Convergence Culture

Just stumbled upon this book, seems like a must read...

Convergence Culture maps a new territory: where old and newmedia intersect, where grassroots and corporate media collide, wherethe power of the media producer and the power of the consumer interactin unpredictable ways.

Henry Jenkins, one of Americas mostrespected media analysts, delves beneath the new media hype to uncoverthe important cultural transformations that are taking place as mediaconverge. He takes us into the secret world of SurvivorSpoilers, where avid internet users pool their knowledge to unearth theshows secrets before they are revealed on the air. He introduces us toyoung Harry Potter fans who are writing their own Hogwartstales while executives at Warner Brothers struggle for control of theirfranchise. He shows us how The Matrix has pushed transmediastorytelling to new levels, creating a fictional world where consumerstrack down bits of the story across multiple media channels.Jenkinsargues that struggles over convergence will redefine the face ofAmerican popular culture. Industry leaders see opportunities to directcontent across many channels to increase revenue and broaden markets.At the same time, consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free ofnetwork controls, in a decentralized media environment. Sometimescorporate and grassroots efforts reinforce each other, creating closer,more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers.Sometimes these two forces are at war.

Jenkins provides ariveting introduction to the world where every story gets told andevery brand gets sold across multiple media platforms. He explains thecultural shift that is occurring as consumers fight for control acrossdisparate channels, changing the way we do business, elect our leaders,and educate our children.

Added that to my reading list.

Panorama Viewer for Google Earth

DigitalUrban just announced a neat new viewer for panoramic views in Google Earth.

Until now to view a panorama you had to use hotlinks to a html browser,now you can view high resolution panoramas directly inside of GoogleEarth.

(be prepared to turn the music off...)

The viewer will be made available free of charge alongwith a tutorial detailing how to import any panoramic views at thecorrect location. There are a few issues to iron out with a release aimed for early inJanuary 2007.

A .kmz example can be found here...

You (tube)

So Time magazin recently decided that You, I mean we the ordinary netizen are the person of the year 2006.

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story,one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story aboutcommunity and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's aboutthe cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channelpeople's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's aboutthe many wresting power from the few and helping one another fornothing and how that will not only change the world, but also changethe way the world changes.

Over at the Civicactions Blog I found this wonderful video, providing a unique view on this years winner...

Free webconferencing with desktop sharing feature

Yugma seems to be the webconferencing tool that I've been waiting for. Desktop sharing and annotations without having to pay lot's of money (compared to webex etc.) is huge.

Yugma is...

A free and easy to use web conferencing service:

  • Share your information, present your ideas
  • Invite up to 10 people (or more if you need)
  • Collaborate with your community
  • Yugma FREE - free forever

Online Communities -

This article by Jason Clarke over at highlights some very interesting behaviours of online communities, looking at the socialsoftware website

He starts by recommending to

browse through the comments on few random frontpage posts at digg, andyou'll see what I mean. The sheer level of superiority, sarcasm, andgeneral negativity is overwhelming, and makes digg a place that is notonly not fun to visit, it's certainly not a place to "share, discover,bookmark, and promote the news that's important to you", as digg'stagline optimistically claims.

This negative group behaviour occurs in his eyes

...when the crowd involved reaches a certain threshold size, the valuethat is added by extra voices is more than negated by the "groupthink"that occurs as people begin shutting off their brains.

...a better analogy to illustrate the problem with the diggcommunity would be to liken it to a rock concert that gets out ofcontrol where a riot breaks out. The people in the crowd at the concertweren't looking for a riot when they showed up at the concert, theywere there looking to be entertained. The problem is that when a fewidiots in the crowd begin taking part in antisocial behavior, the"wisdom of crowds" tells the people in the crowd (particularly thosewho feel anonymous) that it's okay to take part in the nonsense.

Great article to reflect about the tradeoffs between different forms of facilitation, issues of scalability, etc.

Citizen Journalism - Northfield Case Study

I'm currently spending some time researching successful citizen journalism projects on a local level and really think Northfield, Minnesota is an outstanding example. Griff Wigley published a recent presentation online, that focused on the history of Northfield Citizens Online (the nonprofit) and its website,, and gives a good impression about the behind-the-scenes work and technology advances over time.

Digital mapping meets real life

Just ran into this interesting project in Berlin, taking digital cartography with Google Maps back to real life...

While zooming in the map the pixel size of the markers on the screenalways stay at the same size. But if their size is seen in relation totheir environment they shrink while the user does zoom in the map.
This effect corresponds exactly to the phenomenon of Mr. Turtur, theillusionary giant of the children fantasy novel "Jim Button and Lukethe Engine Driver" written by Michael Ende. has been around for quite a while now, but I recently discovered their video intro at youtube. Great software presentation! I agree with all their general observations, but it still feels a little too complicated/not intuitive enough for a broader dialogue with an unexperienced audience. But definitely a step overdue to rethink communication patterns online, see yourself:

Crossmedia public participation

My thesis is online now. I spent the summer researching crossmedia approaches to public participation by evaluating two German case studies. The 100 pages are in German (unfortunately), but I'm working on an abstract in English.

Decision Support Tools

For a recent project we put together a short video outlining all kinds of different tools supporting different steps of decision making in urban planning. The intention was to give a general audience a better feeling of how and which tools can be used to support their planning projects. Since it's only 8 min, it's obviously not more than an intro...

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