A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

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Entries with tag alternative media .

Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media

How meany sites link to anuther alt/grassroots media sits. from this list of 38 UK sites only 2 link to anuther site.

Many people find it hard to understand the underlining understandings that push projects based on flow and linking such as OMN and openweb. Here is a short list of activish projects.

Silo

Is a place for holding/hoarding closed data – this is used by the #dotcons to extract funding form “free users” when mainstream/alt silo projects finish, as 99.9% do, the data varnishes and is lost, and in this the effectiveness of any alt building is diminished. Silos do not use open licensing for content re-use. Just about every alt/grassroots media project is a silo. It's about capturing data. Its obvious that this is a unthought through issue of "churning"

Portal

Is an idea that you can be the big one, all the small fashionista websites aspire to be the big one and by doing this they are working to the logic of the #dotcon and working against the logic of the openweb. They are building a project to lock there users into their project. Portal and silo are overlapping (but different) ideas for building web projects. In the mainstream, Apple is a prime example of this working. In the alt/grassroots almost all alt/grassroots media projects are portals. It's about capturing users, just as silos are about capturing data. For a left wing group this looks much like "recreating the Soviet Union" the one party to rule the state.

Dotcons

Are for-profit data silos in the old days working as portals, more recently they are building out siloed networks as a pseudo networked portal. Its both sad and bad that many alt media projects unthinkingly aspire to be #dotcons

Link

Is where ALL the value is on the open web. Without links content has NO VALUE. This is a obvious statement, its hard to understand the the lack of understanding around this simple thing.

RSS

Is a grassroots web standard that is still at the base of many of the dotcon world but is being pushed into the background of the openweb by building silos/portals in the grassroots/alt. RSS is like an open LINK with added data,  thus adds value to the web. Its a powerful open tool that we still have. An API is like a geek control freak super power of RSS - the problem is in the complexity/control freak bit...

Geek

A subculture that is control/obscurity and more recently technical solutions to trust (wraparound right) this has always been a closing force on open projects.  This helped to strangle the original successful alt/grassroots media projects and is pushing for the shrinking of the open web.

Fashionista

The unthinking desire for new/innovation/conformity. A wider subculture that churns the growth of alt/grassroots so little can grow beyond seedlings.

NGO

Are greedy dispoling of resources both human and money. The liberals that use bureaucratic funding to push out the geek/fashernista agendas over alt/grassroots projects. These are uneasy friends and clear (invisible) enemys.

Network

Is both a technical thing of wires and frequency and  an understanding of mutual aid and of “diversity of strategy”. It's native to the openweb and should be at the base of any alt/grassroots media project. In the closed #dotcon the widespread use of A/B testing is a pail controlled shadow of this.

4opens

wikipedia is an example of this. It's basic stuff open source project stuff. LINK


 

Looking at the tech and organising of UK alt/grassroots media. Do sites link to other alt-media projects? Do they support/display openweb standards (RSS)

First DRAFT (please message me with corrections/info)

the canary

http://www.thecanary.co/

Has a RSS feed, regular updates, copyright group silo, it has no outside linking

Reelnews

http://reelnews.co.uk/

UPDATE: site back online, no visible RSS but can find a hidden one. Its likely copyright and a silo.

(Their website is hacked/down so posted the #failbook link used to have RSS and regular updates. Anyone know what's happening? Update they hope the site is back online soon.)

Real Media

http://realmedia.press/

UPDATE: website back online copyright, no visible RSS feed but you can find ones. Its a a bit of an aggregater but has been suffering from poor spam control. Its pretty much a portal/silo – but could be more.

(They used to have an interesting website for the tec used, but it ended up being just a silo, they look like they are rebooting? Maybe a another silo? we shall see.)

Update they are rebooting as a linking site, lets hope its not a silo.

Novaramedia

http://novaramedia.com/

Has regular good content, RSS, they are a product of the #dotcon social media wave and good at it. Copyright/CC is not stated. The site is a silo with no outside linking

Counterfire

http://www.counterfire.org/

No RSS feed, starting to look a bit “old left” regular updates, no copyright/CC notice. A silo with no external links

The Bristol Cable - Bristol

https://thebristolcable.org/

No visible RSS feed, it kinda probably tries to obey the 4 opens maybe. It's a WP blog site in this it's a media silo with no external links.

Port Talbot Magnet

http://www.porttalbotmagnet.com/

no visible RSS feed, it mostly fails the 4 opens due to copyright, data and organising. It's a WP blog site, in this it's a media silo with few if any external links.


 

New Internationalist - based in Oxford

https://newint.org/

Has RSS feeds, it kinda passes the 4 opens using a CC licence for its content.  It links to the visionOntv project.


 

The Ferret - Scotland, based in Edinburgh

https://theferret.scot/

Looks like the old media transitioning to the new media. No visible RSS feed or copyright/CC notice. Is trying to be “open process” looks like a WP site.


 

Strike! - based in London

http://strikemag.org/

looks like a archive of a print mag? Has a RSS feed :)


 

Positive News - based in London

http://positive.news/

Dated looking site, hard to read, no RSS feed and a copyright notice. A silo.

Slaney Street - Birmingham

http://www.slaneystreet.com/

Did not load

Manchester Mule - Manchester

http://manchestermule.com/

 Has RSS feed but last article end of 2015 so not an active site. Probably for fills the 4 opens.

Co-operative News - based in Manchester

http://www.thenews.coop/

Nasty looking site and no RSS, copyrighted, its a silo

Ethical Consumer

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/

No RSS, copyrightish, old looking site.

Marlborough News Online

http://www.marlboroughnewsonline.co.uk/

no RSS, copyright

West Highland Free Press

http://www.whfp.com/

no RSS, copyright, its a silo.

Star and Cresent - based in Portsmouth

http://www.starandcrescent.org.uk/

No RSS, no copyright notice? Its a silo.


 

Morning Star - based in London

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/

Has a RSS feed but its empty, copyright, silo.


 

Cambria Publishing Co-operative

http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

publishes paper books?

Zed Books - London

https://www.zedbooks.net/

paper books and online reading lists, no RSS I can see.

Sheffield Live!

http://web.sheffieldlive.org/

copyright, has a RSS feed, looks bureaucratic open.

Blake House - based in London

http://blake.house/

no RSS, fashionable calling card website with out content, probably copyright?

Media Co-op

http://mediaco-op.net/

Calling card website with out content, no RSS, likely copyright.

Ignite Creative - based in Oxford

http://ignitecreative.co.uk/

Calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.

Shedlight Productions - based in Southampton

http://www.shedlightproductions.co.uk/

calling card website with out content, no RSS, copyright.

Steel City Film and Media Co-op - based in Sheffield

https://www.facebook.com/SteelCityFAM

its a #failbook page, maybe open?

Trafford Media & Communications - based in Manchester

(mostly a printer, but also do film production)

http://www.traffordmc.org.uk/

 calling card, no site.


 

The Community Channel

Community Channel

The granddaddy of NGO media, no RSS feed, likely copyright silo.

Jammu Kashmir TV

http://www.jammukashmir.tv/

it has content, silo?

Open Audio

http://openaudio.co.uk/

Has a working RSS feed

Inform My Opinion

https://audioboom.com/channel/informmyopinion

Has working RSS feed but it fails in my pod catcher, its a page on a #dotcon?

Mydylarama

http://mydylarama.org.uk/

has RSS feed, copyright, silo?

AMP Worcs

http://www.ampworcs.co.uk/

calling card.

A Television

http://www.afro-media.org/

Half finished calling card site.

Salfordstar

http://salfordstar.com/

Hastings independent press

No RSS, no copyright/CC notice, a silo with no external links.

http://www.hastingsindependentpress.co.uk/

Copyright, no RSS feed, has some old school widgets which might show external links. Its a local news silo.

Corporatewatch

https://corporatewatch.org/

Has RSS feed and CC licence, no external links on front page, its a silo but better than most.

bellacaledonia

http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/

Has a RSS feed, its a silo but the is hope for it.

voxpoliticalonline

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/

its a blog in the old school sense, has RSS

evolvepolitics

http://evolvepolitics.com/

its a silo with no RSS and no external links


 

A lot of the original links came from https://www.facebook.com/jdaviescoates

 

Alt-geek culture is broken - indymedia

An introduction to a "unspoken" problem. Everything is "pointless" in till you do something "that is not", if we keep repeating the pointless stuff were/when is the "that is not" going to happen?

 

An example of the geek problem can be found in the flowing and fading of radical alt/grassroots media at the peek of the #openweb

 

The basis of any new media is the technology it is transmitted/mediated by. In the case of newspapers this is the printing press, and for radio and TV it is access to the transmission spectrum. The open internet changed this "traditional" media which was based on a world of (vertical) analogue scarcity. As the accessing technology improved, it created a radically (horizontal) digital media space.

 

This was intently filled with (naive in a good sense) alt-media such as the Indymedia project (IMC). In this post I am looking at how this was killed off by internal geek/process dogmatism at the same time as its space was colonised by new/mainstream such as blogging and social media.

 

We are now coming full circle to where we started with closed client/server, algorithm-determined, gatekeeper, for-profit networks dominating media production and consumption. The corporate gate keeping venture capital driven (and invisible ideology) algorithm is the new printing press/broadcast spectrum that we started the century with.

 

What part did radical geeks play in this?

 

Let's look at the successful global indymedia project, which was based on open publishing and open process through a centralised server network. Before this the radical video project undercurrents, while not so open, was again based on a technical hub. They had the only free digital editing suite for production of grassroots video, thus anyone wanting to produces radical content was funnelled though this grassroots gatekeeper. With IMC, it was publishing to their hosted servers.

 

The indymedia network was setup in the very avant-gardist open model that was to dominate the internet for a time. Like undercurrents it succeeded because of its technical centralisation – the server was the ONLY place citizen journalist content could be published without hard technical knowledge. This monopoly was later lost to the growth of individualistic blogging platforms and later corporate social media. But what I want to argue here is that it died before this due to internal (process) pressures.

 

Indymedia was set up on the open, open, open, open, pseudonymous model.

 

* Open source (free software)

 

* Open publishing (post-publishing moderation)

 

* Open licence content (non commercial re-use)

 

* Open process (everything was organised on public e-mail lists, open meetings)

 

* Pseudo-anonymous (you didn’t have to provide an e-mail address or a real name to publish)

 

Let's look as some of the pragmatism that allowed the project to take off:

 

* The project was initially pragmatic about open source as it used the closed realmedia (RM) video streaming codec and servers. But the core project was committed to the free software path where technically possible.

 

* Open publishing was the basis of the project, things could only be hidden (not removed) because they broke a broad public editorial guideline. Even then they were added to a background page so were still public. In this the publishing process was naïvely open.

 

* Open licence stayed with the project to the end.

 

* Open process was gradually abandoned, a clique formed then fought and split, this was the main reason the project ossified and could not adapt to keep its relevance in the changing world of blogs and social media.

 

* (Pseudo) anonymity was part of the abandonment of open process and led down many of the technical dead ends that finally killed the relevance of the project to most users.

 

Lets look at this final one in more depth

 

Firstly, it's important to realise that any attempt at anonymous publishing in a client server relationship even at its most restrictive and paranoid would produce pseudo anonymity. ie. you might be able to hide from your mates and your employer but you cannot hide from the “powers that be” if they are interested in subverting your server and its internet connection.

 

The internet is inherently naïvely open, its built that way, this is why it works. The recent Edward Snowdon leaks highlight this to the wider public view.

 

- the integrity of the ISP and hosting was always based on trusting a tiny anonymous minority of geeks

 

- the physical security of the server could never be guaranteed.

 

- as the project process closed the identity of these core geeks became tenuous/invisible.

 

In activism just as the man driving the white van repeatedly turned out to be the police/corporate spy, the invisible server admin is the obvious opening for the same role – am not saying this is what existed, rather just trying to highlight how you cannot build a network based on this closed client server infrastructure/culture that IMC became. Given the open nature of the internet, it became dangerous to push IMC as an anonymous project.

 

There were four fatal blocks:

 

- the repeated blocks and failure and delay of decentralisation of the servers to the regions.

 

- the blocks on aggregation, then the closed subculture aggregation that final happened as a parallel project

 

- the focusing on encrypted web hosting and self-signed certificates put a block on new non-technical users that proved termanaly offputting.

 

- the failed "security theater" of not login IP address locally on the server as a limited security fig leaf. They could simply be logged on the ISP/open web instead.

 

These, together with a shrinking of the core group, led to the project becoming irrelevant in the face of the growth of more openly accessible blogging and then social media.

 

Let's get positive and suggest some ways the IMC project could have flourished and still be a dominant grassroots project:

 

* The base level of the project should have actively decentralised as the technology matured to make this feasible. Every town needed its own DIY run server.

 

* Then regional aggregation using RSS (really simple syndication) would make this grassroots media presentable as outreach media.

 

* A national aggregation site could then have compete directly with the (then) declining traditional media outlets.

 

* Recognising that the IMC project was pseudo-anonymous at best, IMC could have built a parallel encrypted peer-to-peer gateway app/network to feed into this to provide true(ish) anonymity for publishers to this ongoing open media project.

 

* The decentralisation would have been a force to keep the process open by feeding though new people/energy – this would have naturally balanced the activist clique forming/closing in the centre.

 

* As blogging became popular and matured these could have been “ethically” aggregated into the network to build a truly federated global open media network such as http://openworlds.info is working to be.

 

* Social networking could have been added as an organic part of this flourishing federated network.

 

If this had happened, it's not too much to say that the internet would have been a different place to where it is now. The IMC project highlights some of the failures of activist/geek culture. If we are to (re)build the open web we need to learn from this and move on.

 

(find photo of indymedia Sheffield masked up photo)

 

This is sadly not a metaphor for an open media project

 

It should be obvious to people now that even the most paranoid centralised closed internet is only pseudo-anonymous at best. We need to learn how to live with "open" to build the world we want to see. And our geeks fighting for closed are actually a problem for us, just as much as "them".

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

 

Outline of the OMN

Comments please and could do with some help to turn it into a coherent doc for outreach.

Many people ask what is the Open Media Network (OMN)

For activists it might be useful to see it as a rebooting of a “indymedia” project from were it should have been 5 years ago when it died.

A #4opens bounded network motivated by the PGA hallmarks.

At a basic level, Publish once and your article appears in many places linking back to your site/blog.

User stories
Link to um (LINK)

Tech
Its Many websites and a few aggregaters sharing a common open “data soup” built with people to people (trust) based tagging.

From this human community/data network many “new” radical powerful things can grow.

Its builds KISS from the legacy web (RSS) and moves us into the per2per semantic web (GNU social)

Thought (LINK)

Licensing – #4opens

What is ethical aggregation?

Its networking other peoples content in a respectful way to build a network wide anufe to start to compete with the failing #dotcons

* Sections/sidebars of OMN links should be prominently displayed on each members site, preferably on every page if small.

* There should be no no-follow tags on valid links to member sites.

* The content is read (by link) on the original host site, comments are made on the original host site.

* This behaviour can be different for apps were the full content could be read in app. This should be agreed by both partys (can have a opt out tag for this as with many other parts of the network)

* The original source (RSS feed site) is always shown under the content title as a live link

* (Optional) the tags should be visible under the full article

* For apps no adverts should be placed next to CC non commercial full content (with out agreement), fine to have ads on a page next to links.

* A OMN badge is (optional) next to the link section and/or on the site about page – this can LINK to the OMN aggregate that the site gets its data flow from OR to the OMN project site.

If you haven’t realized yet the aggregating hubs/nodes are the new “indymedia” sites

* These can be by subject, country, region or city etc.

* Much of the “centralizing” parts of the IMC network are no longer needed as this is inherently a “open” project, rather than a centralizing project. Sites that would like to see them selves as IMC can of course follow these “unneeded” parts if they desire – this will lead to a “natural” grouping of IMC focused sites with in the “open data soup”.

* Existing indymedia sites can continue “outside” the network as their content can be brought in via RSS if sites are interested in it. Just to repeat nobody has to do anything.

* Posting is generally via individual site/blogs, but can be through existent portal/silos like indymedia or existing group sites such as https://www.opendemocracy.net if users prefer to publish on them.
The function of “nodes” will organically grow

* Publishing sites are the source of content these will likely just input a RSS feed up to the next level.

* Aggregating site, these are subjects, locality etc they will take in feeds from publishing sites and output (trusted) quality feeds to the next level.

* News/link portals will be regional, national, big subject sites, these will mostly get their trusted feeds from aggregating (middle) sites and a few trusted publishing sites.

As you can see from this publishing is the hardiest job as you need to create the content, second is aggregation as the is much work quality controlling and adding semantic data (tags) to the flow of content.

The easeast to setup and run are the “top” sites to add value to these will be more of a challenge. One way could be to create articles of linking overviews covering stores from the flows – this content can of course be feed back into the lower sites.

Every thing links to everything else.

What do these “nodes” do to be part of the OMN?

* They host flows of content based on tags from other OMN sites on subject that interest them.

* This content is brought in vier RSS from external sites and by atompub from OMN sites.

* They can tag/retag this flow of objects to direct it to other nodes/site sidebars.

* Other sites can get taged based flows (with embed codes if needed) from there chosen “nodes”

* (Optionally) they can archive this content if they like.

KISS meta-taging

This will seem stupid to many geeks, lets use simple text “twitter” tags to do the categorization of data objects in the OMN flow.

* @ before a tag means a person, that is, a RSS object with an enclosure that is a file contenting a open “contact” format file.

* # before tag is means a bookmark link to a site, the title will be the link.

(optional) Need a “symbol” for video, audio, photo etc.

These objects are tagged just like any other object and are stored/flow through the network just like text articles.

(optional) Can try having a different publish pages for each format that automatically add these tags?

It would be normal to create a new format to for each part of the OMN and geeks/fashernistas have done this over many times over the last 10 years.

Its KISS "stupid" for good, empowering, "normal" people to work on and create new products/services/connections in a "data common soup"

Geek talk - The future of OMN content flows

What has power is the non branded, non owned, KISS implementation of the #OMN that its not part of the “geek problem” and only tangentially connected to the #fashernista agenda’s.

Move to mobile is key for real growth of atl/grassroots media. This is relatively easy as the will be a “open data pool” of semantically enriched content to dip into for quality new, video and audio content flow for building apps. But content is not king in this case, what has real power is the ability to publish direct from mobiles photos, video, audio and text direct to a node of the OMN (this could also be your source, blog/site/portal) in this we empower a move away from “journalism” on the #dotcons and back onto the “openweb”.

Get people (CMS's) to publish in "markup" (as well at html/corporate silos formats) so that content can be loaded/displayed natively on aggregating sites/apps in the formating of the aggregate site/app and display cross site comments – all from the original host. In this we are not only sharing links we are sharing content and discussion across the OMN.

There is nothing original in this all the #dotcons are doing this already and the are many open standards (mark-up being one) that allow this. The originality is in the “just doing it” and the KISS implementation of this push.

I don’t see this as radical, though I see the outcome as revolutionary.

 

Media Fund

This is coming on. Its looking like its becoming a link portal. This is half a step, links, but it's still a portal. Flow as focues of value is not directly expressed yet, lets see how it grows

An alt media revolution?

The #OMN is not a revolutionary project. Its largely a #rebooting of the past and trying to get to a place we “could have been” if we had not collectively fucked up at the second #dotcon boom (in 2010ish?). The outcome are varied, big and small, but in the “big picture” we have a semantically rich big data soup covering the alt/grassroots and alt-frendly mainstream that takes part. From this new fresh "open commons” we build real linking revolutionary projects. Though by then I am likely to have sailed away so you guys get to build that bit.

How to re-boot grassroots media to help to re-boot the open web to create real social change

DRAFT

We need to get our current dispurate and weak activist sites to link to each other, then get NGO's to do the same. Then push out news river embeds to more mainstream sites to expand the network.

This project needs to be run as a non-branded open network based on open social and technical standereds.

The social side is based on linking flows of information.

Producers

Consumers

Aggregates

Of course you can and should be all of the above, but to aid expansion and growth this is not insisted on.

The first two paths are easey, the last more complex:

* Producers, this is any web site that puts out an RSS feed, this is most sites on the internet [tick]

* Consumers, are at a basic level very easy to do using a javascript sidebar code or a custom CMS plug-in using the javascrit plugin the barrier to upkeep is slight so this can spread easily. [half tick]

* Aggregates are slightly more complex as they will need custom codeing, this all ready exists in a basic form for Drupal and Wordpress and the miro project. [needs work]

As the production side is already solved and the consumers side is relatively trivial this only leaves the Aggreaters as a steep path to take. We have a small budget to kick this off and is technically feasible.

The second part needed is actually the more complex one, how to get groups and individuals to implement open cooperative working practices. The issues that have to be bypassed/addressed/ignored:

* Geek culture is infeactured with encryption and fake technical privacy, this is fading with the victory of failbook and its fellow dotcoms and the disintegration and fading into obscurity of the geek privacy projects. But this will comeback and bite at the OMN as it grows out and builds the basic open tech. So we have to harden the project against this agenda by codeing the opens into the foundations of the project.

* The Trots and the Authoritarian tendency left jumping on the band wagon, this is solved in the same way as the geek problem as they actually share the same pathology of the 20th century illusion of control.

* NGO's this is solved by moving to fast for them to react, if we get bogged down this might become an issue of co-option. Keep moving fast.

To sum up build soled open foundations and keep moving fast.

How would the project look/feel

The open web and the sites that make it up would look much like they look today.

But the OMN project would socialise linking and sharing to create a network out of all the small disparate bits that make up the remains of this fading open web.

Production and consumption sites would gain a sidebar containing realtime updating links to “tag” based rivers of relevant content.

Aggregating sites would contain rivers of subject based content that they would sive and add value to be re-tageing. And creating meta articles linking to original sources. The feeds that production and consumption sites display would come from one of these aggreating sites.

The network would grow out organicly based on subject:

* a aggregating site could only handeal so many feeds before the human moderates are overwlemed this would lead to specialisation and a hirakey of subject aggreaters that would organicly mirror the existing real social interest groups.

* we would end up with specialisation, and a shifting network of overlapping bottom, middle and top sites which would all find ordnances and drive traffic back to the producing sites that feed the network.

* bottom sites would aggregate mostly original producer sites, middle sites would aggregate a mixture of original sites and tags from subject based bootem sites, finally the top sites would aggregate tag based feeds from the middle sites.

How would this look to the “users”

* It would be much easer for “normal” users to find relevant content on subjects that they are interested in, they would be introduced back to the open web by links on #failbook and #juduceserche engine. This growth of traffic would re-energise peoples websites and inspire the upgrading of meny moribund website projects and a move away from current hegemonic dotcom aggregation of #failbook and its siblings.

How would it affect “producers”

* publish ones and your content appears on 100's of sites driving traffic and commenting back to your blog/website and away from #failbook atel. The open web is being straggled by the pay to view throttling on these copurte silos, its a no brainier to move to escape this now. With the increased trafic you can put energy into upgrading your existen website to make it more relevant, the OMN would be active in providing the open tools and plug ins to make this happen.

What would this look like from tech prospective:

KISS open industrial standards based on trust and redundant data roll-back back functions to Handel the breakdown of trust that will happen some times.

RSS will be used as a database object exchange format, a tagging taxonermy will be used to shift and create the flows of these objects. Subscribing to tag based RSS feeds will be the bases of the trust network.

Open databases will hold duplicate meta data linking back to the original source of the RSS object.

*** the is a creative way of making the consumption of content more transparent and develop/user friendly – this will be talked about later ***

RSS feed aggregation would be base on trusted, strate through or moderated ie adding to a moderation cue in the aggregating sites.

Timeframe:

3 months to build the seed aggreaters and basic javescript embeds/plugins

6 months to build out the seed networks

9 months to major launch

12 months to being a real alternative and play a role in saving the open web.

Food for thinking:

If you think this sounds oldfaserned you would be right it is, its the basics that needs to happen to create a pool of metadate enhanced media objects. What happens after this? for ideas will add some links:

http://mashable.com/2015/07/06/why-web-design-dead/

 

Alt-media

Where is alt-media and what are the issues in geek culture that stop it from having much effect.

There is no active working alt-tech and the open web that would be shaped by this open alt-tech is withering under the #dotcon push to enclose.

* 98.9% of alt-tech projects are obviously pointless.

* 1% are potentially useful but are killed by NGO/foundation funding agendas.

* .01% are useful but suffer/starve from a lack of geek focus abd funding.

There are some content projects in alt-media, but they have no working alt-tech to build out. All alt media relies on the #dotcons (Facebook, twitter etc) as distribution. Their websites are generally little more than branded portals, much like yahoo 10-15 years ago. The is minimal inter-operating between the different projects and almost no linking.

For the content producers a positive “alt-media” outcome is to play a role in old (legacey) media or move into the short lived dotcon news orgs. This is a complete failure in open web terms. In this we are fucked, and there is currently no path out within the existing projects.

Outside the existing projects, the solution to this is simple: the tech needs rebooting at a basic level. This is not a complex thing, being mostly social technology using existing open standards.

LINK OMN

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)

- grab a sidebar embed code (or CMS plug-in) then configure it with interest tags

- 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

- co-operative categorisation of meta-data is a side affect of the OMN

- 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.

 

- It's a folksonomy based on open tagging. The original publisher can tag their content, aggregators can re-tag content, end users with embeds/plugins can retag.

 

- 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.

 

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