Mubarak Stepping Down Amidst Groundbreaking Digital Revolution

The events in Egypt served as a flash point for journalists on the ground, too. For perhaps one of the first times in history, history itself has been recorded instantaneously, as reporters took to Twitter to share 140-character updates and personal stories from the protests. The messages provided a stark reality to readers in the outside world, especially as the protests turned violent and police turned on journalists — the very people many of us outside the country were following.

But Al Jazeera had its “CNN Moment,” and although it couldn’t reach viewers in the U.S. by cable television, it found a way to viewers — on YouTube. The network live streamed Mubarak’s public address — in which many believed he would resign — Thursday via YouTube. But Al Jazeera’s comprehensive coverage put it on the radar for U.S. viewers and it created a campaign to bring its English-language network to U.S. televisions.

I’ll go out on a limb: Bringing Al Jazeera to US cable networks is the single most important act Americans can authorize to bring an end to terrorism. Yes, the flow of communication across the world, and the media and cultural perspectives attached (embedded, even) to it, are impossible to overestimate. Hatred, and violence stem from ignorance, and sharing information and life experience with people from other cultures is the single best way to do that.

Stop the presses: Facebook CTO says news next in social revolution

We’ve seen the Facebook platform really take off in the gaming industry. Zynga for example is a company based in San Francisco. It currently has a market cap that exceeds that of Electronic Arts, which was the incumbent game company before Zynga.

The company is completely defined by social gaming – games that you play with your friends. All of their games are Facebook-enabled.

This is a really meaningful thing for us, as it really represents the potential of Facebook as a platform.

We haven’t seen tons of other industries as impacted as games by Facebook, and we think that the next big change is seeing the next few industries being disrupted by social platforms in the same way gaming has been.

If we had to guess, it’s probably going to be orientated around media or news, because they are so social. When you watch a television show with your friend, it’s such an engaging social activity.

We think that there’s a next generation of startups that are developing social versions of these applications, where what Zynga is to gaming, they will be to media and news, and we’re really excited about that.

Is this news revolution really news? maybe I’m just too embroiled in it already, with my job and love of interactive media, but isn’t this kind of old-hat by now?

We Have A New Uber Boss, And She’s Greek: Aol Buys HuffPo For $315 Million

You know who won the Super Bowl? Arianna Huffington.  This afternoon our parent company Aol bought Huffington Post for $315 million according to a press release. Gah.

To all of you making HuffingtonCrunch and Crunchington Post jokes, Huffington’s official title will be Editor In Chief in charge of all Aol properties, including Engadget, Urlesque and yes us. Welcome to the family, Arianna.

Looks like AOL still has some life left in it.

MediaShift . Social Media, Facebook Help People Stand Up in Tunisia, Egypt | PBS

For roughly a week now, the journalists and bloggers spreading information about the situation in Egypt have been harassed been by the military. Yesterday and today saw the worst outbreak of violence against journalists yet, as evidenced by this video of CNN’s Anderson Cooper and crew being attacked by a crowd:

Plus, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al-Arabiya and ABC News staffers were attacked too. As of this morning, reports have been flowing on Twitter and in the mainstream press that journalists are being detained by the regime, while the physical attacks on them continue in streets and hotels.

The video is pretty terrible, but the reality that even our most respected and watched TV celebrities are not immune to political unrest. This article is a great analysis of the conflict in Egypt, and the democratizing power of social media.

I Worked on the AOL Content Farm & It Changed My Life

AOL’s secret internal plan to ramp up its online content business was leaked today to New York business blog Business Insider and people are saying it’s got “content farm” written all over it. In-house writers are expected to write 5 to 10 blog posts per day and those stories are expected to go from an average of 1500 pageviews per post today to an amazing 7000 views per post in the future. How will stories be selected? The only thing that will matter, apparently, is search engine friendliness and monetization potential. That might sound terrible to outsiders, but having been there I want to say: Good luck AOL, I hope that strategy works wonderfully for you. I genuinely do.

I’m not sure why this surprises anyone. AOL was long ago bought out and gutted by ruthless corporate interests. SEO and low-hurdle content farm writing are the natural end-game moves of a struggling corporate behemoth that doesn’t really understand its market. The sad fact is there is a weird “beige market” created for this crap that no one wants, but still exists to farm mislabeled clicks and deceptive titles into pennies per transaction – yet pennies which, in scale, make billions.

Verizon quietly begins throttling data as iPhone launch looms

Verizon has quietly begun throttling the wireless connections of its heaviest data users, the company revealed in a PDF buried on its website (hat tip to BGR). The document explains that Verizon has begun two new network management practices in order to “provide the best experience to our more than 94 million customers,” and that they go into effect starting today, February 3.

Another point of note is Verizon’s position on the latest net neutrality rules. The company sued the Federal Communications Commission last month to block the rules from taking effect, even though they are comparatively light on wireless communications. Still, with the decision to throttle heavy data users, Verizon is obeying what’s outlined in the FCC rules by making sure the implementation is site- and content-agnostic, as well as by being transparent about its practices. The company knows that the move isn’t likely to be popular, so it’s trying to offer as much information as it can so that users can understand better what’s going on behind the scenes.

I’m still standing in line at 6AM to get my new Veriphone! I at least appreciate their transparency about the change.