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.
Undercurrents in the Mainstream - The Trojan Horse Application
This was an profetic project outline from 2001 (or 2007 cant quite tell)
Undercurrents in the Mainstream.
The Trojan Horse Application
A proposal for a world-wide workers co-operative approach to New Media - A Universal TV Channel.
.By Hamish Campbell
Imagine an internet TV channel where anyone can put anything in and take anything out.
Imagine a personalised channel just for you.
We need to jump from current TV to future TV by providing the simulation of a traditional streaming channel, personalised to the viewer, while opening up the interactive possibilities intrinsic to the internet. That is carry a profile of people’s interests and work at stretching that profile. That is by just challenging them enough - to widen their tastes, to give them the opportunity to follow different streams.
The project is similar to the interactive book in Neil Stevenson’s novel “The diamond age”, “A young lady’s primer”. It has an ideological path - we believe in freedom and justice. Our art and craft is to make that path visible and accessible to a wider range of people. Firstly to inform, secondly to spark off the interest necessary to leave the mainstream, to follow more humane secondary streams. Our advantage lies in our outlook, a more genuine “outsider’s” view of balances.
This project would make real the liberal ideology which our societies applaud. It is an attempt at "concrete-utopia", the transmission of the best within our society as it stands. Rather than the more normal radical approach of overthrowing the status quo to create the new.
Equality of opportunity
A mixed economy
A world approach
A local approach
How this will work with broadband internet TV.
We are moving into a cybernetic age, we rely more and more on computers in our everyday life, the mainstream of this is a dulling social control by faceless corporations. However, many people are attempting to use technology as an extension, a facilitating of human potential. An example is the use of a Psion palmtop computer to act as an external brain. It not only provides for the replacement of hand writing, it remembers names, corrects the spelling of official correspondences and acts as a continuing conversation in diary form. The very act of adding entries fixes them in the user’s mind, and facilitates the organisation of overlapping, complex, forget-filled lives. The users do not have to remember the everyday, they carry it in their pockets. This is how the universal TV channel would work.
In the mainstream the mantra of who, what, where is not new, though with interactive consumption it is taking on a new importance. Profiling is big on the NET, everyone is after personal information to “personalise” the alienation of blind consumption. Looking into this can of rotting worms can we find anything worth composting to enrich our garden?
Proposal for a self-directed TV channel.
A global TV channel, starting small and part time with the current technology and skills, in stages moving into an open universal global media outlet. The experience for individuals is that each has a channel, you can sample others’ channels by amalgamating them with your own - you meet someone, and like their outlook... merge their profile into yours. You like a pop band, merge their channel to yours. This will create overlapping virtual community channels.
In its interactive shape the channel can be made up of tasters, with a list of viewing options, or can be set to play a more traditional no-interactive schedule. Instead of reaching for the TV guide, just look at the options available on your own channel - or any other mainstream or counterculture channel.
You choose which to adjust to bring up a new list of content - much like a real-time review engine. The system then “creates” a channel for you [these can be made up of basic templates]
Your profile will be adjusted in real-time by your choices of program subjects, by your choices of what is in your profile and, finally, you can go into and directly edit your profile.
The content will be freely added by anyone, from more conventional channels or archives to new community or low-budget specials. Content can consist of local issues on council flower beds to the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
The individual or corporation who adds content, fills in a basic profile for the program. When submitted, this is first sent to “reviewers”, that is people who have expressed an interest in reviewing content. They then each add to the program’s profile and when there has been a large enough consensus the program is dynamically added to the schedule, with the new consensus profile. The reviewing process is open to all. The System is open to content from all over the world.
All the profiling data is dynamic. If you give a program a good rating its whole profile will be merged with your current profile. Trashing a program will reverse this - that is it will subtract the profile. This process will be elastic in its effect - it will have a moderate immediate effect and a smaller long term effect. Thus if you are a sports addict and for what ever reason you trash three sports programs and chose a comedy program instead, for the rest of that day you will get comedy and "teasers" of other subjects, the next day you will get half comedy and half sport... on the third day you will get the majority of what you watched on the second, and some of any "teasers" you followed. This process works in reverse, with individual viewers’ profiles affecting the profile of the programs themselves .
The profiling system will work as a tree, with top levels and side levels branching off. The top levels will be decided by the user’s profile, and then dynamically adjusted.
Some profile categories could be:
Fixed: nationality (country/region); language (spoken/subtitles); type (film/documentary/news/sport/commercial, review); subject (searchable key words) etc.
Variable: quality (good - bad), accessibility (easy - difficult), violence (child - adult), erotic (conservative - liberal), ideology (progressive - reactionary) etc.
There are also interesting statistical ways of collecting and processing such information, which could be included.
Self profiling by active intention and passive consumption.
The basic interface idea is simple, a single button that gives you the option of trashing content you are not interested in. Interface options vary in their level of interactivity, encouraging interactive uses rather than leaving the channel on auto-pilot.
1. Dumb - by trashing programs the user doesn’t like and rating those they do.
2. Basic interaction - by choosing from the cued up list of possible programming that is provided with any user interaction.
3. "What mood am I in?". Expressed by the web - sliders - the users can express an interest in certain areas by elastically/temporarily changing the sliders on their profile. (dynamically created by their profile, with one or two challenging additions)
4. Traditional key word searching (with or without the aid of their profile).
5. Directly changing their profile. (this complies with data laws)
1. You can make your own, or organisations’ profile public so that other people can watch it and you can watch other’s... Undercurrents, football stars, NGO's, Channel 4 etc.
2. You can “merge” others profiles in to yours, such as an organisation, famous author’s or popstars. Which will provide an easy way of getting an interesting personal channel, and seeing the world from different points of view.
3. You can bookmark TV series and news services, so that they always appear when a new content comes out.
4. Key words can form part of your profile, such as a city, person or brand.
It is important to realise that any large “outside” change will soon be personalised by your own interactive choices reshaping your profile to represent (and challenge) your point of view . A Universal TV Channel is not about dumming down people, it is about taking away the dull bureaucratic routines needed to choose quality and "truth" in our heavily commercialised and consumptive world.
This is the freeing of human potential, the profiling is not to facilitate people wallowing in their own ghettos. Each channel needs to always carry a iwde range of views. For example, if someone’s profile was largely shaped by sex and sport, the programming would not only be filled by pornography and golfing, but links and teasers for programs on the effect of pornography and the destruction of wildlife by the building of golf courses. In this example, if the viewer followed one of these links, their profile would react and bring up more options - a small, different window opening into a larger world view.
We need a production, editorial and management team. The net, like any “unmoderated free market place", is filled with dross. An editorial level above the reviewers would add a holistic view to the information flow. Human beings are created by their society - if we do not consciously attempt to shape its flow - we are in continuing danger of polluting and despoiling our commons.
(C.f.: Gerat Harding, Tragedy of the commons.)
1. We need to write a data base to hold the profiling information, templated channels, and provide and input page for content.
2. To create the user interface and local web TV application.
3. Sign up content deals with current internet video hosting sites.
4. Work on the financing and management model.
Is flexible and from a number of conflicting sources. It is interesting to note that the content providers and viewers can choose which revenue funds their viewing in real-time, and this will also control our revenue flow. The project is one of a viewer/producer workers co-operative.
Pay per view
State money (grants/regional funding)
Links to commercial sites - both mainstream and counterculture - the balance is decided by people’s own profiles. We take the standard internet commission for referrals and any purchases that these create.
It is important to note that adverts are profiled just like programs. Advertising is very problematic, but the money has to come from somewhere... we could accept advertising and feed this to people’s profiles - for the mainstream this is the goldmine of revenue, and just like goldmines it has the problem of wide spread pollution. The adverts would directly pay to the content providers (video makers) a commission on each viewer with a cut for us as the provider. This is the dream of mad consumptives, though we live in such a world.
Public service? Government money? If this was possible, we could then pass this onto content providers and take a more respectable running cost commission. A good source of funding.
Donations, the old PBS project. May work for special interest groups, again we have the opening of taking a small commission in the middle.
It is important that a proportion from each revenue stream is cross subsidised to all viewed work. Thus the mainstream movies advertising would pay for the counterculture response. Creating the liberal (and freemarket) ideal of "perfect knowledge".
cut for video producer
cut for redistribution over whole network.
small cut for the host server of the video,
small cut for channel (us)
small cut for channel’s production grants
Thus we are not only a voluntary distribution network, we also pay for content, bringing a wider and more creative mix of local and global content.
Open Media Network
The Open Media Network is a project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS, taking it out of a basic personalised mash-up of feeds into an open metadata social network. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise independently of the social media corporate giants.
The #dotcom silos are completely dominant in terms of people's identity, for publishing and for networking etc. At social events you once gave your phone number, then your email address, and now you friend on facebook.
By contrast, the open web has plateaued or is already in decline, depending on your point of view. To fix the issues of why the open web is failing we first need to look at why it succeeded:
- KISS throughout
- no identity checking
- no security
The internet/web was a KISS trust-based network that took over the world we have been living in for the last 30 years, and it was no accident that identity checking and security were missing from the original internet/web.
To reboot the open web will take many overlapping streams of open projects. Here we are proposing a KISS project to that end.
Let's look at a small, once healthy stream. Alt/grassroots media used to play a large role in the world. Now all that remains is a few sprigs of green in a polluted/dry river bed. In its heyday the global #indymedia (link broken) network rivalled the BBC and CNN in its scope and coverage on the big days of action and international summits. Now all that is left are some strongly branded small projects (http://novaramedia.com), that grew from #dotcom social media and are only networked within them, and a handful of big legacy projects (http://www.democracynow.org).
The problem we face is a pre-web problem, that of silos. That is each project is a small pool in a empty/dry river and there are very few links or shared data from one to the other (link to 3 projects). The currency of the web is the "valid link"to build networks. Alt-media's growth is severely limited by this lack.
Open Media Network
The OMN is one project to fix this problem.
It is a project of the 4 opens. It is a human-based project at its core, as opposed to an algorithmic project.
Quite simply we want alt-media sites to link to each other and share content, to become a healthy network rather than isolated drying-out silos.
The outcomes needed for it to work are easy to achieve, and they have a large possibility to grow/empower projects as a network.
RSS aggregating news portals are not new, which is a major part of their strength for the realizing of the Open Medium Network. Taking this tried and tested tech into an open metadata social network is new. Another thing which will be new to some of the media side of the project is the 4 opens.
Each participant in the OMN will embed at least one news river in their sidebar.
The plan is to build synching aggregating portals / hubs (based on existing CMSs) that feed those sidebar rivers.
Human networking based on trust is key.
Aggregators choose to link RSS feeds into their hubs.
Users choose the tags for the link streams from the hubs into their side bars.
To facilitate trust, basic security is built in.
- flows can be on auto or moderation
- there would be a feed-based roll-back for when spam gets through the trust network.
User embeds, either native or JS, are boolean tag based and have metadata editing rights based on trust (hosting hub gives them this), with 3 levels: auto/moderation/rollback.
NOTES for Developers:
This project uses technology to build a human network. There's a sense in which the simplicity is as important as the code. The project can grow to work in many different ways but the base has to be KISS.
NOTES for journalists and media makers:
You retain complete control of what appears on your site. As the trust network builds, it will become higher quality and faster to administer.
From simple springs big rivers grow to feed the sea.
In my 30-year experience, I have seen too many alt-media projects grow, flower and fade away, without aggregating or archiving themselves into a state of permanence.
This project can play a crucial role in solving this, as hubs will not only be able to moderate the flows of news, they could achieve it, with no extra work, in a massively redundant distributed way.
It can also form the basis of identity. People are just a tagged data object that can be sorted into “flows”. This opens up social networking to creative thinking.
Sites link to each other both though trust, the human side, and through links, the machine side. Both are a good opportunity for the open web to compete with the closed silos.
The networks of hub sites become portals in their own right, driving traffic to the root news orgs/blogs that feed them.
The Open Media Network is a KISS hybrid client server/peer2peer project to play a small role in revitalising the open web. It uses the tried and tested technology of RSS. Its initial focus will be around alternative media, enabling projects to grow and cross-fertilise alongside the social media corporate giants.
For the full background to the project see this http://hamishcampbell.com/en/home/-/blogs/open-media-netwo-1?
Stage one (6-12 months) basic linking and embedding programming, basic beta roll-out – the outlandish funding.
Stage two (6-12 months) is synchronising and meta-data editing, then expanding roll-out.
When we have basic working code, set up a number of exemplar hubs to beta test the project in the real world and push out embeds to existing real world alt-media sites.
This project is largely social technology. The tech part is configuration and repurposing existing CMS's and their plug-in architectures.
Pre-programming - there is a need to look at the existing code/plug-in base and spec out a number of roots to working aggregating CMS to seed development.
List the parts that need scripting/programming/configuring.
Work out the basic meta-data format (RSS/atom)
Dave Winer's CMS
These no exclusivly act as “seeds” for the aggregating hubs. They already have some of the basic functionality needed. Take this list to open source programming projects such as LINK etc.
As an open project built peer2peer, the core is to get a lot of people at different levels of expertise working on each bit and run them all in parallel. There is no right answer and no signal point of use/failure.
visionOntv project can offer to match the funding coming from outlandish.
I take this comment from a famous programmer as a complement "feels dated in the language and tech" that’s the point ;)
Briefly describe what support in addition to funding you would require to make your project a reality. This could include people with other skills, or office or event space.
The funding is nice to keep focus, but the core help is the links and knowledge network that outlandish provides. The content and media side we can handel. The running of aggregation we have been doing for over 20 years, over many generations of failing alt-tech. At the moment we only have youtube play lists and embeds, this is a crap situation, not to say embarrassing state of alt-media.
Why did the open web flower and die over the last 30 years
Why did the thousands of open internet projects fail? despite the mager state, foundation, NGO funding. The were early successful atavist tech projects, all proved to be pointless or withered with success. In all cases I would argue that the underlining failer was one of ideology, almost all projects worked against the dominate ideology of the net and web it self. Just as the dotcons bumed and bust repeatedly, traditional media was hopeless in till a new generation came along who had a inclining of the underlining working of the new tech ideology.
The few open projects that worked with in the ideology of the web were swamped by the pushing of the funding of the main streaming of the web/internet. Am arguing here that the majority of people making a living in the open web/internet world are core to the problem not the solution, I could name hundreds of projected with the word open/radical in um who actively destroyed “open”.
A tiny minority created a world expanding technology based on the ideology and practices of trust based Anercisam. This exploded into the existing tech/communication worlds, pushing aside, pushing over, all the “better” 20th century vertical (ideology) tech already in place. Open became dominant for a while and this open was “locked in” because of a strong idealogical thread through out the standards and structures the internet/web, the very “chaos” of the open web protected it from the “vertical” (20th century) lockines of corporates such as Microsoft etal.
Nothing last for ever, a new generation came along who merged the “open” back into the “closed” cant rearly blame them, they were children of Thatcher and Rangion. Am amazed to have lived though the time of the open web, the world really did feel very different for a time. Who are the heroes and who the villeins, this history is unwritten yet, better get to it.
This is my realistic/pessimistic view of were we are at for a little more dreamy/optimistic view LINK
Some questions came out of the last grassroots media gathering about OMN
Questions and draft answers
in terms of what I don't understand it is what do sites specifically have to do?
* At a basic level very little.
- output an RSS feed of their articles/videos/podcasts (most sites do this already)
- modify/refine their tag embed as needed, if more involved re-tag content items
- there are more complex roles, running an aggregator, for instance. This is an open distributed global job.
* And what help does this network provide.
- publish once and appear on 100's of sites
- much higher viewing numbers by pushing content in front of interested audiences
- posts going “viral” outside of Failbook and Twitter
- HUGE linking of alternative media
- HUGE redundant/distributed backup of all grassroots media OUTSIDE the transient corporate “cloud”. Our history will be much better “archived” than the dotcoms.
- looking into the future: the grassroots builds and helps to define the “semantic web” - that is web03 in dotcom thinking.
- be part of the future not just a trailing edge transitory past.
* I recognise the plan is to open up the internet (i am still unsure what a portal is btw) so people aren't just going through facebook, google and twitter to find streams of information.
- The internet is inherently P2P. Each computer is the equal of every other. In theory your iphone is the same as far as the internet is concerned to the whole of google. it is core radically horizontal.
- This has been reshaped into a client- server internet were you are a small you – big them. This needs describing better.
* I gather from what is written that there is some sort of categorisation that is going on and mutual promotion in this plan for an open Media network and that some people's sites (the aggregators like ourselves) would key to that promotion and categorisation, but I can't really work out how that works, how the media provider benefits, what the media provider has to do, and what does the average unter get and what would it look for them.
- this taging is synched across the OMN thus feed flows will update in (semi) real time.
- the embeds (plugins) and feeds tagging are based on boolean logic, thus you can have + and – and AND etc
- there is a social side to the project (the 4 opens). With tagging there is an etiqette - it's socially acceptable to add tags to re-direct flows rather than remove tags (though mis-tagging can of course be changed). This side needs talking about more.
* I am afraid it sounds like a really good plan, based on evidence and solutions to existing to problems, but it is too vague specifics for me to understand what it is.
- There is a huge hole in the technical knowledge of the media producers. There are social norms against the 4 opens. This project flows against mainstream geek culture.
* Everyone is going to ask
* what do I have to do? how does it help me?
- This is so obvious to me that maybe some one else needs to write this.
* What will it look like?
- on the surfice very little will change, but grassroots media will have the potential to surpass the dotcoms and failing traditional media much like the original indymedia project did in its early days when its page views matched the BBC on big days of action.
* how will it help others?
- Traditional media is practically dead as open media, and grassroots media is hopelessly individualistic, short lived and disconnected to replace this faild traditional media. The social media dotcoms are about social control for private profit – then socal control for political control.
What would an open media network (OMN) look like?
Lets do some grounded/blue sky thinking ;)
The internet has been (unbelievably) successful because its libertarian/anacist open/trust peer to peer network with very light centre and governances. How do we (re)build an grassroots-media to flourish in the 21st century remains of this open web?
What would an open media network (OMN) look like?
Ps. this actually already exists in part in the visionOntv project.
Peer to peer is the long term goal, but the whole internet is now largely based on client server and alt-geeks love control, so let's take a half first step from this spot.
We need to activate the already existing client/server federated scalable human aggregation content network.
* Based on RSS (98% implemented)
* Based on current CMS's (90% implemented)
* Second tier embed option for legacy sites (80% implemented)
* Constructed with the 4 opens.
1) Content producers are all the current sites – they have to put out a RSS feed of content (98% do all ready)
2) Second level - subject/region/ideology aggregation are run by small groups and individuals. These can be based on current CMS's with RSS aggregation modules (50% implemented)
3) Top site takes feeds from the subject aggregation. Same CMS as second sites.
Producers/subject (1,2) can take embeds for (3) etc. to help to bootstrap the network tech.
Thus the content is published at the bottom and make its way up to wide distribution on the top sites.
Important to realise that NOBODY is in control of the network and it is completely open to setting up nodes at different levels. It is governed by the 4 opens and a light bit of agreed "set-in-stone" process.
In this set-up we have a horizontal media where everyone is in charge of their publishing, and the different communities organically create their own content flow. Some sites will be highly linked and aggregated and some will be ignored, the whole network will organically split into streams and tributaries of data/content flows. These can and will become communities. If one fails it will be replaced organically with another, the best will rise and the worst will fall, they will criss-cross and settle into a multitude of flows.
The whole network will be based on duplicated synchronised meta-data – the source will reside at the publishing site. Davie Winar has done work on how this is achieved (we can implement some caching into the network to deal with scaling issues when needed).
SPAM is dealt with by trust, as each site makes a decision to trust the sites it links to, If you let spam into your network, people will drop YOU. A data roll-back can be implemented for removing SPAM flows that get though this trust network.
The friction (delay/server load) of the RSS object aggregation is actually a feature driving content consumption to close to the bottom. Each server can have traffic light flags for load, add too many feeds and it goes into the red, drop feeds and it goes orange to healthy green. This accelerates the diversity of aggregation sites – if you don’t wont to be an aggregate you just take embeds from a site you trust.
The top sites are easy to create but slower/hard to add value to, this drives the creation of second(2) sites to build out the wider network.
The successful top sites will grow to compete with the failing traditional media. The health of the network will be at the second level sites that feed the top sites. The content will come from the bottom, rejuvenating blogging and community websites. The closed dotcom's such as Facebook and Twitter lock them selves out of content production by not supporting RSS – they become declining dumb pipes for OMN distribution.
As the OMN takes off we can create peer to peer encrypted object flows to move this away from the client server paradigm to make the network more robust against disruption by states and corporations.
The outcome is a distributed data internet of flows. Like the internet itself, it will simply flow round damage/censorship and is open to all.
Hope you found this useful
You can't always get what you want
Activist social media suicide and its prevention
Organising on Facebook is suicide for the internet and the future of our society. We need to do different and we need to do this now, luckily this isn’t actuality a very hard thing to do.
The most simple/basic thing to do is to have a organising website hosted on a independent/activist server – you can ask such people as OMN for an social office organising site or network23 for a basic blog. Then to reach into (but not be controlled by) the closed walls of Facebook you can post links to your content FROM YOUR SITE to Facebook. With this you can kinda have the best of both worlds.
The second part is more ambitious and geek centred, read this link for some ideas on building tools LINK
Its important not to get engrossed in the geek/activist paranoia about security – the is non on the open web, it was designed that way and its why it has been so successful at tacking over the world in the way it has. If you wont to do anything secret or possibly illegal – do not do it on ANY activist or corporate website, that’s what physical meet-ups are for.
The is a potential small exception to this statement, will talk about Per-Per encrypted connections in an other post – BUT this is not a thing to use for 99% of activist communication so not relevant here.
At a minimum all future campaigns should be using the atavist hosting and post links to inside the walled corporate internet. I can help, leave a comment here on this activist hosted site. Or try this site out for organising
A political history of the internet
(This is a DRAFT)
This worth reading to go with this view time and libertarean/liberals view of who created the internet
In the 1970s the military looked at a problem – how to keep communication working in an anarchic environment (a nuclear war). Their solution was to work with this environment not work against it. They built an anarchic network – the internet. This network was small and insignificant compared to the traditional centralised networks that existed and continued to grow. Limited Background
In the late 1980s an individual at the anarchicly-organised CERN borrowed an idea that would make it easer to navigate, HTML, the based of the World Wide Web. Few took any notice. Limited Background
In the 1990s people started to build unexpected things with this open network and open standards and surprisingly these things grew and grew... In the end they pushed all the centralised dominate networks to one side where they shrank until they largely disappeared. Thus the single internet as we know it today was born. It was an unplanned birth coming from the DNA of anarchists thinking.
By 2000 the dotcom boom expanded the internet to every corner of the world. It was driven by a very different world view – much like the world view that had built the very networks that the internet had pushed aside so easily. It was an attempt to enclose the new commons, to partition it into walled gardens with gates and ticket desks. But the network that had been set-up to flourish in anarchy and togather with the overlay of open standards of WWW resisted and in the end simply pushed this dotcom boom into a dotcom bust. Limited Background
The internet expanded again, filling up more areas of our lives, and encroaching on our economic system. The network which was created for anarchy and the open standards that embedded anarchy started to touch everything. Our society is based on ever-expanding markets, and the internet was a HUGE market. Increasingly it was replacing existing markets with piracy, which wasn't a market at all. The internet is a giant copying machine and the copies are practically free. Where markets are based on scarcity, the new digital world, grown from anarchy, was based on abundance. In a world of abundance there is little for the market to buy and sell. Very limited backround and background
Round three of this fight by the old society to grasp control of the new manifested in a much more subtle walling and gatekeeping structure: corporate social networking and the fight against piracy (copying). It was an invisible but relentless push to remove the “disease” of anarchy from the core of the web (and large parts of socierty) and to bring the old order back into control. Today both Twitter (2008) and Facebook (2009) can only survive if they continually grow, and increasingly control the information flows and users access. As they do this the walls and gates that are currently mostly invisible will come more into view. I think the interconnected open web that is the internet would shrug this off as before if this was the only threat it faced. But there’s another side to the attack, the fight against piracy, which is an (largly invisible) fight against the open standards and digital logic of the web. It is leading to new laws that reach into and rend asunder the anarchist internet (the one built to work in the anarchy of nuclear war). It will do this by changing the underlying open standards that the net is built on and by rolling back to the days of the pre-internet, the age of closed intra-nets. Then Gate-keeping will be built into the DNA of this network. And this change will snuff out the anarchy and replace it with bureaucracy. The unintentional (largly unseen) experiment in complete social change will fade and die.
What choice do we have? Now we have many, soon we will have few, and in the end we may have none.
if anyone can help find backup articals to link for this please add them to the comments, thanks.
The state of video aggregation on the web
There is an issue of centralization around a single portal for different types of content on the web, and the withering of diversity of outcomes that this entails. There are a few successful implementations of p2p web structures such as blogging and RSS but they are exceptions, we have total domination of video (youtube) social networking (facebook) and micro blogging (twitter). Still audio, music, and images are less locked down, and text news is still a open platform.
One way of avoiding this locking and control is the use of aggregation, the are examples of video aggregators such as http://vodpod.com and http://www.mirocommunity.org which we both use. And the visionontv project it self is an aggregating project (with a strong focus on production to balances/editorialise the output).
Videos from the eSWP event - spacehijackers
Interview in May 1st protest party in central London by space hijackersinterview with a humble custom service operator about overworking people and how to stop it.What is anarchy?
May 1st political party central London
Space hijacers afterparty when blocking a street in London was fun but made no sense. Grumpy liberal commenting on it.
Is it to late to save the open web?
This is something I have been facing for the last few years, and its why i have been working on the visionOntv open web project. Phwww.... but as you may have realised this has been an uphill battle which has become bogged down in the trenches and the mud.
If you care about the open web, pass some amunition... and a flask of hot choclet and rum.
Programming social change
The future of the radical web is between a standards based approach and a make it up from scratch based approach. And the make it up from scratch based approach is by far the strongest path in activist programming.
A standards based approach would be something like this http://informationweek.com/thebrainyard/news/social_networking_private_platforms/231500441/opensocial-20-spec-stresses-social-media-interoperability
A make it up your self based approach would be like this http://piratenpad.de/hIyt3iFDp9
Obviously if we are building a sustainable alternative a standards based approach is more helpful. This is one of the resions why activist based tech projects are largely hopeless at achieving social change.
Q&A of the Save the internet session at #rebelliousMC
Excuse the dodgy framing at the start, it gets better.
Escaping the Hamster Cage - re-thinking Geek culture
Whose Internet is it? part 1
A provocative presentation on the internet -- where are we, and where are we going? Then find out what you can do about it from a panel of experts, Bill Thompson, Becky Hogge and Doug Rushkoff, and Hamish Campbell
The Internet is dead! Long live the Internet?
The battle for the internet is switching from a cold war to a hot war
The battle for the internet is switching from a cold war to a hot war, and the proxy battles over piracy have spilled into the open war over freedom of speech. The government/corporate extra-judicial attacks on the funding and domains of such groups as wikileaks and the counter-attacks of groups like “anonymous” are the visible fire of a wider battle. The open internet is under sustained and systematic attack, and we can't be sure that there are strong enough forces in the field to keep in place the “stupidly simple and open” standards that the the web/internet is built on. The danger is that a “peace settlement” over net neutrality will replace them with something “better” and it is in this that the danger lies.
As the battle lines are now clearly drawn, it's time to rally the forces of openness to counter the forces of closure.
Open security has problems - data mining
It relativly easey to know what you do on the internet.
Whose Internet is it? Are We Losing the War?
A provocative presentation on the internet – were we are, and were we are going? Then find out what you can do about it from a panel of experts.Hamish Campbell is a founder of visionOntv and workes for Undercurrents. Becky Hogge, former executive director of the Open Rights Group, is the author of Barefoot into Cyberspace:Adventures in search of techno-Utopia. Doug Rushkoff (appearing remotely) teaches media studies at New York University and is the author of, among other books, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age. Bill Thompson is a journalist,commentator and technology critic who has been working in, on and around the Internet since 1984.