Participative Media

Web 2.0 provides technologies to enable “participative media”, in which the readers and viewers themselves start participating in the content creation process. Getting started with media participation is as easy as the democratic act of ranking the content they have read or viewed. Welcome to online media democracy!

Democratic media brings it’s own set of challenges though, as highlighted by recent discussions on journalistic standards. Scott Karp looks at the problems digg is facing in his delicate balance posting. Democratization of content means a loss of control for the editors and by extension traditional media. Does this mean that notions of journalistic quality may have to be abandoned at the altar of media democracy.

Even a lot of the traditional media don’t really make any claims about content quality – they just focus on getting the biggest circulation. So the journalistic quality debate is not just about traditional vs. participative media. The big question is if and how participative media with a commitment to “quality” will be able to find the right mix that encourages participation without stifling it.

In the meantime, I think we should rejoice in the new opportunities available for expressing ourselves, thanks to participative media in the digital society.


Swiss Venture Scene

There is a lot of interest in Switzerland lately in new ventures – in 2006, there were a record number of start ups in Switzerland. This was long overdue and hopefully will help the development of the startup scene especially with early stage venture capital.

Venturelab, an organization which helps start ups, organizes regular “Venture Aperos” with a presentation, drinks and networking among entrepreneurs and a few investors. They are also a part of Swiss TV SF1‘s “Startup” series, helping with the coaching and selection of companies that are taking part in the program.

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What about the Information Age?

The World Wide Web ushered in an age of unprecedented publication of information. Ultimately this meant lots more transparency all across the information spectrum and transparency is arguably the biggest contribution of the “Information Age” to the digital society – from technology to politics, from health to music, we are now able to inform ourselves about almost everything.

The information age however brought a major problem with it – too much information. Search tools like Google and Yahoo helped to find information by searching the web. Current search engine technology works well for keyword based searches and really enabled information age as we know it today.

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Ingredients of the Digital Society

The things that have made the biggest contribution to making society “digital” are the personal computer, the mobile phone and the Internet. The personal computer started off the “digitization” of society and in its early days it had a huge impact on business. With the arrival of the Internet, the PC empowered people by allowing them to consume and exchange information via the Web and email.

The Internet and the PC ushered in an “Information Age” that has made the world a much more transparent place, but has also led to the problem of information overload. One of the bigger challenges people face today is how to make sense of all the information that is available – they have to figure out how to find, validate, rate and classify it. Search engines like Google allow us to find information while new services like digg and are trying to address the issue of rating and classification.
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