Comparing 2010 and 2018 side by side makes it clear what a changed media universe we now live in.
When former Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes penned a New York Times op-ed calling for the breakup of the platform, he was lauded by anti-corporate politicians and the press. Then came a series of hard questions: how exactly would breaking up Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, address free speech concerns? Or help stifle the spread of propaganda on the platform? And how would American regulations affect the majority of Facebook users, who live in the global south? According to Michael Lwin, an American-born antitrust lawyer living in Yangon, Myanmar, US regulators should tread lightly. He and Bob speak about how calls to break up Facebook could have wide ranging unintended consequences, especially outside of the US.
As bad as Facebook is, there are some potential second and multiple-order effects to be careful of when considering breaking them up or heavily regulating them.
Doc Searls, Frank Radice, Denis Pombriant, Keith Teare, and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, January 12, 2018
I remember a bit why I haven’t listened to any episodes in over a year… While Gillmor presents himself as a liberal, it seems like he’s a bit too pro-Trump and gives him too much credit. He might often be playing devil’s advocate, but…
There’s some vaguely interesting information in here on blockchain and where it may be going, but it’s still too “tech-y” even for the tech crowd. There aren’t enough people on the show who are knee deep in the topic to make their pontifications on the topic worthwhile.
I want to start to catch back up on back episodes, but we’ll see how far we get.
The Weekly Standard, the magazine that espouses traditional conservatism and which has remained deeply critical of President Donald Trump, will shutter after 23 years, its owner Clarity Media Group announced Friday morning. The magazine will publish its final issue on December 17.
Alas there goes the last bit of logic to the center of the old party. Trump’s transformation of the Republican Party is almost complete.
I’ve been thinking very similarly along these lines for six months or more, but with a particular slant at journalistic enterprises. I’ve specifically been considering what would happen if small local newspapers and other journalistic outlets were running IndieWeb-esque platforms for their local communities. This would potentially help to moderate and encourage local conversations and consumption of local grown content and journalism and potentially improve the toxicity of general social media or massive issues like those that Facebook is facing with genocidal effects of their platform in Myanmar where they didn’t have any local presence or moderation much less people in-house who had language capabilities to even begin to deal with these issues. This type of mission could better empower entities to improve both local journalism by binding it to a different substrate as a financial model and fix many of the issues we see with social media simultaneously.
This general idea also isn’t too dissimilar from Greg McVerry’s idea of having local libraries allow patrons to “check out” (aka set up) their own domains and social presences/identities using their library cards.
The difficulty I see is that as the world moves toward increased specialization, that looking for newspapers or even municipalities to oversee and maintain such infrastructure may be difficult. I already see issues with smaller outlets building and maintaining their own publishing platforms with simple out-of-the-box CMS solutions that are relatively easy-to-use and modify with simple plugins. (In a recent inventory of my local news sources, I’ll note here that nearly 100% of the local online news sources for my community are running on WordPress, but not all of them have a huge amount of technical knowledge about what and how they’re doing it in those spaces). The growth of content management systems like Ghost, which has a journalistic bent, also indicates that there isn’t a “perfect solution” to the CMS problem, much less the issues of running IndieWeb-like platforms/clusters based on simpler platforms like WordPress or even Known. There’s certainly a lot of space out there for third party companies to help grow and expand in both of these areas (community-based social platforms as well as journalism platforms and admixtures thereof.)
If local institutions or even governments did move in this direction, then their users are at the potential mercy of third-party businesses which may not necessarily be aligned with local values. An example of something akin to this was covered recently in The Daily on their episode Taking Over Local News. I’m also reminded about of my poor experiences with un-moderated third party platforms like Nextdoor.com can be.
Another microcosm to look at is how hundreds of thousands of public libraries are interfacing with the four or more media suppliers of e-books and what that financial model looks like as, if taken, I would suspect a similar trajectory for local social public media. Similarly looking at how municipalities interface with cable franchising can reveal some pitfalls to avoid moving forward with respect to monopolies and competition.
Certainly some additional thought about how to solve these issues at the smaller local and personal levels is welcome. Thanks for dipping into and expanding my surface area of thinking Ben.
President Lyndon B Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967, which established the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Previously, an independent public broadcaster had been established through grants by the Ford Foundation, but Ford began to withdraw its support. Here's what he said: "It...
The debate has begun. Many who know Mark Zuckerberg and his company are upset about the inaccuracies in The Social Network. Movie critics on the other hand love the movie. Few, though, are reflecting on what these two sets of reactions tell us about the moment we are living in. We live in the midst of a social revolution and this movie represents the effort of mass media to make sense of the changes going on around them. Facts are not important. It is about symbols, metaphors and mythologies. It is about constructing grand narratives to shape our understanding of why things are happening.
h/t Kevin Marks:
Good writeup by @jhagel on how legacy media's anomie is behind the acclamation for The Social Network's twisted world: http://bit.ly/d3m30P
— Kevin Marks (@kevinmarks) October 6, 2010
Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.This reissue of Understanding Media marks the thirtieth anniversary (1964-1994) of Marshall McLuhan's classic expose on the state of the then emerging phenomenon of mass media. Terms and phrases such as "the global village" and "the medium is the message" are now part of the lexicon, and McLuhan's theories continue to challenge our sensibilities and our assumptions about how and what we communicate.There has been a notable resurgence of interest in McLuhan's work in the last few years, fueled by the recent and continuing conjunctions between the cable companies and the regional phone companies, the appearance of magazines such as WiRed, and the development of new media models and information ecologies, many of which were spawned from MIT's Media Lab. In effect, media now begs to be redefined. In a new introduction to this edition of Understanding Media, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham reevaluates McLuhan's work in the light of the technological as well as the political and social changes that have occurred in the last part of this century.
I’m sure this has been on my “list” at one time or another, but giving it a bump.
hat tip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lelmXaSibrc& from EDU522 course.
For almost 25 years, Shane Smith’s plan was that, by the time the suckers caught on, he’d never be stuck owning the company he co-founded.
A fantastic article.
This reminds me a lot of the recent Theranos stories and book. It’s sad how companies don’t do enough due diligence on potential investments like this. When I think about how much basic work and discussion Marcus Lemonis does for $100,000 investments, I’m appalled to hear what people are doing for multi-millions. It’s stunning that a company can get to this size and be worth nearly nothing. Using the relative size (ie number of employees) of business units like human resources and legal within a particular industry could be a reasonable guide for the internal management of a company.
This is also a good example that while investments may give a company a particular valuation, it can rarely be the actual potential present value of the company. As a result, workers who are working for near free plus stock should be paying closer attention to company internals to know that their stock portion is going to be completely worthless.
Worse, I’m always pained to hear that young people (rich or otherwise) are essentially giving away their work and sweat equity away for free to big companies that could easily pay them. Eventually the pendulum is going to swing back the other way and companies are going to need to pay more.
“Shane would always say that young people are the No. 1 bullshit detector, which was annoying once you realized that the thing he mastered is getting young people to buy shit,” says a recently departed senior employee.
Recorded live Saturday, May 13, 2017. The Gang takes nothing off the table as Doc describes a near future of personal APIs and CustomerTech.
Keith outlines an excellent thesis about media moving from “one to many” to increasingly becoming “one to one”. It points out the issue for areas like journalism, which can become so individualized, and democracy which often rely on being able to see the messages that are given out to the masses being consistent. One of the issues with Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica problem is that many people were getting algrorithmic customized messages (true or not) that had the ability to nudge them in certain directions. This creates a lot more control on the part of major corporations which would have been far less likely when broadcasting the exact same message to millions. In the latter case, the message for the masses can be discussed, analyzed, picked apart, and dealt with because it is known. In the former case, no one knows what the message was except for the person who received it and it’s far less likely that they analyzed and discussed it in the same way that it would have been previously.
In the last portion of the show, Doc leads with some discussion about identity and privacy from the buyer’s perspective. Companies selling widgets don’t necessarily need to collect massive amounts of data about us to sell widgets. It’s the seller’s perspective and the over-reliance on advertising which has created the capitalism surveillance state we’re sadly living within now.
In the closing minutes of the show Steve re-iterated that the show was a podcast, but that it’s now all about streaming and as such, there is no longer an audio podcast version of the show. I’ll have something to say about this shortly for those looking for alternatives, because this just drives me crazy…
The <i>Atlantic</i> climbed out on a limb by adding Williamson to its staff. Then they proceeded to saw off the branch.
I noted the hire of Williamson with curiosity when it happened, but I expected it might last a tad longer than this. At least he managed longer than Quinn Norton did at the New York Times, but both seemingly gone for relatively similar reasons.
Photos are a major feature of celebrity magazines, online or off. They’re worth paying for. They’re worth arranging at great cost. They’re worth concessions and compromises. They’re it, for a certain kind of publication. But the sudden glut of Instagram photos of celebrities and by celebrities, often with newsworthy text attached, destroys a set of common arrangements. Let’s say a celebrity couple is having a child (congratulations). A few years ago, they might have given this news to the tabloid willing to pay top dollar, or to the only celeb magazine that had refused to print a previous divorce rumor. The celebrity had power, but the magazine did as well. Aside from cash, they offered access to a large and distinct audience. Publication in one magazine might result in coverage on TV, in interview requests, etc. It would result, less visibly, in people thinking and talking about Celeb Couple. This was, in the abstract, powerful parties trading power and making money. With Instagram, the power shifts dramatically.
Jay Rosen recommended this article two years ago, and it’s just as solid today as it was then. It’s definitely got some intriguing thoughts about the state of journalism.
One of the year's best pieces of media criticism was published yesterday. "Access Denied:
The media, after access." https://t.co/HxOKcXKVqy
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) December 4, 2015
Contained in every worried story about a celebrity publication losing access to celebrities, or a sports channel losing access to athletes, or a political press losing access to candidates, is the insinuation that something is lost; likewise, these stories tend to lack any information about what happens now. This is not a coincidence! The sports magazine losing an exclusive career announcement may signal the end of that particular kind of media object, which will be replaced with an Instagram post and a Facebook update. The competitor taking this away doesn’t look anything like the publication it’s replacing; it doesn’t think of itself as a publication at all.
The opposite of this seems to be cable news that will take a miniscule event and attempt to inject a dramatic story upon it until something else actually happens.
Most stories are very simple things, like the celebrity having a baby. Most of the coverage around it is just adding some additional context. This is fine for things that aren’t very complicated like celebrity gossip, games, and sporting events that don’t matter too much. However on more complex things like government and international relations or perhaps even ramifications of business moves, they can be far more complicated and require more thought and analysis than the casual observer of a singly released raw fact would require. For example, in the case of Trump, his tweets may provide one narrative to those blindly following him, but in aggregate, particularly when most of them are not true or highly biased, what story do they embody? Which direction is he really going in and what are those long term consequences that the casual observer of his tweets is not going to spend the time thinking about?
You don’t need access to celebrate things, or to join and amplify fandoms. You don’t need to interview a famous person to say how great they are. You don’t need to talk to a politician to celebrate something they’ve done. You also don’t need access to reflexively declare, “that’s garbage.” In a feed, where every story is shared in the context of the poster’s performed identity, stories that simply articulate support or disdain go far.
The superfans and the haters gradually crowd toward some sort of middle, bumping up against the subjects that have colonized it: corporations, brands, leagues, celebrities, politicians, movements, causes, and endless forms of entertainment with their attendant publicity machines (if this seems like a weird or disparate set of things to compare, they kind of are: but such is the unifying effect of a platform).
aka regression toward the mean…
If we lose this, we lose everything.
The Wrap editor Sharon Waxman trades accusations with top Times editors, says Weinstein pressured celebrity friends to help kill the story.