«Context Collapse»

By empowering dissenting insiders to break the insider/outsider boundary, digital tools help “collapse the context.” That’s the phrase scholars use to describe how digital infrastructure brings together people, information and ideas that used to survive through an ecology of separation.

Context collapse is why Facebook has become so stressful for teens after their parents signed up. Things that used to be separate are now on the same timeline. There’s Mom telling you to wear a warmer sweater on a comment thread about a party. There’s that uncle with a rant about Obama’s birth certificate.

Context collapse is everywhere. It’s not just teenagers on Facebook whose ordinary adolescent boundary-testing actions are viewed by finger-wagging adults; it’s not just a variety of institutions that have found their internal communications meant for friendly eyes are exposed to the world; it’s not just academics whose scholarly studies are being dug up by various constituencies as fodder for outrage. It’s everywhere.

The outsiders are peeking in and moving in, and they are here to stay.

If, as an institution, keeping your balance relies on outsiders staying outside while you talk in jargon and acronyms with your fellow insiders, it’s time to look for a safety net and a harness. A fall is coming, sooner or later. In this world, “this is what we have always done” is not going to cut it.

via The Real Lesson of NSA: If Your Power Depends on Insiders vs. Outsiders, Time for Plan B.

Grossartiger Text von Zeynep Tufekci.

8 Artikel, die man vor der Gründung eines Buzzfeed-Klons gelesen haben sollte

Nicht nur die archetypischen Listicles von Buzzfeed haben sich in den letzten Monaten viral in meinen Timelines verbreitet, sondern auch Meldungen zu Neugründungen, die in irgendeiner Form das Erfolgsmodell von Jonah Peretti kopieren. Nicht immer hat man dabei das Gefühl, dass die zugrundeliegenden Mechanismen wirklich verinnerlicht wurden. Um das Netz vor dem Ersaufen im falsch verstandenen Boulevard 2.0 zu bewahren, habe ich deshalb die wichtigsten Artikel aller Zeiten zur Strategie und Funktionsweise des Unternehmens zusammengestellt:

1. I Hate Buzzfeed Bildschirmfoto 2013-10-30 um 08.27.11

Key paragraph:

«The end is in sight. There are thousands of imitators out there, and more growing every day. What you produce isn’t art. It’s intellectual fast-food. BuzzFeed makes minds fat.»


2. 10 Good Reasons BuzzFeed Is Going To Pay My F#$king Invoice For Copyright Theft [Update: they have]

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Key paragraph:

«It’s almost as though they’ve tried to link back in the most lame-assed way possible, thanks for taking those 4.2 Million views and adding hardly a single one to my own page. At least if you’re going to do it, do it right.»


3. Some best-guesses about what BuzzFeed is up to, and why it is in fact about Arianna, a little

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Key paragraph:

«The goal of Buzzfeed is not to make people “bookmark” them in their browser. In some ways, having one’s own website, in the Perettian way of looking, is only important at the level of monetization: The models aren’t quite there yet for monetizing a 100 percent distributed brand. So in the meantime we have a “website.” But the main goal is to rule Facebook, not to rule with its own homepage.»


4.Jonah Peretti’s Meme Streak: Making viral happen inside the factory at BuzzFeed.

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Key paragraph:

«A lot of Mr. Peretti’s strategy has to do with appealing to people’s vanity: You want them to feel good about themselves for discovering a thing and proud to be the first one to show it to their friends. That means that some things aren’t “shareable”—sex tapes, nasty stories and celebrity dross, for instance, which Mr. Peretti calls “guilty pleasures.” Those tend to be spread by email and word of mouth, which are much less contagious than social media.»


5. Jonah Peretti: What I Read

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Key paragraph:

«Another aspect of modern media consumption is the mashing together of content. With Facebook and Twitter people are sharing all different types of media from humor to cute kittens to Internet memes to serious substantive reporting. BuzzFeed, as a publisher, brings all this together. The argument that cute animal posts dumb down your audience has never made sense to me. I like to think of a smart Frenchman at a cafe reading Le Monde and smoking a pipe. A lot of French cafes have dogs, so he pauses to pet the dog. When he’s petting the dog, he doesn’t get dumb and when he goes back to Le Monde, he doesn’t suddenly get smart. Humans are complex and there are all these different interests that don’t have to be perfectly resolved.»


6. BuzzFeed’s strategy

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Key paragraph:

Alles nach

«Why BuzzFeed Is Succeeding Right Now?»


7. Memo To The BuzzFeed Team

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Key paragraph:

«Despite the struggles of the traditional media, there remains an insatiable desire for great reporting, entertaining content, and powerful storytelling. Facebook, Twitter, and the other Silicon Valley-based social sites are amazing distribution platforms, but user generated content alone isn’t enough to fill the hole left by the ongoing decline of print newspapers and magazines. The world needs sustainable, profitable, vibrant content companies staffed by dedicated professionals; especially content for people that grew up on the web, whose entertainment and news interests are largely neglected by television and newspapers.»


8. Chris Johanesen on design, testing and launching new products at BuzzFeed

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Key paragraph:

«We have a lot more technology than most people realize. BuzzFeed started as a technology company and it’s still in our DNA. We see our technology as giving our reporters and writers superpowers. There are three main roles for our technology: make it easier to create great content, make it easier for content to spread on the web, and make it easier for people to find content they’ll love.»

Das BuzzFeed-Missverständnis

In some respect, BuzzFeed is putting the toolkits of Big Data and crowdsourcing to logical use — assuming that it doesn’t really see itself as being in the news business. BuzzFeed’s goal, after all, is to get the maximum number of shares and likes on social media—for it’s the shares and likes that determine how much money the site is making. In this, BuzzFeed thinks more like a Silicon Valley startup rather than a traditional journalistic entity, with its outdated civic concerns that go beyond the need to maximize and monetize traffic.

via Duolingo, BuzzFeed partnership: The translation project is terrible for foreign news..

Eine absolut zentrale Feststellung, die Evgeny Morozov hier macht. Wer BuzzFeed als Boulevard 2.0 betrachtet, der im Kern nach traditionellen journalistischen Mechanismen funktioniert, blendet einen wichtigen Teil des Phänomens aus, wie ich im SRF-Medientalk (ab Minute 18:00) bereits ausgeführt habe. Hier geht es darum, Technologie-Knowhow aus dem Silicon Valley auf Inhaltserstellung und -verbreitung anzuwenden, wobei dieser «Inhalt» sowohl redaktionell als auch von Werbetreibenden bezahlt sein kann. Die Resultate – in Bezug auf die Leserzahlen, oft aber auch in Bezug auf die Inhalte selber – sprechen für sich.

Zu Gast im SRF Medientalk

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Es tut sich was im Schweizer Markt für Online-News: Mit watson und einem von Ringier angekündigten Buzzfeed-Verschnitt buhlen im nächsten Jahr zwei neuartige Player um die Gunst des Publikums. Darüber habe ich mich mit Nick Lüthi von der Medienwoche und Moderator Salvador Atasoy im SRF Medientalk unterhalten:

Klare Worte von Wolfgang Blau

«It is becoming more likely than unlikely, that the media institutions you are working for today will not exist anymore in ten years.»

Wolfgang Blau unterstreicht in dieser Rede vor Absolventen des International Masters Program for Media Managers in Wien eindrücklich, weshalb er einer der Posterboys der internationalen Mediarevolution ist.

Slow News / Big Ideas / Medium.com

Informationsarchitekt Oliver Reichenstein hat in einem Vortrag an der Generate Conference ein Thema aufgegriffen, das seit längerem im Raum steht: Welche Folgen hat Information Overload für unseren Geist? Seine These, die er auf Slide 63 in einer Frage verpackt: «Assume that what analog technology has done to our environment, information technology is doing to our minds».

Während Reichensteins Aussagen genereller Natur sind, gibt es verschiedene Stimmen, die diese Problematik in einem engeren Sinne im Kontext täglich erscheinender News beleuchten und Lösungsvorschläge machen. So plädierte zum Beispiel Rolf Dobelli vor zwei Jahren in einem sehr lesenswerten Aufsatz für eine «gesunde Nachrichtendiät» bestehend aus langen Artikeln und Büchern, «die nicht davor zurück schrecken, die Komplexität der Welt darzustellen».

Nun ist es ja so, dass ich ein berufsbedingtes Interesse an News habe, mich informationstechnisch also schon deshalb nicht entkoppeln kann. Trotzdem beschäftigt mich der Gedanke von Slow News, seitdem ich Dobellis Aufsatz vor zwei Jahren gelesen habe. So gut gemeint sein Vorschlag auch ist, hat er eine entscheidende Schwäche: Das Potential von vernetztem Ideenaustausch und -wettbewerb liegt bei einer solchen Lösung brach. Erkenntnisreiche Informationsforen wie «changemyview» und zukünftige Plattformen, die vielleicht noch interessantere Gedanken hervor bringen, bleiben aussen vor.

Evan Williams, Mitbegründer von Twitter und Blogger, sieht ebenfalls Probleme in der Informationsflut und versucht mit seinem neuen Projekt Medium eine Alternative aufzubauen: «News in general doesn’t matter most of the time, and most people would be far better off if they spent their time consuming less news and more ideas that have more lasting import». Sein Ansatz scheint einer der bisher ausgereiftesten zu sein, wenn es darum geht, die richtige Balance zwischen Informationsvernetzung und -overkill zu finden. Schaut man sich Reichensteins abschliessende Empfehlungen auf Slide 80 an, scheint Medium einige davon umzusetzen. Einmal mehr zeigt sich: Great minds think alike.


Why the children of tomorrow are the NSA’s biggest nightmare

Der von mir hoch geschätzte Science-Fiction-Autor Charles Stross hat bei Foreign Affairs einen Aufsatz zum Thema Überwachungsstaat veröffentlicht. Darin liefert er eine schlüssige Erklärung für die aktuelle Häufung von Whistleblowern und weshalb das die Staatsgewalt über kurz oder lang in grosse Schwierigkeiten bringen könnte.

Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog-eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than their great-grandparents post-Westphalian nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century. But if you turn the Internet into a panopticon prison and put everyone inside it, where else are you going to be able to recruit the jailers? And how do you ensure their loyalty?If I were in charge of long-term planning for human resources in any government department, Id be panicking. Even though its already too late.

via Spy Kids – By Charles Stross | Foreign Policy.