April 12, 2010

GroundReport: Citizen journalism gets richer

A chat with the founder of GroundReport from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaFive years ago we launched Ourmedia.org as the first free hosting and sharing site for video and digital media (yes, before YouTube). Secretly, I wished that more of the videos, photos and text dispatches coming through the door were high-quality citizen journalism reports.

It took a few years, but citizen journalism has grown up. Exhibit A: GroundReport, a citizen journalism site with an international perspective.

Recently I caught up with founder and CEO Rachel Sterne. GroundReport is a New York-based news platform that allows anyone to submit his or her own news articles, videos and photos. The best submissions are then published. “The idea is to give anyone a chance to participate in the media,” Rachel says. “People who experience world events first-hand can give us authentic context, create more engagement around it and share their story for the world.”

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo. Continue reading

February 23, 2010

17 visionaries predict impact of social on the enterprise

Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Fes­ti­val for Tal­ented Youth: "Too many peo­ple are div­ing into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools before they even know with whom they are swim­ming."
Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Fes­ti­val for Tal­ented Youth:
“Too many peo­ple are div­ing into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools
before they even know with whom they are swim­ming.”

Social business seen as making seismic waves in marketing, sales, operations

Christopher RollysonThe adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking accelerated significantly over the past year, and it shows no sign of stopping. Global digital word of mouth is disrupting growing swaths of business models, and CEOs want to understand its opportunities and threats. Although the Web is resplendent with prognostications from social media gurus, the voices of enterprise practitioners are too rarely heard.

To remedy that, I’ve gathered the perspectives of highly experienced executives who share their thoughts on how Web 2.0 is changing their businesses and mindsets. They also share its limitations and problems. Keep in mind that each contributor wrote independently, and I have made no attempt to unify their views, although I will offer my analysis and conclusions as well as the intriguing backstory below. Here is a sampling of the group’s eclectic insights:

  • A seismic shift in marketing is emergent, and chief marketing officers will require robust strategies to succeed consistently with Web 2.0 and use it to their advantage.
  • Gamification will redefine “work” and “play” and gradually make them indistinguishable.
  • Performance demands on government will force it to shed its laggard stereotype and pioneer social business at local and federal levels.
  • Arguably the biggest disruption of all is that green energy is enabling billions of previously unconnected people to join the world as participants; China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the world, and millions of people are jumping online every year. Infrastructure limitations are forcing extreme innovation.

Continue reading

July 10, 2009

Will NBC, grassroots media clash at London Olympics?

Alex Balfour

JD LasicaDuring yesterday afternoon’s Econsultancy Roundtable at the Globe Theater, I was seated next to Alex Balfour, head of new media for London2012.com, the committee that is organizing the 2012 Summer Games in London. (See info about the London 2012 Open Weekend on July 24-26.)

Midway through our session, the discussion turned to media coverage of the Olympics. I asked Alex about the tensions between the contractual rights demanded by traditional media and the burgeoning coverage by grassroots media publishers — conflicts that seem to crop up at every Olympics.

During the 2008 Beijing Games, bloggers were upset over NBC’s attempts to quelch any online video coverage of same-day events. If memory serves, NBC served YouTube with scores of takedown notices to remove amateur video coverage of competitive events, and there was even a decree at one point that cell phones would be banned from the stadium.

In 2012, what happens when big media bump up against sharing culture?

Alex obviously doesn’t speak for NBC but suggested their No. 1 concern is around live moving images. The network is not so much bothered about people capturing images. “We wouldn’t and can’t stop anyone from generating or creating content at the event,” he said. It’s likely that NBC will again work with YouTube to remove content that it believes conflicts with its contractual rights.

Is live streaming an option?

I asked what harm would result with live streaming — something Robert Scoble is doing on the trip with Kyte and Howard Rheingold is doing with Qik. Alex said supporting 80,000 people who want to stream media would present insuperable technical barriers. (That was a politic answer. I’ll guess that Olympic authorities will take proactive steps to prevent any live video streaming during the Games.)

Continue reading

May 2, 2007

At OnHollywood 2007

Arianna Huffington

I’m at OnHollywood, the second annual Silicon Valley-meets-the-entertainment-industry conference held at the Hotel Roosevelt in L.A. I was a moderator and “industry expert slash judge” last year. (Disclosure: My registration was comped as a blogger and citizen journalist.) I posted some initial photos on Flickr, though the dark room makes shooting very difficult. That’s Arianna Huffington, above.

The conference is still far too one-way and non-interactive for my tastes (putting up an IRC chat on the big screen is far from enough). No questions or comments from the audience at all in the first two days. I’m running around meeting people so can’t do live blogging this week. Still, my notes show a few nuggets from last night and today:

• Late night talk show host Carson Daly and Richard Rosenblatt, CEO of Demand Media, unveiled dot.tv, which looks pretty cool. A few thousand people have already joined this new site, which lets users aggregate videos from around the Net. Host Tony Perkins joked that it’s “a MySpace killer.” It was said a bit flippantly, but I think in two to three years more and more of us will want to create our own multimedia homesteads and the big social networking sites like MySpace will suffer if they try to keep their members locked in a virtual cage.

• Celebrity sighting: I was having dinner with the gang from BlogTalkRadio last night and who passed by our table but Sarah Silverman, whose off-color comedy show was recently picked up for a second season by Comedy Central. Sarah stepped out of the hotel and gabbed on her cell phone before crossing the street solo.

• Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, was available for interviews last summer after his talk at AlwaysOn. But not now, after Google bought the company. A two-person PR entourage followed him and he left town before giving any interviews (though his PR team promised they’d try to set up something at a later date). Hurley from the stage: “Just as bloggers are beginning to make money, hobbyists who make videos will start to, too.”

• In response to a question, Hurley said, “We’re seeing the optimum length of a video is 2 minutes.” YouTube didn’t create that phenomenon. “It’s the environment of the Internet. I’s not a sit-down and watch TV experience.” More Chad: “We’re concentrating on the mobile market rather than TV right now.”

• Blake Krikorian, founder-CEO of Sling Media (and a great guy), suggested that in the coming years, if a producer can aggregate 2 million viewers around the world — say, shows that might generate a cable network audience — that’s a number too small for network TV’s current mass media distribution system but it’s big enough to create a whole new economy around these mid-level content creators.

• Michael Robertson, founder of mp3tunes.com, doesn’t see it. He recalled his prediction a decade ago about the coming rise of the “middle-class musician” whose income would be enabled by the Internet. But now, he says, “I don’t see it.” There are label-signed artists and everyone else. “You don’t want to resign yourself to that middle tier, you want to reach for the top. I don’t see why it’s going to be any different with video.  … If you want to
make money, you’re going to have to graduate up the video food chain.”

• More Robertson, on the transfer of ad dollars away from traditional media channels and toward the Internet: “Yes, it’s happening,  but God damn, that iceberg is melting slowly!” There’s no reason a major corporation shouldn’t be spending ad dollars for targeted advertising, but “there’s no network out there yet” to facilitate that.

• Richard Rosenblatt, co-Founder and CEO of Demand Media, said don’t write off the idea of an emerging “middle musician or filmmaker” just yet. They’re seeing quite a few people creating home-brew instructional videos. A lot of these people are spending 10 hours in their basements making an instructional video for, say, $500. Once that can be monetized for, say, $700, you’ll see an explosion of these.

• More Rosenblatt: “The more you empower a niche community and help them monetize that small vertical, the more you’ll succeed. I think the very targeted micro-niche is very valuable.” His dot.tv harks back to 1996 and Geocities by giving people the ability to build their own profiles (and communities).

• More Krikorian on brain-dead digital rights management and content
protection: “Steve Jobs saw it coming. It’s just infuriating that you
can’t play iTunes songs you bought on the Sonos player you bought.
That’s a problem.” Yes!!!

• Arianna Huffington says the New York Times, with its Times Select, and other newspaper companies are making a mistake by taking themselves out of the online conversation and putting major chunks of their material behind a pay firewall. Doc Searls and I have been sounding that alarm bell for years.

• Padmasree Warrior, chief technology officer of Motorola — whom I had the pleasure of spending some time with last August at the Aspen Institute mdash; on the coming phenomenon of the “personalcast”:
the mobile device should know my location and let me access my content in the format and context I want. How fast is mobile exploding? There are now 2.7 billion cell phones on the planet mdash; three times the number of PCs or cars in the world.

You can join a live chat during the daylong session Thursday.

April 23, 2007

Help us name a new politics channel

Political speech gathering

Today a few of us met in San Francisco to begin planning the contours of a new online political speech channel for the 2008 election. (Picutred from left, Dave Toole of Outhink, yours truly, Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, Doug Kaye of the Conversations Network and Morty Wiggins of Outhink.)

The idea is a simple one, though it will take some engineering magic to make it happen:  We see a need to help the public to engage political candidates and elected officials in a conversation around national and local issues leading up to the 2008 U.S. elections.

Toward that end, we will provide free resources, tools and a platform to help citizens to:

• take up the tools of citizen journalism to record candidates’ speeches and interviews;

•  connect with sringers who will capture live events;

• access video footage and audio files — both contemporary and archival — of candidates and elected political figures;

• annotate or remix video and audio to create their own multimedia political commentaries and news reports;

• view examples of citizen journalism and mash-ups relating to politics to see best practices and to inform their own works;

• collaborate with other digital media producers when desired;

• share their works by publishing them.

We won’t announce the project and solicit participation by those interested in the political process until we build some of the basic underpinnings of the channel on Ourmedia in a way that will make it easy to pull in videos and podcasts from other sites as well as to allow people to post channel content on their own blogs and sites.

But we thought it important to be transparent about the process and to solicit your suggestions about what we should call this project. Some of the names tossed into the hat so far (and please add your own) are:

• Remix Politics
• Political Speech
• Ourpolitics
• Read Write Politics
• 2008 Elections
• Citizen Politics
• Take Back Politics
• By the People
• Politalk
• Your nomination (if selected, we’ll credit you on the site)

This will actually be a landing page for a number of different channels, or collections of videos, podcasts and discussion boards (we’ll explain more fully what a website "channel" is in a few weeks once we map out the details). We anticipate that in many cases, people will be able to tag their videos with a name (such as remixpolitics or politicalspeech) and it will automatically show up in the channel.

I’m pretty excited about this project and look forward to making this a broad-based effort that involves bloggers from both the right and the left.

March 8, 2007

At NewComm Forum

Youme

Just gave a talk about grassroots video and social media at a session at the third New Communications Forum put on by the Society for New Communications Research.

Showed a whole bunch of videos, including political mash-ups, the SXSW Interactive mash-up we did last year with Josh Leo, Steve Garfield and others, and the JetBlue CEO apology on YouTube. Wide range of views about that, though most of the audience members (marketing managers, new media execs, et al.) seemed to think it was a net positive. Mentioned PodTech as a good way to check in on what’s happening with video in the enterprise. 

Tried to cover a lot of ground, including video hosting options like Blip.tv and Ourmedia, pointing out new technologies like SpinXpress and SplashCast, different forms of grassroots video — webisodes like AskaNinja and Goodnight Burbank, mashups, stop-motion photography, citizen journalism, animation, music videos, screencasts, digital storytelling and more. Also showed off Ourmedia’s Personal Media Learning Center, the podsafe music resource the Open Media Directory, and Freevlog.

Zane Safrit blogged about the session here. One fellow, a frequent conference-goer, came up to me afterward and said, "That was the best presentation I’ve ever seen at a conference," so I think the interactivity with the audience members was valuable. Someone else asked about the software I used for the presentation. (Keynote, available on an Apple — much slicker than PowerPoint.) Alas, the presentation is far too big and was too long to put online.

A lot of great people here: David Parmet, Josh Hallett, Elisa Camahort, Chris Heuer,  Howard Greenstein, Tom Foremski, Sandra Fransen of Intel, Leah Patten of the Century Council, and other interesting folks.

  Media_1

A few highlights:

A rep from Conduit showed off the free service, which has 6 million users and "lets you connect, engage and bond with employees or customers persistently via the browser."

David Weinberger gave a great keynote about Conversations, Blogs, Wikipedia and Authority. I did a quick video interview with him about his new book coming out in May, which I’ll post soon.

Paul Gillin, a consultant and former computer magazine editor, gave a talk on the New Influencers. He offered a dire forecast for most newspapers. "In 10-25 years you’ll see the collapse of most metropolitan newspapers in the United States. … I don’t think small metro papers have any future." But he sees hope for smaller papers. "I think this will be a great time for small newspapers. There will be a boon in community publishing."

One key slide:

The new journalism
• Based on aggregation, iteration
• Ditched the archival model; disruptive change of approach
• Facts are a commodity, many voices
• Editor becomes aggregator
• News contributed by network of freelancers, citizens.

"You don’t need a staff," he said at one point, which is an exaggeration of what’s happening here. In the future, "the editor will be an aggregator."

He pointed out that USA Today is one of the few major newspaper sites that links offsite and may well be the first publication to incorporate reader comments on articles.

Some mind-blowing factoids from Gillin:

Craigslist, with 23 staffers, is the fifth most trafficked site on the web.

Digg, which launched in Dec. 2004 and now has 15 staffers, is the 74th most popular site on the Web and recently passed the New York Times in traffic.

David Strom said Bloglines and My Yahoo were better RSS readers than Google Reader. Flurry sends you SMS alerts on your phone. Other snippets: A podcast site like Slapcast.com can create RSS feeds for you … there’s DIY software like FeedforAll … the iTunes feed you create is read by iTunes only (in case you didn’t know that).

I created a delicious page of links about social media and grassroots media at del.icio.us/newcomm.

Later: The conference was held at the Venetian, an amazing venue, though could have done without the half-mile trek from my room to the meeting rooms. The layout of the place is so convoluted — not unlike the puzzling walkways of Venice — that I had to ask directions to my room twice, and couldn’t get there without taking two elevators. David Weinberger relates his experience here.