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Relief. Now, back to work …
Four more years. twitter.com/BarackObama/st…
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 7, 2012
Digital Culture Links: March 16th through March 22nd
Links for March 16th through March 22nd:
- The Hunger Games Game [CollegeHumor Video] – A parody video from College Humor, turning The Hunger Games into a tween-girl fantasy boardgame focusing on the love-triangle, to great comic effect. On some level, though, this is also a pretty decent critique of the way a film which and certain elements of the fandom around it miss the core critique of authority and a media culture, reducing it to a vapid romance tale.
- Dragon Tattoo Has Unique DVD Design – Sony’s DVD release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has confused some people because it’s designed to look like a ripped copy and, sporting letters which look like they’re written in felt-tip pen on a DVD-R. Confusing messages you’re sending there, Sony!
- Twitter turns six [Twitter Blog] – On the sixth anniversary of Twitter’s launch, the service has reached 140 million users, with 340 million tweets made daily. That said, since most active users seem to tweet a lot more than 3 times a day, a significant proportion of users don’t actually seem to tweet much.
- Game sales surpassed video in UK, says report [BBC News] – “Sales of computer games in the UK have surpassed those of videos for the first time, new figures suggest. The Electronic Retailers Association (ERA) said sales of £1.93bn in 2011 made the gaming industry the country’s biggest entertainment sector. By contrast, sales of DVDs and other video formats totalled £1.80bn, while music pulled in £1.07bn.”
- Will The Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up (feat. Eminem) – YouTube – Clever political mashup video in search of the ‘real’ Mitt Romney featuring Romney and Obama in the style of Eninem’s Slim Shady.
- Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod | Video on TED.com – Fantastic TED parody explanation of the logic behind copyright lawsuits and litigation: copyright maths. From TED: “Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. Rob Reid is a humor author and the founder of the company that created the music subscription service Rhapsody”
Annotated Digital Culture Links: April 3rd 2009
Links for March 31st 2009 through April 3rd 2009:
- Internet traffic in Sweden plummets on first day of law banning web piracy [Guardian] – Internet traffic in Sweden – previously a hotbed of illicit filesharing – has fallen dramatically in the first day of a new law banning online piracy. The country – home to the notorious Pirate Bay website, whose founders are awaiting a court judgment on whether they have broken the law by allowing people to find films, games and music for illicit downloads – has previously been seen as a haven for filesharing, in which people can get copyrighted content for free. As many as one in 10 Swedes is thought to use such peer-to-peer services. But the so-called IPRED law, which came into force on Wednesday, obliges internet service providers to turn over details about internet users who share such content to the owners of copyrighted material, if a court finds sufficient evidence that the user has broken the law. … internet traffic in Sweden had fallen by about 30% compared with the previous day.”
- New Wolverine film leaked online [BBC NEWS | Entertainment] – “An almost finished copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman has been leaked online a month before its cinema release. The high quality copy of the film has been uploaded to several file sharing and streaming video websites. The movie is incomplete, with some special effects still in need of fine tuning and green screens and wires attached to actors still visible.” (It took less than 24 hours for this workprint to appear for sale in Jordan’s pirate DVD markets and C20th Fox are on the warpath. While a leak like this might be good for publicity, given that a workprint – which means unfinished special effects more than anything else – tends to emphasise the quality of the plot and dialogue, this could really hurt the box office.)
- Obama Depressed, Distant Since ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Series Finale [The Onion – America’s Finest News Source] – “According to sources in the White House, President Barack Obama has been uncharacteristically distant and withdrawn ever since last month’s two-hour series finale of Battlestar Galactica. “The president seems to be someplace else lately,” said one high-level official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Yesterday we were all being briefed on the encroachment of Iranian drone planes into Iraq, when he just looked up from the table and blurted out, ‘What am I supposed to watch on Fridays at 10 p.m. now? Numb3rs?'” “I haven’t seen him this upset since Admiral Adama realized that Earth was actually an uninhabitable wasteland,” the official continued. “Or at least that’s what he told me. I don’t actually watch the show. It’s not really my thing.””
- Victim Of Wikipedia: Microsoft To Shut Down Encarta [ paidContent.org] – “Microsoft will discontinue both its MSN Encarta reference Web sites as well as its Encarta software, which have both been surpassed by rising competitors, like Wikipedia. In a message posted on the MSN Encarta Web site, Microsoft says, “Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years. However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past.””
Obama: The Future of Government and Participatory Culture
Like so many people both in the United States and around the globe, I was heartened by Barack Obama’s inauguration address which was filled with hope, but tempered by reiteration of the work ahead but more than anything Obama’s eloquence and oratory skill reminded us all that the disastrous and embarrassing era of George W Bush is finally over.
In terms of digital culture, Obama’s inauguration was a truly online event, from live-streaming from news services and even inside Facebook, to the active engagement and discussion by the people formerly know as the audience on a multitude of many platforms, with micro-blogging sites like Twitter seeing more than five times their normal load.
Obama’s government had already shown commitment to open access and a meaningful engagement with the public across the internet, something highlighted with Obama’s transitional Change.gov using a Creative Commons license.
So, it was incredibly heartening to see these early signs impressively built upon in the first day of Obama’s government. As the official website Whitehouse.gov shifted to the new administration, the first blog post promised a new era of participation and transparency, built on three simple principles:
Communication — Americans are eager for information about the state of the economy, national security and a host of other issues. This site will feature timely and in-depth content meant to keep everyone up-to-date and educated. Check out the briefing room, keep tabs on the blog (RSS feed) and take a moment to sign up for e-mail updates from the President and his administration so you can be sure to know about major announcements and decisions.
Transparency — President Obama has committed to making his administration the most open and transparent in history, and WhiteHouse.gov will play a major role in delivering on that promise. The President’s executive orders and proclamations will be published for everyone to review, and that’s just the beginning of our efforts to provide a window for all Americans into the business of the government. You can also learn about some of the senior leadership in the new administration and about the President’s policy priorities.
Participation — President Obama started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where he saw firsthand what people can do when they come together for a common cause. Citizen participation will be a priority for the Administration, and the internet will play an important role in that. One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it.
At the same time, the new WhiteHouse.gov copyright statement reinforces these ideas, affirming the law which sees Federal government material placed here automatically in the public domain (not a new law, I should add), while third-party material (such as people’s comments, etc) will adhere to a Creative Commons Attribution license:
Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This symbolic gesture has been celebrated by the Creative Commons team and Creative Commons CEo Joi Ito alike.
Indeed, as Jason Kottke observes, even the robot.txt file on Whitehouse.gov (the file which tells search engine what they can, and what they can’t index) has gone from over 2400 restrictions under the Bush administration to only one restriction under Obama.
On a more grassroots level, Nancy Baym over at Online Fandom notes “One thing I love about my new President is that he inspires his followers to create in ways that erase the boundaries between politics and fandom”. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say, borrowing from Larry Lessig, Obama may very well be the Remix President. (If you want an easy way to join in, and don’t mind being a little tacky, you can always create your own pictures and photos in the style of Obama’s Hope Poster over at Obamicon.) Given all these positive changes, it seems only fitting to end this post with the Obama remix video, Fire it Up 2.0 from RX:
While there is a lot to do and huge expectations to live up to, I have very high hopes for Obama and his administration. On the digital front, I hope that the early promise of participation lasts the length of Obama’s presidency and beyond, something Australia’s initially internet-savvy Rudd government has largely failed to do. Change: it’s a message that really does work when it includes everybody for the long haul.