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

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

 

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Entries with tag contemporarymedia .

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?

UPDATE:
- 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

 

My Media

I live in a functioning contemporary P2P media world. For a few weeks I have tried going back to the traditional media. Its an eye opener to (re)realise how narrow and right wing the progressive traditional media is. I live in a world of RSS aggregation for my “newspaper”, podcasts for my “radio” and torrents for my “TV” and “Cinema”. With a unhealthy dose of #failbook for organising the social world.



Its winter time so am spending more time in cafés working and charging laptops, in this space am picking up traditional paper news. On the boat I had some internet downtime so plugged back into radio 4 and every so often look for interesting Tv on iplayer etc. What I find when going to traditional media is a narrowing of my world view, its a dumbed down world on paper/radio and TV. Its actually worst than this as its a strongly propagandist in it choice of voices. I find that the “liberal” traditional media is a slow steady drip feed of poison that dulls the wide possibility’s of social and environmental change that is transparently needed and possible.

I advocate wholesale that people leave this world view for their mental health and the health of the wider human/natural world, the liberal traditional media is making you ill (at ease).



But I hear cries “were is this mythical alternative” and in a limited sense you would be right to ask this. BUT it would be a circular discussion, the alternative has existed for the last 20 years – the issue is chicken and egg you have to use it for it to exist.

Most of the real existing alternative is based on a “stupidly simple” technology created by the practical tech visionary Dave Winer. The format is RSS its the based of my news reading (feedly) and my radio (beyondpod) I have been working (and failing) to make it the bases of my TV and cinema for the last 10 years (visionOntv).

You too can shift to/build your own contemporary per2per media world and reclaim your mental health and power to shape your life and the community/world you live in. The traditional media is a slow steady poison, its well past the time to brake free, its not as hard as you think.

Journalists generally don't understand what journalism is

DRAFT

Journalists generally don't understand what journalism is especially amongst the trainee and starting journalists.

For many enthusiastic youngsters it is heroic individualism finding and telling the story and of course this is part of journalism but it's a just a part. What they often miss is that news is a flow as Dave Weiner says news is a river and the stories the journalism produce are the water that fills this river.

Why do I say this? If we think of news as individual items, isolated stories, one-off events then we miss the very power media plays in influencing and shape society. If we think of news as a day in day out flow of information through our society then we realise how powerful it is at shaping us. Just as a River given time will carve its way through the largest mountain, news over the years stories and world-views carves and shapes our societies – and thus creates the very young and enthusiastic fledgling journalist this short blog post is about.

The power in journalism is in shaping and directing the flow of the rivers, as am stressing here the water that fills them is only a part of the story. The fledgling journalist's fixation on the water and ignorance of the impotents of the rivers is part of the failure of contemporary per to per journalism and the strength of traditional media.

In traditional journalism you have the binding of wages and hierarchy to hold the river of news to an agenda. In contemporary journalism in the Internet age we have cooperation and aggregation to build our rivers of news. The challenge we have today is getting young and aspiring journalist to realise this and not to be seduced into the money and hierarchy of traditional media. But rather build their own independent media where they can truly have a voice and create rivers of news which both are sustainable and truthful and shape society in a more open idealistic and sustainable way.

Kicking apart the illusion that social media is a friend to radical voices

This post is to highlight and make visible that using social media to promote radical voices is marginally affective at best and simplay dose not work at worst. This good quality and fun lively video http://youtu.be/yr7RoAmtQP0 has been pushed hard by 3 people for a day mainly on facebook

* Promoted on visionontv youtube account (2,571 subscribers)

* More than 50 shares on Facebook (small selection of shares here)

* 23 hours online (137 views)

* 2 days (178 views)

* 5 days (230 views)

* 1 week (271 views)

As this should make clear, social media has relevance algorithms based on advertising revenue of the hosting company and secondly user interest. What we post on facebook is LARGLY not see by other people. And the harder you push content the smaller your reach due to SPAM algorithms, so your content is lost if you don’t push it and in the end if you do push it. Social media is increasingly a lose/lose game for radical voices.

We need our own media http://visionon.tv/mission

ClimateCamp Media

The Ratcliffe Swoop prosecutions caused a backlash against activist media that reverberated around the Edinburgh climate camp. We were not present at the Ratcliife Swoop, and played no part in the gathering of video there. When we saw footage posted of identifiable activists doing criminal damage, we were astonished, as throughout the history of video activism this has been an absolute "no no", without the express consent of the activists pictured. We immediately took this material down from visionOntv accounts where it had been posted, and told the Ratclifffe media team why we did so. Regrettably the footage was later re-posted by the producers to accounts outside of our control.  Having said that, as of writing, we have been unable to find out any details of the prosecutions and exactly which footage was used.

But as a response I (perhaps naively) thought it might be helpful to try to do consensus/affinity group process with activist film at the Edinburgh climate camp. To kick this off, we showed a sneak preview of END:CIV on the Saturday to a crowd of around 50-70 people which sparked off a good and respectful debate about aesthetic of activist film and the old spiky/fluffy debate about effective action. People came away challenged and thoughtful.

The next day after the action on the RBS HQ we showed the rough edit of it to get feedback and make sure it was OK to put out. It was enthusiastically received but there was also a very forceful verbal attack of “you must do this” “do it now, or you are endangering activists” and a refusal to answer simple questions about “why” in exchanges with one person. Finally, after some bad feeling, I found out that she had seen an “object for causing criminal damage” being held by one person in the film. OK, that is a genuine issue, so I agreed to look at it again. I asked her to show me where it was in the film but instead she rushed off to tell everyone that climatecamptv had refused to remove the “weapon” and that we were putting out films that were endangering activists. This led later to many different groups and individuals coming along to have their say over the next day about how the film should made.

See later where this led.

I had watched the film 3 times during editing for legals, and had shown it to to a number of other trusted people. After we had packed up the screening we looked at the “object” on the video and found it to be a plastic horn not an “object to cause criminal damage” at all. Humm... a storm in a teacup you would think, but read on.

Let's briefly go through it - the film of the action had a few legal issues.

* The pushing on the bridge (possibly assault) leading to the earlier dressing-up sections (unmasked) being possibly incriminating of this possible assault.

* We had no video of the breaking of windows (criminal damage) thus this was less of an issue in the film. Nor did we have film of any identifiable possible perpetrators.

* There was one additional shot which could potentially have been "creatively" used by police to prosecute an activist.

* The bridge-pushing was problematic as all the activists were unmasked, with all the FIT team on the roof and 3-4 corporate media TV/photo actively filming. Many photos/images would be available so on the one hand it was clearly done in the open, and therefore accountable. On the other, if they were charged, our video would likely be used in the prosecution, both for and against the activists. It's an issue we face many times and it unless we know otherwise we have to have to err on the side of caution. Without the opportunity to ask them whether they were accountable thus OK to show it or not, we decided to blur this section – rendering the need to blur the early stuff irrelevant as we now had no incriminating video of this “crowd” action.

The other potentially incriminating shot was removed, at the request of the individual filmed.

After running it past the affinity group made up of CCTV/visionontv crew and some trusted legal support we left it to a volunteer to polish the final edit for showing that evening before putting out to the web. In my experience you can never run a film past an audience too many times before it's finished from both a legal and an aesthetic point of view.

The day of action was very busy, and we were all running around filming. While we were out and about a number of people came in to look at the earlier action video being edited and asked the editor to make changes – he responede to their requests and made a lot of changes to hide and obscure many details throughout the film.

When we saw the film in the evening just before the screening we were shocked. Editing a film by committee is always a disaster and the film was now an incoherent and sinister mess making climatecamp look like a bunch of criminals. We now had a film we couldn't put out. This wasn't our volunteer editor's fault, it was a problem with the process we had begun but were not around to control. To top this, at the end of the day the editor had found the people who were at the front of the bridge-push and they had made it clear that they were unhappy being blurred out as it was the best thing they had done in ages. They were willing to be accountable for their actions, so we didn't need to thus put any obscuring in the finished film.

We now had to re-do the film from an earlier version. It was dark and we were late for the nightly screening, we had one computer to gather all the films up and convert then to the right format and re-edit this film – we decided it wasn't possible to screen the action film and concentrated on showing the other 9 finished but less exciting films we had ready. We started the screening with non-action films to cries of "we want to see the action". So an old version of the action film was rush-encoded and was ready half-way through the screening. Unfortunately this contained the ptoentially incriminating shot we had earlier taken out, and was screened to about 40 climatecampers. NOT good. Another person had a very solid go at us...

What did we learn from this?

Should protesters never trust any video/photo on an action OR should they trust video activists as THEY know what they are doing?

For me, not trusting experienced video activists leads to the very real danger that through bureaucratisation it pushes the working affinity group structure underground and renders it ineffective – the option of bureaucratic/consensus process isn't an option with film which is at its best a skilled creative story-based process.

But now we have to deal with the rumour mill which quickly churned around the "weapon" / plastic horn issue. Rumour has more power than truth when there isn't a functioning media. I heard the misinformation that we had put out footage of window-smashing weapons three times while leaving the camp to get home. And that's why I wrote this post as this rumour could distort the very real pro/anti-media debate in activism which needs to happen in a constructive way.

On the subject of social media and underground/wannabe mainstream film-makers/photographers, there are very real dangers that is the subject of another post.

The way forward - some simple social/technical solutions

* Nurture basic journalism/story telling skills in alt-media to make better outreach media. LINK

* Linking is key, link to alternative resources where ever you can, the easiest way of competing with corporate news sources is by building a web of connecting linked alt-news sources.

* Aggregation is a way to make decentralisation work.

* Have the main way of inputing to any alt-project at a local level then let the content work its way up to the top of subject/geographic aggregation sites. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source. I know its hard but try and avoid building consensus/bureaucratic publish from the top sites/projects where possible.

* QUOTE “content is just something for conversation” This opens the question of where does the interaction around content take place – this is still a unresolved issue and needs more thought and technical work – for now a diversity of strategy is probably the best way forward. While always keeping the valid link back to the original source.

* This is a controversial point - ONLY use the corporate social media solutions for link building and feeding people into contempery media projects – corporate social media solutions should be avoided as much as possible as original sources of distribution. DO use them and abuse them but its a common mistake to build real companies and communities solely within them. Its easy, publish on a alt-newsite site/blog then publish a link on facebook and twitter, you can use tools that do this automatically.

* Be open to using all tools, but try and come down on using free/opensource and open standards were possible. For two reasons

1) there is an opportunity for people to build things with opensource and openstandards using your project that you DIDN'T think of – this is actually where almost all innovation on the web comes from.

2) all corporate tools are bound up with the need to create profit before functionality and user experience so in the end they all have to sell out and focus on profit before users/content, its just a matter of time, the ones that don't follow this line run out of funding and all your work vanishes anyway.

* RSS and Creative Commons are your friends, use them well in every project you create.

That's really it, let's work together to use the “digital hole” undermining corporate media “to replace it with something nicer” its really not that difficult. Let's all Link and Aggregate based on open standards.

Hamish Campbell, (typed while) camping in the forest at the beach in the bay of Biscay.

Activist media and the Value of the URL link

The currency of the web is the link, so by linking to something you are adding to its value.

Regrettably, activists endemically link to corporate media and social networking sites thus adding value and power to these large multinational corporations they are in theory fighting against.

As a recent example (but I could pick almost any), at the CRUDE AWAKENING event on October 16th 2010, video producers put out links to alternative video sites:

http://grassroots.visionon.tv

http://youandifilms.com

And these links were re-posted for a while, but soon most re-postings and linking were direct to youtube rather than to the real producers' websites.

Why is this a problem? Just to repeat, linking is probably the strongest currency on the web, and anti-corporate activists are too often spending it in the mega-stores rather than the much better social/political experiences of their local cornershops.  We CAN build a powerful alternative to the mainstream if we spend our linking currency wisely.

LINK to alternative media whenever and wherever you can, with a valid link (includes http:// - www is no good). If you like a film, see if you like the films around it, and LINK to that flow of films, rather than a single video. There's much more value in a flow, for viewers and for producers.

You can also embed alternative media players on your blog or website (for instance http://visionon.tv/embed) and LINK to the urls of those. This is more useful than embedding a single film from youtube.

Valid LINKS and LINKING to flows help to build alternative, non-corporate infrastructure and it's free.

“create the world you won’t to see”

Finding the Rainbow Gathering

Is there an alternative? Can we build a contemporary community out of a traditional society? Where and what is the path to it?

Drawing the right people in is core to building intentional communities. The rainbow way of doing this is to use myths and traditions to help create norms, rather than using hard structures.

The myths and traditions help to build a norm, all though not perfect this does work and creates moments of beauty for large numbers of people around the world year on year. The is no perfect society only transient beauty and moments of truth – and the seeking of perfection is the sure way to destroy the thing it sets out to create. Here I look at the process of finding and getting to the gathering.

The 3 “rules” of building and finding Rainbow Gatherings.

* Its a word of mouth network, keep the core information about the gathering off the web.

* Poetry rather than fact, hint rather than tell, draw the “hippy” map so that it is hard to understand.

* The path hinted by fabric scraps in the trees rather than clearly signed, make sure the gathering is not accessible by road and a 10-20km hike.

The working through this (unspoken but intentional) fog – brings the “right” people to the gathering. And for some controversially excludes not only the “wrong people” but also disabled, older generations, mums with kids and the less connected people. However imagine what a rainbow gathering would be like right next to a main road with a bar/alcohol shop and supermarket – you would likely see something worse than the “A camp” in US gatherings.

Many gathering invent there own myths and traditions – some gatherings start to have rules (LINK) and these soon start to look and feel more like a holiday camps rather than a gathering of the tribe.

What is visionOntv and why is it important?

This video from 2010 sumes up why we have been working so hard to build a better more open media at visionOntv

A post from 19/09/2009 - The is a whole load of fake citizen journalism going on

The is a whole load of fake citizen journalism thought going on in this debate http://bit.ly/J0i5l Basically “professionals” here see citizen journalism as a way of getting raw material so that they can do “real” journalism on the cheap. But the role of the paid professional journalist is almost eliminated in the digital world as the institutions that support them are bankrupt. In the digital world people do media because they won’t to, not because they are paid to, paid too in the digital world is a hard sell and getting harder. It’s the nature of digital process, not a moral or social choice, people make this mistake - technology shapes our society - so make the most of it. Your old jobs you aspire to are finished, fading fast. If you won’t to be a journalist you need to re-create the profession which isn’t the same as defending the old profession.

Get to it http://visionon.tv

UPDATE: traditional media is learning to becoming the contemporary media and shaping the new in the image of the past...

 

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