The modern online news site

I was just taking a closer look at the homepage of the Straits Times news site. I realised how much it’s changed from its earlier days, and it has now taken on a new dimension.

Besides the ‘traditional’ web news articles, the site has now incorporated various other new media platforms: blogs; forums; its video channel, RazorTV, its citizen journalist portal, Stomp; and even its online classifieds portal, ST701.

This multi-dimensional and multi-sensory approach to news sites seems to be the way to go, to reach out to a more IT and new media-savvy ‘readership’.

Not only that, with the online sales portal, Mocca.com, launching its FULL THROTTLE MocCarnival , an auto and car enthusiast event last Sunday on 23 Nov, it seems like a new trend has started, with online events spilling over into reality.

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Some useful tips on blogging

I subscribe to Alvin Phang’s blog and recently, he wrote a four-parter on how to blog, which I think is a useful reminder to those who have been blogging for some time, as well as useful tips for novice bloggers.

I’m including the links below:

Powerful tips on writing blog articles Part 1/4

Powerful tips on writing blog articles Part 2/4

Powerful tips on writing blog articles Part 3/4

Powerful tips on writing blog articles Part 4/4

Do add your comments and further tips for all bloggers out there!

Learn from some of Internet’s top blogs

See what you can learn from some of Internet’s top blogs!

And also how to Keep blog content fresh!

New Media Fund Raising with chewonitcomics

I have been meaning to check out the chewonitcomics blog after seeing a message that accompanies the weekly comic strip on the Sunday Times, and just did so.

The message is to view the blog and read more of Lee Chee Chew’s comic creations and at the same time, donate towards an operation for an orphaned, disabled toddler.

I access the blog and find out what the cartoonist wrote about Phung Thien Nhan, a Vietnamese toddler:

 Abandoned at birth and left to die, Thien Nhan was mauled by a dog which bit off his right leg and badly savaged his groin. He was adopted by a Vietnamese family in Hanoi, and is now seeking sponsors to help pay for his medical care, rehabilitation and education.

The first thing I did after reading about Thien Nhan was to make a donation (and it certainly won’t be my only one). I sincerely hope that you will do the same too.

There are a few ways to make a donation – make a direct donation at the Thien Nhan’s blog, send money via the cartoonist, buy his book with proceeds going towards the operation fund, or buy a tee shirt with proceeds going towards the fund as well.

As of 15 July, S$19, 193.50 has been collected and sent to the boy.

This is yet another way of using new media such as blogs for good – to raise awareness and funds for those in need.

If you would like to help the boy, please visit: http://chewonitcomics.blogspot.com/

10, 000 hits!

This may not mean much to anyone else but me, but thought I’d just like to announce that Blogscapes has passed the 10, 000-hit mark!

Frankly, when I started the blog late 2006, little did I know then, that the compulsion to maintain the blog and write regular posts would be with me, and so it has! Here’s to 10, 000 more hits!

Ted Demopoulos’ “What no one ever tells you about blogging and podcasting”: Some comments

I’ve been reading the book by Ted Demopoulos entitled “What no one ever tells you about blogging and podcasting”:

The book is a compilation of blogging and podcasting tips that  he’s compiled based on his interviews with successful bloggers and podcasters. Ted Demopoulos is particularly interested in seeing how blogs and podcasts add to the marketing/businesss mix of companies.

I have picked up some interesting tips such as using stats counters like Blog stats and Sitemeter (which I have since added) to help provide more info on the blog’s readership, as well some useful reminders about the need to include links and blogroll.

He also mentions an important point about the need to ‘listen’ to what’s out there in the blogosphere as well. All too often, bloggers are caught up with blogging and tend to forget to read others’ blogs. You can only join in the conversation in the blogosphere by reading, leaving comments or emailing the bloggers, and inviting them to read your blog and leave comments too. Thus, disabling a ‘comments’ feature is a big no-no, according to the author and the people he interviewed.

You can also read more about Ted Demopoulos’ thoughts and musings on technology, business and their intersection in his blog, The Ted Rap.

In the book, the writer also shares some useful blogs to read, and I’ll share some of the useful links here with you:

 Marcom Blog

InfOpinions

Buzzoodle

BlogWrite for CEOs

Practical Blogging

Copyblogger

Bloglogic – news from the blogosphere

SEObook

Podcast Roundtable

Talkr – Letting blogs speak for themselves

It’ll be worth your while to check out the above links!

Racist blogs in Singapore

A couple of racist blogs have been taken down by the authorities. The two blogs featured racist comments with vulgarities and negative remarks about Muslims in Singapore. They were apparently started by the same person, presumably a male student in Singapore.  One blog was created in August and the other earlier this month.

The two blogs were hosted on Google’s Blogger site, and were taken down for violating the host’s “terms of service”. 

This reminds me of the case of two racist bloggers who were caught about a year or two back. The case kind of became a landmark one as it highlighted one of the abuses of New Media at a time when blogging was starting to catch on in Singapore.  

While it’s true that New Media such as blogs can be abused and used to express negative and divisive sentiments, what struck me about the situation this time is how the blogosphere and cyberspace seems to have developed an in-built self-regulating mechanism. What do I mean by that?

The one who ‘blew the whistle’ in this case is trainee teacher Tanveer Khan who came across the blogs on Sept 9. Tanveer knew that what he read was wrong and would have a negative effect on its readers and the race relations in Singapore, and immediately emailed the Media Development Authority (MDA) to inform them of the existence of the blogs.

His actions resulted in the blogs being blocked on Sept 18 and 20. The authorities do not police the blogosphere but do take action when they receive any specific information that needs investigating. In addition, the blog hosts such as Blogger also take action against users and prohibit certain undesirable content from being hosted on its servers. More details on specific content that violates Blogger’s policies can be found at www.blogger.com/content.g.

Anyway, with watchful Web users like Mr Tanveer, coupled with the proposed changes to the Penal Code stating that a person convicted of causing racial and religious disharmony can be jailed up to three years or fined, or both, it looks like bloggers who wish to spout undersirable sentiments should exercise more restraint.