Archive for the 'blogging' Category

Trouble with Sports Blogging

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A recent NYT article about sports blogging raises all sorts of questions relevant to our course. It seems that major sports franchises do not like having photos and video of their games posted online without seeing some money in return. As a result, major league baseball and the NFL have imposed specific limits on the amount of game images a given site can post in the name of news coverage. News outlets, bloggers and other fans of the First Amendment are understandably irked.

While the internet, and its capacity for easy video and photo publication, have created this conflict, it seems to me that the central legal issue predates the “web difference”: Are professional sports matches either (1) news events that reporters should be free to photograph, record and write about as much as they want, or (2) proprietary works “owned” by the league, which a reporter can’t justify recording and posting online any more than he could a live musical. The answer, of course, probably lies somewhere in between.

Either way, I think the leagues are approaching the issue in a terribly short-sighted way. Seems to me that any damage done to their bottom line by losing eyeballs to blogs and news outlets is dramatically outweighed by the positives that come with media attention. By exercising too tight a grip on coverage of their games, the leagues risk alienating the media, and ultimately their fans.

A Human Rights Web Difference

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This is an interesting story on CNN right now. A UC Berkeley grad student was arrested while attending an anti-government rally in Cairo and used a Twitter message to to tell his friends. They then posted the message (and others that followed) on their blogs, and eventually UC Berkeley sent a lawyer to get him out of jail.

“Why Democrats Rule the Web”

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As a follow-up to the politics discussion from last week, here is article from TIME stating that McCain is behind the curve on the web…
Why Democrats Rule The Web

Also, here is an old article (from last summer) about Obama’s web campaign.

If the democrats truly rule the web, will that make a difference in the elections?

Facebook: Your One-Stop Shop for Web Updates

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Two announcements this week indicate that Facebook is on its way to becoming even more of an update site than it already is. First, Facebook is going to integrate updates from Flickr, Yelp, Picasa, and Delicious into the News Feed. Second, Six Apart, former owner of Live Journal, has developed a Facebook App called Blog It, which will let you update your Facebook status, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, and LiveJournal all at once. I find the first announcement very exciting. But I also found it surprising given Facebook’s increasingly strong position in the market for on-line photo sharing. Why increase the visibility of Flickr and Picasa to Facebook users that currently use Facebook to share photos? Evidently Facebook thinks they can expand their audience and uses to a wider population, but I think they risk losing their core users to other sites.

Transparency and Fundraising Online (warm-up for politics online project)

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Apparently the Clintons have decided to yield even more transparency after releasing their tax returns for the past 7 years. Now the Clinton campaign has unleashed a new technique for web fundraising. When you contribute online for the Pennsylvania primary, you can choose where you would like the money to go. The website, “MyPA” shows the campaigns’ progression in meeting goals for each category. The Clinton camp has been innovative; in the past there has been a musical contest, a chance to watch a debate with Bill and a chance to roll on the trail with Chelsea. Time will tell if this innovation can surpass Obama’s new million in a minute campaign, began by independent supporters.

Class Blog – April 8

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1:00 Our guest today is Ethan Zuckerman. As is traditional when we have guests, we are going around to introduce ourselves. (But don’t think this means that I’m going to give you credit for any comments!) Andres is back again today as well. Ethan works at the Berkman Center on the Global Voices project. He is a “geek,” says JP.

1:10 JP wonders whether we are making a difference in the reshaping of the media environment. We want to take a skeptical look at whether the changes in media are also changing the world. Often we have a habit of saying there is a difference in the media, but not looking at whether this causes is a difference in the world. Perhaps the new media is just replacing the old media, with the outside world remaining the same. So how much of a difference is the Web and new media actually making?

1:15 Ethan shows us a video of Alisa Miller giving a talk on Global News. The video began with a graphic showing how US-centric the US media is (though there is a lot of news from Iraq, for obvious reasons). The video looked at why we don’t hear as much about the outside world. US media has cut back on its foreign bureaus – a factor of economics primarily. Alisa Miller works at PRI (public radio international). Like Miller, Ethan likes to map the content of information on the web – he looks at how many stories are about each country, and uses Google News to do this to get a rough count. Once he gets this rough counts, he considers other demographics about the countries. For example, he may compare how much trading we have with a country to how much media attention it receives. A nations income is the strongest indicator of how much media it will get, along with whether the US is militarily involved in that country.

1:20 Would we get the same distortion results from media outlets in other countries? We do see some distortions, everyone is parochial. A question arises though, what would news look like if it were fair? Do we need to know so much about Britney Spears? Is this helping us function in the global economy? This is the background of Ethan’s work: does the Web change this discussion? Does it change what newspapers do and don’t cover? Does it even matter?

1:25 This brings us to Global Voices. So many people put information on the Web. Does anyone bother reading it? We recall the Shirky graph, showing us that it is very few sites that get most of the attention. JP interrupts – are we just replacing an old hegemony with a new one? Answers seem to take the form of “it depends.” The turnover rate is higher, the number of alternate voices is higher, the information presented is broader but blending of soft and hard news – but with all of this information, does anyone even bother to find it? The barrier to entry is so low, but does anyone cross the line?

1:30 The question then goes to whether there is value is just knowing that the information is out there, even if we don’t read it. How do we get people to want to read the information that is out there? How to we get people to be engaged?

1:40 Global media has a collection layer and a distribution layer. The collection layer, made up partially by AP and Reuters, are very international in their design, but it is very difficult to get an organization to break away from the stories that these agencies deem to be the most important. Ethan’s point is that the blogosphere is essentially the same. They mirror the stories in mainstream media, with a few exceptions. Is there a possibility of changing the agenda through the internet as it relates to the mainstream media?

1:45 A point is made that we are trained early to be western centric – our history classes are taught with a US and Western Europe focus. Right now, in the blogosphere, the three big topics are technology, politics, and beautiful women. There is no problem in getting people to pay attention to this, but how do we get people to pay attention to other things?

1:50 JP wonders what the agenda of the blogosphere is. In the Iran paper, one thing that was clear was the clusters of people that talked about specific topics in Iran, and that they were different than what we expected. There were a large number dealing with high cultural things.

1:55 The interesting thing is that the secular/reformist voices became very popular within the right wing American blogosphere. This was because there is a belief that the opening of the Internet would bring a flourishing of democracy. The Iranian study kind of showed that that was wrong – and that we perhaps have that viewpoint because we have a distorted view (based on mainstream media) of the Iranian blogosphere. The other parts of the Iranian blogosphere are the more interesting parts.

2:00 Global Voices is designed to give a lot of information about parts of the world that don’t get a lot of attention in US mainstream media. However, it’s hard to get people to pay attention to it, and it’s even harder to get mainstream media to pay attention to it. People in our class who looked at different countries on the GV website were surprised by how little they knew about other countries.

2:10 How is GV doing with its mission? Its loved by journalists who want to change the media. Technologists have a problem with it because it is edited on so many levels – by choosing the people who report, by them choosing the blogs to report on, etc. They claim this isn’t “web 2.0.” But do things like Digg and Reddit make the problem of US-centric fluff news worse?

2:20 GV, though it doesn’t have a large audience, tends to reach more journalists and intelligence officials. Does quality matter more over quantity? Should GV be targeting the general public or a small segment of the world who can then reach more people? The press is given special protections because we recognize that they serve a specific function, and have a responsibility to serve us broccoli (the news we should want to get news about).

2:25 We see a video produced about the riots in Nepal, and the western media’s portrayal of the riots. Interesting to see the comments. Right now, the BBC is reporting on anti-BBC sentiment in China, saying they must be being directed by the Chinese government. But maybe there is legitimate anger at the BBC for the way they portray China and the Chinese people. Western media has a hard time picking up news that is contrary to the mainstream viewpoints. So a challenge exists to bring different stories and perspectives to western media.

2:30 JP’s last words – what’s the right question to be asking within the Internet democracy framework within our last few weeks of class? Ethan suggests we look at which Web we’re talking about when we discuss the changes its bringing, because there are other Webs beyond the western web.

Note on Blogging

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(notes from Richard who is having posting issues)

BLOGGING

(I made no attempt to credit specific people with ideas/comments, sorry. If you really want credit, feel free to mention it in the comments to this post. –Richard)

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Arrington, Comcast and a Chicken walk into the tweetosphere…

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With the twitter facebook app finally getting fixed last week I resurrected my long dead twitter account just in time to see a bit of a ruckus today in the tweetosphere (is there really such a thing?).

Long story short, Michael Arrington (of TechCrunch fame) was having a long Comcast internet outage this weekend and was none to happy about it. The usual customer service problems ensue… long holds, non-answers, wrong answers. After crashing with a chicken for internet access he tweeted out his anger and within 20 minutes apparently has a call from Comcast.

Some thoughts and a link collection after the jump.

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Blog till you drop?

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A New York Times article, In Web World of 24/7 stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop, offers an interesting perspective on blogging. I think it highlights how bloggers are providing a constant stream of up-to-date news, and how there is such intense competition to outdo one another.

Live Blogging Lessig on Change Congress

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6:31 More Questions.

Why not a pledge for lobbyist? Pledge to give information but not money. This is a good idea and Larry seems to like it as well.

How do you protect this organization from abuse and give it trust? Ummm… Larry doesn’t know. I think the key is to try and keep it bipartisan and out of the ugly political trenches. Is that doable, I don’t know, but it should be a goal.

What is the future? What about gerrymandering? Who knows.

What is the real problem with PACs? They aggregate small donors into real donations. But the problem is the lack of transparency that ends with one entity have amplified power.

6:12 Questions.

Why don’t incumbents support public financing? I think that equal dollars being spent would make incumbents even harder to out.

What do we need? Some victories. That is true. But which issues should be first?

6:10 Congressman Cooper:

The system is hopelessly broken. We have to make change happen. (and he is done, wow that was quick).

6:07 – Is this destined to fail? Can we Change Congress? Perhaps, but nonetheless we need to try. </end>

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