Thomas Baekdal Profile picture
Author, Professional Writer, Magazine Publisher, and Media Analyst.
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3 Dec
So yesterday, I was having a meeting with a publisher where I needed to share several different screens... which is really annoying to do with Zoom. So something had to done about that ;)
What you see here is a multi-screen setup using OBS.

Screen 1: Me (full HD webcam view)
Screen 2: PowerPoint
Screen 3: Browser + me in split screen view
Screen 4: Full screen browser view
Screen 5: (not playing) ...a video

And I can then switch between them via the number keys
Here is a screenshot of what my 'switcher' look like. Each of the small pictures below is a preview of each view. The big window on the left is the preview (to set up the next view), and the big picture on the right is what is currently being shown to Zoom Image
Read 18 tweets
2 Dec
I don't know about you, but I'm definitely starting to feel 'virtual event fatigue' ... there are so many events at the moment (several every week, even sometimes every day) that it's a bit overwhelming.
Another problem is also that virtual events require you to dedicate time. It's at a specific time ("Join us at 2 PM Thursday"), so it's very hard to manage. If it was instead 'on-demand', I could watch/listen whenever it fitted into my schedule instead.
I truly believe this is something we need to change. Virtual events are great, but we are currently doing them like 1980s TV shows (Watch this at 8PM Friday!!)
Read 5 tweets
1 Dec
Just yesterday the news sites reported that: "The most positive thing is that it is fairly stable"

Today we set a new record in infections on a single day (in Denmark).
As I wrote back in October (because the news sites have reporting things as being stable ever since August).
Read 4 tweets
1 Dec
Back in 2018, I wrote about how I implemented GDPR, by taking it to the extreme. I created a totally privacy-first focused site.
baekdal.com/thoughts/insid…

This does create a few complications, though... 1/..
Take newsletters. I obviously want to know how many people who get each newsletter, how many who open it, and how many of the links people click on... but to do this in a totally privacy-first way means getting rid of all personal identifiers. baekdal.com/analytics/gdpr…
All of this requires some tricky coding. For instance, I have spent this day building a new newsletter sending system. But I'm not sending the email directly, instead I use a mail server (like everyone else) ... but how do you do that in a privacy focused way?
Read 10 tweets
22 Oct
For f... sake, newspapers. You seriously need to start thinking about what impact your reporting has on the public.

Take this headline. Sounds pretty bad, right?

So what impact will this have when people see this? Well, it's obvious. You are fueling the anti-vaxxers. Right?!
Well, then you read the article, and it says this:
And then at the bottom of the article, it says this:
Read 13 tweets
21 Oct
No they are not. If they were actually important to you, you would not show us this. GDPR came into effect on May 28, 2018 ... so it's pretty clear that this is not a priority for you at all.
Note to US publishers. I can understand why, as a local publisher in the US, that you don't want to deal with the cost and complication of implementing European legislation for an audience that is outside your market. I get that.

But then just say that. Don't lie to me.
What seriously annoys me as a media analyst is when publishers behave dishonestly. You say you care about my privacy, but you are asking me to give it up. That's not caring.

You say I'm important to you, but your actions say otherwise.
Read 5 tweets
20 Oct
One thing I hate is how publishers try to twist GDPR into meaning something different, when the actual law is extremely clear.

Here is how 'consent' is defined.

So no, you cannot say: "By continuing to use our site you will automatically consent." That is simply not a thing.
It's the same about controllers vs processors. It's the data controller that people give consent to, and the processors act on behalf of that controller. What this means is that no processor can ever claim to have the right to do something on another site without a new consent.
If you give your consent to tracking on one newspaper to include FB tracking, then FB cannot claim to have the right to track someone on another site, arguing that you already gave your consent once. People didn't give their consent to FB. They gave it to the newspaper.
Read 4 tweets
20 Oct
In a matter of minutes?!? ... okay. Wouldn't that depend on the traffic levels?
BTW: Fun side note: Whenever you do A/B testing, make sure you also do a A/A testing to see if the effect is actually real.

Let me explain:
One of the big flaws of an A/B testing is that it may not tell you what it think it tells you. Instead, the result you see might be entirely depended on other factors.

For instance, imagine you do a A/B test like this. Clearly 'option A' performed a lot better .. right?
Read 5 tweets
20 Oct
One thing I have called for repeatedly this year is for newspapers to think more about 'cause and effect'. Meaning if you report something in one way, what bad effects might that cause?

[thread]
One example is the R number used to identify whether infections are rising or not.

For instance, here is the UK: gov.uk/guidance/the-r…

What we report is this:

R > 1: The situation is getting worse
R = 1: The situation is stable
R < 1: The situation is getting better
What's wrong with this, you ask? Well, the problem is when R = 1.

This is the situation we currently have here in Denmark. After a period of massive increase (R > 1), we have now ended up with a similar level of new infections per day.

But look at where that is.
Read 10 tweets
20 Oct
One thing I think we need to stop doing as the press is to approach every story from an adversarial perspective.

Think about this pandemic. The 'enemy' is the virus, and the public, the authorities, the health experts, and also the press ... we are all on the same side.

1/4
But in the press, our journalistic focus has often made everyone the enemy of everyone else. So whenever one group says something, you immediately go out and interview someone who can contradict them.

This is really not helpful.
And this is true for most stories. Think about climate change and how we have spent ten years focusing on how to argue about it.

It's not a useful way to do journalism.
Read 4 tweets
18 Oct
I came across a site today that was basically taking every one of my Plus articles and embedding them into their own site.

That just won't fly... so fix implemented.
BTW: The way this is done is to add this header to your site.

- add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN";

This tells the browser that the page can only be loaded directly and not via something on another person's site.
BTW: The reason why I discovered this was because Google had started ranking their site higher than mine.

I mean seriously Google. Why are you ranking a site that is merely embedding the content higher than the original site where the content came from?!?!?
Read 6 tweets
17 Oct
IAB is the worst. Its focus is to help publishers be as bad as they can legally get away with. I wrote more about that here: baekdal.com/newsletter/if-…
Also read this: IAB Europe’s ad tracking consent framework found to fail GDPR standard techcrunch.com/2020/10/16/iab…
...and this, where they literally confirm that their focus is to create something that is so bad that they have to argue over whether it is even legal.

iabeurope.eu/news-blog/iab-…
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
Heh... well, if that was your plan, you completely failed. Everyone I have seen talking about it is totally confused as to what it is supposed to mean. Image
Also, this explainer article doesn't help at all... blog.medium.com/a-more-express…
The problem with Medium is they have never really defined what problem they are trying to solve. In fact their motto being 'a blank page' means exactly that ... no having any idea about what solution you are creating. Image
Read 4 tweets
10 Oct
That moment when you see a tweet that you think it 10 years old... but nope, it was posted in 2020:

Really?!? Print to iPad ...
One thing that is slightly interesting about this is that they are lending out iPads to subscribers. localnewsinitiative.northwestern.edu/posts/2020/01/…
They also have a crazy (although impressive) on-boarding process.

localnewsinitiative.northwestern.edu/posts/2020/09/…

You have to be seriously local to do this.
Read 4 tweets
9 Oct
Newspapers. Please stop reporting about national polls without taking into account how the electoral college is actually the thing that defines the outcome.

Here are the polls vs. outcome from 2016
In 2016:
Polling average: Clinton 46.3% / Trump 43.1%.
Votes: Clinton 48.2% / Trump 46.1%
Election result: Clinton 42.7% / Trump 57.3%

And this was then reported as:
So again, this year, we see newspapers make exactly the same mistake. You talk about how Biden is in the lead in the national polls, which he is... but the national polls is a poor metric to use.
Read 8 tweets
9 Oct
We have seen many people in the media argue that we should stop using social media because it's bad.

I'm reminded by this post by my friend @avinash ... look at the video.

When was the last time the front page of the NYT made you feel this type of joy?
My point is not to defend social platforms. There are problems on them within specific things. Problem they need to do something about. But newspapers are no substitute for all the amazing things that happen on social channels every day and all the joy it gives us.
And, as a media analyst, having studied the effects of news avoidance, news fatigue, and how news affects people's mental health, following wonderful people on social channels is really important in lifting people back up again.

Especially now.
Read 14 tweets
19 Sep
One thing that many people here in Scandinavia don't understand is 'why' the virus is happening the way it is.

Let me explain by comparing Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. (well, mostly Denmark and Sweden)
When the virus hit Scandinavia (almost simultaneously), both Norway and Denmark imposed a lockdown, whereas Sweden had a more 'casual approach. Sweden did add some restrictions but to a much less degree.

The effect was very clear.
However, what happened then in Denmark was that, as we got the virus under control, we started reducing the restrictions more and more ... so much in fact that we ended up with fewer restrictions than in Sweden.
Read 14 tweets
12 Sep
Note to journalists: "We are finding more infected because we are testing more" is a misleading thing to report.

When you write anything about testing, it's the 'rate' of infected that matters. If they test more, the rate of infected should go down. ⬇
From a journalistic perspective, we need to think a lot more about outcomes. Think about how the public will react when they read what you write.

If you write: "They test more so we see more infected", people will think: "Oh yeah, that makes sense. So everything is fine."
But if the rate of infected isn't going down as they increase the test level, then things are not fine. Instead, the public needs to do more to stop the virus ... but they are not doing this because you just reported that these numbers are not something we should worry about.
Read 15 tweets
3 Aug
Let me tell you a story about gender inequality, and how a big part of the problem starts with what we show to kids.

We will start with a Disney comic book from April 2020. The story is about the McDuck family finding some coins 'from the future'.
We are then transported into the future to see the future Senate, which is massively dominated by men.
Granted, women do speak, and you can see that Disney is trying to create gender equality ... but well...
Read 14 tweets
2 Aug
One of the things I'm shouting about to publishers is how we turned into the tobacco industry. What do I mean? Well, the tobacco industry was doing something that was clearly wrong, and so the legislators stepped in and demanded that they put a warning label on their products.
Now we see the same thing with publishers. The way we are violating people's privacy has caused the legislators to force us to put a warning label on our sites.

Just think about this. We have become the tobacco industry.
"But," every publisher is now yelling back at me, "It's not our fault. It's the ad tech industry, and we can't do anything about this."

Three things:
1. Yes, you can.
2: You are not even trying
3: You are still responsible for what happens on your site.
Read 11 tweets
26 Jun
There is a really weird thing happening in relation to COVID-19 numbers for Sweden ... where the numbers people are told inside Sweden is massively different than outside of Sweden.

Let me explain:
Inside of Sweden, when you look at what the Swedish press and what the government is saying, they are all reporting numbers based on the official public health agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) in Sweden ... which is here: experience.arcgis.com/experience/09f…
This dashboard is tracking what they call "Total number of laboratory-confirmed cases". And they then break this out into 'cases per day', 'new intensive cases per day', and 'deaths per day.'
Read 13 tweets