Watch Our Video: Rebecca Black and Ark Music Factory
Videography by Hannah, Kevin, Kristen, and Kyle. Edited by Kyle. Interviews Coordinated by Kristen and Kyle. Street Interviews by Kevin and Hannah.
Larry Lessig shares three stories:
Lessig begins by examining the 20th century fear that user-generated content will soon be obliterated with the rise of infernal “talking” machines, a concept propagated by John Phillip Sousa who felt the machines would ruin artistic development of music in the country. This read only culture became a serious threat as we deviated from a read-write culture where people participated in the creation and recreation of content. Creativity became top down, where readers were no longer creators. It appeared that we did indeed “lose our vocal chords.”
Secondly, Lessig comments on the ludicrous components of the trespassing land law that granted private ownership of land all the way below the property and indefinitely upward. Such a doctrine had no place in the modern world, and appeals to this law (air traffic example) made no “common sense.”
Thirdly, Lessig discusses broadcasting and how it introduced a new way to spread content. However, ASCAP, the company that controlled broadcast music, inflated their rates to ridiculously high levels. This prompted the formation of a new method of broadcasting, exemplified by BMI, where arrangements of public domain works were distributed for free.
Expanding upon our initial proposal, we have began to explore each of the interactive fashion apps. We divided the four apps among the four of us in order to allow for each of us to conduct further research. Elizabeth is researching “Go Try It On”, Natalie is researching “Trimirror”, Jessica is researching “Opinionaided” and I am researching “Glamour Ask a Stylist.”
After spending the weekend interacting with these different applications and sites, we found that the most interesting part of this new media was the type of community they fostered. None of us ever came across any negativity on the site. People were helpful and supportive—they really wanted to see those how posted outfits, questions, etc. do well. This sort of “Good Samaritan” community seems to different from the rest of the internet.
By interacting with different users, we tried to determine how the sites are monitored, and if maybe the administrators are just deleting all nasty comments. Read the rest of this entry »
The New Socialism, Kevin Kelly
The global rush to connect is giving rise to a new type of socialism. Wikipedia is but one of a host of striking examples of this social form of collective action. Unlike anti-American socialisms that have come before, digital socialism is an American innovation: “old-school socialism was an arm of the state, digital socialism is socialism without the state.” Detached from a government body, existing within the space of the borderless internet, digital socialism finds itself free to function as socialism was originally intended. Kelly suggests that internet users (the masses) “own the means of production [and] work toward a common goal and share their products in common.” Kelly draws upon the 4 categories that we’ve encountered before in Clay Shirky’s book: sharing, cooperation, collaboration, and collectivism. Digital socialism, according to Kelly, embodies the promise of the collectivist ideal. Digital networks can be considered an “emerging design space in which decentralized public coordination can solve problems and create things that neither pure communism nor pure capitalism can.” We are more or less familiar with the power that digital socialism might yield in the context of Wikipedia, but Kelly points to its incredible potential. Kiva and PatientsLikeMe are the tip of the ice berg. The logic of digital socialism can be applied to problems that under current systems seem unsolvable.
Read the rest of this entry »
After doing some initial investigation into the sites we chose to analyze (Kickstarter, CofundOS, Rockethub, and Quirky), some important themes in crowdfunding have started to emerge. There are some basic problems that site administrators have to deal with when trying to create a platform for non-traditional start-up funding, many of which resemble issues that we’ve been talking about all semester. For example, almost every site handles the task of vetting proposals differently. Some, like Kickstarter, require that a funding proposal first be approved by site staff before being shown to potential funders. CofundOS, on the other hand, allows any proposal to be posted, and relies on users to filter out the garbage for themselves. Those are just two examples- every site handles the publish/filter dynamic differently. Other important differences arise in how the sites manage the relationships that come into play in projects like these. The ways in which funders interact with each other and with who they are funding, as well as with the project itself, vary widely from site to site. Read the rest of this entry »
From Jessica’s initial proposal, we all decided the best approach to starting this travelogue would be to use the “Go Try It On” app ourselves. Knowing we needed to explore more than one application, we also looked at Trimirror and Opinionaided. Trimirror is similar to Go Try It On in that it’s a fashion based site. Opinionaided offered us a different perspective into online advice communities in that people could post any questions they wanted to get feedback. In their how to video on their main page (which we linked to earlier in the post), they show an example of a guy asking how to propose to his girlfriend.
After spending the weekend interacting with these different applications and sites, we found that the most interesting part of this new media was the type of community they fostered. None of us ever came across any negativity on the site. People were helpful and supportive—they really wanted to see those how posted outfits, questions, etc. do well. This sort of “Good Samaritan” community seems to different from the rest of the internet. Read the rest of this entry »
The end of the semester seems like the perfect opportunity to look ahead and explore what might come next. We’ve examined the social networks that we’re familiar with, looked at sites that encourage user generated content, and imagined what the implications of dating and gaming sites might be for real world relationships. Now, we should take what we’ve learned and a tell a story about what the future has in store.
At this stage, I’d like to leave it fairly open ended. We could take a sci-fi approach and create something dystopian, extending and exaggerating some of our fears about surveillance, homogenization, and the demise of quality cultural production. Alternatively, we could keep our feet more firmly planted on the ground and explore companies that are being developed at tech start-up incubators like Y-Combinator, BetaWorks and TechStars. We would likely be able to interview mentors in those programs, as well as some of the budding entrepreneurs. We could use their insights to drive our analysis.
Lately we have been discussing the dynamics and complexities surrounding ideas of narrative. Whether that it be contrasting narrative against forms of simulations and video games, or viewing it as the central driving force of a network, such as in hacktivism, narrative seems to be a powerful thinking tool in order to motivate a community.
I’d like to further explore the dynamics of narrative in text-based roleplaying forums online. I have one specific website in mind, Role Play Gateway, which has become a centralized hub of sorts for many branches of roleplaying groups. These communities seem to use narrative in way that straddles ideas brought up by game theorist Gonzalo Frasca, and those highlighted by journalist and professor Marco Diseriis. Roleplaying presents a much more complex form of traditional narrative that Frasca belittles. However, while the narrative is open to manipulation by any of the role playing participants, it appears as though there lacks as structured a goal as in the cases brought up by Deseriis.
Maybe you have a genius idea. Maybe you’re bursting with creativity but you simply do not have the resources or the financial aid to help you make that idea into a reality. That’s what Kickstarter is for, “a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers…” It’s quite the genius little start up. So how Kickstarter works is that project owners choose a target minimum of funds and the deadline by which people can donate/pledge money (via Amazon Payments). If the goal is not met by the deadline, none of the pledged money gets collected. If the goal is met, the funds go to the project creator, after Kickstarter has taken 5% of it and Amazon has taken another small percentage (~2%). Successfully funded project ideas are permanently archived on the site.
More and more I have been hearing about online communities taking to the streets in real life “meet-ups.” Gamers, photographers, writers/bloggers, anime enthusiasts, and many other groups have adopted this practice and regularly schedule events in major cities around the world. Now, I am not claiming that similarly-interested individuals gathering in public is a novel occurrence by any means — such congregations have existed for a long time in the form of “comicons” and “Trekkie” conventions et.al.. What is interesting about the more recent meet-ups is that, since they spawn from tightly-knit internet communities, there is a good chance the people attending already have a certain relationship with one another (friendship, mutual in-game benefice, romance, etc.), but one that has been mediated by the standards and practices of the online world, which are more often than not inapplicable to real world situations.
Whereas Kyle and Andrew examined the migration of individual relationships from the online to the offline environment, I would be interested in analyzing the migration of a whole community. There is a difference, hear me out!
After just finishing a travelogue about privacy on Facebook, I’ve been thinking a lot about anonymity on the internet. Usually, we associate anonymous internet users with people who are, for lack of a more eloquent word, “creeping.” We want our privacy, but at the same time we feel we have the right to know who everyone else is–because if someone wont reveal himself, he must be a creep. There are a few places on the internet however, where people respect and support each other, despite anonymity.
For this travelogue, I want to explore confessional websites like Confessions4U and Post Secret to see how people use the internet as a place to speak freely about personal things. Twitter updates, Facebook statues, and blogs can’t compare in what people are willing to say on these confessional sites. The travelogue would feature research about how these sites were started and how they have affected their users. Read the rest of this entry »
Kyle and Kristen
Kyle – Boyd, “Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life.”
Boyd’s research about Myspace seems dated, but it interesting in retrospect. The focus is on teenagers. In 2006, 64% of teens 15-17 had a Myspace. According to Boyd, there were two types of objectors: Read the rest of this entry »