Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

The best of YouTube and South Park combined!

May 17, 2008

This is totally random, but ridiculously funny! Whether you like South Park, YouTubeian phenomena, or both, this one combines them in a rather creative manner (it was a matter of time until someone would do it with this episode :). It definitely made me smile and i hope it will have the same effect on you. Thank you Veronica for sharing this!


Sex and the City (and the new media)

February 27, 2008

I will probably have to explain in person later to all those who wonder why I know that, but the official trailer for Sex and the City (the movie) is out and it is available on YouTube. Now this is where it is getting interesting…

If you look at the related videos on that YouTube page you will something that I don’t think was possible even just 10 years ago. Together with the official trailer you can see links to many amateur videos featuring the actual shooting of the film in NYC. For example this:

and this:

I find it fascinating. The entire idea of movie marketing and creating a buzz around new and anticipated creations is getting here to whole new level. People are talking about it, trying to guess what is going on, and are gaining a peak into the unknown and yet so expected. Whether the creators want that or not, the ubiquity of digital video recording allows the fans and even random people who were passing in the area to become part of the buzz around the movie.

And there is apparently an entire blog dedicated to the process of movie creation (probably not only one). It has pictures, video clips, and commentary about the upcoming movie – most of which is generated by fans and the rest by the blog owner. The disclaimer on blog sais it is not affiliated with the movie or HBO and the domain ownership is routed back to Ontario, Canada. But thinking about this, nobody stops HBO from doing the same and encouraging similar behavior because after all it helps promoting their movie.

My brief observation of this incident made me thinking about the ongoing battle between the traditioal movie industry establishment and what is labeled as “new” media. I think it shows how in fact the two can coexist in a new type of culture. Not a type of culture where there are creators, people who are ripped off, and thieves of original content, but a type of culture where there are creators and their fans and the two coexist and feed each other (both creatively and financially). However it seems as if it will take a long time or a sudden shift in thinking (particularly by the industry) for this new types of culture to emerge. Anyhow, we live in interesting times…

Fun bubble 2.0 + some thoughts on FB

December 5, 2007

Thanks to Eszter for posting this:

On a different note, i keep on following the buzz about Facebook (FB) criticism due to deployment of Beacon platform.  For those who did not have a chance to follow, recently FB launched a platform that allows them to follow you to third-party websites (anybody said spyware?) and if you make a purchase there, news about it would go to your FB news feed (for your friends to see, follow your opinion leadership, and of course go and buy something from that company).  Of course they do not follow you to any website, but only to those who have an advertising agreement with FB, but nevertheless, this move raised a lot of antagonism and questions of privacy.  It also unleashed a wave of critique of FB and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

One of the things i noticed recently is people being surprised by FB non-responsiveness to the PR crisis it is going through.  The assumption is that to manage this wave of negativity, FB has to make substantive changes to the Beacon platform followed by a massive PR campaign.  Although i have my own critique of FB and more so questions about the nature of their business and its long-term sustainability, this later wave, particularly expectations for response, made me thinking.

I wonder if Zuckerberg’s strategy of ignoring the critique is actually the correct one.  I remember about over a year ago, FB introduced the news feed.  Back then it raised a lot of criticism from the privacy advocates and there was, not as strong, but still noticeable, negative buzz about FB.  I don’t remember the company investing as much in PR back then.  What it did was adding a couple of tweaks to make its users feel as if they were in charge of their privacy and in a matter of a couple of months the wave of negativity died and, as we can see today, people are happily using the feed.  In fact, can we imagine FB without the news feed these days?

Now, following the current criticism, FB also added some minor tweaks to the Beacon platform, and is now waiting for the wave of criticism to path.  The main threat to FB when its users would start massively leaving it.  Getting the users angry by exposing their Christmass surprises is indeed a step in that direction.  But in my (unsupported by any kind of evidence) opinion this is not enough.  Simply because most of FB users do not care or do not realize what is going on.  Talking to my friends, for example, i gain further support to an intuition that people don’t really view it as a big deal.  They continue logging into their FB account, poke each other, bite, send virtual gifts and drinks, etc.  and at the end of the day this is all FB needs.

So, from FB point of view,the business is as usual and all they need to do is wait until the critique in mass media and the blogosphere dies out.  After all how long can this be news/blog-worthy?  People will get bored and it will happen sooner than we can think.  Once the wave of negative publicity is no longer there, the advertisers will come back, and the next thing we know Beacon will be a recognized standard in the industry.  Doesn’t it sound as a logic scenario?

I still have a sense that the basic idea behind FB is bubblish (linking back to the video :), but maybe at the end of the day, FB is actually more strategic about how it is handling the current crisis than what it appears in the press and the blogosphere?

Constructing ‘digital divide’ in Russian

November 1, 2007

From an explanation about ‘digital divide‘ in Russian Wikipedia:

Термин появился как обозначение раскола в семье, когда муж слишком много времени проводил за компьютером в ущерб всему остальному, и жена не могла с этим смириться.

My unprofessional translation:

The concept emerged to convey a split in a family, when the husband would spend too much time with the computer instead of doing other things, and the wife could not bear with it.

Funny or not funny?

October 26, 2007

Tonight i saw a life performance of Stephen Colbert and here are my 5 cents*.

Up until about three hours before the show, i was certain that we are going to sit in a nice Bailey Hall with excellent acoustics and good stage view. However i learned that we are going to sit in a huge Barton Hall, which in fact is a sport facility. The place accommodated 5000 people, and Colbert was giving two of those shows tonight. That of course revealed some of the mystery as to how he was convinced to come here in the first place, after all the tickets were $25 and up.

But leaving the economic aspects of the show aside, how was it?

My initial reaction is that he is much funnier on TV compared to a live show. The jokes are more fluent and probably more rehearsed. You could see it when he would loose track of thought and actually read into the script. At one point, he didn’t have the script, which caused some confusion that was resolved quickly and positively in a jokily manner. More importantly however, on TV he doesn’t have to downgrade the humor to the college level. A few (rather anticipated) jokes about Cornell would do it, but he chose to dedicate about 1/3-1/2 of his talk to it. At some point, he went into sex jokes to a degree i was questioning if it was him on the stage, not to mention the excessive use of f-words. Something of the way he delivers the message on TV was lost when he tried to adjust, maybe a little bit too much, to the audience.

At the same time, it was interesting to see how he actually interacts with live audience. It seems like there are some questions he (and frankly I) really would like to know answers to, such as how come people do not distinguish his character from him and how come younger people tend to consume their news from him and the Daily Show. A few times, answering to calls for him to run for presidency he repeated that he is fake. It reached a point where he just said “I don’t really want to run, i just want to f@#k with people”, which seems to me a noble satiric goal. At the same time people were really obsessive with the idea of him running. At the end of the show he held a Q&A session using an interesting tactics. As verbose as he appears in his monologues, so concise and rather serious he was in answering the question. People were trying to get out of their skin to ask the more provocative/”smart” questions (like a girl who asked if he would give her a job or a fraternity guy who invited him to a party), but to many of those the answer was a simple “yes/no”. I think in this session you could see the John Stewart influences, for many times Colbert was making the joke simply by mimicking the person asking the question. However here you could see a little bit of the real Colbert the person passionate about what he is doing – when asked about career for starting comedian, he went into untypical lengthly and serious answer, and only towards the end remembered to make a joke out of it. The highlight of this session was of course a girl who claimed to be such a burn Colbert fun that her life wouldn’t be complete if she wouldn’t hug him (and yes, she got the hug).

During the whole evening a question about political role of current generation was kind of in the air. Colbert the character accused the current generation being active only digitally, not making influence in the real world. Colbert the actor, when asked again on the issue, tried to redeem himself by saying that this generation is not that bad, “look at the all money you guys raised online”. However, donating money does not demand as much as actually getting involved in convincing people in political opinion or even just voting. Poking in Facebok, or joining a group that supports Colbert for presidency, is by far easer than getting on the streets and getting involved in civic activism, trying to bring the change. So for me, the original question Colbert the character raised about the actual political participation of the youth remains open. And I think he is doing a good job in opening those questions.

A girl came up to make a point that he has a support pointing out at the great support he gained on Facebook, and Colbert sincerely asked “what does that mean?”. Although she tried to say that there are over million students supporting them, i remained with a questions. What does joining a support group for Colbert on Facebook actually mean? How much of it is done just for fun (similarly to the wikipedia changes that he so much likes to promote), and how much of this is actually support of people who think he can do it? And what does it mean if the people who joined the group, or who are using it to support their point, actually believe that he can is a potential candidate?

All in all it was nice, refreshing break with some light humor, but i keep on thinking is there more to political satire than just making us smile?


* It is historically 5 cents and not 2, since i made this mistake a long time ago and it stuck. Besides, using Colbert’s tactics, which seem to work, if everybody else’s opinion is 2 cents, mine has to be 5 cents for sure! :)

New collection (your help needed)

September 30, 2007

A while ago, i posted here a few videos featuring communication technology as their main theme. Today, one of my Facebook friends posted this video, which is a remake of Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero“, adapted to the Facebook reality:

So, i decided that i would like to start collecting these videos, songs, and other cultural artifacts that mention communication technology explicitly, or even more so, make it the main theme. If you come across any, please send them over. They don’t have to be in English (though in that case i may ask for help with translation :) and there is no hard criteria for them to be super mature, or absolutely immature. To start with, anything will go.  Actually looking at the YouTube page with this video i could find a few more already, but i am sure there is much more out there.

I find the whole phenomenon really fascinating and would like to study it at some point. So, thank you in advance for anything you send!


July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Countdown

I took this picture on Friday night on Times Square. It was just before i bumped into a number a various types (and ages) of Harry Potters and other witch-looking crowd (not counting a rather fat spiderman). At the moment it seemed cute and amusing. Until the next morning, when it became claustrophobic.

Walking around the New York City on Saturday, July 21st, you could not escape the thick, orange books. People carried them around, they read them in the subway, on benches of the Central Park, took them in when they went to visit Metropolitan, etc. You could see kids with the book and you could see adults. You could see people sitting, walking, laying, and still reading the book. Literally every second book you saw in public spaces was the new Harry Potter. Today the Harrypotteria continued when there was a girl on the bus to DC reading HarryPotter, and on the way to the metro another copy of the book was spotted.

And i keep asking myself why and how the book became so popular? What is the genius of this creation that is not presents in (much less appreciated today) classics? Or is it pure marketing? Very good marketing…?

Now it’s officialy a cult

July 7, 2007

The i-phoners are now officially a cult :)

But seriously, what’s the deal with a sealed battery?

Finally – a 2.0 presentation that I like :)

June 6, 2007


LUV TWO POINT OH (the key)

by johnnyonline
Let down your Firewall baby let me upload packets of love
Directly into your heart tonight

I’ve got your SSID all I need now is your WEP Key
C’mon girl, everything’s gonna be alright

Don’t wanna be be your myspace friend, already got a million and one of them
But maybe I could be your friend on facebook?

I’ve had my spy-ware on you, but I never seem to get through
Your Ad-Aware must be working overtime

I’m running love 2.0 for you, it’s still in beta but it’s running pretty smooth, oh owowo..
I’ve got the latest patches, right now the only catch is
I don’t know your user name

Just kidding ’bout the spy-ware, I would never ever go there
But I really digg dot com you girl

All my heart are belong to you, this song’s going straight to youtube
Hope you leave a comment or subscribe

You’re prettier than fine CSS, you’re finer than
If I googled “wonderful” I’d find you

We’d have better chemistry than Kevin and Alex and
Combined. I think you’ll find. I won’t ebay, our love away!

I’m running love 2.0 for you, it’s still in beta but it’s running pretty smooth
I’ve got the latest patches, right now the only catch is
I don’t know your user name
I got the key to our love, no DRM’s gonna stand in our way
I got the key to our love, no DRM’s gonna stand in our way

Digg on Digg on Digg on Digg on
Digg on Digg on Digg on Digg on
I digg you girl

C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon
C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon
I need you girl

C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon
C’mon C’mon C’mon C’mon
I love you girl

Digg on Digg on Digg on Digg on
Digg on Digg on Digg on Digg on .. I digg you