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November 2008

Posts from October 2008

Convergence Culture Consortium

C3 Newsletter

A couple of weeks back I wrote this article TIGS manifesto thing for MIT's Convergence Culture Consortium Newsletter.

The piece was a prose extension of the presentation I gave at Interesting NYC, which is itself derived from an earlier prose version I wrote ages ago.

Faris' newsletter piece lays out the artistic legacy of "recombinant culture," that which has most recently manifested as the remix, the fanvid, and the mash-up. In doing so, he makes an implicit argument not only for remixing as legitimate, transformative, creative work that goes beyond mere copying (and, implicitly, beyond "piracy"), but is in fact integral to the new media landscape.

Ontological translation comes full circle, updated with reference to things like Ubiquity [which will change everything once it actually works].

You can read the whole thing here.

The closing note was written by media scholar Alice Marwick, who kindly gave me permission to repost her work, about the nature of cultural logic of celebrity.

It's awesome and hopefully she will post part 2 on her blog.

Alice will be speaking at FOE3 - yet another reason why you should be there.

The Cubed Futures of Entertainment


Futures of Entertainment is a conference hosted by MIT Comparative Media Studies and Convergence Culture Consortium.

[As it says in the picture above. Sorry.]

It's the brainchild of Henry Jenkins, who I've stolen so much genius from I should probably give him a co-author credit on TIGS.

Last year, Henry noticed I had been stealing his ideas, and invited me over to FOE2 to explain myself.

He was completely awesome and the conference was mind blowing. There was some legendary people speaking. I wrote up a summary of it here.

And you can download video podcasts of the talks and panels here - I was on a panel about the future of advertising.

I met someone wonderful friends there who continue to blow me away every time I see / speak / tweet  them.

I shall be going back this year. It's held at MIT, in Cambridge, MA on the 21st and 22nd of November.

You should come too.

It's one of the most eye opening conferences I have ever had the pleasure of attending.

See you there - first round is on me.

[You want to do that thing in the picture with your fingers now, don't you? It's ok, go on. No one is looking.]

The Second Age of Conversation


A while ago, Drew and Gavin got a hundred bloggers to all write a chapter each of a book and then sold the book for Variety the Children's Charity.

It was called the Age of Conversation and was a remarkable feat of digital cat herding.

Because they are masochistic and like doing things for Variety, they have just done it again, this time with 237 authors from 15 countries.

The result is the Age of Conversation 2 which went on sale this morning.

Please go and buy it right now. Go on.

All proceeds go to help kids that need help - making this officially a GOOD THING - and you get a book with lots of interesting stuff in it thrown in free with the warm feeling.

I wrote a thing about the need for technology to be incorporated into the creative process, but don't let that put you off.

Look at all the other people who wrote chapters:

A   Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi

B   Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich

C   C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson

D   Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner

E   Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller

F   Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson

G   Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming

H   Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber

J   J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster

K   Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski

L   Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux

M   Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel

N   Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice

O   Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz

P   Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman

R   Rachel Steiner, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen

S   Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Sreeraj Menon, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood

T   Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman

U   Uwe Hook

V   Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau

W   Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff

Y   Yves Van Landeghem

So if you read a page and love it or think it's nonsense, you can go straight the source and discuss it, which is nice and conversational.

she being Brand

Mark and I

Over on Herd Mark has very flatteringly suggested that he and I were separated at birth.

The core of his argument, expressed in e e cummings style, is our mutual love of Shirky and interest in the creation of solidarity goods.

I'm more than happy to be Mark's twain, and it reminded me of an e e cummings poem that I was first introduced to by the 1988 movie Plain Clothes

[The protagonist, a grown up guy pretending to be a high school kid to help uncover a murder, reads it out in class and gets his female teacher all hot and bothered. Weren't the 80s fun?]

Only upon reading it again did I realise it has the word Brand in the title, which is enough for me to quote it in its entirety. 

We can pretend it's about advertising and that.

[It's really about a car. Or sex. Or whatever you want it to mean. Isn't poetry fun?]


she being Brand

-new;and you
know consequently a
little stiff i was
careful of her and(having

thoroughly oiled the universal
joint tested my gas felt of
her radiator made sure her springs were O.

K.)i went right to it flooded-the-carburetor cranked her

up,slipped the
clutch(and then somehow got into reverse she
kicked what
the hell)next
minute i was back in neutral tried and

again slo-wly;bare,ly nudg. ing(my

lev-er Right-
oh and her gears being in
A 1 shape passed
from low through
second-in-to-high like
greasedlightning)just as we turned the corner of Divinity

avenue i touched the accelerator and give

her the juice,good


was the first ride and believe i we was
happy to see how nice she acted right up to
the last minute coming back down by the Public
Gardens i slammed on

brakes Bothatonce and

brought allofher tremB
to a:dead.


Vote Hour

Vote Hour

The lovely dudes at Google just let me know about this voting initiative called Vote Hour they have put together.

It's based on the insight that the number one reason people don't vote is because they were too busy.

So they are recruiting CEOs to make videos to encourage their employees to vote.

If you want the CEO of your company to sit among very distinguished company while helping get everyone to the booths, get them to upload a video.

And if you need to know where to vote, Google can help with that too.

Regressive Expressions (or Please Don't Use Twitter like a Billboard)


[From the always awesome XKCD]

One of the first things that happens when a new medium emerges is a form of communication transpostion - taking a model from a different platform and applying it to the new one.

When television first came online [excuse the garbled metaphor] programs consisted of people talking directly to camera - or radio on the television.

[This is different to Nokia's visual radio. Or maybe it's not. It's hard to know what visual radio is supposed to be.]

This is because new media allow new ways of communicating and we don't understand what they are to begin with.

I was talking about this with Noah at the Boards Summit.

The interesting thing about Twitter isn't necessarily what the inventors thought it would be.

It's not a microblogging platform - it's a microbroadcast platform.

The status updates give you a way to have conversations among a few hundred people in real time - something that simply wasn't possible before.

We are finding ways to actively communicate with larger social groups - technology is pushing up Dunbar's number, suggesting it may have been a practical, not cognitive limit.

Or that it can't account for the different kinds of relationships facilitated by social media and that.

Or something.

And that's really interesting.

[Brands are obsessed about having relationships with consumers. Ignoring that fact that very people want {or think they want} relationships with brands, they are never very clear about what kind of relationship they want.

Lover? Brother? Mother? Friend? Partner? Confidant? Adviser? Servant? Guest? Acquaintance? Nemesis? Mentor? Pal? Crony? Partner? Sidekick?]

The fact that you can microbroadcast phatic affection enables the formation of larger number of weak social ties. Or something.

It's difficult to know the right way to use emerging things. They are too visible, too new.

They are perhaps allowing the formation of new kinds of relationships: thinner relationships with people who we like and who like the stuff we like, who we want to keep up with but don't necessarily want to see very often or actively interact except maybe once in a while when we know they could help us out and vice versa because they are awesome at something we can't do and vice versa.

Which actually sounds like the kind of relationship I'd consider having with a brand.

But we probably shouldn't treat them as new billboard inventory.

Solidarity Goods

Speaking of the awesomeness of Clay Shirky, Niko sent me this interview clip with the man himself that David scored.

He mentions that that true social change of technology is only realised when it becomes boring [or invisible - I probably stole the idea from him, as well as Heidegger] and that we are currently in an email, not fbook, age

He then goes on to talk about something else that I've been trying to talk about for ages: how the fragmentation of culture doesn't mean the end of the passive massive - the binary opposition fallacy once again comes into play - it just means that there will be less mass things and more niche things.

Then he says something legendary, using a class of economic goods called solidarity goods.

Solidarity goods are goods that increase in value as the number of people enjoying them increases. He uses The Office as an example - the program is good, but it's better when you can talk about it with other people that have seen it.

He then points out that previously solidarity goods achieved their status via the scarcity of bandwidth.

When TV channels and other media were scarce you could reach mass audiences very easily - so everything on these channels became solidarity goods.

Now, something can only become a solidarity good if it actually interests the people - it needs to earn attention: it earns the right to be mass.

[Mr Shirky - if by any chance you read this, can I come audit one of your classes please?]