March Musings

Posted by Dom
 
It’s time once again to have a look at what’s been amusing, engaging and infuriating you about the MSN UK homepage over the last month.

First of all, I’ll just reinforce the point Nicole mentioned recently about the experiment we ran where we pre-populated the search bar at the top of the page with an ‘of the day’ phrase such as ‘Apprentice BBC’ or ‘Cricket World Cup’. Your comments on the initiative were pretty unequivocal – ‘Every time I log in, ‘The Apprentice BBC’ is in my search box. Not very clever and very annoying… Just as bad as SPAM’ said one user, whilst other critics used the phrases ‘absolute disgrace’ ‘very annoying’ and ‘unwanted marketing’ when describing the move. The negative feedback, combined with the click statistics which showed that the move wasn’t working from a usage point of view, meant that we acted quickly and put an end to the experiment just a couple of days after it had begun. Without your valuable feedback we wouldn’t have had such a clear picture about the effectiveness of the trial, so please don’t hesitate in future to let us know when we take a wrong step. Hopefully any future ideas which we try will be better received!
 
Onto slightly happier matters – we were thrilled with some of the debate, controversy and heated differences of opinion that the topics raised in our regular blog musings inspired. Whether it was the diverse and slightly eclectic range of subjects covered – including the Ides of March, the perils of moving house, why no one is chivalrous any more, and why British Summer Time should be scrapped – or just the fact that we hit upon quite a few of your bêtes noire, the comments came flooding in. Ian’s passionate diatribe against the evils of BST ‘when time is meddled with for no reason other than to preserve a tradition spiralling back goodness knows how many decades’ seemed to strike closest to home -most people taking issue with Ian along the lines of this user’s critique: ‘The summer is a time of year when everyone has a smile on their face and things in life seam a lot better, and it’s a time to enjoy’.
 
Laura’s piece on the aeons-old pronunciation battle between north and south inspired a few more nods of agreement – ‘Well said. Reading this has made my day,’ said one user, whilst another enthused: ‘Brilliant!! I’m sending this round to everyone at work who constantly make fun of my accent!
 
Looking back on our homepage slides over the last 31 days, we’d like to think that you can see a pretty diverse range of topics. World Book Day, the increasingly bitter battle between Virgin and Sky, Euro 2008 qualifiers, the Cricket World Cup, the rise of binge eating disorder, the 20th anniversary of the Zeebrugge disaster, National No Smoking Day, the Geneva Motor Show, the PlayStation3 launch, Gordon Brown’s last Budget and Bob Woolmer’s (apparent) murder were just some of the topics covered in our 168 homepage slides during the 31 days of March. We strive to be as ‘of the day’ as possible on the homepage, so please let us know if there’s a particular event or happening which you feel that we’re not giving sufficient coverage to. Or even when you think we’re doing too much on something in the news – a number of you objected to our stories about the continuing fallout from Anna Nicole Smith’s death. ‘Please stop making more headline news about her’ demanded one user, whilst another angry correspondent accused us of turning her into a ‘gruesome museum’. To be fair, we always think long and hard about the coverage we give to celebrity-led news events such as this, and after our initial coverage of the tragic events in early February, our focus was pretty much confined to individual news pieces in our Entertainment Channel. Do let us know if you think we’re getting our news values skew-whiff, though.         
 
It all seems worth it when an article that we promote on the homepage gets a positive response – the Health Channel’s ‘End of Innocence’ article, detailing how over-sexed media images are damaging our children, prompted one user to comment: ‘Thank you‚ thank you‚ THANK YOU!! for this. It is about time that SOMEONE stood up and said so eloquently what this does. Our children are losing their innocence earlier and earlier in life and this needs to be stopped so that they can revert to being young and innocent’. A further comment agreed, stating: ‘Great report‚ I definitely agree with it. Great content. It is rare reading decent things like this which 100% true.’ Proof that sometimes we do get it right!
 
Keep your comments coming, and we’ll round up the best of them at the same time next month.             

 

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