Citizen Media Watch

december 21st, 2006

A look at, and the possible fall of Lunarstorm

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Swedish youth community site Lunarstorm is losing traffic (thanks Beta Alfa) – the number of visits are down since spring this year (though Lunarstorm denies they have a crisis). They have also lost some important people, like former CEO Hans Eriksson who have moved on to develop a new community. sets its sight on becoming the new MySpace. Its target group is music and fashion fans and creators.
Currently the site is in beta, but you can register and get an invitation to join after a few days. I’ve tried the site out and here are my immediate impressions.

I like the look and feel of the site and the logo. Also that they’ve got a limited number of skins to choose from for the profile pages, which means you can actually read all pages (as opposed to MySpace where you’d think some of the users are first time internet users, combining bright background photos with text in almost the same colours).
So far the community seems to be comprised mostly of cool twenty-somethings, many of them band members.
Update: A somewhat sloppy reading of the conditions on which you sign up for a beta profile on my part resulted in some fairly detailed descriptions of some of Trig’s features. I’ve removed them and have kept the general impressions in this post.

The site supports video in postings, and according to Ekonominyheterna, the community will have its own tv channel.
There’s not much on Trig that you cannot find on MySpace, but Trig has a nicer look and feel to it. So far, it also has the advantage of small size, but that will change.

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december 21st, 2006

Raymond Kristiansen looks back on two years of videoblogging

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Raymond Kristiansen (at Bloggforum 2 in Stockholm). Photo: Lotta HolmströmNorway’s most famous vlogger Raymond Kristiansen has been vlogging for two years and looks back at his experiences. His first post covers about a month, his first month of vlogging and all the discoveries he made.

To me, videoblogging (or video on the net that is downloadable and preferrably with an rss feed) was the missing link. It was what would allow people from regions like sub-saharan Africa to communicate with the world (I have a good friend in Nigeria). Videoblogging, if done with a low-key approach to it, could really change how we communicate.

More is to follow, Raymond writes.

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december 21st, 2006

The Lebanese ambulance attack and trust in citizen – and established – media

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

In August, a friend pointed me to the Red Cross Ambulance Incident fraud report at Zombietime. Today I read Ethan Zuckerman‘s recent post about the story.
In short, two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances were reported to have been attacked by Israeli forces on July 23. The fraud report claims that this never happened, and offers the following scenario.

Two ambulances that had been somehow damaged long before the July Israel-Hezbollah conflict even began were dragged out of a salvage yard, where they had been rusting for months or years. They were taken to a parking lot and smashed up even more, inside and out. Then fresh gurneys were placed inside one of them. An intentionally amateurish video was then taken of the two vehicles, in order to show the damage. That night, as planned, some Red Cross workers feigning minor injuries rushed into a hospital in Tyre, and recounted a tale of horror: their ambulances had been attacked by Israeli missiles. The media was notified.

According to Ethan Zuckerman, the claim ”was later repeated by Australia’s foreign minister Alexander Downer, who stated ‘it is beyond all serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax.'”

An excellent example of citizen media reporting. Or was it? Here comes the twist.

In steps Human Rights Watch, who go to Lebanon to set the facts straigth. This results in a report saying the attacks did happen.

They conclude that the ambulances were both struck by missles, one of which removed Fawaz’s leg, but that the missles were likely Dense Inert Metal Explosives fired from an Israeli drone.

Now, can we trust Human Rights Watch? They were the ones reporting about the attack in the first place. Do they just want to save face? Zuckerman writes:

HRW’s report does include a major correction – they no longer characterize the attack as coming from a manned Israeli aircraft, but now believe the attacks came from a remote-controlled drone.

Zuckerman in his analysis points to an important factor – time.

What’s disturbing to me about the situation is the timeframe. Zombietime and affiliated rightwing commentators got their story out very quickly, offering their analysis within days of the incident. HRW’s response is coming almost half a year later. This makes sense – HRW actually went to Lebanon and interviewed people who saw the incident, while Zombietime looked at press photos and offered theories. While HRW’s analysis is critical in determining what really happened on July 23rd and demanding accountability from the Israeli government, this report is hardly likely to call as much attention to the incident as it recieved when it was initially reported.

This story is just one example of a key issue in our current – and future – media world. Trust.
Everyone has an agenda. Future media consumers have to be very much aware of that.

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december 2006
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