Josh Mack blogging at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, and occasionally on; bicycles, politics, Brooklyn, parenting, crafts, and good reading. Currently helping to build a new NYC neighborhood news site - nearsay.com, that celebrates the voices that make our city. Subscribe to the daily newsletter it gives you what you need to know.
I was reading good article in Wired this morning about transparency this morning. And by interesting coincidence one of the journalists involved in the story was accidentally sent his file by a PR company. this had led to some rather interesting posts. Tech Crunch has the story. Fred Voglestein, the Wired Contributing Editor who was sent his file, blogs about it here. His file can be downloaded here. Chris Anderson blogs about it here. And the President of Waggener Edstrom here.
I don't think there is anything nefarious about the fact that the PR agency had a dossier. It is interesting that it is so long, and now public. Chris Anderson's thoughts on how he was handled and led to the story by the PR agency are also a great read interesting. The timing of this is just amazing (unless of course it isn't an accident) and serves to reinforce some of the points of the story.
Readers of mine in the physical world might be interested to know that there is a Virtual World's Conference going on in the physical world (at least what we think is the physical world) of NYC. At the very least it is always interesting to read the lineup and attendee lists. I heard about this last night at Social Media Club as two very real looking out-of-towners attending the conference stopped by the meeting.
Assignment Zero a project by Jay Rosen along with Wired, was the subject of tonight's Social Media Club meeting. I like Social Media Club. Founded by Howard Greenstein, one of the founders of the old WWWAC, and a fixture in the NYC digital scene Howard has assembled some great people to help like Jason Chervokas of @NY fame. The SMC has already spread to several cities and it is really interesting to watch Howard put together the organization.
It's taken me several decades to embrace my inner geek so I really like the title. Going to the meetings is like joining the science or chess club in High School. I never joined one, and in fact I'm not sure if my high school had one, so this is like making up for past wrongs. Since my job is in many ways to bring different forms of social media to iVillage it is also a good place to go to think about new things. Meetings are interesting and at each the subjects seem to always come back to reputation, trust, and the wisdom of crowds.
The Pro/Am connections that Assignment Zero is playing with, are very interesting. It is more structured and accountable than a wiki yet reaching towards open source unlike traditional journalism. The HuffPo announced a political crowd-sourced project with newsassignment.net, the parent site of Assignment Zero, and soon up is Newsvine. I'm going to follow this and perhaps contribute.
Interesting thing going on over at Talking Points Memo's TPMmuckracker site. They are asking for help in poring through the latest "document dump" from the Justice Department. Readers are asked to go through the documents now online at the DOJ site as .pdfs and then post comments on the TPM site. They have issued a naming convention to keep the whole thing manageable.
I love this. A friend of mine was working on a project, that never came to pass for the ACLU that was going to do something similar.
I would have loved the opportunity to do something similar when Ron Suskind and I built the site for his book the The Price of Loyalty. We put up a selection of documents from Sec. O'Neill's hard drive and contemplated doing a "dump" that would have made policy wonks very happy but were prevented by several factors from doing so. Perhaps one day we will revisit it or at the very least turn on comments.
The other night B and I saw The Cats of Mirikatani at Cinema Village. In a nutshell it is the story of a filmmaker who right after 9/11 took in an 80 year old homeless Japanese artist who haunted the streets of Soho. As the aptly named Jeanette Catsoulis wrote in her review of the movie in the NYT, "The title may suggest a wildlife documentary, but "''The Cats of
Mirikitani'' is entirely, vibrantly human."" This movie is the definition of a mitzvah but the filmmaker's act of kindness isn't the focus of the film just an underlying current as the movie touches on the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, post 9/11 reactions, healing, art, and forgiveness. It is amazing.
Following up yesterday's post about George Brett's privates and eyetracking for good page design is this article from Cognitive Daily, part of Seed's network of blogs, about how artists and others look at objects. Which is the artist and which the psychologist?
...the question I keep coming back to is this: Does a content-rich portal
like iVillage guarantee the formation of sustainable online community?
To date, the answer is a resounding no. In order to understand what’s
ailing iVillage and every other content producer, search engine or
portal attempting to grow a social networking community around their
online traffic, one has to understand two rules: 1. Using content to
create community and using community to create content are two extremely different beasts. 2. Creating community for the purpose of monetization
first doesn’t work in the long run (unless you think you can beat the
gods at chess).
“Assembly doesn’t work, or at least not for a prairie. A prairie is
something that grows. It has to start small. It has pieces that
interact and build on each other. Once it is ‘up and running,’ the
prairie works as a complex system that is dependent on the intricate
interaction of all the components of the system. A prairie cannot be
brought to life with on ‘abracadabra,’ one wave of the magic wand.”
"Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when
directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend
to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the
face is the only place they viewed....adds that this difference doesn’t just occur with images of people. Men
tend to fixate more on areas of private anatomy on animals as well, as
evidenced when users were directed to browse the American Kennel Club