Posts from December 24, 2004

Joi to the world

Joi to the world

: Joi Ito writes the perfect Christmas greeting to the world for this year: A call for remembering the need to use this new medium of ours to build bridges with global voices. Joi reprints the latest version of the Global Voices Convenant (formerly a manifesto; thanks for changing it to covenant, folks). Says Joi:

…at our fingertips, we have the ability to reach out and speak to, build bridges with and interact with those people we have been “wishing well” to in the abstract for all of these years. We have a long way to go before we are able to hear the voices of everyone on earth, but I believe that providing voices and building bridges is essential for the World Peace we all wish for.


Others are wondering what the year ahead holds for blogging and media. Others are saying that blogs will get respect or advertising or big-media attention.

My fondest hope is that blogs grow ever-more international. I’ve now met bloggers from Iraq, Iran, Kenya, Malyasia, China, the Phillipines, India, Germany, England, Australia, Canada, France… Blogs have allowed me to build or cross bridges that would not have been possible before: person to person, around boundaries, around governments, around censorship, around prejudice, creating understanding and friendships. It’s a small process, a link at a time. But that is how our world works now. It’s not about masses. It’s about masses of individuals. Every link we build to someone in another land, every bit of understanding we share, every friendship we form is a link to world peace.

So Joi could not have written a more appriate message for Christmas: It’s about people. It’s about peace.

: And thanks to Doc for the headline.

: The Global Voices covenant is already being translated into other languages. The start:

We believe in free speech: in protecting the right to speak — and the right to listen. We believe in universal access to the tools of speech.

Wir glauben an Meinungsfreiheit: Schutz des Rechtes, seine Meinung zu

Consumer-driven advertising

Consumer-driven advertising

: In a piece for Technology Review, John Battelle translates the weblog discussion on sell-side advertising started by Ross Mayfield and picked up by Battelle here (I joined in here). Battelle changes the name to publisher-driven advertising but I don’t think I like that because it doesn’t go far enough.

What we really want — the endgame — is consumer-driven advertising.

Says John:

Ideally, commercial media would consist of equal partnerships between three parties: publishers, the audience, and advertisers. In reality, advertisers, the group with the most money, hold all the cards. Publishers have been relegated to the role of supplicant, and the audience

Turning the world into podcasts

Turning the world into podcasts

: Thanks to the link from Instapundit, I just downloaded BlogMatrix Sparks “to record streaming Internet radio programs and download podcasts and store them in your media player (iTunes or Windows Media Player). Sparks! uses an interactive directory of radio stations and podcasts to help you find content.”

There is no documentation yet but it’s quite cool. I’m using it to record my appearances on Air America’s Morning Sedition

In fact, I now see that David Janes, creator of Sparks, is the nice guy who recorded my last appearance on Morning Sedition.

Americans and religion

Americans and religion

: A new Gallup poll on Americans and religion says:

: Eighty-eight percent of Americans say it is OK to say merry Christmas “as a way to spread holiday cheer.”

: Of those who do not identify with a Christian religion, 79 percent say it’s OK to say Merry Christmas.

: Asked which greeting they would use with someone they just met, 41 percent said they’d say happy holidays while 56 percent said they’d say merry Christmas.

: Asked whether they’re upset with the shift from merry Christmas to more secular greetings, there’s a split: 44 percent said it’s a change for the better, 43 percent for the worse.

: Regardless of religious affiliation, 96 pecent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Four out of 10 Americans say they attend religious services on a regular basis.

: Eight-four percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian. Another five percent are affiliated with nonChristian religions.

“Religion is very important to about 6 out of 10 Americans, while another quarter say that religion is fairly important in their lives. Only 16% of Americans in 2004 said that religion was not very important to them. This measure of the personal importance of religion to one’s daily life has not changed much during the last decade.”

What does that say to those who argue that Republicans are the religious ones? Yes, the poll finds that Republicans are more likely to attend church than Democrats or independents. But they didn’t get 84 percent of the vote.

: Among the 9 percent who say they have no religious affiliation are agnostic or atheist, “tend to be politically liberal, Democrats, independents, younger, living in the West, students, and those who are living with someone without being married.” In short: Berkeley.

: Protestantism is fading. Young people, 18 to 29, are the least likely to attend church overall. Among Protestants, only 37 percent of 18 to 29s identify themselves as Protestant vs. 63 percent for those age 65 and older.

: SEPARATELY: See this report about the International Bible Society sponsoring the distribution of New Testaments in the Colorado Springs Gazette. There’s a supposed controversy about this. I don’t know why. There are ads for churches and synagogues in every paper. I get plenty of advertising that doesn’t relate to me; if this doesn’t relate to you, then ignore it. I agree with Tom Rosenstiel:

Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington research organization affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, disagreed.

“I think there is a free speech issue here,” Mr. Rosenstiel said. “I think this is one of the things about newspapers: they deliver you everything. If a newspaper is open to all, I don’t understand the issue here. Are we frightened of having this in our house? Should people of one religion not read the scriptures of another? We can’t neuter our society.”

The problem, from a press perspective, is that reporters are forever on the lookout for someone who is going to be “offended” and that becomes a story: “Some Jews and Muslims said getting the New Testament with the Sunday paper felt like being proselytized in their homes. Journalism critics debated whether this was free speech or skating too close to an endorsement of a particular religion.” But, in fact, only five people canceled subscriptions over this — far fewer than when a cartoon is dropped, the publisher said.

This shows how the press encourages our culture of complaint, our society of offense.

America, the digital third world

America, the digital third world

: Network visionary David Isenberg cites an article on why we are so far behind other countries — even Jamaica — in mobile uptake and quality and then says:

Too many networks, not enough investment. The same thing seems to be happening in U.S. broadband policy. The United States, the FCC, the telcos, etc., are making a big deal out of multimodal competition. (The telcos want to keep other people off the poles, outa their fiber, and offa their twisted pairs, so they support the idea — idea — of cable plus wireless plus broadband-over-powerline plus . . . This might be good for the telcos, but will it put the U.S. behind the rest of the developed world for the next 20 years?

And I note this on the FCC’s site today reminding utility-pole owners that they have to provide access to their poles for wireless companies at a reasonable rate.

We’re combing navel lint while the rest of the world is racing ahead of us.