Citizen Media Watch

mars 23rd, 2007

Congdon laughingly breaks the rules of journalism – gets fatherly piece of advice

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Interesting piece by Daniel Terdiman on Cnet about Amanda Congdon‘s refusal to live by journalistic rules/standards, even after starting working for ABC News.

there’s a bit of a kerfuffle going on right now in light of revelations that even as she has been producing stories for, she has also been performing in infomercials for DuPont, one of the largest companies in the world.

Congdon herself mocks or atleast laughs at the whole thing in her blog.

ABC and HBO both approved the DuPont spots. And under the “blogger” title, which is what I am, hello? I am not subject to the “rules” traditional journalists have to follow.

Isn’t that what new media is all about? Breaking the rules? Setting our own? I see nothing wrong with doing commercials, which is what they, quite transparently, are.

I definitely think Terdiman has a point when he sends a bit of advice Congdon’s way:

That attitude is more one of someone intent on being a performer, not a journalist. And while bloggers generally don’t have to answer to anyone except themselves and, to some extent, their readers, Congdon is in a totally unique category: She is a blog-bred personality who has crossed over to the mainstream. If she was video blogging for, that would be one thing. But her work appears on the news site, and that makes her part of the news team.

So, while she is a nice person, and seems to have good intentions, I think Congdon may well want to think about whether she wants a future in journalism. If not, then she’s fine. But if she does, she may be burning bridges which she can’t cross again.

More on Amanda Congdon’s career: From Rocketboom to the newsroom

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mars 22nd, 2007

Smaller closed communities more engaging

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Participants are more active in smaller niche communities than in larger communities with a broader interest. This is shown in the recent resarch results from Communispace, a company that specializes in – surprise, surprise – niche communities.
They write:

In this new era of ”conversational marketing”, the measure for engagement in a community isn’t the number of people logging on. Rather, it’s how actively people participate in the community

The study measured frequency of contributions, number of contributions per member and lurker rate among 26 539 members of 66 private online communities.
Private, facilitated communities of around 300-500 members got the most active members, with a lurking percentage of only 14 percent.

In contrast, on public social networking websites, blogs, and message boards, this ratio is typically reversed, i.e., the vast majority of site visitors do not contribute. In fact, in a typical online forum (e.g., wiki, community, message board or blog), one percent of site visitors contribute and the other 99 percent lurk.

The results also indicate the importance of transparency, showing higher activity in branded sites where it is clearly stated who’s behind the community. Communities for parents are the most active among those studied, and communities based on a geographic location got high levels of participation too.
These results are not surprising – the more ”social glue”, the more engaging a community is. What was a little interesting to see though, was that same-sex communities get more participation than mixed-sex ones.

The white paper will soon be available in its entirety at


mars 20th, 2007

Twittervision – see the world twitter

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom


A lot of Twitter mashups have popped up lately. The latest that I’ve tried out is Twittervision, a live world view where twits show in real time. It’s rather addictive watching people’s actions described all over the globe. I’m still pretty hooked on Twitter, and I like that they keep developing the service. Though the increase in numbers of users have caused them some server problems. At times today it’s been impossible to reach the site. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon.

Twittervision is in beta, and is a service from David Troy, who’s also behind Twittermap, which is also pretty cool. You can type in your location and see what others in your area are twittering about. I found myself in Stockholm, though since I haven’t given an exact address it’s not actually where I was at the time of twittering.


When Twitter adds gps data, this will be really interesting. Now the locations are often pinned wrong, twits from people travelling show up in their home town.

Troy is also behind Twittersearch, a search engine for Twitter.

There are also a large number of Twitter widgets to use on blogs or other sites. Twitter has added to their own widgets, or badges as they call them, letting users display the latest twits from their added contacts. Here’s an example on my personal blog.

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mars 20th, 2007

YouTube awards site now live

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

It looks like there was simply a delay in publishing the YouTube Video Awards site. It’s live now.


mars 19th, 2007

YouTube Video Awards announced… or are they?

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

A recent news story from the Associated Press, rewritten by Swedish news agency Pressens Mediaservice and published in Dagens Nyheter, has got me quite confused.
The story is about Youtube Video Awards. According to AP reporter Jake Coyle, YouTube is announcing their video awards today, with nominees in seven categories: most creative, most inspirational, best series, best comedy, musician of the year, best commentary and most adorable video ever. The article contains an interview with YouTube’s Jamie Byrne, and some of the nominees are named (Paul Robinett and Peter Oakley).
Okay, all is fine that far. But then you click the link to the site, and get the messange ”This channel is not available.”
And if I google ”Youtube Video Awards”, all I can find are awards run by YouTube users, none that are actually on YouTube’s site.

So what’s going on? Has YouTube decided to wait before announcing the awards? Has the reporter got something wrong? Does anybody have information?


mars 15th, 2007

Swedish citizen journalism/activism wiki launched

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Digital IdagToday Oscar Swartz launched his Swedish citizen journalism wiki, for which he’s received funding from II-Stiftelsen. The name of the site is Digital Idag (”digital today”). The site is in beta, and its first project is a campaign – against the proposed FRA law that I wrote about earlier (also a summary of some blog posts here, in Swedish).
It’s an interesting approach, as campaign journalism is a rather narrow field of (citizen) journalism, and along with Swartz’ well-known views it brings an activist focus to the site.
Swartz writes (my translation):

Anyone who’s passionate about the freedom of information and communication should go there and start filling it (the wiki) with information. It’s a site for anyone who wants to be digital today, not tomorrow. Hence ”Digital idag”!

Previous post on the same subject:
Oscar Swartz to set up citizen journalism wiki

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mars 13th, 2007

Al Gore brings Current TV to the UK and Ireland

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Al Gore. Photo: Current TVCurrent TV, the interactive tv network founded by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt in 2005, has now launched its UK version. With air time on both Sky and Virgin Media platforms in the UK and Ireland, the channel can add 10 million homes covered to its 40 million in the US.
Company chairman Al Gore explained to the Associated Press what he sees as the thing that sets Current TV apart from other channels.

Gore said Current TV was designed – to democratize the medium of television and open it up to voices, so people can join the global conversation.
Mainstream television, he says, is a one-way conduit, and – a conversation that shuts out individuals begins to get a bit stale.
Gore and his co-founder Joel Hyatt bill Current TV as – television for the Internet generation of tech-savvy 18-to-34 year olds who demand interactivity and, it seems, have short attention spans.

In connection with the launch, Current TV announced a contest where three winners get to have lunch with Al Gore in London. It’s about shooting what Current TV calls a pod – a 3-5 minute ”non-fiction video that tells a story, profiles a character or place, and/or shares an idea” – and uploading it to the site.

A third of the content on Current TV is made up by pods like this. The content is very segmented – here’s a sample hour:

Sample hour

As you can see, Current TV also partners with Google. And they’ve put extra effort into making people with a background in journalism contribute to the site and tv channel through its Current Journalism program.

”Welcome to UK and Ireland”, writes US blogger Amanda Zee, who reports that the UK team has been working hard to make the launch.

I’ve only been over here for four days, but the team at Current UK has been working toward this for months, seemingly non-stop. No matter what time I’ve been in the San Francisco office, there’s always someone in the London one available to answer questions — and if you do the time-zone math, you’ll know just how crazy that is. Hopefully now they’ll have a chance to enjoy what they’ve made.

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mars 13th, 2007

MTV Movie Awards adds new category for user-generated content

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

Mark Burnett Productions, Yahoo and MTV today announced a new category at the MTV Movie Awards for user-generated content, ”Best Movie Spoof”. The clips are to be parodies of films from the past year. Submissions for the award will be collected on a microsite that is to launch on April 23.
”The ability to create and interact with user-generated content is so important to today’s audience that this show simply had to include UGC as a major element in the creative experience,” said Mark Burnett to Online Media Daily.

In addition to the movie spoof award, MTV, Yahoo and Burnett are developing a section on the site where viewers can comment on the user-generated submissions, as well as post photos and videos. Content from the site will then be integrated into the live broadcast on a ”World Wide Web Wall.”

Users will also get to vote for categories such as ”Best Kiss” and ”Best Villain”.

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mars 7th, 2007

Citizen journalists banned from video reporting of violence in France

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom

In France, neither filming nor broadcasting violent content is allowed for anyone else than professional journalists. This is the result of a law that’s recently been approved by the French Constitutional Council, writes InfoWorld. This disturbing news has met with outrage from bloggers and anyone concerned about free speech. The fact that the decision was published on the date of the Rodney King beating hasn’t exactly made the council look any better. The police officers who beat Rodney King were filmed by a citizen journalist.

Reporters without borders issued a statement voicing their concern about the law being a threat to free speech.

The sections of this law supposedly dealing with ‘happy slapping’ in fact have a much broader scope, and posting videos online showing violence against people could now be banned, even if it were the police who were carrying out the violence

Happy slapping is when a gang beats up someone, films the event and spreads the film – just for ”fun”. This is what the law is meant to prevent, but as it is written, it will effect citizen journalists doing important work.
Reporters without borders goes on to talk about how important ordinary citizens are as ”recorders” of the authorities’ activities around the world, naming Egypt as a recent example where bloggers have revealed scandals involving security services. Video recording played an essential part in revealing the widespread use of torture.

In the field of human rights, it is them and not professional journalists who have been responsible for the most reliable reports and information – the information that has most upset the government. Reporters Without Borders thinks it would be shocking if this kind of activity, which constitutes a safeguard against abuses of authority, were to be criminalized in a democratic country.

Odebi, a civil liberties group in France, has collected some of the response to the news.

In Sweden, anyone can actually be a journalist in the sense that there is no required education you have to have in order to call yourself a journalist. You need to work as a journalist to be a member of the journalists union and get a press card though.
I am not sure how this works in France, but I am assuming they have some kind of journalist card to define who’s a professional journalist. If not, it would be interesting to know how they distinguish between citizen and professional journalists. And what about journalists who blog on their free time? If I, for instance, would film a French police officer beating up an innocent person, and I would blog about it here, would that be against the French law? I don’t blog here as a journalist, but as a citizen.

(via Beta Alfa)

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mars 2nd, 2007 open to the public

Posted by Lotta Holmstrom user today opened up for anyone to join. The Sweden-based music community site has got quite a bit of attention since they opened up for beta applications, and it will be interesting to see how the site develops now that it’s fully live. ”We’re still in beta mode, adding new features and squishing bugs”, the Trig team announced to its members, but now the user profiles are open for anyone to look at. For an example, check out my test profile (no blog content though).

Trig’s timeline browserNow that the site is live and I no longer have to obey the non-disclosure agreement, I guess I can go into detail about the stuff I like on Trig. The Timeline Content Browser is one such cool solution. You can browse Trig content in a timeline, letting you see how it changes over time (most trigged songs, profiles and blogs). Also the Live’n’Direct page which features the latest logged in users, latest uploaded pics and songs, and also a shout box where you can shout stuff to the community (nothing that hasn’t been tried before elsewhere though). Over all, I like the feel of the site, but am not sure how much usage it will get and if it’s a real contender to MySpace. I hope so though. It definitely has a nicer appeal.

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