Links for 6 February 2012

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.

Arts/Digital links

A few reports:

The latter was originally restricted to paid NCA members, which surprised me a little. I know these things cost money to pull together, but I thought the idea would be to get the information into as many hands as possible beyond the usual circles. Either way, I suspect Mark Robinson has revealed the answer as to why they gave in and released it for free.

A few documentaries:

The latter was funded by Kickstarter, as were 16 more of the films on show at Sundance this year. Kickstarter have also released stats and more in their 2011 Year in Review.

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:

Other links

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.

I’m lagging slightly behind on Codecademy but have been enjoying the experience. They’re not the only player in the online code-learning market, in fact it’s looking very competitive at the moment.

Some other bits and bobs:

Some apps and services


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 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:

Bear 71 from National Film Board of Canada on Vimeo.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

One reply on “Links for 6 February 2012”

  1. Thanks Chris, this is as awesome as always, informative and nicely put together. I have just signed up to Boomerang I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again!

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