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March 18, 2007

iBegin Source Launched

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iBegin launched its local search service last year amid a general excitement over local search. First city to go live was Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Then iBegin followed with Ottawa, and then US Cities Kalamazoo, MI and Nashville, TN. These usually include business listings, reviews, ratings and recommendations that are user-contributed. And of course, there’s the requisite mapping interface you would expect from a local search service.

It looks like iBegin has just upped the ante and found an ideal business model as well: licensing out business data. iBegin has launched iBegin Source. And it’s not just about a few cities. They’ve gone nationwide in the US, with about 10.8 million establishments to date. I hear iBegin has big plans to go worldwide, soon. read more

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February 26, 2007

Can Brands Really Compete As Content Creators?

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Sure, Dove captured everyone’s attention with its Evolution “viral” video, which, like a good old-fashioned expose, revealed the manipulation behind images of “beauty.” This trend of brands creating content for the web dates back to the short films that BMW commissioned in 2001 and 2002 (and I’m sure further back than that, depending on how you define the trend).

Now that every brand is jumping on the bandwagon to be a content creator to compete in the intensifying war over consumer attention, you have to wonder whether brands can really compete as content creators, lodged between traditional “professional” content creators and the newly empowered army of “users” generating content.
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February 21, 2007

A Swarm of Angels

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We live in a user generated world. On average about 40,000 new videos are uploaded to youTube everyday and millions are viewed. The quest to write the next great novel has been replaced with the desire to become the next great filmmaker. Traditionally the funding, production and distribution of movies has been an elitist pursuit which required large amounts of resources well beyond the reach of the average individual.

The digital revolution has made filmmaking possible for the masses. These days most computers ship with some type of video editing software. Thanks to improvements in imaging technology and falling prices, HD resolution cameras are becoming more common.

With all the advancements in technology the one side of filmmaking that has lagged behind is the concept of web based collaboration. Sure directors assemble a core team of collaborators, writers, producers, actors, editors and composers to name a few, but the current trend in social media has resulted in mostly passive user experiences until now.

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February 15, 2007

As The Media Becomes Social, Do We Really Still Care About Privacy?

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Jeremy Wagstaff asks over at his Loose Wire blog whether we have overcome our concerns about privacy. With all the ways people can now share information online, and contribute content for public consumption, is privacy still an issue? Or is privacy really an issue at all, in the first place?

If there’s one myth that endures in this age of online participation, blogs, shared photo albums and Web 2.0, it’s that we’ve overcome our concerns about privacy. It sounds on the surface, logical: We must have gotten over this weird paranoia, or else why would we share so much online? Why would we bother about privacy issues when there’s no real evidence that people, companies, governments and the NSA are out to get us?

Jeremy argues that privacy is still an issue, but it’s not really something that we human beings are good at protecting. Technology can be very exciting, especially with how quickly we’ve advanced in the way we communicate and the way we share, store and catalog information. In a way, technology has progressed so fast that we just tend to jump in with using tools that make our lives easier and forget about covering our tracks. read more

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February 7, 2007

Why Libraries (And Librarians) Are Not Obsolete

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The Internet age has brought about many changes in the way people look for and access information. While information was previously limited to those who had physical access to publications (books, journals, serials, magazines), now you can access almost anything at the comfort of your own home. This doesn’t only include written material; with Broadband you can access rich media at amazing speeds.

This brings us to the question whether libraries–and consequently, librarians–are still important in this day and age. It might be tempting to relegate libraries and librarians as old school and passé along with the steam-powered locomotive and the manual typewriter. After all, you have a whole world of Knowledge waiting to be accessed online. And with social media, it gets even better, since Knowledge starts to become a collective from numerous sources and not only from a few sources.

However, this information structure has its flaws, as some would believe, and therefore libraries and librarians are still important as gatekeepers of information. In fact, here are 33 reasons why libraries and librarians should not be considered obsolete, according to Will Sherman.

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February 6, 2007

“A Million Penguins” collaborative novel-writing wiki launches

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On 1st February, A Million Penguins officially launched. UK publisher Penguin joined forces with De Montfort University (Leicester) to see if a novel can be written by a worldwide collective of authors.

Using wiki software, the goal is to see if strangers from around the globe can create a piece of legitimate fiction together.

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February 4, 2007

The Story Behind Bridezilla

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You may have heard about one of the latest YouTubes making the rounds — the one about the bride who freaks out about her hair on her wedding day, and proceeds to have a meltdown resulting in her cutting her own hair.

You may have also heard about the tidal wave of publicity, once people heard that it was, in fact, staged, with actresses, a script, and a contract.  In fact, it turns out all principals involved were interviewed on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and Inside Edition.

What you may not know is the story behind “Bride Wigs Out”, and how brazen and calculating some marketing firms are. 

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January 10, 2007

Does Your Company MeasuredUp?

In a world where most businesses are influenced by cash rather than their customers, one person has decided to fight back by forming a site where consumers can vent their frustrations, or give praise where praise is due.

MeasuredUp, a website that is a cross between a basic social network and PayPerPost done right, allows members to rate and review businesses in their local area or online. Users can also post testimonials of their encounters of the company in question, which may not make many corporate marketing departments very happy.
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Getting social at Sundance

Each year thousands of film enthusiasts make the annual pilgrimage to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. In the past I have made the trek, but due to a prior engagement I will not be able to attend this year. I love the sense of community that can be found at a festival, thanks to the diversity of films and people who attend. Missing this year’s festival got me thinking about how I might be able to create the experience virtually. read more

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January 1, 2007

Uncut Video Of Saddam Hussein Execution Seen Across The Web

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Despite the express wish of the Iraqi Government that the only footage shown of Saddam Hussein’s execution- be limited to the point where the noose was placed over Hussein’s head and tightened around his neck (with no audio), a full, uncut video, including “the drop” is going around the web like wildfire. Taken by a cellphone, it is showing on Netscape, and the story has already been “dugg” in a variety of ways, including how the cellphone was sneaked in.

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