Monthly Archives: July 2007

links for 2007-07-31

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Who makes the rules in society 2.0?

I’m away at the moment which has given me some time to recollect some very cold coffee thoughts – this time from the New Year…

It’s Life Jim, but not as we know it.

Spock’s “no-shit-Sherlock” diagnosis has been disturbing my thoughts of cold coffee due to constant New Year editorial round ups (don’t you hate these and why do you still read them?) showcasing the Second Lifer who earnt himself a million bucks in a virtual world. I don’t mean to be ungracious, also putting aside traditional British aversion to money-making, but where is the justice? We go to work in a real place, deal with real life issues and no virtual god gives me such reward. There some new rules here. In fact where do the new rules stop?

It’s a long time since the Iron Lady claimed that there was no such thing as society. This morning, I the get feeling she was doubly wrong.  Not only is society flourishing, the Red movement et al,  but we all seem to be building another dimension to society – Society 2.0 I think it is called. Before everyone groans with the pain of point-zero-itis, hear me out. I was with you until the virtual millionaire.

If the virtual world can make real money then what about real politics online?  Who is the representative, the congressman or deputy for the online community? Who protects the interest for the time indeed the life we spend online? I don’t imagine George Bush or Vlad Putin would be voted into the role. It’s often said in Internet worlds the rules are made from the bottom up and that it is about the democratization of everything. So, Iraq apart, this trend toward democratization seems a truism but heck all of the people can’t be right all of the time. Who’s going to make the decisions and solve the arguments?

Then I suppose there are the rules around the bigger business picture. How will value be determined if there are only ever virtual business partners? What if companies themselves become dissolvable and the ideas lives online?  Okay, I am getting silly now and nasty memories of the new economy and multi-million valuations of revenue-less companies are spoiling my dreams of a swiftly cooling coffee. Then again, is this any sillier than the price paid for Youtube, or a millionaire on Second Life?  Thoughts?

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One for the pedants

Typical, hardly anything to interfere with….

Defining Society 2.0?

Drinking all this coffee is giving me a headache. Plus everyone is having a go at me about the name Society2.0. In fact a faceless pedant at The World’s Leading said something that rhymed with ‘it’s a load of tank.’

Part of the problem is that anything 2.0 has become so ambiguous, not to say clichéd, that it makes people retch. But this reaction hides the point that 2.0 is about fundamental changes in the way we communicate brought on by web2.0 and social media – and this is having a serious impact on society. Now I am not sure what these changes are but in the spirit of participation I’d like to ask any one who cares to help with the definition. As a pay back for its scorn TWL has agreed to facilitate this debate see and also I have some coffee to finish. So Society2.0 is just short hand for now if anyone can give me something better then I would love to hear from you.


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The future is DERTy

I often think of DERT when drinking strong coffee.  Indeed one of the defining features of Society 2.0 is perhaps it’s DERTiness.   When I say DERT I obviously mean the mashing of media, culture and entertainment with technology that is relentlessly transforming so many pleasures.  Remember album covers, ads at the beginning of video cassettes, grotty cinemas and two colour computer games?  Today everything is glossy, electronic and malleable and frankly I blame the iPod.  I feel it’s gone too far what happens when film becomes so dumbed down due to ‘new’ distribution models that Die Hard looks like Citizen Kane who is going to fund the next Beatles when free downloads erode the music industry economics? 

 DERT is shorthand for digital, entertainment, right and technology and king of DERTy thinking is Will O’Connor.  Below is a random sample of the things he e-mails me do you get my point?

Blogging – amplifyig the public domain. Interesting position. What do events rights owners actually control now? With everyone capable of reporting on an event in real-time, with wildly varying levels of commentary quality, how does a sports events organiser actually control the product?Death to the CD… digital freedom is here at last(?)I tend to disagree with the notion that MP3 will seal the fate of CDs.  MP3 serves the convenience-culture, it offers the quick-fix answer but lacks the tactile, physical ownership that comes with a CD purchase. SSuperior audio quality (and the ability to rip to MP3 (un-DRM’d anyway) makes it versatile, while the album art is something that an MP3 player can never truly replicate. Casper at OMM has a slightly different take on it…Caspar Llewellyn Smithm in the Observer Sunday April 29, 2007 The Observer Chances are that Arctic Monkeys will break a new record today, with every track from their Favourite Worst Nightmare – an album that bracingly offers the sound of yesterday, today! – poised to smash into the Top 75 singles chart. For a group that deals in a primitive sort of rock’n’roll, that’s pretty evolved behaviour, even if this is thanks to the relaxation of the chart rules at the start of this year, allowing downloads to count towards final chart placings. First MySpace poster-boys – although the Sheffield tyros scoffed at that notion themselves – and now this. Article continuesIt looks like another notch on the bedpost for the digital Casanovas – those who’d seduce you into believing that a wired-up world is where it’s at – with more good news to follow. If the rumours are true, the antiquarian bookseller Amazon (est. 1995) will finally launch its own music download service within weeks. Hold tight, because this is going to be like Godzilla versus King Kong, although it’s not quite clear whether Amazon founder Jeff Bezos or Apple and iTunes chief exec Steve Jobs will get to wear the gorilla outfit.Events have changed swiftly since EMI announced in January that it would service digital stores like iTunes with digital-rights management (DRM)-free tracks. For those who haven’t been paying attention, the nub of it is that, at the moment, tracks bought from iTunes can only be played on an iPod when you’re out and about – which is why that other fancy-dan MP3 player you were once given immediately joined your own private museum of obsolescent electronic devices.Steve Jobs at Apple has blamed this state of affairs on the record companies, citing their zealous insistence on DRM systems in order to prevent piracy. But from next month Apple will sell music from artists signed to the ailing EMI without any kind of protection, albeit at a 30 per cent higher price. (If that makes the whole business sound a little sleazy, you wouldn’t be far wrong.) Reports suggest that Amazon is in talks with the other labels so that, when they launch, every track on offer will be DRM-free. What might happen next is far from clear, but for most interested parties it sounds like good news. As a staff blogger on the Wired News website argued this week: ‘Consumers will have a lot more choice in where they buy and where they can play their music, the [other] online stores get to sell content on to iPods, and the record companies might start making enough money to stop them suing everyone.’ Phew.Finally we can all stop fretting about the fate of the industry. Even better, we can start celebrating the imminent demise of the CD. Right now, that might sound silly. However many downloads Arctic Monkeys end up selling, 85,000 CDs flew out of the shops on Monday. Globally, downloads still account for only 10 per cent of the market. But for aesthetic reasons if nothing else, the day that the last CD gets melted into an ashtray will be a day to savour.It’s funny to hear Paul McCartney – one of our most forward-thinking artists – say he really wanted to make his new CD ‘a desirable object’. However nice the artwork for Memory Almost Full, which is released in early June, it’s hard to imagine anyone making a fetish of a plastic jewel case. The point is presumably that Macca’s 21st solo album is also his first since leaving EMI to sign a deal with the Starbucks-backed label Hear Music – another sign of how the business is changing. On the day of its release, every one of the coffee chain’s 45 million customers will hear the former Beatle’s record playing in-store and be tempted to pick up a copy. (Plus you can bet there have been discussions about creating a special Macca-ccino.)Of course, many people won’t be interested in the intricacies of such deals, but rather in whether Macca dishes the dirt on Mucca. The Sun has revealed that the record contains lines such as: ‘Nobody here to spoil the view/ Interfere with my plans’. Having actually heard the thing myself, I can add: ‘I’ve got too much on my plate/ Don’t have the time to be a decent lover’. But then the next song takes a different tack: ‘She makes me feel glad/ I want her so bad/ My heart is beating madly for her’. So go figure. Yet others will simply take pleasure from the fact that it’s a cracking record with some nifty tunes.So death to the CD. But its replacement – the digital download – is far from perfect. One problem for real music fans lies in the changing face of charity shops. ‘It’s the big chains,’ Andy Jupp, the self-styled Charity Shop DJ, told me earlier this week. It is his bugbear that in trying to update their image, leading charities like Oxfam and Save the Children won’t stock just any old vinyl any more. ‘People bring in their old records, thinking they’ll find a home, but they just get carted straight out the back and end up as landfill. Really, it’s a scandal.’ So where should one look for that rare James Last disc they’ve been coveting for years? ‘Try the Cats Protection league,’ is his advice.Sunday April 29, 2007 The ObserverWho has the Rights?The North Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) could be taken to court after evicting a newspaper reporter from a baseball press box for blogging about a game while it was in progress.  All after the jump“Reporters covering our championships may blog about the atmosphere, crowd and other details during a game but may not mention anything about game action. Any reference to game action in a blog or other type of coverage could result in revocation of credentials,” says the NCAAThe N.C.A.A. decision at the baseball tournament was ostensibly to protect the broadcasting rights that were sold to ESPN, which was telecasting the game, and CBS, the official Internet provider of detailed descriptions for N.C.A.A. baseball tournament games.An ESPN spokesman, Mike Humes, said: “To be honest, we didn’t ask for it. They didn’t consult us.” Bearby, the N.C.A.A. lawyer, said the N.C.A.A. initiated the action because “the entertainment event or sporting event has the ability to limit access to who gets that firsthand account.”  We’re going to be posting some of the cooler stuff we see up here; it’s a reference space for everything DERTy on the interweb.I’ll kick things off with a really cool WebTV site I found call Oreseg. It’s not so much what it does, more the way it does it (typically derty).  The two-way scrollable mechanic looks amazing, and it’s really intuitive. It’s a bit limited in its scope as it’s not searchable, though all the available clips are categorised in to vertical genres (documentary, anime, news, sport, people) and from there you can move vertically between the availbale videos.Visually it’s really cool but most of the content is Japanese so English speakers – you’ll have a to dig a little deeper to find the UGC nuggets.Get scrolling.April 15th, 2007
Categories: Web TV, Digital Video, Links . Author: Will O’Connor Edit this entry


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Is Society 2.0 a world of critics?

It’s the transparency stupid!

So cold coffee in San Francisco … not good too milky … but even worse you can’t escape the news anywhere. Pictures of bombs and images in the UK made their way within 5 minutes to West Coast and rest assured at 2am Hargreaves was still working hard. Then in the papers on the way back reading cc TV pictures of burning jeeps and people it occurred to me that this frenzied media overload is another factor of society 2.0. It’s less about the technology than the transparency that results, the 24 hour monitoring of everything.

This means you can’t hide things anymore and you can’t just say how it’s going to be without some kind of backlash whether it’s the decision to go to war or an Olympic logo. Now while this good and all democratic I am wondering whether it just makes life too stressful. I mean once upon a time people were paid to design or make war and they were the expert and the rest of us had a sense of respect. Today this transparency means we are all expected to have a view, so is Society2.0 a world of critics? And is this truly a good thing? A critique would be welcome …

Jordi Ballera adds his two penneth..

Of course it’s a good thing. That is what we call the social construction of meaning. Both transparency and collaborative technologies help to promote ethical standards and moral values through dialogue and interaction. Maybe this is making life stressful… I don’t know. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to participate or not. But don’t forget that there is no citizenship without participation.

Simon Collister (blogger extraordinaire) also views his opinion…

Agree entirely with Jordi.

The social construction of knowing or meaning is creating a major change in the way we produce and consume knowledge. ‘Experts’ have grown traditionally through our construction of knowledge and knowing which has relied on filtering and sorting information to help us get a grip on the most ‘important’ bits. To decode the ‘important’ bits we needed a top-down process where ‘experts’ made the important decisions for the public (David Weinberger also argues this was a highly political way of evolving knowledge as power was inherent in the process).

As more and more people get the chance to impart their own, personal expertise, traditional power structures of business, politics, etc must adapt to this openness/transparency in order help shape knowledge and understanding. This may be stressful but partly because it is such a sea-change in the way we – as an industry and society – work.

Always one for self-promotion I posted a little bit about understanding the need for genuine transparency (the type Jordi notes is vital for participation in civil society) last week here. I would also definitely recommend reading David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous).

An argument with myself … so I agree with you both BUT I also disagree. A-political societies don’t have a means of resolving arguments and often tend to chaos that leaves a vacuum into which emotions and extremism replaces rational debate and expertise. See Noelle Neumann’s book Spiral of Silence that looks at this process in Weimar Germany and the rise of Nazism. My midnight fear is that this a-political process could occur in Society 2.0 …

Simon finally adds a final thought:

You’re right again, Jonathan….. but Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence specifically addresses public opinion as manipulated through media as a mass communication channel. I would argue the internet is a network used by individuals – do traditional media/mass communication theories still apply (I don’t know by the way!).

Perhaps apolitical societies traditionally fell into chaos leading to the rise of super-elites (Nazism?) because individuals didn’t have access to a platform allowing debate…. but… wait for it… doesn’t the internet provide just that?

All good debate… shall we organise a series of briefing events/workshops to explore these issues? Kind of a New Media Academic Summit for the UK/Europe… 😉

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