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The power of networks: distributed journalism, meme warfare, and collective intelligence [BCM112]

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Dr Teodor Mitew

on 2 April 2017

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Transcript of The power of networks: distributed journalism, meme warfare, and collective intelligence [BCM112]

Distributed information networks
journalism
distributed journalism
in this model news is always a pre-packaged
product
sold in a bundle with other content
the publisher's brand provides
authority
and guarantees
authenticity
high cost of entry
high risk
quality filter
gatekeepers
printers
distributors
one to many
>>
many to many
https://twitter.com/rupertmurdoch/status/239829279326760960
The second issue it raises is the one of
'authority' versus 'involvement'
. Or, more crudely, 'Us versus Them'. Here the tension is between a world in which journalists considered themselves – and were perhaps considered by others – special figures of authority. We had the information and the access; you didn't. You trusted us to filter news and information and to prioritise it – and to pass it on accurately, fairly, readably and quickly. That state of affairs is now in tension with a world in which many (but not all)
readers want to have the ability to make their own judgments; express their own priorities; create their own content; articulate their own views; learn from peers as much as from traditional sources of authority
. Journalists may remain one source of authority, but
people may also be less interested to receive journalism in an inert context – ie which can't be responded to, challenged, or knitted in with other sources
. It intersects with the pay question in an obvious way: does our journalism carry sufficient authority for people to pay – both online (where it competes in an open market of information) and print?
"It would be wonderful to be able to present you with some blinding vibrant
future for the old media organizations … For newspapers, the last great
hope now seems to be something called Waiting for Rupert."
a profession in crisis
'all the news that's fit to print'
NYT
we package the news for you in a bundle
you buy it from us because you trust us
1
and you have no other way to get it
2
we sell advertising space
at inflated prices, because advertisers have nowhere else to go
3
every element of this model
is in crisis
Walmart pays for the Baghdad bureau
advertising income has fallen off a cliff
and not coming back
the internet is the most efficient medium at matching demand and supply
to survive, the legacy news media model has to literally
stop the audience from acting as a publisher
Mark Scott, Head of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The business model is one that says we must charge for all content online.
It's the argument that says the age of free is over: we must now extract
direct monetary return from the content we create in all digital forms.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian

The first is about '
open versus closed
'. This is partly, but only partly, the same issue. If you universally make people pay for your content it follows that you are no longer open to the rest of the world, except at a cost. That might be the right direction in business terms, while simultaneously reducing access and influence in editorial terms.
It removes you from the way people the world over now connect with each other
.
You cannot control distribution or create scarcity without becoming isolated from this new networked world
.
two questions follow:
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/cudlipp-lecture-alan-rusbridger
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/cudlipp-lecture-alan-rusbridger
two questions follow:
Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jan/25/cudlipp-lecture-alan-rusbridger
closed content model
>>
open content model
controls distribution
>>
values participation
artificial scarcity
>>
generative value
walled garden
>>
open access platform
paid content
>>
free content
authority model
>>
involvement model
hierarchical
>>
decentralized
monopoly on access
>>
open access
content as product
>>
content as conversation
inert
>>
dynamic
Jay Rosen
The people formerly known as the audience
wish to inform media people of our existence, and of a shift in power that goes with the platform shift you’ve all heard about.Think of passengers on your ship who got a boat of their own. The
writing readers
. The viewers who picked up a camera. The
formerly atomized listeners
who with modest effort
can connect with each other
and gain the means to speak— to the world, as it were.
http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html
Jay Rosen
The people formerly known as the audience
are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population
listened in isolation from one another
— and who today are not in a situation like that at all.
http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html
a shift from dedicated individuals and teams as producers to a broader-based,
distributed generation of content
by a wide community of participants
Axel Bruns
fluid movement of produsers between roles
as leaders, participants, and users of content – such produsers may have backgrounds ranging from professional to amateur
Axel Bruns
artefacts generated are
no longer products in a traditional sense
: they are
always unfinished
, and continually under development – such development is evolutionary, iterative, and palimpsestic
Axel Bruns
produsage is based on permissive regimes of engagement which are based on merit more than ownership: they frequently employ copyright systems which acknowledge authorship and prohibit unauthorised commercial use, yet
enable continuing collaboration
on further content improvement
Axel Bruns
distributed generation of content
fluid movement of produsers between roles
content no longer packaged as product [it's always unfinished]
continuing collaboration [content as conversation]
the
entire process
of production-aggregation-curation of content
is open
, and
can be entered at any point
story
frame
event
1
2
3
coherence
real or imagined
ideology/propaganda
coherent narrative about reality
one to many
>>
many to many
legacy media
broadcasters
editorial rooms
the structure of news
in this model news is always a pre-packaged
product
sold in a bundle with other content
the publisher's brand provides
authority
and guarantees
authenticity
legacy media
artefacts generated are
no longer products in a traditional sense
: they are
always unfinished
, and continually under development – such development is evolutionary, iterative, and palimpsestic
Axel Bruns
distributed new media
the
event
and
frame
stages are
closed
and accessible only to authority
legacy media
the public is given a coherent story packaged as product
the entire process is
open
, and can be entered at any point - event, frame, story
distributed new media
multiple
event
versions
, frames, and stories
compete for attention
collective intelligence
the default form of participation of distributed networks
collective intelligence
users act as a
self-coordinating swarm
towards a common goal
networked swarms in an event
>>
orders of magnitude faster reaction time than legacy media
networked swarms in an event
>>
orders of magnitude faster speed of information dissemination
frames propagate a particular point of view
P R O P A G A N D A
Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or
shape events
to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.

Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928, p.25
PROPAGANDA
This practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of millions of persons is very common. Virtually no important undertaking is now carried on without it, whether that enterprise be building a cathedral, endowing a university, marketing a moving picture, floating a large bond issue, or electing a president. Sometimes the effect on the public is created by a professional propagandist, sometimes by an amateur deputed for the job. The important thing is that
it is universal and continuous
; and in its sum total it is
regimenting the public mind
every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.
Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928, p.25
PROPAGANDA
PROPAGANDA
it is by default coherent with little to no variation
like all forms of content, it is a function of the medium it uses to spread
it works by offering a systemic frame for interpreting reality
in legacy broadcast media
propaganda
is shaped by:

the high cost of entry
the high risk of failure [=minimum experimentation]
inherent quality filter
limited competition
cartelization with limited variation
stagnation
in distributed media
propaganda
is shaped by:

MEMES
MEMES
Memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation

Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene, 1976
MEMES
self-replicating units of culture

information packets

ideas

MEMES
in distributed information networks a
war of ideas
looks like
meme warfare
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