May 08, 2005

The Open Media 22

At first I thought about not participating in this awards contest. But I decided that I would do so if only to nominate people who've done really cool things, teach me daily about open media, or push the boundaries and change things for the better over time, though they may not be so obvious. Or maybe they are. But they aren't all on the Technorati Top 100 list for inbound linkage or at every conference panel.

My reservations about this process and the awards generally include:
1. Aren't things in online media just a little young for awards at this point? I mean, only one or two of the companies associated with the people below have revenue of any consequence, much less are profitable and the internet is changing so fast in such a short time, what is the value of spending time on these awards?
2. I think of awards as something people who've spent maybe twenty years doing something and they are about to retire get. As it is, this crowd is constantly invited to talk and show leadership and authority in demonstrable ways. So do we really need to give out awards at this point?
3. On the other-hand, much of what has been in development for a long time isn't necessarily where the coolest and most innovative work is going on.. so my list is not a reflection of what I think really matters right now or who's most innovative at the moment, with the exception of one or two.
4. Most importantly, isn't this just a popularity contest for the nominees, categories and contest makers? We're likely to nominate who comes to mind, which are the people we see (online or in person) most often right at this moment in time. I tried to think about people who've consistently done thoughtful and innovative work, including the hard and unglam stuff that none-the-less is important, not just those with notoriety. Though a few of them are also my friends (and one is an employee!!). So take it all with a giant grain of salt because there's no way this is objective. These are the people who teach me things that I find valuable, stick their necks out for the good of open media or have made something I value.

As for the categories. Well, they seem very very limited, and redundant. What about artists that are creating open media arts, the push the boundaries.. like Illegal Art, or DJ Spooky, or DangerMouse. There are many more. And what about emphasizing non-text open media. By implication, the categories are open to all media, but they tend to give terms that are most associated with textual media.

The contest may not be entirely open to all who participate in open media, in the sense that by requiring the blogging of votes, means that you must have a blog to participate.

Regarding the contest makers, right now the blogpost tag structure means that we must link to something, instead of nothing, to make a tag and get it scraped, and be included in the contest. In order to have the links resolve to something that makes sense in the blog posts, we will most likely link to the companies involved instead of to an open source, open media webpage aggregating the nominees, because that doesn't exist.

Many bloggers have told me they specifically don't use tags in their blog posts even though they'd like to because they don't like linking repeatedly to a company in the tag structure. Right now their blogging tools don't allow them to make a tags page for their own blog's tags, something that essentially nullifies the link but allowes the link to be clicked to somewhere useful. They can make the tag link point to any website, but as long as there is a link requirement, they feel uncomfortable about the current situation and won't use it until it changes. For these users, there will be less participation. Maybe it doesn't matter so much, but if this is discouraging for some, the pool of participants is reduced, composed of bloggers who tag, and therefore the pool of nominees and winners may not be as representative or interesting for open media, which is a much larger universe than that of the blogosphere.

Pioneers: industry luminaries who created the vision of open media and continue to shape it.

Rebecca Blood
Clay Shirky

The Tool Smiths: web service entrepreneurs and companies building the open media tools (blogs, social software, wikis, RSS, analytic tools, etc.).

(Question: isn't the concept of open media at odds with the concept that everyone in this category is an entrepreneur or company? Can't open source, non-proprietary, non-company open media tool makers be on this too?)

Matt Mullenweg - wordpress
Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake - flickr
Dave Winer - rss
Natalie Glance - Blogpulse
Creative Commons

The Trendsetters: the influencers driving and evangelizing the adoption and applications of Open Media.

Liz Lawley
Craig Newmark
danah boyd
Donna Wentworth - Copyfight

The Practitioners: the top bloggers in politics, business, technology, and media.

Lisa Rein
Jeff Jarvis
John Battelle
The many-2-many gang

The Enablers: the venture capitalists and investors backing the Open Media Revolution.

Esther Dyson
Omidyar Network
Joi Ito
Reid Hoffman
Yahoo - for not always understanding but at least they are paying cash on the other end for stuff that matters.

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Posted by Mary Hodder at May 8, 2005 10:26 AM | TrackBack

Let's pat each other on the back!

Posted by: King Bastard at May 8, 2005 10:21 PM