Thursday, March 5, 2009

Idealist and Reddit Launch idealistNews.org


Today I'm excited to announce a new project idealistNews.org, a nice example of the Idealist and Reddit partnership.

From the smallest of commitments to the greatest of possibilities, there are plenty of amazing projects and ideas promoting change around the world. This new service will contribute to it and, thanks to its social media features, help people connect and find practical solutions to social and environmental problems.

Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, and take steps toward building a better world.

Reddit is a "social news" service where users submit stories and site community votes on the submissions. Based on those votes the submissions float up or down in ranking. Digg.com and StumbleUpon are also "social news" services.

If you're interested in a quick video tutorial on how to use idealistNews.com, please follow this link.

Take a moment and check out the new site at http://idealistNews.org, submit your news and vote...And let me know what you think about it!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video

Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video Released

How to Stay Legal in Remix Culture? When is it fair and legal to use other people's copyrighted work to make your own? What's the line between infringement and fair use?

American University’s Center for Social Media announces the release of a new code of best practices in fair use for creators and users of the professional and amateur online videos (centerforsocialmedia.org/remix).

The code, grounded in the practices of online video makers and in the law, was collaboratively created by a team of scholars and lawyers from leading universities. It was coordinated by American University Professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi.

The code identifies, among other things, six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. They are:

  • Commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material.
  • Use for illustration or example.
  • Incidental or accidental capture of copyrighted material.
  • Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event.
  • Use to launch a discussion.
  • Recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works.

Before the code’s release, there was no clear statement about what constitutes fair use in online video.

Code of Best practices Committee Members:


Co-chairs
Peter Jaszi, professor of law, faculty director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, Washington College of Law, American University
Patricia Aufderheide, professor, director of the Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University

Members
Michael C. Donaldson, Esq., Los Angeles
Anthony Falzone, lecturer, executive director, Fair Use Project, Stanford Law School
Lewis Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, Kenyon College; fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
Mizuko Ito, research scientist, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
Henry Jenkins, professor, program head, comparative media studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michael Madison, associate dean for research, associate professor of law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Information, University of California, Berkeley
Rebecca Tushnet, professor, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgetown University
Jennifer Urban
, clinical associate professor of law; director of Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic, University of Southern California

MULTIMEDIA ELEMENTS
QUOTES

CSM quote:

  • Patricia Aufderheide, Professor, Director of the Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University

“This code of best practices will protect an emerging creative zone—online video—from de-facto censorship,” said Aufderheide. “Creators, online video providers and copyright holders will be able to know when copying is stealing and when it’s legal.”

  • Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law, Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, Washington College of Law, American University

“The fair use doctrine is every bit as relevant in the digital domain as it has been for almost two centuries in the print environment,” said Jaszi. “Here we see again the strong connection between the fair use principle in copyright and the guarantee of freedom of speech in the Constitution.”

Third party quote:

  • Dean Jansen, Outreach Director, Participatory Culture Foundation

“For anyone who has wondered, ‘Will I be sued for creating and posting this video online?,’ the code of best practices in fair use is an invaluable guide,” said Dean Jansen, outreach director for the Participatory Culture Foundation, the organization behind Miro.

Third party quote:

"Political remixers badly need the Code of Best Practices, because they want their work to circulate widely as a form of criticism with some impact in the world. They also don’t want to be hostage to DMCA takedowns (which is when a copyright holder asks a provider like YouTube to take down a video, because it infringes their copyright), or at least they want to have good arguments for a counter-takedown," said New York remix artist Jonathan McIntosh.

“As well, many non-profits and other organizations really want to make political remixes, but they’ve been afraid to try, because they’re worried about incurring legal expenses,” he said. “This Code will make it much easier to know when you’re going to be within the law.”


Please contact CSM to arrange an interview and/or for additional quotes.

CSM Boilerplate:

The Center for Social Media showcases and analyzes strategies to use media as creative tools for public knowledge and action. It focuses on social documentaries for civil society and democracy, and on the public media environment that supports them. The Center is part of the School of Communication at American University.

RELATED LINKS
CONTACT INFORMATION


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Second Twebinar

My Second Twebinar

Today was my second Twebinar day. The Twebinar is a Web-based social media seminar conducted via online video session and Twitter live stream. It was organized by Radian6 and hosted by Chris Brogan.

The Twebinar's theme was: "Who really owns your brand?" It was announced as "a roundhouse discussion on all that's brand in the Web2.0 world."

Some of the questions of today's Twebinar were: "Where are all of the conversations? Does it matter whether it's begun by an influencer? What can you do now that you can't control every aspect of a brand? Who, if anyone, owns 'your' brand?"

Compared to the first Twebinar, I was glad to notice the improvements. Almost all of the points I made here were addressed in the right manner:
  • Twebinar #2 was more interactive because Chris discussed with his guests in real time and addressed some of the questions being raised via Twitter.
  • This time, Twebinar was more structured, focused on one topic--the destiny of brands in the social media world.
  • Twebinar #2 was a live-stream session, featuring "live" speakers, and sparkling conversations (much more social than the first one).
  • The Twitter conversation was centralized through one Twitter stream.
However, the Twebinar was not as exciting as expected.

It seems that our social media leaders got a little tired and lost their "evangelistic" attributes. Or is it just the fact that we need to find some new perspectives in our social media discussions? Should we let some fresh air in our social causerie?

What do you think?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Social Media for Government

Social Media for Government

DoD’s engagement in social media is a good example of governmental institutions opening up and embracing new tools and vehicles and streamlining their overall communication programs. What is especially valuable is that:

  • DoD successfully combines traditional and new media platforms in reaching to its stakeholders. As a result, DoD’s communication program operates on two levels: not only that the traditional media coverage influences online but also the other way around. For instance, Jack Holt, DoD’s Chief of New Media Operations and its new media strategist, has pointed out the effectiveness of DoD’s Bloggers Roundtable practice: not only that it helped DoD to gain a significant online coverage, but it also placed DoD on the front page of the Washington Post. The Washington Post journalist picked up the story about re-educating Iraqi detainees from the DoD’s beat bloggers and the official transcript of the Bloggers Roundtable session, and wrote an article on the topic. Here is the explanatory video:

Together with the bloggers relations (Bloggers Roundtables) and outreach, the DoD has its own blog as well as its own online video channel--DoD Live new media vlog (constantly updated with the option to subscribe to it via RSS).

  • DoD also produces audio and video podcasts. Did you know that the top government podcasts downloaded from iTunes are from DoD?
  • You can subscribe to DoD’s content via RSS
  • DoD has Flickr account
  • The effectiveness of DoD’s social media initiative is partly due to the decision to make Holt the DoD’s digital strategy front man. I incidentally stumbled upon a pitch letter he wrote recently to announce DoD’s Bloggers Roundtable and it clearly testifies his PR skills. It’s short, effective, and to the point:

"Who wants to talk to the guy who flew the first C130 relief flight into Burma?

Bloggers Roundtable w/Capt. Trevor Hall, USAF, the pilot-in-command of the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to fly the first emergency relief supplies into Rangoon International Airport in Burma.

Wednesday 14 May
0900 Eastern

Can you make it?"

Overall this is a good example on how to integrate social media with traditional channels to maximize your communication efforts and results. However, I am purposely avoiding commenting on DoD’s overall mission. My focus here is only on its communication strategy and its integration of the mainstream and social media.

Some more examples of social media used by the government:

Government agencies host 30 ongoing blogs on various subjects, from AIDS awareness to personal blogs of agency officials. Here are some more examples:

The CIA uses Wikis
The NOAA has an island in Second Life
The TSA has a blog Evolution of Security (featuring Blogger Bob, some say the government celebrity blogger)

Know some more examples? Share them with me…

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Social Media News Release

Social Media News Release


American University's Center for Social Media recently announced the release of a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. This document, created by a team of scholars, lawyers, and new media enthusiast from leading universities, is "a clear statement about what constitutes fair use in online video." Before the code's release, there were no adequate documents on this issue.


I'm currently developing a social media news release (SMNR) that will spread the word on the code of best practices. The traditional, mainstream press release for the code can be found here. My first draft of the SMNR for the Center for Social Media, which is a "work in progress" (it will have sidebars, not so many pages) looks like this:

And here is a simple flaw chart:
SMNR is a new revamped version of the traditional news release. It serves the same purpose as the traditional one--to spread the news about any relevant event, product, etc .


After more than 100 years of being used in the same, standard format, in 2006/2008 (thanks to Todd Defren from the SHIFT communications who offered the first and second SMNR template and Tom Foremski and his famous blog post "Die! Press Release! Die!") traditional press release evolved and started to assimilate some social media components. It became less narrative, more visual, and easier to share among the online communities. The new release is comprised of short bulleted facts, multimedia (images, video, audio), links, quotes, and tags. With the 2008 version, SMNR became even more interactive, with embedded links for comments.

I'm still looking for the best template/software for my SMNR so if you have any suggestions and experience in developing SMNR do let me know!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Google Maps enjoy their Second Life

Google Maps enjoy their Second Life

Ever since I attended "Beyond Broadcast '08--Mapping Public Media" I got interested in cyber cartography and online mapping applications. After exploring this new social media genre--map mashup, I realized that collaborative mapping is a powerful tool for the Web-based PR, marketing, and advertising initiatives, among others.

A large number of interesting examples of geo mashups can be found at an informative site called Google Maps Mania, "an unofficial Google Maps blog tracking the websites, mashups and tools being influenced by Google Maps."


However, organizations willing to experiment and promote their products and services through map mashups in virtual worlds, can do that effectively in Second Life. These virtual map mashups are often called slashups.

I recently became a SL resident and my adventurous avatar PRometeus Magic began exploring this new world. What he discovered is an exciting place called the Virtual Briefing Hub (226, 19, 399), a part of the Daden Prime (128, 128, 22) and a fascinating example of a slashup.



This is a creation of an U.K. based organization--Daden Limited. PRometeus spent almost a whole weekend exploring their place. Luckily, he met a Virtual Hub host Corro Moseley aka David Burden and asked him a few questions about the project. Here is a transcript of their chat:

  • Could you please tell me something about the Daden Limited?
We are a virtual worlds consultancy, based in Birmingham UK. We have a core UK team, but we work with sub-contractors across the globe to deliver client projects.
  • What is the Virtual Briefing Hub and how can SL residents use it?
The hub has been designed for Birmingham City Council to use to help show stakeholders in the city how virtual worlds technology can be used--particularly for planning, regeneration, infrastructure management, education, and health. It uses our Google maps interface, and as such any residentcan use it to view Google Maps. We'll also be making the hub available at a couple of other locations, including the Teen Grid, and we're also working on a consumer version. You can pan and zoom your way across the globe down to individual street and building level, and can also use a find command to jump to a specific location--if it's in the gazateer. You can also bring up any RSS feed or KML feed and have the system plot the data for you across the map.
  • What elements are mashed together in this application?
Google Maps, RSS and KML feeds and a geo-coding service.
  • How important are geo mashups in SL and what's their role/potential?
We think that SL is an ideal collaborative environment, and a great place to visualize data. Using something like the hub people/scientists/engineers/planners from across the city, country or the globe can get together to view data and discuss implications in a way which is far more visceral than all looking at different PCs and trying to discuss it on the phone.
  • What virtual projects are you working on right now?
We are working on a training system for care home managers using artificial avatars, and another for paramedics using the Medbiquitous Virtual Patient standard to drive training exercises in Second Life.
###

I just want to add that this virtual mashup is a wonderful PR/Marketing tool that promotes Birmingham, UK in an innovative and creative way. I was amazed when I clicked on the commands and found myself on the streets of a 3D city, among 3D people and buildings, or mashed in a video clip emerging from the mapped layers of data. Thanks to this wonderful slashup, I discovered Birmingham is a cool city, worth visiting in both the real and Second Life.

What do you think?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My First Twebinar

My First Twebinar


Today I attended my first Twebinar and I’d like to share my thoughts with you. As its name says, it is a combination of Webinar and Twitter. What is it exactly? It is a simultaneous webcast of video conversations with some of the big names in the social media sphere and a Twitter community livestream commentary of the conversations.


It was organized by Radian 6 (and supported by the Society for New Communications Research and the New Communications Forum) and announced as a modern communication mash up. It was both funny and useful to connect with social media folks, as it is a great initiative in itself but I have some suggestions for the future Twebinars.


First, this online social media meeting was not a real mash up. In order to be a mash up, as it is explained here, a form or creation has to be a new independent application developed by combining two or more Web sites. These mashed Web sites cease to exist separately from the moment of their unification and they are becoming an integral whole. Therefore, today’s Twebinar was not a real mash up. It was just a combination (a good one though) of the two social media tools/applications.


Today’s Twebinar was not enough alive. The microblogging livestream activity was very much alive (as it always is) but I was expected to attend a live casting of a chain of Web-based conversations. Chris’ conversations with the social media strategists were shoot earlier and that was a bit disappointing. It would have been much better if Chris had in his live studio some “real”guests and an ongoing animated conversations.


The interviews somehow lacked focus. The only overarching theme was the social media, but that was too general and for us already knowledgeable with the topic, it was not too informative. I cannot say that I learned anything new today. Therefore, for the future Twebinars, it would be better to focus on one particular hot social media topic and explore it in greater depth.


The Twitter chats were inspiring as always, but I had difficulty following all three (or two?) streams at once. Why not creating one centralized livestream? And why not preparing clearer instructions for the Twitter community beforehand?


Anyway, it was a great experience, a creative initiative from the Radian 6 team, and even better in terms of connecting with the new media community. And, I got a number of new followers….

And finally, I’d like to ask all of you who attended the first Twebinar: What do you think of it?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Map Mashups for Strategic Communicators


Map Mashups for Strategic Communicators

Map mashups have revolutionized online mapping and they are on the way to revolutionize the world of public communication. A map mashup is a social media Web application that enables creation and rendering of interactive maps with integrated customized external data. It takes content from many different sources, combines them, and merges these structures into one coherent multimedia whole. The result is a hybrid which is a whole new genre with a huge potential usage in different industries (travel, real estate, politics, entertainment, social networking, healthcare, education, etc.).

The first instances of map mashups were not social enough because they did not allow users to add or edit existing “mapped” data. Chicago Crime Map, for instance, did not allow its users to comment on or chat about crimes. The latest versions, however, have become more refined because Application Programming Interfaces (API) developers made it possible to build up sustainable, enjoyable, online social interactions. The map mashups now are truly social because they allow collaboration and syndication of mapped content.

The development of the new map mashup (or geo-mashup) genre has enabled and initiated a growing trend of citizen, amateur cartography. Many people today, thanks to a widely available user-friendly APIs, are creating map mashups or uploading photographs from GPS phones that can be added to collaborative online mapping sites. Practicing this strategy is becoming increasingly popular and communication professionals should embrace it to enrich their online strategies.

One good example of map mashup developed by adding to Google Maps data from Flickr, WeatherBug, Wikipedia, Eventful, Google Friend Connect, and even more, is MapDango.com. It is an extensive Google Maps travel mashup that lets you explore locations and travel information (after entering a zip code) with added information such as weather (WeatherBug), photos (Flickr), facts (Wikipedia), events (Eventful), news (Google News) and, recently added, Google Friend Connect. Thanks to the presence of so many social features, every registered user can add comments to and review their favorite places as well as upload and share their pictures from the locations.

From the communication standpoint, this application provides an optimal online platform to present travel data in a new, engaging, and visually compelling way. It is a convenient channel for reaching and connecting with niche audiences by creating an online social hub. The “Be Social” option, which allow users to comment and add their reviews of the locations, gives professional communicators an opportunity to get and stay connected with their audiences, listen to them, and respond to their suggestions. This is also a free, constantly updated, online survey of the targeted travel publics. Moreover, there is a “mapdangito” (little MapDango), a portable widget that can be embedded on one’s Web site or blog sidebar. This means a possibility to spread your client’s data virally and reinforce its online presence.

New mapping tools can also be a powerful force for advocacy, social change, and even fundraising. One great example of strategically used map mashup to promote a cause is Stopnewnukes.com. This is an education/advocacy project to raise awareness of the impact of nuclear weapons as well as to call people to action and ask for donation. This map mashup combines Google Maps with Flickr photos of various nuclear hazards, and mashes them with background information on the danger of nuclear weapons. By clicking on the map pushpins, users are instantly redirected to the organization’s Web site with additional data. In the same way, users can upload printable posters. This is a new form of online outreach and a powerful tool to engage and mobilize people. The Peace Education Fond (PEF) has increased the number of visitors on its Web site, many of them coming from the Stopnewnukes mashup site. Users’ meshup posts to StumbleUpon (and to the other bookmarking sites) contributed greatly to the increase of PEF Web site’s traffic and raised the visibility of the organization’s cause.

Another good example of an effective usage of map mashups to tell the story in a new, refined way is Mibazaar.com. It presents US Presidential candidates by combining data and multimedia from Google Maps, YouTube, and Google news feeds for each candidate, in addition to their basic bio facts. It is a new map mashup, uploaded on May 27, and it will surely be virally spread in the future.

As this example shows, when used in political arena, map mashups can provide professional communicators new ways to tell the story and, what is more important, to tell it in an interesting and visually effective way. Given that we live in an information saturated world, map mashups with their capacity to accumulate multiple layers of data, and often, multimedia data formats into one coherent whole, prove to be useful and time-saving tools. Instead of browsing endlessly in order to gather scattered facets of the story, users now are getting centralized patchwork content. What is more important, a Google survey has shown that 80% of all data can be easily presented in the form of maps. And it means a huge possibility for strategic communicators.

These are only a few examples of many possible usages of map mashups for strategic communication. With flourish of micro-blogging tools and their incorporation in maps to create real-time map mashups, such as this Live Disney map (Twitter lifestrem and Flickr pictures mashed with the locations of Disney’s visitors), maps have become more dynamic and even alive. This is a new way how data is used and presented. Many maps are even made portable—users can take them in the forms of widgets or badges (like the “mapdangito”) and embed them to their own Web sites, which adds a powerful viral capacity to their value.

The future of the online communication has been changed with map mashups applications and communicators need to embrace these trends and use them strategically and creatively in their communication campaigns.