The partnership between Comedy Central, a cable cannel owned by Viacom, and Twitter represents the evolving relationship between television and social media. Twitter is often incorporated into programming with viewers using the site as a second screen while watching live television. But slowly, Twitter is becoming an outlet on which to watch video.
Amy Chozick, The New York Times. A Comedy Show That Comes via a Hashtag.
Next week, Comedy Central is hosting a comedy show almost entirely on Twitter, with comedians posting video clips and jokes using the hashtag #ComedyFest. It’s an experiment to get users to watch video directly on Twitter, rather than use Twitter as a second screen while watching TV.
As early as next month, Comedy Central will introduce a free, ad-supported app, called CC: Stand-Up. Designed to look and feel like a cable channel devoted to stand-up, the app will offer videos of comedians performing routines.
A recommendation algorithm (similar to the one used by Amazon) will allow users to discover new comedians. If you watched Jeff Ross, for example, a web of other comics would pop up based on routines with similar topics (like mass transit), style (like dark humor) or other relationships (both like marshmallows).
We have had gadflies among us ever since [Socrates], but one contemporary breed in particular has come in for a rough time of late: the “hacktivist.” While none have yet been forced to drink hemlock, the state has come down on them with remarkable force. This is in large measure evidence of how poignant, and troubling, their message has been.
Hacktivists, roughly speaking, are individuals who redeploy and repurpose technology for social causes. In this sense they are different from garden-variety hackers out to enrich only themselves. People like Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates began their careers as hackers — they repurposed technology, but without any particular political agenda. In the case of Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak, they built and sold “blue boxes,” devices that allowed users to defraud the phone company. Today, of course, these people are establishment heroes, and the contrast between their almost exalted state and the scorn being heaped upon hacktivists is instructive.
Peter Ludlow, New York Times Opinionator Blog. Hacktivists as Gadflies.
FJP: Ludlow argues that while American society celebrates its hackers, the ones they do are those that are “non-political”, and hack to start companies. See: Jobs, Wozniak, Gates and Zuckerberg.
For those with a political agenda — perceived or otherwise — the law comes down hard. See: Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer (writing a script to collect personal information exposed by AT&T and handing the results of his investigation into the security hole over to Gawker) and sentenced to 41 months in prison; Barrett Brown (linking to a publicly available Web page containing the results of a credit card hack committed by others) and now facing charges of up to 100 years on 12 counts of credit card fraud; and Aaron Swartz (writing a script to download academic articles but not distributing them) who killed himself before before going to trial in a case that could have meant 35 years in prison, among others.
As we’ve pointed out before, US laws like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are so broad — and so out of date in our current networked environments — that almost all of us, technically, do things that put us on the wrong side of the law.
When everyone is guilty of something, those most harshly prosecuted tend to be the ones that are challenging the established order, poking fun at the authorities, speaking truth to power — in other words, the gadflies of our society.
Related: Boing Boing, CISPA: Congress wants to create unlimited Internet spying powers.
Apparently, the more mobile devices you have, the higher your perceived value of media is. According to BCG’s recent study, Through the Mobile Looking Glass, when you get a second mobile device, there is a 41% increase in perceived media value, a 40% increase when you get a third, and a 30% increase when you get a fourth.
Which makes sense, if you’re spending your days juggling four mobile devices and consuming media on all of them. What could be more important than the information nuggets you’re eating all day long?
Hopefully a lot of things, considering that the nutritional value of all the information we’re consuming could be very low.
The Guardian’s Rolf Dobelli explains:
In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognised the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-coloured candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognise how toxic news can be.
Dobelli goes on to provide illustrative examples of the following:
Dobelli wants us to go without news. To be clear, he’s not arguing against ALL journalism. He supports investigative journalism, long-form, and books, but for the last four years has entirely removed the consumption of other (shorter) news from his diet. He’s since experienced: “less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, and more insights.”
FJP: Firstly, journalists simply can’t afford that kind of lifestyle and anyone active on a social network can’t avoid it. And great, illuminating, informative, well-reported, well-presented journalism is out there. But if we set aside the details of his argument (over which we could debate at length), Dobelli’s larger point (that our news consumption habits aren’t very healthy), coupled with the fact that we of the mobile generations perceive the value of media so highly, raises the most important question of all for people living in 2013: How can we construct healthy, anxiety-free, informative, enjoyable news diets that help us live better lives and understand the world better? News literacy. Just like we ought to do with food, practice consuming with balance and intention.—Jihii