Archive for the ‘MySpace’ category

The 2.D’oh! Weekly Roundup

2, May, 2008

Another week, another sniff through the last seven days of messes, miracles and muddles from the world of Web 2.0.

Crowdsourcing the VPs

Congressional Quarterly has launched a wonderfully loopy site called “VP Madness”–an NCAA-bracket-like game in which 32 potential John McCain running mates go head to head. Users vote on their preferences for each pairing. Results are tallied and the next round begins. Sweet 16, Round-of-8, Final Four…eventually the “wisdom of the crowds” will have picked a running mate for the Arizona septuagenarian.

The first round of voting ends May 6. (A Tuesday, of course.) The Democrat contest will begin…well, whenever they decide who’s on the top of the ticket.

CQ\'s VP Madness

Speaking of Doomed Efforts. . .

This week Advertising Age launched its Newspaper Death Watch feature. Its first column is a lengthy woe -is-they autopsy-from-the-hospice. It’s illustrated with this poignant graphic, showing how newspapers’ share of total ad dollars has been halved since 1980, from around 28 percent to 15 percent. (Newspapers got almost 40 percent of all ad dollars in 1940.)

Newspaper Death Watch

N.b.: Ad Age isn’t the first to perch themselves at the hospital bed. Veteran technology journalist Paul Gillen has been chronicling the decline of an old friend (of his) in his Newspaper Death Watch blog since 2007.

And finally, our Fifth-Horse-of-the-Apocalypse Headline of the Week:

MySpace launches Karaoke

from The Social Times

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Writers’ Strike: Imminent Proof that Web Video is Hideo

19, November, 2007

As regular readers of this blog [both of you!] know by now, I am bearish on Web video. More specifically, I think the idea that people will watch many half-hour or hour-long TV-style programs on their computers is bull. I believe it’s a hopeful, consensual group delusion among VCs, broadcasters, and 2.entrepreneurs.

And so for purely selfish reasons I hope the writers’ strike against TV production companies continues. Why? As the strike goes on and broadcast fare dries up, several things are likely to happen:

1. Services like Hulu, NBC/News Corp’s platform for delivering standard TV content, will face an early test of value as online delivery mechanisms for network television content. Hulu is still in carefully guarded beta, so the data certainly won’t be conclusive. Similarly, Joost, is just launched and still awfully content-thin. But you can view plenty of broadcast video online at NBCDirect (also beta) or just off the main NBC website. There are other similar opportunities for online episode viewing at various broadcasters’ and programs’ sites. And YouTube is loading up on “real” TV content. The key question: Will TV viewers turn to these services as the writers’ strike continues and broadcast and some cable content goes gray? My guess: No.

2. Projects like QuarterLife [the MySpace series of 8-minute minisodes that’s pretty much about web video, from the creators of thirtysomething] will get an early proof-of-concept opportunity. Will folks who have turned away from the rerun-rich plasmatron go online to view even this program, which is crafted so specifically for online users and for this moment in time? Word just came out that the series will run on “real” NBC in January, so the online version will get a boost from the established broadcast medium. I still foresee no huge audience for it.

3. We’ll find out how many sofa spuds generally really do boot up their computers as the reruns continue. This will provide some data to test the widely accepted hypothesis that TV viewership is down because viewers are spending the time on the web instead.

My self-serving prediction: The remote control operators in the household will stay right on the couch and simply watch more “unwritten” cable, premium movie channels and on-demand content. The beneficiaries of the writers’ strike won’t be Hulu, Joost, YouTube or other web video schemes. They will be the The Discovery Channel, History Channel, the BBC, TVland, Survivor (it’s still on TV, really!), the Biggest Loser, and local cable systems’ on-demand fare.

Oddly enough, if I am right, the whole strike is meaningless anyway. It’s based on the idea that web users in huge, monetizable numbers will view half-hour and hour-long broadcast content on their computers.

Which means either I am wrong–at least a 50-50 chance, I’d say–or that those writers are out there pressing for a fair chunk of revenues that may never come.

The YouTube Killer: Shut Up Before You Get Started

14, November, 2007

Brace yourself for a wave of reflexive, poorly informed censor-the-Internet blowback.

What will bring this about? News that a Pennsylvia a 14-year-old being prosecuted for an October school shooting plot had communicated online, via MySpace and YouTube, with the teen in Finland who last week killed eight fellow classmates. Here’s a good report from ABCNews.com

And here is just one example of the response that is forming, from a reader’s online posting on the site of the UK’s Register newspaper:

Now consider what would happen if such manifestos, photos and personal testaments of mass murderers were put in the same category as child pornography with reproduction and distribution banned and heavy penalties applicable.

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, as blog readers are unlikely to be censorious by nature. But to make three points:

  • Viewing the web, or social networks, or YouTube as accessories to murder or intent to murder is like blaming the telephone in the case where conspirators call each other to coordinate. Or to extend the argument to its absurd extreme, to accuse pen and paper as complicit in the Columbine killings, which were foretold in diary entries.
  • As the history of child porn prosecutions has shown, law enforcement has had great success using the Internet as a way to identify potential perps, gather evidence, conduct surveillance, arrest and prosecute producers and consumers of child pornography. The online transactions themselves draw a trail directly to the sickos.
  • There is a good argument that use of such immediate and ubiquitous technologies can encourage copycat actions and even enable conspiracies, which the Pennsylvania-Finland cases suggest. But the problem is, all communication has become ubiquitous and immediate. The attempt to slow and prohibit only communications about “acts of terror” is only going to divert vast sums of money to lawyers, and create full employment for privacy/censorship talking heads. Child porn is fairly easy to identify. “Intent to kill” and “acts of terror” are nearly impossible to identify with sufficient precision to permit constitutional legal action.

To draw, with apologies to all, on the rhetoric of the gun lobby: The Internet doesn’t kill people. People kill people.

The 2.D’oh! Weekly Round-Up, Vol. V

24, August, 2007

Mommy make it stop, cont’d

Your friends, the people who believe they should be President, will field questions from college students and other Web habituees when MySpace and MTV.com host “interactive real-time presidential dialogues.”

MySpace head flak Jeff Berman called it “a digital extension of the Iowa or New Hampshire living room where a candidate walks into someone’s home to have a dialogue.” The fun starts with John Edwards on Sept. 27.

No word yet on whether questions will be screened to ensure none come from registered sex offenders or illegal downloaders. 

Baby 2.0

BabyCenter.com, that leading destination for the reproductive set, has launched a beta version of a site renovation. It’s tacked on some of the usual 2.0fferings: UGC blogs, enhanced community features, and so on. Highlights: a personalized tag cloud which captures your own previous clicks, not those of the whole community; a smart use of personalization, which puts a box that features info to your specific week of pregnancy on your home page; and the inevitable, suspect promise to that search is new and improved to make it easier and faster to find what you want.

There is also a strange bifurcation of “questions” and “community.” Since most folks who participate in communities go there to ask questions, I hereby offer this prediction: Those two areas will be merged within, say, nine months.

Genuinely interesting story of the week

This contemplation of whether digital archives should ever be altered to correct the record, respond to veiled (or not) lawsuit threats, etc. The column by Elizabeth Zwerling appears on the site Online Journalism Review.

Items from Onion circulated fraudently as truth? Or signs of the coming Apocalypse? 

This week the Mountain View search engine colossus proved that its ambitions are not merely for global domination: It launched a new version of Google earth that takes on the stars.

And an article appeared in Business Week about aSmallWorld, [aka “Snobster,”] a U.K.-based invitation-only social network for. . .multi-millionnaires.

Noted Without Comment, cont’d

The digital newstand of the future? [A tip o’ the fez to our friends at cyberjournalist.com]