London, June 16/17 2007
Right, I’m attending with
Bob and Keith, though I’ll be arriving late on Saturday as Interesting2007 is happening during the day. Armed with a laptop and copy of VVVV, I’m looking to do some audio and visual synthesis at Hackday based upon web API calls.


Judging by the size of the venue this is going to messy. Fun, but messy.

It’s a shame these 2 events are overlapping in time. Both are encouraging the media meddling mentality. Interesting2007 is encouraging/challenging the emotions of engagement, whilst Hackday is exploring the techniques of engagement.

May all your Tuesdays be productive. 

MiniBar – London

November 10, 2006

book_feed.gif

I’m not one to spend time at the large social networking events, especially the technology ones – in fact I avoid them – namely because there’s too many of the same type of thinkers in one place.

MiniBar might turn out to be something of a refreshing change. Organised by the champions of openness – Open Business, and they’ve asked MagnaTune’s CEO John Buckman to sponsor the event – in fact he’s buying the drinks..yay!

MagnaTune has been trying to turn the Internet distribution reality into a business model with not just dynamic pricing of music – but offering the audience the right to say how much they want to pay for the rights to download and own a copy of the music. Here’s an article by USA today about the concept.

John also launched BookMooch – a service to enable people to share books. That’s loveliness and ‘interestingness’ wrapped up in a single software service. Great stuff.

I’m sure there will be a unhealthy appetite in web2.0 but hopefully we’ll be treated to a wide range of interesting folk who just like sharing ideas.

Full details here. See you there.

cheersv3-copy.jpg

The great thing about media software is the diversity of people who are involved with it. The downside of being involved with software (and media) is that social time tends to get sucked in by the office machines – so last night at the Old Queens Head was a vain attempt to catch up with mates who have never met each other before.

From left to right we have Paul Thornton Jones of Channel 5 TV Interactive, Christian Alhert of Open Business and Creative Commons and Paul Argent Founding Partner of Milo who make lovely educational Flash media for Channel4 and the BBC. Petros (the other Founding Partner of Milo) and the beautiful Elena, also of Milo left before we got the camera out.

I’m supposed to write up what we talked about: It was along the lines of the demise of the broadcasting era, what happens to a brand when everyone can access content without the need of a mediator; what’s the role of media producers in a world of open source software; what else was there to mash up in a web2.o kinda way; is everyone using netvibes?; who’s reading blog rss feeds via their phone (erm…just Petros on that one – but I like the idea – I never thought about before – simple brilliance from a technologist – perfect); living in Forest Hill after a decade in Shorditch (Argy is now a squire); Free Wifi on Upper Street – Paul thinks he can get it from his flat..

We all spend most of our working days dealing with media technology ideas – but the opportunity to bring together marketing, commercial TV, education mentors and an open licence specialist together for a beer is perhaps a more fruitful way of thrashing out the future than the occasional conference or social networking night. Honest talk, no pretence and a desire to find a way to make great work.

I think we all left with a better empathy about the industries we participate in than any real insight on what’s around the corner. Sometimes it’s better to have a feeling about the future than a vision – it helps to take the next step somewhere, rather than work out where we should be going.

Cheers fellas!

Paying for your media may seem like a very non-new-media past time but payment is not always a cash transaction. The financial gain of online ‘content’ has previously been through the exchange of time, namely eyeballs-for-adverts. Social network based sites have begun to transform this tit-for-tat hindrance for something far more subtle – that is tracing, your social habits in exchange for access and conversation with your peers.

ICQ, MSN and the beloved AIM systems have always enabled this (with or without advertising) – but the inherent value of your profile page is being aggregated as indexing fodder. Google and Yahoo! love these pages – they can identify the meaning of social groupings which have a rich value to advertisers needs. Think of them as meta-earsdropping dressed as liminal questionnaires.

With free to access video luring the traffic to online communities – the concept of user payment is going to become far more of a social identity concern than credit card fraud. Who you talk to, listen to and comment upon are going to start stacking up your social baggage if your communications are through a hosted service or public ISP.

Since Scoble and Israel’s Naked Conversations, the media industry has been under inspection by investor and consumers alike. The social expose of the ‘Blogosphere’ has lead not to a richer media environment but a climate of peer relevancy and verification, rather, “You are who you know.”

As the content and media publishers continue to discuss with their lawyers on ways to control the flow of media-as-datadesignall.jpg whilst grabbing the hands of their audience through social networks to form a walled garden is the failure to notice that this audience are actually the scaffolding to their core services to advertisers – a support they desperately need whilst publishers convert from the commissioning model to scafolding their own professional and prosumer audiences media requirements. These requirements will be bared by the revealing of users passions and dislikes cross referenced with thier consumption and production of data. Fundamentally – this is your identity as it’s communicated as data. It is not the identity that we (narcissistically) present. Equally as they maintain a grasp on your profile page, you should consider your identity sold. MySpace offers no way to export or delete the data attached to your profile. Neither does many, ahem, ‘social’ networking systems.

The Hero Samy is a great example of how this can be faked. By code. By anyone.

Dick Hardt make a fantastic presentation at Etech earlier this year. His video presentation (now on youtube, see below) begins to explore the verification of webservices of a users identity thus avoiding a lock-in with any one ‘authorised’ identifier, such as bank.

Back to Scroble, who bitch slaps the Linkedin recently – just as they announce their Service Provider Reccomendation system. I’m a fan of Linkedin as it’s a simple centralised way to keep track of people you meet during ‘work’. It’s a network purely for business contacts. Yes – it has it short failings – there are no APIs, I cant get my contacts and the relationships out of the system easily and migrate them to another system. This mapping data is Linkedin’s property – they borrow your identity to satify the service they offer to users. This short-falling has been picked up by Marc Cantor with People Aggregator, but waiting for a mass migration of users to an Open Social Network is massively optimistic. pete-and-jordan.jpgOpenness as an incentive in it’s own right is not enough. Users need ‘value conversation’ for their time. And this has been served by text, image and video services from Media Owners and publishers since 1996. But the freedom to re-purpose ‘datamedia’, to revision the permutations of the ideas of communities is framed by notions that originality persists. This vanity forces mockery and legal entanglements for no other purpose than to feed litigation proceedings. But as with Peter Andres and Katie Prices latest media offering, even pastiche as authentic media has may have merits. [mp3] [video]
This need not be the most obvious proposition to deliver to niche groups/communities. Take for example Spencer Tunick’s art works (see above). Why do many many people strip off, lay down and participate in his photographs?

Because they want to. Because they want to be involved with a phenomenon. Because they understand that rare oppotunities in life that afford a personal meaning to their time. It’s something personal and public they can discuss and share. It’s something that just increased their personal value.thou-shall-not.jpg

But identity, arguably a social construct not a personal one, is a narrative. Culture is the by-product of the lives that interweave the construct of communities. The narratives are not always intentional, yet the are fabricated by human distraction. When simulated, narratives pertain to a myth construct, yet much of our bearings within culture are devised by stories that are evolved from one generation to another. StoryTron is a software system that is being prepared for launch shortly – it’s a system for generating interactive narratives. Pending the success of this system, we could be seeing ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ narrative structures entering into out social network structures. For individuals, the ability to interweave personal and synthetic narratives, rather much like the duality of participants of Second Life, opens up virtues of liminal expereinces – the ability to coexist within several communities simultaneously whether conscious of this or not.
The impact this has on the media publishing industry is worth a wry smile. How do you trace these lives and narratives for conversion into media for tradable time? How do you convey a complexity of an individuals identity when parts of their fictional, virtual or augmented lives collapse without concern? How is value to be applied to unqualifiable, flux narratives?

The audience has for as long as recording has been possible lent their lives to publishers so that others can share in their 15-mins.jpgtime. Now, we seen this loan being called in with the rise User Generated Media, the fall of Copyright respect and the rise homogeneous formatted based production such as ‘WifeSwap‘ and ‘Get me out of here, I’m a ..‘. It’s as if the heart has been removed from the production community; content is merely the blood that flows through a man made aorta.

The implications point to the audience getting their ‘pound of flesh’ from the services that offered conversion of their narrative to media. An API for my identity to be translated to a dataset for tradable time. An individuals story in formats that are devised by the audience of 1. Blogging demonstrated this, but it’s not everyones bag. How do monitize everyones narrative? And when you have, where is the rarity? Is it in anonyminity?

This is a far cry from pound of flesh the publishing industry is trying to acquire through the expected income through copyrighted material.

For the past 20 years we have seen the tabloid media relish in constructing individuals identities, if only to seize the power to control and destroy that persona for ratings. This junk bond media documented by Piers Morgan in the TV show ‘The Importance of Being Famous‘ details the thrill in being able to manifest identity for the sake of the readers lust for thebank1.gif least objectionable fish’n’chip wrapping.

Fabrication of narratives has always been a social requirement for peer acceptance; taxation of these through niche skills/techniques such as ‘Editorial’ is resulting in rejection of singular publishing authorities. An audiences choice of ‘info-tainment’ is about to get a lot more complex to manufacture as sources and syndicators realise that they are part of the consumers mix. Roll in the prosumer model and publishing is faced with having to be a high street bank – where users can deposit and retrieve their media contributions. Consider the identity mortgage schemes…if you want to reinvent, add a new dimension to your narrative, the Banka de Disney will be more than happy to lease you narrative constructs. And if you don’t keep up your narratives payments, well you could always try and remortgage your morals rights..

Ok – this is an exaggeration, but the role of the media publishing industries, if they are to see longevity, will have to maneuver to community development via individuals – and this means enabling them to achieve what they cant do alone. And achievement is all about having a good yarn to spin. With enough inertia behind your tales, you could always consider the personality bond market.
pacino.jpgSo, how can publishing remain a result of fabrication when the participation of social networks are in themselves creating the media that produces the myths, morals and fortitude that entertain and educate?

It seems like the deal of consumption is not being replaced with participation – traditional rights holders in media do not want to relinquished the easy financial interest of the audiences time. As with Shylock, their faith has to change. An audience will maintain the respect for the media if the bond is one of use, not values. A communities value system is not a tradable commodity – it is the reason why the community exists.

Brilliant Coffee Moments

October 14, 2006

Making the right decision is either going to instinct or a well considered. When I started looking to move on from Channel 4 I knew three things:

1) Broadcasting cant survive as the advertising model was being lost to online services.

2) Internet distribution methods and communities are the future of media commerce.

3) Channel 4 would never adopt online technology into it’s core business thinking.

Thus my investigation into how the marketing industry was dealing with the beautiful disruptions the internet was generating lead to Blogs by marketing planners. They were the primary source of information as very few large agencies had up to date site and the media trade publications are hopeless at reporting on the relationship of technology and media. Web2.0 was building up to full steam and thus Mike Arlington and Om Malik seemed to be covering the start up frenzy. There was of course the ClueTrain Mafia, but still no one was talking about the the ‘interestingness’ of media, technology and brands. Except Russell Davies.

For me his blog afforded insight and conviction about ‘planning’ – this gave me the confirmed gut instinct and backed it up with a wealth of insight.

His blog lives off screen too via coffee mornings. I’ve written about these before and they still remain that wonderfully rare time in the week were you get to meet other fascinating creatives working, playing and exploring media.

david_and_henry.jpgSome of the team at Imagination had been referencing Russell in the office, so I suggested we should pop along for coffee morning, which Louise, Cassie and I did on Friday. Great to have the opportunity to chat with Henry who writes a cracking blog here. We’ve both been to the coffee sessions in the past but never had the chance to talk. ‘Beeker‘ and Helen were also there – though I didn’t realise who they wereimagination.jpg until reading Russell’s write up. I’ve been reading their blogs for a while and it’s a ‘blimey’ moment when you actually get to meet them. And John Griffiths, which was another ‘blimey’ moment – another long time blogger and a planner with more planning experience than you could imagine. Here’s his blog, and here’s his CV database. Suppose you need a CV dbase with all that experience. Rockstar! And meeting Jason again. Maybe I’ve been to too many of these sessions. Perhaps they’re as addictive as the coffees themselves.

But meeting people is what it’s all about. From chatting to Russell and all the other planners he’s introduced me to since the first coffee morning 3 months ago, the role of a planner became a huge point inspiration for me and revealed an obvious pathway for doing enjoyable work.

Brilliant (inspiring) chap and officially the Biggest Thinker.

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