Archive for January, 2012

Clay Shirky on why SOPA is a bad idea

January 19th, 2012

As someone who runs a user-generated website, I think SOPA is a very bad idea. But I think it’s bad not just because it would inhibit my business, but because it would stifle innovation across the Internet as a whole.

For those of you who may not be familiar with SOPA, I’m providing a definition here (courtesy of the user-generated site Wikipedia):

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a law (bill) of the United States proposed in 2011 to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize the streaming of such content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

User-content websites such as YouTube would be greatly affected, and concern has been expressed that they may be shut down if the bill becomes law. Opponents state the legislation would enable law enforcement to remove an entire domain due to something posted on a single blog, arguing that an entire online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority. In a 1998 law, copyright owners are required to request the site to remove the infringing material within a certain amount of time. SOPA would bypass this “safe harbor” provision by placing the responsibility for detecting and policing infringement onto the site itself.

Lobbyists for companies that rely heavily on revenue from intellectual property copyright state it protects the market and corresponding industry, jobs, and revenue. The US president and legislators suggest it may kill innovation. Representatives of the American Library Association state the changes could encourage criminal prosecution of libraries. Other opponents state that requiring search engines to delete a domain name begins a worldwide arms race of unprecedented censorship of the Web and violates the First Amendment.

On January 18, 2012, several high-profile sites including Wikipedia went “dark” in protest of SOPA, and prominent Canadians like Michael Geist illustrated how an American legal issue would also affect those living outside of Uncle Sam’s reach.

I am against SOPA for many of the same reasons that others have spoken about publicly. It’s ill-conceived, destructive and it would stifle the innovation, open discussion and progress we have come to love of the Internet.

One particular voice in this discussion caught my attention and I wanted to share that with you here today. Clay Shirky gave a TED talk on SOPA and it says everything I would and provides great context on a complicated yet important issue. If you have 15 minutes to spare, I strongly encourage you to take the time to watch this talk:

Digital Journal releases December Power User list featuring top 20 in crowdsourcing project

January 4th, 2012

Another press release from my company today…

 

Digital Journal, a global digital media network, today published a list of the 20 most active contributors on its network for December 2011. The Top 20 list is published each month to report how Digital Journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists interact in an online media network.

“Digital Journal’s gamification project is really working well to encourage more activity and contribution, while at the same time rewarding active contributors with a great deal of exposure,” said Chris Hogg, CEO, Digital Journal. “In addition, we can determine how people consume and interact with our media network in real-time, giving us vital information on the popularity of certain sectors of our news network right down to a granular level.”

In Q4 of 2011, Digital Journal launched a massive gamification project that tracks and reports activity of contributors on Digital Journal. Recording actions such as quantity of articles published, frequency of visit and how engaged members are, Digital Journal rewards points and badges to individual contributors based on the amount of their activity. The members who stay the most active in the month are then rewarded with a “Power Users” badge.

“Our contributors, members and readers have responded so well to our gamification project,” said Hogg. “Giving people recognition for hard work is important, and highlighting details of how people engage in an open news ecosystem adds a layer of interactivity critical to digital news initiatives.”

In addition to creating incentive for contributors to participate in the social news network, Digital Journal’s aims to showcase talent and create a level of transparency that gives an open look at how people interact with a news organization and how user-generated content is valuable in the wider news ecosystem.

In no particular order, Digital Journal’s December 2011 Power Users include:

Digital Journal compiles data on a monthly basis and resets the points at the beginning of each month when a new competition begins. More info on Digital Journal’s gamification project can be found here.

About Digital Journal:

Digital Journal is a global digital media network with 34,000+ professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world. Regarded as a pioneer and leader in crowdsourcing and user-generated content, Digital Journal leverages its custom-built content platform and global reach to produce news and media content at scale in an environment that is built from the ground-up to be digital-first and social by nature. Digital Journal also consults and works with news organizations who want to leverage the power of their audience to acquire content, drive revenue and increase engagement from digital media properties. More info is available at DigitalJournal.com

Digital Journal showcases power of user-generated media with global coverage of top stories in 2011

January 3rd, 2012

A press release from my company this morning announcing some great momentum going into 2012…

Digital Journal is winning praise for its role in covering major international stories throughout 2011. Leveraging both technology and a global base of contributors, the company played a big role in covering 2011′s top stories.

Boasting a network of more than 34,000 members in 200 countries, Digital Journal’s reach allowed the social news network to take part in and lead editorial coverage of 2011’s major stories.

From the tsunami in Japan, to the Occupy movements in multiple geographies, to protests during the Arab Spring, Digital Journalists published breaking news, featured stories, photo essays and video of important stories.

“Digital Journal has cemented its position in the digital media industry, earning praise for curating and nurturing high-quality user-generated media and for improving our platform to allow virtually anyone to take part in the news,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal. “Going into 2012, we’re excited to continue to lead in the world of user-generated media along with our world-class base of contributors and a platform that is unmatched.”

In addition to being a hub for top-notch reporting, Digital Journal also introduced several platform enhancements that have grown uniques by more than 75 percent. Pageviews have more than doubled.

“As a pioneer and leader in the world of user-generated content, Digital Journal has built a business around scaling content across several verticals and multiple geographies,” said Hogg. “Our content assignment tool and gamification project were game-changers for our business. Today we’re as much a technology company as a media company, which is a necessity for any media company that wants to be a leader.”

Some of the major international stories covered by Digital Journalists include:

  • The widespread London riots, from technology used to identify protesters to the thousands of arrests.
  • Tracking and reporting on the Occupy movement in cities such as Toronto, New York, London, Edinburgh, Oakland, Baltimore, Portland, Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, Halifax, and more.
  • Telling the many stories behind the Arab Spring protests, from Tunisia to Egypt.
  • In-depth coverage on the tsunami that hit Japan.
  • Reporting on protests in Greece and reactions from everyday citizens.
  • Reporting on the effects of the severe drought in Somalia.
  • Covering Hurricane Irene as it hit the US northeast.
  • Reporting on the tornados that ripped through Joplin, MO.
  • Photo essays covering the Vancouver riots after the 2011 Stanley Cup game.
  • Telling the untold stories related to the Royal Wedding, including the many fans lining up to get a glimpse of the ceremony.
  • Celebrity coverage from the Toronto International Film Festival, including photo stories showcasing many A-list celebs.
  • Covering the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and tributes staged across the United States.
  • Tracking the results of the 2011 Canadian federal election and providing breaking news on ridings and voting results.
  • Publishing breaking news on the recent shooting massacre in Belgium.
  • Writing on same-sex legislation passed in various U.S. states and foreign countries such as Malawi, including analysis of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal news.
  • Chronicling the intense flooding in the Philippines and the recovery missions.

“It’s amazing to watch the power of user-generated content as it scales across our global social news network,” said David Silverberg, Managing Editor of Digital Journal. “From editorial excellence to ongoing interaction between contributors, not a day goes by that we don’t marvel at the power of crowdsourcing.”

About Digital Journal:

Digital Journal is a global digital media network with 34,000+ professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world. Regarded as a pioneer and leader in crowdsourcing and user-generated content, Digital Journal leverages its custom-built content platform and global reach to produce news and media content at scale in an environment that is built from the ground-up to be digital-first and social by nature. Digital Journal also consults and works with news organizations who want to leverage the power of their audience to acquire content, drive revenue and increase engagement from digital media properties.