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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


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

TED-Ed Lessons in New Video Site April 30, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Reviews, Web Video, YouTube.
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TED videos have always been educational. For years, the non-profit group behind the thought-provoking TED Talks that touch on issues in Technology, Entertainment, and Design has fulfilled its mission of spreading ideas and inspiration through conferences, media and research fellowships.

As we shift from creating, curating and consuming content offline to online, TED’s initiative, TED-Ed is an affirmation of video as a 21st Century vernacular and its evolutionary role in the modern multimedia classroom.

TED-Ed gives educators a toolkit to rethink the traditional notion of teacher and student by sharing lessons and inspiration with anyone willing to learn or teach, within or outside the classroom.

TED-Ed.com, still in beta, was launched last week. It is the second phase of a project that started in March with an education channel on YouTube to combine exceptional teaching with eye-catching animations to make captivating lessons available to anyone on the Web:

Test Driving TED-Ed

The videos are impressive enough. But it’s the tech driving them that wows. The elegantly simple Website offers a structured avenue for repurposing content by allowing teachers to “flip” any video from TED-Ed and YouTube into a sharable lesson ripe with quizzes, links to additional info and animations.

This means teachers can customise lessons around any embeddable video and pipe the information onto a private Webpage whose access permissions could be individually set to track that lesson.

The best lessons may be showcased on TED-Ed, contributing to a collection of multimedia teaching best practices as more users take advantage of it.

The Future of Online Education

Think Khan Academy on steroids (Salman Khan is a TED-Ed advisor), and you’ll have an idea of what TED-Ed is shooting for, and why it could become a game-changing platform for education.

Online videos of “TED Talks” have attracted a global following, with TED presenters bringing brain power to mind-tickling spins on concepts as weighty as climate change or as playful as dance and music.

Now, teaming talented educators with talented visual storytellers to create fun multimedia, TED-Ed has set out to make learning irresistible by empowering educators to transform a passive academic experience into an interactive one.

The open source platform lets instructors incorporate pre-made videos from TED with any clips from YouTube into their lessons. This means any video from YouTube can be turned into a lesson – completely free. The implications of this for online education bear watching.

We want to show that learning can be thrilling. By turning great lessons into vivid scholastic tools, these TED-Ed videos are designed to catalyze curiosity.

Our longer term dream is that we will be able to aggregate the best lessons that teachers create and share them with a wider audience.

Chris Anderson
TED Curator

Views of educational content on YouTube doubled in the last year, according to the leading video sharing service. TED-Ed videos join more than a half-million education-themed videos on dedicated pages of YouTube.

TED is gearing up for a full launch of TED-Ed, timed with the new school year in September. Directed by Logan Smalley, a former TED Fellow with a background in documentary work, the project is backed by a US$1.25 million commitment from American department store chain Kohl’s.

Related reads:

Online Video Increasingly Used as a Teaching Aid
Schools Increasingly Friendly to Online Education Options
Infographic Series on Crisis Facing US Higher Education
Top US universities put their reputations online – BBC 
Screentest for the online classroom – BBC

Making Cell-Phone Documentaries April 4, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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The explosion in the number of video-recording devices is making every moment in our lives eminently recordable. The smartphone is already creating a new form: the cell-phone documentary.

And there have been some notable ones. The first of the best had less to do with convenience or cost than with stealth.

Tehran Without Permission is a landmark work in this respect, a documentary shot by filmmaker Sepideh Farsi on a Nokia N95 phone.

If you have a smartphone and are itching to use it for filmmaking, below is a quick, no-nonsense instructional video to get started.

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.

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

Google Adwords for Video October 3, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Reviews, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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The long-awaited Google AdWords for Video is finally here, in beta. Billed as a service that “combines the science of online advertising with the emotional engagement of video” Adwords brings Google’s auction-style advertising to the world of online video.

It’s something that the video community has been expecting ever since Google purchased YouTube in October, 2006. With AdWords for Video, advertisers pay only when their video is viewed; since viewers have to choose to watch the video, that ensures an interested audience.

The system offers four types of placement: In-stream (including pre-, mid-, and post-roll, with an opt-out option after five seconds), in-search (in the viewers’ search results), in-display (showing against similar content), and in-slate (the viewer chooses which ad to view while watching longer-form content). Video ads can show on YouTube or the Google Display Network.

AdWords for Video offers targeting options, so that advertisers can select the group they want to reach. They can target based on demographics, interests, and keywords. They can also choose to display an overlay ad on top of their video, giving more information or prompting an action. The advertising system ties in with Google’s existing analytics tools, so advertisers can monitor performance and make changes, if needed.

Google is offering a simple five-step setup guide for new customers. The steps include linking to an account, creating a campaign, creating an ad, creating a group to target, and then measuring the campaign’s performance. Go here for a ste by step guide to get started or watch Google’s video below:

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.

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

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.

Guggenheim Debuts Web Video Biennial October 10, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Reviews, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Fresh from my engagement at the Open Video Conference in NYC, I am convinced that no other medium is pushing the boundaries of creativity like video. Much is in store for Web video advocates, activists and artists.

The Guggenheim Museum is recognizing the importance of video art by creating YouTube Play, its first biennial of online creative video. The collaboration with YouTube combines an online site, a juried contest, and showings at Guggenheim museums in New York, Bilbao, Venice, and Berlin.

The 20 videos shortlisted from 23,000 submissions will be announced at the New York Guggenheim on October 21 at an event streamed live on the YouTube Play channel. The selected videos will be screened at Guggenheim museums and will be archived online.

So what makes the cut? The shortlist is reviewed by a panel that includes film director Darren Aronofsky, visual artist Takashi Murakami, recording artist Laurie Anderson, video artist Douglas Gordon and museum curator Nancy Spector.

While online video art is not new, the biennial shows the form is being recognized by the art establishment. YouTube is one of the platforms where people are sharing creative video. The biennale exposes viewers to work that they would not normally see. Viewers can then interact by posting comments.

“We wanted to look at what’s happening right now online and be part of it,” says Hanne Mugaas, territorial associate for the YouTube Play biennial. “There’s a history of artists working online. For the new generation of artists, the Internet has always been there while they were growing up, so it’s an everyday tool. It’s a tool not only for artistic production, but also for distribution and inspiration, and a platform for sharing.”

Visit YouTube Play to see the short list of finalists and come back on the 21st to see which 20 were selected.

Related reads
See It Now! Video journalism is dying. Long live video journalism. – CJR

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.


Did You Know 4.0 May 18, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Advertising, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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BBC: The Virtual Revolution May 2, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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The Virtual Revolution is a documentary series which began airing on BBC Two in January 2010. A BBC and Open University co-production, the series looks at the impact the Web has had since its inception 20 years ago. The series took on a different approach to BBC documentary making by encouraging an open and collaborative production.

The Virtual Revolution Episode 1: Explores the origins and impact of the World Wide Web. From its Cold-War military origins in the 1950s, through its evolution as a meeting place of the 60s hippy movement, to its incarnation today through the genius of Tim Berners-Lee and other pioneers. The Web is seen as powering the 2nd Industrial Revolution; its impact on humanity as profound as the Printing Press, or the power of Steam to the 1st Industrial Revolution. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 2: Some of the Web’s biggest names – founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – explore how far the Web has lived up to its promise to reshape lives. The Web is forging a new brand of politics in democracies and authoritarian regimes. Al Gore, Martha Lane Fox, Stephen Fry and Bill Gates explore how sites like Twitter and YouTube encourage direct action and politicise young people. Yet the Web’s openness enables states to spy and censor, and extremists to threaten with networks of hate and crippling cyber attacks. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 3: Destroys the myth of free Web services such as Google, Ebay, web-mail etc. Commerce dominates virtually all aspects of Web provision, allied to their increasingly sophisticated tactics to gather information on users. This data is then used to target us with advertising catered to our tastes and browsing habits. However, this data-trawling comes with a price, the surrender of our privacy. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 4: ‘Homointerneticus’ is the Web changing the way we act / behave / interact with our fellow human beings? What long term effects is the Web having on our children – can children today tell the difference between ‘Virtual’ and ‘Real’ world? What might the future hold as a consequence of this ‘Virtual Revolution’. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Wikileaks Collateral Murder Video April 11, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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Wikileaks has obtained and decrypted this previously unreleased video footage from a US Apache helicopter in 2007. It shows a Reuters journalist and several others as the Apache shoots and kills them in a public square in Eastern Baghdad.

They are apparently assumed to be insurgents. After the initial shooting, an unarmed group of adults and children in a minivan arrives on the scene and attempts to transport the wounded. They are fired upon as well.

The official statement on this incident initially listed all adults as insurgents and said the US military did not know how the deaths occurred. So far there has been no official Pentagon response to the Wkileaks video..

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. Wikileaks released this 39-minute video with transcripts and supporting documents on April 5th 2010 on the site Collateral Murder.

The website’s organisers say they were given the footage, which they say comes from cameras on US Apache helicopters. They say they decrypted it, but would not reveal who gave it to them.

The Wikileaks site campaigns for freedom of information and allows people to anonymously post leaked documents on the Web, saying its aim is to promote transparency. It was created in 2006 by dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and technologists from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

The website’s organisers complained recently of coming under surveillance by the US government, and of harassment by other governments, ostensibly for their role in posting leaked documents on sensitive subjects.

Related read
Welcome to a new age of whistle-blowing
Wikileaks: Web censorship won’t work
What the WikiLeaks Media Blitz Has Revealed About WikiLeaks

Clinton Urges Web Freedom January 22, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Essays, Journalism, News, Social Media, Trends, YouTube.
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Boo China, yay Web neutrality! Fasten your belts for the “next great global battle of ideas!” Depending on which side of the great firewall you’re on, the “iconic infrastructure of our age” will be the site for a cyber showdown.

And that’s to ensure that the Web remains “a tool of openness, opportunity, expression, and possibility rather than of one of control, surveillance, suppression.”

American State Secretary Hillary Clinton underlined that reality when she called for an unfettered Internet and delivered a tongue lashing to China in an impassioned policy speech at the Newseum journalism museum in Washington.

Read entire transcript of Clinton’s speech here. The virtual volleys have begun, with China slamming the speech as “information imperialism.” Read the rebuff on China’s foreign ministry Website here.

We are also supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship.

We are providing funds to groups around the world to make sure that those tools get to the people who need them in local languages, and with the training they need to access the internet safely.

Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

That America’s top diplomat champions “freedom to connect” as a basic human right is a huge stake, especially when the US State Department is funding the development of tools to help Web users circumvent government censorship online.

Poised to be the Web’s first diplomat, Hillary Clinton has jumped right into the fray of the Google vs China spat, calling Web curbs the modern equivalent of the Berlin Wall and warning of a new information curtain descending on the world.

It’s fascinating how Google’s corporate move has turned into an international incident. Web freedom has joined trade imbalances, currency values, human rights and Tibet among the quarrels straining ties between the world’s biggest and third-biggest economies.

Clinton’s call for global condemnation of those who conduct cyber attacks is an important opportunity to counter governments who want to censor and conduct surveillance on individuals. The challenge is how the State Department will walk the talk by incorporating Web freedom into diplomacy, trade policy, and meaningful pressure on companies to act responsibly.

The speech is a huge stake in net neutrality and its meaning cannot be overstated. The Web was born and nurtured in America, with input from other countries. Now a top US official and arguably the most prominent female political figure is seeking to shape the Web’s evolving ethos and guiding principles.

In parts of the Middle East, women are beaten and killed in “honor” beatings by relatives who find out they are using sites like Twitter and Facebook. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among countries that censor the Web or harass bloggers. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China.

Early in her primary campaign, Clinton was considered less Web-savvy than Barack Obama and online attack ad that spread on YouTube foreshadowed the narrative of her fight for the Democratic nomination, portraying Clinton as the old PC and Obama as the shiny new Mac.

The YouTube video, which mashes up Apple’s 1984 ad with Hillary Clinton’s own campaign imagery.

Clinton is now leading the way within the Obama administration in recognizing the transformational opportunities of the Internet. Speaking in broad strokes and finer details, she outlined what she called the five key freedoms of the Internet age: Freedom to connect online anywhere. Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Freedom from fear of cyber attacks.

Of course that didn’t sit well with the “What Internet censorship?” crowd on the other side of the planet. There’s an argument that the technical architecture of the Web is different from the values of people who use it. If parents can limit what teenagers can see, then governments can limit what citizens see. If citizens can circumvent governments, teenagers will be able to circumvent parents.

But we’re talking about a generation of citizens who have never typed the words “Falun Gong,” “Dalai Lama,” or “Tiananmen Square massacre” into their search engines. Information openness for them is just a crack in a dark room without electricity.

A Chinese flag flutters near the Google logo on top of Google’s China headquarters in Beijing.

The blowback against Google’s announcement that it was hacked by Chinese cyber agents – and in response would be lifting the restrictions that keep users of its Chinese search engine in the dark – has been fascinating. Clinton upped the ante by calling for global Internet freedom.

When Google threw down the gauntlet to China’s Web censors, it also challenged the loyalties of the nation’s wired generation. Tech-savvy Chinese in their 20s and 30s grew up in greater affluence and openness than their parents. Many are pulled between patriotic pride and a yearning for more say over their own lives.

The Google dispute may become a telling test of how China’s wired generation balance loyalties to their country with their desire for free expression and access to information, and this response could shape how Beijing handles the dispute.

The Obama administration has shown it wants to court this emerging generation of connected Chinese. China’s latest survey of Web use found 60 percent of the nation’s online population of 384 million was aged 10 to 29.

Despite censorship, China’s Internet can be a potent public forum, with bloggers and amorphous online groups hectoring the government over pollution and corruption. Last year, the government abruptly abandoned a plan to force all new personal computers to come with a copy of “Green Dam” Internet-filtering software that had been derided by online critics as intrusive and ineffective.

Related reads
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are Tools for Diplomacy.
China Slam’s Clinton’s Internet Speech as Information Imperialism
China rebuffs US Internet demands
Is Obama a Mac and Clinton a PC?

Viral Power Defining Video Era January 3, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Web Video, YouTube.
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YouTube is redefining the new era of online video and demonstrating the viral power of the Web. Home-made clips and videos produced on a shoestring uploaded to the video-sharing site have gone viral and bathed their producers in the glorious glow of stardom.

A video-maker from Uruguay who produced a short film with US$300 and uploaded it to YouTube in November has been offered a US$30m contract to make a Hollywood movie.

The film “Ataque de Panico!” (Panic Attack!) by Fede Alvarez features giant robots invading Montevideo, capital of Uruguay. It impressed director Sam Raimi, whose credits include the Spiderman and Evil Dead films, to offer to sponsor Alvarez to produce a Hollywood movie.

Then there’s Justin Bieber, the 15-year-old singing sensation from Stratford, Ontario who has taken the pop music world by storm. Justin was discovered when he posted a video of himself singing at a talent contest when Scooter Braun, a talent hungry record industry manager in Atlanta spotted him.

Braun wanted to make his mark in the music business by finding the next Michael Jackson. When he saw Bieber’s home-made video, he knew he had found something special. Pop celebrities Usher and Justin Timberlake saw star potential and pursued the youngster to sign a record deal.

Braun negotiated a deal with Usher as co-executive producer for Bieber’s debut CD ‘My World’ which immediately became the top ranked album in Canada when it was released in November. In the U.S., My World hit the Billboard charts with 4 songs on the Top 20. His video, One Time, has been viewed more than one hundred million times on the Web.

In Russia, a migrant worker from Tajikistan became an unlikely singing sensation last year after entertaining fellow workers in his spare time with his fave Bollywood songs. Baimurat Allaberiyev came to Russia, like hundreds of thousands of his compatriots, to work on construction sites to support a family of six back at home.

His friends filmed him on a mobile phone singing in Hindi while dancing and drumming on cardboard boxes and anything that came to hand. The video went on YouTube and Baimurat, now “Jimmy”, became an instant hit.

A producer has signed a contract with Jimmy and hopes to launch his career in world music, with a repertoire of Afghan, Central Asian, Russian and Hindi songs. It remains to be seen whether these Web phenomena have staying-power after the hype dies down.

YouTube recently revealed the most watched videos of 2009. Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle’s debut appearance on “Britain’s Got Talent” was the most popular video, garnering over 120 million views

In second place, with more than 37 million views, was a video of a disorientated seven-year-old boy recovering from dental work. David After Dentist was posted by the child’s father after his son had surgery to remove a tooth in 2008. Within a week the video had amassed more than five million views and had become a viral hit.

Third place went to JK Wedding Entrance Dance, which showed an convoluted dance routine featuring members of their entourage just before their wedding. It attracted over 37 million views and attention from Sony, which owned the rights to the Chris Brown song that provided the soundtrack to the video. The firm placed a link next to the video allowing people to buy the song and also shared profits from sales of advertisements on the site.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, serves up around a billion videos every week. It makes money through selling advertising around the videos, most of which are uploaded by users. However, the site now also offers short videos from international broadcasters and is reported to be in talks with movie studios to licence content.

Tiger Woods as Web Fodder December 13, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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By all accounts, the media frenzy around philandering golf star Tiger Woods is a scandal fueled by the Web. While old media has largely closed its eyes to the excesses of athletes, social media has pounced on Tiger, selling magazines along the way and raising traffic to Websites.

In the realm of celebrated athletes, Tiger stands out. He has evolved into a billion-dollar corporation with tournament victories, golf course design, and endorsement contracts. By using the media to develop a persona, the Tiger Woods brand made an estimated US$100m annually from sponsorship deals.

Now Tiger the disgraced husband is discovering media cuts both ways as his sexual antics fuel porn spoofs and make tabloid fodder. Netizens follow Tiger’s bedroom games with dread and delight. His personal Web site has turned into a kind of town hall meeting since he admitted to cheating on his wife and letting his family down.


Woods underestimated the pervasive power of the celebrity media in exposing his double life and his pleas for privacy are unlikely to be honored in an era when scandal is big business for traditional media fishing the bottom lines.

In the wake of damning text and voice-mail messages that he allegedly sent to paramours, we now know Woods isn’t the upstanding family man the world once thought he was. From finger-wagging at his sexual indiscretions to support of his misdeeds, the scandal as elevated TigerWoods.com’s traffic.

It wasn’t long ago that the site was a benign place for Woods to exist in his corner of the Web. That recent past is still visible, in his blog posts, answers to “Dear Tiger” questions, photo galleries, golf tips, outtakes from commercial shoots, fitness advice, career statistics and a “Tiger vs. Jack” comparison.

Little detail seems to be known about the affair. While Woods admitted to “transgressions,” everything else, seemingly, is pure speculation. Woods needs to help himself by telling the story personally to clear the air instead of taking an “indefinite break” that has sent shudders through the golf industry.

The latest Web hit is a spoof of golf’s possible loss of sponsors and fans after Tiger’s “indefinite break.” from the game. Woods made golf cool. But with traditional golf media, his publicists could vet questions and restrict access to friendly sports journalists. Celebrity media is a nastier creature and Woods is discovering it cuts both ways.

Journalists used to be gatekeepers, checking tips, rumors and leads before they got to the public. But the Web and social media have blurred the lines and journalists cannot keep the gates up and unsubstantiated rumors wind up reported as fact.

The star has not publicly surfaced since the scandal broke. Perhaps appearing on a TV chat with media personalities like Oprah Winfrey or Diane Sawyer puts you in the glare of TV spotlights, which could show up the reported facial bruises…

His only comment so far was via a now infamous statement posted on his website on 2 December in which he apologised for his “transgressions” and “letting my family down”.

Until we hear it from the tiger’s mouth, the accepted narrative is that Woods’s wife, Elin, beat him when she learned of his infidelities, precipitating Woods’s car crash in the early-morning hours after Thanksgiving. That’s fodder for tabloid and mainstream media and certified as fact by a “Saturday Night Live” skit.

Website dailycomedy.com has collected hundreds of Tiger Woods jokes. An animated game that has gone viral called “Tiger Hunting” has Woods dodging obstacles in his SUV pursued by a golf-club wielding blond.

The Woods story follows a pattern of celebrity scandal coverage in recent years. As the deaths of Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson illustrated, speculation, facts and gossip all become so conflated and widespread on the Web that the mainstream media can no longer ignore the rumors.

The mainstream media doesn’t want to be first on these stories. They’d prefer to let the supermarket press break these things, so they can remain at arm’s length.

Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism

The mis-reporting of the Woods story suggests that once the National Enquirer or TMZ serves up the raw details of the story, the mainstream media can’t always be relied on to separate fact from fiction.

Woods has won an injunction banning English media from publishing new details about his personal life, after instructing London-based lawyers to take legal action. The move prevents English media from information freely available in the US, prompting an outcry about the ability of foreign litigants to take advantage of repressive English laws.

Video Way to Go, Here to Stay July 11, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, News, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.

Online video is unstoppable and breaking barriers between TV and the Web. 14.3 billion videos were watched online in Dec 2008 in the United States alone, according to ComScore. Google is by far the most popular destination for video, with a 43 percent share of the US market in January.

Video is here not just to stay, but moving images have become a commodity on the Web, especially for news sites. Video exhibits classic long-tail distribution. While YouTube remains dominant, video is rapidly moving from destination sites to the rest of the web, with millions of sites streaming video as the new mode of communication.

The conversation is shifting from the technological to the value aspects: not how to build a player or convert between formats but, how to foster audience engagement and monetize on these billions of streams.

The bottom line is, if you are a publisher, a developer, a creative shop, a content owner or a media company, should you join the open source video bandwagon, and start driving more value today? Open source proponents say it is the key to creating a robust, innovative new online video market, rather than influence an old market.

Much is happening around open source video today. Open-source video companies and project have banded together to form the Open Video Alliance to show that open source can not only innovate, but also surpass proprietary software and standards in innovation.

Members include Kaltura, a pioneer in the area of open source video, Participatory Culture Foundation (creators of the popular Miro software), Wikipedia, the Mozilla Foundation, and 20 other organizations.

The OVA is centered on raising awareness and developing standards that promote open source video and coordinate members’ activities. Other initiatives in the market include Akamai’s as well as several other open source video player and transcoder projects.

Open-source video lets individual developers focus on their respective core competencies, while customers get lower costs and reduced lock-in. It may be a viable, free-market alternative to how the monopolistic media industry has traditionally formed: one big vendor corners the market, and the rest of us spend decades trying to get out of its grip.

For anyone who is part of the video universe, the key question that remains open is what drives value in this brave new world. How can publishers, advertisers, and technology enablers make money in a world in which delivery is commoditized, display opportunities are abundant (driving CPMs for video advertising down), and audiences expect to get everything for free? The short answer, I believe, is to focus on innovation–of formats, user experiences, content, or delivery.

And here is where open-source video enters the picture: It is a development methodology and distribution strategy that allows each company in the ecosystem to focus on what it does best, instead of replicating the efforts of others. Open-source video…is being adopted at every level of the ecosystem by industry leaders such as Akamai, Mozilla, and Wikipedia.

Its premise is simple: Video is too important of a medium to be controlled by a single player. By espousing the principles of openness at all levels, including formats, technology, and content, and by collaborating in the development process, video can enjoy the force multipliers that we have seen in other areas of open-source software. The result is a better user experience, a reduction in the total cost of ownership, and a focus on innovative value-driven results.

Dr Shay David
Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Kaltura, an open-source video company.

On a related note, the BBC Two has launched a collaborative documentary series, Digital Revolution, which uses open source to produce the content.


We don’t want this to be one medium reflecting on another from a safe distance. We want to bridge the gap. So we have decided to adopt a radical, open-source approach to the production process. We don’t just want to observe bloggers from on high; we want to blog ourselves and get feedback and comment on our ideas.

Russell Barnes
Series Producer, Digital Revolution

Watch Tim Berners-Lee’s keynote speech at the launch of Digital Revolution, an open and collaborative BBC documentary on the way the web is changing our lives.

The concept of a [TV] channel is going to be obsolete on the internet – it’s not relevant…

When you use the Internet it is important that the medium should not be set up with constraints. The Internet should be like a blank piece of paper. Just as governments and companies cannot police what people write or draw on that sheet of paper so they should not be restricted from putting the web to their own uses. The canvas should be blank. While governments do need some powers to police unacceptable uses of the web; limits should be placed on these powers.

Tim Berners-Lee
Inventer of the World Wide Web

Related Reads
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The Promise of Open Source Video
Moving images a commodity for news sites

Pop and Protests Stopped the Web July 1, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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The deaths of a pop legend and a faceless woman consumed and stopped the Web this week. Michael Jackson and Neda Agha-Soltan had little in common in life but their deaths in Los Angeles and Tehran once again show the emotional and political power of the nature of social media.

Both events became emblematic of the flow and character of modern many-to-many communication. The day Michael Jackson died on 25 June, many of us discovered the news on TV because all the social media networks on the Web were out of service or were too slow.


Fans of Jackson went to the Web to find instant news about the death of the pop culture legend and to seek collective commiseration in their virtual grieve. On the day of his death, interest in Jackson was so high that many Websites with the most popular Jackson pages experienced outages and slowdowns.

After the celebrity gossip site TMZ.com first reported that Michael Jackson had died the afternoon of 25 June, activity all over the Web increased to near-record levels. Twitter received 5,000 Jackson-related messages per minute during its peak – noticeably slowing its service. The Los Angeles Times Web site received more than 2.3 million page views in one hour, causing several outages there.

Accompanying comments from bloggers mostly expressed shock at the singer’s death and offered moving accounts of his influence.

In Iran, an online video becomes the galvanizing moment in Iran’s troubled election, declared by some outlets as a “Twitter revolution.” The image of “Neda” has become a symbol of the Iranian protest movement after an amateur video of her death spread rapidly through Youtube and other emerging media.

While reports about her death conflict, images of Agha-Soltan’s last moments symbolized for many, the cruelty of the Iranian government in response to the protests. The graphic video imagery galvanized people as the Iranian government began to drive protests underground, forcing coverage to recede.

A graphic video of Agha-Soltan’s death was the most viewed news video of the week on YouTube.

Yet even the iconic video was not enough to sustain the coverage. By the middle of the week, Iran started to lose steam as a story as the protests grew smaller and the story of political turmoil grew more complex than simply protests in the street.

Related reads
Deaths of Michael Jackson and “Neda” Grip the Blogosphere