Posts Tagged ‘youtube


Quick Web Roundup

A couple interesting items I’ve come across on the Internets the past few days:

  • Check out how a blogger created a stir with a simple little trip to Murky Coffee in Arlington.  Want to trace how Web 2.0 made this a big deal?  Start your journey with the Catch Up Lady’s take and end  with today’s Washington Post coverage.  Avoid getting dick punched on the way.  (Update: A friend sent me a link to the t-shirt)
  • Don Reisinger over at CNet shows us how YouTube is turning things around by making deals with the big guys.
  • Do you suffer from Google privacy paranoia?  If so, you might be interested in finding out how these places managed to get blurred out on Google Maps.
  • Finally, Anthony Boudain visits Colombia and comes back with fantastic things to say about the homeland.   You can watch a saliva-inducing segment from his food show here:

Book Review: We The Media

A few weeks ago, as I was consuming my nearly constant dose of news from the Web, I ran across a fascinating story that demonstrates just how different today’s communications environment has become. It also brought home many of the points raised by We the Media (available for free here). On May 16th, the Washington Times ran an article highlighting how John McCain has begun a series of weekly conference calls with influential political bloggers. The story explains how the McCain campaign is using this kind of an outreach as a way to “reach millions of readers” online. A decade ago, would this kind of sustained, personal outreach to citizen journalists by a Presidential candidate from a major political party have been conceivable? Probably not. Clearly, the emergence of online citizen / grassroots journalism is forcing something big to happen in the world of media and politics. In We the Media, Dan Gillmor explains what’s going on.

In the book, Gillmor walks us through the historic communications revolution that is taking place within our lifetime. Gillmor makes a compelling case that powerful institutions and media conglomerates (what the author calls “Big Media”) are losing their ability to command and control the flow of our news and information. This is happening because new online communication tools are allowing the flow of information and news to become increasingly democratized. Thanks to the arrival of new democratic and participatory Internet technologies like blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and Internet broadcasting, traditional media hierarchies have begun to crumple under the weight of legions of citizens who are their own publishers, editors and reporters. Indeed, Gillmor’s most important point in this text is that we are now in a new era – a time in which new online communications tools are quickly shifting power away from powerful institutions and toward individuals. If institutions are to continue to be relevant and effective, they must adapt to meet the realities of the read/write Web.

Gillmor’s explanation of the democratization of the communications industry isn’t a rhetorical exercise. In the book, Gillmor presents numerous real examples of how this new communications regime has changed our political and commercial reality. For example, Gillmor cites the resignation of Trent Lott as majority due to the pressure of outraged bloggers. He also presents us with examples of how powerful institutions like Microsoft, Dallas Mavericks CEO Mark Cuban, and the Department of Defense have been able to successfully adapt to the new realities of participatory media by embracing the Web and using it as a medium that spurs a spirit of openness, trust, accountability and transparency with the outside world.

If I have one criticism of the book it would only be that it failed to anticipate the enormous impact that new social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook have made on media and politics. Surely, if We the Media had been published even just a year or two later, Gillmor would have noted how these new tools have further broken down the walls of old media systems.

One last item related to We the Media and Cluetrain Manifesto: I just came across a a great overview by Shel Holtz of the past 20 years of the Web over on Geoff Livingston’s Buzz Bin blog (Geoff’s a fellow Hoya, by the way). Here’s the video:


Hillary’s Downfall

I watched Downfall the other day. It’s a great foreign film about Hitler’s last 10 days in the bunker. It’s VERY well done and apparently pretty historically accurate as well. So if that’s your kind of thing, I recommend you put that bad boy on your netflix queue.

How did I first hear about this movie? Oddly enough, by stumbling across some hilarious mashups of the film on YouTube. Check out what these video-savvy smart asses have done with one of the most dramatic scenes from the movie:

And for all you sports fans out there:


Ron Paul Supporter of the Week

Ugh. The rhetoric spewed out by these guys (and they’re almost ALL guys) would make you think America has been taken over by Kim Jong-Il or something:


New Media Douchebags In Plain English


(Thanks, Craig)


Hillary’s New “Fact Hub”

The last time I blogged about Hillary I implied that her campaign might not have fully grasped how to use new media to promote her messages.

Now it looks like her team might have added some much-needed ammo to their Internet strategy with a new quick-response Web site aimed at batting down negative news stories about her. The New York Times reports:

Steve Schmidt, a former political strategist for President Bush who helped oversee his 2004 campaign war room, said the new Clinton site was “the next evolution in rapid response.”

The campaign of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor running for the Republican presidential nomination, ventured into similar territory this year with a Web site that was started to affirm statements by Mr. Romney and rebut those of his rivals.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said her campaign felt the need to have such a Web site because much of the news about her tends to “spread like wildfire” online.

“There’s just been a proliferation of news reporting on the Internet,” Mr. Singer said. “As such, you’ve got a much faster echo effect when something hits the political zeitgeist, and it’s becoming increasingly urgent to have a mechanism in place that allows you to respond.”

Indeed after Drudge posted a silly rumor that Hillary stiffed an Iowa waitress from a tip, the story flew all around the blogosphere and MSM outlets unchecked.

I browsed Fact Hub for a while and found that it operates very much like a blog, with a mix of “inside scoop” information, elaboration of policy positions, and subtle attacks against her opponents. Fact Hub’s design differs substantially from the look and feel of Hillary’s main campaign site. Clearly it’s designed specifically for campaign journalists and political junkies who keep close tabs on the subtleties of the presidential race.

Will Fact Hub turn out to be the 2007/8 equivalent of Bill Clinton’s 1991/2 “War Room”?


Book Review: Unleashing the Ideavirus

Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Ideavirus is an insightful work that every public relations professional, political campaign strategist, and CEO needs to read in order to grasp the reality of what it means to advertise in today’s networked information economy. In the book, Godin argues that the old way of advertising and getting the word out about new products, ideas, or services just doesn’t work anymore. In other words, if you’re the owner of company in the year 2007, you can’t just throw a bunch of money into a TV ad or print advertising campaign and expect your idea/service/product to catch on. That’s the old way of thinking about advertising, and one he calls “interruption marketing.” Instead, he argues, we have entered a new era of “permission marketing.” But what does this mean?

Basically, this means that ideas can spread like a virus when you can get consumers to market them to each other. Sound like viral marketing to you? Well, much of it is. Today, people are more connected than ever before. This presents them with critical opportunities to influence others by serving as credible vectors of communications. Godin has a name for these type’s of people: they’re called “Sneezers.”

Another interesting concept Godin presents us with is the fact that being first with a new idea puts you WAY ahead of your competition. This happens because today’s connected information economy rewards those who fill a vacuum for a new idea/product first. The emergence of YouTube serves as a perfect example of this phenomenon. Almost immediately after its launch, YouTube satisfied a huge demand that existed for social connectivity via video. As a result, the market rewarded the service with an enormous amount of success. Even several years after its launch, YouTube is still the number one video content site on the Internet.

What does this have to do with political campaigns? A lot. Political campaigns need to understand that their ability to gain support via paid advertising is declining. If they are to succeed in this new era of online connectivity, they will need to recruit grassroots supporters that will serve as their messengers. Campaigns also need to learn that if they don’t fill this vacuum, someone else will do it for them.