Shock/Fear rhetoric

I opened this video thinking I was going to watch a creative mash-up debate between the wiki and the blog – and while that is SORT OF what I saw, I was simultaneously shocked rhetoric used in this short film.


The debate is between Kennedy and Nixon, with Kennedy defending the wiki and Nixon the blog. The language, however, is all about control and ‘freedom of speech’. And even a little ‘protect your kids from lurking pedophiles thrown in’ for good measure.

Some excerpts:

Blogs allow you to control content and ‘keep away internet predators‘, something that wikis do not do… you can tell who said what without compromising the integrity of the content. Comments can be screened by the blog facilitator- comment by Mashup Nixon

…editing the text that is viewed by the children of this generation… –comment by Mashup Nixon

Blogs are ‘unconstitutional‘ – the true freedom of speech can be found in a wiki. The voice of the people should not be suppressed… ‘Not only are blogs unconstitutional, but they do not allow for the freedom of speech. –comment by Mashup Kennedy

Do you want what is posted on your wiki to be representative of your thoughts and beliefs. Do you want your content to be at the mercy of the (slight echo effect) critical masses? –comment by Mashup Nixon

Mashup Kennedy rebuttal, ‘Now we know what you think of the American people, Mr. Nixon’… ‘I want the people of this nation to know that with a wiki your voice will be heard…’

As someone who researches blogging culture – or even just as someone who has used both tools, I find this argument unfounded (both tools allow for a measure of ‘freedom’ or control’ and it is really the user who determines how it is used) and slightly incendiary. I hope those who watch it enjoy it for it’s comedic value (it is a cute mashup idea, after all), but not as having any authority on the culture of blogging and wikis.

Not avaliable

Um, What?!? What has happened YouTube?

I am an avid YouTube user, and often use videos in my teaching. Not so recently there was a Pork and Beans Dance contest that I was using in a class as an example of remediation, but when I tried to show the video in class – whoops, gone.

And while some are trying to help by filming their screen and putting back online, the crack down at YouTube is causing more and more of these accounts to be suspended.

Are we in the middle of a war between old-fashioned copyright and the remix generation. But what seems to be escaping many of these old-copyright carpetbaggers is that remixing often spreads their artists’ music better than all their expensive publicity. Users have experienced the creativity of the remix and don’t want to go back to passive reception of media.

Example of entry in pork and beans contest:

And another arrangement by Walt Ribeiro:


Some people are getting it…



And some people got it *because* of YouTube and participatory media (Remember Soulja Boy?)


I can’t help but wonder if these restrictions will be a slow death for YouTube? Will users who came to YouTube to be an active participant get tired of the punishments and restrictions and move to competing, smaller video hosting sites?

It will be interesting to see just who does ends up ‘getting’ it. Because one thing that we can be sure of is that participatory media has just gotten started.

YouTube research funded

This week the The Knowledge Foundation, or the KK stiftelsen (in Swedish), announced their funding of our research project  YouTube as performative arena. It is a project desiged to explore how youth use YouTube as a medium of performance and exploration – as well as the ‘boundaries’ of the concept text. The 4 million crown, three year project will be conducted in three parts, an ethonographic study of three Swedish youth groups currently using YouTube as a performance space (for which Stephanie Hendrick  is responsible), a discourse analysis of medialized reactions to youth’s usage of YouTube (for which Simon Lindgren is responsible), and a collaboration between HUMlab, Umeå’s kulturverket and the author Peter Kihlgård in a project where Umeå youth and Kihilgård will explore the concept ‘text’ through a YouTube mediated film series.

For more information, see the funding announcement, or various press releases (all in Swedish).

For contact information, please contact the project leader, Patrik Svensson

Busy day in the lab

I have been away for about a month, but when I returned to the lab yesterday for a little peaceful reading – I was surprised by the amount of activity! It seems that people were having to shuffle from space to space in order to incorporate all the activities that were going on. While it was not the most conducive environment to read in, it did provide just the right amount of energy to be excited about my first day back. Below you can see a few photos of the different events.

Ele working on the tent

Ele checking the tent’s seams (really I think she just wanted to wear it as she just finished running a loop through the lab wearing it as a cape :-P)

The ongoing open source embroidery station (there are a few pieces left, if you are up for it).

The photo edit course

Fredrick on a conference call in the new lab.

You can only sort of see it, but the ‘glass cage’ is full of people talking about the School of Research.

Some kind of meeting…

CNN credits the grassroots media as important to Obama’s win


In the video above, the CNN corespondent mentions that grassroots media (bloggers, twitter, facebook) played an important part in the Obama race. This election was not only about this great man, but about a renewed feeling in the American dream. The feeling that together we can make informed decision, that we can effect change, and that when we believe that mistakes have been made we can come together and, well, make a change.

Go through the site, Obama in 30 seconds. You will see this meme reflected over and over in the videos.



Jenkin‘s was right. These videos were not about the candidate, rather the spirit of participatory culture transposed onto participatory democracy. Participatory democracy may seem like an oxymoron on the surface, but if you look at the historically low voter turn-outs in comparison with this election voter turn-out then democracy has been far from participatory for a long, long time. Has new media been the catalyst? I would venture no – not by itself. Blogs were widely used in the last election. I think it is a combination of factors. The mix of weariness of the current regime, the ease of new media tools, and a candidate that was perceived both as an underdog, but also an ‘everyman’. So yes, grassroots media was important in this race, and the youth using this media was important (see video below), but this is not nearly as much a reflection of the affordances of new media as a reflection of the sentiment of the everyman in America. We wanted change, and in the mantra of the Obama campaign we knew that change was just a matter of saying ‘Yes we can’

Embedded video from CNN Video

cross posted from here (with full CNN videos)

Youtube in the election

Earlier in the year, or rather last spring, I did a talk about how YouTube was being used in the election. My focus with YouTube has been more on youth on YouTube now, and I have read several articles and blog posts about how youth were (mis)portrayed in the YouTube debate. Many were displeased about the videos chosen. They felt that they were not representative of the issues youth found important, like quality in schools, health care, and global warming. And while some of the questions chosen did cover these issues, many were more forms of ‘infotainment’ than information. I think that Jason Rosenbaum summed it up well when he said,

CNN equated youthfulness with childishness. That we are about irreverent videos and short attention spans. Quoting youthful absence at the polls as a reason for politicians not considering the demographic important. When a serious question, and one not scripted, came into play, later reports called him a ringer.

That said, YouTube has been a wonderful gadge of public sentiment during the election process. Videos such as Lisa Nova’s parady of Clinton’s race as a scene from Sunset Blvd is a great example, as well as her parady of the first interview of Sarah Palin.



Tonight I am going to be on state tv (SVT 2) at 22.30 talking about alternative media during this election cycle. I want to bring up the above, but also how YouTube has been both a public platform and a participant.

The Big Bang: Larissa Hjorth in HUMlab

Larissa Hjorth is in HUMlab today giving a talk entitled The Big Bang: A case study of mobile media and gaming as new media in South Korea

In media cultures of late, the synergy between two global dominant industries – mobile communication and gaming – has attracted much attention and stargazing. As part of burgeoning global media cultures, gaming and mobile media are divergent in their adaptation at the level of the local. In some locations where broadband infrastructure is strong and collectivity is emphasized (such as South Korea), online multiplayer games prevail. In locations where convergent mobile technologies govern such as Japan, mobile gaming platforms dominate.
In order to address the uneven adoption and definitions of mobile gaming, this paper will focus on the convergence between mobile technologies and gaming in the Asia-Pacific through a case study on one of the dominant locations for the production and consumption of innovative mobile technologies, Seoul, South Korea. Lauded by the OECD as the most broadbanded country in the world, South Korea’s particular technoculture demonstrates a high deployment of online space in everyday urban life. From the PC bangs (rooms), online gaming and social networking sites such as Cyworld mini-hompy, Seoul provides a fascinating study in twenty-first century technocultures. I will begin with contextualizing South Korea as one of the major global leaders in mobile technologies. I will then turn to the South Korean new media group INP who have conducted location aware game projects such as Urban vibe (2005) and, more recently, ‘mobile hacker’ project called Dotplay (2007).

you can watch her live at 13.15 by clicking on this link

if you missed the live talk, you can watch a stream, or download the talk as podcast on our streams page.

ALSO, don’t forget our new addition to the seminar series. On October 28th, Jens Andersson, now of Lucas Arts, will give a talk entitled Making Games: From Starbreeze to Lucas Arts.