[IMC-Tech] [Imc-research] 10 theses - #4 Dream up Indymedia 2.0
LordRich at riseup.net
Sun Jul 15 08:02:39 PDT 2007
You talk about being an "alternative to CNN", and back in the day that's what Indymedia was built to be - an alternative to mainstream corporate news coverage that was failing to accurately show our views. However, things have changed. No longer are we even trying to compete with CNN, rather we are trying to compete with the likes of Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, blogs, Livejournal, etc.
Indymedia 2.0 needs to compete with these (corporate) social networking sites, which is where the grassroots local campaign groups are taking their campaigns. And it's certainly not technology we lack, from what I've heard about imc-alternatives they're working on features which will easily compete with any social networking site. What we lack is the ability to get mainstream people using Indymedia, the ability to convince grassroots local activist groups that they want to be organising using Indymedia 2.0 and not a corporate-owned site.
It's something of a chicken and egg situation, we can't easily get groups using Indymedia if they don't see any benefit. And there won't be any benefit unless their target audience is actively using Indymedia. And this ties in with "politics of filtering", the people currently actively using Indymedia are the people deciding what should and shouldn't appear in the newswire or as features - and with big international stories frequently appearing as features on national Indymedia frontpages, local groups don't see it as being something they can use.
Which brings us onto designing new frontpages that show the news people want to see rather than the old, dated three-column system that corporate news sites abandoned years ago.
And I realise this is fast becoming off-topic for imc-tech.
On Fri, 13 Jul 2007 17:58:39 +0100
ionnek <ionnek at aktivix.org> wrote:
> yes, i have seen it. And similar to the discussion on imc-alternatives, I agree
> with the description: That the concept of imc sites has not changed since 1999,
> and that indymedia is often used (or seen) as an alternative CNN.
> Indymedia is a riddle. Many imc sites do present themselves as "an alternative
> CNNs", and it is my impression that this was or is a project for many of us. On
> the other hand, a part from the occasional big mobilisation, Indymedia sites
> were never a competition for CNN. A momentary threat, maybe, or even an
> inspiration, but not a project that might make CNN redundant any time soon.
> Maybe the special thing about indymedia lays somewhere else: in the "building
> of a global network of alternative communication", something that is much more
> than counterinformation.
> I was never convinced of the CNN comparison - I didn't want to "compete" with
> CNN, but was and still am fascinated by the building of our own communication
> channels, which are also organising channels, friendship channels,
> widening-the-horizon channels, connecting-global-and-local channels. The
> non-geographical networks created in this global movement appear "real" to me
> because they materialise in the streets (the globally or regionally
> synchronised mobilisations), through the wires and around numerous kitchen
> tables, in numerous social centers and other meeting places around the world.
> Fascinating for me was not the indymedia websites' "global reach" - we had
> printed outlets for counterinformation before, as well as radio stations,
> community tv etc. What we did with the tools at hand, or better with the
> knowledge needed/available to construct those tools, was the fascinating bit.
> One could say that indymedia pioneered the entire citizens journalism wave,
> albeit with a more radical political outlook - the connection to the free
> software movement as a challenge to private property, the connection to the
> direct action movements who are trying to disrupt the neoliberal politics of
> institutions of global governance etc. Open publishing in itself seemed
> My impression is that indymedias strength was and is the building of alternative
> networks of communication, and although it might seem strange, I don't think
> that we achieved it because the tech tools were available. Maybe more because a
> lot of energies came together to actually MAKE those tools? I can't explain
> where this energy came from. I think that we fulfilled many of the functions of
> myspace "manually", without collecting and exhibiting "friends" on a website.
> Maybe it could be said that our collective "myspace page" were the
> demonstrations, protests and mobilisations?
> Is it still working like that? Or how could "it" work better? Sometimes i think
> that indymedia was so productive for the last 8 years because it attracted many
> very different people to a rather uncontroversial focus - the development of
> free software, the construction of open internet platforms. We didn't need to
> decide if we wanted to focus on ecology or feminism or anti-racism, we didn't
> need to formulate a shared manifesto, to find a common interpretation of
> anarchism, socialism etc. Many imc collectives discuss political issues when it
> comes to hiding, or to decide about a middle column feature, but these
> decisions are made either on the basis of process (non-news, disruptive...) or
> on a one-to-one basis.
> Lovink and Rossiter refer in their thesis to "the politics of filtering", and i
> think this is important for us. If we want to filter (decide which blogs we
> include in imc-promoted rss feeds for expl, or promoting/hiding things from the
> newswires), we need to develop a clearer view about our criteria - our
> politics. But how can this happen in a decentralised and non-hierarchical way?
> How can we discuss politics without excluding each other, considering that we
> are such a mixed bunch of people?
> Sometimes I wonder if we should have worked more on the popularisation of the
> indymedia model in the beginning - I am convinced that we could have "invented"
> flickr or youtube or myspace. What if...? What if the people involved in
> indymedia and social movements would today run all these big successful
> so-called web 2.0 applications? Would it have made a difference? I doubt it.
> Oh well. Enough rambling, I can't come to a conclusion. But it would be good to
> hear/read other opinions. I quite like the idea to consider a protest as a
> collective myspace page - does it work for others too?
> Quoting Sheri Herndon <sheri at speakeasy.net>:
> > hi,
> > this is being somewhat lightly discussed on imc-alternatives, but i
> > wondered if any of you had seen this:
> > http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0705/msg00031.html
> > and especially:
> > 4. Dream up Indymedia 2.0. No more Wikipedia neutrality. Where are the
> > social networking sites for activists? The Internet flagship of the
> > 'other globalization movement', Indymedia, has not changed since its
> > inception in late 1999. Of course the website has grown -- there are now
> > editions in dozens of languages, with a variety of local and national
> > nodes that we rarely see on the Net. But the conceptual basics are
> > still the same. The problems have been identified a long time ago:
> > there is an ongoing confusion between the alternative news agent model,
> > the practical community organization level and strategic debates. All
> > too often Indymedia is used as an 'alternative CNN'. There is nothing
> > wrong with that, except that the nature of the corporate news industry
> > itself is changing.
> > love
> > sheri
> > _You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change
> > something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete_
> > We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims._ _ R.
> > Buckminster Fuller
> "Some people misunderstand their local right of ``freedom of speech'' to mean
> that they have a legal right to use others' computers to say what they wish in
> whatever way they wish, and the owners of said computers have no right to stop
> them. Those people are wrong." (Brandon Kehoe)
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> imc-tech at lists.indymedia.org
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