Archive for the 'Citizen Journalism' Category

History as Truthiness

September 15, 2008

The “TrenchFever” blog by occasional blogger Dan Todman is one of those occasional blogs that never fails to make me think about important things. Around this time every year I wonder about my own personal “digital rememberances” of New York 9/11. In a couple of months I’ll remember 11/9 and the Berlin Wall coming down. People are always interested in my recollections of these “historical events” yet I still find it difficult to connect my stories with the broader historical narrative and perspectives – what Dan calls the “dominant discourse”.

Despite my own quite trivial “digital recollections” of “historical moments” – I am a big fan of this sort of grassroots history. However I have to admit that “little” people – even in large numbers don’t really add very much to the overarching “historical” narrative. Even the extra “colour” and “texture” they contribute is often of dubious quality and veracity –  despite that, these personal stories are often very engaging, entertaining and sometimes quite horrific – certainly it seems to be the mawkish details that tend to stick in my memory.

At the other extreme of digital history we have interactive timelines and animated maps.  I love playing with these things but I am afraid that they too fail to add much to the “big picture”. Colourful blocks of pixels sliding around certainly help clarify sequences of events and animated maps present a seductive view of history from “30,000 feet” – but  just like looking out of an Airbus window you actually see little of any real interest.

I recently found myself re-reading “Our Island Story” by H.E.Marshall and was surprised to find the grand sweep of British History quite clearly and amusingly articulated – despite using lots of “fairy-stories” as her primary sources and her desire not to teach “…but only to tell a story”. Maybe this is because her book has defined the “dominant narrative” as it is broadly understood by the ruling classes and referenced by popular culture and journalism? – which reminds me I ought to get to grips with Hyperreality.

(p.s: don’t miss the introduction to Truthiness on Colbert Nation).

XXX Games Logo Police

June 12, 2007

Depressing reading the 2012 rules and regulations about the use of the Olympic Logo and the words “Olympic” and “London 2012”. Interesting that they even have rules about use on websites and blogs. For example they say: “DON’T use the London 2012 logo as an icon to link to london2012.com.”

2012 logo

Isn’t it about time that the Olympic rings and other logos were put into the public domain? There are lots of really good “Open Source brands” – Irish Pubs, national flags and some City Names are all good examples of successful open source branding.

And… oooh- err-missus: I just noticed that the 2012 Olympics is also the “XXX Olympiad”… wonder if that is going to cause any problems with the “adult” entertainment industry!

Wiki Wednesday

April 5, 2007

Last night was Wiki Wednesday in London.

Organised by the charming David Terrar and hosted in the Swimming Pool at Microsoft‘s Soho office (that is the part of London, not Bill Gate’s den).

The ?What If!lers Julie and Anne-Fay and her partner Darrell were there – Anne-Fay and Darrell write a blog called BigShinyThing – it is so perfectly Zeitgeisty that I realise why I don’t really read newspapers or watch much TV anymore.  

BST Tagcloud

But they also make me feel quite depressed about my own erratic blogging efforts. (N.B. my highlight of a funny TagCloud juxtaposition)

Working at home publishers

October 4, 2006

Random Flickr links lead me to Steve Bowbrick’s blog which took me to Jay Rosen’s New Assignment.Net that led me to Paul Bass’ article on “Creating the New Haven Independent” on PressThink. Much of the debate in the comments was about revenue models which reminded me of The Best of and My Mag franchises. Sales and marketing people are just as interested in finding new opportunities as local newspapers dissolve in the face of Craig Newmarks’ lists.

Now I’m wondering if one of the big advertising groups would give Yellowikis $100,000 as a start-up gift like Reuters did for New Assignment.Net.