The BBC are now building punter's commentary seamlessly into their on-line sports reporting: look here for the e-mail and text contributions lower down, during the run of play at today's Ashes 3rd test
Fascinating development in personal content - a new company Scoopt are offering to act as agents for punters who capture newsworthy photos. So now personal content can make you money! And it is surely another major sign of the growing proximity between "ordinary" people and big media that photos taken by us are accepted as part of the news/entertainment output.
Scoopt are having to mount a PR defence against those who say their move is cynical and against the spirit of digital media. There was a good piece in Media Guardian (you'll have to register, but it is free)) quote: ......What all this suggests is
that despite the net providing people with a revolutionary way of
becoming journalists, it does not answer the central dilemma of
journalism itself: what is it for? Democratisation has burgeoned
alongside the "free" market economy that encourages people to believe
that everything, including information, has a price. Is that really so
great an advance?
Personally I think journalists can get a bit pompous when considering these issues, but Scoopt does not help its case with its home page which suggests that Concorde crashing is the sort of thing they are after....
I've been thinking a lot about rights recently: partly because it is central to some work we are doing on mobile TV and partly because publication of the book has been delayed as I seek permission for some longer than normal quotes. There is a lot more to say about this issue in the digital age, but Cory Doctorow praises the BBC here for their gung-ho approach to digital content and understanding that personal content provided by ordinary people is a blossoming of the media environment. Note his comments about the big Hollywood studios trying to grab control over the equipment we use to obtain and view digital content. Conversations I've had with content owners recently have opened my eyes to the degree that unrealistic thinking permeates these organisations. But is it greed or fear? And when we add our content to theirs, who then owns the rights?
Trendwatching (the newsletter) has again picked out personal content (they call it Customer Made) as a trend. I'm not sure about the idea that ads should be made by customers (only because I'm not sure how many people can be bothered/that enthused and most of these examples are clearly promotions). But read on because lower down they talk about Customer Generated Content, and the examples are really strong. Especially Google Video, the start of video personal content and a big challenge to traditional channels. Watch that space.
Thanks again to Fabio for this - a vision of the future where newspapers ("the fourth estate") have gone into steep decline and the world gets its information from "Googlezon" (think Amazon plus Google plus TiVO)......if this isn't exactly where we are going there is enough here to make anyone with an interest in media to think......
The ‘ Evolving Personalized Information Construct ’ is the system by which our sprawling, chaotic mediascape is filtered, ordered and delivered. Everyone contributes now – from blog entries, to phone-cam images, to video reports, to full investigations. Many people get paid too – a tiny cut of Googlezon’s immense advertising revenue, proportional to the popularity of their contributions.
EPIC produces a custom contents package for each user , using his choices, his consumption habits, his interests, his demographics, his social network – to shape the product. A new generation of freelance editors has sprung up , people who sell their ability to connect, filter and prioritize the contents of EPIC.
We all subscribe to many Editors; EPIC allows us to mix and match their choices however we like. At its best, edited for the savviest readers, EPIC is a summary of the world – deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever available before.
The FT, not a paper known for hyping stuff, had a big piece this week (FT Back - and I don't think I can link to it as you have to have a sub to read it) on personal content. Triggered of course by the purchase of Flickr by Yahoo and Snapfish by Hewlett Packard.
It's significant: the market is waking up and wondering if it can make money out of personal content and social networks...
"fast becoming the stuff of big business - and for advertisers that are searching for ways to turn the online medium to their advantage, it could represent a new way to reach an elusive audience that is moving beyond TV......Yahoo this week launched Yahoo 360, an all-purpose online identity kit that combines photosharing and blogging with personal commnuications and other tools".
No mention though of mobile, which I think will drive much of this.
Really excellent article by Andrew Orlowski in the Register today, which draws attention to the issue of who can we trust in a digital world to store our memories. Christian Lindholm, who I work with often, is quoted and I know has begun to think about this issue a lot. His debate with Andrew is fascinating, and reflects some very real concerns that I have. The article says....
Hardly any of the potential consequences of our move to digital products and services are given a moment's thought. Instead, we're encouraged to greet each new launch with enthusiasm, by a popular press which itself is as about as critical of digital products as a child is of Father Christmas. As long as the gifts keep coming, why should one question either the mechanics or the economics behind them? This blind obedience breeds politicians like Tony Blair, who has a ten-year long urge to "modernize" his party without ever fully explaining what he means. Except that whatever he proposes is good, and his opponents are Luddites.
We know from experience that most information technologies (as opposed to washing machines and antibiotics) are introduced simply to benefit their producers, and only if we're lucky are there fringe benefits for the rest of us. The good news is that we eventually reject the ones we don't want; the bad news is just like real 'revolutions', it can take many years or decades to reject them. For now, technology evangelists trust 'more technology' to supply the answers to the awkward questions.
Perfect and exactly what Distraction is about. It cannot be said often enough: we are witnessing the commercialisation of some essential elements of what it means to be human - memory and conversation. This is all of a piece with the history of man since industrialisation; domestic activities that were previously done "for free" (washing, food preparation) become opportunities for profit. Once we've accepted these moves we do not go back.
Interesting service at Trendwatching. As usual for this kind of service, some of their observations are bang on: for instance about the rise of personal content - they call it Generation C. I'm not so sure it's a generational thing, at least not in the same way as the Baby Boomers or Generation X form a segment defined by when they were born.
Other trends they spot - such as "Ready to Know" are let down by poor examples and explanation. The idea behind ready to know is that people are thirsty for contextual information.
Repeat after us: there is NO information overload. Sure, Google indexes
8 billion+ documents, images and items, and that same Google has
announced it may scan up to 50 million books currently only available
in old-world universities like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, University of
Michigan, and the NY Public Library, yet for consumers craving relevant
information on everything and anything, there is still a massive
After all, consumers, or, as we pointed out in our previous publication, MASTERS OF THE YOUNIVERSE,
depend on extreme transparency to maintain control of their private and
commercial lives. From instant price comparison and extensive product
information, to independent reviews & opinions &
recommendations. They're on an ongoing quest for the Best of the Best,
the cheapest of the cheapest, the healthiest of the healthiest: they
want to make informed choices, with knowledge of food ingredients, carb
levels, medicines, production methods (environmental impact,
child-labor free, animal friendly) and so on. On top of that, mature
Experience Economy consumers crave any kind of context just for the
sake of a story, for something that engages them. When it comes to
compelling stories, no amount of interesting information can ever be
I disagree with the idea that there is no information overload, or that there is a massive shortage of information. This is either slack writing or thinking, because it distracts from the main and useful point here that relevant material is useful, and people will always enjoy a good story. Among the examples used to back "ready to know" they point to Shazam, which is music recognition on your mobile phone. Personally (although I think it's amazing technology) I never believed that there would widespread demand for Shazam's service from punters. Yesterday I was told that they are seeking to generate revenues in different ways. Further on Trendwatching points at Hypertag. This service allows people to interact with poster ads via their mobile phone, using er...infra red. Which you have to turn on. Really? How many people are really going to do this? I certainly think that there will shortly be a great deal of interaction between mobile devices and things in the environment (maybe advertising posters) but not until it's one click or less or not even a click to kick it off.
Howard Rheingold, author of Smartmobs is raising issues of access and rights in a world where mobile media are pervasive. He is suggesting a manifesto, at the heart of which is a call that people or users can shape the usage and content of new technology. I think this goes to the centre of a battleground which will become a defining conflict of this century: ownership and trust in the digital arena. most major corporations were caught on the hop by the internet, and they don't intend to tlet it happen again.
The privatisation of conversation and many other domestic activities which were previously free is well observed trend in recent social and commercial history. So I particularly like this point from Howard...
Everybody should have the freedom to associate information with places and things , and to access the information others have associated with places and things. When manufacturers find out that consumers are using barcodes and RFID information to access globally-available information about their products and practices, are they going to stand still for that? Will the people at fifth and main have the right and power to read and write information about their neighborhood, or will the owner of a local franchise purchased from the city by a private interest (think about the way cable television operates) dominate? People like myself used to think that "the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it," but we're seeing authoritarian governments build their censors into their routers. Is there any better reason to believe that people will continue to have the freedom to read and write to specific parts of the geoweb? Will geoweb information gathered at public expense (such as weather or geographic data) become controlled exclusively by private owners?
More covergence: this bloke has hacked into his Tivo to deliver a feed to his weblog of what he has been watching. It's a bit like standard office conversation (did you see?), but one way and without much explanation. That will improve, and this is an interesting start which sits alongside the more standard blog lists of what people are reading or listening to....