If there is one thing you can rely on with new information/communication technologies its that those in power trying to control the spread of information for political or financial reasons will do whatever they can to slow the (inevitable) progress.
This week all the news is about how the US Open, the NFL and other major sporting leagues are trying to ban the use of Twitter by, depending on the sport, the players, the reporters and even, in some cases, the fans.
As reported by the NYT, Andy Roddick is one of many who think this is a bad idea and implies it might not have much force of power:
“I think its lame the U.S. Open is trying to regulate our tweeting,” he wrote Friday night. “I understand the on-court issue but not sure they can tell us if we can’t do it on our own time … we’ll see.”
Of course, for those in power, Twitter should be the least of their worries. Think about all the fans with iPhones who can record and post video right there in the stands. And why this obsession with Twitter? What about texting or emailing or shouting very loudly in a crowded room?
The point is that while one can understand trying to protect broadcast rights, it is hard to understand how a written communication from those attending or involved in a sporting event are going to somehow devalue those rights.
There’s a very important case brewing in Boston where Joel Tenebaum is being sued by the RIAA for what could be $1,000,000 all for downloading seven songs from a popular P2P network.
ArsTech has been covering the story and they have a great overview/update of it on their blog. Here’s a taste:
[Harvard Law Professor] Nesson took the case, acting as Tenenbaum’s attorney, but he outsourced the work of research, strategy, and brief writing to a set of eager Harvard Law students. The students would quickly mount an ambitious defense, not just of Joel Tenenbaum, but of the claim that the RIAA legal campaign was unconstitutionally excessive and improper. Armed with a law library, Twitter, a Web site, and caffeine, the students have already made sure that the upcoming Tenenbaum trial will eclipse the Minnesota Jammie Thomas case for sheer spectacle.
This is great reporting by ArsTech on a story everyone should be following.
It isn’t often I get excited about a contact manager but everything I read about Gist makes me want it and want it bad!
According to the guys at JoshSpear:
Gist combines all your important information by combing through Outlook, Gmail, LInkedIn and Twitter to create a happy place where your data and relationships integrate in a logical order, making all the elements of your electronic life easier to manage. For instance, if you’ve been emailing with Josh, and he’s been tweeting, and then he appears in a news story, Gist aggregates all of that info and puts it at your fingertips.
Of course, I have tried other info-aggregators and ended up finding them to be more work than help so it will all come down to the user-interface and automation.
Come on, Gist, let me into the private beta…
Like many others, my Thanksgiving joys were tempered by the madness in Mumbai. While the major news organizations struggled to get information out to the public it was the public themselves who were telling the world just what was going on.
Services like Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and even good old fashioned email, combined with the massive proliferation of “smart” phones capable of capturing photo and video and transmitting it nearly instantaneouasly meant that the flow of information out of Mumbai was simply not going to be limited to what CNN was able to access.
In fact, if it weren’t for the rise of what is being refered to as “citizen journalism” who knows what the world might have missed:
“At the end of the day on Friday, CNN’s license to transmit live video in India expired, forcing the network’s correspondents to report via telephone. CNN and other channels in the United States relied on live coverage and taped reports from Indian networks.
The cameras and phones carried by people swept up in the attacks were not subject to any such rules. Mr. Shanbhag photographed one of the fires at the Taj hotel and the wreckage outside a popular cafe that was attacked on Wednesday and posted them on his Flickr stream. Some people transmitted video from inside the Taj hotel to news networks via cellphones. And reporters used cellphones to send text messages to hotel guests who had set up barricades in their rooms.” (via)
While governments spend more time and money than ever trying to monitor their citizens it is at least a bit comforting to know that some citizens are doing some monitoring of their own.
Every time you turn around there is another service out there that will let you tell anyone willing to listen what you are thinking, doing, listening to or planning.
Now, with the new iPhone on the horizon, there is growing interest in using personal GPS as a way to let everyone know WHERE you are.
I find myself, a lover of all things tech, siding a bit with Steven over on Mashable:
“Some folks like MG Siegler from ParisLemon might think this is just the coolest idea that gets him all excited. I fail to see how seeing a constant stream of Brightkite announcements flooding social media services like Twitter and FriendFeed is not incredibly irritating. It’s not like knowing where you are every five or ten minutes is earth shattering news that we all need to know. If anything there are times when this kind of pollution makes me want to just close any window I have open to social media providers who support these location based services.”
Modern life is a constant give-and-take between privacy and convenience. Sure, it would be great to get constant updates regarding the whereabouts of your friends, but do you really want that sort of information floating around for anyone to see?
It is going to be interesting to see if there is a large generational divide that emerges between the youth who see this sort of constant flow of personal data to be perfectly normal, and those a bit older who have always found a certain comfort in knowing their basic whereabouts are a private matter.
Everyone likes to talk about the death of traditional news outlets like papers and the evening news. Of course, that doesn’t mean people aren’t interested in current affairs.
In fact, I would argue that many people are mostly concerned that they aren’t getting the news currently enough. This has led to all sorts of email alerts, readers and other ways to “stay on top” of the news.
Now, it is beginning to look like Twitter might be the next stop for news junkies (via CNet)
“I live in Beijing, which is about 950 miles from the epicenter. Along with others, I first learned of the quake via Twitter, which has been lit up with first-, second-, third-, and many-hand information about various personal experiences, and hundreds of links to other reports. By contrast, mainstream media such as Sohu.com were partially responsible for a massive rumor mill that pervaded Beijing on Monday evening, with an apparently incorrect prediction of a quake in Beijing between 11:00 p.m. and midnight local time–right now.”
And SAI says YouTube is the place to be:
“Want to know what that giant earthquake in China’s remote Sichuan looked like? Better yet, want to know what it’s like to experience a 7.8 magnitude quake? Someone claiming to be a Sichuan University student posted the following video to Tudou (SAI 25 #22), where it’s No. 2 on the homepage, and it was reposted on YouTube.”
This is part of a growing trend of non-traditional “news” services scooping the more traditional destinations.