New Media

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

Echo Chamber Project Vlog Episode 1: Introduction

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Introducing the first Echo Chamber Project video blog entry & vlog!

Description: First vlog episode about an open source, investigative documentary on how the television news became an uncritical echo chamber to the countdown towards war in Iraq -- and proposed tools for collaborative journalism that can provide some solutions.

Featuring: Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Doc Searls, Jonathan Landay, Pamela Hess, Bill Plante, Halley Suitt, Marilyn Schlitz, Kent Bye and 60 others.

To Watch the Video click here -- or on the picture below -- or try here if that link doesn't work. Check back in 10-15 minutes if neither work, the Internet Archive has been a bit spotty.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


(6:15 minutes / 15 MB)
Download QuickTime

Listed below is

* A full transcript of this video with additional links
* How to keep informed with the project (Vlog RSS / Blog RSS)
* How to get more involved
* Click here & scroll to the bottom to leave feedback or other comments.

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

Metaphors for Collaborative Technologies

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This morning I installed ChatZilla, an extension to my FireFox browser, so that I could directly chat with Drupal developers from around the world on the #drupal Instant Relay Chat channel. IRC is a way to directly chat to groups of people who hang out at different virtual water coolers.

Ross Mayfield runs Socialtext -- a company that develops wiki software for businesses -- all of his employees work from home and are spread out around the country.

Mayfield had an interesting blog post (via Nancy White) that provided some great metaphors for the broadband and social tools that his company uses to facilitate collaboration and still remain connected and productive:

* Socialtext [i.e. wikis] -- the building and garden
* IRC -- the hallway
* -- the conference room
* Skype -- the meeting rooms
* IM -- talking over the cubical
* VNC -- peeping over the cubical
* Our blogs -- the front porch
(NOTE: I added all of the links above)

So I hope to start integrating more of these different communication technologies to for my collaborative project.

From my experience with IRC this morning -- I think that the metaphor of a hallway for an IRC chat is very appropriate. There were a lot of people in the hallway, and I was able to have a quick discussion with a couple of developers hanging out. I got some leads to follow up with a more detailed conversation via e-mail, IM or Skype.

I also hope to start integrating and using podcasting and vlogging soon -- This will be easier after I upgrade some hardware at the end of this week so that I can run the latest version of Final Cut Pro.

kentbye's picture

Why I Want to Help Innovate Open Media

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I asked some of my volunteer transcribers to tell me some of the reasons why they're helping with this project, and a lot of their responses shows that they are largely driven their concerns about the state of US politics and the mainstream media -- as well as a number of other personal reasons as well.

I originally started the film with an advocacy goal trying to convince people that they should adopt my progressive worldview after I laid all of the facts out on the table. I was really pissed off with everything that's going on in this country both with politics and the media and the war, and I just wanted to provide information so that people could think just like I did -- Then all the world's problems would be solved, right?

But then I went through quite an evolution after interviewing so many different perspectives last July. I decided to put my focus and energy on how I could use this documentary project to create more inclusive and collaborative journalistic paradigm that could help solve a lot of the problems with the press that were identified by these insiders.

I intend to help create a media that promotes dialogue and understanding and not one showcases people screaming ideology at each other for the sake having a dramatic debate that scores big ratings....

kentbye's picture

Distributed Transcription for Citizen Journalism

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I put a call out yesterday to all of the volunteers who have already completed a transcription. I needed to re-assign 9 more interviews to be transcribed because of a delay in loading the footage caused by a hard drive malfunction back in late 2004.

I sent out about 18 e-mails and I had my 9 volunteers less than 24 hours later -- even with my website completely offline during most of this time period.

I was surprised about how eager these volunteers were to help out again. I think that Americans are really hungry to get involved with helping out with these documentary projects because they want to feel like they're making a difference both politically and with their frustrations with the media...

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

Why US Media Ignores International Law Insights from Downing Street Memos

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Jay Rosen's latest essay deals with why the Downing Street memos weren't originally covered by the US media, and quotes Josh Marshall as saying, "New stories have a 24 hour audition on the news stage, and if they don’t catch fire in that 24 hours, there’s no second chance."

But now with the Internet, the attention span of news editors have been extended by Internet Activism and political blogs. Rosen says that "when the second look was taken, some key editors judged themselves at fault" and concludes that this is "called winning on appeal."

There are many other stories that have broken over in Britain both before the war and after the war that have failed to break through the US media bubble, and deserve a second look and "appeal" to US editors and investigative journalists.

The US bureau chief of the Guardian of London Julian Borger describes the myopia of the US media in an interview with the Echo Chamber Project:

If a story breaks abroad, especially in Britain, and the American press haven't got there, the instinctive reaction is, "Well, Ah. Those Brits -- Who knows if it's true?" And there's almost more of a tendency to ignore the story rather than even to check it out. And I found that again and again. If a story breaks in Britain, there's almost the automatic reaction is "Ah. It's the British press. It's tabloid. It's sensational" -- which is justified in many, many instances. The tabloid press and some of the broadsheet press in Britain can be fairly wild, and a lot of unsubstantiated stories get out. But on top of that instinctive reaction of "Well, it must be sensational because it was in the British press" is a reluctance to check it out properly. Or an over-readiness to accept assurances from the institutions -- the White House, whatever -- that although -- "There's nothing to the story. It's just a British story. Ignore it." There's a lack of -- almost a lack of hunger when it comes to stories that question the Administration's position. Until, that is, the Administration was so weakened by the failure of any WMD to appear. There was almost a turning of tides sometime last year, in 2003, when you suddenly saw a greater readiness to go over these stories. It was like the herd changing direction. It was very visible.

The tide seems to be shifting again with the Downing Street Memos because they provide documentary evidence for theories about the justifications and true motivations for the war that have long been suspected but never confirmed by primary sources or documents.

Almost all of the focus in the US media up to this point has been on the question of WMD and the intelligence around it, but this is only half of the story of how the Bush Administration sold this war. The other half has to do with how they used the UN as a legal pretext for going war, and the documentary evidence has started to pour out of the UK press like a sieve.

Yesterday The London Times published yet another "Downing Street" memo -- legal advice that goes through all of the options that the United Nations could be used as a pretext for going to war in Iraq -- the Associated Press actually published the same document in PDF on Saturday.

What is clear is that the United Kingdom cares about the normative standards of International Law while the United States could care less about what the rest of the world thinks.

There are new revelations regarding the United States' controversial positions on International Law in this latest memo, but since there has never been a news peg for Iraq and International Law in the United States up to this point, then this latest memo will be inevitably be completely ignored by the US media.

But there are some revealing insights that confirm that the UK had many of the same doubts that academics have had about the legality of the war

What does this legal document transcribed by the The London Times and published in full by the Associated Press reveal about the United States and International Law?

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...

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