April 8, 2009

Social media and your personal brand

Shira Lazar on social media and building relationships from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaIf I could point all the 18- to 29-year-olds in the land to one video about how the social media revolution has fundamentally reshaped power relationships and entrepreneurial opportunities, it would be to this 13-minute video riff with Shira Lazar.

I’ve been following Shira’s online pursuits for a couple of years — she posts videos from her Nokia phone at shiralazar.com — but I didn’t meet her until last month’s South By Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, and came away enormously impressed.

Shira, who’s based in Los Angeles but can often be seen at tech events everywhere, describes herself as “a crossover personality/hyperjournalist” who develops content for the Web and TV. (Hyper in the sense of modern, multifaceted and multimedia, rather than overcaffeinated.) [OK, Shira claims she said “hybrid journalist.” Maybe so. But hyper seems more apropos somehow. Besides, what’s a hybrid journalist? Half reporter, half tomato?]

She offers advice to those just starting out in the workforce or with a Web enterprise who don’t necessarily want to work for a big company: “Find your voice. That’s the most important thing: What makes you stand out?” Start blogging and twittering to develop your personal brand.

She also talks about how traditional news and entertainment media are now embracing this strange new world of social media. “They want to be in our club now. It’s pretty cool.”

Continue reading

January 1, 2009

2009 conferences: Social media, tech, marketing

I published this a week ago but am republishing it now because it’s quite timely on Jan. 1 and because I added several additional events to the calendar.

For the past two years I put together a calendar of some of the best social media, technology, media and marketing conferences for the upcoming year. Here’s the list for 2009. Apologies, I had to leave out events outside the U.S. or the list would triple in size, and I left out newspaper conferences. This also doesn’t include the many worthy BarCamps, PodCamps and Social Media Club gatherings around the country.

If you know of other must-attend events, please add them by posting in the comments at the bottom.


Conference Date Place
* indicates conferences I’ll be attending or speaking at.
Macworld Expo* Jan. 5-9 San Francisco
Apple says this will be the last Macworld Expo it will participate in. No Uncle Steve this year.
Consumer Electronics Show* Jan. 8-11 Las Vegas
Still the largest electronics show on the planet. I’ll be there as part of the Intel Insiders, and speaking at the P2P Media Summit there. ces2
Agency of the Year Jan. 20-21 New York City
OMMA’s Agency of the Year Awards celebrates the agencies that were able to rise above the rest. MEDIA’s Agency of the Year Awards pays tribute to the agencies that set the gold standard in the business of media planning and buying.
BlogWell Chicago Jan. 22 Chicago
The second in a series of events exploring social media in the enterprise, put on by GasPedal and the Blog Council.
Social Media Conference Jan. 22-23 Miami
The event focuses on business management for the social networking industry.
OMMA Social Jan. 26 New York City
OMMA Social is designed to guide you through the terrain of social media and how it relates to your brand or web property. MediaPost organizes the Online Media, Marketing & Advertising (OMMA) events. charlene-li
Teens in Tech* Jan. 31 San Francisco
Smart young people talk technology and culture.
AlwaysOn: OnMedia NYC Feb. 2-4 New York City
“Meet the disruptors of marketing, advertising, branding and PR.”
O’Reilly Money:Tech Feb. 4-6 New York City
Theme: “After the Goldrush:
Financial Tools for New Times.”
UGCX: User Generated Content Feb. 9-10 San Jose
UGCX, a new mediabistro.com event, is the first conference and expo to bring together content-trendsetters and business leaders in various fields to examine how these worlds collide and what the future holds.
O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Feb. 9-11 New York City
A conference on emerging trends around digital publishing, including ebooks, digital printing, mobile content, new authoring tools, alternative business models for paid content, etc.
FASTforward ’09 Feb. 9-11 Las Vegas
The largest business and technology conference dedicated to search-driven innovation, put on by Microsoft.
SMX West Feb. 10-12 Santa Clara, Calif.
SMX West features three days of educational sessions, keynotes and access to the leading vendors in search marketing.  Other events include SMX Social Media Marketing in New York, SMX  Search Analytics in Toronto and SMX Advanced in Seattle.
Web Content: Tampa Bay Feb. 17-18 Clearwater, Fla.
Industry leaders and experienced web professionals will deliver presentations, offer case studies and lead discussions designed to demystify the impact of social media on Web marketing strategies. Other conferences are scheduled for Chicago and Austin. palmtree
Public Media ’09 Feb. 17-21 Atlanta
Put on by the Integrated Media Association, this may be the largest public media gathering of the year, with panels featuring representatives from NPR, PBS, et al.
edSocialMedia Bootcamp Feb. 19 Montclair, NJ
A one-day in-depth introduction to social media technology for school leaders, administrators and teachers at the Montclair Kimberley Academy.
Future of Web Apps Feb. 23-24 Miami
Speakers on the future of the browser, how to build community, how to use video and podcasting for increased success.
We Media Miami Feb. 24-26 Miami
Engage with leaders and ideas shaping media, business, communication, technology, education and participation in the connected society. wemedia3d
Social Enterprise Conference March 1 Cambridge, Mass.
The Social Enterprise conference at Harvard Business School brings together the nonprofit, private, and public sectors to work toward the common good. Conference site needs updating.
DEMO March 1-3 Palm Desert, Calif.
More than 20,000 innovative technologies have been reviewed and 1,500 companies selected to launch on the DEMO stage over the past 18 years. demo
Emerging Communications (eComm) March 3-5 San Francisco
The second annual forum dedicated to defining and profiting from the post-telecom era.
MediaXchange March 9-11 Las Vegas
MediaXchange replaces Newspaper Association of America’s Marketing and NEXPO, and the new gathering marks an increased focus on emerging digital platforms.
GoingGreen East March 9-11 Boston
“Where green entrepreneurs take on Big Business.”
O’Reilly Emerging Technology (ETech)* March 9-12 San Jose
Since 2002, ETech has brought to light the disruptive yet important innovations that we see on the horizon, rather than the ones that have already arrived. zoe
Mashup/Remix Culture* March 12-13 Columbus, Ohio
I’m speaking at this two-day conference at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law on “Mashup/Remix Culture: Law, Politics, Art and Society.”
South by Southwest March 13-22 Austin
This year’s SXSW schedule: Interactive March 13-17, Film March 13-21, Music March 18-22.
New America Media LA March 14 Los Angeles
New America Media is holding a daylong training workshop for ethnic media publications in Southern California.
Media Summit March 18-19 New York City
Over 1,200 of the country’s top media, entertainment and technology executives are expected to attend this gathering to discuss broadband, wireless, advertising, TV, film, cable, satellite, publishing, news and other media. mediasummit
New America Media SF March 21 San Francisco
New America Media is holding a daylong training workshop for ethnic media publications in Northern California.
Sex::Tech 2009 March 22-23 San Francisco
ISIS presents Sexual Health + Tech + Youth = Sex::Tech 2009
OMMA Global: Hollywood March 23-24 San Francisco
This biannual conference and trade show for the business of Online Media, Marketing and Advertising attracts about 4,000 people.
Web 2.0 Expo* Mar 31-Apr 3 San Francisco
Web 2.0 Expo provides insight into the new generation of services and opportunities offered by Web 2.0.
Politics Online* April 7-9 Washington, DC
Roll your own conference panel.
eM9 April 21-22 San Francisco
The eMarketing conference brings together marketers from around the world in a sophisticated forum of presentations, networking opportunities and sessions. em9
ad:tech April 21-23 San Francisco
“To deliver on your needs, we’re providing more hands-on, practical tips sessions, plenty of case studies and a series that is all about brand you.”
Nonprofit Technology* April 26-28 San Francisco
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) kicks off with a Day of Service to give back to the community.
NewComm Forum* April 27-29 San Francisco
I’ll be speaking at the Society for New Communications Research’s NewComm Forum, perhaps at an April 27 workshop.
OnHollywood April 27-29 Hollywood
Silicon Valley goes to Hollywood.
New Marketing Summit – SF April 28-29 San Francisco
This new conference geared chiefly to marketers is being created by Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott and Paul Gillin.
SMX Social Media Marketing April 29-30 New York City
Internet marketers will learn to harness the power of user engagement from YouTube to Digg in this two-day gathering with a focus on real-life tactical advice.
SOBCon May 1-3 Chicago
SOBCon09 is “Biz School for Blogging,” focusing on the ROI of relationships in the enterprise. The conference is designed to build solid action plans tailored to attendees’ individual needs.
Digital Hollywood Spring* May 4-7 Santa Monica
I’ve spoken at several sessions at Digital Hollywood, one of the nation’s premier entertainment and technology conferences. Other Digital Hollywood productions, such as Advertising 2.0 New York and Building Blocks and Digital Hollywood Fall, will likely be held again in 2009.
Tech Policy Summit May11-13 San Mateo, Calif.
The summit brings together prominent leaders from the private and public sectors to examine critical policy issues impacting technology innovation and adoption.
Streaming Media East May 12-13 New York City
Content owners, viral video creators, online marketers, enterprise corporations, broadcast professionals, ad agencies, educators and others gather to hear the latest on online video technology. Streaming Media West will likely repeat in September 2009 in San Jose, Calif.
Word of Mouth Marketing University May 14-15 Miami
WOMM-U is a two-day comprehensive and interactive educational experience built around giving you the real-world knowledge you need to execute exceptional word of mouth marketing programs. womma
Media Relations Summit May 17-19 New York City
Bulldog Reporter puts on a conference for PR and corporate communications professionals who want to learn skills and techniques that are transforming media and the PR profession.
Where 2.0 May 19-21 San Jose, Calif.
Where 2.0 2009 delves into the emerging technologies surrounding the geospatial industry, particularly the way our lives are organized, from finding a restaurant to finding the source of a new millennium plague.
Winning Media Strategies May 20-22 Washington, D.C.
“Battling Competitive Economic and Market Forces,” from the Kelsey Group.
NetSquared* May 26-27 San Jose, Calif.
N2Y4 will be the can’t-miss gathering of nonprofits and social change agents.
D Conference May 26-28 Carlsbad, Calif.
The seventh edition of D, put on by the WSJ’s Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, will again features executives and thinkers driving the digital revolution. waltkara
New Marketing Summit – Dallas May 27-28 Dallas
The third in a series of conferences geared chiefly to marketers.
Cause Marketing Forum May 27-29 Chicago
“Bottom Line Cause Marketing” is the theme of the 7th annual Cause Marketing Forum aimed at business and nonprofit executives. Held at the Westin Chicago River North.
Conversational Marketing Summit June 1-2 New York City
Federated Media’s CM Summit makes its second NYC appearance discussing how marketing and social media intersect.
Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup* June 1-2 San Francisco
YPulse, which tracks how youths use emerging media, will mark its fifth anniversary this year. YPulse will hold a second event in November 2009 in New York. danahboyd
Connections June 2-4 Santa Clara, Calif.
From Park Associates: Connections: the digital living conference and showcase.
Beyond Broadcast June 3-6 Los Angeles
“Public Service Media from Local to Global” at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.
New America Media June 4-5 Atlanta
The national conference of New America Media.
IABC World Conference June 7-10 San Francisco
The World Conference of the International Association of Business Communicators is the premier gathering of business communicators.
Focus on Mobile & Enterprise Social Networking June 11-12 San Francisco
Social networking in the enterprise.
OMMA Video & Publish June 16-17 New York City
OMMA Video is designed for content producers, brand marketers and agency professionals to discuss the latest trends on online video advertising, content production, syndication and delivery. OMMA Publish follows on June 17 and OMMA Adnets on June 18.
Enterprise 2.0 June 22-25 Boston
E2 brings together the leading enterprise social software companies. Put on by the same folks who put on the famous Web 2.0 conferences, E2 is producing a tutorial dedicated to Media 2.0 at this gathering.
Digital Media June 25 Northern Virginia
A gathering of digital communicators and content providers from the Washington, DC, region.
NewTeeVee Pier Screenings* Summer SF, NY, LA
NewTeeVee Pier Screenings are expected to return in summer ’09.
Open Source (OSCON) July 20-24 San Jose, Calif.
The premier open source gathering around.
Fortune Brainstorm Tech July 22-24 Pasadena, Calif.
Fortune’s “conference for the thinking person,” held in Half Moon Bay last summer, moves to Pasadena.
BlogHer July 23-25 Chicago
BlogHer’s fifth annual conference will be held in conjunction with BlogHer Business. jory
Stanford Summit* July 28-30 Palo Alto, Calif.
The annual tech gathering, introducing the new captains of industry, organized by AlwaysOn at Stanford.
Gnomedex* Aug. 20-22 Seattle
Gnomedex is a top gathering of geeks, open source pioneers and cool kids.
Social Capital Markets* Sept. 1-3 San Francisco
Social Capital Markets, which had a sensational kickoff in May 2008, will hold its second gathering at Fort Mason in SF to bring together social entrepreneurs and other change-makers.
TechCrunch50* Sept. 14-15 San Francisco
TechCrunch puts on its annual look at the top tech startups at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse.
GoingGreen West Sept. 14-16 Sausalito, Calif.
The second year of the green technologies conference organized by AlwaysOn.
Office 2.0* Sept. 21-23 San Francisco
How to get things done at the office, at home and on the go — speakers, vendors and attendees suss out the  future of online productivity and collaboration. office20
VON Conference & Expo Sept. 21-23 Miami
VON: The Voice of Network Convergence showcases the best of the global IP communications world for service providers and large enterprises.
DEMOfall Sept. 21-23 San Diego
The fall edition of the august tech innovation conference.
New Marketing Summit – Boston Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Boston
The fourth in a series of conferences geared chiefly to marketers.
Creating Technology for Social Good Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Tucson, Ariz.
Put on by Women in Computing, a program of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, this gathering is designed to advance the research and career interests of women in computing.
Online News Association* Oct. 1-3 San Francisco
I just renewed at ONA for the next three years — it’ll be nice to see this gathering of new media movers and shakers return to the West Coast.
BlogWorld & New Media Expo* Oct. 15-17 Las Vegas
BlogWorldExpo and New Media Expo both put on trade shows last August. Problem solved: BWE acquired NME. The combined new show will move to October. blogworld
Web 2.0 Summit* Oct. 20-22 San Francisco
Where tech luminaries gather.
Pop!Tech Oct. 21-23 Camden, Maine
Pop!Tech is a newtwork of remarkable people, extraordinary conferences, powerful ideas and innovative projects that are changing the world. I attended one year — it’s a remarkable gathering.
Social Networking World Forum – North America Oct. 26-27 Santa Clara, Calif.
A conference dedicated to social networking with a focus on mobile social networking and social media.
Alliance for Community Media – West ?? ??
ACM West may be held in fall 2009. Past venues include Denver and Monterey.
Web 2.0 Expo NY Nov. 16-19 New York City
The NYC edition of Web 2.0 Expo.
Supernova* Dec. 1-3 San Francisco
At Supernova, CEOs and bloggers, entrepreneurs and academics, policy experts and industry leaders share insights and build relationships. This year’s theme is “Change Networks.” leahculver
Interactive Local Media Dec. 9-11 Los Angeles
The Kelsey Group’s conference provides a 360-degree view of the local marketplace, covering a range of topics, including local search, Internet Yellow Pages, vertical directories, Internet video, online classifieds, social media and mobile search.


You probably arrived here from a retweet on Twitter (or a Google search), so follow me here: http://www.twitter.com/jdlasica.

For an even more comprehensive list of all things geek, check out Robert Scoble’s Upcoming events list.

In addition, Conference Alerts seems to have a pretty good listing of 2009 academic conferences by subject category, including Politics (apologies to TechPresident and Netroots Nation for not including them in this listing) and Communications and Media.

Update: Susan Mernit has a good list of 2009 women and technology conferences.

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 18, 2007

Web 2.0 Expo: Copyright risks

fred von lohmann

(Photo of Fred von Lohmann at ETech last month by Scott Beale — I was exhausted today so didn’t bring my camera!)

The most interesting session of Day Four of the Web 2.0 Expo today, for me, was the presentation by Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Fred von Lohmann about copyright risks. Fred (whom I devoted a chapter to in Darknet and who blogs at  Deep Links) laid out how Web 2.0 companies built on user-created content receive some protections under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PDF).

Most attorneys refer to these four sections of the DMCA as the "safe harbor" provisions, but Fred likened them more to islands than harbors.

DMCA Section 512(a) is "Conduit Island": if you’re an Internet Service Provider providing connectivity, you won’t be held responsible if your users infringe content. This applies to pipe providers like AOL, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T.

Section 512(b) is "Caching Island," which von Lohmann said "was designed for AOL’s caching activities around 1997." This  "walled network" provision is largely outdated.

Section 512(c) is "Hosting Island" and may be the most part of the DMCA as it applies to Web 2.0 start-ups and web-hosting companies. 

Section 512(d) is "Search Engine Island," which protects indexing and searching of possibly infringing materials and covers all search engines, including MSN, Yahoo and Google.

Von Lohmann talked chiefly about the third provision, companies that host user-generated content. It’s a huge category and growing bigger (as yesterday’s stats show, growing from 2 percent to 12 percent of the online content universe in the past 2 years), covering blog hosting sites like Blogger, music lockers like mp3tunes, music playlist sharing sites like Avvenu and imeem, photo sharing sites like Flickr, video sharing sites like YouTube and Ourmedia, file hosting services like Pando, and combination sites like MOG.

He extended his metaphor this way: "The big question is: how close to the waterline are you?: The search engines are well protected, but it’s unclear how safe new businesses in the hosting arena are, given that there is little or no case law. 

To get on and stay on "the island," von Lohmann said, it’s important to follow three steps: Register a copyright agent with the U.S. Copyright Office; and provide provisions for notice and takedown and an infringer termination policy in your site’s Terms of Service.

Creative Commons

Von Lohmann then moved into an interesting discussion of Creative Commons licenses and pointed to the millions of photos on Flickr available under various CC licenses.

At one point I held aloft my Nokia N93 camera phone and asked Fred, "I just took a photo of you. I’m uploading it to my Flickr account and giving it a CC Attribution license. Are others free to remix it and use it commercially, or do they need your permission as well?"

The answer, he said, is complicated. It all depends. You skirt the copyright issue because of the Creative Commons license. But other laws come into play, chiefly centering on privacy and rights of publicity.

A person can’t take a photo of Michael Jordan at a public event and then embed that image into a shoe line for commercial purposes without obtaining Jordan’s permission. You can’t use a high-powered telephoto lens to peer into someone’s bedroom and then make the images available for people to use however they want. Ultimately, test cases will determine the contours of the law in this area.

Another interesting issue is: What does noncommercial mean? "Creative Commons has had enormous internal debates about that. There’s an enormous grey area — the licenses don’t define what ‘noncommercial’ means." Your best bet is to go into the CC wiki and examine the discussion about commercial and noncommercial uses.

Cross-posted to Darknet.

More Web 2.0 Expo coverage via Technorati.

And at Wired: Tim O’Reilly: Web 2.0 Is About Controlling Data.

April 17, 2007

At the first Web 2.0 Expo

Eric Schmidt

I missed the first two days of the Web 2.0 Expo (created because the Web 2.0 Summit proved so popular), so I can’t make any general observations other than this one: It’s a shame that there was no interaction between the speakers and the "former" audience in the main hall. Unlike the preceding Web 2.0 summits, not a microphone to be had.

I always love the State of the Blogosphere updates we get from Technorati founder/CEO Dave Sifry. This year he offered a different twist and was paired with Hitwise head of research Bill Tancer.

The twist was that it’s too limiting to describe this explosion of user-created media as "the blogosphere." We’ve seen an explosive growth in videos, photos, podcasts and other materials. So Dave now calls it "the Live Web" (a term borrowed from Technorati board member Doc Searls) or "the next-generation web." Tancer called it "the participatory Web, or Web 2.0."

Sure thing, guys. Or, how about the Social Web? :~) Live Web doesn’t mean much, other than no apparitions posting here. Social at least imparts a theme of interactivity and conversation.

Tancer cited an astonishing 668% growth for the top participatory web sties from April 2005 — when 2% of U.S. Internet visits went to these sites — to today’s figure of 12%, measured just last week. We’re talking about sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Ourmedia, where users create the content.

Two years ago, Wikipedia was more popular than Microsoft’s Encarta encyclopedia site by a factor of about 3 to 1. Today, visits to Wikipedia outnumber Encarta visits 3,400 to 1.

In the photo-sharing category, 56% of visits to photo sites go to participatory photo sites. Photobucket rules the roost with a 41% market share, Slide has 5% (it does??), Flickr has 4%, Imageshack 3%, Rock you! 3%, and the remaining 44% is divided among the also-runs. It always amazes me when I see these numbers: I’m a Flickr fanatic, and I can’t understand how 10 times as many people use Photobucket instead. (Oh, yeah, OK. MySpace. Baaaa-baaaa!)

Participants vs. consumers: The 1-9-90 rule

The most fascinating numbers to come out of the conference came when Tancer and Sifry said it was time to cast aside the 80-20 rule in favor of a new paradigm. The 80-20 rule states — well, let Wikipedia tell it: "for many phenomena, 80% of the consequences stem from 20% of the causes." Or, in practical Web 2.0 terms: eight out of 10 visitors to a Website will be passive consumers, while 20 percent are generally hands-on creators and producers.

Said Tancer: "It’s not the 80-20 rule anymore. It’s 1-9-90." Spread across the Web, generally 1 percent of visitors are creators and producers, 9 percent are "highly involved participators" (don’t ask me why the word "participants" isn’t good enough), and 90 percent are consumers or viewers.

This played out in a Hitwise study of visits to three popular sites:

At YouTube, only 0.16% of visits were related to uploading a video during the course of the study. At Flickr, only 0.2% of visits were related to uploading photos. The percentage was markedly higher at Wikipedia, where 4.59% of visits were related to editing articles on the site.

And while the popular perception is that this is a youth-driven phenomenon, not so. Younger people were doing most of the viewing and older people were doing most of the creating. At Wikipedia, it broke down like this:
• 4.6% of 18- to 24-year-olds edit the site;
• 13.5% of ages 25-34;
• 27.3% of ages 35-44;
• 54.6%, age 45 plus (combined the last 2 categories because they were up so briefly)

A similar trend emerges at YouTube:

• A shockingly low 1.9% of 18- to 24-year-olds upload videos to the video sharing site, compared with 24.1% of ages 25-34 and 35.6% of ages 35-44 (again, don’t have the full stats). 

The 25- to 55-year-old age groups do the heavy lifting.

When it comes to viewers on YouTube, it breaks down 51% male vs. 49% female among viewers, but 60% male to 40% female among participants. The gender gap is even more pronounced at Wikipedia: 52% male vs. 48% female among readers, but 76% male vs. 24% female among participants who dive in and edit the site. (The strong-willed women readers/participants of the Social Media blog are exceptions to this general rule, of course.)

More Sifry: 37% of all the 72 million blogs that Technorati tracks are in japanese; 33% are in English. A fast-growing segment: Farsi (at 1%), the language of bloggers in Iran. More than 237 million items have been tagged by the creators. About 37% of users are using tags, or keywords. More than 125,000 posts appear each day.

Eric Schmidt

Some notable quotes and insights from Google CEO/billionaire/good guy Eric Schmidt (that’s one of the photos I shot of him above):

He told an amusing story about how the Australian Broadcasting Company supposedly sent a takedown notice under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act to Google, which promptly took down the company’s videos from Youtube last Friday. By Monday it was discovered that the takedown notice was actually sent by a 16-year-old Australian teenager. The videos were put back up.

Schmidt said Google would soon release a new tool called Claim Your Content, allowing the copyright owner to monitor videos appearing on the YouTube site and automating the takedown process. No audience questions were allowed, so I couldn’t ask if that technology would be made available to other video hosting sites.

"Network neutrality is very important for the next generation of enterpreneurs. They’re going to need a network that connects everyone. It’ll be an enormous setback if we lose that."

"The biggest growth areas are going to be in the mobile space. Mobile, mobile mobile. People treat their mobile phones as extensions of their persons. … The next generation of 3G and 4G networks will have tremendous power."

What does he think about what he wakes up each day? "The thing i think about at google is scaling. In order to win in the Internet, you have to have a scaling strategy. So I’m constantly thinking about more data centers [which he referred to a  couple of times as "super-computers"), more fiber optics, more people. It’s amazing to think how early we are in that process. We’re just at the beginning of getting information that’s been kept in small networks or privae networks onto these platforms."

And, last but not least, he flat out pledged Google’s commitment to data portability — the ability for users to take their data (search history, etc.) to another service if they’re not happy with their experience at Google.

"We are committed to user portablity. we’ll never trap user data. We want you to be able to take the information [collected by] Google and go somewhere else."

That’s a customer-centric promise we’ll be happy to hold them to.

February 26, 2007

Meeting Howard Berman at the Tech Policy Summit

Howard Berman   

I’m attending the Tech Policy Summit in San Jose, a first-time conference about technology issues that is drawing a crowd of heavy hitters — most of the 150 or so people in the audience could well be on stage.  Some of the speakers include Deborah Platt Majoras, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Sun president Jonathan Schwartz, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn, top execs at AT&T, Sybase, SAP and Cisco. Some interesting fare so far, though after attending so many unconferences (like Bloggercon and Vloggercon) and inclusive conferences (like WeMedia), the setup here is a bit stuffy for my tastes. There’s no "former audience" here. We’re allowed to ask questions, but it’s still very much us and them.

Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, was on stage for a half hour, discussing patent issues and immigration reform. But I wanted to talk about the looming copyright crisis in this country.

From the floor, I told Rep. Berman that I have this old-fashioned notion that congressmen are servants of the people, that they’ve been elected to do the people’s work. Just today BitTorrent announced a distribution deal with several of the big Hollywood studios. Viacom has announced a plan to distribute its content on Joost and continues to demand that YouTube take down its copyrighted videos, which is all well and good. But the landscape is changing rapidly, and I believe we’ll see a backlash against Capitol Hill’s formulation of copyright in a few weeks if and when Google banishes millions of videoclips that contain short snippets of copyrighted video or music from YouTube’s servers. (Media coverage has focused on YouTube’s spat with Viacom, while ignoring the potentially larger and more knotty issue of individuals using copyrighted music in their soundtrack or taking news show clips to create a commentary.) Copyright law never envisioned a culture where millions of us are content creators who want to borrow, annotate and comment upon the culture.

I asked Berman whether it was time to reform copyright laws to take into account the millions of us who want nothing more than to express our creativity in a noncommercial way in this new digital era, and whether he was open to listening to both sides of this issue in hearings before the House.

Other than a short riposte in which he equated taking others’ copyrighted works with piracy ("That’s not people expressing their creativity.  It’s people expressing someone else’s creativity."), Berman had some reassuring things to say. He said he wouldn’t be a rubber stamp or advocate for any one side, and that Congress shouldn’t be in the position of propping up outdated business models. He said he wants to solicit all viewpoints when these issues come before his subcommittee.

I followed him into the hallway (along with Steve Levy of Newsweek), introduced myself and gave him a copy of "Darknet" to read on his flight back to D.C. (He said he’d read it.) He repeated his position that he won’t be a "shill" for anyone and that his committee will be an honest broker with respect to IP issues. I also suggested that he take up the "orphaned works" cause championed by Lawrence Lessig and Brewster Kahle, among others.

Next, James Cicconi, Sr. Executive VP of external and legislative affairs for AT&T had an interesting exchange with Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg. Walt pointed to a number of countries where true high-speed broadband is deployed much more widely than in the U.S. — Japan, South Korea, Scandinavia, "even France, for God’s sake!" In some of these countries, you can download video at 50 megabits a second and upload your own video at 10 megabits per second. "Why can’t we do that?" Mossberg asked point blank. In the U.S., he pointed out, the best you can generally do is 15mbps down and 2 up — if you’re lucky.

Cicconi danced around the question, blaming government regulation, the dispersed population in the U.S. ("what about Manhattan!?" Mossberg said), and the telecom companies’ ongoing fight with the cable companies over access to local franchise systems.

Pointing out that AT&T carries 18% of the broadband traffic in the U.S., Cicconi noted, "The Internet wasn’t really built for video. The move to high defnition will exponentially increase the amount of traffic." The company is "very concerned" about the ability of the network to deliver all those bits. "It’s a very fragile structure and we need to upgrade it."

Next, Mossberg and Sun Microsystems president Jonathan Schwartz chatted about Schwartz’s blog, one of the best-read business blogs around.

Mossberg: "Did your lawyers have a heart attack when you started your blog?"

Schwartz: "No. I had a heart attack when our general counsel started a blog."

Schwartz says he doesn’t blog at regular times. "It fills a lot of the white space during my day." No one edits his blog posts in advance. The only time it’s reviewed is immediately after an earnings call, when Schwartz runs his entry past the lawyers.

Schwartz also invited the government to step in and set some standards for Internet broadband deployment (or something like that; see Schwartz’s blog for details). In general, Silicon Valley wants the government to stay out of technological affairs. "I’m not interested in having the government regulate technology," he said. But in this case, "It’s a mean to an ends: enhancing this country’s competitiveness" with countries ahead of us in the broadband game.

Some familiar faces in the crowd: Dan Farber, Shel Israel, Lisa Padilla, Lauren Gelman, Drew Clark and others.

Since Dan Farber is here, you can follow the conference’s goings on at ZDNet. (I won’t be able to attend tomorrow’s sessions.)

I’ll post photos tonight. Here are nine photos from the summit.