International Symposium on Online Journalism 2016: Live Tweets

I was live tweeting day 2 of this year’s International Symposium on Online Journalism (#ISOJ) – a little chaotic, but here are my live tweets. Big takeaway: there was little about anxiety over legacy business model failure, more focus on how things are working – emphasizing that they’re working. This is a great time for news content and delivery innovation.

The tweets:

Hearing from women digital news leaders at a special breakfast session. Waking up & smelling the coffee…! #isoj #isoj2016

“Media outlets are saying ‘we don’t know where the women are.’ Elmira Bayrasli says “we do” (Foreign Policy Interrupted) #isoj #isoj2016

Juanita León of La Silla Vacía describes efforts to build a blog network in Colombia. #isoj

Bayrasli: digital media has allowed women to amplify their voices. #isoj founded out of necessity as a news and information source for Cubans. Not controlled by government. #isoj

Goal to find small openings in legal framework that prohibits free press. #isoj

You work as an independent person (contractor), allowed for some professions, not for journalists but for typists – so became typists. #isoj

14ymedio includes a market section listing the most current food prices throughout Cuba – “we have our own Dow Jones.” #isoj

By generating simple price list, showed that a worker in Havana has to work 2 days to pay for a pound of boneless pork. @yoanisanchez #isoj

When @yoanisanchez tells her mother they have to work two days for a pound of pork, they realize something has to change. #isoj

RT @Magss17: The “enemy” finally came to Havana and Rolling Stones came a week later. @yoanisanchez #ISOJ

.@yoanisanchez says “we have a digital newspaper but are not connected ourselves.” Creativity leads to use of simple tools. #isoj

For people not connected, 14ymedio is distributed via flash drives. Also via SMS and email. #isoj

Challenges for 14ymedio: multimedia, data journalism. #isoj

RT @grovesprof So admire @yoanisanchez’s creativity: She uses email and PDFs shared through USB drives to reach @14ymedio’s audience. #ISOJ

14ymedio also wants to create an app for viral sharing of news. @yoanisanchez #isoj

Not concerned so much who the future president of Cuba will be, but who the future *citizens* of Cuba will be. @yoanisanchez #isoj

14ymedio wants to help catazlyze a transformation in Cuba. @yoanisanchez #isoj

When Cuba is a free and democratic country, we’ll have to build a monument to the flash drive! @yoanisanchez #isoj

At #isoj – @yoanisanchez

RT @robquig: .@yoanisanchez says she wants to come to Austin and give a class on tweeting in difficult circumstances. Please do!! Open invi…

Official discourse depends on having an enemy. You have to have Goliath for David to make sense. @yoanisanchez #isoj

In Cuba, the government undid civil society, cut the threads of the social fabric. @yoanisanchez #isoj

You can’t protest in Cuba unless the government calls for the protest. @yoanisanchez #isoj

RT @ellierosetx: Obama is young, has a family, active. It was good for Cubans to see that, compared to elusive Castro. #ISOJ

Top 4 messaging apps have more active users that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram combined. 60bn msgs per day. @clockwerks #isoj

75% of all smartphone users are using messaging apps. @clockwerks #isoj

RT @Mariamrom 8.9 times a day people go to messaging apps, says @clockwerks, chief product officer at Vox Media. #ISOJ

Howdy, @benbrown’s company, builds a Slackbot. Lives in your Slack channel, asks daily questions of the team via private channels. #isoj

Howdy asks scrum questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Do you have blockers? #isoj

Slack’s popularity drove growing interest in chatbots. @benbrown #isoj

Howdy has a Botkit developer framework to support bot development; 1500 member development community. #isoj

Botkit just added support for the powerful and evolving Facebook Messenger. #isoj

RT @MaryCaitlinByrd “It’s a Wild West, blue sky opportunity to figure out what’s going on” — @benbrown on bots #ISOJ

Bots hear things, they say things, and they ask questions. @benbrown #isoj is development community for Slack bots. Sign up! via @benbrown #isoj

Election bot at @nytimes was created as a bot you could add you your Slack. via @_alastair #isoj

NY Times Election Bot is at #isoj

NYT added a great way to ask questions using (, but the volume of questions got out of hand. #isoj

RT @MaryCaitlinByrd – bot “doesn’t have context,” says @_alastair It can’t read the messages, the conversations happening around it #ISOJ

Shut the election bot down over UX issues related to volume, subjectivity, etc. Hard to make it satisfying for user. #isoj

RT @chelsea_dear “Some questions were answerable, some weren’t”- @_alastair on @nytimes Election bot, still seems pretty cool though #ISOJ

Wondering where bots go when they die? #isoj

Purple provides election updates and political info via text. @rebeccajharris #ISOJ

You should be racking your brain for new ways to delight your users. @rebeccajharris #isoj

RT @jeffk .@rebeccajharris explains @getprpl at #ISOJ – Capitalized words in smses for conversational navigation.

Quartz (@qz) news app development begin with notifications. @zseward #isoj

Notifications generally associated with breaking news, but you could include more info on the lock screen for richer experience. #isoj

RT @dskok .@QZ app dev started with a question: @zseward “Could we provide more than just standard alerts on the lock screen?” #ISOJ

RT @nohacefaltap “The whole thing was messages written by humans”, says @zseward about the @qz new app #ISOJ

Once the Quartz app framework was clear, next step was to figure out the content, including paths through storires. @zseward #isoj

Simplified and reconstructed the experience of the Quartz app. Narrowing options made for more enjoyable UX. @zseward #isoj

RT @audreyabrowning Another roadblock for @qz beginnings was also make the app usable for news creators – not just users. #ISOJ

Figuring out what is good about a conversational interface? Not a news article, but an experience. @zseward #isoj

News app delight factor is more important than the news factor. @zseward #isoj

Original intent to provide great experience without opening the app (i.e. on lock screen). @zseward #isoj

RT @burtherman Considering what users might ask fosters different mindset for writing, allows taking liberties @zseward #ISOJ

RT @ylichterman: Breaking News just launched on Slack this week: #ISOJ

RT @burtherman What’s a bot? Services and information triggered contextually through conversation, says @benbrown #ISOJ

“You should demand to know who’s behind the bots” – @clockwerks. #isoj

.@rebeccajharris: democracy requires an informed society; that’s the purpose of journalism. Bots can do that conversationally. #isoj

RT @audreyabrowning .@benbrown: How do the voices behind the bot evolve? Interesting and unanswered questions. #ISOJ

A bot is only as smart as the humans behind it. Don’t worry about the robot overlords. #isoj

.@benbrown on the importance of having 2-3 focused and clear goals for your user. #isoj

RT @CindyRoyal: Metrics? Downloads, gaming apps metrics about retention. @qz has hundreds of thousands users. Visit twice a day #isoj #txs…

.@benbrown says there will be a proliferation of bot authoring tools, so it will be easier to create them without tech background. #isoj

Some digital native media orgs are repositioning themselves to be original content generators. #isoj

Will nascent media orgs mimic tradtional media in order to survive in an uncertain market? #isoj

Toward Omnipresent Journalism: A Case Study of the Real-Time Coverage of the San Antonio Spurs 2014 NBA Championship Game – yes! #isoj

Omnipresent journalism a new model? What are the implications for the news industry? #isoj

“Three rounds of news presentation”: 1) live tweets 2) Miniposts to a single blog stream 3) Longer vignette writeups. #isoj

Omnipresent journalism has spatial and temporal dimension. 3 rounds = 1) social media –> 2) website –> 3) print. #isoj

Omnipresent journalism: go (mobile) where the readers are, multitask. #isoj

Social media audience interaction numbers drive interactive media development. #isoj

What makes news viral? Sensationalism: personalization, listicles, forward referencing, soft news (feature-like). #isoj

Forward referencing references information without giving the actual object – creating mystery. #isoj

Hans Meyer – “The Spiral of Silence” – why don’t people comment on news stories? #isoj

Journalism has to provide a public forum? Are comments where this is happening? #isoj

Comments: moderation and accountability are important. #isoj

RT @audreyabrowning .@OhJProf: Does encouraging readers to comment make a difference? #ISOJ

Idea of the Spiral of Silence persists. Most people never comment, some rarely; ony a few comment often. #isoj

What predicts comment spiral of silence: age, ianonymity, credibility, community. Strongest predictor: sense of isolation. #isoj

If people experience a sense of community, they’re less likely to say that anonymity is important to them. #isoj

Diary of a Mad Journalist via @karaswisher, who @evanasmith says is most respected, trusted, and feared journalist in Silicon Valley. #isoj

The real title of @karaswisher speech, she slides: “The Internet Really Needs to Shut the F*#ck Up!” #isoj

The next age of computing is going to be about feelings and NOT technology. @karaswisher #isoj

.@karaswisher welcomes us to the Human Age. #isoj

Journalists don’t spend nearly enough time understanding how data works. @karaswisher #isoj

RT @nohacefaltap “Google glass is the only thing Silicon Valley made that made supermodels unfuckable”, says @karaswisher #ISOJ

Google Glass doesn’t work because it doesn’t react to you – you have to react to it. @karaswisher #isoj

“It will be about brand.” You have to stick to what you’re supposed to be. @karaswisher #isoj

The future will be geolocated! @karaswisher (The phones in your pockets are literally stocking devices.) #isoj

Always on! Continuous partial attention, it will never turn off. @karaswisher #isoj

You have to be genuine and who you are online. “On the Internet, everybody knows you’re a dog.” @karaswisher #isoj

Kim Kardashian has been a huge social media success. She’s fun to follow. @karaswisher #isoj

“I use Twitter, and it’s really me doing it.” @karaswisher #isoj

Your tech will always be transmitting. There’s nothing that people don’t communicate. @karaswisher #isoj

“It will be about what you’re wearabling.” Wearables are important, though not quite right yet. #isoj

“Wearables will be useful when they start giving you excellent advice.” @karaswisher #isoj

You have to expose yourself. Don’t be shy! @karaswisher #isoj

“It will become analog.” IoT. Soylent, arguably food. “Soylent Green is people.” “What?” “Oh my god, millennials!” @karaswisher


“It will be political.” Gov’t is usually Internet-idiotic, but now tech is getting political. Yow. @karaswisher #isoj

“Trump/Swisher 2016 sounds like a great idea!” @evanasmith re @karaswisher #isoj

RT @OhJProf @evanasmith puts @karaswisher through speed opinion round on tech cos. including Apple, Google, #ISOJ

“I think Zuckerberg is really innovative and interesting.” @karaswisher #isoj

Mark Zuckerberg “is less of a narcissist than the others.” @karaswisher #isoj

RT @THEJordonBrown “I mean, he’s speaking Chinese. Are you?!” @karaswisher defending Zuckerberg to @evanasmith. #ISOJ #txstisoj

“Nobody comes to a website anymore…” @karaswisher #isoj

RT @Just_es_36 @karaswisher is keeping the crowd laughing through her thoughts. A fantastic person!


RT @ylichterman Swisher on Bezos’ stewardship of The Washington Post: “It’s like a comma on his money. He doesn’t care.” #ISOJ

RT @stvcee @karaswisher says liking Rupert Murdoch is similar to liking Satan #ISOJ

Buzzfeed celebrates their viral-ness and that’s what pisses people off. @karaswisher #isoj

WSJ was always denigrating blogs, like it was the clap! @karaswisher #isoj

“There’s never been a greater time for content!” @karaswisher #isoj

“It’s a journalist’s nature to be depressed about things.” @karaswisher #isoj

The economic inequality in San Francisco has got really disturbing… important to address. @karaswisher #karaswisherformayor #isoj

.@karaswisher says @clockwerks “planted a thing in my neck, I don’t know what it was…” #isoj

.@clockwerks is one of the most thoughtful people about how media interacts with technology; he wants to be a partner. @karaswisher #isoj

.@recode is moving from WordPress to the Vox platform, Unison. #isoj

Talking about Nasha Niva, a publication in Belarus, a country described as a ‘digital dictatorship.’ #isoj

.@NyarikiEnock talks about hivisasa’s local focus. The publication pays micropayments for content. #isoj

RT @digitalamysw: Hivisasa online news site provides local news in Kenya. Content generated by users, pays for news submissions https://t.c…

Trevor Snapp from Sudan reports sharp decline in global average press freedom. #isoj

Wanted Nuba Reports to be fast, edgy, innovative. Invested in video for its power and value on the ground. #isoj

Nuba Reports extended reach through partnerships with other publications, also uses whatsapp for broadcast & gathering. #isoj

Galina Timchenko established Meduza after losing leading news position in Russia. #isoj

RT @ellierosetx Laughter is the best medicine, even against hatred and social apathy. #ISOJ

RT @CarlaBorras Galina Timchenko, head of Meduza news, brought down house #isoj. Her group sheds light on #Putin & Russia in hilarious way!

RT @DaveLaFontaine: #ISOJ Putin as SuperMario in game that mocks how he is always late. Brilliant!

RT @DaveLaFontaine: #ISOJ know your audience: Andrew Dynko puts Belarus map onscreen and name-checks World of Tanks

RT @dhgerson: “Totally against paywall in Russian context. It’s like selling medicine in poorest area of Africa or selling fresh air.”@medu…

Rosental is speaking from the holodeck to introduce the VR session at #isoj

.@shazna notes flurry of newsroom VR activity, the flashiest being @nytimes ( #isoj

Can we monetize VR? Will it be affordable and accessible? #isoj

.@pachecod starts with media history to set context. #isoj

With immersive VR, people can jump into stories. @pachecod #isoj

Four flavors of #VR, starting with “casual VR” such as Google Cardboard. #isoj

2nd flavor of #VR: 360 VR, fishbowl experience. #isoj

3rd flavor of VR, “Sit Down” VR like Oculus. 4th flavor is Immersive Walkaround. HTC Vive. @pachecod #isoj

AR and “mixed reality” is the next thing: Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap. #isoj

Volumetric VR (walk around VR) allows you to move around, increases your sense of immersion. @jpallot1 #isoj

Key immersive concepts (#VR) Presence, Empathy, Spatial Narrative. Where physical space is key to telling the story. @jpallot1 #isoj

#VR Issues: 360 vs volumetric, evolution of hardware, ethics of recreations/simulations, emotional impact of “unreal” characters. #isoj

Photogrammetry vs videogrammetry: soon will be able to make much more realistic #VR CGI. #isoj

Ideal volumetric VR uses: simulate inaccessible locations, spatial narratives, scenarios where interaction increase impact of story… #isoj

Other ideal use of volumetric #VR: recreating past events where no footage exists. #isoj

PBS Frontline diving into #VR storytelling. @CarlaBorras #isoj

First Frontline #VR project: on Ebola Outbreak. @CarlaBorras #isoj

Second Frontline #VR project: “On the Bring of Famine” – on South Sudan. @CarlaBorras #isoj

What does animation afford you that realism doesn’t? @CarlaBorras #isoj

Affordance of animation: you can defy the laws of physics. @CarlaBorras #isoj

#VR challenge of narrative focus in a 360 world. @CarlaBorras #isoj

RT @grovesprof Audio is a really great tool for telling VR stories — @CarlaBorras #ISOJ

Demo of #VR tool UT Journalism Dept is developing with a multidisciplinary team in a VR Lab.@rbbrenner #isoj

We’re at a point where it’s important to start talking about standards and ethics of #VR. @tjrkent #isoj

Will there be a space and a market for objectivity in #VR news, or will there only be room for tools for persuasion? @tjrkent #isoj

How real should #VR imagery be? @tjrkent #isoj

How accurate will #VR be? With 2D image sources, may be missing some precision in the imagery. @tjrkent #isoj

How might we convey that we don’t know the absolute reality of a scene? E.g. blurring images where detail is missing. @tjrkent #isoj

RT @pbutler50 Science of VR on brains is very young – we don’t know how traumatic experiences will affect the user. @tjrkent #ISOJ

We’re soon going to have a digital VR depiction of the whole planet. @jpallot1 #isoj

How do we manage griefers in virtual reality environments like Minecraft? #isoj

RT @audreyabrowning Jamie Pallot: How is the next generation going to get their news? That’s the big question. #ISOJ

RT @jovrnalism #jpallot1″We are about to enter the metaverse. I say that with a straight face.” #ISOJ


Lessig Blog, v2: On the emptiness in the concept of “neutrality”


Consider the Lobster: 2000s Archive :


Jupiter layer cake via Cory at boing boing: More cake at


Glitch Moment/ums – From tech accident to artistic expression:


First Democracy

Here’s what I posted:

“Paul, I appreciated this summary of Woodruff’s book, which I hope to read. I’ve often argued that we shouldn’t use the word “democracy” because it is so poorly understood in this era and context, so commonly thought to be a simple majoritarianism. It’s far more complex than that, as you know, and calls for a more complex and nuanced rendering than that one word would allow – unless there’s a body of real learning behind it. By “real” learning, I mean learning that leads to understanding, and includes the kind of critical thinking skills that we’ve been discussing recently. In the U.S. we’re failing as a democracy, and there is no one tyrant, but a tyranny of system and players. It’s a huge problem and I don’t know how to fix it. These kinds of discussions should help.”


Brave new world

Take this with a grain of salt, I heard it on MSNBC just after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. There was a gunfight in a neighborhood, and obviously everyone in the neighborhood was tense and attentive. At some point after a volley of shots, the police *posted* (I suppose they had a Twitter account?) that the suspect was in custody. The reporter said that you could hear applause coming from various parts of the neighborhood. (No tweets from Dzokhar, he was bleeding).

This was the most social-mediated manhunt ever.


Roger Ebert and “Democracy in the Dark”

My first impression of Roger Ebert, many years ago when he was doing the Siskel/Ebert weekly dustup, was that he was a smart guy whose intelligence was undermined by platform – the half hour run-through of the week’s films was always rushed, his written…

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Google Glass via Inhabitat


Gonzo art from Japan – souzo

Via Londonist: “The Japanese word ‘Souzou’ has two meanings depending on the way in which it is written. Written one way, it means creation and written the other way, it means imagination.” Art for art’s sake…

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CERN finds God (Particle)

Reported in Telegraph UK:

“’The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent…

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The Internet inherits war

Bruce Schneier at Technology Review:

Arms races are fueled by two things: ignorance and fear. We don’t know the capabilities of the other side, and we fear that they are more capable than we are. So we spend more, just in case. The other side, of course,…

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Yours truly at SXSW Interactive.


Bruce Sterling at SXSW 2013

[View the story “Bruce Sterling at SXSW 2013″ on Storify]

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