Day two of Freedom to Connect started off with a “Peer Production News Panel”, featuring Dan Gillmor, Mark Tapscott, Bill Allison, and Jonathan Krim. Dan mentioned his personal cliché about his audience knowing more about the subject than he does, and Mark Tapscott echoed that.
The discussion moved to the idea of distributed journalism. Tapscott suggested that it might be better called collaborative journalism, since distributed can sometimes connote a hierarchy, and he wasn’t sure that was necessarily the case for all of the times that citizens work together on the journalistic process.
There were discussions about New Assignment.Net, and how best to do distributed journalism. One of the problems that people seemed to be struggling with is the classic, “it would be easier just to do it myself” problem. In some cases, the amount of time spent coordinating efforts and training citizens that don’t know how to do investigative research seemed to be more than it would be to do the research oneself.
As I heard this discussion, my mind wandered back to Robert Lewis Stevenson’s quote, “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.” Perhaps some of these projects could be better done by a single individual, or a small group. Yet that is focusing on the arriving, the information gathered by the investigation. Instead, the true success might be to get more people to think about how news and information is gathered and the to think more critically about what they hear and read.
Yochai Benkler started off the information overload of what we could be doing with all the bandwidth we ought to have. I must admit, I’ve not read any of Benkler’s work yet, but the starting point is his article Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm, which appeared in the Yale Law Journal. He has also written a book, The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.
It felt like he was trying to compress his paper, his book, and a million other thoughts on the subject into his 45-minute time slot. Because of this, I probably only captured about 10% of what he was saying. Of course this was compounded by being at home and dealing with interruptions.
So instead of an exhaustive recounting of what he said, I’ll simply suggest that people read Coase’s Penquin, The Wealth of Networks. He spoke a lot about peer production of content and included an Anime Music Video and a political piece as examples. In particular, Dueling Videos: Under Ice and a mashup, “The Legendary K.O. George Bush Doesn’t Care about Black People” from The Black Lantern and The Legendary K.O.
11:15 - Verdict reached.
Unfortunately, I'm not at the courtroom, so I've been flipping channels, watching everyone try to fill time as they wait for the verdict to come out.
12:04 - Jury is coming in....
Just in: Verdict has been reached and will be announced at noon.
If I were to summarize the most important message from Day 1 of the Freedom to Connect conference down in Washington DC yesterday, it was the need for more bandwidth.
One speaker said that between the number of emails he was receiving and the size of the emails due to attachments, the bandwidth that he was using had increased eight-fold while his bandwidth had only doubled. This is probably compounded by the number of people on home networks growing rapidly as well. It was said that we have dropped from number one in broadband to around 20th, and there is no indication of the slide stopping.
“This year, the average broadband speed will increase to 75Mbps per second,” Dr Chin Dae-Je, South Korea’s Information Minister, told a delegation of global policy leaders at a meeting of the OECD earlier this year, before adding: “I have 100Mbps in my home.”