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Kevin Anderson on Information Overload Syndrome and #Journalism's Future #DD11

Kevin Anderson just used this video in his talk here at Digital Directions. "In the 20th century, Ruper Murdoch built an empire based on scarcity," said Anderson. Anderson's talk is about the combination of abundance with journalism. Salient points mixed with my own extension.

  • We're losing the battle for attention. People weren't necessarily more civically engaged in the past. There was just less competition for their time. "We're not just fighting against other news sites. We're fighting against every other site on the Internet," and the same is true for apps
  • More content is leading to lower revenues. Excess of inventory drove CPMs way down
  • We're overwhelming audiences into inaction
  • Minutes per month on news sites ~4 minutes per user. On Facebook it's 375 minutes!
  • Young (18-24) turn to celebrity and car crash news because they can no longer follow long, complicated stories with updates. 
  • We're moving from mass to relevance. Size is less important than context, relevance, curation
  • Growth of social media publishing. Check out this post including profiles of, Flipboard and Newsbook
  • Networked journalism. Not just about distributing across platforms (flickr, twitter, facebook) but also cultivating sources
  • Real-time and real-space curation. A bit of information where people are physically. Gave example of WSJ post to Foursquare via a shout at Times Square about evacuation

I'm a huge Kevin Anderson fan now. Follow him on Twitter. Holy Jesus-who-wasn't-killed-by-the-Jews-afterall-thanks-Pope


Real Weather Girls? I sat through this video, and so will you

I got a PR email about this thing. I was confused. I clicked. I saw the above. I regretted clicking. Who's idea was this? "Oh, let's take weather plus white girls with annoying voices talking about their lives for no reason plus other random bullshit and make an app!"

As I watched the video, I kept expecting something different to happen, but each time it was just another white girl with a horrendous voice. I started getting angry. I couldn't imagine this whole thing could look so... same, but they kept piling in like Orcs.

I didn't know we had that many white girls to spare. Someone should tell Nancy Grace: we found all the missing white girls. They're doing some weird weather-reality-documentary-thing, and they won't shut up about it.

Update 17:39 on 6 October 2010

A Twitter user named Jeremy Harness pointed out the one non-white girl who is part of this Real Weather Girls project. She wasn't in the video which is why I missed her. 

Update 16:15 on 14 October 2010

I've read through a lot of the comments and think I owe the Internet an apology. My first impression of this show was confused. I got an email about a weather app that threw in commentary from a bunch of same-looking (mostly) white women about their cities? Or was it their lives? I couldn't tell.

For those who think I'm a racist, you're right! But for real, that promo is so one-note, and I couldn't imaging twelve people all sounding the same especially with the title "real" in it.

But, more than the race of the women, I just do not get this app, and I've watched a lot of videos, and they're all just really confusing and annoying. In one, Jordan from New Jersey interviews two friends: Sack Effron and Saco-o-jowea. Their heads are covered with paper bags for the entire video. Like sacks, see?

Oh I know I've made some crap video/art/things in my day, but I've never been so confused by an entire package that made zero sense. At all. Anyone else have the app? Now I want to know. Like, I really need to know what the backstory and point of this is. Please. Seriously?

At Web 2.0 Expo NYC I'm interviewing The Oatmeal and Hyperbole and a Half. Got questions?

The session is called It Makes Money--Great. But Is It Funny?


Everyone knows that the web is now the place where writers and artists can get big by connecting directly with fans. But how do they actually do it? In this session, Baratunde Thurston, Digital Director of The Onion, interviews two creators of successful web comics, Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) and Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half). They’ll talk not only about how they’ve taken different paths to profitability but also how they continually create great, funny work that keeps people coming back.

I'm a big fan of both these people's work and have my own questions in mind about how they stay motivated, creative and profitable, but I'd also love to know if there are questions or comments you have for them that relate to the topic. If so, please leave a note in the comments. You can login using Disqus, Facebook or Twitter.


Introducing Say goodbye to productivity. Again

The homepageTechCrunch has the details:

With more than two billion links a month passed through its link shortening service, can see what is some of the most buzzed about and shared content on the Web. Today, it is exposing the most popular videos people share through on Bitly.TV, which is the second project under Labs (the super-short URL shortener was the first).

With being the main way people share links on Twitter, Bitly.TV might as well be called Twitter TV. The videos featured are based on’s bitrank algorithm. “The algorithm looks at velocity, popularity and persistence,” says general manager Andrew Cohen. “We’re examining the social distribution history of each video to determine what is trending, and to predict what will go viral.”


I especially love the concept of mathematically measuring velocity, popularity and persistence. It treats the data flowing through the web (well, the bitlyfied web) like a flowing liquid. In fact, I wonder if the principal of fluid dynamics (plus network theory) could be applied to build some super geeky model. Wow, that might have been the nerdiest sentence I've ever typed!

But let's face it. What really is:

  • the end of productivity again
  • a great mirror held up to the soul of society reflecting our values right back at us.

Apparently our souls are filled with Lady Gaga videos.


OneWebDay Is Coming Sept. 22nd or Why I Love The Internet

cross-posted to Jack & Jill Politics I am an ambassador for OneWebDay, an annual effort to:
focus attention on a key internet value (this year, online participation in democracy) focus attention on local internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills) create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the internet
I got online in 1994 because a parent at my high school worked for UUNet and donated a connection to our school. We had one computer in the corner of the lab with access, not to the "web" (cause that didn't quite exist), but to the "Internet." There were no graphics, just amber text on a black background. The browser, as it was, was a piece of software called Lynx. You launched it by typing the word "lynx" at the prompt and pressing "carriage return." Remember carriage return yall? That's from typewriter days! Today, we're using the Internet as a platform for every human endeavor, but the political is where my passion lies. I take a wide interpretation of politics. Elections are politics. Justice is politics. Media is politics. We have within our reach the ability to upend the traditional flow of power, and this gets me excited. We've seen it in just providing access to information. Projects like the Sunlight Foundation's Congresspedia or give regular citizens access to information traditionally reserved for the small group of folks who use that information advantage to maintain their power advantage. We've seen it in collective research projects like the Clinton Attacks Obama Wiki or collective action projects like Senator Obama - Please Vote NO On Telecom Immunity (a group set up on Obama's own empowering website). Leutisha Stills, a fellow blogger at Jack and Jill Politics, and I had a great talk recently about her work on the Congressional Black Caucus report card and CBC Monitor. Not only do we have an increasing number of citizens learning what their representatives are up to and how they're voting, but this information can then be used to hold that leadership accountable. Leutisha showed me multiple cases of low-performing CBC members whose grades encouraged primary challengers which in turn forced a change in behavior on the part of the rep. We're lookin at you Ed Towns (big up Kevin Powell). Stay tuned for the next report card due out in September! I want to thank Susan Crawford and everyone at OneWebDay for running this great program and inviting me to be a part of it. Now I open it up to you. Generally, what do you value most about the Internet? Specifically, how has it affected your participation in democracy?

Video Of My Panel On Participation & Politics Online

Last Wednesday, I spoke on a panel during NYC's InternetWeek. It was put on by OneWebDay and Susan Crawford. The topic was participation and politics online. It was actually really good! I spoke about the ClintonAttacksObama wiki at Jack & Jill Politics, and the audience and other speakers brought some really great thoughts and insights to the table. I shared the stage with Andrew Rasiej (Founder, Personal Democracy Forum) and Jay Rosen (Professor, NYU Department of Journalism and creator of OffTheBus at HuffPo). The moderator was Allison Fine (Author, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age)

Here's the YouTube Link. It's 90 minutes. You can find it in various other formats here.