Where next for grassroots/alt-media?
It's common knowledge that grassroots media is well F**ed and that #failbook and #twitter are the problem not the solution. Where can we go from here? To reboot alt-media (and play a role in rebooting the open web) we need to create an affinity group to cross the geek/political divide that has demolished our once flowing/healthy alt-media networks.
For a moment let's look at broad-brush history, The 20th century alt-media was one of offline social movements, where modern (21st century) alt-media is a product of online social networks - the web. Take a moment to think about our years of failed encryption geek projects on the one hand, and, the constant churning of disappearing media silos on the other. The last 10 years have been a wasteland for both the geek and political.
The original internet/web suceeded because it was a stupidly open design, it had no built-in agenda to the network. Lets compare this ”new” for a moment to the pre-internet, the old wired telephone networks had all the smarts at the exchanges and the phones were dumb, it was a centralised hierarchical network. Where the internet had the smarts at the ends, the computers, and the network itself was dumb – a horizontal network.
This turning on the head of 20th century thinking is important to move out of our current lon- running malaise in alt-media. Am arguing the divide between politicos and geeks is feeding a failed fixation on 20th century thinking in that they both want to build systems (both technical and social) where the smarts are at the centre. In contrast we know that in the 21st century it is more powerful to build “empty” networks that connect the smarts at the edges. The word “empty” here gets a lot of negative responses :) This is the touching of the core problem. Take a moment to re-read and think positive thoughts ;)
An “empty” network is a general-purpose network that connects general purpose computers to general purpose people and community. Yes, the tech we need, like the internet/open web has an agenda but it is not sectarian as #failbook and other #dotcoms are, as are our own much smaller alt-media silos. Instead its “open” and “simple” based on “industrial” standards and open working social ideals. This is obvious, but it needs saying, The “dumb net” is completely ignorant of what the user wants to do – just data in and data out. It's up to the user to decide what the data is. Only “universal languages”, that is data standards, have flow. There is a ridiculous power for change in this obviousness.
It's not hard to re-boot to escape these 10 years of failure, actually it's simple. Though it's not going to happen without a good affinity group who cross the geek/political divide. Message me if you think you have the smarts, skills, tolerance and humility.
Draw a line in the sand
None of the current alt/grassroots media projects link to each other. Message them and ask why and refuse to support them till they do #thecanary #Reelnews #RealMedia #Novaramedia is basic KISS of lefty/radical/progressive thinking.
What's the solution?
The minimum outcome a prominent small sidebar box front screen linking to other alt/grassroots project on each active project. it's a KISS no brainer and a line in the sand for lefty/radical/grassroots.
This can be done manually or as part of a bigger network project such as OMN
User story for the OMN - Ana and her Cat Pixy
User story for the OMN - Ana and her Cat Pixy
Ana loves her cat Pixie and wants to create a blog with photos and life stories of her cat. All her friends are creating Tumblr accounts but her friend told her about Open Media Network and that she could reach a wider audience. She created a Wordpress site instead. To make her blog more interesting and dynamic she adds some #OMN side bars from catlovers.net using the tags “black and white” “cat” and "fun” so that she can receive new pictures and headlines from other similar websites everyday. Her feed is added back to the catlovers.net aggregator and thus linked to over up to 100 cat sites each time she posted a new story.
OMN user storys - A Writers Blog
Tabs is a writer and journalist who in the past was published in major newspapers. She writes opinion pieces based on current news events.
She keeps her hand in by writing pieces for her blog. She then posts her blog on facebook. Some of her friends share her pieces. Her blog reaches between twenty to a hundred people, mainly her friends.
Tabs knows one of the developers of the Open Media Network. He adds her feed from her blog to the OMN so that when she publishes a new piece the sidebars of all the blogs that are interested in her work are alerted. All someone has to do is click on the link and they will be taken to her site so they can read the new blog post. At the same time her blog will be copied and stored on OMN servers, or noids, so that a backup is always available.
As time goes on more people sees Tabs blog on the sidebar on their blogs. Her viewing figures double over a couple of months. So she decides to reciprocate and adds a sidebar to her blog and links to some other blogs she likes.
She is now a part of the OMN. A number of prominent sites feature her blog and the number of people looking at her blog increase dramatically and keeps growing as the network expands.
Foundations of alt/grassroots projects
All projects am working on at the moment are based on:
1. A very clear rejection of capitalism, imperialism and feudalism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation.
2. We reject all forms and systems of domination and discrimination including, but not limited to, patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism of all creeds.
We embrace the full dignity of all human beings.
3. A confrontational attitude, since we do not think that lobbying can have a major impact in such biased and undemocratic organisations, in which transnational capital is the only real policy-maker;
4. A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism.
5. An organisational philosophy based on decentralisation and autonomy.
1. Open data – is the basic part of the project https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_data with out this open it cannot work.
2. Open source – as in “free software” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software this keeps development healthy by increasing interconnectedness and bringing in serendipity. The Open licences are the “lock” that keep the first two in place, what we have ain’t perfect but they expand the area of “trust” that the project needs to work, creative commons would be the start here.
3. Open “industrial” standards – this is a little understand but core open, its what the open internet and WWW are built from. Here is an outline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_standard
4. Open process – this is the most “nebulous” part, examples of the work flow would be wikis and activity streams. The project is built on linking trust networks so open process is the “glue” that binds the links together. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Process
LINK for projects
were is value online
Its interesting to think for a moment about how widely posts on the #openweb and #failbook are seen. On #failbook an average post on my time line might be seen/read by 10 people and a dog, a good shared post a few hundred people. On my blog an average post would be a few hundred people and a good post 10,000's of people maybe more. its easy to forget that #failbook is a #dotcon in real terms not just in idealogical arguments. The value is on the #openweb - how have people forgotten this?
EC "Cos convenience and the software works"
Yep thats why am pushing the #OMN so the is a space to do something about this.