kentbye's picture

Fractals & Folksonomies: A New Map for Participatory Journalism

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The press is supposed to provide us maps that help us understand our complex and chaotic world, but the media's maps have failed to keep pace with the exponential growth of technological innovation and changes in our society.

Below I propose that folksonomies and playlisted sound bites could be used to map out the links and associations between the Long Tail of factual nuggets that are usually lost on the cutting room floors of news stories or documentaries -- as well as how "fractal geometry" can provide a powerful metaphor for helping visualize and comprehend this complexity. This type of approch could be extended to journalism and other knowledge management contexts.

Participatory journalism is the key to mapping out this fractal-like map of interconnections, and this post describes what "news as a conversation" might look when it is scaled up beyond the linear limitations of blog dialogues.

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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

Grant Strategy for Future of New Media Video

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Another reason why I'm cutting together a short video featuring many leaders of the new media movement is because my film advisor Brian Newman suggested that I reach out to the film world with what I'm doing.

I don't think the film industry understands folksonomy, Drupal, wikis, open source & non-hierarchical grassroots collaboration. Brian informs me that they understand short videos or audio pieces that are incorporated into the site. It's hard for film folks to digest a lot of the other stuff that I've been writing about.

So I'm working on a short film that can provide some metaphors for what I'm trying to accomplish with this site that can appeal to a broader audience. I've had a number of people tell me, "I read your blog, but I can't understand what you're talking about." Having other people say what I've been writing about should provide some useful metaphors.

kentbye's picture

Expanding from Windows into Cafes and Bridges

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Now that I have this site Drupalized, I can now start treating it as a cafe and not just a window into the project. Blogger Hossein Derakhashan talks about blogs being a window into a community, a bridge between communities, and a cafe where people can chat about different topics.

Up until now, has served as a window for the production of this film for transparency's stake. It can now take it to the next level by treating it more like a cafe where conversations can happen within the internal blogs. It can also now serve more as a community of practice where this virtual space can be used more for collaboration.

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