The discussion around Jeremiah Owyang’s taxonomy of tech bloggers (included in my last link round-up) led me to have another look at The Verge and The Kernel. Their attempts to distance themselves from run-of-the-mill tech-churn tie in with Ben Kunz’s Douglas Warshaw-referencing post where he says “a rise in the supply of any production technology typically creates an inverted, U-shaped bell curve of quality output”:
Knowledge is flowing this way with new communication networks enabling rapid scientific advance on one end and endless bloggers regurgitating “how to get social media ROI” on the other. Everyone in the middle gets killed when barriers to production or access fall. You have to either focus on more utility with low quality at mass scale (YouTube, IZEA advertising) or quality with artificial scarcity (“Titanic” now in 3-D, million-dollar spots on the Super Bowl).
Maria Popova at Brain Pickings is good on this subject. In a post that married her thoughts on SOPA with a rediscovered 1923 essay titled “Our Changing Journalism”, she said:
today’s “circulation managers” still dictate the editorial direction and vision for most of the information we consume. Until we, as an information culture in general and as media producers in particular, figure out a way to reinstate the editor as the visionary and the reader as the stakeholder, the Internet will remain a dismal landscape for intelligent, compelling media
At the other end of the spectrum is this highly self-aware post from Hipster Runoff, with Carles painting himself as a content farmer/indentured servant to the search engines.
Just to round off this thread, I was interested in this article on Forbes’ approach to social media - using their brand to attract a decent range of online contributors. From the increasing number of Forbes articles I’m seeing in my Twitter stream these days, I’d say the approach is working. I also think the group blog model used by The Pastry Box Project and 24 Ways has a lot to recommend it. Anything’s preferable to the HuffPo method.
A few reports:
- JISC’s Two Years of Economic Uncertainty is a final report on their Case Studies in Sustainability, revealing how different business models fared during the economic downturn.
- Key data from the Arts Council’s 829 RFOs with chapters on data overviews, staff and diversity, financial statements, arts activities and audiences, analysis of income per attendance, and touring data.
- The NCA’s Arts Index is now available to download for free.
A few documentaries:
- PressPausePlay is about the digital revolution’s effect on creativity and features interviews with lots of interesting people.
- Side by Side is a Keanu-produced documentary about the transition from analogue to digital filmmaking.
- Indie Game: The Movie features the people behind the likes of Super Meat Boy and Braid.
Ebook innovation keeps on happening. Leanpub lets you self-publish a book while you’re writing it. You can charge people for it (or not) and, when it’s done you can shift it over to another ebook seller. On a similar note, with Volpen you write the beginning of your book and let the Volpen community complete it. You get paid royalties according to how much you contributed to the book.
Here are a few other things:
- The National Trust have put a load of information about their collection online
- An article about the National Theatre of Wales Community
- Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television is a three-year research project based in the Arts, Media and Design department at the University of Westminster.
- Fragmentary: writing in a digital age has all sorts of interesting references in it.
- The projects from Art Hack Day.
- Cultural PR Conference UK - Notes and presentations from the 2011 Cultural PR Conference. The 2012 event took place a few weeks ago and I’ve been hard-pressed to find anything about it online.
- The Digital & Emerging Media department at Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City has a new blog.
At the beginning of the month I spent a little time sorting out my many RSS feeds and found this guide quite helpful. For instance, I didn’t know you could weed out inactive and obscure feeds. That was handy.
An Observer feature on celebrity financial correspondents fed my interest in what slebs think of this social media lark:
“Three years ago, I would have the news wires up on my computer screen for breaking stories. Increasingly, people have their Twitter feeds up. The news about Standard and Poor’s downgrading the EU bailout fund popped up on my Twitter feed before it was on the wires and before it came into my email inbox because people who are players in stories are on Twitter too. It’s not just the chatterati”. Flanders finds that her blog is “a good place to flesh out arguments or put out stories and ideas that aren’t ever going to make it on to the main news. For Robert Peston and me, I guess the blogs also help to show that we know our stuff, even if we can’t always get all of it onto the bulletins or the Today programme.”
This article on ‘A Business Model Perspective on Open Metadata‘ is worth a read if you’re into that sort of thing. Otherwise, here’s the conclusion:
The conclusion of the workshop participants was that the benefits of open sharing and open distribution would outweigh the risks. In most cases the advantages of increased visibility and relevance will be reaped in the short term. In other cases, for example where there is a risk of loss of income, the advantages will come in the longer run and short-term fixes will have to be found. All of this requires a collective change of mindset, courage to take some necessary risks and a strong commitment to the mandate of the cultural heritage sector, which is to enable society to realise the full value of the cultural legacy that is held in the public realm.
Some other bits and bobs:
- MailChimp‘s email marketing benchmarks per industry
- The Syllabi is my latest source of articles with which to feed Instapaper
- Tips for Finding Great Free-to-Use Images Online - Lots of sites, no mention of compfight though
- Hype Machine’s Zeitgeist 2011: The best music on the web all year
- Differing European attitudes on digital privacy
- SEO Ryan Gosling might help some people learn the basics
- The Game Bakers have info about iOS and indie games market with loads of data, links to post-mortems and a few myths are dispelled
- Waterstones Oxford Street (one of the better corporate Twitter accounts out there) did a Twitter/photo competition with Misery Bear
- The @Betfairpoker Twitter story – part 2 provides a bit of background to one of the quirkier big brand Twitter accounts and where they’re planning to take things next
Some apps and services
- Web: UserVoice, Story Wheel, Tiki-Toki, Bronto, Pure360, Parse.ly, Trello, Shelby.tv
- iPhone: Race Against Time from the Tate. The list of apps I’ve deleted recently is a lot longer
- Email: Boomerang for Gmail, OtherInbox. Not using either of these yet but that might change
- WordPress: Edit Flow ticks so many boxes
NFB Interactive showcases some really interesting approaches to documentary storytelling, with all sorts of ideas flying around – some good, some bad and most worth exploring. For instance, with CodeBarre.tv/BarCode.tv you enter the name of an object or scan its barcode, and the app will show you a relevant 60-second film.
The thing that really caught my eye was this trailer for Bear 71: