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Archive for the ‘New Media’ Category

Visions of Web 3.0 From Jason Calcanis

Posted by Jacqueline on October 4, 2007

Serial entrepreneur Jason Calcanis has written a decent definition of Web 3.0:

Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.

At first, it seems as if he’s saying that web 3.0 is the same thing as web 2.0, but without all the crap (and we all know that there will always be some useless content and spam on the net), and of course his definition fits into the direction of his current startup, Mahalo, but the idea of 3.0 building on the good aspects of 2.0 and taking them to the next level has legs.  It’s a little elitist though (only “gifted” people are involved?  How do we define this?).

One of the commenters, Arnaud Fischer, wrote:

“Right, that’s one way to put it. If Web 1.0 was about linking information then Web 2.0 is definitely about linking people. If Web 2.0 is about linking people, Web 3.0 will be about connecting and making semantic sense of people’s knowledge. Bringing together two disjointed pieces of content, computing, and creating new incremental value.”

Maybe we can combine these definitions somehow, because I think that Calcanis has left the inter-connected aspect, which is important – in the future, our networks will network.

How would you define web 3.0?

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Posted in Blogging, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Using Web 2.0 To Innovate: E-Democracy.Org

Posted by Jacqueline on October 3, 2007

E-Democracy.Org, a Minnesota based organization with a focus on “the use of the Internet to improve citizen participation and real world governance through online discussions and information and knowledge exchange” (check out their About page for a lot more information about them and their mission), has created a wiki for their entry in the Knight News Challenge, and it’s open the public.

Now, companies and other organizations have been using internal wikis to get things done for quite some time now (and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if other Knight News Challenge entrants used wikis to help put together their proposals as well), but E-Democracy.Org’s wiki is open to the public.  Besides being refreshingly transparent, opening up their project to the opinions of others could prove very valuable indeed – after all, sometimes it takes an outsider’s viewpoint to really make your plan and ideas great. 

Best of luck to them!  You can read more about E-Democracy.Org on their website and their blog.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Lines Between New Media and Old Media are Disappearing

Posted by Jacqueline on October 2, 2007

The times, they are a-changin’.  Traditional companies are adding some new media flavor to their pages (How many big newspapers have added blogs to their websites in the last year or so, for instance?) and websites are adding some of the positive characteristics of their print counterparts, such as clearly defined sections and easy front-page navigation.

No where is this more obvious then at the popular liberal news and opinion site, the Huffington Post (it seems a little wrong to call it a mere blog, although technically it is a group blog in the most sense of the word – content organized in reverse chronological order, and readers can comment on the articles).  Begun by media mogul Arianna Huffington two and half years ago, today the site has forty-three employees and a reach of 3.5 million unique visitors a month.  Most newspapers would love to have that kind of readership.

Characterized as an “an online version of a sprawling dinner-party conversation with a global crowd of more than a thousand well-connected friends.”, the Huffington Post currently sits at #5 on the Technorati Top 100.  However, the site is shifting towards a more traditional media model, as they’ve made a “recent move to hire a handful of well-known journalists to do old-fashioned reporting. “Our goal,” Ms. Huffington says, “is basically to become an online newspaper”.”  In addition, the company has tapped Betsy Morgan, former general manager of CBSnews.com, to be their chief executive officer.  Obviously, the Huffpo, as it is sometimes casually referred to, is not exactly a typical blog.

“Getting somebody like this to come to our site says a boatload about where the industry is going,” said Kenneth Lerer, who has been acting as the chief executive of The Huffington Post and will move up to chairman. He founded the site along with Arianna Huffington, the political commentator.”

-From the CBSnews article about Betsy Morgan’s move.

Although many writers and traditional media types have slammed the internet as the home of dilettantes, amateurs, and hacks, that is simply not the case when websites like this exist; besides, the future belongs to those who can adapt to the changing media climate, not those who try in vain to preserve the past.  In the end, there is room enough for everyone on the web – it’s not as if there is an end to the internet.

Have your own ideas for how to use the web and other digital technology to deliver the news?  Check out the Knight Foundation’s news challenge and you could make them a reality.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Old System Can’t Last Forever: The New Media

Posted by Jacqueline on October 1, 2007

You can’t visit a journalism-related website lately without reading about how traditional media is suffering from money woes thanks to the web, or how bloggers and other forms of online news are forcing the “real journalists” out of their jobs.  And you’ve probably heard how advertisers and marketers are flocking to the net in growing numbers.

So what’s the old media to do?  Obviously newspapers and magazines are not going to pack it in and say “game over, you win” to the web, but clearly something has to change if they want to stick around.  Today, Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine wrote about how reporters were calling for government support and funding from foundations or wealthy business moguls.  Basically, they need a steady influx of cash to replace advertisers and customers lost to the internet, or as Jeff says, “fairy godmothers who will swoop in from government or foundations or rich families to provide magic money that lets them continue to do business as they have.”  To put it succinctly, they are aiming for self-preservation, not innovation.

But the old ways of doing business can’t last forever, and trying to maintain a status quo that is tinged with nostalgia of the days before the web could be the end of many newspapers.  An artificial financial boost is not the cure for the illness that is ailing old media right now – learning to adapt to the web, working to innovate and striving to move forward and reinvent journalism as it works within all the amazing technological developments that have occurred in the recent past (and of course, looking to the future as well) – this is what needs to happen, instead of companies just burying their heads in the sand, ostrich style.

While support from the government could possible bail a struggling paper out, this seems very dangerous.  How will freedom of the press be affected when the government is funding it?  It’s tough to imagine a scenario in which a certain level of objectivity isn’t sacrificed, and the ability of journalists to criticize the government and to hold politicians accountable for their actions has always been essential for democracy.  Or do they plan to just leave the freedom of the press to bloggers?  And how do they plan to maintain the trust of the general public when they are bankrolled by the very organizations they criticize and discuss in their pages?

What about funding from foundations?  Clearly, this blog supports the Knight Foundation and their news challenge, but that encourages change and innovation.  It’s about changing things for the better, not sticking with the status quo.  Yes, sometimes foundation funding can mask a media outlet’s actual problems (because tossing money at an industry that can be hopelessly behind the times is a little like putting a band-aid on a bullet would), but if a foundation truly wants to foster innovation and growth, they can.  However, relying on outside sources for cash is also risky, because it’s a quick fix for a bigger, more fundamental problem. 

To conclude, I can’t say it better than Jeff:

“So rather than trying to find money to support the old ways artificially, we need resources to invent the new ways, the ones we don’t know yet. We need to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to gather and share news in new ways while preserving the best and most valuable of the old (and sloughing off the waste of the old). We need to explore new products and new business models and new relationships and we need to show that they are good investments, not charity cases.”

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Journalism, New Media | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Techmeme Leaderboard: Does It Matter What Kind of Site a News Source is?

Posted by Jacqueline on October 1, 2007

Bloggers and other news outlets have been posting about the new Techmeme Leaderboard all day today, and one of the main topics of discussion has been how the site’s ranking system does not differentiate between blogs and other websites.  For instance, Techcrunch, Scobleizer, and the New York Times are all on their list, and it’s based on how many times a site has been linked by Techmeme in the last thirty days.

Some bloggers have been trumpeting about this will replace the somewhat ailing Technorati, but while this list is definitely useful for those who are interested technology developments and news, it cannot replace the universal reach of Technorati’s ranking systems.  After all, Technorati tracks blogs on every topic, not just the ones in the techno-sphere, and although it doesn’t include non-blog sources, it generally does its job pretty well.  And anyways, there really isn’t any competition other than Google’s Blogsearch, and that only searches blogs – it doesn’t index, rank, or otherwise organize them.  Perhaps the reports of Technorati’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Much of the other discussion has been about this list doesn’t discern what is a blog and what is not – but does it really matter what the source of a story is if it is viable and/or interesting?  It’s not like Techmeme’s Leaderboard purports to be a blog ranking system anyways, and really, perhaps it is time that popular blogs go head to head with traditional news sources in terms of respect, page views, and links.  And as bloggers gain increasing amoutns of credibility, do people really care if they are reading a blog or a news outlet as long as it has the latest scoop?

However, the Techmeme Leaderboard and the Technorati Top 100 are all about measuring the biggest players, they just do it in different ways (and Techmeme sticks to a single niche whereas Technorati’s based solely on the amount of backlinks – it doesn’t matter what language a blog is in or what it is about).  What would be more interesting, and potentially much more compelling to those who aren’t as into technology as the Techmeme crowd, would be a way of applying the Leaderboard concept to individual niches –  a foodie leaderboard, a football leaderboard, a fashion leaderboard, and so on.  Each subject could have it’s own Techmeme-style site, even, if there are enough dedicated bloggers.

Another way to take the concept to the next level would be to make a localized version of Techmeme – when bloggers, journalists, photographers, videographers, and anyone else in a specific geographic region post something, link it on the front page.  The most prominent citizen journalists could be ranked on a leaderboard (because people seem to love to compete for rankings), and readers could subscribe to the RSS feeds for different categories.

Yes, this wouldn’t be easy to construct, but once the site was built and the content is seeded, it would be an invaluable service to the area’s residents.  It would even be possible to run ads from local businesses to help keep the site afloat, if necessary.  Do you have any ideas, business plans, or projects that would fit the bill?  Enter the Knight News Challenge at www.newschallenge.org.

Want to read what others are saying about the Techmeme Leaderboard?  Check out Techcrunch, Read Write Web, Ben Metcalfe, Problogger Darren Rowse, Media Metamorphosis, and of course, there’s more on Techmeme’s homepage.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Future of the Hyperlocal Web

Posted by Jacqueline on September 30, 2007

Read Write Web’s founder and editor Richard McManus (a popular blog devoted to web technology news, reviews, and analysis) has recently posted about future web trends (here and here).  Many different concepts are included, such as the creation of the semantic web, the growth of the mobile web, and the rise of hyperlocal applications and content. 

The Knight Foundation’s News Challenge is clearly concerned with local journalism and how communities can take advantage of digital technology to deliver breaking news and information, so the hyperlocal trend is of particular interest here.

Here’s what Richard said about hyperlocalism:

“Hyperlocal: Sebastien Provencher forsees “the transformation of the web into an exciting hyperlocal tool.” He said that the combination of the social web, geo-tagging standards, GPS-enabled mobile devices, and the eventual arrival en masse of small merchants and online municipal governments “will forever change the way we see our city or our neighborhood.”

On the same theme, commenter #66, Jacqueline*, said that “local and hyperlocal content/news systems are going to blow up in the not-so-distant future; based on the whole citizen journalism trend (and things like iphones, twitter, and devices/apps that haven’t even been invented yet will make it possible for people to post breaking news literally as it happens).”

Some of the characteristics typically mentioned when the concept of the hyperlocal web is discussed include things like the ability to find information that relates to your locale quickly and easily, and that things like local websites foster a sense of belonging to a specific community (and when I use the word “community”, I’m referring to it in the geographic sense instead of it meaning a group of people with shared interests).  After all, the web has made it easier than ever to organize and share information, so using it to bring the inhabitants of various cities, towns, and villages makes perfect sense.

Although plenty of websites, message boards, and blogs already devote themselves to local content, there is really no major standard to organize it all; also, if you live in a larger municipality, it might be difficult to even find the information you’re looking for due to the sheer breadth of the offerings.  Vice versa, if you happen to live in a small village or rural area, there might not be any content at all relating your area.

One thing that could make finding local information and news easier to find could be the adoption of geo-tagging standards (tagging any posts, photos, or video clips with related location(s)).  This could lead to a way to organize, regulate, and deliver all the valuable content produced by citizen journalists to both their immediate community and the world at large.  As the mobile web grows and devices like smart phones become more popular, systems or applications that deliver breaking news and local information will become even more essential.  Of course, if you have any ideas, or are working on a project that relates to the hyperlocal web, you should check out the Knight News Challenge.

*Yes, I am the Jacqueline referenced in this quote.

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, New Media, Technology, Web, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

RSS Woes: Many Top News Sites Aren’t Taking Full Advantage of Feeds

Posted by Jacqueline on September 30, 2007

From Yahoo News:

 A new study from the International Center for Media and Public Agenda, looking at 19 top news sites, released today concludes that RSS feeds work very poorly for anyone who uses news for more than infotainment.

Cited as among the best users of RSS: The Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Christian Science Monitor, BBC World Service and Fox News.

Among the worst: Al Jazeera, The Guardian and The New York Times.

This is interesting because while these major news sources have plenty of readers, they are not taking full advantage of technology like RSS (or really simple syndication), a way of syndicating content that allows an individual to subscribe to a particular section or blog and read new posts/articles in a feed reader, also known as an aggregator.  By using RSS instead of pointing your browser at each individual website or page, the news comes to you.  Clearly, it is a very efficient method of staying informed on all sorts of topics. 

The problem that the aforementioned sites are having with RSS?  They don’t want to deliver all their content with feeds – they want readers to visit their actual site.  Why?  Well, according to the Yahoo article,

“One reason may be that such stories, such as those by AP or Reuters, don’t carry the ‘brand’ of the news organization. But without those stories, many RSS feeds are not truly delivering news 24/7 and, in addition, lack the breadth of news their home sites deliver.”

Why is this such a problem?  Because an increasing number of people are using RSS to keep themselves updated on news ranging from local happenings to international events; in addition, without going to the actual website that is the source of the feed (and really, part of the point of using an aggregator is that you don’t have to go a bunch of different places for your info), RSS users are not even aware that they may not be getting the whole picture. 

So what could be a possible solution to this problem?  Should news outlets have to (and/or other websites) publish all their content with RSS whether they want to or not?  If so, how could that be enforced, if it is possible at all?  Should there be some kind of standardized system, and again, is that even possible on the web?  Do we want such a system anyways, or should people just have to sift through the various news sources and locate the feeds that best suit their purposes?  How does this relate to smaller news outlets or community sites, or bloggers, photographers, and videographers who function as citizen journalists?

Of course, if you have an idea or a website that purports to solve the problems that traditional media have with publishing their content with RSS, especially if it has to do with a specific community and how they receive their news, you should check out the Knight News Challenge.  It may be possible to implement your plan sooner than you think.

Posted in Digital Media, General, Journalism, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Revolution Will Be Blogged

Posted by Jacqueline on September 30, 2007

Much has already been made of the efforts made by citizen journalists inside Myanmar/Burma to document the deteriorating political situation, but their work is even more crucial in light of the fact that privately-owned newspapers in Burma have decided to stop their presses instead of printing more government propaganda. 

“They are forcing us to publish their announcements and propaganda in our publications and we can’t let them do that to us,” said a Rangoon journalist.

Kumudra, Seven Days, Pyi Myanmar and many other news journals have decided to stop or suspend publication, and have already informed the censor board of their decision. Rather than give the real reason for their decision, they blamed the ongoing instability which is preventing journalists from being able to go out and report.”

Although the nation is sadly no stranger to protests, riots, and the resulting violent response by the military regime, this time it is even worse than the previous 1988 uprisings.

“In 88 journals published news about the riots and shootings, but it is not as easy to do that now. The situation has changed – soldiers are shooting at everything now – so we can’t do it,” said the journalist.”

Both quotes are taken from this article on the Democratic Voice of Burma, a nonprofit organization that gives voice to the disenfranchised Burmese people and serves to inform the rest of the world about the real state of that nation.

In a country where freedom of the press is greatly compromised and censorship is the norm, it is paramount that brave citizen journalists still relay news to the outside world in order to make sure that the voice of the people is heard and make the international community aware of their plight.  After all, does anyone think that Myanmar/Burma protests and their sad consequences would currently be enjoying the same level of awareness without the work of the bloggers, photographers, and videographers who are sending reports out?  Yes, the UN would probably get involved, but by posting images and video clips of the actions taken by the military junta they’ve received an impressive global outpouring of support that would have otherwise been unlikely.

Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic writes about how satellite photos of the riots might be available soon.  “Maybe technology can keep the world focused”, he says.  In addition, “Keeping the world’s attention through the blogosphere is now essential. The revolution is not only going to be blogged; in some respects, the blogosphere is now critical to the survival of the revolution.” (Guess who inspired the title of this post?)  Thanks to technology, the outside world cannot be locked out and the Burmese military regime cannot be left to commit their atrocious human rights violations in private.

One more note – although the current Myamar government is trying to cut their people off from the outside media with measures like cutting off most internet connections, they can still view channels like CNN and BBC from their isolated compounds, according to the UK Telegraph:

“The bureaucracy has been moved to Naypyidaw, far away from ordinary people, and army families live in colonies cut off from civilians.

“I think the regime really believes this is just a few individuals stirred up by ‘destructive elements’, not the makings of a popular uprising reflecting the will of the people,” said a western diplomat.

“I think they believe their own propaganda.”

But he added that, although isolated, the generals are not completely immune to foreign pressure.

“They have the BBC up there in Naypyidaw. They have CNN. And I’m sure they’re watching it,” he said.

Yet another example of the internet making the world smaller and allowing ordinary people to make a huge impact, although this one isn’t nearly as warm and fuzzy as most of the others.  And as always, if you have ideas on how to help citizen journalists in situations like this one get the word out, you should check out the Knight News Challenge.

Posted in Blogging, Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, General, Journalism, New Media, Web | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hometown Heroes: How Can Local Bloggers Get Organized?

Posted by Jacqueline on September 29, 2007

With the recent events in Myanmar/Burma, citizen journalists, the events they report, and the technology they use to do are getting plenty of airtime and column inches.  After all, this is perhaps the first time in history where the revolution will be blogged, flickred, and youtubed.  However, not to discount the incredibly impressive efforts of the Burmese bloggers, or to take away from citizen journalism’s day in the sun, this is not the only way to be a citizen journalist or local blogger.

Before the Myanmar protests and the resulting escalation of violence and the military crackdown, citizen journalists toiled away, reporting on local events, breaking news stories literally as they happen, and yes, even recording history as it unfolds.  Think about – how much video footage and images of major events have been recorded by what is essentially a random person on the scene with a camera?  Even before citizen journalism became a widely understood concept (and a popular catchphrase), intrepid souls have been taking it upon themselves to commit history to film.

From the many bloggers who make up the politically opinionated ranks of Daily Kos to the network of writerswho contribute to the Gothamist network of blogs (the Chicagoist, LAist, SFist, etc.), the group of bloggers, photographers, and videographers that make up the ranks of citizen journalists is immense.  In addition, you have all the bloggers who occasionally post something about current events or the goings-on in their hometown.  Really, if you look at it that way, we’re all citizen journalists.

Now, that’s all well and good, but searching for information in this genre, deciding what is useful to you, and organizing all this content is no easy task.  Besides the simple fact that the web is vast and you probably don’t have tons of free time to sift through it, it’s tough to discern what is valuable and what’s irrelevant – and wouldn’t you rather have the content come to you in the form of newsfeeds or RSS?

Merely subscribing to your local paper’s feed and a few local bloggers might not give all the news and updates you’re searching for, and anyways, how do you know which bloggers are reliable?  The citizen journalists who work with credible news sources (Reuters, for instance, has used them) are probably a safe bet, but they may not be as entertaining (hey, who says news has to be boring or serious – look at Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert) or as relevant to your interests as another choice.  And really, just because someone is not affliated with a newspaper or news agency doesn’t mean they are not reliable or trustworthy.

Clearly, the world of citizen journalism needs some kind of organization – but however, something too stringent or reminiscent of professional journalism would be detrimental to the ear-to-the-ground, passionate nature of citizen bloggers.  The person or group who can figure out the best way to accomplish this without destroying what makes citizen journalism so valuable will definitely reap some rich rewards (and as always, if you have ideas related to these topics, you should enter the Knight News Challenge).

Posted in Blogging, Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, General, Journalism, New Media, Web, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shifting Focus: Social Networking

Posted by Jacqueline on September 27, 2007

Social networking is a really hot topic these days, particularly if you work in a field that has anything to do with the web and digital technology.  From the big players like Facebook and Myspace to up and comers like Ning to the many, many niche websites, it seems that a new web 2.0 social-networking/tagging/bookmarking/insert buzzword of your choice here site or application pops up, oh, about every five minutes (if you read Techcrunch or follow Techmeme you know exactly what I mean). 

There’s a new kid on the block lately, however, and that kid is Netvibes.  Their slogan is “remix the web”, and that is exactly what they do.  Instead of a strictly defined interface or lengthy profile that you have to fill out (isn’t everyone tired of doing that at this point anyways?), it lets users create their own personal dashboard, filled with widgets from their favorite sites – you can have local weather, breaking news, your other social network profiles, your email(s), RSS feeds, sports stats, latest bookmarks, and virtually anything else that can be widgetized.  The options are as endless as the internet. 

There is something fluid about Netvibes that is appealing after using all the old walled garden, data silo social networks.  It combines the best elements of them all, resulting in an incredibly convenient application that makes an excellent homepage.  Of course, it doesn’t purport to replace the other networks – Netvibes just wants them to build widgets and to join their party.  With this website, everyone can play – even advertisers and marketers.  Although the site does not run ads (and doesn’t plan to in the future), companies can build widgets, although it is up to the builders to make something that is useful and clever enough for the users to add it to their personal Netvibes.  It is permission marketing at work. 

What is so interesting is that the available widgets in the directory range from the expected (Yahoo sports updates, NPR, the various sections of the New York Times) to the more personal – you can add a widget for your favorite blogs, or create a personal countdown for an event that you’re looking forward to.  There are also “universes” that encompass things like the latest news from your favorite musician or TV show. 

Tariq Kim, the founder of Netvibes, created the site because he believes that people want less structure and more control.  From this recent post by Jessi Hempel on Fortune Magazine’s blog, The Browser, “Netvibes is a personal widget market place – publishers (often advertisers) list them and you choose whether to pull them on to your page.”  By the end of the year, they hope to add some social components like the ability to share your widgets with friends.

Why should you be interested in Netvibes?  Besides the fact that it is just incredibly convenient to have an efficient, personally designed dashboard from which to navigate the web, if you’re a developer or entreprenuer, you might want to create widget for the site yourself.  The ability to widgetize your website or application might make the difference if you’re looking for funding (or of course, entering the Knight News Challenge).

To end on a slightly humorous note, does anyone else initially think of Guinness and their version of the widget when they hear the word “widget”?

Posted in Digital Media, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »