Media

March 11, 2004
Video Killed the Radio Star

Right now on screen, we're watching a series of images, interspersed with words, Lessig-poetry-slam-style. "Change." We're set up like the UN, with one person walking around in the middle. Talking about how to get people who are younger to pick up the paper. Oliver is responding to this saying that the paper has only so much info, and as a media consumer, he wants the source, but wants to see more info than can fit in the paper, and he doesn't want to kill trees. Dan Gillmor responds that it's a damned good argument, and he hopes it will get solved. But there is a need for traditional reporting, for the deep investigation (funding, editing, distribution). Dan and I had dinner last night and spent a lot of time talking about how blogs need traditional journalism and journalism needs blogs, and the biz model is kind of a mess for newspapers, as well as those that rely on newspapers like the wire services.

Oliver/Kos says I haven't seen anything since Watergate that warrants going to a paper. He wants to go to a blogger on music or movies for that.

Esther Dyson is saying there are two arguments: online verses paper, and traditional verses non-traditional. Leave the dead-tree argument behind.

Interesting discussion, though I have to say that just having completed a study of 30 people, asking about their news and search habits, seeing the results, it's not that people don't want news, but they want it another way than traditional news is used to giving it. Of these people, 60% were under 35, 40% were 36-70. The average self-reported news consumption was 45 minutes a day, and while they occasionally look at papers when on BART or out, they reported that they do this consuming online. Every one said this. While people are notoriously bad at self-reporting, and the skew of the participants is that they are Craig's List readers who have broadband at home, so it is a unique subset, it is still an amazing statistic.

And what they are describing up front here is a reflection of these always-on used-to-be-consumers but now they are building their own feeds people. People who want to get it how, when, where they want it. Untethered. Unencumbered. From lots of different sources. People who use blogs to filter their links and attention to manage the tremendous amount of information coming at us from traditional and non-traditional sources.

Posted by Mary Hodder at 08:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Media Morphosis

I'm here at this conference in Newport Beach, blogging, at bIPlog, at Napsterization, and on the conference blog. More later....

Posted by Mary Hodder at 08:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 22, 2003
Oh Marie! The Meaning and The Expression. And The Napsterization Of It.

Pleasure and pain. Earlier today in spin class, again: Hey hey Marie, Oh Marie In your arms I'm longing to be! Longing to be! (another half turn! off the saddles! double time! no bounce!). I started spin classes six years ago. The spin leaders bring in new music to keep us interested (don't worry, the institution pays the ASCAP etc. fees) on rainy nights. We've all had instances where we first heard a song and it stuck partly because the music arrested us in it's greatness on first listen, partly because of what is going on in the place you hear it, and partly because when it's over, you long to hear it again. Humm it, roll it around in your brain.

And so it was with Louie Prima and Ray Charles. My legs burned, I wasn't bouncing, in total control: Hey hey Marie, Oh Marie! In your arms I'm longing to be, Ah Baby, tell me you love me (Another half turn, level 8, half-time pacing, no bounce, very slow and hard!)

Three times a week. The last two years, with iPod music. Transition to Vanessa May, violinist from the UK, with (I) Can-Can (You) (very fast music, level 1 easy, spinning as fast as you can, out of the saddle, all out, everyone in the room burning up, sweating, furiously pumping the bikes.)

I can listen to Oh Marie outside of spin and not associate it with class (I heard it last month drinking cosmos, eating fresh crab, laughing with very good friends), but the Can-Can is in my spin-only brain.

Music is something I love and want to play conveniently, flexibly, easily, exactly the way I want it, in what order, when and how, 1000 songs on shuffle, for two weeks of music, with no repeats. I don't think anyone would quibble with that desire anymore. Somehow the disruption of the internet on the music business has stuck many of us, because we see the chance to seize the thrill music can generate in your body and your head, in ways that are as easy as they've ever been: rip all your CD's to mp3s (took 6 months, but I did it), and put them all in a software player, and it's effortless. Total control without changing discs, thousands of songs, click. Sumptuous. It's an aural decadence we've never had before. It seems like there was this hidden craving just sitting under the surface, waiting to be satisfied. There are also musicians who want to distribute, on P2P or put things on their websites, cut out the middleman. Their music can get passed around, take advantage of the information flow, where the more they are heard, the more important their music becomes.

So this is the reason Eddan Katz and I started Napsterization.org/stories/ about a year ago . We wanted a place to have people express their excitement about music, digital music, P2P uses that were good and that allowed them to access stuff they'd be hard-pressed to find at the local record shop.

Over the past couple of years, I've realized that there is more there than just the napsterization of entertainment. Digital media, the internet, information technology disrupt everything. And disruption is a good thing. Lower transaction costs for each person, the ease and flexibility of digital communication, to join a political campaign actively but from somewhere away from the campaign, to link up with other folks to let politicians know what you think. Blogging and the disruption to the news media lead to tools to see the "daily us" as Technorati calls it; social software disrupts our real life social networks, while making it easier to connect with some people and see explicitly the relationships; hardware like the iPod and Treo 600 collapse analog barriers and lead to changes in our behavior with techology and media. Napsterization is happening everywhere. So while the blog is for the recording of positive uses of P2P, it's also for the analysis of that, in addition to other situations where napsterization happens.

I'll still write for the bIPlog on IP issues, but check out Napsterization.org too.

Ummm Baby, tell me you love me! Kiss me once while the stars shine above me (Another half turn, find your pace!)

Posted by Mary Hodder at 11:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 15, 2003
Creative Commons 1 Year Celebration

Last night, Creative Commons marked their first year anniversary with a party where Larry Lessig, Glenn Otis Brown and Chris Lydon among others talked about the many, many accomplishments over the past year, and played a wonderful flash animation about CC or here, particularly emphasizing the export of CC worldwide. One thing they mentioned was that all content online from the radio show, Tech Nation, will now be under a CC license, and they have had more than a million uses of the licenses over the past year.

The party was a great time to meet up with Stanford and Berkeley folks, artists and geeks, and those who support having balance between copyright and the public domain. I got to meet Joi Ito, whose sister I met at a conference last spring, and since she spoke about him in such a sweet way, I have wanted to meet him ever since. So that was fun. Also, the videoblog goddess (and otherwise all around goddess), Lisa Rein was there, taping, and presumably will have the video up on her blog soon.

Also, considering donating to Creative Commons here.

Update 121903: Check out Christopher Lydon's interview with Larry Lessig done just after the event (you can hear the last of us in the background of the audio interview). I gave Chris a ride back to Berkeley and he said he said he would get it up quickly, though he's been traveling, and he did!

Posted by Mary Hodder at 10:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
December 01, 2003
This Isn 't Your Father's FOAF

Teresa Riordan/NYTimes has this on the recent purchase (for $700k) of the Six Degrees patent, by Marc Pincus of Tribe and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn. They say they purchased the friend of a friend (FOAF) patent because they didn't want anyone else buying it to use it against them, but they are also trying to negotiate with Friendster to become a partner/owner of the patent, though Friendster hasn't jumped in yet. Conversely, Visible Path is treating their processes for understanding people's network and connection habits as a trade secret, so that unlike patents where the process must be disclosed, Visible Path won't share how they do things ("We think that is a higher form of protection.") Visible Path says they operate differently than the Six Degrees patented method, because they evaluate the quality of FOAF connections verses the degrees between connections. At the end of the article, there is this prediction: "This industry [FOAF] is going to go in a thousand different directions," Mr. [Antony] Brydon said. "I think we're going to find that many of the things being protected today are completely irrelevant a year from now."

Somewhat related to that notion is this PC World article asking: will consumers change ip? Granted the examples given are the more commonly known ones such as the Verizon, et al cases with user's privacy in the balance over music sharing, but the question extends far further when you think about the ways we take technology, alter it or its intended uses or blend things never before blendable. Steve Lohr/NYTimes talks about this with Markets Shaped by Consumers where he discusses the ways consumers take technologies, find uses not intended by their creators, or cobble together solutions to problems in innovative ways. Among other things, he mentions the mountain bike, camera phones and text messaging, bluejacking, and FOAF networks like LinkedIn and Friendster.

The ways users shape IP via fair use, either directly by choice or because of the limitations through the architecture of the system they are using, and the issues surrounding consumer generated information, especially about themselves, raises questions of fair use and ownership of personal data and networks in a new way with FOAF networks. Note that this morning on NPR, Choicepoint was quoted as saying that in their system, users own their own data, not Choicepoint. And yet recently, Friendster changed its user policy to state:

    Friendster owns and retains all proprietary rights in the Web site and the Service. The Web site contains the copyrighted material, trademarks, and other proprietary information of Friendster, and its licensors. Except for that information which is in the public domain or for which you have been given written permission, you may not copy, modify, publish, transmit, distribute, perform, display, or sell any such proprietary information.

I take this to mean they believe they own the collective data, and without clear personal data ownership laws, I suppose we are subject to this, unless there is a case or new law that changes this arrangment.

Danah Boyd of SIMS was in last Thursday's Circuits section (by Michael Erard), and Peter Lyman is quoted, too. The article discusses the social issues and analog metaphors Danah studies about FOAF networks. While our analog FOAF networks are subject to social norms we can see, touch and control in different ways than those online, there are interesting issues in connecting one person's data and network to the next. Collapsing the analog social norms causes problems, when people from one network you belong to can suddenly see another digitally, but there is also an issue which will probably arise more in the future, where the blending of many user's information, both personal and created, or personal networks, creates something new. It is digital media in the most personal of ways.

As mentioned before, how do you do the IP when "It's the collective I.Q. of the Internet coming to your aid," [said James C. Spohrer, director for services research at Almaden].

So, my father's FOAF network (analog, of course) is extensive. He keeps in touch, even in retirement, with thousands of people, via written correspondence through email and letters, and for 42 years, has maintained a handwritten spreadsheet organizing the 3-4k handwritten xmas cards he sends out to his friends each year (there are more in his network but they don't necessarily receive these cards, and also, my parents visit with many of these people regularly, scattered around the world, for various reasons that are now mostly social). I don't know that Friendster or LinkedIn, etc., clunky as they are now, could accomodate or make sense of the multiple reasons and associated meanings of his relationships, or what is possible between his connections through muliple networks. But I'm sure he's never thought about who owns his data and networks, and the shifts over time these networks have experienced, and the information linking they accomodate. I'm sure he would find it bizarre but also interesting to contemplate that using a FOAF network might require this, where using one might release control over his life's work as one of the most networked people I know.

Dave Weinberger on FOAFs, the privacy aspects, and funny ways we use these online networks: putting the shill into social or Leveraging Mere Acquaintanceships for Business Success since 2003.

Posted by Mary Hodder at 08:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 20, 2003
Halloween for Howard Stringer

Stringer2003Nov19.jpg

As CEO of Sony USA, he's feeling the full effects of digital disruption in the media biz, according to Tina Brown/WDCPost.

    "Between the combination of more information than you can possibly cope with and global markets stealing your employees and price erosion happening faster than you can develop new products, you can't tell a mask from a reality." -Stringer

Grasping at broadcast flags:

    In the TV world, executives are in denial about eyeballs swiveling to cable, Internet and video games. They're blaming Nielsen, the Delphic oracle of the ratings, for mislaying a chunk of young Hispanic men in the abysmal ratings for the fall season.

Note that Valenti has said there may be new release movies available over the internet by 2005.

    Movie executives and producers are in a funk about working in a medium that's a blip on the radar screens of the multinational corporations that own the studios. "The decision-making process is so diffused among layers, power in Hollywood these days is a hologram," says Brian Grazer, producer of hits such as "A Beautiful Mind" as well as co-chairman of Imagine Entertainment, whose corporate partner, Universal, has had three overlords in three years and now has to learn a new cast of characters at General Electric's NBC.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Where are you?

    Music executives feel like the dinosaurs after the asteroid impact. Their piracy problem is so intractable they're almost nostalgic for Napster. They still can't figure out how to fight illegal downloading without making enemies of the kids who ought to be their best customers.

Barry Diller is one of the few who seems to have accepted this and is trying to work with the properties of digital media, not against them:

    "The times are so radical it produces insecurity," said Barry Diller, who has mostly exited the old media terrain to build his InterActiveCorp empire. "No one has yet grasped the consequences of going from analog life to digital life. It piles on incredible pressure. It's not about growing new plumage any more. It's about growing gills."

Brown's conclusion: power is a hologram.

MORE...
Posted by Mary Hodder at 06:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 18, 2003
Dave Winer on Media Companies, Control of the Internet and the Election

Dave Winer wrote yesterday about an issue for the 2004 election: Keeping the Internet free from Media Companies. He asked that Clark and Dean consider a plan to keep the Internet free from interference from the entertainment industry. Two reasons, he says, as he is a part of a constituency that cares about these issues, and that it would signal that a candidate was not beholden to media companies, both in the sense of locking down the future (I assume he means things like copyright, as well as laws that regulate the internet for special interests) and of having the media try to control channels they don't yet own (I assume here he means the development of new digital distribution channels that either are just getting started or haven't yet been invented, or technologies they try to lock out or control, like the consumer electronics industry developments that must now be approved by the copyright industry with respect to the Broadcast Flag -- See Zoe Lofgren's editorial today on these new restrictions on innovation by the FCC).

In the comments, Seth Finkelstein says it's not realistic, and Jay Rosen responds that he's half right:

    Maybe his [Dave's] idea is, "Let Clark and Dean work it out. They're smart enough."
(See also Rosen's assessment of American Politics; it's excellent). And Thomas Kalil responds to Dave with this:
    The Internet is different from the phone network and radio and broadcast television in important ways... [like] "many to many" communication as opposed to the "one to many" communication of broadcast television. A student, an independent software developer, or a small high-tech company can come up with an idea for a new application, protocol, or kind of content. If enough people find it useful or worthwhile, this idea can spread like wildfire. Even as the Internet evolves, it is important to ensure that it continues to provide an open platform for rapid and decentralized innovation, and for the exchange of ideas.

Donna Wentworth links to Dan Gillmor who says:
    But Dave has framed the problem well. Keeping Hollywood's influence from wrecking the Net would, by extension, help solve the copyright disaster that's been building in America for decades.

Jeff Jarvis' not so sure: he's a big media guy, a blogger, and says,

    Dave, I just spent last weekend in big rooms filled with big media and, believe me, I saw little cause for alarm.

My thought: Maybe Dave didn't specify the exact problem, and he is very much in a partisan position (as he admits) with technology, but he does make a good point. Locking down the internet with DRM, like the just adopted BF regulations, as well as using the DMCA for all sorts of ridiculous anticompetitive and otherwise destructive stuff (think Chamberlain v. Skylink over garage door openers, Lexmark and printer cartridges, Diebold and voting software memos) that incumbents love to use to maintain their positions, and you can see why he cares about this. It's not that I think incumbents all should be undermined, but I disagree with an Internet that only protects them, and makes it hard for innovators to develop the digital technologies that will shift everything and create so much value, though maybe for a mix of incumbents and innovators. It's understandable that they are scared, because they have a lot to lose, but we all are participants in the internet, and there is a public good in keeping it open and free.

Lock the internet up, lock content down, and I think it will be less than 20 years before our closed internet loses to the free internet, still existing in the rest of the world, leading to the loss of US leadership and competitiveness in technology, content and innovation. Seems counterintuitive, and in the short term yes, protectionism is beneficial, but long term, it will hurt us badly.

But I'm not so sure this is something we can address in a presidential election, and Seth may be right, maybe this is an unrealistic discussion. But my hope is that as we forge further into the information economy, we will be able to address issues like this in a national forum, that people will understand digital issues enough that they will want to hear what candidates have to say about intellectual property, media, digital technologies and information flowing on the internet, because it means their jobs (and health insurance), their intellectual freedom and entertainment. But I don't think it will happen until the public asks for it. And many more people must become digitally literate before that happens.

Posted by Mary Hodder at 07:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
November 16, 2003
ONA Conf: Final Thoughts

Here are links to the three sets of notes:
Jack Fuller and Panel 1
Andrew Sullivan and the Blog Panel
Back to the Future

Update: Chad Capellman has a recording of Sullivan and some of the panels that were scheduled at the same time, in case you missed them or were unable to attend at all.
Conference Blog - with some very gracious notes from Andrew Sullivan, and others.

Digital Media

Everything I mention below may seem obvious. I've known it for a long time, but still having just gone to a bunch of talks, met with media companies and consultants, I was amazed at how little of this is out there in any real way for people in that business. So my thoughts are below, however helpful that might be. Maybe not.

The thing is, digital media disintermediates power. And all these people, nice, well educated, important, powerful people, media people, don't want that to happen. Heck, people in power in every other kind of business don't want it to happen either, and yet it is. So the conferences I've been to the last two weeks, none of which have offered anything I didn't already know between all five of them, in various slices of the media business from micropayments to big media to social networks and media, to online news, have all had rooms full of people trying not to acknowledge the coming or present disintermediation of their own power. Yes, they acknowledge P2P or the many many digital media choices or blogs or Tivo or targeted ads or friendster (really all of these things are just tools/offerings, right, so if not these it would be something else in the digital realm) are things they need to embrace in order to move with the times, the Internet, the audience's new found power. But they are not willing to open themselves up to the properties of digital media.

Traditional or analog media cannot be shoveled straight, digitized, and it cannot be made interactive, multimedia style with a lovely poll asking - defining really by the choices given - readers for their "opinions" via check boxes, the bottom line is, it can't be controlled. Whether that control comes in the form of copyright or bundling cable or believing that the producers/editors/shapers/makers of content know more than their audiences. The fact is, you audience is now your colleague. The other night at dinner, with a large table of folks from all over, I challenged a bit, maybe too much, a senior VP at CNN. I have to admit, I think I offended him because of my directness. I really was at the end of a frustrating conference full of people who don't understand what digital media is, why it's different, and a lot of that has to do with the way they use media and technology. They use it like old style news people, which is fine, except that technology is a thing you use, not theorize about, and so describing why some digital tool is different, changes everything, makes life go perpendicularly to the way it used to in the analog, is a bit theoretical. The fact is, you have to use it, a lot. You have to see it for yourself, listen to others, see it from your users point of view. Or you don't get it. So the CNN guy seemed just for a moment like he was going to cry when I suggested that cable customers might only, ONLY, want say, HBO, and not really care to take anything else. And they may never tell you why, or they may tell you lots, but they will go elsewhere if you don't give it up. Cable may become granular. Or the answer from the audience/users may be things that are not legal, or fair, it may not support the notion that the creators of news believe they know what's good for the audience, and it may not support good content in the old traditional way. It's not a threat, it's just what we already know to be real, whatever you think of as right or wrong, correct between content creators/copyright holders and users. But I do feel badly now, because frankly, as frustrated as I was at all these things, I managed to be gracious until this last one, at dinner, with this guy. I wasn't mean or obnoxious about it, but I said what I thought was true and I think he probably regrets the conversation. Because it just doesn't go with the way these companies think. I had just had it, I guess.

So, the lesson I guess is that people really are deeply in denial, with a few bargainers and angry folks in the mix. There are, though, an extremely small number willing to go out into the wilderness and really discover something unfathomable that might destroy the business model. But if you don't work with P2P, your audience, and the Internet, it will kill you. And any attempts to control the network, all the networks you work in, associate with, consumption networks, media networks, etc., will go around you if you don't work with them. And controls include IP regimes, network barriers, frictions like DRM and payment mechanisms, overly-intrusive advertising or even advertising that doesn't apply to a specific viewer and so is not content of value. You can either make the digital work, or be something everyone else avoids. But the days of one to many, controlling, bundled, competitive, stove-pipe media are over.

Update: note this Sorkin/NYTimes article on blogs and media, quoting Jeff Jarvis and featuring Nick Denton.

Posted by Mary Hodder at 07:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
November 15, 2003
ONA Last Panel: Back to the future

Looks like a PBS set, flower arrangement, water, big easy chairs.

Moderator: Bruce Koon, ONA president and Executive News Editor, Knight Ridder Digital
Panelists include:
Leonard Apcar, Editor in Chief, The New York Times on the Web
Richard Deverell, Head of News Interactive, BBC News
Esther Dyson, Chairman, Edventure Holdings Inc.
Mitch Gelman, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer of CNN.com
Ruth Gersh, Editorial Director, AP Digital
Retha Hill, Vice President for Content, BET.com
Dean Wright, Vice President and Editor in Chief, MSNBC.com

See more below.

MORE...
Posted by Mary Hodder at 02:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
ONA Cont'd: Sullivan and Blog Panel

Andrew Sullivan gave the lunch keynote. Hard to blog because we were still eating and the room was packed, so getting out the laptop was not a good idea, there was no room. So below under More are my hand written notes. The rest is updated periodically... as I attend panels.

Update: while I was listening to Sullivan, I kept having the feeling that while everything he was saying is exactly what I've experienced here (not the 1.9 million readers but the qualities of this medium, the interactions and relationships with other bloggers, and the value of writing daily), and it was the only time, other than listening to Rob Curley or Jeff Jarvis, where I felt people were expressing some understanding of digital media, and trying to work with it, in energetic, fun, creative ways instead of fighting it, scared and from a position where they don't use the Internet so much and so they don't understand. Sullivan is a great guy, really a lovely person, interesting and articulate, and really humbled by his readers and the attention and hits he receives on his blog. It felt liberating to listen to his talk, after the past two weeks of fighting my urge to yell that media people just don't get what the Internet/digital media is about.

Also, Jeff Jarvis on Andrew Sullivan.

See below also for some on the panel on Flogging the blogs: Debating best practices. Ken Sands, Managing editor of online and new media, The Spokesman-Review moderated and it had these people on it: Denise Polverine, Editor-in-Chief, Cleveland.com, Sheila Lennon, Features & Interactive Producer, projo.com, Tom Regan, Associate Editor, csmonitor.com, Jeff Jarvis, President & creative director, Advance.net.

Jeff notes on his blog that he probably came across as a lunatic, but in fact he was articulate, talked about a lot of the issues he's discussed on his blog in the past 10 days about blogging and media, that are very good useful points. I'm not sure how many in the audience got it, because they bring all of their often traditional media experience that goes against these counterintuitive ideas. But it was still useful and concise and very good. The others were good too, but not necessarily so packed with ideas and tips. Read the notes below the Sullivan notes.

MORE...
Posted by Mary Hodder at 02:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
ONA Conference

I'm attending the Online News Association conference today. Below are notes from yesterday, which I will continue filling in today as I attend panels. This isn't exactly bIPlog territory, but I need to put this somewhere. There are a few things here and there that hit the intersection of IP, digital media and digital distribution, privacy and security, but not much.

Note to the conference organizers: concurrant panels are a drag. If information is worth presenting, then don't make us choose. I want to attend two panels this afternoon, occuring at the same time. They are the reason I came here, in terms of the formal content.

Tidbits: Mark Fiore is really cool.

As is Len Apcar who is head of NYTimes Digital, with whom I had a great discussion about blogging. I explained to him that viewers know that blogs are different than regular journalism, that it's about putting out information more informally, but fairly and accurately, and if something is amiss, doing a new entry to correct, but it's not as much about impartiality. The audience wants to see what their reporters with unique perspectives and information that isn't appropriate for regular reporting know about. It doesn't have to be opinion, though we chatted about Dan Gillmor and the differences between his column and blog. He said that he'd shifted a bit since bloggercon, and was considering topic blogs, like one for opera, where they might have someone that is an expert, but that doesn't necessarily work for them, to point people to interesting links, talk about issues in the opera world, were really interested readers might submit additional links and information. But he's still working it out. One thing, he was surprised that I had listened to the bloggercon sessions, that they were webcast (I couldn't attend though I wished I was there...).

MORE...
Posted by Mary Hodder at 06:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)