Twittering the Election, SIFTing Media Collections

If you haven’t seen this already, then go check it out. Terse political opinions fly by with impunity. What to do, what to do…and how does media theory speak to this? I can anticipate hundreds of approaches, from critical political economy to social constructivism to what-have-you … but then again, I’m directly implicated in the construction of these very tools, for better or for worse.

Case in point – if you can imagine a media rich version of this, then you might be interested in what Mobile Muse (in partnership with the affable people at Raincity Studios) has been working on for the past little while: the Social Information Feed Tracker (SIFT) Tool. Currently in beta, this application allows SMS and social media from sites like Youtube and Flickr to be aggregated in custom channels. More functionality is being added as we speak – watch for a full public announcement of this and other Mobile Muse innovations very shortly… Aggregation Poll

Not one to miss an opportunity to shamelessly promote my own nascent aggregation site (nor to miss demoing out-of-the-box modules of Drupal simultaneously), I bring you a poll in which you can vote to help determine the balance of content for said aggregation site. So if you’re curious about bands, then vote for bands. If you want info about tech and mobile news, then vote for that, etc. It’s totally unscientific, but I promise I’ll take the votes into consideration (though I must, in the interest of dispassionate judgment, triangulate this voter data with hard stats like Pageviews and visits as against keywords, as against categories, and so forth. & free mp3 nokia ringtones,1100 free nokia ringtones tracfone,free nokia ringtonescash until payday loanadvance? cash loan online payday ?payday loan cash advance loanadvance america cashadvance advance america cashadvance cash loan online,cash advance loan online,advance cash fast loan onlinefirst american cash advance1000 advance cash no fax,cash advance no fax required,advance cash fax no1000 advance cash faxing no,no faxing savings account cash advance,advance cash faxing nono fax cash advance,advance cash fax no payday,advance cash fax georgia nocash til payday advance,payday cash advance,advance cash payday ringtoneadvance cash settlement,advance cash chicago settlement,pre settlement cash advanceloan oneclickcash paydaydueces wild video pokerjacks or better video pokerplay free online slots game,free on line slots game,slots gamefree online video pokerplay bingo onlinefree online slots game,free slots,free download slotsblackjack softwarevideo poker gamesvideo poker machinesplay roulette online888 black jackplay casino roulette,casino roulette,casino roulette downloadlearn to play crapsblackjack card gameonline casino promotioncasino great online game,online casino game,casino download gambling game onlinegambling casino online bonusinternet casino craps,internet casino software,internet casinocasino gambling,online casino gambling site,free online casino gamblingcasino link online suggestfree casino card gameplay free slots gamebest internet casinoplaying video pokerfree online casino craps,free craps,free online crapsbest craps gamecasino video pokerfree internet casinoplay black jack,black jack money play,black jack online playrules of crapsdownload casino gamedownload casino game,free casino game on line,casino gamegame casino online slots,online slots,online slots gamefree online casino gambling,online casino gambling,online casino online gamblingcasino free slots download,free no download casino,casino downloadno deposit bonus online casino,no deposit casino bonus,free no deposit sign up bonus casino if there’s an uproar I might be inclined to add things to the ballot (“more pictures”, “more video”, yada yada yada…).

Up In Ur Transient Droopal. With Announcements.

I’ve finally taken the plunge into Drupal on the label/company page. I haven’t had much need for a main company URL or site, so I’m going to use it as a ‘social media’ (is there such thing as an ‘antisocial’ medium?) sandbox – essentially an experiment in multiple feed aggregation and integration of mobile generated media. I’ll be adding modules over time, and also likely changing the design on a regular basis, when the mood strikes me.

Northern Voice 2008 – accreted notes

SkylightsRough notes from today’s conference…

13:30-14:00: An afternoon discussion with a Vancouver City Planner, a rep from, some guy from Portland, and many others.
the challenges for cities=adopting social media for public participation initiatives.

how do people get something back? more than just “thanks for coming”. stewardship is important. but how do we get people unplugged and back in the community, actively participating.

Irwin: it’s a conservative time, politically. lockdown mentality within city staff and bureaucracy.


laptop labyrinth14:00-14:30 – TransitCamp: sign the letter. translink is not open. we want open data.


14:30-15:00 How do people learn on mobiles? Awesome. Low turnout, however.

shoeco is a fictional shoe store mobsite. how would such a propietor learn how to use it? using wordpress with mobiles. it works.

simple wordpress widget.where can I d/l it?

lappy room onlymy post didn’t work.

interfaces are “brutal”

how do we condense knowledge into mobile-sized pieces? that’s what he’s seeking to solve here. – how would i do that “while i’m driving along”?


15:30-16:00: Megan Cole’s Social Media

couldn’t hear anything, froze almost to death


freezing to death

Chris Heurer and Roland Tanglao on mobile blogging

mobile blogging=video, audio, multimedia blogging

what tool is appropriate for what circumstance?

I asked: why the candid sharing of media? why not work with a script? Roland thinks it’s a difference btw old/new paradigms. I’m not so sure.

publicity/privacy issues act as a mediating membrane of sorts.


Scott & Roland

Kate in Terminal

Why mobile services are not being adopted :: Apptrigger

Survey results paid for by Texas-based company AppTrigger (the study itself was conducted by LM Research & Marketing) suggest that UK mobile operators could be doing much more to promote adoption of advanced mobile services among their subscribers. The data purportedly support the conclusion that

mobile phone operators are largely locked into proprietary application suites and hindered by complex connectivity issues. The missed opportunity comes in the form of traditional IN-based applications such as pre-paid, voicemail and SMS. Operators lack the application connectivity to integrate these existing applications with new services across their legacy and next generation networks to work seamlessly and cohesively together. This limits their ability to blend best-of-breed, multi-vendor applications in a timely fashion to respond to users’ demands and push these services out more quickly.

I agree with this interpretation, and I further concur with the company’s VP of Marketing that “the ability to bring innovative network services to market via new environments such as Web 2.0 will be the catalyst that enables monetisation of application mash-ups. Operators need to be positioned to reap the rewards of these opportunities”. Wireless operators interested in having their subscribers use advanced mobile services need to open up their platforms to enable the kind of radical social transformations (and associated entrepreneurialism and investment) we’ve witnessed in the IP-based web over the past several years. Getting in sync with services like Jaiku, Twitter, or Shozu (perhaps offering these up as bundled services independent of typical data plans) might be a start. I’m no business strategist, but surely it’s a no-brainer to offer up existing, user-friendly, post-beta services to subscribers rather than to try and flog your own non-interoperable walled MMS gardens.

But I have two issues with the interpretations that the authors put forward.

  1. To reduce the adoption question to lack of promotion is fallacious. There are myriad cultural and social reasons why users will not adopt mobile services. No amount of mobile marketing can force people to change their behaviour. This is precisely why opening up wireless networks to Web 2.0 services will encourage adoption of advanced mobile technologies – users are actively involved in development cycles in the Web 2.0 paradigm. No application in this arena will thrive without end user input, period. And the model is working so well in a competing virtual space – the IP-networked laptop/desktop world. This is why the US and Canada (and, it seems, the UK, according to this study) lag behind the developing world (where there is no platform competing with the mobile platform) in adoption of mobile services generally (not just the advanced services).
  2. The data in their full study is presented in a confusing way. There is no indication of the number of respondents surveyed – only percentages – and hence the study is not apparently scientific (at the very least it is not transparently so).

Still, some interesting discussion points here.

Single Sign-On and Content Aggregation: a Preliminary Analysis of their Potential in Facilitating Progressive Social Change

What is the relation between the technology of single sign-on and community mobilization?

There are two approaches to – or models for – the twin issues of convenience and security in our current era of mass content browsing: (1) single sign-on (OpenID, MicroID) and (2) content aggregation (Jaiku, Pageflakes, Readr). Both solve certain problems in terms of managing content communities and users. There is no reason why either model cannot be employed to accomplish the same goal of mobilizing and invigorating communities – politically, culturally, environmentally, socially, and so on. Essentially, both approaches enable the construction of activity streams that users can publish, share, syndicate, and read.

There are crucial differences between these two approaches, though, which bear implications for their social deployment. Single sign-on puts users in a position to conveniently sign up for numerous applications and web services with the same ID (reducible to an email address, URL, or phone number), while content aggregation streams users’ many different accounts into a single location, giving them the freedom to import and export feeds from other sites (ranging from the lightweight Jaiku to the sprawling, all-encompassing Facebook).

The two models differ by degree. The amount of “in-house” functionality offered in content aggregating services makes a crucial difference in the ways in which these technologies are adopted – their bias, of sorts. Whereas OpenID simply authenticates “who you are”, Facebook more intensively mediates self representation by deploying its own services (messaging, mobile updates, profile pages, and so on), and by inviting developers to build little gates into its fenced (though not quite walled) content garden.

Facebook is also letting developers decorate the place with garden gnomes and suchlike. It is worth considering the potential negative implications of development solely for one corporately-owned platform, either presumptively (Facebook) or retroactively via buyouts (Google’s approach, e.g., their recent purchase of Jaiku). As a sidebar, these represent more systemic problems on the horizon of social networking and social change – the traditionally uneven political economy of the information economy, which keeps growing its corporate heads back like a hydra, no matter what utopian promises are being made at any given time by any particular indie widget pusher. But I’ll save that discussion for a later time. Here I am concerned strictly with considering which of two technical models might be more specifically appropriate for the function of enabling social change via open content and communications.

Ultimately the Facebook model (fenced in web within a web) will fail in competition with services that leverage the myriad multiple devices and software platforms that currently populate the growing mobile technical ecosystem. With no clear standard for operating systems on mobile phones, there is much work to be done to enable everyone to talk to everyone else. On the other hand, application developers have an immense opportunity to build tools that facilitate syndication and sharing over thousands of different mobile devices and networks – and crucially, in effective community mobilization crossing boundaries of culture, geography, and social class, this involves devices that range from iPhones and Nokia N-series computers down to the lowest tier SMS-capable phone. Given this variability, the argument for an authentication protocol that is as much as possible only that – an authentication protocol – and not an “environment” like Facebook (a web within a web), is more palpably constructive, in terms of bridging divides.

Where the goals are social, cultural, and political, primarily – mobilizing communities to create and share mobile generated content with the underlying aim of improving people’s lives in tangible, measurable ways – this can take many forms. The definition of “community”, or the definition of the user group is crucial here. For instance, a mobile web services platform can accelerate citizen activism (sousveillance of arrests and/or protests, which has proven highly effective in providing a limited “fourth estate” that keeps police, government officials and other powerful entities in check, a count on which traditional mass media has failed miserably). Mobile web services can also help invigorate communities of independent musicians and music audiences, providing platforms for content and fan-artist-remix interactions on-the-go. And, mobile web services can enhance and amplify existing community cultural infrastructure, something Mobile Muse 3 specifically aims to accomplish with its development of projects in partnership with cultural organizations around Vancouver and the Province of B.C. For all these instances, single sign-on and content aggregation provide good models for coordinating clouds of user data generated into a navigable, mappable semantic space.

There are other models of community media, however, that call into question the viability of single sign-on, and that point to content aggregation as the better model. In particular, there are two: contexts where identities are divisible, and contexts where identities are combinant.

Combinant identities
In many rural communities in the Third World, mobile devices are shared – by couples, by families, and in some cases by entire villages. In cases where the intent is to distribute and share not only the software – along with the text, images, audio and video carried over the mobile media service – but also the hardware (the phones), single sign-on poses complex problems. How do multiple users properly authenticate on a shared wireless account/phone number? How could a single phone be configured to accept multiple accounts? Obviously, swapping SIM cards doesn’t get around the problem, as this necessitates the purchasing of multiple wireless accounts. In Vancouver’s downtown east side, for instance, how would a shared mobile infrastructure (including shared handsets) work? Wi-fi phones – such as Nokia N-series phones – are only a partial answer, as wireless internet is not (yet) ubiquitous in Vancouver, and effective use of mobile browsers is not enabled by the current applications available for N-series phones or their competitors. In short, a combination of protocols (SMS, MMS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) are the best bet – enabling as many connections – both free and paid, both easy and challenging – as possible.

Divisible Identities
The second scenario in which single sign-on fails is where users deliberately maintain multiple identities within the same or different sites or environments. Youth and marginal and/or vulnerable populations may require these multiple identities in order to manage the diverse range of social contexts they must occupy in order to survive (for example, keeping family, friends, work, and school distinct even if overlapping).

There is also a third possible area of identity management (a mashup of divisible and combinant, if you will) that comes into view in the present analysis – the recombinant identity – particularly important in a (post- or non-modern) world of dynamically shifting alliances and antipathies – where identity may be continually shifted to accommodate a diverse range of individual and (recombinant) group needs and goals. Here, too, the notion of single sign-on cannot compete with the contextual flexibility afforded by the model of content aggregation.

As a structuring model for the development of community mobile services, single sign-on is problematic in terms of how it reduces individuals to indivisible and noncombinant entities. Content aggregation seems to be a far more viable model for community building and mobilization, as it is adaptable to a wider range of social and cultural contexts – in which identity may be conceived in different ways, or in which it may simply manifest in technical networks in different ways due to the exigencies of human survival.