Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A thorn in the nice, fluffy cloud

At Netscape in 1999, I recall entering into the office one morning and being approached by reporters asking if I knew about the email scandal between the company and its competitor Microsoft. Having been briefed by a diligent human resources group, I had no comment but was well aware of its happening and the wave of damage control, present and future, it created through our organization. I think I can say that, generally speaking, can't I?

Perhaps more important than the legislation which followed that event was a lesson far greater. The Web offers vast opportunities, really, it's quite fantastic. But it's rapid growth and non-standardized services are more akin to a pool of pirahnas than the relatively slow-moving frontiers we previously conquered in print, radio or TV. Regulations are enforced by priority of the greatest threat, not based on wrongdoing. The whole Internet is a unsupervised free-for-all, where the bullies and the thiefs experience virtual nirvana.

There are pirates worse than those selling films illegally. And a ten year old child finding porn online is nothing compared to the potential information breeches we non-chalantly invite by sending our data over the ether. Who is in charge here? What is the percentage of policemen to citizens around the world? We need a global presence. In the meantime, we have to be vigilante, which is really irritating because not everybody has contacts at the big ISPs. We all have other things to do. It's like having to chase down a bankrobber for your bank.

Excuse my rant but let me pass along some advice. Change your passwords, now. Back everything up and if you aren't friends with someone who knows how to track down fraud on the Web, I hear they drink a lot of coffee those techies. Christen your new friendship with a double, non-fat, frappa-whateva-he-wants.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Participatory Media Supported

Many years ago I worked for a small multimedia company and one of our clients was Macromedia. We wrote documentation for Director 1.0, built interactive help and held trainings around the Bay Area. In my spare time, I used the software to put together a multimedia story for a family member celebrated an 80th birthday, splicing together music, pictures and narration. Sixty people gathered in a local restaurant and watched, it was very sweet.

Today, most podcasters, videobloggers, journalists turned new media (and vice versa) are keen on organizations that are supporting participatory media even though there seems to be a good deal of negative press scrutinizing the business model, quality and even safety. But that's not stopping people who have to tell stories, news to share, and feelings and creativity to express.

Here are three examples of people putting in the time, helping to make media higher quality and even getting paid.

1) Dan Gillmor, who I wrote about in my last post, and the Center for Citizen Media recently published this piece I narrated about accuracy and fixing mistakes in a new section on their site addressing "Principles of Citizen Journalism".

2) I briefly interviewed three attendees of the mobile technology conference at Stanford University: Reuters-sponsored Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford University; a popular blog called onlinepersonalswatch.com; and Nokia's Convergence Products Business Program group.

Coincidentally, John Kuner is on academic leave from Nokia, and his Digital Vision Program focuses on three initiative areas: finance programs including m-commerce, payment services and microfinance; knowledge, as in education, government services and community building; and health and welfare which encompasses health science, public safety and disaster relief.

3) Finally, here is an example of financial support as the world begins to see real value in user-generated content, whether for entertainment, news or otherwise.

Related items:

Article on funding citizen media
Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford
The N800
from Nokia.com
Online Personals Watch
Social Networking Watch
Citizen Journalism Principles at the Center for Citizen Media