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Singapore Stages News App Challenge 2013 February 18, 2013

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media.
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Calling journalists, content creators, creative artists, developers and media entrepreneurs! Get ready to spark ideas that spur collaboration between technology and journalism.

Put your editorial, creative and storytelling prowess on display at the inaugural News App Challenge, part of a series of efforts by Newsplex Asia in Singapore, to support transformational ideas that promote quality journalism and drive media innovation.

The competition seeks to uncover tomorrow’s apps that will extend today’s journalism and reinvent ways of discovering, organising, editing, producing and sharing stories. More information here and on Facebook.

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A Day In The LIfe Of The Internet February 9, 2013

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Social Media, Trends, YouTube.
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The Internet is vast, sprawling, always moving and always changing.  At any given time, videos are being uploaded, pictures tagged, emails sent, and users joining any of the many social media platforms available. People are Googling questions, millions at a time, and clicking through various websites to find the answers.

We’re shopping online, banking online, scheduling appointments online, and otherwise occupying an enormous, virtual space. And while most of us are aware of just how much we rely on the Internet for all of our day-to-day activities, it can be easy to forget just how much is happening at once.

The fact of the matter is that the Internet never stops—in a single day, 2.4 billion users are crafting the Internet into something even bigger than what it already is. So just what happens in the world of the Internet in a single day?  The following infographic takes a look at just what goes on in a day in the Internet.

Graphic by InternetServiceProviders.org
Internet Day Infographic

Gaza War of Hashtags, #IDF vs #Hamas November 18, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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 by Joanne KY Teoh
Is social media the new weapon of mass destruction? It sure looks that way as Israel and Hamas take their battle to the micro-blogging world in the most explicit example yet of how Twitterblogs, Facebook, FlickrPinterest and YouTube can be used as weapons of war. And we’re not talking about flame wars.

Waging its war on the streets and online, the Israeli Defense Force is bombing “terror targets” in Gaza and Webcasting details of its attack with hashtags, online taunts and multimedia claims of destruction. Here is that first tweet announcing the operation:

Bragging next about killing the head of the military wing of Hamas, Ahmed Al-Jabari via its live-blog, Twitter  and Youtube,  the IDF then literally warned the enemy to run and hide via a tweet that has been retweeted 2000 times: “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.”

Then it gets surreal. In their usual florid prose, Al Qassam Brigades the military wing of Hamas tweeted about martyrdom and  fires of hell.: “Assassination of the great leader Ahmed al Jabari is the beginning of liberation war and ominous harbinger on sons of Zion”:

The IDF also created an official Tumblr, uploading graphics that highlight attacks on Israeli citizens by militant Palestinians. To be sure, war always has its propaganda machine. But this coordinated cacophony in the midst of battle opens a new front.

Never before has spin on military action been touted like this on social media, in real time. Even the hashtags created by both groups to document the violence are spun to milk public sympathy – the IDF tweeting with #PillarOfDefense and Hamas using #GazaUnderAttack.

War is not a game, but gaming features let visitors to the IDF war blog to earn “points” and win badges for sharing as the blog tracks the progress of the conflict. An ID Youtube clip  introduces game dynamics, remixing war footage with a music score that could have come from a video game. Other videos sport motion graphics, complete with gaming sound effects:

It’s not clear who’s running the Al Qassam Brigades twitter feed, but in Israel, the IDF social media operation is run by a 26-year-old immigrant from Belgium named Sacha Dratwa. Social networking sites have been used to energize political campaigns, raise awareness and galvanize the popular revolutions of the Arab Spring. This may be the first war declared via Twitter. It remains to be seen whether Twitter intervenes.

The use of Twitter to announce and comment on military operations is a significant departure for the social networking platform. It potentially brings the feuding groups into conflict with Twitter’s own rules, which state: “Violence and Threats: You may not publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others.” That did not stop the IDF.

The IDF Twitter account invites followers to “read up” on Jabari to understand why the Israeli military killed him and is sending out links to video and articles about Hamas’s past attacks on Israel. It also uploaded the military intelligence it used for targeting to its blog, including photos of sites targeted and video allegedly showing Hamas hiding rockets at one of the sites.

There are merits to this level of transparency. The video (below) of the killing of Jabari shows Israeli forces took care to minimize casualties—and also  made it next to impossible for Hamas to deny his death:

Apparently, the IDF want to save Wikileaks the trouble of digging the footage up and ensure that the news will come straight from the government’s mouth, without the interference of the fourth estate. Time will tell if other nations will adopt similar approaches and boast of assasinations via Twitter, but Gaza is a conflict ideal for social media:

On both sides there’s significant knowledge of English, so this is something that can really be played out in front of the world’s media and on the world stage. … This is an issue that is very visible, an issue where there are significant supporters for both sides all over the world, and it can be explained to a world audience in a language they’ll understand so it’s probably quite likely to be taken up by lots of people via social media.

Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology

Israel also finds itself  in a singular position, geopolitically. Its most consistent ally in the region, the Mubarak regime in Cairo, was overthrown last year and replaced by an Islamist government. Relations with Jerusalem’s most important partner, the United States, were tested by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s all-but-open support of Barack Obama’s rival Mitt Romney in the recent American presidential elections. The need to shape international opinion and rally supporters internationally is acute.

Noah Shachtman at Wired

Unlike the usual war propaganda tactics of leaflets, state-sponsored radio, press conferences and spokesmen, social media campaigns embed themselves into the media that audiences are already consuming. Users are implicitly participating in the cross-fire by retweeting, liking and sharing the social media content.

Gaza is a modern conflict with significant supporters on both sides who are digital natives and who understand English. It is a war ripe for playing out on the global virtual stage with social media and the new ubiquitous online vernacular – video. Audiences are ready.

One week into this war of words, which side is winning the clash of tweets? As crass as it is to measure the unfolding violence in terms of hashtags, the IDF’s stream of ultra-shareable posts, with more multimedia and calls for retweets than a 2.0 best-practice class appears to be getting heard wider. But Gaza’s more muted plaintive cause appears to sound louder.

Related reads

#IDF vs# Hamas: the new Gaza war in 140 characters or less
Military strikes go viral: Israel is live-tweeting its own offensive into Gaza
Operation Pillar of Defense: The First Social Media War
The Kids Behind IDF’s Media

Advocacy, Viral Videos and Web Memes November 5, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, Online Video, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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by Joanne KY Teoh (first published in ThinkBrigade)
Memes aren’t just about extracting a laugh anymore – they make political points too and sway opinion. Once relegated to obscure online communities and subcultures, memes have penetrated the public psyche to become part of Web pop culture.

The US presidential election is fertile ground for spawning Web memes. The TV debates give voters not just a glimpse of the candidates, but fodder to turn political discourse into mimetic entertainment. After two TV debates, “Big Bird” along with “horses and bayonets” have stormed the internet.

“Binders Full of Women” has become an instant internet meme after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s telling remark during a debate with President Barack Obama to demonstrate his past attempts to fight for women’s equality.

Memes predate the internet. They take the form of ideas, images, styles, catchphrases and videos that people find compelling enough to copy and imitate within a culture. The term meme is derived from genetics, describing the evolution of ideas and cultural phenomena by natural selection.

One can even “songify” TV sound bites for the Web. The Gregory Brothers have turned the third presidential TV encounter into a musical meme, with Romney and Obama engaging in a mellifluous battle for votes. The video is part of The New York Times Op-Doc series.

Could a neo-activism driven by viral videos and Web memes save the environment? Would the “songification” and “meme-ification” of abstract policy debates on climate change, melting icecaps and species extinction generate virtual memes, inspire local action, focus global attention and trigger social change?

Environmental memes are in a class of their own. They inform our view of nature – think Gaia, Pachamama and Mother Earth. Today, environmentalists have added viral videos and social media to their arsenal of advocacy and protest tools.

The slick video (below) by Greenpeace that purportedly showed a Royal Dutch Shell event going horribly wrong sparked a media firestorm in June this year:

Another video on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch went viral long before ending plastic pollution in the world’s oceans became one of the top 10 priorities of the Rio+20 conference.

The simple narrative of this video (below) struck a chord, spurring eco-blogs and green groups to tap information from the clip to start campaigns to “Take the Plastic Water Bottle Challenge” and ban plastic bags:

The startling spread of the Kony meme raises interesting questions for the future of green neo-activism online. Kony 2012, the viral campaign against Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, is an infectious idea that transfixed a generation who use Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.

The 30-minute video made by the US-based campaigning group Invisible Children has been lambasted by media scholars for ideological bias and its simplistic portrayal of a complex issue. But this is the way to reach and rouse a generation of multi-screening multi-taskers, native of the visual language of LOL cats.

Complex and multi-faceted, green issues were once given short shrift in mainstream media. But mainstreaming these issues is not enough. We need more green memes that catch fire online and the imagination of youth on the ground.

So-called MemeGenerators are enabling the meme-fication of issues. Properly exploited, memes and viral videos can be passed along via Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to ignite social change.

If the intentions are good, the simplification of complexity is a powerful narrative tactic to spur web natives to start viral conversations using 140 characters or less. The seminal paper by Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter on the power of “weak ties” in networks posits that links among people who are not closely bonded are critical for spreading ideas and helping groups coalesce for action.

It is premature to assert that the era of network power has arrived. But with one in three people in the world now using the internet, online video could in time reach these folks and prove a game changer. And when mashups of funny online content inspire a flood of parodies, viral videos and internet memes might just save Mother Nature.

Convergent Lessons from Olympics 2012 October 29, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, Multimedia, Online Video, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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From smartphones to social networks, today’s digital tools are helping audiences connect, create, and interact with each other on a global scale. This is changing the relationships content consumers have with each other, and with every business.

In the past, journalism relied on a broadcast model to influence audiences with mass media, projected out one-way, to as many consumers as possible. To succeed today, journalism need a network model, one that takes advantage of audiences’ ability to engage, interact and collaborate with news organizations and each other.

In the era of the hyper-connected user, it’s no longer about broadcasting a message. Digital media is fragmenting from mass markets and mass production, to a world of niche networks and communities that are interconnected, dynamic and powerful. All links among audiences and between audiences and news organizations, are a network, enabled by social media, the web, mobile devices.

Within this new network, how do content creators shape and interact with the message? The Summer Olympics 2012 offers best practices in crafting an integrated digital presence across media platforms. Watch the case study here: Slideshow

Universities Embrace Social Media October 9, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Education, News, Social Media, Trends.
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Colleges and universities in the US are embracing social media to connect with students, alumni, prospective students, and donors.

According to BestCollegesOnline.com, one in three schools indicate that they achieve better results with social media than through traditional media.

Data from a study by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth show:

98% of colleges and universities report having a Facebook page
84% have a school Twitter account
66% have a blog
41% have a podcast

This infographic shows how those in higher education are using social media.


Compiled By: BestCollegesOnline.com

Webcast: Be Better at Social Media March 7, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, Social Media.
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Join Columbia Journalism School and BlogTalkRadio in their timely webcasts about the changing media landscape.

Following a major New York Times article about the importance of learning social media, join writer Jennifer Preston (@NYT_JenPreston; she was the paper’s first social media editor) and Prof. Sree Sreenivasan (@sree; he’s a social-media blogger for CNET News) for a conversation about the importance of learning how to use social and digital media in smarter ways.

Be Better at Social Media 03/02 by ColumbiaJournalism | Blog Talk Radio.

How Youth Consume Digital Media: February 22, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has a new report from the Youth and Media project: “Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality” by Urs Gasser, Sandra Cortesi, Momin Malik, & Ashley Lee.

It lays the foundation for further explorations and encourages a public policy discussion on youth, digital media, and information quality issues. Key findings:

This paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.

A review of selected literature highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation. The review covers the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality—primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies—reveals patterns in youth’s information-seeking behavior.

Access the full report and additional material here.

What Facebook IPO Means February 2, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media.
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Get ready for the sharing economy with a new form of media – social networking. Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has finally taken his company public, filing papers for an initial public offering – through which anyone will be able to buy shares of the social networking company on an open stock exchange.

Facebook seeks to raise US$5 billion in the IPO that looks likely to be the largest by a Web company since Google in 2004 and could place the value of the social network as high as US$75 billion to US$100 billion.

We knew Facebook was big – you don’t get to 800 million users making over 100 billion connections with each other without making a few bucks. But until today, we didn’t know just how big. The filing revealed Zuckerberg earned a base salary of US$500,000 last year, more than triple the salary of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin when Google filed for its IPO.

Zuckerberg, now 27, famously started Facebook when he was a student at Harvard University in 2004. For those who have seen the movie “The Social Network,” the Zuckerberg juggernaut is continuing unabated. Just as Apple challenged Microsoft for software supremacy, Facebook now challenges Google for Web supremacy.

The two Web giants are at war over what Jeff Jarvis calls “signal generation” – the ability to get us to generate data about ourselves – who we are, where we are, what we like, whom we like, what we buy, what we want, what we know, what we want to know – so they can serve us more relevant and valuable content, services, and advertising.

While the default in society is still privacy and anonymity, Zuckerberg hopes to strengthen how people relate to each other and sees a future where things and value should be tied to our identity. Beyond Google and other net services, which “crawl the web” with algorithms to seek information, his master plan is a social networking platform that connects humans to generate data, information and knowledge in a sharing economy.

This new form of media will not only redefine the Web, change human relationships, create a new marketing landscape, and challenge Google, but it will now rescue and alter the economy itself. It will infiltrate markets, creating new opportunities for a peer-to-peer “social” economy to take root. So if you buy this, buy Facebook shares.

There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future.

The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO

This is the full text of the letter Zuckerberg included to investors in his IPO filing.

Reads
The Death of the Cyberflâneur – NYT

Maximize Your Online Video Views January 26, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Advertising, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Now more than ever, sites are relying on video content to increase the number of visitors, attract new viewers, and become more visible. But once you have your video content ready to view – how do you make sure it reaches its full potential? How do you lower your page view to video view ratio, leverage high video CPMs, and increase the time spent on your site?

Join this webinar to learn about the different methods available today to increase your video content’s visibility to your target audience. From reach to engagement – see what today’s leading online video websites do to expand and keep their audience.

Panelists:
Michal Tsur – CMO and President, Kaltura
Noah Gellman – Media and Entertainment Specialist, Kaltura

Designing Games for Civic Action December 10, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, MIT5, Social Media, Trends.
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Some food for thought for designers, theorists, and activists on game design as insights, tools, and practices from gaming are increasingly integrated across different areas of life, leading to talk of the ‘gamification’ of everything – including civic media.

What are the possibilities of and challenges for civic games? Independent game designers, networks like Games for Change, and perhaps even major industry players are moving towards linking gameplay with realworld civic actions.

What is the state of play, and what is coming just over the horizon? In theorizing and developing civic games, what can we learn from games with civic content – as texts, processes, and points of community engagement? How can we understand game design itself as civic engagement, as communities become not only game players but increasingly also design, mod, develop, and critique games?

The age of e-mail is ending. A recent PEW study found that email is now the least used form of digital communication for young people, with 11% of teens engaging in daily email use. On the other hand, as of 2009, over half of teens were communicating daily via SMS, up almost 50% from 2006. For civic organizations, SMS open rates of texts are near 100%, whereas email open rates often hover between 5 – 15%.

Moving forward, organizations wishing to communicate effectively, especially with young people, must develop mobile strategies. What are the opportunities and limitations of SMS as a communication tool, particularly for driving user behavior?

This lunch talk at MIT will discuss learnings from some initial experiments designed to maximize engagement via SMS, as well as provide their insights into trends to watch for the coming years.

Webbys Honor the Best of Web 2011 June 18, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Advertising, Convergence, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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The stars came out to celebrate the best of the Web at the 15th Annual Webby Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom! From the Red Carpet to the Show, see who shone at this year’s Webby Winners.

Through an innovative partnership with Facebook, fans were able watch this year’s ceremony, hosted by Lisa Kudrow, live on the Webby Awards official Facebook Page, as well as on participating partner pages including The Huffington Post, Martha Stewart, (RED), BuzzFeed, National Geographic and SportsNation.

On these pages, fans can now view the five-word acceptance speeches, backstage and red carpet footage and other special access footage from the live show.

About The Webby Awards

Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, interactive advertising & media, online film & video, and mobile & apps. Established in 1996, the 15th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards is presented by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: AOL, Vitamin T, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Ford, Dentyne, Facebook, MLB Advanced Media, Rackspace Hosting, LBi, Buddy Media, (RED), YouTube, HP, USA Today, Financial Times, Business Insider, Geekosystem, 2advanced.Net, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Time Out New York and Guardian News and Media.

Related
The Webby Awards Channel – YouTube
The Webby Awards – Facebook
Webby Awards 2011 Winners

Web Responds to Japan Quake March 11, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
The unfolding disaster in Japan – with elements of Hiroshima, Kobe and the Asian Tsunami – is riveting the Web. Within minutes of a 9.0 magnitude quake which unleashed a deadly tsunami, millions of people around the world Twittered the news, shared footage captured in home-made videos and donated to help victims.

In the immediate aftermath, Japan’s mobile phones were largely silenced because of a spike in demand. For many, Facebook and Twitter became the best link to worried family members.

Google launched a Person Finder App for people looking for quake victims, or for those trying to let their loved ones know they’re okay. Google used this tool to help people locate loved ones and aggregate information during the Christchurch earthquake and the Egypt protests.

The Google Online Crisis Center provides information on missing persons and aggregates important resources, maps, news and lists link to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, and train and blackout information. The Center shows up on top of searches for “Japan earthquake” and similar phrases.

Tokyo Reporter is covering events from there on Twitter.

Thousands of videos are being shared on YouTube
as people used their cameras to capture and share the scenes around them with the world. Early videos show the horrifying scale of the disaster, with unstoppable waves destroying everything in their path:

The main areas affected are the prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima, Tochigi and Ibaraki.

Aid organizations have rushed to leverage social media to collect funds for victims. The International Red Cross has set up a Website. People in Japan and abroad looking for family members can register on the site or consult the list, while those in Japan can inform family and friends that they are safe and provide their contact details.

Resources to follow the quake on the Web:

NEWS RESOURCES
BBC Liveblog
CNN Video
Associated Press summary
Wikipedia page for Sendai quake
Live streaming translation of Japanese news reports
Google Crisis Response
Google’s Japan People Finder
RTDNA’s “Newsroom Planning for Crisis Coverage” Page
50 Questions to Ask During Crisis Coverage PDF

GENERAL RESOURCES
CrisisWiki.org
U.S. Geological Survey quake updates
Humanitarian Early Warning Service
Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

VIDEOS and PHOTOS
YouTube CitizenTube videos
CNN’s iReport videos
Buzzfeed collection
BoingBoing collection
Montage of TV news clips

SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE
Poynter social-media resources
Storyful
Avoo social profile live tweets, news, links, wall, images, videos

TWITTER HASHTAGS
#prayforjapan
#tsunami

Selected Video Reports

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12813630

Reinventing Education for 21st Century March 11, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Digital anthropologist Michael Wesch has produced thought provoking videos using Creative Common licensed materials about the web, education and online communities. In ‘Rethinking Education’ he compiles sound bites of thought leaders (Tim O’Reilly, Yochai Benkler, Brewster Kahle, Ray Kurzweil, etc.) in describing how technology is altering mainstream education. Michael Wesch is professor at Kansas State University and was keynote speaker at Open Video Conference in New York in Oct 2010.

Egypt: Web Videos Spur Facebook Revolt February 12, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Amid euphoric scenes on the streets of Egypt, it is clear that the Web is a potent catalyst of political change. As befits a revolution galvanized by social networking, the feeling on the streets is one of individual and collective empowerment as citizen videos show the historic moment, when Mubarak’s resignation as President of Egypt was announced at the hour of evening prayer.

This video shared by YouTube’s Citizen Tube through Twitter shows people at prayer in Tahrir Square holding off the celebration until it is finished before breaking into cheers.

Even though Mubarak has stepped down, the story of Egypt is not over, and neither is the work of cyber-activists. With the military now running the country, it is uncertain what level of digital freedom or online surveillance lies ahead.

Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year old Egyptian woman who began online political activism in 2008, is now credited for launching the video call that sparked the revolution. Mahfouz recorded the video below on January 18th, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it on her Facebook. Within days, the video went viral:

Young people forwarded it on mobile phones – a communications tool that some 65 million Egyptians use. Soon after, the government blocked all mobile phone networks. This was not the first time a young activist used the Internet to mobilize, but it departed from the convenient anonymity of online activism.

Mahfouz is one of the founders of the April 6 Youth Movement, a group of young, Internet-savvy activists. Time will judge whether it is accurate to credit this one video and young woman with catalyzing the Egypt revolt. At the very least, her video advocacy captures the zeigeist of an important moment in history:

If Asmaa Mahfouz’s Web video captures the spirit of the political times, Egypt’s anti-Mubarak street movement found a hero to rally around in Wael Ghonim. The 30-year old Google marketing executive created an anonymous Facebook page, “We Are All Khaled Said” named in honor of a blogger beaten to death by police last summer.

The page, launched over six months ago, became a rallying point for demonstrations. What started as a campaign against police brutality grew into an online hub for young Egyptians to share their frustrations over the abuses of the Mubarak regime. Ghonim was detained for 10 days after starting the Facebook page.

The online organizing through Facebook, e-mail list serves and Google Docs that sprung out of it catalyzed cyber activists to collaborate on a kind of movement wiki that is being continually re-edited and improved upon by an expanding Web of contributors.

This is the revolution of the youth of the internet, which became the revolution of the youth of Egypt, then the revolution of Egypt itself.

Wael Ghonim

The Facebook page that Ghonim ran sounded the call for the initial protest on Jan. 25. As the page’s following approached 400,000 people, and word of the event spread, it hosted a constant stream of news, photos, and videos, downloadable fliers, and emotional entreaties for all Egyptians to join the push.

The active early participants in the “We Are All Khaled Said” community were young activists and dissident bloggers, many of whom knew one another and had been organizing against Mubarak’s policies for years. Emboldened by their cyber-purpose, activists took their collective confidence to the streets, giving each other the sense that they just might bend history on the ground.

Web Users Counter Egypt Net Blackout January 30, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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In an action unprecedented in Web history, the Egyptian government on 27 Jan ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet after blocking access to Facebook and Twitter earlier in the week. Some countries routinely block access to specific Websites, but this is the first time a country has voluntarily cut its own Web connection.

Internet intelligence authority Renesys confirmed the blackout soon after the outages occurred. The Egyptian authorities’ efforts to limit communications within the country has triggered a wave of activism from a group of free speech activists on the Web called Telecomix.

Organizing using chat rooms, wikis, and collaborative writing tools, this largely anonymous group is working to inform Egyptians about their communications options while receiving incoming messages from them. Egypt has been identified as a “top priority” for Telecomix on one of its network sites, We Re-Build. It has a wiki set up as a one-stop shop with the latest chat rooms and resources.

Telecomix has worked on free speech efforts in Tunisia, Iran, China and other countries which have tried to censor or block parts of the Web. Chat administrator Christopher Kullenberg from Sweden, likens Telecomix to “an ever growing bunch of friends that do things together.”

Graph visualizing sudden halt of Web traffic in Egypt, based on data from 80 global carriers:

Timeline of recent events for Telecomix:

When Web and mobile services were cut off in Egypt on 27 Jan, though landlines were operational, members immediately got to work to send information to Egyptian fax numbers. Searching for a common string of characters found in Egyptian fax machines numbers on Google, they discovered a large amount of numbers.

At first, they sent out Wikileaks cables to these numbers, but then they determined the Egyptians didn’t need additional motivation. Instead, they were interested in information on how to communicate with each other and the outside world. The activists thus began providing instructions for using dial-up modems and amateur radios, known as Ham radios, which the Egyptian people could use to communicate.

The group says it’s also worked on receiving and decoding amateur radio messages, sent on frequencies recommended by the group of activists. While these groups have only been able to receive a small amount of messages of a short length with an unknown source, the Egyptian people’s use of amateur radio to transmit messages represents an interesting utilization of old-fashioned technology to circumvent government restrictions.

Source: Huffington Post

Besides Telecomix, other Web groups have assisted, including “Anonymous,” which has helped by sending out large amounts of faxes into Egypt. “Anonymous” was also involved in denial of service operations against organizations who took actions against Wikileaks.

Egyptian ISP Noor stayed online largely because it connects the country’s Stock Exchange and many Western companies to the outside world. Many people and businesses who are signed up to Noor have removed the passwords from their wi-fi routers so others can piggy-back on their connection.

Some users could get at websites such as Google, Twitter and Facebook by using the numeric addresses for the sites rather than the English language name. A crowd-sourced document, 20 Ways to Circumvent the Egyptians Governments’ Internet Block has compiled the best ways for Egyptians to keep communicating.

Related reads
Egypt Internet Blackout Teaches Important Lesson
WikiLeaks: A Case Study in Web Survivability
Support for the Disconnected of Egypt

Open Video Under Threat October 23, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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Ex-Obama advisor Susan Crawford points to the threats to the Web from increasing monopolization of broadband supply in the US.

Building Solutions for Human Rights Video October 8, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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Webs@Work participated in a “ hack day ” at the 2010 Open Video Conference in New York City. We gathered t at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) on Sunday Oct 3 for an all-day open space gathering of innovators, HTML5 developers and transmedia storytelling experts. Some of the stuff we did:

- Make interactive HTML5 video with WebMadeMovies tech like popcorn.js
– Map a transmedia strategy for content
– Build a custom HTML5 player for Websites
– Create robust video sites with Kaltura CE 2.0 self-hosted software stack.

The hack lab was a follow up from the previous day’s workshop where we came up with three areas to cover: 1) Safety and Security 2) Distribution (including low/no bandwidth) 3) Data Driven Storytelling. Taking the ideas from the brainstorming, we sought to build prototyped mobile video solutions in response.

Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project led the really geeky part, using the built in facial recognition libraries in the Android platform to build a prototype of a mobile video tool for advocacy activists.

http://www.engagemedia.org/Members/ricoloco/videos/em-in-ny-geeking-out-with-nathan/embed_view

Open Video Documentary Movement September 18, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video.
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by Joanne KY Teoh

Check out Open Video Conference in New York City. – a summit/festival of ideas and activism by journalists, filmmakers, lawyers, academics, artists and entrepreneurs to explore the future of video on the web.

I’m leading a workshop Rapid Media Creation in Crisis, showcasing grassroots video advocacy at ground zero of the Asia tsunami, cyclone Nargis in Myanmar and the Sichuan earthquake. My presentation draws on reportage, Beyond the Disaster News Template, that began with the Asian tsunami.

Open video is the idea that the moving image should belong to everyone. This vision requires not only free and open video technologies, but also that viewers are empowered to go beyond just watching–creating, sharing, and engaging in the multimedia public sphere they now inhabit.

The first Open Video Conference was host to over 800 guests, including 150 workshop leaders, panelists and speakers. Over 8,000 viewers tuned in from home to watch the live broadcast. The event earned coverage in WIRED, NewTeeVee, BBC News, Filmmaker Magazine, and The New Yorker.

This year, OVC is expanding. In addition to highlighting industry progress toward open video, OVC2010 will feature inspiring talks, hands-on workshops, technology working groups, film screenings, and much more. It is as much about the underlying technologies as the people and projects who use them.

A session to check out – Wendy Levy of Bay Area Video Coalition Director of Creative Programming hosts: The New Story-makers: Open Video Documentary Movement.

Synopsis:
More than ever before, international communities are empowered by DIY storytelling and the collective interest of a global public. Long form documentaries and investigative journalism provide a much-needed context for new story-driven technologies that directly support on-the ground movements.

Collaborative editing, crowd-sourced microfinancing, live video channels, robust mobile tools, hyperlocal citizen journalism, interactive data mapping and media-rich data archiving, augmented and virtual reality are all just a small part of an ongoing, realtime conversation that has transformed storytelling into open and collaborative storyMAKING. The process includes filmmakers, technologists, NGO leaders, advocates, journalists, philanthropists, bloggers, social entrepreneurs, and a diverse audience of authors.

In this session, you will hear from independent media makers, activists, and curators working on new projects at the core of this cultural and creative movement. It’s all on the table as we discuss exciting new directions and models for documentary and public media, changing roles for filmmakers, emerging tools for real impact, creative pathways to engage and collaborate with audiences.

Can these innovative projects that are leveraging emerging and participatory digital media technologies actually make a difference in the world? Is the new documentary movement, fueled by the digital revolution, empowering a generation of storytellers who don’t know their past?

News 2.0 the Facebook Way July 31, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends.
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Facebook has outlined best practices on how news organizations can connect with its user base as part of their social media strategies. The findings are the result of a study that examined Facebook use at news organizations such as CNN, The New York Times, and Univision.

After implementing various combinations of Facebook tools on their sites, referral traffic at ABC News jumped 190 percent. Referrals at Life were up by 130 percent, Scribd’s user registrations went up by 50 percent, and Dailymotion saw as many as 250,000 users engaged with a single video.

Facebook boasts 500 million active monthly users with average monthly time-on-site of seven hours. So integrating Facebook into your news site could translate into lots more traffic. Tools like Like buttons, Activity Streams and LiveStream can keep users clicking through stories on a site. And the Insights analytics tool provides valuable demographic information.

For a Facebook strategy customised to your news organization, contact the team at Sapphire Studios. Journalists can learn more about the techniques and discuss how to improve upon them at facebook.com/media. Here’s a snapshot of what you can do to merge news with social media:

Optimize the Like button

There’s a lot of power in those little Like buttons, both on the Facebook site and off. When a user clicks Like, that gesture is broadcast to all of his friends — on average, 130 people. Depending on how a site implements the button, clicking the like button may add a link to the user’s profile page and make the liked page discoverable in Facebook’s search system.

Anything on the Web is potentially Likable: a news story, an organization, or even a reporter. Crucially, once a user Likes a Facebook Page, the administrator of that Page gains the ability to push new content to that user’s Activity Stream. In essence, that single click is all that’s needed for users to opt-in to future messages — and if they don’t like your content, to opt back out.

Like buttons are easy to make and come in a variety of features and sizes, from tiny rectangles to full-featured iframes that include profile pictures and comment boxes. Facebook has found that “Like” buttons do best when they’re close to content that is both visually engaging and emotionally resonant, such as video.

In addition, full-featured Like buttons tend to do better than smaller ones. Adding faces of other Likers to the button and including Facebook comments increased the clickthrough rate from as low as zero up to 0.2 percent — comparable to the click-through rate of a banner ad. Because Facebook delivers this content to publishers’ sites through an iframe, only a small amount of code is necessary to implement the “deluxe model” Like buttons.

Tailor content specifically for Facebook users

Content matters on Facebook. Touching, emotional stories earned 2 to 3 times as many Likes as other stories, as did provocative debates. Sports stories tend to perform particularly well, with 1.5 to 2 times more engagement than the average.

With that knowledge, news organizations can identify stories likely to perform well on Facebook and push those stories through social channels such as Facebook Pages and Twitter. Publishers can even strategize around when they push this content. There’s a spike in Likes at 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., so having fresh content at those times is crucial.

Deploy activity plugins on every page

Increasingly, news site home pages will be customized to users’ tastes and networks. On CNN’s home page, for example, an Activity Feed plugin shows users what their friends have Liked on the site. Publishers should set aside real estate on every page on their site for the Activity Feed and Recommendations plugins, which suggest relevant content to users.

Sites that placed the Activity Feed on both the front and content pages received 2-10x more clicks per user than sites with the plugins on the front page alone. Sites could use Facebook’s LiveStream plugin, a real-time chat box that gathers users in a conversation about live, breaking news. The plugin could be seen as a competitor to live-tweeting and live-blogging tools like CoverItLive.

Create separate pages for major events

For major stories that break over several days, some organizations increased engagement by creating a dedicated Facebook Page for that event. Stories published from a World Cup-focused Page of one major media company had 5x the engagement rate per user than stories from the company’s main Page.

Of course, that technique isn’t without some degree of risk. Publishers might worry about fragmenting their audience and losing viewers when an event is over. For example, after a flurry of wall posts, ESPN’s World Cup Page abruptly stopped posting on July 15. The 636,000 or so fans have continued to post to the wall, but with no response from ESPN, they are likely to lose interest.

Manage your many pages

Depending on the type of item that a user Likes (a person, a show, an article, and so forth), almost every Like button generates a new Page on Facebook. As more people click “Like,” publishers will need to organize and manage an ever-growing volume of Pages — some of which aren’t even visible to most users.

Facebook uses what are called “Dark Pages” to connect publishers to users. Invisible to everyone but administrators, Dark Pages represent pages on the Web that have been Liked but do not have a publicly visible Page on Facebook — for example, a single news article.

Publishers must place the Open Graph and Facebook tags such as and on each page of their site to identify the content. Then, once a publisher has claimed its page (dark or otherwise), it can publish new content to the Activity Streams of their Likers and examine Insights to learn more about their users’ demographics.

Publishers could wind up with thousands of Pages to monitor. There’s not a perfect method to manage that onslaught of Likable content, Kelly said, but he expected that solutions would emerge from Facebook’s outreach to publishers.

Turn status updates into infographics with the streamlined API

Just as newspapers invested in printing presses, online news divisions must now invest in software development. Facebook recognized that developing social tools can be confusing and resource-intensive, so the company recently streamlined its API – the clean, comprehensible data that developers can access from simple URLs such as http://graph.facebook.com/markzuckerberg.

Facebook’s new API is structured around objects and connections, just like the user experience on the site itself. It can be used to generate innovative visualizations like the New York Times’ visualization of soccer players’ popularity. In addition, Facebook has developed a more robust search tool, which can be used to find content from public status updates, not just people. Journalists could use the tool to gauge community interest in a story or to find new sources.

Facebook has also streamlined its authorization process, implementing OAUTH 2.0, which offers improved scalability and ease-of-use. For users, authorizing applications is now a single-click process, rather than having to click through one dialogue after another. For publishers, that translates into smoother engagement with users.

Social networks — particularly Facebook — are quickly becoming a key way to learn about breaking news, a phenomenon that Facebook is only too happy to embrace. The recently released research is just a foundation for what Osofsky hopes will be a long-term collaboration with media partners.

Anyone involved with news — journalists, editors, software developers – do visit facebook.com/media to learn about Facebook’s engagement with the news industry, to share ideas, and to contribute to the emerging practice of integrating social tools with journalism.

Excerpted from findings by Facebook Developer Network engineers Justin Osofsky and Matt Kelly at a Hacks/Hackers meetup.

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