The New America Foundation, like half the sites on the web, makes extensive use of embedded YouTube videos. We long ago made the decision to use YouTube as our de facto video hosting service -- both for the added exposure it offers to New America events, and for the simple reason that the cost of storing and streaming our hundreds of hours of video was more than the organization could afford.*
This evening, though, I hopped over to NewAmerica.net and was greeted with the unpleasant surpise of YouTube search boxes plastered atop every one of our embedded videos. Apparently this "feature" was unveiled last month, but must have been rolled out gradually -- because at 6pm, our homepage looked like this:
and at 11pm it looked like this:
Such is life when you're relying on free web services and third-party APIs, but it's definitely not the look we're looking for. And the effect was even worse on our event pages, where the video search box appeared almost directly below our site search box -- making things confusing as well as clunky.
Luckily, Google is pretty good about making this stuff optional -- it'd be nice if such "improvements" were opt-in rather than opt-out, but it's an easy fix.
The opening sentence of NBC's "First Read" this morning, on last night's debates:
FIRST THOUGHTS: Nothing changed
Thanks Chuck, Mark, and the rest of the political unit. In less than 2 seconds, you confirmed my take on last night -- which means I don't have to read the remaining four pages that you spent the morning pulling together, making sure that people who paid far closer attention to the debate didn't pick up on something important I missed.
Jeff Jarvis is -- as usual -- right on target with this post that pillories Los Angeles Times staffers for suing Tribune owner Sam Zell when their own complacency and hubris over the past 15+ years is at least as much to blame.
In this era of buyouts, shrinking circulations and general mainstream-media malaise, it's easy to poke fun and point fingers. But there are lots of smart people fighting the good fight, and finding new ways to weave their print and broadcast businesses into the Interweb. To wit:
Just curious -- is there ANY media outlet that Brad DeLong believes is NOT in a
"Media Future Now" is an informal group that I've been helping to get started. The focus is on bringing together DC media types for monthly discussions to compare notes and share insights on the rapidly changing world of publishing -- especially when it comes to online and the insider politics & policy market.
The next meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the New America offices. Details are below, and at http://mediafuturenow.blogspot.com/ . All are welcome -- just please RSVP!
Tuesday, Jan. 15 -- 12:15pm to 1:45pm
In reading Wired News' exclusive on a hacker's work against The Pirate Bay for the MPAA, I'm stumped. Which is more ridiculous?
- That the Motion Picture Association of America, in its mission to fight the theft of Hollywood blockbusters by the Bittorrent crowd, bought stolen information about TorrentSpy.com; or
If memory serves, that quote is from former White House Spokesman Mike McCurry -- it's probably my favorite example of the off-the-record attitude that pervades Washington DC.
That "maintain deniability" mantra doesn't apply to today's web, obviously. From the blogs to Facebook to now Twitter and Pownce, it seems like there's now nothing that won't be posted for posterity.
The explosion of interest in Twitter, Facebook, Pownce, et al is exciting for anyone hoping to get their message out, but it also poses some obvious problems:
- Multiple channels mean multiple places to post (and check). Blogging is a dangerous time suck as it is.
- Even if you automate the cross-posting -- and God help me if I ever go so far as to do this -- that means the same posts are showing up on your blog AND Twitter AND Facebook AND [insert your preferred Web2.0 services here]...
As noted a week or so ago, I've been playing with Twitter and trying to see if it's actually useful for someone who doesn't live via mobile-phone text messages OR feel the compulsive need to microblog. For me, at least, the answer was "not yet" -- since there was no way to prioritize different feeds, or effectively "mute" those that you don't want to hear from 24/7.