey's fault.

You must forgive me, however, for expecting something mundane and obvious because Al Gibes is somehow still the newspaper's "Online Guy" and his column today is truly, truly one for the ages. In it, he welcomes Verizon customers to the iPhone by... well... check this out:

■ Apps. This is short for "application," which is another name for a program that runs on the iPhone. There are more than 300,000 available and more are added daily. Don't be overwhelmed.

Whew. I'll try. He goes on to explain that some are free and some are not and maybe you ought to try out the free versions if there is one before buying the not-free one. He's a trustworthy source, y'see, because he's "someone who's used an iPhone for a few years." He goes on to explain that "everyone who uses an iPhone will develop a Top 10 Apps list," although I haven't got one and I was sure I counted as part of "everyone." Then he gives out his top 10 list and it's a doozy:

1) Twitter

2) Weather Bug

3) ESPN SportsCenter

4) Facebook

5) MLB At Bat (listen to all Major League Baseball games);

6) NoteSpark (a note-sharing service that syncs online)

7) Bank of America (or the app from your bank)

8) Words with Friends (a multiplayer Scrabblelike game)

9) Hipstamatic (camera app that takes vintage-style photos)

10) AP Mobile (news).

One way you know you're not really a very good "Online Guy" is when your top app is Twitter and you barely seem to use it. Al Gibes has put out a grand total of 723 tweets. A quick look at what he tweets shows he's sort of missing the "social" part of social media; he almost never has a conversation with anyone on Twitter. He's supposed to be the tech guru of a major metropolitan newspaper and he's so irrelevant online that his own newspaper didn't even reference him when urging folks in the intro to Levitan's aforementioned Twitter piece to also follow @reviewjournal and @Norm_Clarke!

And do you notice what app is notably missing from the Online Guy's list? Why, how about one from the Las Vegas Review-Journal? No, there isn't one, of course. The Online Guy is too busy crafting this brilliant conclusion:

Smart phones are really small computers that happen to have phones. You newbies will understand that soon.

Ohhhhhhhhhh. Thanks, Al.

It all made me think of this classic 30-second clip, which I found on YouTube which is this nifty site where... well, I'll DM @AlGibes and explain it to him in private if he's unaware:

You may think I'm being mean. I'm not. OK, maybe a little. But I'm trying to wake up the R-J's new management that their incompetent Internet presence, helmed by a very nice but clueless and visionless fellow who has had a decade to figure these newfangled things out and still hasn't set up his website so folks can embed or Tweet its video, is a danger to their entire enterprise.

In all sincerity, if they expect to be relevant, they cannot speak down to their readers like this. If I'm reading a tech column, I know what apps and smart phones are. I suggest the Clark County Library District hire Al to give remedial classes to tech dunces and that the R-J go find themselves someone who can talk to readers in a mature, respectful manner.


vespajet said...

Any iPhone app list that doesn't include Angry Birds is suspect.....

Scott Roeben said...

As I've said before, you are often the only one saying things that need to be said. I assume this is the post Norm is referencing on Twitter. But this post isn't about trying to embarrass Al. It's about how the RJ continues to embarrass itself (and a city) by refusing to have difficult, uncomfortable conversations about practices and decisions and, yes, people, who might not be the best suited for their position. The defense is sure to be "A good portion of our audience is older and may be unfamiliar with apps." That's fine, but "60 Minutes" doesn't dumb down its overall reporting to the level of Andy Rooney's "content." I'm sure he speaks to an audience, but it's a big picture decision to not have him front and center. The new editor was on NPR and said their highest priority is to make the RJ relevant. This is the area that demands the greatest level of scrutiny.