Category Archives: People

Key figures in the study of new media.

Me, MySpace and I: Teens don’t use new media, they live it

They don’t use technology, it simply is. It’s the main focus of their life. See, that’s the difference. A baby boomer and even a Gen X would say, “Well, I use the Internet” or “I use my cell phone a lot” or “I text message” and so on. Gen X learned how to use technology, whereas the Net Gen kids were raised steeped in technology and they don’t use it, it just simply is.

Read an interview
with Me, MySpace and I author Larry Rosen from C|Net. Previously from WNM: All things new media + teens


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Filed under People, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, The Reading Room, Virtual Communities

Rise of the Amateur class, II

But one of Keen’s central arguments — that the internet, by its all-inclusive nature and easy access, opens the door to amateurism-as-authority while at the same time devaluing professional currency — deserves a full airing. Basically, I think he’s right to criticize what he calls the “cut and paste” ethic that trivializes scholarship and professional ability, implying that anybody with a little pluck and the right technology can do just as well….But opportunity and desire alone do not professional historians or journalists or pundits make. There’s this process known as “learning your craft” and “paying your dues” that all professionals must endure. Sorry, but trolling the web and blogging from your darkened study doesn’t qualify as on-the-job training.

Read Tony Long (aka “the Luddite”)’s response to Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture. Previously from WNM: Rise of the Amateur class. Contribute your knowledge of Keen’s book at the Whats New Media Wiki.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Media Evolution, People, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room, User generated content, web 2.0

Decentralized terror networks mirror open source development

The former Air Force counter-terrorism officer, technology analyst, and software entrepreneur recognized early, early on the kind of threat we were facing. That’s because he had seen it before, in the digital realm. These overlapping terror networks looked and acted a lot like the open source software community online: independent operators that are quick to learn, quick to change, quick to swarm, and beyond dangerous to any competitor.

Read the full interview with Brave New War author John Robb from WIRED. Previously from WNM: 4GW: Network warfare. Do networks neutralize traditional military might?

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Filed under Networks, Open Source, People

Prabhakar Raghavan’s thoughts on semantic search

Ragahavan started with the premise that people don’t want to search, but rather to get tasks done. Search engines spend very little time servicing you compared to the time you spend doing queries, evaluating results, and so on. This is backwards–why aren’t machines should be working harder than we are. He proposes that the grand challenge is to devise general platforms for semantic searches–that is searches that are able to derive meaning from the search terms presented to them.

Read this item from ZDNet’s Between the Lines

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Filed under People, Search, The Semantic Web

INet: Your friendly anti-imperial web infrastructure

We have trouble. After 40 years of development and almost 20 years of commercial use, the Internet is getting clogged up. We have more spam than legitimate e-mail, more advertising than content, and a few not very well-behaved protocols making trouble for all of us (more on this part next week), with the result that real utility is beginning to drop for many Internet users, who have to buy more and more bandwidth in order to effectively keep the same service level. Yes, we have trouble, and it is compounded by the current popularity of Internet video, which has knocked Moore’s Law on its ear through the willingness of whole cascades of companies to lose money to show us dogs dancing and children falling off bikes. But what’s to be done? With tens of billions invested in Internet infrastructure and services, we can hardly shut the darned thing down and start over, can we?…Back to the Internet, David says to shut it down! Or maybe it would be more correct to say he wants to shut it OUT. And I have to tell you that his argument is growing on me. David wants to essentially hijack the current Domain Name System and replace it with something better. The Internet backbone and your ISP wouldn’t have to change, so that expensive infrastructure would remain in place. Only the way we use it would be different. David’s replacement for the Internet is called the Independent Network, or Inet. With David every new invention gets a clever name….David, who is not American, sees the U.S.-controlled Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as an imperialist tool, which is also pretty much the way the Bush Administration sees it, too, though the Bushies are proud rather than upset. So David wants the Inet to first unseat ICANN from power. If users want to participate in the Inet, they have to accept the Inet’s Terms and Conditions, which say that ICANN has no authority here, thanks.

Read Robert Cringely’s column, Just Say No and the David Harrison manifesto, The Independent Network – An Alternative to the Internet. Previously from WNM: The need for an Internet “do over” and all things ICANN.

Contribute your knowledge of David Harrison, ICANN and The Independent Network: An Alternative to the Internet to the Whats New Media Wiki.

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Media Evolution, Networks, People, Regulation, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room

Rise of the Amateur class

In a deliciously subversive new book, The Cult of the Amateur, which debuts in June, (Andrew) Keen recounts the many ways in which technology is remaking our culture and society….The subtitle of his book states his thesis bluntly: “How the democratization of the digital world is assaulting our economy, our culture, and our values.”

Read this commentary from C|Net’s Charles Cooper and visit Andrew Keen’s blog, his ZDNet blog, The Great Seduction and his article in the Whats New Media wiki (irony alert). More commentary from ZDNet’s Between the Lines. Nicholas Carr has a few thoughts of his own on the subject.

Previously from WNM:

  • Are Wikis too amateur, too flawed for academia?
  • Wikis and Wikipedia: Who’s writing this stuff?
  • Amateur Hour? Journalism without journalists.
  • The Internet and the actualization of Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame.
  • Is the future of ad creative in the hands of amateurs (
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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Blogosphere, Media Evolution, People, The Politics of New Media, The Reading Room, User generated content, web 2.0

    Where to begin: How about Bruce Sterling’s Talk at SXSW 2007

    Rare authors commment: Ok, normally I quote interesting sections of at least semi-interesting articles relating to new media, but I’d like to suggest that all students, faculty, and people just generally interested in the subject, give a listen to WIRED’s Bruce Sterling at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW).

    Included in Sterling’s “rant” (really, rant connotes a lack of focus, which Sterling rarely seems to have):

    – A discrediting of the term “convergence
    – Why broadband “eats everything”
    – How Digital Rights Management (DRM) will play out…maybe
    – “Commons based peer production
    Net neutrality
    – People to who say interesting and relevant things: Lev Manovich and Yochai Benkler
    – al-qaeda as a perfect example of Benkler’s wealth of networks
    – The “verbing” of Google and Wikipedia (and why that’s significant)
    – Blogs: The least potent of mediums and probably a passing fad
    – Why spectrum auctioning is the most important thing you’re not paying attention to
    – Computers are great tools of expression, but bad appliances

    If any of this sounds interesting to you, give a listen (mp3 file on the page) and follow some commentary on it at MetaFilter.

    Also, for those in the know, please add to the “Bruce Sterling” article in the Whats New Media Wiki.

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    Filed under A Culture of Participation, Blogosphere, Digital Commons, Fair Use, Media Evolution, Net Neutrality, Networks, P2P (Peer to Peer), People, Productivity