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BlogTalk opening session notes

July 05, 2004 :: by Lee 2 responses  

This panel was chaired by Manfred Tscheligi and included the following talks:

The highlights for me were Joerg Kantel's passionate talk on how weblogs and related media realise the promise of Brechtian community media, plus Jon's somewhat technology-challenged talk about collective wiki-style editing of community-produced video material using SMIL. Snipsnap is also worth a look and props due to Stephan for joining my collaborative note-taking of his talk via Rendezvous to clarify some points about his company's knowledge of their user base.

Stephan Schmidt (Fraunhofer FIRST): Bottom up weblogs for knowledge management

Why KM doesn't work?
- Mostly top down: management decides what processes, tools, organisation etc are used
- non-matching ontologies, complicated process, complex tools = low user acceptance
- they had som many overlapping categories that nobody knew where things should go and so people were confused

Bottom-up KM
- from user to management
- self-organising with emergent structures
- fits user needs

1. knowledge is floating around, uncollected and unstructured
2. then you can collect knowledge
3. structure ontologies as needed (refactoring)

You typically have isolated islands of blogs which then start to form communities through discussion and these start to overlap and then you eventuall get one large meta-community of knowledge sharing

How are structure and organisation connected?

- Trackback

These help connecte structure and organisation

Why Weblogs?
- ideal to spark off communities
- they contain connection technologies
- maintained by enthusiastic individuals
- installed without management

Use cases
- virtual comapneis and projects
- COPs
- Universities

Daniel Doegl : Zoomblox - A universe of topics from children for children

Zoomblox came from ZOOM multimedia lab work

want children to be actively involved in producing content with max interactivity by and for children using a "sandbox" where they can experiment with publishing

Blogging seemed ideal

- closed community
- indidivual and group blogs
- fun flash-based interface to find them
- has internal mail system


- monitoring
- measurement
- maintenance to protect kids

Launching Autumn 2004

Joerg Kantel: Turn your radio on - tweaking and tuning your weblog for the future


weblogs are between asynch and sycnh media and he thinks they coudl take over from radio as a community media platform

Brecht's theory of radio - mass communications from the working class and at some point seized upon as a propaganda device?

Web is a writing media for the masses but also good to connect with small groups for specific subjects

Ideas of alternative radio taken up by many small groups and communities - e.g. anti-nuclear protestors - it is cheap to send and receive, so ideal for this kind of use.

Alternative radio -> cheap - > ideal media as it was cheap to build receivers and broadcasters

"Freedom of the press belongs to he who owns one"

History: author was a publisher of 'radikal' (and was arrested at one time)

Alternative Media; Movies (super 8 movies?) distributed via Offener Kanal

Weblogs: a new media between synchronicity and asynchronicity

48 hours in Neukoelin: - > edited in iMovie

He lives in Neukoelln - Bronx of Berlin - that has a big arts party / festival. He created a multimedia blog for the party and they used a video camera to make a film / blog of the event.

Other synchoronoous/ asnch tools:
iPod + microphone
Need to support this when syncing

He suggests that weblog software + simple media tools keep the promise of all the ideas of alt. media we have had in the past. Weblog tools are ideal for this.

Theory: Berthold Brecht / Hans Megnus Enzensberger / Alexander Kluge

"we must occupy positions before the government does and we lose the island we have built!"

Jon Hoem: Videoblogs as 'collective documentary'


videoblogs: (background of Jan is media producer)

(extra: a videoblog directory maintained by Alex Lam -- see also

Media usage: (most get early exposure to this media, + therefore moderately literate)

- TV use declining, but still most popular
- video will still be most used medium
- Knowing the 'grammar' of A-V media will be important part of 'media literacy'

access, analyse, eval and communicate info is defn of literacy (hacking, modding & creating in addition to consumption)

literacy key to crossing broder between consumption and participation. We need usable useful tools for everyone.

- text blogs popular
- many young bloggers are girls
- mobile tech is an ideal opportunity for new media

'Vogs" = blog + A-V sequences; personal; between writing and TV; "video in a blog must be more than video in a blog"

(very few vogs around right now)

"Moblogs" = blogs created from mobile devices usually with a camera; tech similar to text blogs; often hosted by service providers

relation to doc filmmaking?
compilation film
archived material

found footage
Material found by accident; videoblogs can help this process

Re-editing: (eisenstein )

collective documentary
moments in life captured by cameras and put together by collective effort

approach to videoblogs: simplicity of moblogs + wiki approach to editing using SMIL and QT

post production stages:

1. posting
2. selecting
3. editing
4. storing
5. re-editing

demo of videoblog approach

demo showing features that allow people to combine their submitted footage (CC license). User selects footage and 'adds to edit list' that allows them to organise their own combined edit.

Editing: user makes sequences without editing the source material (using SMIL)


shows prototype editor interface

SMIL docs describe: display area; regions for positioning; sequencing; duration; annotations, etc

openness and wiki-nature are features of the system

Their ongoing research includes:
spatial and temporayr media
interactive possibilities of deep linking
server v client issues
P2P distribution
+ legal aspects of citation and deep linking
presenation here:


Lilia Efimova: what methods do you use to understand users (make it easy for users?)

MB: Easy is hard! It is not just about catering for newbies, but also for the developing needs of long-term users. especially when thinking about new applications (e.g video)

SnSn: their users are quite computer literate, but it is hard to explain concepts to secretaries and other non-computer literate users (joke about adding flash interface [not unlike that used in Zoom] )

Lilia: how do you understand your users? what studies have you done?

SnSn: none!

SnSn: Well actually we have ~3000 registered users and we have comments activated and most users complain if they can't use the software. So I think we have a rough overview about how usable the software is.

Jon: A: look at time on task after carefully defining task. Fine if the task is an easy task, but if the task is complicated....
Jon wants everyone to use his system (in interests of wide spread media literacy)

Q for Stephan Schmidt: Blogging and wiki in companies: e.g one with 1000 - 2000 people - > what percentage do you think would adopt? what is reasonable?

SnSn: Readers below 50% publishers below 25%
Managers/customers want 100%
Question asker would be happy with 10%

In a closed community, what is the min number of writers for critcial mass? 1, 10, 100?

MB: dont need critical mass, but perhaps a few key people might be more effective (e.g. CEO, HR person, manager)

NB: Thanks to Stephanie, Cyprien, Stephan and Roland for help taking the notes!

What do you think?

Climb to the Stars (Stephanie Booth) linked here on July 8, 2004 12:56 PM
A detailed write-up of the collective note-taking operation we ran at BlogTalk. We took notes together using SubEthaEdit and then posted them to a wiki so that they can be further annotated. The story, and questions this experience raises for me.
Headshift linked here on May 9, 2006 04:40 PM
OK - enough already - my final word on Blogtalk 2, I promise!

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