kentbye's picture

ECP Featured on OurMedia's Front Page!

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I just discovered that the first Echo Chamber vlog made it up onto the front page of! This is great news, and will provide some great exposure for the project. Front Page!

This is great timing as I just start to promote the project beyond the New Media blogosphere.

kentbye's picture

Launching the ECP to the World

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I spent most of yesterday sending out e-mails pitching my first vlog posting to the new media blogosphere.

It looks like it's gaining some momentum after receiving links from podcasting pioneer Eric Rice, OurMedia executive director JD Lasica and Blogumentary director / vlogging pioneer Chuck Olsen.

I also posted an announcment to the YahooGroups Videoblogging listserve, which tapped into the very friendly and energetic vlogging community.

I've been tracking the vlogging community for a while here:, and I sent it to some vloggers for some preliminary feedback earlier this week, which I got a lot of positive feedback from.

I share a lot of the same values of openness and transparency with the vlogosphere (and the larger blogosphere as well), and I think the first vlog post will continue to get more attention over the next week or so as it slowly comes out of the more technical parts of the New Media blogosphere, and hopefully over to the political end of blogosphere by the end of next week.

How far and wide it'll end up spreading is really hard to predict, but I'm pretty optimistic at this point.

I'm going to try to track the progress by tagging mentions of the vlog with the ECP tag over at found at this page: I'm going to set up an RSS aggregator in the sidebar so that it'll appear on this site.

I figure that if I'm going to be obsessing over tracking statistics of inbound links, then I might as well do something useful with it.

kentbye's picture

Joining a Folksonomy Community of Practice

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After a warm-up specification of Drupal functionality, I've started to map out the user interface that I need in order to productively collect collaborative input from volunteers, and then feed this gathered intelligence into the editing process.

I've discussed the mechanisms for this Phase 01 of development as being folksonomies, tag clouds, Drupal & Final Cut Pro XML.

Drupal already has some folksonomy capabilities, and the open source nature of the software allows it to be altered by computer programmers familiar with the open source scripting language of PHP, the open source database of MySQL or the inner workings of Drupal.

I've been interacting with a number of developers over the last couple of days, and I've found some potential leads for some help.

I also revisited Phillip Keller's post about the technical database details for the database schemas that are fueling social bookmarking tagging sites such as or flickr. Keller provided a lot of interesting insights for how to make Drupal's folksonomy implementation more scalable for the types of features that I wanted to include.

Keller's post led me to the mailing list, as well as to Nitin Borwanker's interesting tagschema blog that contains philosophical musings about the systems level database design issues for the flood of data technologists need to help manage in the 21st Century. Borwanker describes it with the metaphor of the 1 Billion Row Problem -- referring to the daunting task for managing a database that has 1+ billion rows.

On Tuesday, Borwanker announced that he's starting a special spin-off listserve from the list in order to broaden the conversation to other developing tag projects, and to brainstorm the best practices for designing the backend databases for large-scale tagging websites.

I joined this Folksonomy Community of Practice with the intent of finding some help in getting some feedback on some of my a href="">Phase 01 ideas and to get some help in getting them rolling.

Below is the introductory e-mail that I sent out the listserve this morning. You can monitor the responses from a distance -- or sign up to the folksonomy discussion list yourself.

Links for the Tagschema Listserve

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[1] A handcrafted Drupal tag cloud for all of my blog posts:

[2] Tag Cloud Font Distribution Algorithm

[3] Flowcharts for Personalized Drupal Tag Clouds

[4] Collaborative Media with Drupal + Final Cut Pro XML

[5] A list of all of my blog posts tagged "Theory" discussing Journalistic Paradigms with New Media technologies

[6] Swarm Intelligence Journalism

[7] Phase 01 of the 11-phase Development Roadmap for The Echo Chamber Project

[8] A list of all of the full-length interviews that were conducted with some transcripts posted:

[9] A list of 13 leaders of the New Media movement interviewed at the Personal Democracy Forum

[10] A cover story in the Baltimore City Paper featuring The Echo Chamber, Kent Bye & Jennifer Gouvea.

kentbye's picture

The Post Analyzes the UK Path to War

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Today the Washington Post finally digs into what the DSM reveal about the UK's doubts about the path towards war.

I'm not sure if Jay Rosen's recent Pressthink pleas helped the Post decide to do a front page news analysis of the DSM, but it looks like there is a growing movement to reanalyze the build-up to war in Iraq -- which is good news for The Echo Chamber Project.

During the build-up, the US media largely ignored many of the controversial details of the proposed intervention that were coming in from the overseas press. But now that the war is becoming more and more of a political liability for our allies, we're starting to see a lot more dissent and leaks that are reintroducing a lot of questions about the purpose and intent of the war.

The Post distances itself from the "He Said / She Said" debate over the DSM documents by starting two paragraphs with allegations from both sides -- "Critics of the Bush administration contend" & "Supporters of the administration contend." The Post then discloses the intent of their article:

But beyond the question of whether they constitute a so-called smoking gun of evidence against the White House, the memos offer an intriguing look at what the top officials of the United States' chief ally were thinking, doing and fearing in the months before the war.

There was a lot of lively political discussion about the DSM over in the comments section of Rosen's post -- and in the last comment Rosen speculates

I think the Brits and getting them on board was a substitute United Nations for the Bush war planners & strategists. Bush was prepared to go without even the fig leaf of the UN. They figured that America plus one was coalition enough, and the British were the one.

I think Rosen's speculation is probably right, and that the historical record of US documents would bear this out if any of it is ever leaked or formally declassified. But there's already enough evidence for this by connecting the dots of the Bush Administration's rhetoric and behavior towards the UN leading up to the war...

Rosen also asks, "Put that way, how much choice did Tony Blair really have?"...

kentbye's picture

New Media Blogs Discuss Downing Street Memos

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A discussion of the Downing Street Memos has kicked up briefly in the New Media blogosphere after Jay Rosen's post on Sunday.

I thought I'd drop a few signposts from my daily blog surfing from this morning [my Internet connection went down delaying this post.]

All of these following posts have interesting discussions going on in their comment sections.

Dan Gillmor weighs in by excerpting the following passage from Russ Baker's Why Bush Went to War -- "Bush wanted a war so that he could build the political capital necessary to achieve his domestic agenda and become, in his mind, 'a great president."

Jeff Jarvis says that the Downing Street Memos aren't a big deal because everyone knows "the truth is that WMDs were never the real justification" and that this is all just "a scandal of bad PR."

Gillmor updates his post in response to Jarvis "What Jeff fails to note is that Congress would never have backed the war so fecklessly had the phony WMD issue been off the table..."

kentbye's picture

A Pitch for Phase 01

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As a result of my little Drupal tag cloud PR blitz this afternoon, a Drupal developer asked me to pitch some features to him for a development contest that he's entering.

I threw together an elevator pitch for technogeeks of Phase 01

Here it is:

A quick metaphor would be to say that I need capabilities within Drupal.

But the way I'd pitch it would be to say that I need a toolkit for Swarm Intelligence Journalism by collecting third-party metadata on soundbite Drupal nodes so that I can collaboratively edit my investigative documentary film about how the mainstream media became an Echo Chamber to the countdown towards war in Iraq.

If I had the Phase 01 toolset that I'm proposing, then I could start to tap into the collective intelligence of a set of diverse volunteers by making their subjective interpretations of politcal material more explicit through folksonomy tag clouds.

By associating pro-war and anti-war identities to third-party folksonomy tags on my politically contentious soundbites, then this tool could be used to bring about a deeper understanding to the common ground and points of departure between polar opposite poltical worldviews.

Incorporating this Phase 01 toolkit into Drupal will also facilitate collaborative film editing capabilities within Drupal by using the Final Cut Pro XML interface.

kentbye's picture

Automatic Media Enclosures at

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The social bookmarking site of announced on their blog earlier this week that they are now automatically detecting media files and adding invisible "system:filetype:" tags to the post.

Bookmarked items in that end in one of a number of filetypes will now automatically get some system tags added. You can use these just like normal tags. RSS feeds that have one of those system tags added will automatically become a rss-with-enclosures file.

What the does this mean in English?

Let's start from the beginning to show how this latest development is going to further democratize the media by giving people more and more choices for how they consume their information and media diet...

kentbye's picture

A Flood of Downing Street E-mail Alerts

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I've been flooded this week with e-mail notices about the upcoming Downing Street Memo Congressional hearings being held tomorrow initiated by Representative John Conyers (D-MI).

I think it's interesting to watch how these progressive grassroots organizations have helped keep this issue alive through the Internet. I'll pass along all of these e-mails for you to read through down below.

I used to consume about 90 minutes of political news a day, but I've parsed that down to about 10 minutes of scanning headlines per day with the rest of my 30 minutes of spent surfing blogs covering the New Media movement.

I pick up the slack by scanning the titles of e-mails that I'm sent by a number e-mail lists (mostly progressive but a few conservative).

If more opposition Congressmen and Senators pick up on this, then this story could have legs -- especially if more documentary evidence or testimony turns up tomorrow. Otherwise this story will have a hard time breaking out of progressive anti-war circles and into the mainstream consciousness.

I personally think the Downing Street documents contain some pretty compelling circumstantial evidence that the Bush Administration never took the United Nations weapons inspection process seriously. It reinforces the hypothesis that the US only went through the UN because Tony Blair's demanded it as one of two conditions for being a part of the Coalition of the Willing -- (the other being a concrete plan for Israel & Palestine).

The UK takes International Law seriously, and the US political establishment and therefore media don't think it's all that important. But these latest memos have helped introduce these International Law issues into the US media bubble where they have been almost universally ignored leading up to the war and up to the present moment.

After the Congressional resolution passed in early October 2002, war was seen as inevitable by the US media and the inconsistencies in the Bush administration's arguments presented at the UN and the ones presented at home were largely overlooked by a myopic US media.

A more detailed overview is here and here are all of my blog postings tagged International Law.

Plenty more about the latest Downing Street developments can be found in the flood e-mails listed below...

kentbye's picture

White House's Pre-War Talking Points

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I'm posting all of the pre-war talking points from White House that I aggregated back in August of 2004.

If journalists were paying attention, then they'd realize that the Bush Adminstration was trying to scare the hell out of the domestic population with a self-defense argument while trying to claim to the UN that we already the US already had prior authorization to attack Iraq.

These two PR campaigns were often conflicting with each other, and it wasn't a very difficult task to identify that the Bush Adminstration was hellbent on going to war regardless of whatever the UN said. I make a much more convincing argument in this Overview of the Bush Administration's PR campaign to sell the war in Iraq.

It's taken the Downing Street Memo to reintroduce this concept that Bush was hellbent on going to war in Iraq -- journalists need documentary proof to be able to report on these things.

I'm trying to apply more sophisticated analytical techniques to journalism that could be used to scrub the public record and form theories that contain sets of facts over time.

It's pretty evident that the Bush Administration was more interested in using the UN inspections process as a tripwire for war than they were with actually wanting to find and disarm the prohibited weapons.

I'd suggest reading through my overview of the Bush administration's PR campaign to sell the war in Iraq
Read through these daily talking points below.
And decide for yourself...

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