Monday, July 9, 2012

Who Owns the News Media? website includes data re market share

The Who Owns the News Media? website includes data about market share of companies over the news media in all formats. You can compare companies across media sectors. Plus do much more. The website is an outgrowth of the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Thanks to Lee who found this on the Resource Shelf Blog and shared it with us.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Re-learning management discoveries of the past

An article in alternet summarizes research done over the course of about a century or so that shows 40-hour work weeks make the most sense and that when people work more than 40 hours per week their productivity falls off and errors (sometimes catastrophic) increase.

But the conventional wisdom in many workplaces today is "everybody knows that working crazy hours is what it takes to prove that you’re “passionate” and “productive” and “a team player” — the kind of person who might just have a chance to survive the next round of layoffs."

Why crunch mode doesn't work, a study prepared for the International Game Developers Association, combats this conventional wisdom with a historical survey of the research which found that longer than 40 hour work-weeks simply do not pay off.

That output does not rise or fall in direct proportion to the number of hours worked is a lesson that seemingly has to be relearned each generation. In 1848, the English parliament passed the ten-hours law and total output per-worker, per-day increased. In the 1890s employers experimented widely with the eight hour day and repeatedly found that total output per-worker increased. In the first decades of the 20th century, Frederick W. Taylor, the originator of "scientific management" prescribed reduced work times and attained remarkable increases in per-worker output. [emphasis mine]
Past the eighth hour of work in a day there exists no 1 to 1 correlation between hours worked and productivity. That is to say, increasing the hours 50% does not obtain 50% more production. This goes for office work as well as factory work and even for managers. "Follow-up investigations on the Exxon Valdez disaster and the Challenger explosion ... found that severely overworked, overtired decision-makers played significant roles in bringing about these disasters. There’s also a huge body of research on life-threatening errors made by exhausted medical residents, as well as research by the US military on the catastrophic effects of fatigue on the target discrimination abilities of artillery operators."

… research shows that knowledge workers actually have fewer good hours in a day than manual laborers do — on average, about six hours, as opposed to eight. It sounds strange, but if you’re a knowledge worker, the truth of this may become clear if you think about your own typical work day. Odds are good that you probably turn out five or six good, productive hours of hard mental work; and then spend the other two or three hours on the job in meetings, answering e-mail, making phone calls, and so on. You can stay longer if your boss asks; but after six hours, all he's really got left is a butt in a chair. Your brain has already clocked out and gone home.
Sorry, but managers will most times have to hire more people if they want more work done.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Google Introduces Over Optimization SEO Penalty

Internet marketing efforts often focus a large amount of time and energy on "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO). This means placing the right keywords and meta tags in your site in order for it to rank high (preferably the first page of results) on Google. Google uses secret algorithms to determine its result rankings. Google constantly does a kind of code battle with web site developers over whether the users see what Google "thinks" they want or what the pages marketers want people to see. Developers work to reverse-engineer the algorithms, Google tries to refine them.

SEO is not dishonest in and of itself, however, some sites have great SEO but hardly any content other than advertising. Now Google has decided to penalize "over optimized" sites. Read Google Introduces Over Optimization SEO Penalty for more details.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Copyright math

A TED talk with comic Rob Reid who breaks down the claims of entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists using "copyright math."

This may be of interest to researchers wishing to make sense of the numbers we often see thrown around on all sorts of topics.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Re-discovering Ogilvy on the web

A post of the blog KISSmetrics gave us a useful blast from the past in applying a discovery by Ogilvy, one of the seminal researchers in advertising, to the present day, in particular to web graphics. Not all that is old is out of date and not all that is new is improved.

Ogilvy's discovery? That graphics do not always have the desired effect and that badly executed graphics will drive away readers, not keep them. Why should web graphics and layout prove any different? Technology is not magic: whether on a page or a computer screen, what we have discovered about human cognition and behavior still matters.

Ogilvy came up with 4 principles governing the use of graphics. Read The Shocking Truth About How Web Graphics Affect Conversions to learn more.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Fake "Peer Review" Journals

These are growing like weeds as a result of the open access movement. On the one hand, legitimate open access journals online help scholars and students by keeping costs low while making research more readily available. But hucksters have tried to cash in, creating a "reader beware" environment in which anyone can have his/her crank theory validated with the imprimatur of having been published in a "scholarly" journal.

Think of it as job security for librarians as our job has long ago morphed into educating people about how to evaluate information. But this one's easy. Hint: if its editor wins a fictitious person of the year award it's probably not a reliable source of authoritative information.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Per Reuters, SOPA won't address international piracy, could devastate Internet industries

Online Piracy is a problem, but SOPA would only address the issue in the U.S., it would not address international piracy. On the other hand, the effects of SOPA on the Internet industry could be devastating, according to Reuters video on SOPA