Saturday Sessions at Foo Camp

Some of the morning was spent on the “Cylon Raider” project, but I attended several very interesting sessions. Here are a few of the highlights (these notes are a bit raw … in other words, forgive the typos):

In Democratization / Disintermediation of traditional media led by Jay & Kevin (Digg)

  • Mainstream media excels in areas where you have limited distribution (only so many people can be invited to White House press briefings, for example).

  • Media is changing and has a symbiotic relationship with the new media. Editors might look at sites like Digg to see user behavior trends and use that as an instant feedback mechanism to direct the edited content. Digg relies on traditional media for much of the content.

  • Competition for advertising dollars is really hitting the traditional media. Local newspapers are losing ad revenue to other advertising mediums – classifieds is where it’s starting, but it is involving into other areas. Bloggers who do reporting rather than relying on mainstream reporting will get more attention (TechCrunch) and more advertising dollars.

  • Opinion pieces and magazines are being eroded by new media

  • New media excels for speed of information vs. the accuracy / fact checking of traditional media.

  • Sites like Digg usually have a self-policing mechanism within the community.

In Passionate users – Kathy Sierra

  • People are passionate about the things they kick ass at, and they have a higher resolution experience – they pick up on things that the rest of us would not (jazz musicians, etc.) We want to create this for our users.

  • It’s not about the tools – it’s what you do with them – focus on the end result, not the tool.

  • Decisions are usually based on emotions – we are just not always rational / logical.

  • Keep users engaged.

  • Don’t want to interrupt the flow of what you are doing – if the software interrupts and become aware of the tool, the flow and outcome are disrupted.

  • Learning increases resolution.

  • If you want the user to RTFM, we need to write a better FM.

  • Pictures and surprises get people’s attention.

Doctor Who vs. Snakes on a Plane: Lessons from Fan Culture for Community Builders. Annalee Newitz

  • Fan culture – free collaborative narratives often incorporating elements of commercial culture.

  • Lessons:

  • Not all fans are good producers of fan culture

  • beaing a fan makes you a better creator

  • communities united around collaborative storytelling can last for an extremely long time.

  • Not all fan culture can be turned into commercial culture

  • communities can be quickly united by satire, but satire doesn’t last

  • “buzzers” do not equal “buyers”

Note: The fan culture session relates back to the passionate users session. Fan culture seems to have some of the most passionate users coming together on a topic. We also had an interesting discussion about how more of these fan communities seem to be based around sci-fi. I’m not sure whether this is because we had a really geeky audience or because people who watch sci-fi tend to be a bit more fanatical than the rest of the population.

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