Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

Party crasher: Obama brings down Reddit during Mitt Romney’s big week | The Verge

President Barack Obama’s surprise appearance on Reddit could not have been better timed. As Mitt Romney and the Republicans engaged in the vestigial tradition of counting delegates, hoping their speeches would filter down to the electorate through the media, President Obama reached millions of people directly by answering questions on arguably the biggest social media site that could still be considered underground. On his MacBook, of course.

The president was only logged on for half an hour, only answered ten questions, and yes, his answers were as rehearsed as in any public venue. The best AMAs are those where the subject literally means “ask me anything.” By contrast, Obama left upwards of 10,000 questions unanswered. Many people couldn’t even access Reddit during the event because the site was so overwhelmed with traffic.

The democratic process is alive and well… on Reddit!

Gamers Help Scientists Solve Molecular Puzzle That Could Lead To AIDS Vaccine

“Following the failure of a wide range of attempts to solve the crystal structure of M-PMV retroviral protease by molecular replacement, we challenged players of the protein folding game Foldit to produce accurate models of the protein”, the University of Washington research team said in its findings. “Remarkably, Foldit players were able to generate models of sufficient quality for successful molecular replacement and subsequent structure determination. The refined structure provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs”.

In this MSNBC report, the gamers describe the way in which they were able to work together cooperatively to solve a puzzle that has confounded scientists for more than a decade. And what’s so cool is that, while some of the most important progress in the game was made by those with biomedical academic backgrounds, the majority of active players playing with FoldIt did not have this kind of scientific background. Many of them were just average gamers like you and me.

The power of the cloud! I participated in one of these collective, distributed computing networks, at the time used to help map the galaxy by giving users access to a small chunk of the large puzzle to set their computers to work on. Multiplied by a few million people, even small changes can become enormous.

Of course, this is also what makes BotNet networks so damn powerful.

Tough Questions for YouTube: How to Handle Videos of Human Rights Abuses

Citizen video is one of the most powerful ways to spread a message. But it’s also very scary, especially with new technology that can identify faces in a crowd. Online video can increase the effectiveness of a protest, but it can also increase the risk of retribution against those who are involved.

YouTube is soliciting ideas about this delicate issue for future blog posts examining the role of online video in human rights.

YouTube is asking users to consider questions such as:

How can uploaders balance privacy concerns with the need for wider exposure?

How can we stay alert to human rights footage without getting de-sensitized to it?

Does human rights content online require some kind of special status?

Submit your ideas and answers to the Google Moderator.

I love that YouTube is aware of the impacts simple information sharing can have across the world – and they don’t maintain some Zuckerberg-fueled rehash of the hippy philosophy of “sharing automatically makes the world better”. It’s an important element of social responsibility for the new media makers to be aware of, and plan for, their eventual impact on human culture. McLuhan would be proud.

TwitterSays Prize Package!

Turning away from my normal subject matter, today I share with you epic geek-out style unboxing shots of the prize package I discovered in my snailmailbox this morning from Josh Peters, a social media surgical strike assassin and developer of the e-book “TwitterSays,” a unique project featuring the crowdsourced input of over a hundred distributed authors, driven by a retweet-style contest crossing the border between promotion and content-generation. Which, amazingly, I won. (I often bribe random number generators)

While I don’t normally post about myself, Josh’s project is a really creative re-imagining of the literature-writing process, and totally deserves some Medialogic screenspace; I just love the idea that I’m now a co-author with a hundred or so people I’ve never met irl, and yet all of whom obviously share so much in common.  Here’s to extending our capacity for communication with technology!

Below you’ll find terribly photographed book-unveiling glamour shots, the oh-so-exciting tweet informing me that I was the contest winner, and a link to the book itself. (If you download and enjoy it, please visit Josh’s site or let him know on Twitter)

Be sure to note the epic handwritten card I received from Josh – I didn’t even know those were still in print. So classy!

Thanks, Josh.

[An html link to an embed of the same media, which appears to be broken on posterous: http://www.apture.com/view/4mfoWwqbko/]