June 8, 2008

Smart mobs for news participation

Social Actions from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Following is part 3 of my 3-part series on open APIs and crowdsourcing community news. Cross-posted from the IdeaLab. Part 1, Part 2.

At the NetSquared conference for nonprofits in San Jose on May 27-28, one of the most intriguing projects I heard about was Social Actions, a project to tie together disparate cause movements through an open API
that would aggregate information about dozens of different campaigns and allow users to take action to further a cause.

"Our mission is to put actions in front of people who are most likely to take part," Peter told me. (He lives in Montreal; his team is scattered across the U.S.)

Here’s our 6-minute video interview on Vimeo and on Ourmedia.

I think this is relevant to news organizations for two reasons:

  • Traditional news organizations have been in passive mode for decades. It’s time to consider planning campaigns that engage the readers/users and invite them to participate in a direct way toward a goal, whether it’s a charitable cause or a public service, such as a public awareness campaign. The traditional mindset of journalistic objectivity has turned newspapers into passive observers, out of step with the passions and interests of their communities.
  • There’s that term "open APIs" again. As Peter explains, online news publications are free to hook into these APIs, meaning that instead of just reporting about a problem or issue, news reports could go one step further and offer tools and links that let users take action, whether it’s to donate, write a letter, sign a petition, join a mailing list, become a member of an organization — and that only scratches the surface of the potential for interactivity and collective action.

Howard Rheingold wrote about Smart Mobs in his latest book. The approach of participatory media flies in the face of the traditional media paradigm of delivering content down
one-way pipes to a passive audience of consumers. But increasingly, we’re turning to social networks and collaborative tools to make sense of and take control of our media, our communities, our lives.

Where are the news organizations willing to play in this new social sandbox?

I don’t see many out there, but there are certainly lots of nonprofits and cause organizations eager to participate in this new space of engagement. This ties directly into the new direction Ourmedia.org will be taking shortly.

Watch video (in H.264) on Ourmedia
Watch Flash version on Ourmedia
Watch Flash version on Vimeo

Need a lavalier microphone

Alas, I was paying too much attention to the funky lighting and so didn’t do a sound check with the SC HMX10 hi-def camcorder
that Samsung graciously loaned me, and I’m embarrassed by the choppy
sound quality. The wind was whipping around something fierce.

I need to buy a lavalier mic (aka lapel or tie pin microphone). Any recommendations?

May 8, 2007

Justin Kan of JustinTV


Last week at OnHollywood I caught up with Justin Kan, creator of Justin.tv. Justin’s been the talk of the social media world the past couple of months, especially at the Web 2.0 Expo and at OnHollywood. He wears a webcam 24/7, and Justin.tv will be rolling out live video streaming services for subscribing shortly.

Here’s the 3-minute video (in MPEG-4) I shot with my Nokia N93 cell phone. It’s also currently the lead video at Ourmedia.

February 15, 2007

NPR tackles social media

Andy Carvin

At the WeMedia conference in Miami last week, I finally had the chance to meet Andy Carvin in person. Andy’s a longtime blogger, podcaster and all-around smart guy. He’s now helping National Public Radio devise its social media strategy. In this 8-minute video interview, he talks about "NPRness" and the challenges of bringing social media components into an august media organization. (Ourmedia page | watch video)

January 16, 2007

Interview: Tower Records’ founder on its rise & fall


I recently interviewed Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records, about the music retailing giant’s rise and fall. The interview took place as employees were clearing out of the company’s headquarters in West Sacramento, Calif.

A couple of surprising comments: "I don’t think we’re seeing the passing of an era (from physical goods to digital downloads). I don’t think the CD is gone." 

"The impact of Napster and free downloading was not as severe as one might suspect." He says the record companies "turned their backs on the kids" by their practices in the ’90s, and he believes the future is big enough for digital downloads and CDs. He also discusses Tower’s overexpansion and financial mismanagement.

Russ is a great guy — down-to-earth, unpresupposing and really smart.

He talks about the momentous changes occurring in the music industry, digital music, and where he’ll be going from here. He hasn’t been involved in running the company in recent years. Here is our 31-minute video interview. (Ourmedia page | watch video)

I also uploaded this to MotionBox, where people can watch it in Flash, but if you click the deep tags there to zoom in on a section of the conversation, it throws off the voice by a half second (at least in my browser).

Later: The popular tech site Techdirt picked up on my video podcast with an article titled, Does Betting On The CD Still Make Sense?, with 35-plus comments.

Cross-posted to Realpeoplenetwork.com blog.

Watch on these sites

Ourmedia page | watch or download video: 31 minutes, MPEG-4/QuickTime (H.264); video quality: **** (out of 5)

Blip.tv;   MPEG-4/QuickTime (H.264); video quality: **** (out of 5)

NowPublic; Flash; video quality: *** (out of 5)

Motionbox; Flash; video quality: ** (out of 5)

10-minute version:

Ourmedia page | watch video; MPEG-4/QuickTime; video quality: **** (out of 5)
Yahoo! Video; Flash; video quality: ** (out of 5)