June 24, 2006
Core Values at Bloggercon
Mike Arrington is doing the next Core Values session at Bloggercon IV. I want to wish him well, and note the information from the Core Values session at Bloggercon III that I led, because I think that session was extraordinarily productive.
In fact afterward, many people kindly said that they felt it was most useful and interesting, because they left with something tangible (the list) and they really liked that rather than me telling them what the values are I see online, or that I feel are important myself, I just asked questions, and let them come to the conclusions about the values they share and the controls they felt should exist to support those values. They appreciated the light touch guiding them to find and develop their own conclusions.
Here the list the group of 80 made during the session, of what they feel are core values for the blogosphere:
Things we value:
Transparency – disclosure
Knowing who people are
Things we devalue:
Power law economics
Lack of Attribution
Links for money
Good luck Mike! I'm sure you'll take us to the next level. I hope the last sessions list is useful as a starting point.
June 23, 2006
Where are we? Rise of the Videonet
At my session today at Supernova, with JD Lasica (Ourmedia) as our moderator, and Jeremy Allaire (BrightCove), Jonathan Taplin (USC Annenberg Center), and Robert Levitan (Pando), I mentioned some stats and ideas, and I said I would blog those items. The are below.
The first two sets of stats focus on video hosting sites (places where users can upload video) and their use, as far as uploads and user visits or traffic. The third set of data reflects trends in the types of video we see users making and posting online, with an example or two of that kind of video.
1. Users per day/Uploads per day on a few sites we have seen info about:
ClipShack : 2200 users per day. (source: AdBright).
Google Video: 12.5 million users in month of April. (source: Washington Post).
Grouper: 8 million users per month (source:
PR News but on Alexa, that traffic appears to be a one time spike, where their traffic seems to hover around 3 million users per month) and 500,000 registered users (source: Alexa).
Ourmedia: 28,000 users per day (source: AdBright).
Vidiac: Streaming 2 million videos per day and 3 million users per month (source:
Silicon Beat Comment by Adam Beat)
YouTube: 50,000 uploads per day, serving 50 million videos per day, with 6 million users per day (source: You Tube Fact Sheet).
2. There is a list ranking the top ten video sites by market share or traffic, published by Hitwise), May 24, 2006. (Several of the traffic stats found in articles, press releases, advertising, etc., also credited Hitwise for the numbers):
1. YouTube 42.94%
2. MySpace Videos 24.22%
3. Yahoo! Video Search 9.58%
4. MSN Video Search 9.21%
5. Google Video Search 6.48%
6. AOL Video 4.28%
7. iFilm 2.28%
8. Grouper 0.69%
9. Daily Motion 0.22%
10. vSocial 0.09%
3. At Dabble, we are seeing different video genres coming up over and over. Users, as opposed to top down TV video producers, seem to work in areas that are accessible and interesting to them. They are not just copying mainstream production styles. The list below is in no particular order as far as prevalence or audience viewing. We just see them a lot:
1. Mini tv show-style -- It's Jerry Time or Ask a Ninja
2. Videobloggers: telling their own life stories like Ryanne Hodson
3. Genre guys: snowboarding or car videos
4. Commentary: Rocketboom or the Bush Blair video.
5. Indie film shorts like Four Eyed Monsters
6. Random.. silly.. funny.. ridiculous... ephemeral Tag: momwalksin tag: lipsync
7. How-to's that actually show you how to do something in detail or teach: French Pod Class
8. Remixs and mashups: The Presidency Then and Now or Matrix Reloaded or Brokeback to the Future.
9. Interviews like those at GETV.
10. Parodies like the 8up commercial.
11. AMV or anime music videos: Loveless
12. music videos - lipsync sitting at the computer, dancing around with music playing, that in effect, remakes the artists own music video into ones the users like, that stars themselves. Here is Hips Don't Lie.
June 20, 2006
Anti-Copyright and Anti-Fair Use: The Broadcast and Audio Flags
Broadcast and Audio Flags are provisions in Senate Bill 2686, up on Thursday. They are bad for users, bad for balanced copyright, bad for fair use, bad for innovation, and bad for new companies (including Dabble).
This is about incumbent media companies fearing the internet, much like the RIAA in 2001, and trying to get the government to protect them against digital media, instead of working with it to create new business models.
Call your Senator (there are some numbers below provided below in an except from an EFF email.
I just called Senator Boxer's office (212 number is below, or SF: 415-403-0100) to register my opposition, and I noted that Boxer's office takes phone comment anonymously. Interesting.
* Action Alert - Tell Your Senator To Take Out the Flags
The Communications, Consumers Choice, and Broadband
Deployment Act of 2006 is a monster name for a monster bill
-- in its latest form, it contains 159 pages of densely
plotted telecommunications reform. But while politicians
struggle with its major clauses, the RIAA and MPAA have
piggybacked their own agenda: the broadcast and audio flags,
which restrict innovation and legitimate use of recorded
digital radio and TV content. Your call today could force
the flags to find a home of their own.
The Committee markup of this bill is on Thursday, and your
Senator is on the Commerce Committee. One last push from
you could get Congress to remove the entertainment industry
mandates from the bill.
IF YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES
Please call your Senator (numbers below). Here's a sample
Hello, Senator Lastname's office.
Hi, I'm a constituent, and I'd like to let the Senator know
that I don't think the broadcast and audio flag provisions
belong in S. 2686, the Communications, Consumers Choice and
Broadband Deployment Act. These are anti-consumer
provisions, which would give the FCC far-reaching powers,
and give the entertainment industry a dangerous veto over
new technologies. I hope the Senator will insist on
excluding these provisions on Thursday.
Okay, I'll let the Senator know. Thanks.
Chairman Ted Stevens (AK), (202) 224-3004
John McCain (AZ), (202) 224-2235
Conrad Burns (MT), Main: 202-224-2644
Trent Lott (MS), (202) 224-6253
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), (202) 224-5922
Gordon H. Smith (OR), (202) 224 3753
John Ensign (NV), (202) 224-6244
George Allen (VA), (202) 224-4024
John E. Sununu (NH), (202) 224-2841
Jim DeMint (SC), (202) 224-6121
David Vitter (LA),(202) 224-4623
Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI), (202) 224-3934
John D. Rockefeller (WV), (202) 224-6472
John F. Kerry (MA), (202) 224-2742
Barbara Boxer (CA), (202) 224-3553
Bill Nelson (FL), (202) 224-5274
Maria Cantwell (WA), (202) 224-3441
Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ), (202) 224-3224
E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), (202) 224-6551
Mark Pryor (AR), (202) 224-2353
June 19, 2006
Respecting Open Space
Open space, in the camp conference style, requires some key elements to work well. I'm noticing after watching two different events develop that they may be missing what is important about Open Space.
A couple of months ago, I attended a conference on the east coast. The organizer told me he wanted to do an Open Space day, the day after his event. That day arrived, he bailed, and there were six of us who actually attended. And he insisted that I go, even though I really have a lot of other things to do. The Open Space day was meant to brainstorm ways to organize Net Neutrality support.
After the event, others who attended it suggested that Bar Camp a failure. Well.. I totally disagreed. They thought that somehow, calling an open day "Bar Camp" would make it happen.
They had a wiki with about 22 names on it, and a stellar group of people slated to attend. They had great space, in a lovely lawfirm with wifi, and everything we might need. What they didn't have was a leader to organize the space. Although one person who attended in the middle of the event suggested that if things weren't working, he could vote with his feet. And he would if he wanted to do so. Though considering there were six people in the room, it sounded more like a threat: you don't do what I want to today, or I'll leave. So everyone started doing what he wanted. The point of course of "the law of two feet" is that you don't stay somewhere where you aren't learning. But that applies to Open Space where there are maybe say 100 people, and multiple rooms where you can move and not be disruptive, not six people where you are an integral part of deciding what is happening. But with such a little group, that misapplication of that particular Open Space principle further caused the day to deteriorate as a camp. What little emerging leadership was happening was killed right there, though he wasn't wiling to lead. He just wanted everyone to do things his way.
Without a clear leader, supporting a basic framework for a day of sessions or some kind of plan, just didn't work. It wasn't the concept of Bar Camp that failed. It was a failure of the people proposing it and carrying it out.
Anyway, I'm wondering how Open Space is going to work at the Identity conference at Harvard, where today and tomorrow are regular top down conference days, where the broadcast model is followed. On Wednesday, there will be an Open Space day, led by Kaliya Hamlin and Jon Ramer. (I'm not attending this event, as I have too much work to do, but I'm noticing a trend here....)
I know the Open Space day is happening, more due to the Identity list I'm on, than the event web pages. After there was discussion on the list, I asked about the lack of information supporting the Open Space day on the website, and Paul Trevithick and John Clippinger did add a little information about the day on the session page, to let people know it was even happening. However, I had suggested on the email list that they make a page for the attendees to show that they were attending and add the speakers to the schedule and speaker's page. They did not.
The point I'm making is that I think people who do top down, broadcast style conferences are interested in what's happening with camps and Open Space, but they don't understand the dynamics of them or Open Space sensibility, and so in applying top down controls and information styles to their camps, they potentially harm the good that can come from the camp. And since the leaders of the camp are not traditional speakers, the organizers of the larger top down conference probably think they don't need to list the camp or Open Space leaders as speakers on the larger conference site because the camp facilitators aren't speaking in a traditional way. But this is not true. Listing them is critical to fostering the process of the day.
For example, we know from past successful camps that having a page where attendees say they are coming is key, because the agenda is made the day of the camp. Therefore, people choose to attend because other interesting people will be in the room, not based upon pre-arranged sessions. Secondly, the leaders of the day are key. They have to balance the right amount of support for the Open Space while leading just a little so that attendees make the agenda the morning of, and that things are pulled together at the end of the day. People choose to come, or not, based on who will be leading.
Currently, the leaders of the identity Open Space day are not on Harvard'sthe speaker list, nor does Harvard's the schedule note them, even though speakers the previous two days are listed on the schedule with their corresponding sessions.
I believe the Open Space day will go well due to Kaliya's and Jon's attention, because at least Kaliya has done this before (I don't know about Jon's work with Open Space) and understands well the dynamic needed to make this kind of day work. But the fact that the Open Space day at Harvard's Identity Conference has not been adequately supported with proper information at the event website shows the lack of respect for the dynamics of this kind of event. Since there is no sign up page, they will likely have a vastly diminished attendance compared to the broadcast conference days. A signup page might have actually brought in more people if they'd opened it up to more than just the attendees the first two days. In fact, bringing in new people to understand Identity in technology development is very important and this is a missed opportunity as well.
I do wish them good luck with it, but I wish that the Paul and John, with control of the conference website, understood better why what they have done with both the attendees of the open space day and the leaders may not help the day succeed as well as it should have. They can't blame the camp style for this, but rather themselves. If they day succeeds, it will be in spite of these problems, and due to Jon's and Kaliya's personal networking and leadership for the day.
June 18, 2006
Net Neutrality for the Little Guys
USA Today interviewed me and some other folks the other day. The article is here:
Internet Fast Lane Plan Worries Small Companies by Michelle Kessler.
Basically, it's that part of AT&T's and the other telco's new internet pricing plan, where they would charge the provider of the material to send their material through to subscribers, that is the problem.
As I've said before, we didn't make the internet to turn it back into cable tv.
June 14, 2006
The New Someone Is The Old Someone Else - Characterizing Company Cultures
For the past two years, I've been joking that:
the new yahoo is the old google
the new google is the old microsoft
the new microsoft is the old IBM
the new IBM is the old novell
part of the joke is about reputation and standing
in the cycle of being loved, then successful, then vilified
and/or bloated, then obsolete.
i kind of wonder if this still stands this way, two years later.
things have shifted a lot over this period.
frankly the new yahoo is just out innovating google for now..
but that could change.. and google is being very backward with
social things.. trying to just "engineer" everything as if there
was nothing subjective in the world, only objectivity (and the
attendant stats that back those objective understandings up.
i definitely hear a lot more 'evil' stuff about google than
before, remarks about the incredible bureaucracy at yahoo,
which might put them further down the chain now, and
how IBM, with their patents going out open source, is getting out
front again as an innovator.
what changes a company from one category to another?
these aren't even defined, and are totally in the realm of folklore..
as these ideas are more about cynicism and schadenfreude
and simplistic impressions than anything all that real.
and yet, every time i tell the joke (more in the past than recently)
people laugh a lot. so there must be something there.
June 12, 2006
We Didn't Build the Internet to Turn It Back Into Cable Tv
You know, the kind of cable TV where big entertainment companies pay off cable companies to get their channels on your set top box?
So we are keeping the system that started a year ago. It's the one that will make the internet like Cable TV.
It's critical to innovation, our companies (mine is Dabble.com) and to freedom of speech that we have a neutral net, where anything can move across it, where there is no fee to get some piece of information through to someone who wants to see it.
This isn't about tiered pricing. This is about who's packets paid the telco's fees.
This is about Hollywood keeping us from speaking, because if I'm watching my friend's video, I'm not watching Disney. Hollywood stands to benefit the most, after the telco's who charge the fees.
And Disney can afford to pay off the telcos to pass through their info, but my friends can't.
June 10, 2006
I'm going to Vloggercon today!
Hope to see you there, though you should know they are sold out!
But we talked yesterday about making it an audience discussion, which I think is much better than a panel.
Josh Leo's We Are The Media, three times in one week!
I also suggested we play Josh Leo's video from the first Vloggercon because I think it's a great representation of user generated content, mashups, and for many other reasons, it's representative of the interesting and entertaining things going on online. In fact, I played it at the Culture, Commerce and Public Media conference during my session last Monday on User Generated Content with Kenyatta Cheese, Sam Klein, Dave Marvet. I also played the first two minutes of Kent Bye's Overview of his Echo Chamber Project, as an example of news and commentary video made by users, The Guinea Pig Dreaming video, and the Bush Blair Endless Love remix. I wanted to show the audience there (typically from archives of TV, PBS or other libraries of video projects) that users were doing an interesting variety of things.
That last one got a really big laugh.
I also played Josh's We Are the Media Video again yesterday at The Hyperlinked Society conference at UPenn and the Annenberg School of Communication. The point is, digital videos are a series of edits, and each edit, with an in and out point as hypertext, is like a video map, of links. Since it was a conference on links, I wanted to show a couple examples of linking that working in ways other than what everyone there was talking about.
I also showed some Attention Trust data, with a visualization of links a user might use to see where he goes day to day.
Anyway, if we play Josh's WATM video again tomorrow, that will be three times in a week. It's that great. You should check it out.
June 06, 2006
Haven't we been here before?
Digital Maoism vs. Voice
Isn't that much like the issues we've looked at over the past few years:
All the talk this past week about Jaron Lainer's essay, The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism is another one of those 'or' things that keeps coming up around the internet. (Or Internet with a capital 'I', if the NY Times is your style guide.) As an aside, Sam Klein of Wikipedia at the on Monday, asked everyone to please (smile) stop calling it "the wikipedia." It's just "wikipedia." Ok, back to Wikipedia. So Wikipedia is not a replacement for Encyclopedia Britiannica. Instead, you use one for some things (I use wikipedia for finding links because Google's search results for many kinds of items are too polluted and unhelpful) and a reference like Britannica (well, not Britannica, but I have lots of other traditional old style references) for things that those top down, traditional reference sources cover better.
We use reporting from professional journalists for reporting, access to places individuals can't get into, and some kinds of news, and blog posts for voice, commentary, and some kinds of news and reporting. We use remix video for humor, smaller stories and short form video, and TV for long form, high production video. We use Flickr for the stream of photo images that comes from our friends and for some kinds of reporting, and we use Getty for.. well.. they are hard to use. So we don't buy a lot from them. Wikis are used for the collection of information around a topic or event, blogs are used for voice and commentary. Collective tools are used for collective action, and voice tools are used for voice.
The thing is there are choices, based on purpose, goal, need, process and style. And the choices are based on nuances that the arguments above cannot reasonable reduce to an 'either or' situation. A single thing is not meant to work in all instances. And the beauty of the internet combined with information technology is that together they give us lots of choices. Both for production and consumption.
I think the rest of the folks who responded to Lanier's essay did a great job of discussing the subtler ideas and arguments, so I'll let those stand as they were terrific. There is no need to restate the idea that some of Lanier's criticisms do not necessarily apply to Wikipedia, or that some others do apply, in specific contexts, but that wikipedia is supposed to function the way that it does.
I just wanted to point out that online, as everywhere else in life, we make choices, and the idea is to choose the best thing for the circumstances, not to expect that all things will work in all circumstances. The internet is no exception.
June 01, 2006
Then, check out David Isenberg's most terrific eTel talk about your freedom to connect.
And check out Save the Internet. They have tons of great information.
Then read below. Here's how I see this:
Another way of looking at this issue of net neutrality is... remember the old Highway system. Where El Camino Real on the peninsula in the Bay Area used to be a toll road, where you would not get mugged and the road was nice and fast, but it was expensive. And the Alameda (parallel to ECR) was the slow road, which wasn't taken care of, where you would likely be ambushed and was free?
Well, that's what the telcos would like us to see when they talk about two tiers. And think about what that kind of road system does to the economy of information? It's not very democratic is it? This isn't just a small or large bag of potato chips. Or dial up and broadband. It's about whether we support basic services for all people to get information. Cause if you are on dialup, you are missing much that is useful and interesting about the internet.
Secondly, the part that's different about the types of information that would be available in the slow cheap road verses the fast expensive road (dialup verses high-speed bandwidth) is that the packets would be treated differently.
The perverse part of the telco's proposal is that packets of certain types (VOIP and video, for example) that paid an additional toll, would get to you faster than those that didn't pay.
So it's not just the user who has to pay for the speed of their service, it's that the other side, the content maker, would also have to pay for you to get fast packets on a fast road. Disney and Viacom will pay their side of the tolls, but can PBS? Can little joe video blogger pay? Or will he get the same deal as the
What that means is is that the Hollywood and bit content producers would have the edge over the average person who wants to get a message out. So if you have a fast connection but joe blogger didn't pay, well, sorry, those packets won't get to you quickly. Instead, even though the user paid for faster service, they would not get all packets at the same speed. The content maker who didn't pay would have their packets come through slowly. And of course, the slow speed service buyer, who asked for a video from the content maker who didn't pay the toll would never see that video, it would be so slow.