SXSWi2008, Day 2: Social Network Coups: The Users are Revolting!

Panelists: Jessamyn West, Gina Trapani, Jessica Dzwigalski, Annalee Newitz

[aside] – I came to hear/see Jessamyn, who completely rocks! But the panel was good, too.


three kinds of user revolts:

  • anarchist-style pranks
  • grassroots protests
  • op-ed/open letter from high-profile users

Discussed some Digg revolts:

  • paying people to Digg your page
  • the HD code thing

Dzwigalski (Jessica Linden):

  • Griefers – tax revolt in July 2003
  • CopyBot protest, Nov 2006
  • Resident-Created IP rights campaign, 2008
  • “if you’re taking our avatar, your’e taking our identity”

Jessamyn West (Metafilter):

  • Outline
  • how they handled a sexism brouhaha at metafilter

Trapani (Lifehacker):

  • talked about an ad that their users didn’t like
  • It was an ad featuring naked bottoms… they didn’t like “mooning their audience” – interesting way to look at it
  • Readers said the ad contradicted the nature of the site (ie., it’s supposed to be safe for work)
  • interesting questions – when do you listen to your users?
  • 2-3 dozen emails about a single issue – that got them to notice it and change

SXSWi2008, Day 2: Opening Remarks

Henry Jenkins, Steven Johnson

Johnson interviewed Jenkins

Random stuff they said:

  • No single person should be asked to write for an encyclopedia
  • wikipedia’s model is much better, because it’s community-driven
  • Britannica’s model is one person sharing their knowledge – wikipedia’s model is many people sharing their knowledge
  • younger generation have learned to read and write because of Harry Potter – they learned to social network through Harry Potter
  • Jenkins says he is a Total Obama boy (everyone clapped and hooted)
  • Older people say I – I will do this for you
  • Younger people say We – what can we do to get this done – this is what happens in social networks
  • Obama has tapped into the we model – Hilary has tapped into the I model

I turned off my laptop during the q & a session, and missed a great answer to a usual question. The usual question was about how to deal with internet addictions. Jenkins answered by first saying that when someone stays up all night to read a book, it’s considered learning and an ok thing – but when someone stays up all night on the internet, it’s considered an addiction and bad. So instead of saying it’s an addiction and bad, we need to figure out what the compelling parts of the online experience are, and then try to integrate those positive experiences into other things, like learning.

SXSWi2008, Day 2: ExpressionEngine 2.0 Sneak Peek

Session by Ellis Lab, makers of ExpressionEngine, a CMS we’re using for our new Digital Branch.

Note to David – there’s an Ellis Labs party – t-shirts!

Goal – you should have control of the code and the design – design shouldn’t have to work around the CMS

They have paid support staff

They claim it’s becoming very popular for developers (of course they’d say that!)

Big News from the coder dude:

  • 2.0 is powered by CodeIgniter – an open source PHP framework
  • lots of coding libraries – jQuery, Javascript libraries

Control Panel redesign:

  • more user-friendly – Create, Modify, View labels
  • learning EE tab at bottom – place to put tutorial videos, etc
  • site stats link/tab

Create New Entry page

  • easy to move fields around
  • dynamic sorting
  • custom create new labels
  • A “write mode” – just the body text area pops up, hiding all other fields – nice

SXSWi2008, Day 2: Quit Your Day Job and Vlog

Zadi Diaz, Bre Pettis, Lisa Donovan (Lisa Nova on YouTube), Lindesy Campbell

lots of people taking video of people in this session

People who have made videoblogging their day job – topic of panel

Telling their stories:

Lisa Donovan:

  • started a small production company
  • lots of corporate stuff
  • they wanted to be more creative in their down time
  • this was about 2 years ago – they discovered youtube
  • started posting videos…
  • her videos have been watched 40 million times
  • They use the resources they have – no money involved – just time, primarily
  • she was picked up on MadTV 2 months after she started doing the youtube stuff

Zadi Diaz:

  • EpicFU – internet culture show
  • her background editor is in publishing and acting
  • she started vlogging to keep in touch with her family, then discovered other vloggers
  • hooked up with rocketboom
  • show started as JetSet – recently changed the name
  • the British Council is a fan of her show, and they’ve invited her over to do something
  • EPIC-FU IS their job
  • (aside) Steve Garfield just walked around the room, vlogging the session)

Bre Pettis:

  • got started as an art teacher
  • 2004 – he started doing online video
  • he mentioned the library! Loves the 700 section in the library
  • started making DIY videos
  • 2006 – started doing DIY videos once a week

Lindsey Campbell:

  • she’s an actor (translation – she was acting, singing, and temping in NYC)
  • saw an ad for a web hosting for a financial show thing and auditioned for it
  • she did wallstrip – acquired by CBS Interactive last year
  • “the internet IS TV”

Some people tell them it’s too bad they haven’t made it on TV or film

They are just a little bit ahead of traditional media, and traditional media types are starting to contact them and ask questions – sort of like what I do in libraries

Bre’s suggestions

  • don’t make people wait even a second – cut everything to the edge
  • Make friends with musicians
  • publish often
  • own your IP
  • take acting classes
  • take care of your teeth


  • start where you are
  • don’t quit your day job – just start there – make a show with the people around you

Campbell – email your heroes – they might help you

q – what’s the justification for being in the web space with trad media companies that bought video?
– they wanted to be in the space
– it’s experimentation

building a community – they want to feel like they’re participating with you, hanging out with you, connect with you – the web offers that connection point

SXSWi2008, Day One: Rock Star Lighting and Accordions

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Formats: Quicktime | iPod

Quick video of the How to Rawk SXSW, just to give you a flavor of the first session. The lighting was pretty cool, and they found an accordion player who plays popular tunes on his accordion. Here, he’s singing an AC/DC song – he also closed the session by sing Hit Me Baby One More Time by Britney Spears.