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“Today, we’re on the ground floor of new journalism – citizen journalists of the New Media. We operate from several positions, such as bloggers, contributing opinion writers, reporters, columnists, and radio show hosts.” – Dave Logan

The shift from the way we traditionally got our news in the past to today’s instant communication is revolutionary. Some compare it to the invention of the printing press. Whether it’s social media sites like Twitter or news sites catered towards citizen journalism, the active voice of the eyewitness is now a significant part of any story taking place in the world.

And now, citizen journalism platform AllVoices.com, which allows you to contribute blog posts, images, videos and other observations on local and global news, has raised $9 million in investor funding. The site’s proprietary technology tags, ranks and sorts news based on global, regional, country and city pages and determines breaking and popular news.

“Breaking news” Twitter feed

How hot is your story? If it’s on fire, HeatRank will boost it into the tweetosphere with a link to the original story. But it’s not the only news aggregator building on Twitter’s capabilities. There are so many services using Twitter to leverage distilled information for different topics, it’s almost overwhelming! TopicFire, BreakingNews and HeatRank will help you sort it out.

Create your own virtual newspaper

NewsCred wants to help you build your own custom online newspapers. And in a matter of minutes you can have a professional-looking site tailored to include the content you’re interested in. Simply choose the title of your new virtual paper, then specify which topics you’re interested in following from a number of categories, including tech and politics. You can also generate one based on a keyword. NewsCred will generate a virtual newspaper containing the latest stories from each of the categories you’ve chosen.

A penny or less for your thoughts?

Today, you can “buy” followers on eBay for less than a penny each. How? Automated bots and cheap labor in China are doing the work to create Twitter Follower farms. Online laborers in China essentially create thousands of Twitter accounts which can then follow other accounts. Why? Some folks are willing to pay to get their message out. Just one more way innovative people are developing Twitter to suit their objectives.

2010 marketing dollars target vast social media

Integrated marketing services provider Alterian has done a study on social media marketing adoption that finds marketers embracing social media marketing in a big way.

The survey covered 1068 marketing professionals worldwide, and revealed that 66 percent of the respondents will be investing in social media marketing (SMM) in 2010. Of those, 40 percent said they would be shifting more than a fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget towards funding their SMM activities.

Ways to pay for content in the near future

New York Times will bill you in 2011?

The New York Times Company will be introducing a paid, metered model for its online NYTimes.com at the beginning of 2011, offering you free access to an unspecified set number of articles per month and then charging you once you exceed that number. News you can use? Is it worth it?

YouTube

YouTube wants to know if you’ll pay to watch movies on its site. The web’s most popular video sharing site is offering five films from the 2009 and 2010 Sundance Film Festival for $5. YouTube says it’s a way to bring more exposure to independent films. And a way to see if you’re willing to pay to see.

Broadband

Are broadband providers misleading you so you’ll pay more? Here’s the bottom line: You have to know your own Internet habits and what kind of speed you really need – don’t let your prospective ISP scare you into you paying for more bandwidth than you’d actually use. Unless you’re watching Netflix and downloading music and playing games all at the same time, you probably need only 20 Mbps down and 10 up.

Online in the air

Southwest Airlines will offer its flyers Wi-Fi service on its fleet of 540 planes beginning later this spring. They hope to have the entire fleet wired by 2012, using a network of telecommunications satellites belonging to Hughes Network Systems. By tapping into Hughes’ network, a 25-employee hi-tech company called Row 44 has the potential capability to provide worldwide Internet access.

“Row 44′s small size has allowed it to quickly adopt the latest advancements in technology that have made equipment lighter and cheaper,” reports W.J. Hennigan of the LA Times.

Privacy in the digital age

It’s getting easier for Big Brother to track you and your preferences. Imagine you’re in a department store. Flat screen displays are scanning your face, feeding the data into special software that employs facial recognition technology that will tailor ads to your gender, age and ethnicity. Or smart phone apps track your identity, location and even your friends. The info you’ve posted about yourself on social networks is accessed by law enforcement and employers.

Whoa! This is a brave new world. And your privacy is at stake. What will businesses, government and consumers do with your data? That’s the dilemma addressed at a recent roundtable sponsored by the Federal Trade Commission.

“Live” from the White House

Nearly 1.3 million people watched the live video feed of the State of the Union Address from the WhiteHouse.gov’s website. Compare that to 48 million viewers who tuned in. One year ago, the live stream of the President’s inauguration drew a much greater audience, with 3.8 million viewers on the Ustream live feed.

Want to learn how to do just about anything?

Howcast, a site filled with originally-produced how-to videos, is streaming 25 million videos a month across its network, which includes its own site, popular channels on YouTube and Hulu and an iPhone app (iTunes link) which has been downloaded more than one million times.

Two years ago, former Googlers Jason Liebman, Daniel Blackman and Sanjay Raman launched Howcast. A year ago, the startup was streaming about 10 million videos a month. By comparison, YouTube streams more than 12 billion videos a month, and the next nine video entities on the web all stream about 200 million videos each month.

Let the battle begin between Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle

Ben Elowitz, co-founder and CEO of Wetpaint, a media company with an audience of 10 million monthly unique users has ten reasons why the new Apple iPad will kill Kindle.

How influential are you?

How do you rate? Twitter Grader is a free tool that lets you check the power of your twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded. Just enter your twitter username (password not needed) and you’ll get an instant grade and report. Here’s how influential I am: Out of 6,015,878 users, I ranked 45,903, with a grade of 99.2. How do you like them apples?

A look back

1959 – The day the music died.

1964 – The day the music arrived.

2003 – The day a nation cried.

Now playing at The Princess

Congratulations to WorldNetDaily readers Russell B. Dobbyn of Gulfport, Miss., and Leo Rusenas who correctly identified James Marsden as the actor who portrayed the character Lon in the 2004 movie “The Notebook”. Directed by Nick Cassavetes, the film was based on the best selling novel of the same name written by Nicholas Sparks, and starred James Garner, Gena Rowlands and Sam Shepard.

And now, this week’s feature presentation! Name the movie, the character and the portraying actor who said, “We read five times that you were killed, in five different places.”

Send your answer to me at the email address below. Winners’ names will be included in next week’s Surfin’ Safari column.

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