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5 Interesting Stories from this week: curated tweets and global population

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 16:53 UK time, Thursday, 27 October 2011

After a couple of weeks without a roundup, this has been a particularly interesting week.

1. Tuesday: Last request to transfer to the new h2g2

Tuesday saw the BBC's final act of involvement with user-written encyclopedia h2g2: letting the Community Consortium send a last invitation to folk with h2g2 accounts at the BBC.

To at least one person on the Points of View messageboard, who was surprised to discover he was classed as an h2g2 user, this looked like spam:

I am very surprised that my spam filter didn't bin this before I saw it. Just who are "Not Panicking Ltd"?

Peta, messageboard host, explained that "Not Panicking Ltd" is the company set up to offically own h2g2 as a community-run website outside the BBC. She also explained how some users might not remember using h2g2:

A lot of people here did use h2g2 to unsubscribe from their post on this [Points of View] board, but never actually posted to h2g2.

You can also read Nick Reynolds' farewell blog post, or join h2g2 at its new home.

2. Wednesday: BBC News Editors tweet the headlines

BBC News began the day by replacing the automated daytime headline feed with tweets written by editors.

Megan Garber at Nieman Journalism Lab talked to Chris Hamilton about the change:

“We want to be tweeting with value,” Chris Hamilton, BBC News’ social media editor, told me of the move. “Are we exposing our best content, and also tweeting intelligently?” Simply sending out a story is an important first step in Twitter practice, particularly in an environment that finds more and more people getting their news through social channels. But then: “What can we add to that story?”

Gordon Macmillan at The Wall called the new tailored tweets "more like journalism, with detail and extra information".

Blogger Patrick Hussey also lauded the change, saying that "Automatically pulling content from a corporate news feed or blog is a false economy."

@bbccouk, curated since July, passed 5000 twitter followers last week. Only another 367,000 to go before we pass @BBCNews.

3. Thursday: What's your number?

As the global human population approaches seven billion, BBC News have created an interactive feature which places you in the context of all the people who have ever lived. Instructables, AllTop, Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo, and Paul Sawers at TheNextWeb have blogged about it, with threads of folk posting their numbers in comments. (I'm roughly the 78.8 billionth human since 50,000 BCE.)

The United Nations population fund has a website - Seven Billion and Me - which offers a similar widget which also demographically divides up the folk born before you.

Family planning charity Population Action International invite folk to plot their number on a map.

4. Thursday: Weather Beta

Late on Thursday, the beta BBC Weather website opened for comments and feedback.

Reaction, even from tough critics, was generally positive.

But it cannot fix everything, as @stewartjoseph tweeted:

New look #BBCWeather - Lovely design: clean and clear. If only I could say the same of the weather itself. - 3:53 PM Oct 27th

Mike Afford, a former senior graphic designer for BBC Weather, also blogged about the use of classic weather symbols on the new beta.

5. This Sunday: Give an Hour to help people discover the joys of the web

BBC Learning is part of a national campaign to encourage the tech-savvy - like BBC Internet blog readers - to help get others online.

The clocks go back on Sunday, adding an hour to the day, and the campaign asks us to "Give an Hour". BBC Learning has created a guidebook [PDF] to help us assuage someone's fears and lead them to sites about their interests.

Ian McDonald is the Content Producer, BBC Internet Blog

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