Category Archives: Media Evolution

Newspaper v Internet: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em

While most newspapers are trying to stake bigger claims online, one new publication is pulling material off the Internet to be printed in ink. John Wilpers, editor in chief of BostonNow, a free weekday daily introduced last month, said he wanted to fill the paper with items that local bloggers submitted to the BostonNow Web site. Last week, editors began culling posts and running excerpts next to articles from reporters and newswires. The blog items, which appear in gray boxes, are still relatively few, but Mr. Wilpers said he thought the feature would grow.

Mr. Wilpers, who previously edited two other free commuter newspapers, Metro Boston and The Washington Examiner, said he wanted to address what he believed was the news industry’s biggest problem: an inability to connect with the communities it covers.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of smarts to look out at the Internet and see thousands writing on their communities, whether they be geographic or thematic,” Mr. Wilpers said. “They’re writing about Jamaica Plain or Dorchester or the Boston music scene or windsurfing on Massachusetts Bay.” BostonNow also hopes to help connect bloggers with fans. With a current circulation of about 85,000, BostonNow potentially offers a much larger readership than most local bloggers are used to. The greater exposure could translate into increased ad revenue for their own sites.


Read this article
from the New York Times

It’s no surprise that “print” is looking for new revenue answers online, but gimmicky solutions aren’t the answer. The history of media evolution suggests those mediums that can’t adapt or integrate, die. (Least we assume the Internet is the end-all, be-all of communications media.) Although newspapers face this challenge, it’s not like publishers have to reinvent the wheel to get good content online. The bigger obstacle is getting everyone to understand you can still make money in a subscription-free environment.

Previously from What’s New Media…all things web meets newspaper.

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Filed under Blogosphere, Business 2.0, History of New Media, Media Evolution, When New Meets Old

What does the Internet inherit from TV and what does that say about us?

The designers and programmers of internet settings may indicate that images and events are distributed in real time and as they happen, the technologies are alive, and that the form is unique, but television and internet sites employ similar narratives about liveness, intimacy, and spatial entrances. Internet renderings of liveness suggest that representations are unmediated because images and texts are presented at the same time as the viewer is watching. This makes the various mediated and constructed aspects of the technologies, including the continuation of normative beliefs about gender, race, and sexuality, easier to ignore. Considering how television structures the viewer, historical and critical writings about television liveness, and narratives about internet liveness, and applying this literature to webcams and other internet settings, indicates that these internet renderings are a part of ongoing cultural conventions and provides methods to resist the more stereotyped aspects of these representations.

Description for Michele White’s Television and Internet Differences by Design from Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2006)

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Filed under Media Evolution, Technology, our Mirror, When New Meets Old

What’s new if new is cliche

This article reports on Web 2.0, the end of cyberspace, and the internet of things. It proposes that these concepts have synergies both with the current fashion for modifying physical objects with the features of virtual objects, as evidenced in O’Reilly’s MAKE magazine and similar projects, and with the potential technologies for collective intelligence described by Bruce Sterling, Adam Greenfield, Julian Bleecker and others. It considers Alex Pang’s research on the end of cyberspace and asks whether the ‘new’ of new media writing will have any meaning in a world that is updated by the microsecond every time there is fresh activity in the system.

Description for Sue Thomas’ The End of Cyberspace and Other Surprises from the Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2006)

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Filed under Media Evolution, Virtual Reality, web 2.0

Unfound, unused data is just clutter

Data is not information unless you can find it. But information can’t be applied to knowledge in the absence of the means by which to use it. Access must yield meaningful information in order to turn bits of code into valuable and actionable business information. I like to think about it this way: libraries house rich caches of data in the form of books, but finding the exact piece of information you seek requires some level of research and library science expertise. Wouldn’t it be ideal if the information you seek could somehow be collected and organized for you, in the format and context in which you want it? And wouldn’t it be even more helpful if it was assembled for you, not just from the local collection, but from libraries in Singapore, Milan, Minneapolis and Copenhagen? Some early examples of this new approach to information management illuminate its enormous possibilities

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Being buried in data isn’t a new problem, but the issue has grown exponentially in recent years, as more and more data pours through corporate networks and the Internet. IDG recently dubbed this phenomenon the “digital big bang,” and a quick look at data growth shows why. In digital terms, 161 exabytes (or 161 billion gigabytes) of information was created, captured and replicated in 2006. But by 2010, this number will explode to an estimated 988 exabytes. Much of this data will be created by you and me, individuals. IDC found that 70 percent of the data is created by end users and over the Web. In one day, YouTube streams more than 100 million videos, while 1 billion MP3 files are shared over the Internet daily. The increasing convenience and ubiquity of digital devices also add to the explosion.

Web 2.0 flips the information delivery model upside down–it’s now about global access, and information at your fingertips, aggregated from sources that you don’t even necessarily know about, or care where they exist. Based on a set of search criteria, information in all its rich forms–media, video, audio, images, documents, text–all will be assembled together in context and delivered to users and applications for real-time experience….As information is effectively harnessed, hidden insights will appear that were previously buried in mountains of unorganized data, and more and smarter discoveries will result.

Read this perspective from EMC’s Chief Development Officer Mark Lewis (via C|Net)

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Filed under Aggregate, Media Evolution, Productivity, Search, Tools, Ubiquity, User generated content, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

Web Widgets become serious business

The rise of widgets was caused by several factors including the adoption of RSS, the expansion of the blogosphere, growth of social networks, fashion of self-expression and the democratization of the web at large. Originally, the goal of widgets was to simply deliver a miniaturized version of a specific piece of content outside of the primary web site…A major development in the history of widgets occured just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. The goal of this effort is to standardize how widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent, follows W3C principles, and is as interoperable as possible with existing market-leading user agents on which widgets are run.

from The Evolution of Web Widgets: From Self-Expression to Media Companies at the Read/Write Web

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Productivity, Tools, web 2.0

Crowdsourcing: Business v Users

I understand crowdsourcing as kind of an industrial age, corporatist framing of a cultural phenomenon. There’s human energy being expended here. A company can look at that as either a threat — to their copyrights and intellectual property or as some unwanted form of competition — or, if they see it positively, then they see it as almost this new affinity group population to be exploited as a resource. And I guess what I’m undecided on and debating internally is whether this is fine. In other words, am I naïve to think this isn’t the death knell for a community-oriented, collaborative, open source ethos? Has corporate America finally figured out the way to arrest this shift in the balance of power? Or do we let them believe they are doing this when actually it is human participation and collaboration going on, the kind of thing I would promote.

More from filmmaker Douglas Rushkoff from WIRED’s What Does Crowdsourcing Really Mean?

Subvert and Profit fills the niche market for ‘darker’ crowdsourced actions. Beginning by operating a black market for votes on social bookmarking services, S&P will bootstrap itself towards operating a full-fledged crowdsourcing marketplace for clandestine actions on the Internet. Striving to maintain our allure and underground appeal, we seek to represent the fundamentally subversive nature of the Internet….Our system has successfully placed a good deal of content on the front page of Digg. At this point, 2 out of 3 advertisements are successful, and we’re getting better. Ultimately our attempts are at the mercy of the Digg community. The average client buys 70 Diggs, though some clients prefer to gamble by purchasing 10-20, hoping that regular Digg users will carry them the rest of the way. We haven’t collected enough data from satisfied advertisers, though I’ve heard a story on Digg gets roughly 10,000 visitors. Once a blog I run under another name got over 30,000. All of this translates to organic marketing that is an order of magnitude cheaper than most other forms of Internet advertising.

More from “Ragnar Danneskjold” of Subvert & Profit from WIRED’s Exploring the Dark Side of Crowdsourcing

There are two ways that crowds are wise.

One way is that the crowds seem to average out certain kinds of nuttiness — which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not, so I don’t want to just say that is a wonderful thing. I remember one of the examples in James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, where a State Fair type gambit was guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar to win a prize, or something like that. The averages were much closer to the answer than the individual guesses. I think there are times when there is wisdom in response averaging, and that is one way crowds can be wise or smart.

The other way is in diversity. It turns out that for a system like Innocentive we are playing off the diversity angle much more. I go back to the Archimedes example. If you just take the story at face value, and I realize that is impossible to do — but if you could reproduce the sitting in the bathtub part, how could I ever build that into my R&D function? But if I go out to the large numbers of individuals in the crowd, somebody is going to sit in their bathtub at the right point in time.

Read more from Dr. Alpheus Bingham, co-founder of research & development firm Innocentive in WIRED’s Using Crowd Power for R&D

Get more Crowdsourcing and Digg content from previous WNM mentions.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Same as it ever Was, Social Media

The Death of Print; the Birth of an all-digital newspaper…but when?

Which major American newspaper should be the first to throw up its hands and stop publishing a print product? It’s a question worth asking. This could be the worst year for newspapers since the Great Depression. The double-digit revenue declines long forecast by doomsters have arrived. While nearly all the major papers still post profits, albeit smaller than before, a few prominent ones are losing boatloads…WHEN, EXACTLY, do you junk something that no longer works? And which major paper should go first—not today, but within the next 18 or 24 months?

Read Jon Fine’s When Do You Stop The Presses? from Business Week. Previously from WNM: Long, slow decline of the paper newspaper, Curling up with the Sunday (all digital) New York Times? and Teach your dog to fetch the digital newspaper.

On topic: Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice from the New York Times and A Handwritten Daily Paper in India Faces the Digital Future from WIRED

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Filed under Media Evolution, When New Meets Old