Blog Discussion on C-Span

Watching a C-SPAN discussion with Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com), Geraldine Sealy (Salon.com), Daniel Radosh (radosh.net) and moderator Brian Keener (Campaigntrack.org, discussing the role of blogs in the political sphere. A couple of points made by Jeff Jarvis are important:

– blogging is about discussion, dialogue, and conversation – a back and forth
– the ownership aspect of blogs guarantee a saner, more controlled dialogue aobut real issues (unlike forums)
– the main crux of blogging is about controll and ownership
– the need to understand audience in a new way

All of these things will have relecance as video and audio are added to the blogsphere and should be considered. These are considerations for a world of distributed distribtuion and decentralized politics as well. One thing to remember is that just because the tools are accessible and easy now they may not always be. While the infrastructure (the Internet) is decentralized in its control, the pipes and wires it runs on are not and controlled by commercial interests and concerns.

Home Brew Media

the new media musing’s blog had a run down of a lot of online media sharing venues that are popping up around the web. Clearly this and recent interest in video blogging are mvoing the field forward fast technologically. However, what happens when the systems and technology develoipment outstripe community connection developments. It is important that all developments relating to community communications keep in mind the need to bring people along with the technology. Otherwise we are left wih lots of meaningless tools.

Community in a Decentralized System

Just watched Kerry’s speech at the DNC and thinking through the dynamics of party politics. Would a decentralized, anarchistic system be any better? Or would we simply be buying into a system of competing “individual” inerests rather than public goods. Would direct democracy give us more connected candiates or are those vetted through a party system really speak to gretter concensus.

So what does this mean for communication practice. If you dismantle shared communication venues (i.e. mass media) in favor of decentralized and indvidual consumption does any sense of public space or community remain? Or do new communities emerge? What is the nature of a community based on consumption of content, goods, ideas rather than real day-to-day experiences and reality.

The Induce Act: A view of technology that is anything but neutral

This recent Salon article written by Siva Vaidhyanathan confront the underlying assumptions of the Induce Act and its view of P2P as an inherently criminal technology. If passed this act will make community based efforts like The Digital Bicycle illegal. Again big corporate power and the federal government working to squelch the grassroots.

Here’s the problem: No technology is neutral.

The idea of technological neutrality is most succinctly expressed by the slogan “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” The slogan may be simplistic, but the theory is pretty powerful. It influences many of our debates about technology and policy, from guns to automobiles to encryption.

The problem with technological neutrality is that people create technologies and people use technologies. And people are not neutral. They have cultures and values and expectations.

A Couple of Intersting Titles from O’Reilly

While I haven’t read these titles – they seem like something to put on the to get list:

We the Media: Grassroots Journalism for the People and by the People
Grassroots journalists are dismantling Big Media’s monopoly on the news, transforming it from a lecture to a conversation. Not content to accept the news as reported, these readers-turned-reporters are publishing in real time to a worldwide audience via the Internet. The impact of their work is just beginning to be felt by professional journalists and the newsmakers they cover. In We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People, nationally known business and technology columnist Dan Gillmor tells the story of this emerging phenomenon, and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make and consume the news

and this one
Peer-to-peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive Technologies

Discussing Social Media

From the Many2Many blog – most of this post is about social media from a commercial perspective – but these bits are interesting:

Social media are another example of the demand side supplying itself. We’re seeing this with open source software, with new standards like RSS, and with the new media we call blogs. We’re even seeing it in movies such as Outfoxed, and with Internet radio (in spite of destructive fear-based regulation). None of these things came from the Big Boys. They came from you and me and the rest of us here.

This part may be especially interesting in thinking through the new landscape of where community media and technology may be heading:

There is little point in defining Social Software, Media, Search, Computing or Networking, except that new language parallels innovation. Here’s my way of mapping the space, feel free to modify and make your own.

Social Software, a term coined by Clay Shirky, is the design of systems that supports groups with an underlying value proposition of building social capital…
Social Software is not that new, but its currently a growing and evolving sector marked by a high level of cross-polinization. The level of innovation defys easy categorization.

Properties include people-centricity, low communication costs, low transaction costs that encourage adoption, easy group forming, triads rather than pairs, treating groups as first class objects in the system and adapting to the social network (heterarchy) rather than requiring it to adapt it it (heirarchy). Second order effects include emergence, reputation, different values at different scales, transparency, decentralization and fun parties.

Other dimensions to view this space include enterprise vs. consumer, how connections are formed, different values at different scales, what markets are cannibalized, what cultures (not markets, but don’t reach for your gun) are served and open vs. closed.

These dimension easily blur. Take for example the distinction of enterprise vs. consumer. Social Software adoption is being driven in the enterprise from the bottom up. Initially, it users as developers bringing in their own tools like personal publishing and wikis plus (shameless plug here) enlightened companies serving both users and enterprises at different scales.

JD’s New Media Musings

J.D. Lasica is a veteran journalist who writes frequently about the impact of emerging technologies on our culture. He is currently completing a book for John Wiley & Sons on the digital media revolution. 

JD covers a wide range of issues around culture, technology and convergence.  He has an amazing set of links at his site.  Check it out.