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News and Trolls: Olympic Games Coverage in the Twenty-First Century

I’m at MediaCityUK in Salford for the annual Association of Internet Researchers conference (IR13) and today gave the first of three papers I’m involved with. Today’s was part of a great pre-conference session organised by Holly Kruse. My talk was called “News and Trolls: Olympic Games Coverage in the Twenty-First Century”; it’s very much a work in progress, but the slides are embedded below in case anyone’s interested.

Sadly I didn’t record the audio, so the slides may lack contextualisation.

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Digital Culture Links: October 7th

Links for September 25th through October 7th:

  • Facebook surpasses one billion users as it tempts new markets [BBC News] – "Facebook now has more than one billion people using it every month, the company has said. The passing of the milestone was announced by founder Mark Zuckerberg on US television on Thursday. The company said that those billion users were to date responsible for 1.13 trillion "likes", 219 billion photos and 17 billion location check-ins. The site, which was launched in 2004, is now looking towards emerging markets to build its user base further. "If you're reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you," Mr Zuckerberg wrote in a status update. "Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life." Statistics released to coincide with the announcement revealed there were now 600 million users accessing the site via a mobile device – up 48 million from 552 million in June this year." [Chart Source]
  • Jill Meagher | Trial by Social Media A Worry, Experts Say [The Age] – "The case of Jill Meagher has had the country talking, particularly on social media, but now that someone has been charged it's time to stop being specific, experts say. Jill Meagher was mentioned on social media, both Twitter and Facebook, every 11 seconds early this morning. And the CCTV footage which showed her walking on Sydney Road on the morning she disappeared was shared on the same platforms about 7500 times within two hours … .A Facebook hate group against the accused in the Meagher case has already attracted almost 18,000 "likes". Victoria Police has posted a message on its Facebook page this morning warning users of their legal responsibilities in posting and reminding that "it is inappropriate to post speculation or comments about matters before the courts Thomas Meagher, Jill's husband, today urged people to consider what they posted on Twitter and Facebook."
  • Your YouTube original videos now available in Google Takeout [Google Data Liberation] – YouTube just became a lot more interesting as a storage space for video, not just a distribution platform: "Your Takeout menu is growing.  Today's entrée:  YouTube videos. Previously, you've been able to download individual transcoded videos from your YouTube Video Manager.  But starting today, you also have a more efficient way to download your videos from YouTube. With Google Takeout, you can download all of the original videos that you have uploaded in a few simple clicks.  No transcoding or transformation — you’ll get exactly the same videos that you first uploaded.  Your videos in.  Your videos out."
  • Rupert Murdoch backs down in war with ‘parasite’ Google – Telegraph – "News Corporation plans to reverse an earlier decision to stop articles from its quality papers, such as The Times and The Sunday Times, from featuring in Google’s listings. The effort to stop users from accessing content for free will be watered down, with Google featuring stories in search rankings from next month. The move comes amid fears that the newspapers’ exclusion is limiting their influence and driving down advertising revenues. Sources claim the change was a “marketing exercise”. In the past, Mr Murdoch has lambasted Google as a “parasite” and a “content kleptomaniac” because it only allows companies to feature in search rankings if users are able to click through to at least one page without paying."
  • Google Play hits 25 billion downloads [Official Android Blog] – Google announces that the Google Play store now offers over 675,000 apps and games and that there have been over 25 billion individual app installations to date. (September 2012).
  • Facebook raises fears with ad tracking [CNN.com] – "Facebook is working with a controversial data company called Datalogix that can track whether people who see ads on the social networking site end up buying those products in stores.
    Amid growing pressure for the social networking site to prove the value of its advertising, Facebook is gradually wading into new techniques for tracking and using data about users that raise concerns among privacy advocates.[…] Datalogix has purchasing data from about 70m American households largely drawn from loyalty cards and programmes at more than 1,000 retailers, including grocers and drug stores. By matching email addresses or other identifying information associated with those cards against emails or information used to establish Facebook accounts, Datalogix can track whether people bought a product in a store after seeing an ad on Facebook. The emails and other identifying information are made anonymous and collected into groups of people who saw an ad and people who did not."
  • Facebook Is Now Recording Everyone You Stalk [Gizmodo Australia] – Facebook has announced that they will now record your Facebook search history; every time you search for someone's name, that information will be stored, accessible as part of your 'Activity Log'. The search entries are individually delectable and only visible to you (and Facebook) but the existence of a Facebook search history is a sure sign that Facebook sees real value in recording – and thus data crunching and somehow monetizing – your search history.
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The Ends of Online Identity – Presentation

Here are the slides and audio for my ‘The Ends of Online Identity’ paper (abstract) I’m presenting in a couple of hours here at Internet Research 12 in Seattle:

I’ll try and record the talk and if it’s decent quality, I’ll synchronise the audio and slides as soon as I get a chance. Update: the audio turned out okay, so it’s now synchronised with the slides. If you’re interested, have a listen. I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses!

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Creative Commons Roadshow: Perth, September 2 2010

Want to learn more about the Creative Commons? Want to hear about the latest development nationally and beyond? Want to hear from Perth folks who’ve been using the Creative Commons as part of education, the creative industries and even government? Then the Creative Commons Roadshow is for you and, for the first time in ages, the show’s coming to Perth.

Date: 2 September 2010.
Times: 10.00 am – 3.30 pm.
Venue: State Library of Western Australia, Alexander Library Building, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth

You can check out the program here; the exact speakers are still being finalised and will be added once the details are sorted, but I’ll definitely be talking about the Creative Commons in Education during the local champions segment from 1-2. If you’re interested, please come along: it’s a free event, all you need to do is register here (and please try and indicate your areas of interest, to the CC Team know which topics to focus on during the afternoon discussion groups).

I really enjoyed being part of the Building an Australasian Commons event that the Creative Commons Australia ran in Brisbane in 2008, but it’s even better to the CC team touring the country and I hope lots of Perth folks will come and hear how Creative Commons licensing and ideas can enrich your learning, sharing, creating and more!

Update: Here’s the program for the day …
CC Roadshow – Perth – Program

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Dr Horrible, Brisbane & ANZCA 2009


Just to reassure you all that I’ve not turned into a automated link-posting robot, I thought I’d make an actual post since I’m about to head to Brisbane for The Australian and New Zealand Communication Association 2009 conference, held at QUT this week.  It should be a great conference, with a number of my Internet Studies colleagues presenting, lots of great sounding papers and the Oxford Internet Summer Doctoral Programme folks also around QUT at present, making for a pretty vibrant atmosphere, I’m sure!

For those of you interested (or looking at the 5 parallel streams of papers, trying to decide which one looks interesting) here is the abstract for my talk, ‘What Dr Horrible Can Teach Media Creators About Participatory Culture’:

During the 2007/2008 US Writer’s Guild of America strike writer-director Joss Whedon came up with the notion of a one-off online “show” made outside of the studio system, on a miniscule budget, and entirely publicised using the web and social networks. Thus, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a three-act online musical comedy centred on a flawed supervillian, was conceived. In promoting Dr Horrible, Whedon and his team used both official websites and presences on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg as well as engaging with Whedon’s existing legion of fans via fansites such as Whedonesque.com. Moreover, far from using these websites purely as one-way advertising delivery platforms, the producers, writers and some Dr Horrible actors engaged fans in meaningful dialogue via these platforms.

Fan discussion and remixing of the show emerged rapidly; within weeks of its release there were hundreds of fan sing-along videos on YouTube, joined by everything from fan-created artwork and wallpaper to unofficial sheet music. Far from shunning these unofficial creations, the Dr Horrible producers actively congratulated and promoted the best fan creations. Despite Dr Horrible initially being available for free in its first week, subsequent sales via the iTunes store, and later on DVD, at times rivaled all but the most successful Hollywood blockbusters. Thus, in an era where media companies and startups are increasingly becoming concerned about brand loyalty, not just Nielsen ratings, Dr Horrible may serve as a model for producers and fans interacting in mutually beneficial ways as part of participatory culture. This paper will attempt to examine the way Whedon and his team utilised participatory culture in promoting Dr Horrible, asking which elements built on the foundation of Whedon’s past successes, but even more importantly what lessons Dr Horrible has for both existing and emerging media creators.

And here are the slides I’ll be using:

I’ll probably be Twittering from the conference (Wed – Fri) and I think the default Twitter hashtag will be #anzca2009.

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Building Open Education Resources from the Botton Up

Hello to everyone at the Open Education Resources Free Seminar today in Brisbane. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there in person today, but for those who were there – and anyone else interested – my short presentation ‘Building Open Education Resources From the Bottom Up: How Student-Created Open Educational Resources Can Challenge Institutional Indifference‘ is embedded here:

My apologies for the few glaring typos in the slides – it’s a good argument against recording a presentation at 1am in the morning! Any comments, questions or thoughts either from folks at the seminar, or from anyone else, are most welcome!

Update: If you’re just after the powerpoint slides, you can now view or download them on Slideshare.

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Fairfax Vs PerthNorg … sort of, anyway!

As Axel and Mark have noted, Brisbane will get its turn to debate the The Future of Journalism this Saturday at a one-day symposium bringing journos, media makers, academics, students and more together to debate the issues. If only it wasn’t 3,500kms away … I’d love to be there, and I doubt the Future of Journalism roadshow will be stopping in Perth any time soon. That said, I’m delighted that Perth citizen journalist and citizen media advocate Bronwen Clune will be presenting on Saturday, bring a little perspective from the West coast. In anticipation of that even, I thought it worth pointing out that earlier this month, in the wake of the news Fairfax was axing more than 500 of their staff, Bronwen (who is the creator of PerthNorg) wrote a provocative post entitled ‘A Letter to Love-Stricken Fairfax Journalists’ which asked whether Fairfax was actually the best place for committed journalists today:

If you are one of the journalists standing in a picket line outside The Age and SMH, I have to ask – do you realise how pathetic you look? … David Kirk has made you an offer and is calling for volunteers before compulsory redundancies. Your relationship is clearly strained and here he is giving you a dignified out and you choose to beg him to take you back? Where is your backbone, your fire, your passion for news? Has Fairfax got you so wrapped around its finger that you think the only way you can be a good journalist is to stay with it? Guess what – people produce good news outside of news corporations everyday. And you can too. Take the divorce settlement and learn to stand on your own feet again. You are better off investing in a relationship with your audience – you’ll find it infinitely more rewarding.

Clearly Bronwen wasn’t pulling her punches, and in the heated discussion which ensued the full spectrum of opinions were heard, from those in total agreement to those who completely disagree (with the oft-heard but fair question: where is the business model for citizen journalism?). However, for my money, the most interesting thread was when Fairfax journalist Nick Miller joined in. Miller, also originally from Perth, didn’t bring a knee-jerk reaction, but instead pointed out that journalists are well aware of what’s happening in the industry, but they still need jobs! An excerpt from Nick’s argument:

I get it. You’re on the forefront of digital journalism. You reckon everyone else should be here. Um… they’re not. Yet. And we’re yet to see any proof that this medium can financially support the extent of investigative journalism that mainstream media currently supports. … I challenge you to go through Perthnorg and remove every link to, and every reference to, a story that originated or was sourced in a Fairfax or WAN or News Ltd report (or wire story, which are paid for by mainstream media). Then see what you’ve got left. A lot of gossip, sure. And gossip is often the start of a news story. But it’s not news.


I am passionate for news. And at Fairfax I have found an organisation that backs my quest for good investigative journalism with all the resources that that requires. Time, money, opportunity, logistical support, etc. The luxury of being able to say ”I didn’t file a thing today, but you should see what I’m working on”. I don’t see any online organisation in Australia that will support that kind of journalism – beyond simply giving it a place to be published. Therefore, I think it is the right thing to fight Fairfax in its attempt to reduce that support. I suggest the Norg concept is just as likely to be an online evolutionary dead end as Fairfax’s. We file for The Age online, too, after all. … The medium isn’t the issue. It’s the search for commercial support for the often highly uncommercial occupation of journalism.

While I agree that a lot of what appears on PerthNorg is more like a Digg-style take on other news sources, there is some original content in there (probably around the 10-15% mark, I’d estimate) but Nick does beg the big question of how any citizen journalism portal can support journalists financially (sure, there’s embedded advertising, but that’s more likely to pay the hosting bills and give a modest income to the site’s creator rather than anyone else creating content). Also noteworthy was the point made by another commentator that people employed by Fairfax Digital are not subject to the rights and conditions afforded even normal Fairfax Journalists, suggesting that even the digital portals for big media companies are becoming the cyber-sweatshops of the twenty-first century. There are, of course, a lot more issues at hand so I’m looking forward to hearing reports from the The Future of Journalism in Brisbane … I hope there are some optimistic answers about citizen journalism and mainstream media working together … and at least some people getting paid!

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What Dr Horrible Can Teach TV About Participatory Culture

Yesterday at the Social Networks stream of the conference attached to GO3 at the Perth Convention Centre I gave a fairly rough version of a new paper called “What Dr Horrible Can Teach TV About Participatory Culture.”  As readers of this blog will be well aware, one of my ongoing interests is the way that traditional media forms, especially television, engage with participatory culture and their immediate fan networks.  In my past writing on the Tyranny of Digital Distance I’ve looked at the way shows like Battlestar Galactica have harnessed a global fan network only to have that network turn sour as national media distributors insist on broadcasting shows at different times (implicitly encouraging fans to participate in peer-to-peer downloading of TV).  While Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible had a few similar teething issues, it looks like a very promising model for web-based media that can actually be a fan favourite and make a decent profit in the process.  My thinking on this very much in process (as, indeed, is the ongoing story of Dr Horrible’s success), but my first stab at drawing a few ideas together was in this paper.  I didn’t get a chance to record my talk, but I’ve uploaded the presentation onto Slideshare if you’re interested.  There’s a fair bit not on the slides, but they should give you at least an outline of the argument:

Any questions, feedback or criticism would be most welcome!

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Podcamp Perth Wrapup


Last weekend was Australia’s first Podcamp, right here in Perth. It was pretty good with an engaging mix of tech, talk and interesting folks. I don’t have time to hunt down all the many, many blogposts and photos from Podcamp, but Simone van Hattem links to most of them in her blog, or else you can check Technorati or Flickr. I was intending to add audio to my presentation slides, but the audio didn’t quite eventuate. However, Stewart Greenhill did an excellent job capturing video of many of the Podcamp sessions, and so if anyone wants to hear the session on Podcasting in Education which was led by Sue Waters and I, here you go:

(Yes, I do use a lot of gestures!)

For those who prefer a static image, here’s one picture of me attempting a ‘Presentation 2.0’ style of slides mainly because I wanted to try something a bit different (but also to keep my co-presenter Sue happy):

So that's what traditional pedagogy looks like!

I also rather like this photo, of white and black Macs at play:

(Photos by CW.)

PS Yes, it’s October 31st, but, no, most Australian don’t celebrate Halloween. However, if we did, I’d definitely give the most candy to anyone who knocked on my door who was geeky enough to be wearing this.

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Podcamp Perth

So, as I’m sure you remember, Australia’s first Podcamp happens today in Perth. It’s a free event and is held at Central TAFE in East Perth, so if you’re just remembering now, please still feel free to come along! Sue Waters and I are facilitating a session on Podcasting in/as Education at some point during the day (we sort the actual schedule out first thing in the morning). Here and the few slides I’ll be using:

SlideShare | View | Upload your own

There aren’t that many slides, as the whole point of an unconference is that everyone participates, so the sessions should be a lot more like a conversation that just presentations. My understanding is that the short presentation bits are really to help focus the conversation, not dominate it.

To check in on the blogging and podcasting during the day, and afterwards, watch the tag “podcampperth07“.

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