Newsflash: Time Magazine still doesn’t get 4chan

moot at re:publica '09, photo by christian.pier
moot at re:publica '09, photo by christian.pier

So, moot (founder of won Time magazine’s audience poll for most influential person. He got over 16 million votes, with an average rating of 90 out of 100 (the next highest rating anyone got was 47). If you’ve never heard of moot, you’re probably wondering how somoene you’ve never heard of can get such a high ranking and so many votes. If you know who he is, or you’re familiar with 4chan, you know that his community is huge, internet savvy and very, very active when it comes to causes they care about. An internet poll is just the place for them to show up in force and make their opinion known.

Continue reading “Newsflash: Time Magazine still doesn’t get 4chan”

Conference Enthusiast

I’ve been accused, by a couple people, of becoming a “professaional conference-goer.” I should point out that the people who say this are people that I met at conferences, and I generally only see them when I’m at a conference, so perhaps they have a slightly skewed view of how I spend my time.

But the fact remains that I do go to a lot of conferences. I prefer to think of myself as a conference enthusiast, though, not an aspiring professional. Most of the conferences I go to are in the realm of tech, internet, digital culture, digital arts, or popular arts. I include film festivals too, because, well, I love them.  Some are more professionally oriented, and some are more social. In both cases, though, my goal is the same: to meet interesting people and to be inspired.

Here are some the conferences and film festivals that I’ve been to so far in 2009:

And here are several that I’m planning to go to, or thinking about going to later this year:

I know, you’re probably thinking, “There are whole months in there with no conference plans at all.” But it’s early, yet, and there are a lot of interesting things going on out there.

NYC IA Summit Redux

An event next week that should be interesting. From Karen McGrane:

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the IA Summit. If you didn’t make it to Memphis (or even if you did) come see New York locals give abbreviated versions of their talks. This event is free!


  •  Cindy Chastain: Experience Themes: An Element of Story Applied to Design
  • Anders Ramsay: Agile For The Rest of Us
  • Christine Boese: Are Human Beings Becoming Dumb Terminals?
  • Karen McGrane: Designing For, With, and Around Advertising
  • Elena Melendy + Rachel Lovinger: Content Strategy Consortium Highlights
  • Nasir Barday: Professional IA/UX Organizations – How to start and run a successful local group or chapter
  • Chris Fahey + Whitney Hess: The Courage to Quit: Starting, Growing and Maintaining Your Own UX Business
  • Whitney Hess: Evangelizing Yourself: You can’t change the world if no one knows your name


Tuesday, April 28

6:30 PM Doors Open

7:00 PM Presentations Start

9:30 PM  Discussion + Networking


White Rabbit, 145 E Houston Street btw 1st and 2nd Avenues

Semantic Web takes root at the IA Summit

At the recent IA Summit, I was surprised and delighted to see how many talks there were about the Semantic Web. Before this emerging technology can really catch on, we will need more Information Architects and Interaction Designers who understand the potential and can design elegant solutions to real problems (both user problems and business problems). In some ways, I wish the conversation were further along, but I realize that it has to start somewhere. The fact that the subject exploded onto the scene in such a big way is a good indication that Web 3.0 is on a lot of people’s minds. 

These are the talks I saw: Continue reading “Semantic Web takes root at the IA Summit”

Content Strategy Consortium

Over on scatter/gather I wrote a post summing up my experience of last week’s Content Strategy Consortium at the IA Summit. It was a very inspiring experience and there’s a lot more to say about it. This event is bound to inspire many posts – here, on scatter/gather, and on the blogs of my cohorts. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here’s some additional coverage of the event:

Semantic Web for Dummies

Jeff Pollock has just released a book called Semantic Web for Dummies. Over at Semantic Universe you can download a free chapter (registration required), order the book, or read Jeff’s blog posts. I haven’t read the book yet, but Jeff is a really smart person with the ability to speak plainly and compellingly. This book is bound to be useful for people who are trying to understand the Semantic Web, or are still struggling with how to explain it to others. I just put my copy on order.

Scatter/Gather goes live

My department at Razorfish launched a blog today called Scatter/Gather. All of the contributors are Content Strategists (or Information Architects with some experience and interest in content strategy), and we’ll be covering a wide range of subjects relating to the use of content and language in the digital realms. 

My first post is called “Don’t Shoot the Messager” and it’s about a conversation I had about the discrepency between the words message and messenger. It even features a celebrity appearance! Go check it out, and then read all the posts by my brilliant coworkers.

Creative Commons and common acts of creativity

Today I was tagged in one of those Facebook things that ask you to make up an album cover based on grabbing a couple random bits of text from wikimedia and wikiquotes, and a random photo from flickr’s Explore page. I immediately wondered about the licensing issues involved, since most of the photos on flickr’s Explore page are set to “(c) all rights reserved”. 

Sure, this is just a fun bit of remixing, and no one is profiting from it, but isn’t this exactly the kind of thing that Creative Commons was invented to support? Why not make use of it? First I looked around on flickr and discovered that they allow you to find random images, interesting images, or CC-licensed images, but they don’t offer a way to use all three of these criteria at once. 

But I’m sure that it’s possible with the flickr API. A quick search led me to this blog post by Eszter Hargittai about this very same issue. She points to this handy tool by Mike Lietz, who used the flickr API to do this very thing – show a random photo from the Explore page that has a CC license. 

With more and more people using flickr as a source for reusable, remixable images, maybe they will start to provide more robust options for exploring and searching CC-licensed content.

Misconceiving the Mainstream Media

When things that are just under the cultural radar get covered in the “mainstream media” – like a doctor using Twitter during surgery (CNN), the uproar over the new Facebook terms of service (MSNBC), or the “25 random things” meme (NYTimes) – reactions tend to range from “Oh wow, they covered this thing I like” to “Yeah, what took them so long to catch on?”

Both of these reactions are misguided. Having worked in mainstream media for many years, I can tell you that there’s no concerted effort to cover certain things, or hold off on covering things. The “media” is made up of individual people who have a lot of space to fill, whether in print, on TV or online.

Sure, some of their stories are pitched by publicists, and some news is so important it demands to be covered. But the rest of the space is going to be filled with content about things that individual writers or editors are interested in. And these things will be covered at the time when the person happens to find out about them. That might be 6 months after you’ve already gotten sick of it, but to that journalist it’s new. 

Plus, once a subculture has been covered by some mainstream news outlets, it becomes legitimate fodder for everyone else. Here’s a meta-article on NBC LA about coverage of the “25 things” meme: 25 Things Articles Arriving as Fast as 25 Things Lists.

All I’m saying is that people should neither be insulted nor impressed when their pet activity is covered in the mainstream media. It just means that the right person discovered your niche at the right moment, and there was space to fill on the page. Enjoy the moment, but keep it in perspective.

ROFLthing in the City

ROFLconA couple weeks ago I went to a one-day event called ROFLthing-NYC, put on by the same people that brought you ROFLcon last spring. 

There’s been tons of coverage of it. It was blogged by the New York Times. There are excellent interviews on Rocketboom (and video of one of the presentations). Laughing Squid posted some great photos. There’s even a ROFLcon channel on Vimeo, which has more videos. I think more of the presentation videos will be showing up there eventually. 

I loved all the talks I saw:

Lots of other interesting people were there, like MC Frontalot, Moot, and Tron Guy. There was an annoying contingent of Anonymous, who had the impression that the conference was about them, but they settled down a bit after Jason Scott invited one of them onstage to give him the opportunity to say his bit and be done. 

The whole thing went by way too fast. I hope these guys do another event soon.