Category Archives: Social Media

Curation, the Human Algorithm & the Future of Social Media

There are two expressions I keep coming across in reading about the future of everything that’s web-based and, social media in particular: “content curation” and the “human algorithm”.

The definition of curation is that it’s the care-taking or presentation of things entered into a collection, either physical or digital. With the onslaught of information from all sides, some sort of curation needs to be implemented to collect, filter, verify and disseminate news, entertainment, human interaction in the broadest sense.

An Algorithm, according to Wikipedia is an effective method expressed in mathematics and computer science as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. (Gosh I don’t miss math classes). Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing and automated reasoning. So in a way, an algorithm is the mathematical brother of more artsy curation. Continue reading

DADA! Been There Done That!


Move over you futurist trendsetters! And Hello DADA!  Man, we’re so last century.  Early 20th century Dada had it all figured out; all we add to it in 2014 is the hash-tag and the selfie.  Pat yourself on the back.

Zurich meets New York perfectly channels the absurdity of DADA with the absurdity of today and makes it fun and thought provoking.  #ZHNY.

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Zurich Meets New York! #ZHNY

zhnyIf you’re from Switzerland, you’ve probably heard of the festival  Zürich Meets New York: A Festival of Swiss Ingenuity, which will start tomorrow, May 16 and run through the 23rd.  The festival highlights the contemporary relevance of visionary movements and ideas born in Zurich and their impact on American culture. Building on the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Dada movement and Zurich’s role as a 21st-century hub for artistic and scientific innovation, the festival features 25 events at venues across the city, and is presented by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York, the City of Zurich, ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich.

I’ve been lucky enough (I think) to be asked to be an official ambassadrice of the event.  And yes, there seems to be a female version of Ambassador; and being that it comes from the Consulate General’s offices here in New York and the current Ambassador is from the French speaking part of Switzerland I will not question it.  What that really means?  I’m not sure, but I have been Tweeting and liking and writing a bit about the festival and I must say, the 25 events sound amazing and I’m very curious as to the quality of content – and yes, you guessed it, I will be writing about it – less about the film events (they collide with ‘other’ commitments) but I am very excited about three events in particular I’ve signed up for:  Continue reading


BLOG_Transmedia-faveFor the past year and a half, I’ve been strongly advocating for what I have been calling cross-platform outreach for documentaries: a way to disseminate the information that filmmakers do not or cannot incorporate into a documentary film; to encourage a grass roots movement of participation and conversation; to explore the often fine line between subject matter and audience; to crowd source stories and footage as a means to expanding the conversation or to cast your film; or to simply let loose some cool ideas that do not fit into a linear narrative.It’s not that I haven’t come across the term transmedia before today, but I never actually stopped to do some digging into the matter and until now I’ve used the term cross-platform and transmedia interchangeably. When I saw that DCTV offered a workshop with the title “Transmedia: cross-platform storytelling” I jumped. Perfect!

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A Case for Social Media, Outreach, Marketing and Distribution Producers

The first time I heard of a 50/50 film budget, I was like, yeah, right, like I’m going to spend 50% of my production budget on M&A (Marketing & Advertising). 

That was the fall of 2009 after having spent all but $1K of my budget on MAKING a film. The remaining 1K was earmarked for festival submissions.  Not long after I started spending my own money to cover outreach and marketing expenses so the film would meet some deserving eye balls.  Not including my labor, 20% of the production budget for distribution seemed about right.  But then I started factoring in my time and realized how long an outreach, marketing and distribution process lasts. 50% now was very reasonable.

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Where to Hide? Take 2

In “Where to Hide? Part 1”I talked about finding people online without much information to go by.  The story to follow  talks about the ‘other’ direction; being found.

It’s early 2008, the world is still in order and people go to work at Lehman Brothers.   During that time I had a conservative client who apparently was close to circles that where close to the pope… kinda one, or two degrees of separation.  This just to make the point in what way the client was conservative.

I was working as a media consultant for the CEO.  After a few months Clock Wise’s role was to be expanded into producing video content.  Since it was a sizeable budget Clock Wise needed to be vetted.  With nothing to worry about, I foresaw no problems.

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Where to Hide? Take 1

I’ve written a bit about on-line privacy in the past months, and how can one ignore the topic with the N.S.A. scandal and the Snowden leaks.  In this and the next post I want to share a story each of on-line privacy issues from opposite directions.

The first and most recent story begins with a conversation I had over dinner with a guy who told me about his ex (which wasn’t all that “ex” as it turns out, but that’s a hole other topic and not for this blog). From the conversation I had gathered the following information:

–          Fairly popular first name, say Melanie

–          Occupation:  orthopedic surgeon

–          Previous employer: big sprawling hospital, say: NYU Medical Center

–          New employer:  somewhere near New Haven, CT

I was curious what the “ex” looked like, so I took to my browser not expecting much. It took me exactly 90 seconds to find her photo on-line. I found that more disturbing, than I was proud of my detective skills.

Maybe this just goes to show that hospitals do a very good job advertising their doctors, but I have the creeping suspicion that a repeat performance with different coordinates would result in similar results.  Have you tried?  How much do you manage your on-line persona?  Read the next blog entry on the reverse issue – being found.

Context – Part 3

A guest post Leadership Unplugged on Brian Solis’ site (yes, again) started out being about leadership and then went into context and content.  Written by Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton the article makes some very relevant points about an ‘unplugged’ and less perfect leadership style in a fast changing and moving world.  What struck the nerve for me were the following paragraphs:

“The YouTube and Twitter generation couldn’t care less about polished videos or super-refined writing. They care about stuff that sparks their interest, they want the opportunity to chime in through comments and mash-ups, and they love communication in real time. […]  In the realm of social media, getting content “out” is only the beginning. The real relevance of a message unfolds once the audience responds and further develops its meaning, by rating, sharing, commenting, liking, re-tweeting, annotating, and so on. In other words: Messages become powerful through socially mediated “co-creation”. 

It is the involvement of the audience that upgrades the content from “noise” to “value”. […] Compelling content may still be king in the new world of Social Media, but “context is the kingdom” – and a king without a kingdom won’t matter much. […] It’s a world in which the notion of perfection that tries to answer all questions has become dysfunctional.” 

It’s so succinct; I don’t want to add to it, but to say: I told you so. I learned with Abraham’s Children how a beautiful and (near) perfectly crafted content in an independent documentary world – that relies on self-distribution and not a studio release – is of near irrelevance.  Either the content excites, or it does not.  Finding those who are excited about the MESSAGE is the job of a filmmaker in crafting AND distributing a film today. Understanding the context in which the content will thrive is key. 

Furthermore, film crews and production staff are, unless you work on glossy Hollywood or TV fare, at risk of being obsolete. Budgets are anorexically vanishing into oblivion, creating beautiful looking content is not as relevant, equipment is cheaper and easier to use, and any kid with an iPhone and laptop can create awesome content. With that there is a plethora of people out of jobs; the dinosaurs as I call them. People like many of my pals, me included, who made a very good living and career doing ONE thing and doing it really, really well. Most of us have been flexible enough to expand our professional services over a range of job descriptions or have re-positioned ourselves in management and consulting roles, some have left the industry all together.

The next generation of film professionals will be a less deep pool of specialists, but will hold many more generalists or ‘renaissance’ men and gals.  Interesting will be how much of the deep knowledge of making movies, or moving images will be lost and how much the audience will care. I fear they won’t much.


Social (yawn) Media – Social (what?) Business

The title sums it up: the term social media is a tad overused and social business is in theory happening but not really and who really gets it (other than Brian Solis)?

To start the conversation I want to highlight a few blog posts I’ve been reading by the “initiated”. They all just so happen to have been guest posts on Brian Solis’ blog as well as Brians’ two cents.

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Social Media for Business

I’ve followed Brian Solis for a long time and have read both his books: What’s the Future of Business and The End of Business as Usual. If you are in any way shape or form interested how Social Media impacts EVERYTHING – not just business – both are a must-read and well worth your time.

The cartoon above links to slide share and shows a quick summary of some of Brian’s and his design collaborator, Hugh MacLeod aka @gapingvoid comments on social media insights.  My favorite is slide 20…. the prosa summary is:  
ignorance + arrogance = irrelevance.  (Nuf said)
Remember that for all eternity!