Thursday, April 28, 2011

Node XL

Howdy folks:  Reading for Monday:


  1. Skim Chapter 1  (Intro)
  2. Skim Chapter 2  (Social media)
  3. Read Chapter 3  (Network analysis)
  4. Read (and do if you can) Chapter 4  (Getting started)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Record Label Project

To everyone who has contributed or plans to contribute to the record label project we talked about last Wednesday, thanks for all your help! Don't forget to let me know when you've finished at nlcesare@gmail.com so I can start putting everything together.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Really cool adventure




This blog documents a neat adventure with some interesting connections to different themes from the course so far.  He is also doing an AMA at Reddit about his adventure.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Imogen Heap - "Aha!"

Imogen Heap is one of my favorite musical artists, and is one of the few pop stars who I consider a true musician. There are intermittent cello parts during the song "Aha!" on her CD, Ellipse. Imogen Heap decided that while she was touring the CD, she wanted one of her fans in the area to come up and perform the cello part of the song with her. Using a live chat tool called Vokle, she held cello auditions where fans could interact and comment while the auditions were taking place. This represents how social tools have lowered organizational costs, making auditions of this nature possible.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21QVivVgbik Clips from the Auditions (Start at 1:41 or later)

http://www.imogenheap.com/cello/ (General information on the competition, including where she distributed the sheet music)

Obama Guided By Voices

This video captures my two greatest loves: Guided By Voices and Barack Obama, for serious. It is also a great example of a mash-up, though it has a pretty niche viewership - indie rock politicos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rg219m8Lqs

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BED INTRUDER SONG. News story goes Viral.

The Voca People:



This group of performers use a cappella and beat box vocals to reproduce the sounds of an entire orchestra. Their video has gone viral in YouTube in 2009, which got more than 15 million hits in less than a year. Since then, the Voca People were able to connect with wide audience via the internet, from Tel-Aviv. Now, they have hosted live performances in Europe, which can be equated to concert tours of main stream singers and musicians.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Evolution of musical tastes


On Monday we talked about the 'long tail' and various related ideas.  One neat idea was that we are revealing our true tastes as the supply of cultural stuff expands into the long tail of long tails.  So, please post comments with links to songs hosted on YouTube to help us explore a diverse range of songs that folks can now enjoy.  Feel free to include songs from the tail and from the popular head of the distribution.

Adam Rafferty has a bunch of groovy songs, here is one of my favorites:  The Chameleon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5uMEkKzOrs

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cultivating niches through music in community specific videos



This is a whitewater kayaking video that is incredibly popular among the paddling community. I realize that it is not 'viral' in the sense that millions have seen it, but it is still popular because those people within this sport niche know this athlete specifically, and consider the film important and worth watching.
The songs featured in the soundtrack to this film have since become more popular, and perhaps the few people who were originally interested in the music itself have since become aware of the video. My question is this: how do music and movies relate? For example, how do particular music niches, which may happen to be utilized in a popular film, end up transferring their fans into the group of fans of the film? Or vice versa: do movie lovers end up becoming fans of the musical artists featured in the movie?
The song I am talking about begin at 3:30ish...

The Three Forces of the Long Tail in action

This video, a cover of Rebecca Black's brain-killing "Friday", by Matt Mulholland, goes a long way towards redeeming the song. Or at the very least making it less painful to watch. Mulholland takes the song in a completely different direction, stripping away the bubblegum and replacing it with imitation pathos. What's interesting, though, is that the appearance of this video on this blog is only possible through the Long Tail.

Anderson suggests that there are three forces that enable the Long Tail: 1) Democratization of Production, 2) Democratization of Distribution, and 3) Connection of Supply and Demand. To get this video here required first the popularization of the original "Friday" video through blogs, the availability of production tools for Mulholland to make his cover, and again the presence of blogs to spread the word about the cover version. At every step, no Long Tail, likely no cover video.



Better, right?

(via BoingBoing)

Chapter 9 - The Short Head: The World the Shelf Created, for Better or Worse


Successful businesses distribute through on line markets and retail outlets that coexist to serve both the “hits” and the niches. Physical stores have to categorize their stock based on where they think the customer would most likely look for it, like a windbreaker in the “Jackets” section. Online stores can organize products in any way imaginable with a multitude of variables, making them more flexible.

Physical categorization systems are designed so that something can only fit into one category, like the Dewey Decimal System for library books. Eventually libraries created a cross-cataloging system so that patrons could search more variables than just subject, which only became more efficient with the internet. Besides the inflexibility of physical categorization, if something is placed in the wrong section, it can’t be found by someone looking for it.

One of the biggest disadvantages of physical shelf space is that they are bound by geography (products are only available to local audiences). However, online retailers have overcome the boundaries of physical space, tapping the Long Tail of distributed demand in faster and cheaper ways with greater varieties than ever before. The introduction of radio and television also extended demand down the long tail, but they were limited by broadcast slots and forced to focus on a certain number of hits to generate profits.

However, we are now beginning to unlearn the last century’s lessons in distribution scarcity (hit driven media), starting with new generations growing up online. The first wave of “digital natives” turned 18 in 2001, and are now migrating away from broadcast to the Internet, choosing infinite variety and easy ad-dodging online over TV and blockbusters. Hits are the exception, not the rule, and a problem we are faced with today is that many still see an entire industry through this narrow economic lens.

For example, Anderson discusses how Hollywood economics is different from Web video economics, yet when Congress extends copyright terms for another decade at the request of the Disney lobby (or some other large corporation), they’re only playing to the head of the Long Tail. What’s good for Disney is not necessarily what’s good for America; the problem is the Long Tail doesn’t have a lobby, so often they’re ignored.

Lastly, there are many mental traps that we fall into because of scarcity thinking (what the hit-driven, blockbuster industry relies on), and one of the most important is the notion that “too much choice” is overwhelming. (See chapter 10, for further discussion on debunking this myth).

The Long Tail Chapter 13: Beyond Entertainment

Ebay is an illustration of the long tail in both products and merchants, where non-mainstream items can be sold by ordinary people. Because of the amount of control sellers have over their products, goods that are provided on Ebay are not standardized, leading to its lack of a filter system, of which could expand its productivity.

Companies like Salesforce.com and Google figured out that they could take the cost out of using the long tail in their markets - Salesforce by pooling the efforts of small software businesses all over the planet and Google by using the advertisements of smaller businesses because it’s very low cost.

The Long Tail Chapter 12: The Infinite Screen



The emergence of online video has provided benefits to both viewers and networks through instantaneous viewership and through the expansion to new audiences. Although television is still restricted by limited shelf space, the integration of online content with television illustrates the continuing transformation of television through the long tail.

Internet streaming video allows almost anyone to cheaply and easily upload free videos, and people can view those videos at their leisure for free. The ability to watch streaming video helped make the experience more organic, as video was previous always compressed into 30 minute time slots on television (even though most video is much shorter or much longer than that).

Home VCR scared the movie industry because it allowed people to watch videos much more cheaply, but they failed to realize that the improved selection and reduced price would greatly expand the audience.

03 A Short History of the Long Tail/ 04 The Three Forces of the Long Tail


The origins of the Long Tail go back to the first giant centralized warehouses in the late nineteenth century. The first to utilize this were Sears and Roebuck and Co through the mass distribution of their “Wishbook” which acted as the first viral marketing campaign. Through their use of warehousing and a unique network of suppliers, sears beckoned the beginning of the superstore.

Just as the key to the early success of the supermarket was the shopping cart, the automobile, free parking lots, and mechanical refrigerators in the home and store, resources are key. Compared to Sears era of massive centralized warehouses that contained everything, the wave of catalogs was more about targeted niches and with color printing technology, niche retailers found a way to reach mainstream audiences by printing magazine-quality catalogs showcasing their products; but what the personal computer could do took postal shopping to the next level.

The internet provides a way of offering a catalog to everyone- with no printing and no mailing required- and it also presents a way to eliminate most of the physical barriers to unlimited selections. The unlimited shelf space of the web retail allows them to offer their customers more variety and convenience, cementing brand loyalty with current customers and extending to new customers who may or may not be near a physical store location

Our culture and economy are increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of hits (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve, and moving toward a huge number of niches in the tail. There are 6 themes to the Long Tail age:
  1. there are far more niche goods than hits
  2. the costs of reaching those niches is falling dramatically, allowing more variety
  3. new tools and techniques, or filters, to help consumers find niches can drive the demand down the tail
  4. with more variety, the demand curve flattens
  5. there are so many niches that collectively they can comprise a market rivaling the hits
  6. the natural shape demand is revealed through the other steps.
Anderson also sees there being three driving forces to the long tail which can be understood through the table at the top.



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chapter 11 Niche Culture
-------------------

Hitler House




Chapter 11 begins with an example addressing the expansion of the music industry: People have had enough of the bland and formulatic outputs of the music industry (and other industries founded on generics, hits). They are growing more and more interested in new, original, and never-before-seen, eclectic offerings. This concept is relevant to many other industries such as books, clothing, and other retail operations. Continuing with the music example, consider how the whole evolution of new music was facilitated by affordable technology. This detail brings us to the first step of a long tail: democratization of the tools of production. Cheap technology enables hundreds of small indie record labels to to economically market and produce records.

The spread of all this new music required distribution channels with low barriers to entry. The same applies for other retail businesses: the internet is an essential tool for the buying and selling of new, eclectic offerings. The second step to the formation of a long tail: democratized distribution. DJs can now cheaply and efficiently surf the long tail of house music in order to decide what to play in their clubs. (see story on pg 179-180). Music producers have realized that opening up their goods to being remixed and tweaked has beneficial economic consequences. The same principles apply to the spread of clothing, visual media, breaking news, etc. When many people can collectively share in the formation of just about anything, it becomes something that no one person could have done alone. Also, as people come together and share ideas, individuals learn about the infinite interests of others, thus opening their eyes to unlimited new things like music, clothing, politics, books, etc. (fragmented interests).

Abundant, cheap distribution=unlimited variety=ultimate fragmentation. The individuals are not changing, they have always been fragmented in their interests. They are now simply satisfying the fragmented interests that they’ve always had. Today our culture is a mixture of head and tail, hits and niches, institutions and individuals, professionals and amateurs.

Considering these fragmented interests of society, the chapter then outlines culture as no longer being seen as a “big blanket” but as a “superposition of many interwoven threads.” Virginia Postrel remarked that most aspects of human identity - intellect, interests, etc., probably have a normal distribution; diversity is a reflection of the population distribution. People are forming into “cultural tribes of interest,” confirming that our culture is a constantly changing entity that is grouping, breaking, joining, scattering, coming together, and wandering away from 'anything' it has ever been before.

To further demonstrate this point, Richard Posner has noted that bloggers can now reach a narrow segment of the population better than mass newspapers can; increasingly popular blogs are competing with major news organizations (see figure, page 187). People, not traditional organizations, have the control over what is considered interesting and news worthy; and the 'supply & demand' of information and products. Using the New York Times newspaper as an example, with the introduction of the internet and public blogs, “authority is in the eye of the beholder” and news and information is clearly no longer the exclusive domain of professionals. Branching out from this, individuals can pick news that fits with their already established ideological viewpoint and existing knowledge base. This trend may be the end of end of “spoon-fed orthodoxy and infallible institutions;” the internet will require and reward individual investigation. The chapter concludes by noting that human’s natural curiosity and the availability of infinite information will make us, over time, more open minded rather than less.

15.The Long Tail of Marketing





In 2006, an advertising agency developed a user contest to “make your own Chevy Tahoe commercial”. This corporate Do-It-Yourself approach - letting consumers create the dialogue and do the advertising for you, proved immensely popular. The ad campaign generated more than 30,000 user-submitted videos, though not all were positive. Many users created videos that turned the ad agency’s main objective on its head - by criticizing it as a symbol of oil consumerism, environmentally unsustainable, and part of a global oil industry that ignites conflicts throughout the world (Iraq, for example). Nonetheless, the agency did not remove these negative ads for fear of appearing to stringently dictate the terms of the message. Despite the negative user-generated content, Tahoe sales spiked.

There is no longer room for a company to release a product that they know is a bad one. Word of mouth is now, once again, the most powerful marketing tool that exists; the best tool for measuring word of mouth is quantifying the incoming links for a certain piece of media. The use of incoming links to measure media impact is superior to simply measuring audience size; the size of the audience gives no indication of what the audience thought of what they viewed, while a hyperlink indicates that not only was the media viewed but the viewer also liked it, as they are now recommending it to others.

Microsoft’s successes in connecting with their consumers can serve as a message to all online influence peddlers: Influence is found from people in the know (bloggers, programmers, etc.) not from people paid to be a source of influence (PR professionals). This direct-to-consumer transparency works offline as well, and can well serve the small-market craftspeople who sell products to people who care about the process their products go through before arriving to them.

Chapter 11 of The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson, begins with an example addressing the expansion of the music industry: People have had enough of the bland and formulatic outputs of the music industry (and other industries founded on generics, hits). They are growing more and more interested in new, original, and never-before-seen, eclectic offerings. This concept is relevant to many other industries such as books, clothing, and other retail operations. Continuing with the music example, consider how the whole evolution of new music was facilitated by affordable technology. This detail brings us to the first step of a long tail: democratization of the tools of production. Cheap technology enables hundreds of small indie record labels to to economically market and produce records.

The spread of all this new music required distribution channels with low barriers to entry. The same applies for other retail businesses: the internet is an essential tool for the buying and selling of new, eclectic offerings. The second step to the formation of a long tail: democratized distribution. DJs can now cheaply and efficiently surf the long tail of house music in order to decide what to play in their clubs. (see story on pg 179-180). Music producers have realized that opening up their goods to being remixed and tweaked has beneficial economic consequences. The same principles apply to the spread of clothing, visual media, breaking news, etc. When many people can collectively share in the formation of just about anything, it becomes something that no one person could have done alone. Also, as people come together and share ideas, individuals learn about the infinite interests of others, thus opening their eyes to unlimited new things like music, clothing, politics, books, etc. (fragmented interests).
Abundant, cheap distribution=unlimited variety=ultimate fragmentation. The individuals are not changing, they have always been fragmented in their interests. They are now simply satisfying the fragmented interests that they’ve always had. Today our culture is a mixture of head and tail, hits and niches, institutions and individuals, professionals and amateurs.


Considering these fragmented interests of society, the chapter then outlines culture as no longer being seen as a “big blanket” but as a “superposition of many interwoven threads.” Virginia Postrel remarked that most aspects of human identity - intellect, interests, etc., probably have a normal distribution; diversity is a reflection of the population distribution. People are forming into “cultural tribes of interest,” confirming that our culture is a constantly changing entity that is grouping, breaking, joining, scattering, coming together, and wandering away from 'anything' it has ever been before.


To further demonstrate this point, Richard Posner has noted that bloggers can now reach a narrow segment of the population better than mass newspapers can; increasingly popular blogs are competing with major news organizations (see figure, page 187). People, not traditional organizations, have the control over what is considered interesting and news worthy; and the 'supply & demand' of information and products. Using the New York Times newspaper as an example, with the introduction of the internet and public blogs, “authority is in the eye of the beholder” and news and information is clearly no longer the exclusive domain of professionals. Branching out from this, individuals can pick news that fits with their already established ideological viewpoint and existing knowledge base. This trend may be the end of end of “spoon-fed orthodoxy and infallible institutions;” the internet will require and reward individual investigation. The chapter concludes by noting that human’s natural curiosity and the availability of infinite information will make us, over time, more open minded rather than less.

05 Personal Motivation Meets Collaborative Production


One of the most famous examples of distributed collaboration today is Wikipedia. Wiki is a way in which experts and amateurs can collaborate on their subjects of interest, while their commitment, along with the intrinsic satisfaction they receive for their involvement, allows for cooperative participation through editing other user’s input. Wikipedia articles do not require someone to be an expert to be a contributor. This is the principal advantage of wiki articles’ active growth in terms of numbers and content improvement.


However, collaborative systems such as Wikipedia cannot be understood by focusing on the “average user”, since such a user does not exist (think power law distribution). Instead, the wiki effort can be better understood as collective action. We see this in the recent and ongoing Arab uprisings. While a small group of individuals may account for a disproportionate number of posts (calls to action, facebook groups, march dates, etc..), there is collaboration across the spectrum, and this has led to profound social change in many countries.


The success of Wikipedia does not necessarily rely upon user cohesion, instead it is dependent upon users who are motivated enough to contribute to various wiki content they feel needs to be improved. In short, Wikipedia exists because its users are interested, as well as motivated, to improve upon articles they care about.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Feel Fine

Hey This is a really cool site that has gathers and codes emotions of people. You can look up statements people post on this site based off of how they are feeling. You can categorize these statements by emotion, gender, age, year, and even the exact day! Here is the site: www.wefeelfine.org

04 Publish then Filter

Advances in technology have allowed corporate broadcast media and personal communication media to share a common medium, which as a result begins to overlap as both amateurs and professionals have the ability to publish material.

Communication in the modern day has openly challenged the separation of media as an outlet of information and broadcasting. It is now possible for anyone in the world to become a broadcaster of information from gossip to a few friends, to inside information on global events. Because of this, the notions of audience and broadcaster have become increasingly intertwined. However the evolution of this form of communication was originally intended for small groups to be able to communicate with each other. Wide audience communication was a by-product of small-cluster communication, which has also challenged conventional notions of fame. However because the famous always have such a wide audience, these individuals are able to keep their status and societal notions of fame are kept intact.

The expanding world of social media has allowed for broadcasting and communication to be utilized in conjunction with one another, and its heavy reliance on user input has created an online medium for “user-generated content.”

Personal communication and publishing, once separate functions, now shade into one another. When people talk about user-generated content, they are describing ways that users create and share media, with no professionals involved. Most user generated content is created as communication in small groups. But because of its popularity people have now began publishing for wider audiences and these larger groups can judge the value of the publishing and the publisher by a process called filtering. Filtering allows users to separate the "good" content from the "bad" content. People enjoy this filtering process because no longer do people have to rely solely on the publisher's judgement regarding the quality of a post.

06 Collective Action and Institutional Challenges

Extensive media coverage of the Catholic priest scandal in 2002 ignited public fury that led to the formation of a group called Voice of the Faithful (VOTF). This group demanded structural change in the church which ultimately led to the resignation of the bishop and forced the church to take some steps to reform itself.
Technological social tools, such as websites and email, have increased the effectiveness and efficiency of information sharing by providing alternate mediums for group affiliation and communication, making it easier to coordinate collective action.
Furthermore, technological advance has removed obstacles of distance and acquiring information. Change is much easier through the masses now, as opposed to the past when it often resulted from pushes within the elite class. For the first time in Catholic history, mass calls for change were not coming from the priesthood as they had for centuries (Luther to Latin American Liberation Theology).
In sum, social tools don’t create collective action - they remove obstacles to it (through speed and cost of transmission, ease of use, and the ability to be easily modified).

10. Failure for Free

How do new social tools, technologies, and the Internet influence and contribute to new methods of organization and production while dealing with high rates of failure? In other words, how can we collaborate and be productive online with so much junk (and failure) to weed through? How can failure be helpful? These are some questions that Clay Shirky addresses in Chapter 10 of his book Here Comes Everybody, and which we shall briefly address here.

To begin, it is important to understand the premise of social networking communities, which rise and fall based solely on user interest and communal involvement, rather than geographic proximity (we often join online communities because we share an interest in something with others, and we aren’t limited by where the communities’ members live). These communities are built on social structures supported by social tools, and these new social systems are able to tolerate enormous amounts of failure by uncovering and promoting the rare successes within and between them. The key to this is providing groups of individuals with a platform for them to do things for and with one another, without managerial oversight coming from paid workers.

For example, online sites for communities can be viewed as a market - the groups are the products and the market expresses its judgment not in cash but in expenditure of energy. In this way, failure becomes free, as the market of users naturally weed out the failures by neglecting to expend any energy or time building or forming a certain group or product. This is different from a conventional business perspective, in which an individual name is attached to the failure and costs the company money for investing in it.

Another aspect of failing for free relates to the open source movement. Open source projects benefit from the inter-connectivity of the world wide web, promoting widespread contribution from a global talent pool in an environment that can afford failures as a means to success.The Open Source movement, which leverages the cheap failure costs of distributed exploration, is able to take advantage of good ideas, no matter where they come from. This is impossible in a traditional organization, which has high failure costs, and can only employ people who have consistently good ideas. Thus, the ideas from people who have one good idea, or infrequent good ideas, are too high of a cost for the traditional organization.

The secret to open source’s success, as well as other forms of sharing, collaborative work, and collective action, is that failed projects fail quickly and for free, and the successes are advertised for all to see. This allows successes to become a host to a community of sustained interest, and that these shared interests can create communal longevity and support is a new and significant historical change. (This differs from the business landscape, where companies have incentives to hide both successes and failures from the larger public, and failure has significant costs.)

What the open source movement teaches us is that the communal can be at least as durable as the commercial, and tools once reserved for select groups of individuals are now open to almost everyone, thus changing the ways in which society organizes and produces.

Can you think of any examples of organizations, communities, web sites, etc. that reduce the cost of failure? How are costs reduced and failure used to their advantage? What are your thoughts on these new ways of organizing and producing? Critiques, etc.?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

09 Fitting Our Tools to a Small World

The structure of social networks makes “small-world connections” or homophily (the grouping of like with like) occur.  Watts’and Strogatz’s research on  the "Small World network” discussed the ideas that small groups are densely connected, like the clusters of friends on Facebook or Myspace, and that large groups are sparsely connected.  The ideal condition to bond these two characteristics is to allow small groups to remain tightly connected and connect them together into a large group through linked members. The Power Law of Distribution highlights the idea that just a few people account for a disproportionate amount of the overall connectivity of large groups.  
Social tools rely on and extend the small world pattern.  For example, Dodgeball is a program designed for mobile phone users to send texts and discover connections with people that are mutual friends with someone that you know, allowing you to introduce yourself based on those in your network that are at the same location as you.  The idea of the small world network explains how people are connected through clusters, instead of randomly, which allow them to interact with the same people frequently, even in large networks.  
Social capital, which is analogous to financial capital, is the store of behaviors and norms in any large group that lets members show support to one another.  Bonding capital is an increase in the depth of connections and trust within a relatively homogeneous group, while bridging capital is an increase in connections among relatively heterogeneous groups.  For example, the presidential campaign team for Howard Dean was successful in creating tight bonds within their group, but failed to connect to people outside of their group in order to gain enough votes to win the election.
    Burt’s research on social capital focused on the observation that most good ideas come from bridging “structural holes” or people whose immediate social network included employees outside their department.  Bridging structural holes was valuable, even with variables such as rank and age were controlled.  Bridging capital increases the likelihood of creating good or effective ideas.
    Connections are not always perfect.  Not only do we need to find a way to increase the opportunity to develop successful or innovative ideas, but it is necessary to learn to tolerate the failures as well.

08 Solving Social Dilemmas

Hypothetical situations such as The Prisoners’ Dilemma (where two or more acquaintances are involved in a crime, interrogated and then have four possible choices as to whether or not to stick to their stories or turn in their friends) or the Tragedy of the Commons happen in daily life situations when people make decisions in regards to the interactions with one another based on trust and reciprocity.
People in groups with more social capital (connections within and between social networks) fare better in many different aspects, such as health and happiness, than those in groups with less social capital. After some people read the results of Putnam’s study, some decided to do what they could to reverse the current decline in social capital.
The Internet is becoming embedded in our real life, and since society likes to be involved in social situations, it continues to grow and grouping people together creates the sense of socializing over the web.
Scott Heiferman created Meetup (a website designed to help people fine each other online and then meet up in real life). To his surprise, the most active groups that developed were Witches, Pagans, and Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. These groups typically had trouble meeting in a real world society that did not accept them, but could find others like them through the Internet and sites such as Meetup.  Stay At Homes Moms is also a popular group on Meetup, due to their lack of time to get together during the week and to be able to socialize with other moms who are not meeting people through their work.
Sorting the good groups from the bad groups is hard because we are used to social disapproval making it hard for groups to form, for example groups like Pro-Ana (encouraging anorexia).
Improved freedom of assembly causes three types of loss:
    1. loss to people whose jobs relied on solving a formerly hard problem (copying and distributing information)
    2. damage to current social bargains (who is the media and what controls should be put on it?)
    3. Networked organizations are more resilient as a result of better communications tools and more flexible social structures (most important- what are we going to do about the negative effects of freedom- access to terrorists or criminal gangs?)
Forming groups is easy, but it also brings about good and bad groups. How society then goes about filtering the good from the bad or preventing groups from existing is a problem we must face.

Monday, April 4, 2011

03 Everyone Is A Media Outlet


Professionals have a hard time recognizing outside threats to their profession for a number of reasons, which is why media executives did not recognize the imminent threat to their field that the Internet represented; it changed the way in which information was disseminated and closed the divide between creator and consumer almost completely.

“The Mass amateurization of publishing undoes the limitations inherent in having a small number of traditional press outlets;” creating a space in which the trustworthiness of self-published outlets are lowered but are amplified due to sheer number, changing the definition of news. Self-publishing tools offer alternatives to publishing altogether. Social effects lag behind technological ones by decade. Professionals often become gatekeepers by controlling the function of their profession. However in some cases, changes that appear to threaten professions benefit society.

Mass amateurization is changing the way in which news in published, and in the process finding new routes around the structural limitations that have hampered traditional news outlets. During times of revolution, professionals are often too concerned with threats to the profession. Because of this, they are often slower to adapt to technological change than the rest of society.



The possibility of cheap self-publishing has led to competition between professionals and amateurs, meaning professional fields of media have lost the monopoly over their respective specialties. Amateurs and professionals are no longer strict categories; they are now on a spectrum.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

02. Sharing Anchors Community

As groups grow in size, transaction costs rise as well; transaction costs can be lowered in a large group by organizing the group hierarchically. However, transaction costs involved with organizing large groups have been significantly lowered with the availability of new communication technologies.

People have now been able to aggregate and disperse photos and information regarding worldly events such as the 2005 London Transit Bombings and the military coup in Thailand. Platforms, such as Flickr have taken traditional forms of managerial organisation and transformed it by allowing for traditional oversight to be minimized, if not eradicated all together. People can also communicate with one another easier on a more latent level to help to keep in contact with those closest to them and to form other social circles with a common goal.

The organizational chart is an essential tool for institutions because as the scale of business rose, management problems also increased. McCullum was the first to create a commercial organizational chart through introducing the use of a strong hierarchical oversight and identifying six principles for running a hierarchical organization. Creating a hierarchy and roles for individuals is useful when taking on a task and needing to coordinate everyone, aiding in management of transaction costs. Coase’s theory stipulates that an organization can get so large that it can’t function. However, new tools allow us to organize group effort without the need for a hierarchy because loosely affiliated groups are able to accomplish goals better than institutions.

Electronic networks have made group forming and group interactions much less difficult. This is due the collapse of transaction costs. Sharing, cooperation, and collective action, the three processes involved in group action, are changing as a result of this. The Tragedy of the Commons can help us understand why people felt that it was not in our bests interests to self assemble in order to create collective action. With the aid of the new electronic networks, there are a multitude of new kinds of groups forming.