Citizen Media Watch

december 12th, 2006

Niklas Zennström: I don't think newspapers are dead

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Robert Andrews at journalism.co.uk reports from Le Web 3 in Paris, where Skype founder Niklas Zennström spoke yesterday.

Swedish entrepreneur Mr Zennström is revered for producing disruptive effects in traditional media industries after having revolutionised both the music world with his KaZaa file-sharing network and having turned the telecom sector on its head with Skype.

But he told the Le Web 3 conference here in Paris that journalism was here to stay.

”Blogs are fantastic – you have so much diversity,” he told delegates. ”But there’s always going to be a need for in-depth journalism.

Zennström’s new project is a p2p tv network called The Venice Project, currently in beta testing.

The Venice Project™ is a new venture that combines the best elements of the TV experience with the most powerful internet technologies, in a way that will redefine the way people think about television. It is not a file-sharing application or a video download service.


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december 12th, 2006

2006 named the year of the social network

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

It’s getting near the end of the year, and December is always a good time to look back and reflect on the goings on of the past 12 months. Richard MacManus at the Read/WriteWeb blog has done just that, and has come up with a long list of technologies that have shaped the web this year. More on my own look on 2006 later, but I’d like to focus on MacManus’ first point.

Undoubtedly 2006 has been the year of the social network. MySpace, YouTube, Facebook have been the three outstanding success stories – but also impressive was Bebo (in the UK particularly) and there was strong growth in existing web 2.0 networks like Flickr and del.icio.us.

I see Aftonbladet’s blog community as largely a social networking site. In a way the bloggers there have redefined blogging, creating a community within the blogosphere. One clear sign of this is that the bloggers reply to comments to their post not as another comment to that post, but as a comment to a post in the blog of the person who commented. Very confusing for an oldtimer like myself.

This is for good and bad. A sense of community is good if it brings people together and make them feel at home. If it becomes too closed it runs a risk of being marginalized.

But there are smaller spheres in the blogosphere in general too. At a meeting of bloggers a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the different spheres in the bigger blogosphere. I think it was Lotten who concluded that there are different groupings that read eachothers’ blogs, but once you venture outside these groupings you find that there are other groups, interlinked, who seem to know eachother just as well as the bloggers in your own sphere do.

What needs to be added if we are to name 2006 the year of the social network, though, is that social networks no longer grows from people’s interest to network in general. The failure of Orkut (atleast in the US and Europe) and in a way Friendster makes this clear.
Rather they grow from shared interests and from the use of a valuable service. This is why Flickr and del.icio.us are so successful. Without the community many people would still use these services, but it’s the community that bring them their real value.
So more than networking services, I think this is the year of social media, and useful web services based on web2.0 technologies.


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december 12th, 2006

A small step for some, a giant leap for an old giant

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

The New York Times has added buttons for Digg, Newsvine and FacebookThe old and renowned New York Times hasn’t been known for being in the forefront when it comes to embrasing citizen/social media. Therefore the new change, minor as it might seem, is indeed a big leap in this old giant’s development. The NY Times has added buttons to its stories allowing users to send them to digg, newsvine and facebook. As John Cook points out, it’s the first time the paper has enabled users to comment on its articles on third party websites.

And that is just the start. A new section of the site will be devoted to ”My Times”, ”where the best minds in journalism helps you edit the web”.

My Times at the New York Times

What My Times seems to be is a personalized page where you can collect your favourite bits of the NY Times along with other material from the web via RSS. Here’s what the ”First Look blog” says about My Times in its current beta.

My Times Beta is a new service that lets you organize New York Times content, as well as content from around the web, on your very own page. This personalized service makes it easy for you to read all that you like, from one central place. You can further personalize your my Times page by adding up-to-date weather information of your city, movie showtimes in theaters near you, or display your favorite flickr photos.

Though it doesn’t say how much you’ll be able to interact with this material on the site – for instance can you post comments? Articles? Columns?

An interesting development, none the less. The NY Times may be behind, but they seem to finally have got it, and are putting a lot of effort in to catch up.

Another cool thing they’re doing (though not related to citizen media) is the Times Reader, a separate software for an optimal reading of the NY Times, a beta version now available for download. Not sure it’ll be a success, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.


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