From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

Interview with Henry Jenkins

Andy Hogan interviews MIT Professor Henry Jenkins about the cultural and ideological climate surrounding video games.


So, what does it mean that yahoo has wrapped into its media cocktail?

While I wouldn't presume to have any special insight into what it means when and the other properties are mixed in the same stew, I might suggest that is, when you invert it, a rich database of individual's (and groups, I supposed) self-authored descriptions of their interests, activities, projects — the whole thing.

Turning this into a way to create useful indices to people for a variety of purposes seems most obvious. Knee jerk purpose says advertising, but I'm betting that clever heads will find a host of more promising kinds of ways to create vibrant enhancements to existing social formations and ways in which culture is circulated amongst networked publics.

More than tagging pages on the web — tagging "my stuff" in the world is still something TBD. Through, I can provide indices through taxonomies and folksonomies to things that are of interest to me, or related to a project. Some inferences can be made about my personality, or the things in which I am engaged. But that's a degree removed from an explicit articulation of who I am, what I have, what I want to get rid of, what I want to share, what I need, etc. Think of what a distributed MySpaces might look like, without the hassle of having to manage yet another social software application.

[via Russell Beattie's Notebook]

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Submitted by jbleecker on December 11, 2005 - 5:48am Y.ah.oo!

Web 2.0 mania continues as Yahoo buys

Read about it here.

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 10, 2005 - 5:10am

Wireless network technology primer, from Ofcom

I just ran into a set of nice summaries of emerging wireless technologies from Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator. They give straightforward descriptions of technologies like mesh networks and polite protocols, with added notes on why policy makers would care and what aspects they are particularly interested in.

Submitted by fbar on December 9, 2005 - 6:45pm

New Media and Society

A new issue of New Media and Society is out, with an essay called Cellphones in public: social interactions in a wireless era. It resonates with a number of the themes that came up during yesterday's seminar discussion.

Cellphones provide a unique opportunity to examine how new media both reflect and affect the social world. This study suggests that people map their understanding of common social rules and dilemmas onto new technologies. Over time, these interactions create and reflect a new social landscape. Based upon a year-long observational field study and in-depth interviews, this article examines cellphone usage from two main perspectives: how social norms of interaction in public spaces change and remain the same; and how cellphones become markers for social relations and reflect tacit pre-existing power relations. Informed by Goffman's concept of cross talk and Hopper's caller hegemony, the article analyzes the modifications, innovations and violations of cellphone usage on tacit codes of social interactions.

Submitted by jbleecker on December 8, 2005 - 7:59pm

microsoft's bird's eye view

The just-released Windows Live Local has stunning aerial pictures. Look at the Annenberg Center from above. These angled aerial shots are much more understandable than the usual 'straight down' satellite pictures. Must be the shadows and perspective that give a sense of volume and make things easier to recognize.


Submitted by fbar on December 8, 2005 - 11:04am

Nintendog Existentialism

The LA Weekly hits again with a witty explication of the Nintendog and its concomitant cultural phenomenon.

Submitted by jbleecker on December 8, 2005 - 4:06am

Is Email Broken?

I can no longer send email to my friends at AOL because, according to AOL, the server is on has also been used to send spam. Since a nonprofit group, the LA Forum is on the same server, members who are on AOL don't get their emails anymore either. The problem is that AOL's policies on what constitutes spam are ludicrous. No doubt AOL users get spam, but my ISPs terms of service are strict. users have a nice big button tempting them by saying "Mark as Spam" over their list of emails. The problem is that clueless users simply look at all of their email, get overwhelmed by the tempting ads for penis enhancement, Nigerian 419 scams, and so forth, hit select all and then "Mark as Spam" to delete the entire bunch. When enough AOL users do this, the site is blacklisted by IP, not by originating server. Then of course there are the people who sign up to mailing lists (such as the LA Forum's) and then want off but are too lazy to read the instructions at the bottom of the email message in order to figure out how to unsubscribe and just hit "Mark as Spam" to get the emails banned from their account. Same effect. Heck, if I just bcc 20 people and one of them is from AOL, I'll be blocked for a day since that's not acceptable, even if I'm doing it to send out a party invite. If I enter in what AOL considers a malformed URL—or even respond back to a message with a malformed URL-the same thing will happen. Some of them persist in sending me email from their AOL. I've given up trying to respond back to them. The next stage may just be to have set up an auto-responder to tell people that I won't read their email and to get a real email address.

Then again, this morning a friend with SBC sent me an email (an my netpublics account) that had bounced back from Why? Because the ISP has put in spamcop and his smtp server is considered blocked.

Spam blocking is becoming more of a problem for me than spam. Perhaps all this will be solved soon, but email seems more and more broken, heading down the route of Gopher or Usenet and other dead media. I asked Mimi Ito about this since she knows everything about such matters (or at least seems to me) and she responded: "Ours will be the last generation to use email." Sites like and instant messaging will defeat email once and for all in her analysis.

But what happens when IM spam and IM spam blockers rear their ugly heads?

Submitted by kvarnelis on December 8, 2005 - 3:02am

word of the year

So its official. Podcasting is dead. The New American Oxford Dictionary has declared the word "podcasting" the "Word of the Year" for 2005. That surely is a sign that the technology/phenomenon is on the decline, right?

Does anyone remember how quickly "weblog" moved from initial use to mainstream ackowledgement? IIRC, it was a log longer than it took for podcasting.

Submitted by todd on December 7, 2005 - 9:37am

Machinima giving voice to the banlieu: "The French Democracy"

It's not just US mainstream popular culture that is putting pressure on France to globalize. The machinima film The French Democracy offers an alternative version of the recent riots in France complete with a Manhattan backdrop and English subtitles.

Submitted by arussell on December 6, 2005 - 6:27pm