Category: community

A New ‘Peace Academy’ Is Teaching Violence Prevention Workers How To Stop The Shootings:

“They’re not on the streets no more fighting over turf, fighting over money, it’s cyber banging over clout. It’s who can get the most clout, I want a name, I want to be known.”

– rodney phillips

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 3 – Character Witness

Why The Internet Is A Bad Place To Discover Music:

1. Music choice is more about personal identity than it is about anything else.

Personal identity is spread through human interaction — that means what your friends listen too, or what your diaspora listens to — you probably listen to as well. Humans look to other humans for the social clues that help them decide what their identity should be, and in that way, that is how music discovery is spread as well.

That’s a long way of saying this: Yes, we are overwhelmed by all the music choices available to us, but we find new music the way new music has always been found — word of mouth.

How do you think Bach got his gigs? Word of mouth. How did Kanye blow up? Word of mouth.

What the music industries needs more of is streaming services with these social cues. Spotify should tell me that 30% of my Facebook friends (or, now, Google+ connections) are listening to the Black Eyed Peas. Or that 70% of listeners from my (hyper-local) area have started listening to Justin Beiber’s new album. I’m much more likely to listen to it is my friends (or merely people near me) are also listening.

Because music creates self-identity — which, in turn, creates something much more valuable: community.

If the music industry decided to start selling “community” instead of “music”, they’d be better off.

.2. Most music discovery platforms are in the wrong place.

Do you know the story of Joshua Bell playing violin in the Washington subway? He, one of the best violin virtuosos in the world, played piece-after-piece of classical repertoire. He played for 45 minutes and made $32.

To me, this was a ridiculous exercise. It proves two things to me:

1) The venue is much more important than the music or the musician

2) Never mistake a busy street for a venue

People are walking by. They left their houses because they had somewhere to go. Some middle aged guy with a fancy violin doesn’t change the fact that they need to catch a train to get to work.

How arrogant do you have to be to expect people to stop their lives to listen to your music? Give me a break.

Here is the important part: Facebook, Twitter, and most of the internet is a street. It is not a venue. People are on their way somewhere. They are doing things. They are busy. The internet is, then, not necessarily the best place for people to discover, and fall in love with, a song or an artist.

So if it seems that listeners are overwhelmed, that they are not finding the music they want, or nobody cares about “my” music — it’s because listeners are not in a venue that makes the music matter.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

Why The Internet Is A Bad Place To Discover Music:

1. Music choice is more about personal identity than it is about anything else.

Personal identity is spread through human interaction — that means what your friends listen too, or what your diaspora listens to — you probably listen to as well. Humans look to other humans for the social clues that help them decide what their identity should be, and in that way, that is how music discovery is spread as well.

That’s a long way of saying this: Yes, we are overwhelmed by all the music choices available to us, but we find new music the way new music has always been found — word of mouth.

How do you think Bach got his gigs? Word of mouth. How did Kanye blow up? Word of mouth.

What the music industries needs more of is streaming services with these social cues. Spotify should tell me that 30% of my Facebook friends (or, now, Google+ connections) are listening to the Black Eyed Peas. Or that 70% of listeners from my (hyper-local) area have started listening to Justin Beiber’s new album. I’m much more likely to listen to it is my friends (or merely people near me) are also listening.

Because music creates self-identity — which, in turn, creates something much more valuable: community.

If the music industry decided to start selling “community” instead of “music”, they’d be better off.

.2. Most music discovery platforms are in the wrong place.

Do you know the story of Joshua Bell playing violin in the Washington subway? He, one of the best violin virtuosos in the world, played piece-after-piece of classical repertoire. He played for 45 minutes and made $32.

To me, this was a ridiculous exercise. It proves two things to me:

1) The venue is much more important than the music or the musician

2) Never mistake a busy street for a venue

People are walking by. They left their houses because they had somewhere to go. Some middle aged guy with a fancy violin doesn’t change the fact that they need to catch a train to get to work.

How arrogant do you have to be to expect people to stop their lives to listen to your music? Give me a break.

Here is the important part: Facebook, Twitter, and most of the internet is a street. It is not a venue. People are on their way somewhere. They are doing things. They are busy. The internet is, then, not necessarily the best place for people to discover, and fall in love with, a song or an artist.

So if it seems that listeners are overwhelmed, that they are not finding the music they want, or nobody cares about “my” music — it’s because listeners are not in a venue that makes the music matter.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 4 – Illusion

‘Vast Majority’ of Online Anti-Vaxxers Are Women:

We didn’t get into the fine detail of Dr Naomi Smith’s research into the dynamics of Anti-vax communities online, but the research is fascinating, and vital to understand. I hope there’s more to come in the future.

To get a better idea of how anti-vaxxer Facebook communities function, Smith and co-researcher Tim Graham, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Australian National University, who has a joint appointment in the Research School of Social Science and the Research School of Computer Science, dug into the groups’ posts, likes, shares and comments. They found the following:

  • Anti-vaxxer posts are highly shared, meaning that people frequently “shared” posts on their own Facebook pages or on their friends’ pages, Smith said. In all, there were more than 2 million shares across the six groups during the two-year period, she said. “This means that the page’s reach is much greater than the number of people who ‘like’ it,” Smith said.
  • Participants were moderately active across several anti-vaccination Facebook pages, “suggesting that users’ activity on anti-vaccination is more than just a product of Facebook’s recommender system” — a system that recommends like-minded groups to people, Smith said.
  • Despite their large size and high levels of activity, anti-vaccination groups are relatively loose-knit. “That is, they do not necessarily function as close-knit communities of support with participants interacting with each other in a sustained way over time,” Smith said. [Top 10 Golden Rules of Facebook]
  • Even though they are “loose,” these groups show features of “small-world” networks. “In small- world networks, information diffuses quickly and easily through the network, in this instance through user-generated comments,” Smith said. However, it’s difficult to say whether these small-world effects are due to the nature of the anti-vaxxer movement itself, or are an artifact of Facebook, a platform that can help spread information quickly, Smith said.
  • The sentiments expressed in these Facebook pages were “quite negative in tone, suggesting that users of the anti-vaccination pages feel not only morally outraged about the practice of vaccination, but structurally oppressed by seemingly tyrannical and conspiratorial government and media,” Smith said. Moreover, many posts had conspiracy-style beliefs placing blame on the government and media, Smith said. A 2011 survey found that conspiracy-style thinking is common among the general public and more pronounced in anti-vaxxers, a 2014 study in the American Journal of Political Sciencefound.
  • Anti-vaxxers had concerns about state-sanctioned harm and interference with their autonomy. “In particular, anti-vaccination Facebook pages commonly compare vaccination to the Holocaust, illustrating a strong sense of persecution,” Smith said.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

The Digital Human – Series 16 – Gentrification – BBC Sounds:

Gentrification. It’s a constant cycle in the offline world. Run down areas with cheap rent attract a young arty crowd, business moves in when the area has a new hip image, and suddenly everyone wants to live there and the original residents find themselves priced out of the neighbourhood and so move on to a new place to start the cycle again. 

But, we don’t just live in cities in the digital age. The internet was once a haven for freaks, geeks and weirdos, but now that everyone has poured into the same digital space, has it too been gentrified? And if it has… where can people go? 

 Aleks Krotoski explores how digital communities have shifted and evolved, through both the very human development of communities, and the technological changes of algorithms and automation that have like the highways and infrastructure of the physical world, have split communities and fundamentally changed how we live online. She discovers out how the cycle of progress has both helped and hurt us in the digital age, and finds out if the artists, the freaks, the geeks and the weirdos still have a place to call home. 

Walk with Morvern Cunningham – Edinburgh City of Literature:

The city of Edinburgh is an ongoing inspiration for its creative community, and we invited several of them to tell us a bit about the places and spaces that resonate strongly with them.

By walking in their footsteps, these Walk With Me micro-trails let you discover a small part of literary Edinburgh through the eyes of one of its writers, poets, songwriters, comedians, photographers, and more, taking you on a journey around their personal literary Edinburgh.

This is Morvern Cunningham’s trail.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 1: Gentrification

Has Second Life Been Fully Gentrified? Thoughts from My BBC Interview:

Wagner James Au was great to have on the show but a nightmare to cut since so much of the interview was fascinating.

Thankfully, his blog covers everything we couldn’t possibly fit into a 30 minute podcast so go check it out, as well as continuing his second life journalism he’s got really cool stuff on VR communities and the beauty of digital art 🙂


Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 1: Gentrification

Former Homeless Woman Becomes Twitter Celebrity:

Alone and homeless on the streets of Chicago, AnnMarie Walsh found comfort in Twitter.

“It feels so good to know there is someone out there,” she said. “I could Tweet and there was always someone there listening.”

Walsh was homeless for six years before she met a case worker at a Tweetupevent who helped her find temporary housing. Her Twitter profile says she’s been off the streets since April 7, 2011.

Walsh uses the Twitter handle @PadsChicago. The 41-year-old tweets to her more than 4,800 followers about what it was like to be homeless and also advocates for homeless people. When she was homeless, Walsh would tweet from her cell phone or use computers at her local library.

She has slowly amassed more followers as her story of documenting her homelessness on Twitter has gained traction with the media.

She joined Twitter more than two years ago. Initially, she said, Twitter appealed to her because she thought it could help her deal with mental health issues by making her more comfortable talking to people, at least in a digital sense.

“It has really helped me come out and be better functioning in social settings,” she said. “I used it to get my feelings out.”

The response she received from her Twitter followers made her feel more comfortable sharing her story.

Using Twitter “made me realize how many good people are out there,” she said.

Tweets came pouring in from people who wanted to help her. She received two free laptops from people she met through Twitter. People offered to pay her cell phone bill and others sent her bus passes. A documentary filmmaker also reached out to her via Twitter and asked her to be part of his project documenting homelessness. Through that filmmaker, she was invited to speak at Twitter’s 140 Characters Conference, being held in Los Angeles in 2009.

Walsh would also attend Tweetup events in Chicago. At one such Tweetup, she met a case worker who helped her find temporary housing.

“I’m still in a homeless frame of mind because I don’t have any income,” she said. “I would certainly love a job where I can help people in some way.” Walsh says she would particularly love a job working in social media.

Digital Human, Series 12, Episode 4 – Protection