Tag Archives: internet

Life and Code: a blog to follow

I’ve really been enjoying Lisa William’s blog titled “Life and Code” and think it’s a great one for your RSS reader every day. She started to blog to document her passage to a programmer who can toss together an app on a whim in a weekend and her background in online media and journalism makes for some great posts and links to follow.

The following is a quote from her, on her motivations to start coding (“Code to make a point; code to make change; on newshacking”, which resemble motivations that keep me wanting to continue code and to volunteer my skills:

I believe a program can stand in opposition to Things That Suck, just like a documentary, a work of art, or a protest march.  

That’s why I like work like this, which shows where the money goes when it comes to Congresscritters and their free cars.  

Or this, which is an Android app to help vets with PTSD.  

I wanna code because SHIT IS BROKEN.  I want to code because corruption is real, because people are getting thrown out of their houses, because veterans aren’t getting what they deserve, because racism is real and has real effects, because yes it does matter when you cancel a bus line, because it’s really hard to shut a computer program up, because you can’t say it’s an isolated incident when there’s a bigass Google Map in your face showing you it’s not.  

And journalism’s response to the biggest problems of our age — global warming, global health, economic crises — are, all too often, pathetic: he said/she said talking heads on TV, tearjerker anecdotes about one person who loses their house to a flood or rapaciously unethical lenders standing in for THE VAST TSUNAMI OF PEOPLE GETTING F**D OVER BY THESE THINGS.  No wonder facts just seem to bounce off so many Americans, and so many of the powerful are able to claim that nothing needs to be done when doing nothing suits their moneyed interests.  

Our age doesn’t just NEED computational journalism: it DEMANDS it. 

Recent highlights:

“Code to make a point; code to make change; on newshacking”

“Learning to Program for Journalists: The Epic HOWTO”

“Notable News Apps on Github”

The News needs an Anti-Virus (and it’s us)

Passing this one along from Dave Winer because the sooner we think of passing along things we dislike on the Web, that only can exist with our attention, as viruses, the sooner we remove their influence.

So you *hate* the Rebecca Black video? Well by linking to it you gave her a record contract.

The link economy is an attention-based economy. Links, whether you signify hate or love for the thing you are linking, give it attention and influence.

Think, before you link.

(and yeah, that’s no fun, and yeah, I’m not gonna follow my own advice, so there!)

Oh, and… YouTube: “Death Metal Friday”:

Only 40% will vote today, if you keep your plan not to

I agree with Seth Godin’s latest, explaining that political advertising is designed to suppress the vote. If you’re planning to not vote, in protest, you are giving these campaigns exactly what they want.

We do have a choice. And that choice still matters.

Some predictions:

If it does play out the way many talking heads and pollsters say it will, just like last election, there will be talk of a shift in American politics: Ross Doughthat in the NYTimes parrots this view and expect many others from Fox and elsewhere to trumpet it.

NYTimes: Ross Dougthat: “How We Got Here”: an opportunity has opened for the Right that would have been unimaginable just two years ago — a chance to pre-empt a seemingly inevitable liberal epoch with an unexpected conservative revival.

I believe in something different than that. Brought on by modern communications technology and Gen-X’s marketing-sense – independents have swayed the last three elections. Neil King Jr., in the Wall Street Journal, along with NPR parrot this:

WSJ: Neil King Jr. “Revival of Volatility Signals Historic Era in U.S. Politics”: Voters this week look set to do something not seen since the early 1950s: Oust a substantial number of sitting House lawmakers for the third election in a row.

NPR.org: “GOP Leads Pew Poll, But Surprises Still To Be Found”: “This is the third election in a row where they voted against the party in power. They are not happy.”

Lastly, Pew research produced a report whose headline really hammers it home: “Independents Oppose Party in Power … Again”.

There are two parties on the ballot, not three. And like Obama in the last election, the ‘Tea Party’ movement has apparently captured the enthusiasm (anger/hope) of independents to channel that energy into potential votes to an established party.

So it goes? Maybe not.

It all comes down to today and whether you decide to go in the voting booth and take a chance.

Vote.

Howard Hall: “democracy’s chorus”:

there’s no harmony

in democracy’s chorus

unless we all sing

Journalism Warning Labels

I like this – a lot. Makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than PMRC warning labels, that’s for sure. I wonder if a Firefox plugin, enabling some social review mechanism to apply these labels would work. Probably too small of an audience. Besides, I think Tom Scott was joking. I think. Gotta send him an email.

Contents Not Verified :)

Is this a ‘Have you no sense of decency momment?’

The Atlantic: James Fallows: “On Today’s Hot Media Stories: Sherrod, “Journolist”.

The only way it would be so is if we collectively stop watching, stop clicking, and stop linking to such witch hunts, such hatred, served in pursuit of traffic and ratings.

And you would think that by now, in our media-savvy land, we’d instinctively know that soundbites out of context lead to misunderstanding.

For a world of context from all sides, check out the Memeorandum thread.

Ethan Zuckerman at TEDGlobal on the challenge and opportunity

Interested in how information reaches those it needs to reach? Intersted in acts of journalism crossing cultural gulfs and divides? Interested in web services and connectivity? You will want to watch Ethan Zuckerman’s talk at TEDGlobal 2010 and I hope be inspired: “Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices”:

Check out his ideas on how to use Twitter to open up your world.

Zuckerman and danah boyd are helping establish a reasoned view of the Web and its potential based upon its now decade-plus history. It is why I feel project’s like Zuckerman’s Global Voices are so important. Following is danah boyd’s talk at PDF 2009: “danah boyd – PdF2009 – The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”:

Related:

Ethan Zuckerman’s transcription of the talk

danah boyd: transcription of her Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) 2009 talk: “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”

Clay Shirky: “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality”

Guardian.co.uk: John Naughton: “The internet: Everything you ever need to know”

Previously:

“If you believe in The Long Tail, then stop saying the web is “flat” okay?”

“It exists, and its influence matters”

The call to action:

raise voices, go beyond babel, engineer serendipity, build bridges, cultivate xenophiles, rewire

Yesterday was a big one for newspaper companies

The Journal Register Company, which is running a forward thinking project focusing on newspaper production, reached an important landmark yesterday, and published their newspapers using open source tools.

Read about it from Jeff Jarvis and on the Journal Register’s blog about the project they have appropriately titled, “The Ben Franklin Project”. The work that The Journal Register Company is putting into this will provide a template for others to build upon.

More from Steve Earley and John Paton.