Political Social Media

Al Gore joins gated community conference

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I gather Al Gore is joining the lineup for the Web 2.0 Summit in September. In his weblog, John Battelle writes:

Those of you following my posts around the theme of this year’s Web 2 Summit already know that we’re expanding the scope of the conference this year, and asking a core question: How can we apply the lessons of the Web to the world at large?

I have to ask: is an invite-only conference for the elite with primarily white, male speakers really the place to answer this question? Especially a conference beginning the day after we (hopefully) elect a black man for president?

Social Media

Dr. Horrible and twittering under the table

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The sparkling new site has coverage of the Dr. Horrible panel at the SDCC (Comic-Con).

All the cast members showed up, including “Penny” who spent the first part of the panel Twittering under the table—an event sure to follow her throughout her career.

Whedon has hinted that there will be more Dr. Horrible shows. Not surprising considering the popularity of the shows. Hopefully Dr. Horrible won’t go the same route as the “Sanctuary” web-based series—staged to use the enthusiasm of web fans only as a means to grease the way to a “real” show on a “real” TV channel (more on Sanctuary in a later posting).

Social Media

Wikipedia: less wiki more pedia

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Interesting. Wikipedia may be instituting an approval system. If the current experiment detailed in the Times article expands to all of Wikipedia, any change made to an article by a person who hasn’t made 300 or more previous edits will be held in moderation until approved. Contrary to the juicy exclamations of delight, this is actually counter to the original premise behind Wikipedia. Or at least, counter to my original expectations of Wikipedia.

Originally, I thought that Wikipedia would be edited by millions of people, focused specifically on areas of intense interest and expertise. Because of this, I would assume very few people would make 300 or more edits. Contrary to some people’s belief, we all don’t know everything. Additionally, if you’re expert in one topic or another, you don’t have time to spend hours at Wikipedia making changes, much less making edits across a wide variety of topics.

What the new philosophy means, then, is that these expert changes will now be held in review by people who are, for wont of a better term, know-it-alls. And until one of these know-it-alls has the time to check the change, it doesn’t show up at the site.

Supposedly the entire reasoning behind this move is to eliminate vandalism. However, I’ve not seen vandalism in most of the articles I’ve read at Wikipedia. Of course, I never use Wikipedia to get information about a “controversial” topic, either. It also seems to me that if an article is vandalized, someone fixes it fairly quickly. Then there are concerns about the “tyranny of the editors” at Wikipedia, and I’m not sure this move would add to the warm and fuzzy feeling about the site.

Regardless of the good or bad of the idea, what a time for Seth to go on vacation. Great cartoon, though.

update Looking at Kathy Sierra’s entry in Wikipedia and the history of revisions (per discussion in comments), I noticed edits by Seth. Now Seth would be one of the authorities eligible to OK edits under the proposed new plan under consideration, because he has made many edits, usually to wikify an article, or correct grammar or reverse vandalism. If anyone could be guaranteed to remain neutral regarding any article, it would be Seth. I imagine the same could be said of other people whose main contribution to Wikipedia is to wikify articles, or make grammar and spelling corrections. So I need to be careful about associating 300+ edits with a person being a “know-it-all”.

However, I’d still hate that an edit of mine on, say, the supposed hidden Confederate gold in the limestone caves of Missouri, would have to wait on even Seth’s official okee dokee. I’d probably edit once, and then never edit again.

Copyright Social Media

Mobs 2.0 and the AP

I’ve withheld writing before on the AP fooflah, primarily because writing counter to the Mob is about the same as throwing a sandbag on a levee that’s already broken. Now the Mob is descending on the Media Bloggers Association because Rogers contacted that organization for legal advice, and the organization’s lead knows the AP folks.

The noise is that the Media Bloggers Association doesn’t represent the webloggers, which is something that the MBA has never claimed. What’s really at stake, though, is discovering that, as I thought and wrote in comments to some of last week’s posts, there is more to this story than first appeared with Rogers’ initial posting. The concept of waiting to hear all the facts, though, seems to be anathema in this environment now. Report first and maybe fact check some other time seems to be the credo of a disappointing large number of A listers who actually call themselves “journalists”.

What’s particularly sad about this recent variation of the AP fooflah, isn’t so much that the MBA is representing “all” bloggers so much, but that people like Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, at Making Light, seem to be offended that Robert Cox is getting attention, which we assume, should be directed at Jeff Jarvis, Michael Arrington, Matthew Ingram, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. This following digging up an old AP form, set up for businesses who want to incorporate AP content into their material, and making a breathless and astonishing leap of judgment that this is what the AP’s answer to webloggers is going to be. Talk about manufacturing facts out of whole cloth— this, this is our newest form of journalism?

How much of this is really based on outrage and how much is based on wanting to generate attention is a difficult to separate at this time— a fact that should give us serious pause. The outrage is disproportionate to the event, until such time as the AP comes out with more information about what they feel is, or is not, fair use. Remember, it doesn’t make the organization evil because it wants to provide clarification as to its interpretation of fair use. Also remember that just because you’re a blogger doesn’t mean you get to set all the rules. We’re not six year olds, demanding our lollies.

Scott Rosenberg has a good point in that it is important to hear the AP’s guidelines and interpretation of fair use, because both could have far reaching impact on how we write in these spaces. However, Rosenberg has not joined the “burn ’em first, ask questions later” war path; deciding to join with others, including Denise Howell at Lawgarithms, and the New York Time’s Saul Hansell, in wanting to find out the facts, first, before taking match to the current effigy du jour.

What’s chilling about this event is Michael Arrington’s post deriding Hansell for his coverage of this event. Hansell’s coverage has presented both sides of this issue, in a manner that is both thoughtful and level headed. In particular, he deplored the over the top reactions among some webloggers, including demands for AP boycotts, the benefit of which will only increase the exposure of a few at the expense of the many. To chastise him for what is nothing more than decent reporting is to chastise anyone daring to have a differing opinion from The Mob.

What I’m seeing with Arrington and the others is a demand for group think; an it’s their way or the highway implicit directive that, to me, is a greater threat to truly free and open communication within weblogging than anything the AP can or will do.

Social Media


Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I received an email about so-and-so wanting to connect with me on Flickr. I was a little surprised because I don’t promote my Flickr account–I use it for testing, only. I was flattered that they had taken the time to look for me on Flickr.

There was a second one a few hours later, and again I was surprised. I thought perhaps it was me appearing in the first person’s contact list that prompted the invite. I wasn’t as flattered, but still felt somewhat warmed by the act.

With the third invitation, I knew that the invites were less a matter of the person being interested in me, or my photos, and more interested in participating in some new social software gizmo.

Then I read Marshall Kirkpatrick’s writing on the new “Find a Friend” feature from Yahoo, where the company will scan your gmail contacts for a match on Flickr and allow you to send an invite with no more effort than check a box or push a button. There went any warmth; any momentary feeling of being remembered.

Marshall wrote:

I liked it when I tried it, I connected with some interesting people on Flickr that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I wouldn’t appreciate it, though, if certain people from my past who have otherwise forgotten about me were now prompted to check out my photos on Flickr. If blog comment spammers I’ve had nasty email exchanges with were suddenly prompted to friend me on Flickr, I wouldn’t like that very much either.

It was just tools talking to each other, and I was nothing more than a discrete bit of data and a way for people to fluff up their contact list with a minimum of effort. I could have been Joe, or Sally, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Rather than feeling more connected, I feel less.