yourlibrarian: SamatWork-no_apologies_86 (SPN-SamatWork-no_apologies_86)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
I attended the following presentation this week and found the discussion of needed research in the area of increasing the usability of online communities interesting. So I thought I'd post the write-up here in case others might find it of interest.

Read more... )
My own impression is that the comment regarding grant work was the most telling of the presentation. While Hearst talked about prizes and challenges, such an approach is poorly targeted to academics. It is, however, well targeted to corporations or entrepreneurs. These days a lot of academics have to raise half their salaries through grants. They can't put in several years of work on the off chance that they might win a prize. This is particularly true given that all grants must include overhead expenses which go to the academic institution, so their employers would also lose out on such a process. In addition, the sort of work Hearst describes -- collaborative online work with no specific outcome -- goes against the publishing need of academics who are rewarded much more lightly for anything but traditional (and frequent) publications.

At the same time, his comment about who would participate in such projects strikes me as being on-the-nose. No online communities, regardless of how passionate the user base, tend to have a great many people doing all the work. It's generally a small core group, and even these people rotate in and out of intense activity. So who would have the time and motivation to take part in these various endeavors? Corporate reps -- either openly or undercover. Businesses are already hiring many PR people to work through social networking sites to promote their products and spin their image. They're the ones who have a stake in what gets decided by public policy, and to make sure that things go their way. If this effort at public input starts making inroads into public policy and expenditure, I'm pretty sure that "public participation reps" will be an area of future employment.
yourlibrarian: Buffy on the phone (BUF-WorkingGirl: eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
Some interesting stories about media products around today. First, this aptly titled article, Book Publishers Go Stupid, discusses Simon and Schuster's decision to release e-books 4 months after hardcovers. I thought the author made some good points about how this is another case of large institutions clinging to old revenue models, but then I also think that $10 for an ebook makes no sense. If I can get a paperback for $8 or less then that should be the maximum cost for the ebook which doesn't have the same associated expenses. (Plus, shouldn't we be encouraging people to use less paper?) What's more with the Apple Tablet coming out next year, which can only serve to boost e-reading, this market will only grow.

The foot-dragging music industry is trying its version of Hulu with Vevo. Since I was around for the launch of MTV there's a certain nostalgia to the idea of Vevo, especially if it comes with VJs and music news, but I'm not clear how it's going to be that different from sites like Yahoo!Music, or, you know, MTVmusic.com. Articles like this are suggesting that it's going to be a music portal with everything in HQ and eventually streaming concerts. Hulu has done really well for itself in its first year so if Vevo can market itself well it could build a good slice of the pie. I just think from what was said it's too little, too late.

That may also be the case with many Media Studies programs. Read more... )

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Social Informatics and Media Studies

April 2010

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