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Living Stories – The Internet Strikes Again

As more and more of us choose to forgo darkening our fingers with newspaper pages and turn to open web pages instead, we ask ourselves – are the days of sitting at the breakfast table with some toast and the Morning Herald soon to be a distant memory? It sure seems that way as online news becomes more popular as more of us choose to access the latest news stories and updates via the Internet. Moreover, as the world of online steadily integrates itself into our everyday lives, leaving many of ‘tech savvy’ Generation Y wondering whatever we do without it, it seems inevitable that staying in touch with the global community and knowing what is happening will become online activities too.

Things are a-changing

A recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed that the Internet is now the most popular medium to obtain news from, overprint newspapers and radio. Only TV news stations are more popular than the Internet, but with social television on the rise, these could soon be accessed online, bringing the Internet to the number one position. Another recent study found that the average age of Internet users is 28 years old, and this was an age that was progressively turning to the news online more than the old favorite of newspapers.

Living with Living Stories

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And as we change our ways and turn to the Internet for our news sources, of course, the Internet’s news sources are changing right along with us. Living Stories is an experiment run by Google (teamed with The New York Times and The Washington Post) that looks to change how we view and interact with news online. At the moment, we presumably view a news story, and then when an update is published, the story is published again with the changes – on a different web page with a different link and URL. The basic idea of a living story is to combine all of the news coverage on a running story on a single page. What Living Stories aims to do is have a sort of ‘running commentary on the news, where one web page is dedicated to that single news story, and any changes are then added to that page ‘on the go’ – in other words, the page is updated regularly with new developments, and remains at the same URL as the original breaking story. This, of course, allows readers to keep an eye on those stories that interest them and get updates.

Better news faster

You can see why this would appeal – people could save those URL addresses in their favorites and refer to it from time to time to see any updates or changes to that breaking news. This would definitely help get those big news stories, such as the recent earthquake in Chile, to the masses a lot more easily and a lot more efficiently. The experiment ran from December 2009 until February 2010 and was deemed a success by Google, with 75% of participants preferring the Living Stories online news formats to more traditional ones. At the moment, it is assumed that Google is working on creating the ‘full’ version of this to launch sometime shortly.

The set out of a Living Stories news page is simple and easy to use – something we like when wanting to know the latest news headlines. A page has a headline and the article, but also a timeline where you can see the updates as they happen and everything else related to that story – videos, quick updates, important quotes, and more. You won’t need to leave the page to get more information or newer, updated coverage. It’s a presentation of news specifically designed for the online space and online thinking, rather than what occurs now where harried news reporters whip up their article onto the Net where it is viewed for a few hours before more recent news overpowers it. And it’s just one more thing that the Internet is making that little bit easier.

Quantum has developed a proprietary analysis process to online benchmark client websites against the sites of market-leading competitors and best practices. Our online analysis is quantitative and qualitative, and the results are presented in simple, digestible terms as part of a personalized strategy workshop. We are marketers at the roots, so we understand the importance of laying out strategy in a bang-for-buck manner. So we always present the business case for or against any online initiative with a quantifiable justification.

Following our analysis and strategy workshop, your online benchmark is established, and you will know how far behind or ahead of the competition you are. We can then work with you to determine what to do about your market position and website plans with this information. Although we have had some useful tools developed to assist in the analysis process, iQuantum is not a web development company. We don’t employ programmers or designers. Our scope is broader than that. Web site between our clients and web vendors and ensure they get value from their online marketing investment.