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Digital Culture Links: December 15th 2009

Links for December 13th 2009 through December 15th 2009:

  • Microsoft Leads By Example, Steals Plurk Code [Inquisitr] – Software giant Microsoft has long punished legitimate users in an effort to stop the piracy of its software, but apparently Microsoft now thinks it’s ok to steal….at least when they do it. Microblogging service Plurk, which has become Asia’s most popular microblogging platform is pissed, and rightly so, because Microsoft not only copied their look for a competing product launched recently in China, they actually lifted 80% of the code as well. The Plurk team writes “We’re still in shock asking why Microsoft would even stoop to this level of willfully plagiarizing a young and innovative upstart’s work rather than reach out to us or innovate on their own terms. Of course, it just hits that much closer to home when all your years of hard work and effort to create something unique are stolen so brazenly. “
  • The Complete Guide to Google Wave: How to Use Google Wave – Useful guide to understanding Google Wave. The chapters all available for free under a Creative Commons license.
  • Is the DVR Helping or Hurting Your Favorite Show? [ArtsBeat Blog – NYTimes.com] – “Nielsen’s list of the top 10 time-shifted prime time television programs. These aren’t the 10 most-recorded shows, per se, but the 10 shows whose ratings have benefited most from time-shifted viewings. The shows, and the percentage increases that their ratings have enjoyed from time-shifting, are:
    1. “Battlestar Galactica” (59.4)
    2. “Mad Men” (57.7)
    3. “Damages” (56.3)
    4. “Rescue Me” (53.2)
    5.(tie) “True Blood” (46.9)
    5.(tie) “Stargate Universe” (46.9)
    7.(tie) “Sanctuary” (45.9)
    7.(tie) “Heroes” (45.9)
    9. “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (45.5)
    10.(tie) “10 Things I Hate About You” (44.9)
    10.(tie) “Dollhouse” (44.9)
    10.(tie) “Melrose Place” (44.9)”
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Learning, Authenticity & Online Policy Primers

This year I’ve been enjoying designing and implementing a series of new assignments and assessment techniques with students in our Internet Studies programmes.  One of the most challenging things about working in Internet Studies is trying to make assignments authentic – which basically means doing assignments which can end up being meaningful and, ideally, viewable by the world-at-large on the Internet.  One assignment that has worked particularly well and I thought worth sharing is from the unit Online Politics and Power, which looks at power in various guises and instances online. 

One of the most interesting ways power is deployed online is through those infamous Terms of Use and Terms of Service which 95% of people never read, but always agree to, when signing up for a new service.  So, I thought it’d be useful to ask students to really interrogate the Terms of Service of some online tools and platforms.  More to the point, I wanted this to be a useful assignment beyond the confines of a university unit.  So, I asked students to find a way to communicate the core elements of some Terms of Use in a way that would be accessible to the general public, hence an Online Policy Primer.  (If you’re interested the assignment outline and requirements are online here.)

I have to say, I was blown away by how good the Primers are, and how, ultimately, useful they are, too.  Also, while we did discuss the Creative Commons, I didn’t stipulate that students had to use a CC license, but I was delighted that many chose to do so.  Of those that did, I’d like to share three stand-out examples. 

The first, by Paula (@MXYZ_), takes a close look at Flickr’s Terms of Service and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attributions Share-Alike license [CC BY SA]:

The second, by Simon (@whoisimon) explores the Terms of Service for Slideshare and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license [CC BY NC SA]:

And the third, and final, policy primer I wanted to highlight is by Chea Hwey Yea, looking at Twitter’s Terms of Service and is also licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license [CC BY NC SA]:

These are just three examples of the many, many wonderful primers students created; while not everyone used a Creative Commons license, three more Primer’s worth highlighting are a machinima presentation exploring Second Life’s Terms of Service created by Rhys Moult,  Renee Bird’s close look at the Terms of Use for the Multiplayer Online Game Evony, and Veronica Fry’s analysis of YouTube’s Terms of Service.

As you can see, these students have a lot to be proud of and have, in many cases, created Primers which are likely to be useful well beyond the confines of the unit!

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Digital Culture Links: November 14th 2009

Links for November 12th 2009 through November 14th 2009:

  • Labels may be losing money, but artists are making more than ever [Boing Boing] – Interesting figures that show while music labels might be losing money, artists are making more than ever. Live performances are the key revenue raisers. (The figures don’t break down much further than that, but it’s important since it asks whether artists or just labels are the ones who are really fighting “piracy”.)
  • Massively Increasing Music Licensing Fees For Clubs Down Under Massively Backfires [Techdirt] – Time for a few Creative Commons licensed nightclubs to rock Australia: “We’ve noted the ridiculous and self-defeating efforts by many music collections societies around the world to jack up their rates by ridiculous amounts. None was more ridiculous than the attempt in Australia by the PPCA where some of the rate changes would rocket up from figures like $125/year… to $19,344/year. Well, it looks like it’s already backfiring badly. Reader Dan alerts us to the news that the organization that represents night clubs and similar businesses in Australia, appropriately named Clubs Australia, has set up a system whereby the organization will specifically go out and seek music by artists not covered by the collections effort, and distribute that music to clubs and other establishments”
  • Moving forward with our media studies search [Just TV] – Jason Mittell is leading the search for a new comparative media studies faculty member at Middlebury College in the US. What’s fantastic is that as the search leader, he’s blogging the process and trying to explain how decisions are made – given the absolute paucity of jobs available today, these insights are remarkably valuable (and do turn an often opque process into a very human one: “But I think a key lesson for candidates to realize is that not making the cut is rarely a referendum of your worth as a scholar or teacher – it’s usually more about a sense of the position and internal needs that are hard to articulate, combined with the inevitable comparisons among the applicant pool.”
  • URL shorteners suck less, thanks to the Internet Archive and 301Works [Boing Boing] – Big URL shortening companies like bit.ly are working with the Internet Archive to ensure that if their companies ever go bust, the shortened URLs will always work thanks to a backup via the archive. Nice!
  • NASA finds ‘significant’ water on moon [CNN.com] – Wowzers, there’s water on the moon! “NASA said Friday it had discovered water on the moon, opening “a new chapter” that could allow for the development of a lunar space station. The discovery was announced by project scientist Anthony Colaprete at a midday news conference. “I’m here today to tell you that indeed, yes, we found water. And we didn’t find just a little bit; we found a significant amount” — about a dozen, two-gallon bucketfuls, he said, holding up several white plastic containers.
  • His Facebook Status Now? ‘Charges Dropped’ [NYTimes.com] – Facebook status updates as an alibi: “Where’s my pancakes, read Rodney Bradford’s Facebook page, in a message typed on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11:49 a.m., from a computer in his father’s apartment in Harlem. … words that were gobbledygook to anyone besides Mr. Bradford. But when Mr. Bradford, a skinny, short 19-year-old resident of the Farragut Houses, was arrested the next day as a suspect in a robbery, the words took on a level of importance that no one in their wildest dreams — least of all Mr. Bradford — could have imagined. They became his alibi. His defense lawyer, Robert Reuland, told a Brooklyn assistant district attorney, Lindsay Gerdes, about the Facebook entry, which was made at the time of the robbery. The district attorney subpoenaed Facebook to verify that the status update had actually been typed from a computer located at 71 West 118th Street in Harlem, as Mr. Bradford said. When that was confirmed, the charges were dropped.”
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Lessig’s Talk: Getting copyright right for education and science!

Lawrence Lessig gave an outstanding keynote speech for the Educause Conference, called ‘It is About Time: Getting Our Values Around Copyright’, delivered on 5 November 2009:


The talk is an hour long, but is well worth your time.  There’s a few notes on the talk over at Inside Higher Ed.  The guts of Lessig’s talk: we need to ensure that copyright doesn’t continue to be a mechanism which distances educators, researchers and scientists from sharing their thoughts, ideas and findings with the public and wider world. [Via D’Arcy Norman]

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Creative Commons 2009 Fundraiser

Cultural Capital

The 2009 Annual Fundraising Campaign for Creative Commons has kicked off, so it’s an opportune time to consider giving if you possibly can.  I’ve been a long time supporter, user and advocate of the Creative Commons so it will come as no surprise to hear that I’m encouraging you all to donate this year if you possibly can.  Incidentally, to my fellow Australia CC supporters: the Australian dollar is particularly strong compared to the US at the moment, so it’s the perfect time to give and maximize the impact our dollar can have!

Most of my work online, from Flickr to this blog, are under Creative Commons licenses and I still firmly believe that the any legal system where copyright isn’t just a means of monopoly-building must incorporate the some rights reserved model which allows creators to specify what they do want others to be able to do with work they’ve created, not just what they can’t do (the ‘default’ of full copyright).

In addition, earlier this year I was able to repost my article: ‘The Creative Commons: An Overview for Educators’ (which was originally published in Screen Education, 50, Winter 2008, pp. 38-42 and is reproduced here with permission).  The article was (and is) aimed at media teachers in Australia, but hopefully may be of use more broadly, too.  It also outlines, I hope, why I believe the Creative Commons are a core tool for content creation and remix in education.

And just to prove I’ve put my money where my mouth is: 2009 / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005.

Your turn.


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The Creative Commons: An Overview for Educators

[This post was originally published in Screen Education, 50, Winter 2008, pp. 38-42. It is reproduced here with permission.  The article was (and is) aimed at media teachers in Australia, but hopefully may be of use more broadly, too.]

As teaching media and, more to the point, teaching media literacies becomes more and more central in both K-12 and tertiary settings, one of the biggest challenges is the gargantuan monolith of copyright. By copyright, I don’t necessarily mean teaching how copyright works – although that certainly isn’t the most straight forward process – but of more difficulty are the roadblocks that copyright laws puts in place. Immediately some canny readers will retort that most Australian schools and universities have access to particular exceptions which allow students to access and use material which, in any other context, falls under the rubric of All Rights Reserved. These exceptions are certainly very useful, but for the purposes of this article I’m relying on the notion that to be truly literate, skills must be transferable to the world outside of education. After all, if we taught our students to write and spell but told them they couldn’t use the alphabet outside of school grounds, basic literacy for all would never have caught on!

Media, of course, doesn’t have just one alphabet; as an idea, in practice, and even the literal meaning of the word reminds us that media is multiple. That multiplicity holds particular challenges for education. How, for example, do we teach students to integrate sound, still images, moving images and text without spending enormous amounts of time creating each of these media forms individually? One option is to teach the theory behind media production without including practical elements. However, as contemporary pedagogical theory and most practicing educators would agree, the best way to help students fully understand and engage with a particular concept or area is to put that notion into practice. It follows, then, that while media literacies can be taught by just analysing and critiquing films, television and video, often the most profound way to engage students in developing critical understanding of the media is when students create their own. So, what’s needed then is access to media which students can use, adapt, remix and build upon which isn’t All Rights Reserved. Sure there’s material that’s in the public domain and has no copyright restrictions, but it takes a very long time for most media to enter the public domain these days (different media forms take different lengths of time, but 70 years or longer is the length that film, television and music remain off limits). More to the point, even though copyright is automatically assigned as soon as a work is made these days, many creators want others to be able to re-use their work in particular ways. That’s where the Creative Commons organisation becomes important, along with the range of copyright licenses they’ve developed which can allow creators to be a lot more specific about how their creative work can be re-used following the principle of Some Rights Reserved.

What Is It?

In a nutshell, the Creative Commons organisation began in 2001 with the explicit mission of trying to make innovation and creativity easier for the many people who create media which, to some extent, builds upon existing work. They recognised that because authors of creative work had only two choices when creating a piece of media – either following the All Rights Reserved model of full copyright or giving up any and all rights and putting their work in the Public Domain – these limited options meant most people went along with All Rights Reserved because they weren’t prepared to give up all of their rights as creators. Meanwhile, many authors said that they’d happily let others use portions of their work in specific ways – and when directly contacted often gave others explicit permission to do just that – but many people argued that a system which let authors say which freedoms they’d give to others would be make it a thousand times easier for new creative works to be made, remixing, mashing or borrowing from previous work. And that’s exactly what the Creative Commons organisation has done: they’ve developed a series of licenses that can let authors make clear what they’re happy for other people to do with that author’s work. While standard copyright notices make explicit what can’t be done with a particular work, Creative Commons licenses allow people to specify what can be done.

How Does It Work?

The Creative Commons organisation provides a set of simple-to-use tools which let authors specify the sort of things they will and won’t let other people do with their creative work. The fundaments of the Creative Commons licenses are these four elements:

  • Attribution (BY): Attribution basically means that the author of a work must be acknowledged by anyone who uses that work in any way in the future.
  • Non-Commercial (NC): Non-commercial simply means that the author’s work can be re-used but not for commercial purposes – ie you can’t make money selling this work as a whole or a derivative part of it in a new work.
  • No Derivatives (ND): No derivatives means that you can’t alter the work and can only redistribute verbatim copies (so, for example, if it was a song you could download it, listen to it and share it, but you couldn’t take a sample from the song to use in your own work).
  • Share-Alike (SA): Share-Alike specifies that any derivative works (ie a new work which includes this work in part or in whole) must be licensed in exactly the same way (so if the original license was a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license, then the new work created must use exactly the same licensing conditions).

These elements can thus be combined in different ways to form six possible Creative Commons licenses:

  1. Attribution: The work can be shared, sampled, re-mixed and so on as long as the original author of a work is acknowledged.
  2. Attribution, No Derivatives: The original author of a work must be acknowledged and no derivative works can be created using this piece (ie it can’t be sampled, bits can’t be used in new works).
  3. Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives License: Same as the previous license but with the extra stipulation that the work cannot be sold or distributed in any commercial manner.
  4. Attribution, Non-Commercial License: As long as authorship is acknowledged, the work can be used in any non-commercial way, including being sampled, remixed and so forth.
  5. Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike License: The same term as above, but with the added stipulation and all derivative works must be licensed using exactly the same terms.
  6. Attribution, Share-Alike License: So long as the original author of the work is acknowledged, it can be used, sampled and re-mixed as long as new works containing this piece are licensed under exactly the same terms.

While these licenses might sound a little confusing at times, it’s useful to think of them as the engine of the Creative Commons car: they need to be there to make everything work, but you don’t have to understand them in great detail in order to drive. Indeed, Creative Commons have set up a very simple website to help people choose a license, which is at http://creativecommons.org/license/. To choose a license, people just need to answer whether they want to allow commercial uses of their work and whether the want to allow modifications of their work and the website shows you the most appropriate license, complete with detailed instructions on how to add this license to your work (where your work can be anything from a document to an mp3 music file to a whole website).

But Isn’t Creative Commons American?

While the Creative Commons organisation is, indeed, based in the US, the great news is that there are local Creative Commons teams in many countries, including Australia. Apart from being extremely loud and clear advocates for Creative Commons across the board, from education though to entertainment, Creative Commons Australia (CCau) have also successfully implemented a national version of the Creative Commons licenses. This means that as educators, we can be 100% sure that Australian Creative Commons licenses will definitely be recognised in the Australia legal system. (This is especially significant since so many of the frustrating ambiguities in this area come from the fact that copyright laws differ across national boundaries.) When selecting a Creative Commons license using the website mentioned above, it’s also possible to simply select which jurisdiction you want to the license to fall under (so for Australia students and educators, ‘Australia’ is probably your best bet!).

Creative Commons in the Classroom

So, as an example, lets say that you’re a teacher of an upper secondary media class and you’ve asked the students to work in teams to create a short, topical, news report in a video format. They’ve got video cameras and editing software so can shoot the majority of the story themselves, but find during editing they need a few more bits of media: some music to jazz up the opening sequence, a couple of still images to use as cutaways during an interview, and some historical footage of the Olympic games (these students are doing a report on the Olympics, it turns out). Moreover, these students are hoping to post their news report on YouTube when they’re finished, showing it to family and friends. So, they’re going to need sources of secondary material that they have permission to re-use.

To find material, the students are already ahead of the game and head directly to the Creative Commons search portal (http://search.creativecommons.org) and they find some ‘fanfare’ music perfect for their opening sequence (the music has a Creative Commons Attribution license). Then the students click on a separate tab to search for images and find two amusing little images of the Chinese Olympics Mascots (Fuwa) and these are licensed using a Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license. Finally, the students head over to the Internet Archive (www.archive.org) and find some historical footage of the first ever Olympic Torch relay from the 1936 Olympics in Germany; this footage is old enough to be in the public domain. These secondary materials are added in and a brilliant story about Australia’s anticipation of the Olympic games is completed. Since their teacher has explained a bit about copyright and the Creative Commons, these students scan their secondary media and realise that with a combination of one public domain media piece, one using a Creative Commons Attribution license, and two using Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike licenses, that their resulting news report will also need to be also licensed using a Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike. The students hop onto the Creative Commons website, find a nifty little graphic file detailing their license, and place it as the final frame of their Olympic News Story.

Now, with a news story which can legally be re-distributed (as long as they don’t make money off it), this group of students post their video on YouTube. Their parents and peers are deeply impressed as it’s a great news story, and their clear understanding of copyright looks very professional! More to the point, a few weeks later the group of students get an email telling them that another group of students on the other side of the planet, in Canada, have included a clip from this Olympic News Report in a new student project in Canada, just as the Creative Commons license on that video allows them to do. Back in Australia the students and their teacher glow with pride knowing that they’ve not only created a wonderful news story, but it has also contributed to the global community and has been creatively built upon by others!

Introducing Creative Commons to Students

So you’re convinced about the value of Creative Commons licensing but can’t work out how to introduce them to your students? Thankfully, the Creative Commons folks have a lot of great media introducing their ethos, practice and licenses, all accessible via http://creativecommons.org/about/. Of particular use are the comic books which explain Creative Commons licenses via a superhero story, and a series of short web-based videos which introduce key Creative Commons ideas and features. Indeed, two of the best of these videos were produced by the Creative Commons Australia team, featuring the quirky animated characters Mayer and Bettle!

Where To Start?

So, you’re ready to give Creative Commons a go in your teaching and learning? Then here’s a few useful websites to get you started:

  • www.creativecommons.org – The main website of the Creative Commons organisation with mountains of information.
  • search.creativecommons.org – The search engine maintained by the Creative Commons organisation which lets you easily search many different databases for different media forms, all with Creative Commons licenses.
  • creativecommons.org.au – The home of Creative Commons Australia and local efforts to promote the use and ethos of Creative Commons down under.
  • www.archive.org – The Internet Archive, one of the world’s biggest repositories of historical material, a lot of which is either in the public domain or uses Creative Commons licenses. The Internet Archive has a lot of historical video material.
  • www.flickr.com/creativecommons/ – The Creative Commons section of the massively popular photograph-sharing website Flickr has literally millions of different images available under Creative Commons licenses.
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Digital Culture Links: August 14th 2009

Links for August 6th 2009 through August 14th 2009:

  • Gaiman and Doctorow Discuss Giving It Away [Tor.com / Science fiction and fantasy] – A few short questions with Doctorow and Gaimain about the usefulness (and profitability) of giving books away for free online. This quote from Neil Gaiman about giving away American Gods for a month is probably the most important: “It’s been really fun in my own slow way nudging HarperCollins out of the stone ages and into the dark ages. As far as I’m concerned the entire argument [of the validity of giving digital books away] was won at the point where I got them to put American Gods online…we gave it away for free for a month, and during the course of that month and for about four weeks after, the number of copies of all of my books…went up three hundred percent. As far as I’m concerned, that answered that question.”
  • Bringing the power of Creative Commons to Google Books [Inside Google Books] – Google Books now supports Creative Commons licenses: “Rightsholders who want to distribute their CC-licensed books more widely can choose to allow readers around the world to download, use, and share their work via Google Books. Creative Commons licenses make it easier for authors and publishers to tell readers whether and how they can use copyrighted books. You can grant your readers the right to share the work or to modify and remix it. You can decide whether commercial use is okay. There’s even a license to dedicate your book to the public domain. If you’re a rightsholder interested in distributing your CC-licensed book on Google Books, you have a few different options. If you’re already part of our Partner Program, you can make your book available under CC by updating account settings. If not, you can sign up as a partner. You can select from one of seven Creative Commons licenses, and usage permissions will vary depending on the license.”
  • apophenia: Teens Don’t Tweet… Or Do They? – danah boyd unpacks the claim that teens don’t tweet and finds the data lacking and misinterpreted.
  • Murdoch signals end of free news [BBC NEWS | Business] – “News Corp is set to start charging online customers for news content across all its websites. The media giant is looking for additional revenue streams after announcing big losses. Mr Murdoch said he was “satisfied” that the company could produce “significant revenues from the sale of digital delivery of newspaper content”. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution,” he added. “But it has not made content free. Accordingly, we intend to charge for all our news websites. I believe that if we are successful, we will be followed by other media. “Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalising its ability to produce good reporting,” he said.” (It’s far too late to put the free genie back in the bottle … this plan could easily materialise as the move which killed NewsCorp!)
  • News Corp records £2bn loss [guardian.co.uk] – “Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire, News Corporation, slumped to a [US] $3.4bn (£2bn) net loss for the 12 months to June as a combination of plunging advertising revenue, impairment charges and online losses contributed to the company’s worst year in recent memory. The group suffered hefty accounting charges related to a drop in the value of its assets. After stripping out these one-off items, its full-year operating profit dropped by 32% to $3.6bn, with growth in revenue at the group’s cable television networks failing to make up for a slump in income from films, newspapers, books, magazines and online offerings. … n the final quarter of the year, News Corp made a $203m loss, compared to a $1.1bn profit for the same period in 2008, hit by a $680m impairment charge at Fox Interactive Media – the division that includes the social networking website MySpace, which recently shed 400 staff as it struggles to compete with larger rival Facebook.”
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Digital Culture Links: August 5th 2009

Links for August 5th 2009:

  • Women comprise 55% of Twitter users [SheSpotter] – “A new study released in Harvard Business publishing examines gender trends in Twitter.
    Highlights include: Females hold a slight majority on Twitter: men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. ” While there are slightly more women using Twitter, there are a lot less young people Tweeting according to Mashable.
  • Music off the menu as licensing row heats up [SMH] – “The fee paid by restaurants and cafes for background music is due to skyrocket if a new licensing proposal goes ahead. For Stuart Knox, the owner of the 55-seat Fix St James restaurant in the city, it means his annual licence fee would rise from $69 to more than $5500. ‘‘For that sort of fee, I’d prefer to buy my customers an iPod each and they can listen in private at their table,” he says. There is widespread concern in the restaurant industry that new tariffs suggested by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia will make the cost of playing music prohibitive.” (If costs get too out of hand, I wonder if someone will collate a whole range of Creative Commons Attribution – CC BY – music and point Australian restaurants to it – they wouldn’t need to pay a cent!)
  • Apple tries to silence owner of exploding iPod with gagging order [Times Online] – “Apple attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gagging order after the child’s iPod music player exploded and the family sought a refund from the company. The Times has learnt that the company would offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.”
  • 2009 Social Network Analysis – Social Network Demographics – Social Network Geographic Data [Ignite Social Media] – Useful 2009 snapshot of the demographics and for: Badoo.com, Bebo.com, Digg.com, Facebook.com, Fark.com, Flickr.com, Flixster.com, Friendster.com, Gather.com, Habbo.com, Hi5.com, Iambored.com, Identi.ca, IndianPad.com, Last.fm, Linkedin.com, Livejournal.com, Meetup.com, Metafilter.com, Mixx.com, Multiply.com, Myspace.com, Netlog.com, Newsvine.com, Ning.com, Plaxo.com, Plurk.com, Pownce.com, Propeller.com, Reddit.com, Reunion.com, Shoutwire.com, Skyrock.com, Stumbleupon.com, Tribe.net, Tuenti.com, Twitter.com, Wayn.com, Xanga.com, Yelp.com, YouTube.com.
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Annotated Digital Culture Links: July 14th 2009

Links for July 10th 2009 through July 14th 2009:

  • ‘Bruno’: Did Twitter Reviews Hurt Movie at Box Office? [TIME, 13 July 2009] – “In the old days — like, until yesterday — movie studios judged the success of their big pictures by how much they grossed on the opening weekend. But in the age of Twitter, electronic word-of-mouth is immediate, as early moviegoers tweet their opinions on a film to millions of “followers.” Instant-messaging can make or break a film within 24 hours. Friday is the new weekend. … Brüno’s box-office decline from Friday to Saturday indicates that the film’s brand of outrage was not the sort to please most moviegoers — and that their tut-tutting got around fast. Brüno could be the first movie defeated by the Twitter effect.” (Can bad word of mouth, amplified and aggregated by Twitter, will a new movie in hours rather than the usual week for bad reviews?)
  • I want my cyborg life [apophenia] – danah boyd’s thoughts on backchannels, the potential omnipresence of searchable information and the presumption that technologies tend to fragment attention rather than foster it.
  • PingWire – A public feed of the latest Twitpic pictures. Hypnotic windows on everyday life and popular culture, but as the warning says: “Evidently, there are people who post photos which may be inappropriate for viewers under 18 years of age. You’ve been warned.”
  • Flic.kr Greasemonkey Script – Useful little Greasemonkey Script to make use of Flickr’s URL-shortening service (Flic.kr). Great for using Flickr with Twitter and the like.
  • Find Creative Commons images with Image Search [Official Google Blog] – Google’s Image Search adds support for Creative Commons licenses. Searching for CC material continues to get easier and easier! Just click on Advanced Search.
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Annotated Digital Culture Links: June 29th 2009

Links for June 13th 2009 through June 29th 2009:

  • Just Add Performance [Kiri Miller / Flow 10.02] – "… if you want to get involved in value-oriented debates about it, here’s a thought experiment: rather than concluding that Guitar Hero players are wasting the time that they would otherwise be putting into long hours of practice on a real guitar, consider the possibility that they might otherwise spend that time just listening to recorded music (or, of course, playing Grand Theft Auto). Anyone who has played Guitar Hero or Rock Band for more than five minutes will tell you that it requires a deeper level of musical engagement than listening to an iPod—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and often socially. Moreover, everyone I’ve interviewed for my research reports that the games have substantially changed the way they listen to popular music when they’re not playing. […] Guitar Hero and Rock Band let players put the performance back into recorded music, reanimating it with their physical engagement and performance adrenaline." (Great little article!)
  • Keeping News of David Rohde’s Kidnapping Off Wikipedia [NYTimes.com] – "For seven months, The New York Times managed to keep out of the news the fact that one of its reporters, David Rohde, had been kidnapped by the Taliban. But that was pretty straightforward compared with keeping it off Wikipedia." The weird tale of trying to keep something (that was legitimate news) out of the Wikipedia.
  • Picasa With Creative Commons Search [Goole Blogoscoped] – Search Google's PicasaWeb for CC-licensed images: "Google’s photo album service, Picasa Web Albums, now allows you to show options during your search. As Ionut noticed, as part of these options you can tick the “Creative Commons” link, which will only return shareable pics. The amount of images is not all too bad either, at least for some queries: a CC-only search for the keyword google shows 276,529 pics, according to Picasa. A search for obama returns 43,510 pics right now. For comparison, the same CC-only obama search yields 127,858 results on Flickr."
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