Stupid individualism and the possibility of an alternative
Stupid individualism and the visionOntv templates.
Our templates for video journalism are designed to radically simplify and empower normal people to make coherent video news pieces using the tools they largely already have. They are successful at this if people fallow the template's – it says this at the end of most of them.
The issue that creates failure is a standard one for the possibility of an alternative, I call it this “stupid individualism”.
The disparity of wealth on the surface and poverty of the underlying human condition (some would call this “spirit”) is striking to many thinking and feeling people. Our shared western society is based on a hegemonic false senses of individualism, were the reality is largely faceless conformity thinly covered by lifestyle fashion. This is the bases of consumer capitalism our “wealth” is built on. The world view atomises any possibility of building an alternative and shows up in as a block in most attempts to build one.
Our templates boil down more than 30 years of experience of awarded wining fast turn around video journalism to a A4 cartoon sheet. The instructions are clear and complete, if you fallow these, after a few attempts you will likely have mastered the bases of audio visual story telling and from this point of mastery opens a whole world of creativity and real genuine individualism.
Very few actually get this far and we know this because we have trained thousands of citizen journalist over hundreds of workshops at both undercurrents and visionOntv. Why? I would put fowered my old friend/foe “stupid individualism” as the prime explanation (though would admit the are technical challenges as well).
The impotence of the template is more in what it doesn’t say, the is much more information in the omissions, this is how it fits on a A4 with pictures. It distils what does work and explains this.
People do not fallow the template, often they do not even pick it up and read it, they then go onto do what THEY think is video making, they do all the bits that the template purposely omits and very few of the bits in it, the result is almost always a dis empowering mess. This is the same thing with all groups we work with.
We live in an individualist society, were we are all “empowered individuals”. The problem is evident in that this is our empowerment is an illusion, we are all dis empowered individuals with egos let lose on dispoling mode. We think we are empowered because everything around us that works is on bureaucratic auto pilot, we don’t actually have to create anything original and lack the base skills to so when the rare option comes round. Our templates are such a rear opportunity, if you can take your mind out of dispoleing mode and fallow the instructions – the first step and a rare hopeful sign for us as trainers is a budding CJ actually checking the steps on the paper template as they go though the filming.
This “stupid individualism” is a block on many parts of building an alternative.
History of the visionOntv project
The original project was offlinetv and was a online network to setup screenings to bring people together and cross fertilize different radical campaigning groups. I was pushing it as “open” rebooting of the failing undercurrents video activism project.
Before this I had been making a meager living doing screenings by fundraising vie the copyleft ruffcuts video CD project. With the transitioning from dialup to broadband internet speed the was a possibility to move the the distribution of screening quality video to the spreading peer2peer web.As you will continue to see thought my narration here my core thinking changes little.
The first dotcon (enclosures) boom had bust, the web was still a health open network through the “open” pioneers were being pushed out by more mainstream fahernisata people, these people were being snapped up by the next wave of dotcon funding so the clock was ticking on the next boom (and attempt as enclosing the web for control and profit).
Fashernisa´s were all over the open web, conferences, events, media. Geeks were developing open standards - each one unlinked/incompatible with the next it was a "fun" time for “open”. This flowering of geek culture had its fashernista side, the were 100 applications for zipping files or FTP and no easy to use open tools - the geek problem.
P from undercurrents got involved to do the funding side, a lot of “brainstorming” was done. During this time we see a “splitting” of the project. It was obvious that streaming video - that is a technology for watching video real time without having a local copy was going to grow to dominate the next dotcon boom and the fashionistas were buying into this big time. This is a client server technology - from one to many - its old (traditional) media distribution. At the same time the was a subculture flowering or peer2peer technology being used for “free content” this was a “native” open web technology.
The “splitting” was around a miscommunication/misunderstanding of what was going to happen in the next 5 years. And “funding” pushed this in a bad way, it was easy to talk to funders about “online video” it was fahernista mainstream. Few had any thought to the “cost” of jumping on the #dotconS fahernista wave. And in time the rise of the #dotcons from the second boom that was rising for all to see.
The “brainstorming” lead to the project being renamed visionOntv - just for the funding and outreach - much easier to get funding. Why would anyone be interested in offlinetv and peer2peer technologies all the value was about “owning” online space. That is enclosing the commons was unthinkingly embraced as a good thing - a touch on controlfreekery.
This simple change was the first step to the project losing direction and failing.
A example live edit TV studio schedule
We use to do a lot of live edit TV studios (though rember this one had a lot of tech issues)
Visionon.tv STUDIO INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
Duncan Campbell CONFIRMED
David Crouch proposed
Workshop: Inside the Belly of the Beast: Radicals in the Mainstream Media (Sat 2.15-3.45pm)
Greg Philo proposed
(Sat: 2.15-3.45 Know Your Enemy: Who Controls the Media)
Mark Curtis proposed
SHARED WORKSHOP: War and the Media (Sat 4.15-5.45pm)
Ciaran Moore CONFIRMED
Wkshp: Dole TV: Television from Ireland’s Unemployed (Sat 4.14-5.45)
Laurie Penny proposed
Nimco Ali proposed
Wkshp: The F-Word: Feminist Media for the 21st Century (Sat: 4.15-5.45pm)
Tim UK Uncut CONFIRMED
Sakura Saunders CONFIRMED
Teresa Marshall CONFIRMED
Leah Borromeo CONFIRMED
WORKSHOP: Meet the Radical Media Makers (Sat 2.15-3.45pm)
Michael Albert CONFIRMED
Wkshp: ZNet, ZSocial and Beyond (Sun: 11.30-1pm)
Bill Thompson proposed
Becky Hogge proposed
Wkshp: Whose Internet is it? Are We Losing the War? (Sat 2.15-3.45 )
John Pilger CONFIRMED
Workshop: War and the Media (Sat 4.15-5.45pm)
Ian Bone CONFIRMED
Workshop: Think Radical! Act Local (Sun: 9.30-11am)
Corine Dhondee proposed
Peter Tatchell (Outrage)
Eleanor Lisney CONFIRMED
Worskhop: Getting Your Own Back: Is a media problem shared a media problem solved?
Dan Hind proposed (Sun 11.30-1 UK Media Reform in the Digital Age
Ruth Potts CONFIRMED (Sun: 2-3.15 De-throning Economics and Business Reporting)
BOTH ARE IN: Changing the System, Radical Visions for Transforming the UK’s Media (Sun 10.30-11.30)
Zahera Harb (x3) possible (call her) (Sat: 2.15-3.45pm PR, Propaganda and Censorship; Sun: 11.30-1pm We Are Everywhere: Voices from the Global South) OR 5pm Sunday (see below)
SUN 13.30 Taesun Kwon proposed
SHARED WORKSHOP: We Are Everywhere: Voices from
the Global South (Sun 11.30-1pm)
Simon Murray (Shake person) for him to propose to his group (Samia, Selina etc)
Workshop: Unheard Voices: Youth, ‘The Riots’ and the Media Sun: 11.30-1pm
Zahera Harb CONFIRMED (Sat: 2.15-3.45 PR, Propaganda and Censorship; Sun: 11.30-1pm We Are Everywhere: Voices from the Global South)
Cynthia Cockburn (x2) (Sat 2.15 - 3.45 Out of the Ivory Tower: Making Academic Research Relevant to Journalists and Activists)
Natalie Fenton (Sat: 2.15-3.45 Know Your Enemy: Who Controls the Media)
Kate Belgrave (Sat 2.25-3.45 Mind the Gap: What’s Missing from the UK Radical Media Scene)
Marc Wadsworth (facilitator Sat 2.15-3.45 Out of the Ivory Tower: Making Academic Research Relevant to Journalists and Activists)
Philip Hammond (Sat 2.15 - 3.45 Out of the Ivory Tower: Making Academic Research Relevant to Journalists and Activists)
Steven Speed (Sun: 9.30-11 Think Radical! Act Local)
Susanne Schuster (Sun: 9.30-11 Crossing the Language Barrier: Activist Translation)
Lidy Nacpil (facilitator, Sun: 11.30-1pm We Are Everywhere: Voices from the Global South)
Gareth Evans (facilitator, Sun 11.30-1pm Just Doing It: Women Documentary Makers and Social Change
Alison Edgley (x2) (Sat: 4.15-5.45 The ABCs of the Propaganda Model)
David Miller (x2) (Sat: 2.15-3.45 Know Your Enemy: Who Controls the Media; Sat: 4.15-5.45 Tripping the Powerful: How Spinwatch Investigates Corruption and Abuses of Power)Hazel Healey Saving the (Radical) Press (Sat 4.15-5.45pm)
We have been updating and renovating our websites
Booting up the Open Media Network (OMN)
The open web is being locked out of the closed web – with share this options replacing web-links and Facebook replacing most peoples blogs. If this continues the “open web” will wither and become dysfunctional and the closed web will grow to become the web for the majority of people. With this change the largest most successful experiment in social change by communication will die.
This is the movement we are supposed to have the LifeRay platform and linking project ready to surf http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/25/opinion/rushkoff-why-im-quitting-facebook/index.html to quote from the article:
"The promotional leverage that Facebook affords me is not worth the price. Besides, how can I ask you to like me, when I myself must refuse to like you or anything else? I have always appreciated that agreeing to become publicly linked to me and my work online involves trust. It is a trust I value, but -- as it is dependent on the good graces of Facebook -- it is a trust I can live up to only by unfriending this particularly anti-social social network. Maybe in doing so I'll help people remember that Facebook is not the Internet. It's just one website, and it comes with a price."
As part of building the OMN we have 4parts that already exist:
* newsflash (embeds)
* link database (embeds}
* video player (embeds)
* funding site (networking)
And we have the new functionality in LR6.1 and social office to build new tools with. OK - is the a possibility on moving on this?
- The funding site has some images, needs the text re-wrighting http://fund.openworlds.info/
- The video embed pages are all in place on the channal pages such as http://headmix.visionon.tv/embed
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
Citizen journalism equipment update 2014
It seems this phone has issues with the adapter cable, so hold on any purchase for the moment.
We couldent get the moto G to work with the adapter cable, we trayed every way for a few weeks. So tryed the nexus 5 that had simuler issues but finaly worked useing a 3ed party camera app.
For a cheap first citizen journalism phone/camera I would recommend the 2014 version of the Moto G
Then you need Audio Technica PRO24
And finerly a mic adapter to plug them togather
As technology keeps updating, I haven’t tested these just based on reviews, please message me with your direct experience.
You could try something like this to stabilise the mobile as they are small and light so and hard to hold steady. You will have to reach and buy this yourself, report back if you find a good one.
What's the NUT strike about?
This happens nearly every day at Balcombe - Snatch Arrest
This happens nearly every day at Balcombe. This film was shot and edited and uploaded in 1 hour at the camp media center all on solar power.
Good sound recording with a mobile phone.
Comparing a mobile interview with an external mic and with mic built into the HTC phone
With mic, and with out mic (camera woman forgot to pug it in first time)
This is in a relatively low noise back ground, in a normal social space...
We are rolling out some sites and applications that work within the OMN
The OMN is owned by nobody and run by nobody. It is merely a set of Stupidly Simple open standards, open databases and working practices. We are building some hubs to flesh the network out.
What is there at the moment.? Let's highlight some of the projects:
http://fund.openworlds.info Open funding network – is a place for media activists to get small amounts of cash for their projects and equipment.
http://link.openworlds.info is an open database of links to radical projects. These can be added as an embed on websites to create the interlinking that is so important to the open Internet’s health. This project is federated.
http://news.openworlds.info is a newsflash service to widen our networks outside facebook. It is an open data and open access federated network. You can grab an embed for your site sidebar.
http://visionon.tv Auto updating quality controlled video embeds with playlists (eg http://globalviews.visionon.tv/embed), drawing from a huge database of radical video. This is a federated network.
http://blog.openworlds.info This is the first stage of an open blogging network.
Damping down alternative voices
This is an interesting example of why visionontv is needed in the world of social media domination the video was pushed very hard and was shared extensively in Facebook and to a lesser extent in Twitter but has only 750 views - which isn’t rarely anufe to motive the continuing production of news reports (most videos get much less)
Facebook has algorithms to push up content that is advertising/branding friendly and twitter is building them. These will have a strong affect of damping down alternative voices. Traditional Social Media is no longer a way of distributing alternative voices - its time to build our own http://visionon.tv (need a link for the OMN)
What is visionOntv and why is it important?
Interesting (for me) look at were/how we started our project from 13/04/2008
It started as a mashup...
We have everything in place currently to run the channel and scale it up to 100K’s viewers and when the funding comes through we can pay to expand the infustructer to make the channel independent from copurte structures and scalable to much wider ardencies.
Here is a list of the resources we use to build VisionOnTV – its important to note that in our use of courpute infrustter we have a back up that can be brought into place to replace any part of the system – the advantage of copuret solutions is that they mean we can get on with building the thing we are good at rather than become bogged down in the technical backend infrastructure. But this independent infustructer is in place in the long term as we need it.
The key choice that is needed when the funding comes through is our CMS which will run the web front end of the project and the social networking for the content and channels.
VisionOnTV (FREE GPL) player app – a customised version of the open source MIRO media player projected 7 million downloads this year. We are paying a very talented programmer to work on this important open source project.
Feeburner (FREE COPUERATE) gives us very reliable RSS feeds with good user stats so we can know who and how people are watching our content. Feebuner takes the strain off our independent infrastructure so that we can expand rapidly with out worrying about scalability. We use a PRO feature to retain ownership of the URL of our feeds if we need to leave Goggle for what ever resion.
Feeddigester (PAY SMALL BUSSNES) allows us to publish on multiple hosting options and have it all come out seamlessly on one RSS feed. It empowers us to mix and match hosting from free streaming sights such as Blip to torrent sights such as VUZE, Broadcast Mashion and our owen CMS and torrent hosting ???? Feeddigest also gives us very esey to use and flexible imbed codes to create RSS widgets on partner websites and in our own CMS. Our owen CMS can replace feeddigester if needbe.
XBTITEAM (GPL and low cost PAYED HOSTING) torrent server alwes us to be independent from copurate hosting solutions and allowing full length HD quality downloads to millions of people vier our VisionOnTV player application. This gives us independence. We have a friendly cheap installing/support and hosting option for this for the people who write the software. P2P torrent streaming is coming on-stream which should allow us to move off free corporate streaming servers if/when we need to.
Broadcast Masion (FREE GPL) was our orional CMS which handealed torrents and direct downloads – we are retiring this and moving onto a new CMS as support has been discontinued for BM.
New CMS (GPL, hosted on own servers) – we cant make the desion on which CMS to go with till we have funding to pay the developer currently we have a choes of two CMS Druple or Life Ray both fully furfill our needs and have advantages. We have 2 seprut experienced developers ready to build us a druple web sight, still haven’t found a developer for Liferay yet. It will take 4-6 weeks to build the new front end/backend CMS
Greennet (PAY) currently we host our HTML web frount end on our greennet server we still have quite a bit of copaserty before we need to upgrade this
BlipTV (FREE) is our current streaming and direct dowenload host. We post to blip vier tubemogal with a channel tag, we then take a custom RSS feed of this tag from blip into feedigest which mashes it with the other RSS feeds from the channel posting hosts and passes it to feeburner were it is turned into a standard compliant media RSS feed with inclushers for the VisionOnTV app and other RSS podcatchers/feedreaders.
Greennet (PROBONO) we have a pro-bonoa PRO account (normally $500 a month) on Tubemogal which allows us to simultaneously upload to the 12 top free video hosting sights and track downloads and usage on each sight. This gives us huge distribution around the web with a single easy upload.
Vuez (FREE) easy to use torrent hosting we can use for user uploading and hosting, aspesherly useful for longer films and by technically inexperienced video producers.
Godday (PAY) alwes us to cheaply and easily setup domain forwards to all our channel pages so that you can access them all by a simple and memorable URL. Godday is a bit of a weakness and when funding comes through and the channel starts to grow we will move the domains to a more “political” reliable hosting company. But for know they give very easy access to all the feature we need to make thing work in a fast and flexible way.
Blix (THEY PAY US) we have a contract with Blix which is the largest video search engine in the world who will host and re-distribute all our videos to 12 major corporate search engines and add advertising on these search results which we get a 50/50 split of the revenue on these coupure sights. This will bring in revue for us and distribute the films much wider and as each film will have a link back to VisionOnTV. It outreachs to bring viewers to the better experience provided on by our own player app and streaming sight.
Youtube (THEY PAY US) we have a producer contract with youtube that means we get a share of the advertising revenue generated on there sight and on youtube embeds of our videos. We have over 700,000 video streams on youtube over the last year and XXXX subscribers. The advertismsts from Blix and youtube only appear on sight outside the VisionOnTV project – they will never appear on our pages or in our player app.
Shows (FREE) We have sponsorship in place already to cover the cost of some of our more outreach shows. AZ-of bushcraft and On the push, with a film deal in place for our show living in the future. Sustainability is falling into place for content producers, what they need from us is the widest distribution.
Some thoughts on project infrastructure.
We aim to give radical filmmaker the wides distribution possible of there content. The films we publish are distributed to over 30 web locations and are hosted on 10-15 different hosting partners to give both maximum distribution and inshore reliable hosting and robustness agenst censorship of our more radical ant-corporate content.
Redundancy of publishing Because of the way the RSS feeds are setup we can mix and match our publishing to any hosting source as needed in the case of censorship or losing a hosting source. We currently host our project blogs on blogspot.com and have backup RSS publishing pages there that are mashed into our channel RSS feeds as a backup if for any reason the are problems posting other ways – we aim to have at least 4 ways to publish to Visionontv. Our CMS, blip tag (vier tubemogal or direct), blogspot and our own torrent tracker.
Cloud computing or our own servers?
During the setup phase we have been using our own existing server at greennet and this should be scaleable up to a few hundred thousand viewers after this we need to think about switching to Amazon cloud hosting and storage using VM’s – the are pros and cons of this approach. As it will be built with VM it will be relatively simple to move out of the cloud into our own hosting if necessary for “political” resion and the use of torrents for media storage means that this is feasible which still reaching out to a huge ordeance. Our prooferd option is to build the project in the cloud and then deal with the possible issues as they come up – this will allow effortless scalability while having a safe fallback encase of censorship or corporate presser.
We are building the project so that it can scale and adapt fast and its is secure and independent.
History of visionOntv
For people who are interested in the history of visionOntv I have just resurrected my old blog which goes back to 2004 and has many articles about the project and the development and p2p media and alternatives to traditional media.
Start to read it here http://beyondtv.blogspot.co.uk/2004_09_01_archive.html
April London Liferay User Meetup
It was a good to share skills and ideas with the different groups last night. We introduced a range of programmers and developers to Liferay, and started what is almost certainly the first community bug-fix of a Liferay site in London.
The next London Liferay User meetup will be in June, as next month the Liferay/Zaizi sponsored meetup group has an event on May 2nd. Please join the group if you haven't already and come along. http://www.meetup.com/official-london-liferay-meetup-group
The project of the Liferay site we were fixing last night, Spring of Code, will be in full development mode at its next meeting on 24th April: presentations, pitches, Q&A, pizza and drinks. So have a look at current projects if you want to know what's up or get ready to pitch your idea to the group at the next event! http://springofcode.org/projects
Thoughts on project Definition
We are a contemporary media project, not a traditional media project that works with "the people formerly known as the audience".
But the people formerly known as the audience are now the crap producers, could they become better producers? Throwing the net wide - getting a happy community rather than great films? Your film has no value on its own. Have to change the concept of the value of people's work, that it's a brick in a wall.
We aim to be part of the technological backbone of an Open Media Network. But to build this we have to overcome "What is innovative is not sustainable, and what is sustainable is not innovative".
Embed a radical media stream on your site
Each of our editorially controlled channels has an embed page were you can grab a Open-source code to place them on your website.
Dive in and have a go on your site, and give us some feedback about how it goes (we know the are issues with Wordpress sites)
Some Radical Media on 26march
The 86 radical media films made during #26march are all on http://visionon.tv/ just click on the grassroots icon.
And the VANLondon crew have spent 3 days building the grassroots voice's history of the day - a HUGE undertaking http://visionon.tv/26march feel free to link and embed every were.
How to get involved in citizen / independent journalism on March 26
Some ideas from visionOntv
Get the best anti-cuts / direct action video flowing into your website or blog: http://visionon.tv/web/grassroots/embed
One way of building trust is to have offline social meetups
At undercurrents and now visionOntv we have a really nice tradition of cooking everyone dinner, this is some of the documenting crew for the Rebellious Media Conference.