inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #51 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 19 Mar 12 15:38
    
It's time to remind non-WELL folks that if they have questions or
comments for Jon or Ed,they can e-mail them to inkwell@well.com and
we'll pass them along.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #52 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 19 Mar 12 15:47
    
Futurists like to talk about "drivers". One of the big drivers today
seems to be the digital convergence of media. Jon and Ed, any thoughts
on how that was reflected at this year's Festival? And what's to come?
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #53 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 02:39
    
Tagging along with #51 is the trend away from "all the news that's fit
to print" to "all the news that's fit for you".

<If there is one unambiguous trend in how the Internet is developing
today, it's the drive toward the personalization of our online
experience. Everything we click, read, search, and watch online is
increasingly the result of some delicate optimization effort, whereby
our previous clicks, searches, “likes,” purchases, and interactions
determine what appears in our browsers and apps.>

via Slate, subtitled How Automated Journalism and loss of reading
privacy may hurt civil discourse.
(http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/03/narrative_scienc
e_robot_journalists_customized_news_and_the_danger_to_civil_discourse_.html)

Ed, how is this trend shaping journalism? As a content creator can you
still write about what people NEED to hear rather than what marketing
data says they WANT to hear? And can you get an audience that allows
you a living income? Or is the burden on you to create an audience? 
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #54 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 02:53
    
Jon, I've been thinking a lot about Bruce Sterling's 'stacks' comment.
It's an apt visualization. If you think of cyberspace as an infinite
domain in digital space, with all sorts of towns, cities and
geographies (sites)and the ability to travel anywhere in that universe,
almost for free, why would anyone want to stay in one city block and
only travel up and down exploring 5 buildings?

But that's exactly what's going on. And tied to the previous question,
it creates a feedback loop. By staying in only those 5 places our data
is more easily manipulated, reinforcing both the desire to stay there
as well as an extraordinarily narrow view of the virtual world(s) that
actually exist.

Totally dumb! This would have to collapse almost by design. Howard
Rheingold's new book Net Smart:How to Thrive Online is so relevant,
glad we'll be interviewing him next month.

(http://www.amazon.com/Net-Smart-How-Thrive-Online/dp/0262017458/ref=sr_1_1?s=b
ooks&ie=UTF8&qid=1332237085&sr=1-1)
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #55 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 03:20
    
Great infographic about this year's SXSW, via Robert Scoble:

http://demo.tracx.com/sxswinfographic/
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #56 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 05:34
    
Social Networks explained by donuts:

http://instagr.am/p/nm695/
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #57 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 05:53
    
It's wild and woolly out there in cyberspace, maybe that's why folks
like to stay inside their walled gardens:

http://www.bgr.com/2012/03/16/more-than-half-of-internet-traffic-is-non-human/


via Bruce Sterling on Wired's Beyond the Beyond
(http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/)
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #58 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 20 Mar 12 09:29
    
You ask about digital convergence of media and how it was represented
at SXSW. The reason SXSW is such a big deal is that it's a conference
all about convergence, and it was also about "social media" before we
used that term. In 1995 or 96, Mondo 2000 asked me to cover the
conference, and I wrote a piece that I (in all modesty) think was
prophetic, but they didn't run it. I was struck that year by the extent
to which people showing up at the conference were producing their own
media - 'zines and cassettes and niche websites. I wrote how people
were getting access to the means of production and beginning to see
that they could produce content for each other, that the old media
infrastructure could lose mindshare to truly popular (of the people)
media. 

A later insight was that digital convergence of media was imminent on
the web. This was increasingly clear to me after writing that article,
though at the time SXSW was just starting to acknowledge the Internet
and not really considering the digital future the same way others of us
were thinking about it. However because SXSW was a festival and
conference trying to be inclusive of all media, convergence was
apparent there early on. A decade later I programmed a SXSW Interactive
track on digital convergence, and it was immensely popular. We
included threads of discussion that played out in much bigger ways over
the next few years.

And in those same years following realization of convergence, SXSW
Interactive has become bigger than Music or Film, and those two other
conferences have interactive aspects and elements via convergence. In
fact convergence is really what SXSW, as a whole, is about.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #59 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 20 Mar 12 09:47
    
Responding to your comment about the stacks... the history of media is
a history of monopolies - phone companies, film studios, radio and
television broadcast companies. All of those industries started with
multiple players and evolved to a point where there were a few big
companies. The stacks are the digital world's monopolistic
organizations. Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have all grown large
and powerful leveraging network effects and outmaneuvering the
competition (e.g. Myspace, Yahoo, Microsoft, Barnes & Noble). 

As Bruce said, each of these guys wants to think it's the dominant
force in the digital world, but they're actually fragile; the future
for any one of them is fraught with peril. They have to be persistently
fast and smart, and that's never assured. 

Your question is why somebody would adhere to any one platform with a
whole diverse world of options in front of them. I bet you know the
answer to that already - we're creatures of habit, we adhere to the
familiar and safe. We have limited time and energy. We don't
necessarily want to explore... we eventually give up surfing in favor
of trusted aggregators. 
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #60 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 10:23
    
Thanks Jon, all good observations. You get my prophetic vote. I like
to explore what's out there, so I give FB, Twitter, etc. very little
bandwidth or time, but I do use them.

One spin-off from convergence is SMO (Social Media Optimization)
-producing new sensory apps for the digital wilderness; kind of an ESP
of the digital landscape around us. Highlight (http://highlig.ht/) was
the buzz this year, a way to locate and connect with people near
you(currently 300 meters)that share likes, interests, and friends in
your social network. Did you use it or hear much about it?

Interesting interview with Paul Davison, Highlight's creator, on You
Tube. I really like the thought and concern he puts into thinking about
how to properly use these apps with respect to privacy and the
possibilities. Clearly, we are breaking new ground in the ways we
interact and connect with one another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbiaAfhkaWo
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #61 of 133: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 20 Mar 12 10:25
    
I'm on deadline for my realeyz blog this week, so I'm not going to be
able to chime in here for another 24 hours, most likely. I'll try to
catch up with you, but I've been travelling and now I'm working. I'll
post the URL for the next blog -- which has to do with "sharing" --
when it's up tomorrow. 
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #62 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 10:28
    
Great Ed, looking forward to your inputs.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #63 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 20 Mar 12 11:08
    
I installed Highlight a bit before the conference, and throughout SXSW
my connections were showing up there, and when active the app would
tell me if someone nearby had mutual friends and/or shared interests. I
disabled that capability to save battery, but while it was active I
didn't feel compelled to contact those people. Though I heard people
say that the theme of this year's conference was social discovery, I
saw nothing to suggest that was the case, and couldn't tell whether
others were using Highlight or the similar app Glancee. Justin Hall and
I were talking about this, and I said I wasn't feeling compelled to
connect to the strangers-with-affinity that were popping up in
highlight. He said he felt the same way in the context we were in, but
might use it if he was sitting in an airport, bored and looking for
conversation to fill the time.

As Sterling said, you can't expect to break a new app at every SXSW.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #64 of 133: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 20 Mar 12 12:19
    
You might want to check what the EFF says about Highlight. 
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #65 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 20 Mar 12 13:18
    
I don't think EFF has taken a position on Highlight, but one of their
activists, Parker Higgins, wrote a piece about it that appeared at
Gizmodo:
http://gizmodo.com/5891744/the-hyped-new-social-app-that-collects-data-without
-limits
 They haven't been smart about data privacy, but a lot of savvy people
downloaded and set up the app anyway. That's probably because savvy
users know their expectation of privacy is limited, and they're making
the tradeoff (giving up some privacy in exchange for a perceived
benefit from social discovery). 

That Gizmodo article says "Highlight is poised to be this year's
breakout hit at South by Southwest, the Austin tech and media
conference that has become known as a web service kingmaker after
launching services like Twitter and Foursquare to a wide audience in
years past." I don't think it was a breakout hit, and I don't think
Foursquare was exactly a breakout hit, either. Twitter may have been a
special case. I think the idea that SXSW is "a web service kingmaker"
is hype.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #66 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 20 Mar 12 16:12
    
Just wanted to check. There's the real buzz from users and then the
one the social media mavens push. I got the sense from the Paul Davison
interview that he wasn't snowed by any of it. Saw SXSW more as a
testing ground for how his app would work at conventions, etc. 

But it does indicate a whole new push in our social dimensions. I
rarely allow any location devices to be working; even take the battery
out of my cellphone. When I do use check-ins or location apps it is
very intentional.

Jon, you make a good point that most of us are now aware of the
privacy we are exchanging for the use of apps. I regularly cancel
permissions I have given and don't allow them to run in the background
on my phone, Facebook, or Twitter. It just creates more spam and
feedback loops I don't want.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #67 of 133: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 20 Mar 12 17:51
    
Um, no data retention policy, no privacy policy... Read the comment
from SKSF over at the iTunes store. Sorry, this is scary.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #68 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 20 Mar 12 21:02
    
I wouldn't say scary - we're not talking about a banking or medical
app, where there's sensitive information in play. Social media
platforms like Highlight, Facebook, Twitter et al are for
entertainment, conversation, hanging out. What sensitive information
would you be passing to Highlight? I mean, I think it'd be smart for
these guys to have clear policies and enforce them to the hilt, but I'm
not giving any information to Highlight or to Facebook that I consider
sensitive, that I would need to protect. 

There is a case here for cultivating data literacy. Anyone who uses an
app like Highlight that doesn't publish explicit policies should
understand the risks, however minimal. 
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #69 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 21 Mar 12 02:05
    
It's an indication of the generational divide. I'm more on Ed's side
with these things, and actually read the permissions I'm being asked to
give away. I'm still not comfortable with the exchange that takes
place by being "always on". Getting better, but I like a low profile
and, for a digital monk, it's quite a leap. Geez, just doing this
interview has sent my Google+ sphere into orbit. I've had over 300 new
followers and I basically only use + for Hangouts. Now I may actually
have to figure out how to incorporate Google+ into my network :) Aargh,
another learning curve.

I realize the younger generation doesn't even give it a thought, they
just plug and play; it's what they've been doing all their lives.

All part of the great transformation and migration to the Net. And
there's an arc to the process: evolution, revolution, reformation,
renaissance, pre-,post-, and modern. We're only in the 2nd stage. Lots
still to be done.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #70 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 21 Mar 12 02:16
    
Here's an example of things that need to be sorted out.

Employers Ask Job Seekers for Facebook Passwords:
In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government
agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social
networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a
look around.

(http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017794577_apusjobapplicants
facebook.html)
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #71 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 21 Mar 12 03:25
    
This is all filed under Trust Networks. We are learning whom and what
to trust as our lives push out to include the virtual domains. It's one
of the primary reasons people like walled gardens and silos; they are
a fairly safe place to put your feet in the water. Eventually you want
to go swimming in the deep water. Given the amount of data being
produced each day, the virtual worlds are expanding beyond our reach.
Web 3.0, the semantic web, will help in the exploration, but it is now
beyond any individual's grasp...networks are the only successful way to
navigate and they rely on trust.

Jon's comfort zone is built on that trust, as well as his digital
literacy. Skillz, and the joy of discovery.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #72 of 133: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Wed 21 Mar 12 04:57
    
One other comment for your responses...

Most good apps and platforms develop out of answering users' needs.
Here's one I think is obvious and I'd really like someone to develop
this.

I no longer see a divide between my online and offline lives - it's no
longer AFK --- IRL, it's all just part of how I live now. But my
online persona is managed to all too great a degree behind the walled
gardens of FB, Twitter, Google, and a few others.

First of all, it's a bother to have to deal with each of these sites
separately; constantly checking in and out of each one. Why can't there
be a platform that lets me have them all in one place, where I can get
a quick overview of what's going on, what or whom I should follow,
link or respond to? And why can't I broadcast all at once to multiple
sites of my choosing. 'Add this' is tedious. I ought to be able to
write a post and have a dropdown box that says where I want to post it.

I mean, these are just "Duh" things from a user's point of view, and
just mechanical from a transmission point of view. Linux folks, give me
a browser that let's me set my permissions and passwords across my
social spectrum and let me fly.
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #73 of 133: J. Eric Townsend (jet) Wed 21 Mar 12 08:35
    
>What sensitive information would you be passing to Highlight?

What sensitive information are they buying from marketing or credit
agencies and how do they map their users to that data and who do they
sell the results?
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #74 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 21 Mar 12 08:40
    
It doesn't make sense to me to insist on privacy in a sharing context.
Facebook and Twitter both allow you to restrict access to your shared
information, and when I encounter one of those, it feels a little weird
to me, though I respect that some people want to be more private and
share only with an intimate circle. 

I think you should have an expectation that Facebook and Twitter will
honor the restrictions that they allow you to enable. There should be
no surprises, you should always know how your data will be handled and
the systems for protecting an expectation of privacy should be solid.

So I want to be clear that I'm not saying to Ed that I wouldn't share
his concern, but Highlight's lack of a clear policy doesn't strike me
as scary, because I don't think people are giving Highlight access to 
sensitive data, like a credit card number or your SSN. And if you're
worried about sharing your location data, you're not going to use an
app like Highlight. Maybe you wouldn't use a cellphone, either.

Twitter famously got a critical mass of users at SXSW in 2007. People
were using it to coordinate action, just like those kids in Shibuya
used text messaging to coordinate a flash meeting in one spot. That was
a form of social discovery and location sharing that later manifest in
more dedicated apps: Foursquare and Gowalla for location sharing, and
now Highlight and Glancee for social discovery. Of the  five apps I've
just mentioned, I think only Twitter was what I'd call a killer app. I
don't think location sharing has been as big a deal, and it's something
you can do with Twitter, unmediated by another app. I think social
discovery is even weaker than location sharing - the idea of finding
strangers with affinity sounds interesting conceptually, but in
practice I don't think it's really compelling. (We can come back to
this later and see if I was totally wrong...)
  
inkwell.vue.436 : SXSW 2012, Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #75 of 133: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 21 Mar 12 08:56
    
> What sensitive information are they buying from marketing or credit
agencies and how do they map their users to that data and who do they
sell the results?

That's a good question, and gets back to the point that we need to
figure out how to educate the mainstream about the implications of "no
privacy policy," and about the meaning of privacy policies that do
exist... among many other aspects of the digital world.
  

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