Manitoba Social http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html Mon, 17 Sep 2012 18:34:00 GMT Singing the lockout blues http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a79dc3561-f31c-46d6-b2e3-b66cd48838a4&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Mon, 17 Sep 2012 18:34:00 GMT <p> It may not end the lockout, but the creators of a Taylor Swift-spoofing music video on the NHL's 'break-up' hope it at least gives fans something to laugh about.</p> <p> "The Official Song of the NHL Lockout" stars QX104 weekend anouncer and singer-songwriter Vicki Shae, and was written by Shae and her station coworkers, Brody Jackson and Jonathan Best.</p> <p> Here's the lockout-inspired Shae version, in which the disappointed fan asks the NHL players and owners: " Are you ever, ever, ever, getting back together?"</p> <p> <object data="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" height="350" id="ltVideoYouTube" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" /><param name="quality" value="best" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashvars" value="playerMode=embedded" /></object></p> <p>  </p> <p> In case you're not familiar with the tune, here's pop/country star Taylor Swift's "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together" original:</p> <p> <object data="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" height="350" id="ltVideoYouTube" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" /><param name="quality" value="best" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashvars" value="playerMode=embedded" /></object></p> <p> Morning show host Brody Jackson, who directed the video, said a group of people put it together on their own time, "just for fun."</p> <p> They shot it in a nine-hour stretch that capped off at the Palomino Club (which has a starring role), edited it over a few nights, and had it ready to go days before the lockout happened, said Jackson.</p> <p> "Unfortunately, the lockout reaches out to every one of us, but fortunately we can at least kind of smile about it."</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:79dc3561-f31c-46d6-b2e3-b66cd48838a4 Sing away the lockout blues http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3afbcdb322-669b-45ca-a700-7a9bd7ce76f7&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Mon, 17 Sep 2012 18:34:00 GMT <p> It may not end the lockout, but the creators of a Taylor Swift-spoofing music video on the NHL's 'break-up' hope it at least gives fans something to laugh about.</p> <p> "The Official Song of the NHL Lockout" stars QX104 weekend anouncer and singer-songwriter Vicki Shae, and was written by Shae and her station coworkers, Brody Jackson and Jonathan Best.</p> <p> Here's the lockout-inspired Shae version, in which the disappointed fan asks the NHL players and owners: " Are you ever, ever, ever, getting back together?"</p> <p> <object data="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" height="350" id="ltVideoYouTube" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-MftkeLnJE" /><param name="quality" value="best" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashvars" value="playerMode=embedded" /></object></p> <p>  </p> <p> And in case you're not familiar with it, here's country star Taylor Swift's original:</p> <p> <object data="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" height="350" id="ltVideoYouTube" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="450"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/WA4iX5D9Z64" /><param name="quality" value="best" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" /><param name="wmode" value="transparent" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="flashvars" value="playerMode=embedded" /></object></p> <p> Morning show host Brody Jackson, who directed the video, said a group of people put it together on their own time, "just for fun."</p> <p> They shot it in a nine-hour stretch that capped off at the Palomino Club (which has a starring role), edited it over a few nights, and had it ready to go days before the lockout happened, said Jackson.</p> <p> "Unfortunately, the lockout reaches out to every one of us, but fortunately we can at least kind of smile about it."</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:fbcdb322-669b-45ca-a700-7a9bd7ce76f7 This status update may be used for or against you http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a59aab37a-9e7b-428d-a3e9-35cec955a2fc&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Fri, 08 Jun 2012 20:03:00 GMT <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">Yesterday I had the chance to sit down with <a href="http://www.norayoung.ca" rel="nofollow">Nora Young</a>, host of CBC's technology and pop culture show, <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/spark/" rel="nofollow">Spark</a>, at the Free Press News Cafe. She's also the author of a new book, <a href="http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771070648" rel="nofollow">The Virtual Self</a>, which looks at the growing phenomenon of self-tracking online - the way that, consciously and unconsciously, "the statistical minutiae of everyday life" is collected on the Internet.</span></p> <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/6/5b3b7666-d3be-489d-9681-5ae206e46f42.Full.png?1" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/11/6/5b3b7666-d3be-489d-9681-5ae206e46f42.Large.png?1" /></a></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">It's a hefty term, self-tracking, with all sorts of connotations we might not associate with ourselves. But that was one of the interesting points raised in the book, and the conversation: we're not just talking about people who Instagram every meal, or tweet daily updates on the time it took them to jog 5 miles. </span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">That offhand status update about your weekend at the lake? It's rife with personal data: about your habits, travel preferences, likes. </span><span style="font-size:14px;">It's data that, as Nora says, can be innocuous on its own. But when it's collected from hundreds or thousands or millions of people, it has the potential to change how we live our lives -- in good ways and bad.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">I've excerpted some highlights from Nora's responses to my questions here, but if you'd like to see the whole interview in context, there's a <a href="http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Author-and-radio-host-Nora-Young-at-News-Cafe-Thursday-157474755.html">full video replay, here</a>. (Note: there's a bit of technical glitchiness near the middle of the recording, but it does get corrected).</span></p> <p>  </p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>On the idea of a status update as "self-tracking:"</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">Nora Young: "I think one of the reasons why we do this kind of self-tracking isn't so much out of the raw statistical data. We think about it, in a way, as creating a narrative out of our lives. This, I think, is a very human impulse, not to see our lives as being this set of random occurrences, but rather as something that has a story and something that has a narrative arc.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"But when you actually look at the information about where we're going and what we're doing, it is the kind of stuff that you can often chart on a graph, or that you can amalgamate and aggregate into data sets. In fact, one of the things that a lot of these services do, like the one that I used in the book, <a href="http://www.daytum.com" rel="nofollow">daytum.com</a> --  it actually gives you the tools to turn what you're doing into these really beautiful infographics, the kinds of things that you would have had to pay a designer an awful lot of money not that long ago to do."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>On privacy concerns:</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"The main privacy issue I think, for a lot of us, is not so much that we are oversharing, but what happens when information is taken from one context and put into another. And of course, this is a feature of digital. This is one of the reasons why we love digital so much, is that it's very good at doing that. But at the same time, it means that information that can be totally innocuous in one context, when it's put with other information, can suddenly not be quite so innocuous.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"So what I wonder about is, what happens when you have all these little streams of data that you're putting in your <a href="http://www.flickr.com" rel="nofollow">Flickr</a> account, and your Twitter stream, and this account and that account, and you start to put them together? What kind of picture emerges of you, and are there ways in which that could get out of your control?</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"For instance, in the United States, there have been cases of insurance companies doing things like looking at people's Facebook profiles before they sign them to look for signs of how socially connected they are, how much time they spend in bars, how physically active they are -- all the kinds of stuff that they might use to decide how large a premium should be, and whether you should be insured at all. So there are all those kinds of individual ways in which digital data about us is very leaky."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>On the weird appeal of food photography:</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"That is one that I have trouble understanding what the motivation is behind it. But I also know it's incredibly popular. I think it points to why this stuff is taking off so much. First of all, because it's so easy to do, because we have these cameras with us. (The photos) can be geotagged with location data. They're so easy to share with people.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"If you were going to do that in an analog era, take film photographs of everything you ate and put them in an album, or whatever, that would be really, really obsessive. But now it's just so easy, and we have these huge abilities to store enormous amounts of data, that otherwise completely normal people are taking pictures of what they eat."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>On wanting the conveniences that come with aggregated information -- say, personal Netflix recommendations -- but expecting full privacy. Is this reasonable?</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"I don't think it's reasonable right now, but I think it's what we should be working towards. Because I think that the potential value of that information, both to us as individuals and in terms of helping to generate smarter communities, more responsive communities -- there's too much potential value in that data to just sort of say, let's shut it down now. And also, I don't think it's likely going to go that way.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"I think we have to be thinking about things like, who owns this data? What can people do with it? If we had been born digital, we never would have thought of just ticking a box on a Terms of Service agreement as a reasonable way to go forward with this. It's because it's a legacy of older, standard-form contracts that we proceed this way.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">I think if we're going to be able to use this creation of data for ourselves and for our communities, we really need to get a handle on that. And fortunately there are a lot of conversations going on around how to do that: around how to use the data responsibly, what the data tells you, when is the data statistically reliable, all that kind of stuff."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>On the future of self-tracking:</strong></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"There's a whole lot of research that's being done into how we can create communities that respond better to how people are using them: if we can, in effect, create a sort of feedback loop between the bricks and mortar world around us, and the digital world. And we can already see examples of how this is happening. In a space like this (the <a href="http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/cafe">Free Press News Café</a>), which is connected to the website, and there's a flow back and forth between the bricks and mortar world and the online world.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"Some of the ways that people are doing really interesting research: at MIT, they have a lab called the <a href="http://senseable.mit.edu/" rel="nofollow">SENSEable City Lab</a>… Cell phone research is a big area of focus, because if you know where people's cell phones are, you know where people are. And even non-<span class="pluck-fckEditor-spellCheck-wordField">smartphones</span>, you kind of know where they are, because they have to triangulate to the cell phone towers.  They're trying all these interesting projects to try and say, what can you do if you can communicate information about where people are moving?</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"Some of the most interesting uses to me have come about in the developing world, precisely because those are locations where you don’t necessarily have that robust a data set already. So they've been used to do things like figure out the location of latrines in slums in Rwanda, and where malaria medication should go in Kenya. </span><span style="font-size:14px;">And specifically, you can respond to where people are, because you have people living in contexts where they don't have a street address, and they don't own their home, and so forth, like in a slum situation. But you can still essentially do urban planning on the fly. That, I think, is really exciting. There are tons and tons of examples out there of how people are using these kinds of tools to create more responsive communities."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"One of the things I talk about at the very end of the book, is about the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things" rel="nofollow">Internet of Things</a>, and what happens when we're not just talking about smartphones, and tablets, and laptops, but when we're talking about the environment around us being dispersed with little bits of computational intelligence that's networked to the Internet, and when you can start to think about all the sort of information that you can gather about your environment…</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;">"There's a project that exists right now called <a href="https://cosm.com/?gclid=CLG24teyv7ACFYTsKgod12xFoQ" rel="nofollow">Pachube</a>, that's run by some guys based in the UK. They're trying very early versions of what it would look like to use this Internet of Things. They're giving people relatively simple tools -- I have to say, you still have to be fairly techy to use it -- relatively simple tools to gather sensory data about the world around you. That could be air pollution data, or information about what's going on in your home, and communicate that to the internet, and be mapped. It's been used to really great effect in places like Japan, after the earthquake and the tsunami, to monitor Geiger counter readings and all kinds of stuff. …it's not like it's DARPA planning this. It's these little start-ups all over the place, thinking up interesting ways to use this data."</span></p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:59aab37a-9e7b-428d-a3e9-35cec955a2fc A new home for #longreads http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a1860532a-77a8-4eef-95bc-63ce32de3db2&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Fri, 25 May 2012 20:01:00 GMT <p> In the average day you'll likely read far more Facebook posts, tweets or news briefs than lengthy, indepth feature stories. If you're like me, stories that call for closer reading often get filed away -- for a coffee break, a free evening hour, or vacation browsing.</p> <p> To make it easier for readers to catch up on long-form journalism from our site, we've gotten on board with <a href="http://www.longreads.com/winnipegnews" rel="nofollow">Longreads</a>. The site lets Twitter users share links to their favourite longform journalism using the hashtag #longreads. Those links are automatically collected in a central address linked to an individual username.</p> <p> For the Winnipeg Free Press, that address is <a href="http://www.longreads.com/winnipegnews" rel="nofollow">www.longreads.com/winnipegnews</a>, and in future you'll be able to find our long reads  -- stories in the 1,500-word realm -- there. (We've been dabbling with the site for a little while, so you should see half a dozen stories there already.) We're hoping to update that list weekly with new feature stories, and older ones from our archives.  If you follow us on Twitter, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/winnipegnews" rel="nofollow">@winnipegnews</a>, you'll see these stories tweeted with the #longreads hashtag.</p> <p> A few neat things about Longreads: First, it incorporates <a href="http://www.instapaper.com" rel="nofollow">Instapaper</a> and <a href="http://www.getpocket.com" rel="nofollow">Pocket</a>, two great services that allow you to file stories away for future reading, online or offline. (I'm a longtime Pocket user.) Second, it offers up estimates on how long it'll take you to read any given story. (More on how that works in <a href="http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/long-form-journalism-finds-an-online-friend/" rel="nofollow">this NYT profile</a>.) Third, the site taps into a wide network of crowd-sourced suggestions for great feature writing from across the web.</p> <p> This is something of an experiment, so we'd be happy to get your thoughts. Likewise, any suggestions on Free Press stories from years past that you'd like to see featured again would be welcome.</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:1860532a-77a8-4eef-95bc-63ce32de3db2 In defense of anonymity http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a88f19654-6b0b-4837-903a-94d985dd4620&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Fri, 11 May 2012 18:11:00 GMT <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">A few weeks back I blogged on changes to the commenting system at <a href="http://gawker.com/5905316/hello-and-welcome-to-gawkers-new-commenting-system" rel="nofollow">Gawker</a>, and mused on how those sorts of changes might (hypothetically) play out here at the Free Press. What emerged in the comments was a <a href="http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html#plckblogpage=BlogPost&plckpostid=Blog%3A9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3A43d0cff1-bda7-4da4-8791-5b8c23162471">wide-ranging and insightful conversation</a> about online commenting and anonymity.</span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">I don't think I could begin to sum up the breadth of this debate <a href="http://www.google.ca/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&=&q=anonymity%2C+online+comments&btnG=Google+Search" rel="nofollow">as it's played out elsewhere</a> -- suffice to say there are thoughtful arguments on all sides. The goal of improving the quality of online conversation by making commenters personally accountable has good intentions, and makes some sense -- but then, so do those who point out not everyone is able or interested in putting a real name to their online words: for reasons of safety, or restrictions by employers, or simply a desire to not become a personal target for critics.</span></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">A number of regular commenters shared their thoughts on anonymity in the comments section (see the full thread <a href="http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html#plckblogpage=BlogPost&plckpostid=Blog%3A9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3A43d0cff1-bda7-4da4-8791-5b8c23162471">here</a>). Interestingly, all but one favoured allowing comments to be anonymous, or pseudonymous  -- the ability to comment regularly under the same assumed name. And they had a range of reasons, some of which I hadn't given much thought to, but are worth considering. </span></span><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">Here are a few that stood out for me (some excerpted):</span></span></p> <p>  </p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">I'm 'anonymous' because various professional bodies, and levels of gov't employees are not allowed to publicly comment on anything- which I've often thought is absurd. I comment mostly on matters pertaining to law as it's something about which the public is deeply ignorant. When one perspective, (especially an ignorant one) becomes the dominant one, I think it's important for others to speak up.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- Sierra2</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">Anonymity is my preferred method as well. My job was directly threatened by my employer over comments I had published in 'Letters to the Editor' and using my real name.<br /> I was asked into the bosses office and he started the conversation like this<br /> " Freedom of expression aside...."<br /> Hmmm.... enough said I think.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- thautikus1</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">I prefer to remain anonymous because a number of years ago, I signed my name to a 'letter to the editor' taking an unpopular point of view. For weeks after my home and business received crank calls at all times of he day and night. Some were even threatening violence.<br /> All this was over the unpopular point of view that Winnipeg could survive without the Jets.<br /> I'm not prepared to go though that experience again.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- OBSERVER6</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">As a teacher, annonymity allows me to comment on educational issues. If I publish my name, I would have to contact my superintendent first - something I would rather not do, regardless of how strongly I might feel about my opinion. There is also the issue of possibly contravening the MTS code of conduct, which states, in effect, that a teacher needs to support the majority view in a school or school division, regardless of how that individual teacher feels. Why I understand the need for such an approach, it limits my ability to express myself on issues relating to school - conversations that I obviously want to take part in.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- CS2</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">I received direct threats and some pretty veiled comments which obviously had gleaned any personal information I've posted for a few months in an attempt to threaten me. My anonymity is my protection from what I know exists out there.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- SonnyboySlim</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">I'm totally with you on the anonymity thing. I am one who had a letter published in MacLean's magazine many years ago, and some weirdo tracked me down by sending letters to my name & home town. Because it was a small town the post office in those days would just deliver it without need of a box number. No harm came from any of it, but it reminded me that it really was easy to track people down in this day and age. I had young children at the time, and I did not need some stalker locating my home.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- DPR</span></span></em></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">Anonymity is very important to me. There are some pretty scary commenters on this site and I sure wouldn't want to come face to face with any who I've pissed off. Someone (I don't recall who) commented that he/she used to use a real name and an angry commenter tracked him/her down in real life. No thanks!<br /> I'll never forget the terror I felt when one hostile commenter took a stab in the dark about me and was very close to the mark. It was like someone was looking in my window. I eventually talked myself down but that was a horrible feeling.</span></span></p> <p style="margin-left:40px;"> <em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:tahoma,geneva,sans-serif;">- Intangible</span></span></em></p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:88f19654-6b0b-4837-903a-94d985dd4620 More power to the commenter http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a43d0cff1-bda7-4da4-8791-5b8c23162471&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Fri, 27 Apr 2012 19:41:00 GMT <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">Comments sections are contentious across the web, and getting them right can mean endless tinkering for sites that host them. Providing a forum for discussion is  straightforward enough, but all the nitty-gritty stuff -- how to make that discussion add to a reader's experience , what makes a comment acceptable or unacceptable, and all the little ways a conversation can enlighten or offend or flies off the rails -- well, it's an inexact science.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">So when a site like <a href="http://www.gawker.com" rel="nofollow">Gawker</a> dramatically overhauls comments, online media folks perk up. The gossip site draws millions of eyeballs, and is one of the chief  tinkerers among media sites. How the latest changes go over could determine whether other sites follow Gawker's lead.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;"><a href="http://www.gawker.com/5905316/hello-and-welcome-to-gawkers-new-commenting-system" rel="nofollow">The new system</a>, unveiled yesterday, has some intriguing features: first, more power for commenters. Someone who starts a discussion gets to take charge of it, allowing or rejecting follow-up replies as he or she sees fit.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">"Gone are the elite cliques who ruled the threads with star badges; now every individual has a role to play," writes Andrew Phelps in this <a href="http://www.niemanlab.org/2012/04/gawker-we-want-to-elevate-the-discourse-about-frogs-who-sit-like-humans-chart/" rel="nofollow">thorough explainer</a> on the Nieman Lab site. </span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">Part of the goal, Gawker founder Nick Denton says, is to provide a safe space for story subjects to weigh in. "The subjects of stories have historically preferred to operate behind the scenes. With this new system we are giving them a safe space to mount a rebuttal -- without having that comment immediately swamped by a thousand critics," he wrote in the comments, <a href="http://gawker.com/5905316/hello-and-welcome-to-gawkers-new-commenting-system" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">Some of the comment threads will get featured status; this will be determined <a href="http://www.betabeat.com/2012/04/26/sound-familiar-gawkers-new-commenting-threads-are-called-branches/" rel="nofollow">by a computer algorithm</a>.  And then there are the "<a href="http://gawker.com/5905319" rel="nofollow">burner</a>" accounts - a way of commenting without a username, stored password or email address. The goal is to protect anonymity, at a time when some groups are moving away from it.</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">Here's a thoughtful quote about the decision from Denton, via that Nieman Lab article above:</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;"><em>“The most interesting comments, they don’t come from people with Klout scores, they don’t come from people who actually have a long history of commenting on our sites or any sites. Often it’s a first-timer. Often it’s anonymous. Sometimes they’re moved, they’re so outraged by what you just wrote, that they want to set the record straight.”</em></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">As tinkering goes, this is fairly major stuff, <a href="http://gigaom.com/2012/04/20/nick-denton-wants-to-turn-the-online-media-world-upside-down/" rel="nofollow">described by Mathew Ingram of Gigaom</a> as "nothing less than a reinvention of what the company is about, and also an attempt to literally flip the world of online content on its head."</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">And it means that old system of starred commenters -- described as a "terrible mistake" by Denton -- is getting scrapped.  "All it did was encourage social-media gurus and professional commenters to game the system in order to get rewards," writes Ingram, paraphrasing Denton. (It's worth nothing that this is the kind of system many sites still use, and one the Free Press has been exploring.)</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">I'd welcome any thoughts on all of this. If you're an anonymous commenter -- or totally public -- why did you make that choice? What's your reaction to a featured commenter system? And how would you see a system like Gawker's playing out here?</span></p> <p> <span style="font-size:12px;">Note: nothing like that is currently in the pipeline. Just blue skying.</span></p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:43d0cff1-bda7-4da4-8791-5b8c23162471 Hone your Twitter skills http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a26cb6d3e-c719-4179-b4d6-10468e470d26&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:51:00 GMT <p> Hoping to get your feet wet on Twitter, or get a better grasp on using the social network for business? We're putting together a pair of free workshops at the <a href="http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/cafe/calendar/">Free Press News Café</a> (237 McDermot Avenue) for current or aspiring Twitter users - the first a tutorial for newbies, the second aimed at more intermediate users looking to improve their use of the site for work.</p> <p> More information is still to come, but you can find the basics below (including information on how to have your business workshopped in our second session).</p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>Twitter for newbies</strong></p> <p> Tuesday, April 10, 6 pm to 7 pm</p> <p> Figuring social media for a fad, you planned to sit out Twitter -- it had to pass eventually, right? But with everyone from your hairdresser to CNN singing the praises of the social network, you've decided to give tweets a chance.  Join us at the Winnipeg Free Press News Café April 10 for a Twitter intro session. We'll explain the basics of the site, from hashtags to tweet etiquette, review the numerous ways you can use Twitter for work or for play, and address any questions or concerns you have about the network.</p> <p> Admission: Free</p> <p> Registration required (spaces limited). To register, contact<span style="text-decoration:underline;"> </span><a href="mailto:lindsey.wiebe@winnipegfreepress.com" rel="nofollow">lindsey.wiebe@winnipegfreepress.com</a>.</p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong>Twitter tune-up for small business</strong></p> <p> Tuesday, April 17, 6 pm to 7:30 pm</p> <p> You've found the perfect username, built up a follower base, and nearly mastered the art of condensing your thoughts into 140-character bursts. But certain goals -- whether getting more retweets or turning online enthusiasm into real-life action -- are proving elusive. Join us for a workshop aimed at helping small businesses and organizations fine-tune their Twitter skills. We'll share case studies from local businesses that have found social success, and workshop some of the challenges and questions shared by our attendees.</p> <p> Admission: Free</p> <p> Registration required (spaces limited). To register, or to submit your business or organization to be workshopped at the event, contact <a href="mailto:lindsey.wiebe@winnipegfreepress.com" rel="nofollow">lindsey.wiebe@winnipegfreepress.com</a>.</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:26cb6d3e-c719-4179-b4d6-10468e470d26 Truth is no match for a good Gosling joke http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3ab38a8247-285a-4dc4-9960-547fdd98c30b&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Thu, 15 Mar 2012 20:04:00 GMT <p> Is Ryan Gosling in Winnipeg? In the words of the hashtag, #nonotreally -- at least, there's no  confirmation so far of this morning's mysterious and rapidly spreading Twitter rumours that the heartthrob is in the 'Peg (though if you know something we don't, please share!).</p> <p> The lack of evidence hasn't stopped Twitter folk from having fun with the idea, though, with many a hopeful comment and plenty of references to the age-old <a href="http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/ryan-gosling" rel="nofollow">"hey girl" meme</a> (link might be NSFW, if swears are a problem). Well, age-old, in the age of the web meme, at least.</p> <p> View the best of the Gosling tweets in Storify form, <a href="http://storify.com/lindseywiebe/ryan-gosling-in-winnipeg-3" rel="nofollow">here</a>.</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:b38a8247-285a-4dc4-9960-547fdd98c30b The Stop Kony campaign http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/blogs/wiebe/manitoba-social.html?plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&UID=9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985&plckPostId=Blog%3a9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post%3a9eb618a7-bcd5-440c-81e9-317128cfa829&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest Wed, 07 Mar 2012 20:41:00 GMT <p> It's a powerful and compelling film: a Ugandan boy trying to avoid abduction as a child soldier, and a U.S. charity trying to stop an organization that's abducted tens of thousands of kids like him. And it's garnered a surge of online attention, including more than <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc" rel="nofollow">4 million views on YouTube</a> and a top Twitter trending topic, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23stopkony" rel="nofollow">#stopkony</a>.</p> <p> The <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc" rel="nofollow">30-minute video</a> is a campaign by <a href="http://s3.amazonaws.com/kony2012/kony-4.html" rel="nofollow">Invisible Children</a>, a group dedicated to ending conflict in Uganda and stopping the abduction of children to be used as child soldiers. The purpose of the film, says Invisible Children's Jason Russell, "is to stop the rebel group, the LRA, and their leader, Joseph Kony."</p> <p> <a href="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/15/6edfe201-da5a-45a8-9f00-1d77764e7920.Full.jpg?1" target="_blank"><img src="http://pluck.winnipegfreepress.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/15/6edfe201-da5a-45a8-9f00-1d77764e7920.Large.jpg?1" /></a></p> <p> <em>In this Nov. 12, 2006 file photo, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland at Ri-Kwamba in southern Sudan. (AP Photo/Stuart Price, File-Pool)</em></p> <p> But the video's just the start -- the effort also includes a postering campaign and events around the world April 20. Included is <a href="http://www.facebook.com/events/335692193133452/" rel="nofollow">one in Winnipeg</a>, with 5,000 people already saying they'll attend.</p> <p> Amid the staggering success of the campaign, there are some questions popping up about the practices of Invisible Children. One blog making the rounds, <a href="http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/" rel="nofollow">http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com</a>, raises concerns about the group's financial transparency and its support for the Ugandan military, and questions the impact of social media efforts in dealing with a problem as sizeable as this one. </p> <p> It also points to a <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136673/mareike-schomerus-tim-allen-and-koen-vlassenroot/obama-takes-on-the-lra?page=show" rel="nofollow">Foreign Affairs article</a> that says groups like Invisible Children "have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA's use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony -- a brutal man, to be sure -- as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil." (The Washington Post has a <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/invisible-childrens-stop-kony-campaign/2012/03/07/gIQA7B31wR_blog.html?tid=pm_pop" rel="nofollow">good round-up of the discussion</a>.)</p> <p> It all makes for an interesting discussion on successful social media campaigns about complex political and social issues. That said, nobody's arguing Kony's atrocities, and some skeptics are acknowledging the potential power of all the attention.</p> <p> "I have serious reservations about the campaign itself, and am highly skeptical of the implied idea that if enough people know and care about a problem, and wear a lot of bracelets, they can somehow “change the world," <a href="http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2012/03/07/a-spotlight-on-joseph-kony/" rel="nofollow">writes the Ottawa Citizen's Kate Heartfield</a>, one of the many who are weighing in on the video (<a href="http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&gl=ca&tbm=nws&q=%22stop+kony%22&oq=%22stop+kony%22&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_sm=3&gs_upl=963l4806l0l5100l25l23l1l19l0l1l383l577l1.1.0.1l3l0#hl=en&gl=ca&tbm=nws&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22kony+2012%22&oq=%22kony+2012%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=3&gs_upl=5271l6549l0l6811l11l10l0l0l0l0l227l1462l0.9.1l10l0&gs_l=serp.3...5271l6549l0l6811l11l10l0l0l0l0l227l1462l0j9j1l10l0&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=77178f0bd385c2f&biw=1130&bih=579" rel="nofollow">200+ articles and counting</a> on Google News.)</p> <p> But awareness matters when it comes to sparking discussion and pushing for political action, Heartfield writes. "The video and hashtag have created a lot of debate, and have given people reason to read in-depth articles about such matters as how to rehabilitate child soldiers, and whether military intervention is likely to stop the violence."</p> Blog:9544b636-f451-4bc0-9271-eedd1332e985Post:9eb618a7-bcd5-440c-81e9-317128cfa829