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May 6, 2011

Sawing the Web: How the “New Media Revolution” Can Be Derailed the Old-Fashioned Way

Some weeks back, the BBC reported that a 75-year-old woman from Georgia managed to disrupt Internet service in the entire country.  She didn’t do so with a DDoS or an LOIC or any other sophisticated hacking tool, but with a plain old saw.  To supplement her pension, the woman scavenges for copper.  The cable didn’t mean a whole lot of difference for her, but it did mean the temporary paralysis of Internet services in Armenia.

Could it happen here?  Of course it can.  All it took to temporarily shut down the Internet for an entire nation was an old woman with a saw.  What more for an earthquake in Taiwan, or a scavenger in Manila, or someone who trips a wire in the United States?

If there’s anything this story could tell us, all the hype and hoopla about “new media revolutions” seem to be so “up there;” out of the reach of the majority of the world’s population who are not yet “wired.”  It’s often grounded on something abstract, like ideas and conversations, when that entire reality is grounded on a very vulnerable network of wires.

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July 22, 2009

The Guardian Sacks Paul Carr

Paul Carr used to write the Not Safe For Work column for The Guardian, but no more. The reason is a slashing of the freelance budget, says Carr on Twitter, and then goes on and tells us that he thought about doing the column for free but decided against it. That last part was on his blog though, which is a good thing because the reasoning would take up quite a few tweets… In the same blog post he writes a bit about leaving.

Having said all that, I will miss the outlet the Guardian gave me every week; to boast and swear and talk about things that were on my mind. I’m not sure there’s another UK paper that would give me such freedom – and for that reason I’ll be eternally grateful to my former paymasters. And I’ll miss them, like a sometimes-mental, socialist former girlfriend.

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch isn’t sad about this. “Their loss our gain” he says, as he announces that Carr will be writing a weekly column for TechCrunch to run each Saturday morning. Good call, Carr’s Not Safe For Work Column over at The Guardian was a treat, and I’m thinking it was a huge mistake to cut it loose. But that’s the media industry for you right now. I’m just surprised Nick Denton didn’t snatch him up already.

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June 26, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson: New Media Broke the Story, Old Media OK’d It

The death of pop icon Michael Jackson is dominating the web right now. TMZ broke the story, went down under the strain, but is back up now. Meanwhile, various sites and tweets talk about Twitter getting some fail whales and massive traffic spikes, which isn’t all that surprising after all. The King of Pop has been in the limelight for so long, it is just huge. At a time, the trending topics on Twitter was more or less exclusively dominated by his death, with people forgetting all about Iran for a little while at least.

People rush to Jackson’s Facebook page, currently sporting 880 991 fans, but expect that number to grow tremendously. Facebook overall is performing sluggishly now, possibly due to the artist’s death. It will be interesting to follow up on traffic spikes and surges later on. read more

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May 5, 2009

BBC advertises for Internet Blog editor

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The BBC is advertising for a new editor for its Internet Blog, which covers a range of topics related to some of the BBC’s multimedia and online teams including BBC Online, BBC iPlayer, Future Media & Technology, Online Media Group and Vision Multi-platform.

Main duties of the role include:

  • Commissioning, writing and publishing blog posts on a daily basis;
  • Planning of future posts;
  • Managing and liaising with senior executives, communications and legal teams;
  • Managing the BBC’s social networking presence;
  • Connecting with users and audiences on BBC Online and other networks;

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April 16, 2009

Where The Daily Kos Finds Its Stories

This is interesting. The Daily Kos looked at where their stories originated (both primary and secondary sources), and found that newspapers were the main most common source. Not very surprising given the type of blog The Daily Kos is, but still.

Newspapers: 102 primary, 21 secondary
Blogs: 83 primary, 19 secondary
Advocacy organizations: 77 primary, 9 secondary
Television network: 69 primary, 14 secondary
Online news organizations: 54 primary, 5 secondary
Magazines and journals: 36 primary
Political trade press: 28 primary
Research/polling: 20 primary
Wikipedia: 21 primary, 8 secondary
Educational (.edu): 15 primary
Government: 14 primary, 5 secondary
Campaigns: 13 primary
Books: 6 primary
AP and other Wire: 5 secondary
Radio: 4 primary

Read the full thing, with something of an analysis, and take to heart if you will.

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March 26, 2009

Is your blog prepared for Earth Hour ’09?

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Depending on what part of the globe you’re in, Earth Hour 2009 is but roughly 33 to 48 hours away from Saturday, 8:30 PM. The VOTE EARTH movement is a global one hour “lights off kids!” with the primary aim of collecting 1 billion statement votes for policy changes in this year’s Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

What’s important to us though is that Earth Hour ’09 is heavy on social media. YouTube videos, widget downloads, Facebook fan page, Bebo, Flickr, Twitter and FriendFeed accounts can all be found here. They even have a sign up widget which you can embed on your blog.

Crazy thought: If the Internet went down for an hour, what would the world be like?

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February 22, 2009

How did you explain new media to your folks?

Before he retired, my father was a banker for more than ten years. But he devoted a lot of his spare time writing for a national broadsheet and a few magazines (he still continues to do so online). When he finally joined Facebook two weeks ago, it became easier to explain my work in this “new media” industry.

I guess I’m lucky. I don’t find the need to submit cringing stories to My Parents Joined Facebook — not that I have anything to hide from my dad, but I’m glad that he gets it, as a former journalist who found the need to catch up with the times. There aren’t too many people in their 60′s who bend over that way. For him, converting his column to an online medium allowed him the luxury of not having to go through an editor — he found the idea of not having a deadline attractive, and being able to get instant feedback almost immediately more enthralling. To him, it isn’t about “print being dead” — it’s about forcing the traditional industry to learn new tricks. You can only be senile up to some point.

How did you explain blogs, YouTube, Twitter and all that to your folks? More importantly, have they taken the plunge as well? Believe it or not, the main reason why my father joined Facebook was PEER PRESSURE from his old friends from high school and college who are now happily retired in their 60′s, and perhaps have nothing better to do than play Pet Society.

Happy weekend, blogosphere!

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February 6, 2009

UK’s Shiny Media cuts staff; co-founder Katie Lee leaves

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Shiny Media is to cut back on staff, including editorial director and co-founder Katie Lee, according to an official press release initially sent to TechCrunch UK & Ireland. Chris Price remains in place as the last of the company’s founders.

The full statement, copied below, talks of the current tough financial climate and the toll it has taken on the new media company. Shiny Media has “held on as long as [it] could without restructuring the business” but that long-term stability has now forced its hand. read more

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January 19, 2009

The Media is Dying: An Interview With the People Behind the Twitter Account

The Medi is DyingThere’s no doubt that media is in a time of change. Magazines and newspapers are hard pressed to save money, journalists are let go, there’s restructoring, and so on. All of this isn’t because of the financial crisis, but it sure speeds things up. So where do we turn for information about these things? To the blogosphere, of course, because that’s where we can read about the people that were let go, without having to filter out everything the hidden agenda of the so called old media. They are partial, you know. Of course, so is a disgruntled journo just sacked from his newspaper, but at least we expect him to be pissed.

Enter a group of anonymous people that tweet about who’s fired, who’s in trouble, and who stays. The Media is Dying Twitter account is a phenomenom, an excellent source for anxious and curious journalists and media enthusiasts altogether. And there’s plenty of them, the account’s got over 9,000 followers. The mysterious media professionals were kind enough to participate in an interview. read more

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January 16, 2009

Shai Coggins Out of b5media. Tough Times Ahead For All of Us?

I received an email tip via Performancing today about some key b5media personalities having to leave the network–one of the bigger blog/new media networks today, in terms of content and contributorship. Foremost of these is AboutWeblogs.com founder and b5media “co-founder” Shai Coggins. In a blog post today, Shai explains the circumstances behind her leaving b5.

Even with the fresh injection of funding, the economic times aren’t cooperating.

So, it all ended with another Skype chat. Well, sort of. On the 14th of January 2009, I used Skype to pay for the call to the b5 conference line – where the company COO and CEO broke the news to me.

Times are tough.

And that’s how it ends.

I’m not sure I am at liberty to quote or discuss the actual contents of the email, as it appears to be privileged communication between Jeremy Wright and his fellow b5′ers. But it appears that this move was due to some belt-tightening measures that the company has had to do in line with its trimming of costs, refocusing of strategies and exploring of new opportunities. read more

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