Welcome to MIXMÉDIAS Montreal on May 17th

May 9th, 2012 by bruno boutot

I am thrilled to personally invite you to the MIXMÉDIAS Conference that will be held in Montréal on May 17th, 2012. This will be one of the most exciting and lucrative professional days this spring and I am delighted that you will attend. But what is it exactly?

When Michel Chioini asked me, just over a month ago, if I was interested in organizing an international conference in the context of CONNECT 2012, I was blinded by my enthusiasm since I immediately agreed to take on this challenge. What a great opportunity it has been!

Marketing and Media on the Web? I have lived and breathed little else for the last fifteen years. It’s my career, my livelihood, and my daily pleasure. The idea of gathering in Montreal the best minds in the business enchanted me. Of course, that meant I had to find people in a very short time period, but the responses have been very positive, including from those who were interested but unavailable.

Each day I experience the same challenges that my marketing, media and advertising colleagues face on the Web. So with them, I wanted to get answers to two pressing questions:

Revenue: How does one make money on the Web? Not tomorrow, not soon, TODAY!

Content: What new types of Web content are profitable? NOW!

I received some exceptional answers. We will immediately be able to integrate the practical aspects of Web Business.

Ben Kunz is a master in his trade: he has considerable experience in media sales; his analysis is brilliant and his humour sharp. While some of us may have a tendency to be over-zealous (no, I’m not talking about you, for God’s sake), Ben’s “No Bullshit” attitude is very refreshing. So the day will start on the right foot.

Many of us working in marketing and media are still daunted by the question of Web revenue opportunities. The time has come to change that.

Bryan Segal will bring us up to date. Most big businesses use Comscore. Bryan will present their recent whitepaper on the new nature of advertising. A panel of experts, from the Internet Advertising Bureau will follow him. They will enlighten us about Real Time Bidding.

Andy Nulman lost money on the Internet but now he’s making a profit. We’ll see how he turned things around, with fanfare and flair. Michelle Blanc’s experience is worth its weight in gold; when she takes the stage she will get to the heart of the matter by telling us “How to make ca$h with content!”

We will also hear from the incomparable Stowe Boyd. His metaphor of Liquid Media brings light to the job we do in the sometimes bewildering World Wide Web.

Arjun Basu has accompanied his clients from print to the Internet, then through Web integration of their business strategies. He’ll share the stage with Craig Silverman, one of the top Web Journalists, who just happens to be a Montrealer.

One of the most important Web discoveries is the opportunity for personal contact with our consumers. New interactions have been generated through social media, but now more and more big business and up-and-comers create their own platforms to welcome their members… and to do business with them!

Craig will interview William Mougayar, CEO of Engagio, who has an earth-shattering point of view: “Conversation is the new Web content!” We are looking forward to that, just as much as we are looking forward to Jessamyn West, who will follow him. She is the Director of Community at MetaFilter, one of the most successful and respected communities on the Web. She has vast experience in the art and ways of creating quality content with members.

Rich Millington, from London, UK, is the world top specialist for business communities, period. We would be wise to make the most of this exceptional opportunity.

The speakers wanted to know who YOU are. I told them, “Montreal’s best. They will want to talk to you and ask questions. Give us the best you’ve got.” They are therefore ready for your questions, whether in the conference room or elsewhere. Don’t be shy!

So I invite you to share this special day with me.
The venue is fantastic: it’s the ICAO building, a United Nations agency!

If your name is on this page, the conference is on me. Email me bruno@boutotcom.com.
If you are one of my contacts on facebook or Linkedin, or if I follow you on Twitter (or @boutotcom in French) you are a “member of boutotcom”: you are eligible for a reduced rate. On the Register page (Inscription), in the Discount window (Rabais), select boutotcom.
If you are 10 or more, contact info@eventia.ca for a great deal.

It will be a very profitable event, yet without pressure or stress: we’re between friends. This most enriching day is not to be missed. It will be even better if you are there. :-)



4 Ideas For Practicing A Journalism Of Collaboration

December 18th, 2011 by bruno boutot

Last Saturday, I have lead a conversation at MediaCamp Montreal. The title of the topic is the longest I have ever written:

How to begin today doing Web journalism with your readers using just your blog until your publisher gives you the right tools.

This theme was inspired in part by a report from the last SxSW conferences written by Nathalie Collard, Media Columnist at La Presse of Montreal. She quoted the conferences of Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis, whose blog are required reading for anyone involved in the transformation of newsmedia: Press Think, BuzzMachine. Natahlie Collard’s article was titled The Journalism of Tomorrow, Today.

The great majority of newsmedia still don’t understand how a part of their readers could contribute to their content. So most publishers don’t invest in offering to readers a solid system of stable identity with a personal page, memory of the contributions, appreciations of these contributions and, if need be, rewards for some contributions.

But most news media have blogs for some of their journalists and most of these journalists can delete comments on these blogs. I believe this simple tool is enough to begin practicing an online journalism of collaboration with readers who are interested in this type of participation.

Here are the 4 ideas I have given to start the discussion:


A blog is private property. You don’t have to accept anything that you don’t want. And the reverse is true: anything that is published on your blog means that you want it to be there. State what you want and how you want it. Anything else is refused or deleted.


You are responsible for every word published in your space: topic, length, tone, style, typos. Every single word. The best editing tool is stating clearly beforehand what you are looking for. And once you have it, well, edit. This is a publishing tool.


This is our job: journalism. It has nothing to do with herding comments. It’s about finding relevant facts. This is the only task to which you may invite collaborators to participate in. No opinions: facts contributing to the building of a news story.


There is no rush, no obligation to include anybody. You can start small: other journalists, people you know, people who are referred by people you know. You’ll come to know those who are referred and act accordingly: it you gradually trust them, you keep them. If you distrust them, you ditch them. That’s how you build trust: you wouldn’t use a spongy stone to build a wall, it would endanger the whole building.

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

October 5th, 2011 by bruno boutot

Transcript of the speech.

On Twitter and Writing

October 1st, 2011 by bruno boutot

William Gibson

Twitter for me is a casual conversational form, largely offhand by nature. Unrehearsed speech as opposed to writing.

William Gibson

“Writing”, for me, is a fundamentally different activity. I strongly suspect it’s different neurologically, physiologically.

William Gibson

Writing formally is like improv all by yourself, in an empty room.

I became that which watched broadcast television

August 23rd, 2011 by bruno boutot

I can remember seeing the emergence of broadcast television, but I can’t tell what it did to us because I became that which watched broadcast television.

William Gibson
the Paris Review 197

And somehow I knew that the notional space behind all the computer screens would be one single universe.


In the cities, the past, the present and the future can all be totally adjacent.


Cities look to me to be our most characteristic technology. We didn’t really get interesting as a species until we became able to do cities — that’s when it all go really diverse, because you can’t do cities without a substrate of other technologies. There is a mathematics to it — a city can’t get over a certain size unless you can grow, gather, and store a certain amount of food in the vicinity. Then you can’t get any bigger unless you understand how to do sewage. If you don’t have efficient sewage technology the city goes to a certain size and everybody gets cholera.


William Gibson – Photo Michael O’Shea/G.P. Putnam/Canadian Press

The Displacive Fallacy: new media don’t replace old media

October 19th, 2010 by bruno boutot

From a Tweet by @timoreilly:

Lovely piece about how technologies don’t just replace one another. Search for 3rd occurrence of “Displacive Fallacy” http://bit.ly/cJSAlb

In high-technology societies, like the United States, our enthusiasm for the new leads us to what I call the Displacive Fallacy. This is the belief that a new technology displaces the old, and drives it from the field as a conquering army disperses the enemy. Pundits not so long ago prophesied that the telephone would displace the mails, that radio would displace the telephone, that the phonograph would displace live orchestras, and of course, that television would substantially displace both radio and the book. In the library world only a few decades ago some microfilm enthusiasts were predicting that microforms would displace books. Now we hear similar predictions of how audiovisual aids, motion pictures, tape recordings, television, or the computer will displace the book-or perhaps human beings themselves.

Despite some conspicuous exceptions, the general rule in history is that a new technology does not displace but rather transforms or finds new uses for an earlier technology. Printing did not make handwriting obsolete. The automobile has not displaced the bicycle. Television has not displaced the telephone or radio.

The Displacive Fallacy, however, assumes that there are only a limited number of social functions and that the categories of experience are not expandable. Such a static view is quite uncongenial to my pragmatic, experimental, and somewhat American way of thinking. Experience is ever expanding. New inventions do not simply fill old needs, for the inventor himself concocts new needs. He actually invents new forms of experience. Nobody “needed” the telephone, radio, or television. They were not the product of widespread demand but actually added new dimensions to human experience and created new demands.

This simple fact has momentous implications both for the historian and the librarian. For each new technology produces its own new kind of record and leaves its own special new residue. If the historian is to chronicle the full range of human experience he must find ways to use, and must find the meaning of using, them all. The librarian has a special responsibility to save us from the Displacive Fallacy.

The Republic of Letters
Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin on Books, Reading, and Libraries, 1975-1987
Edited by John Y. Cole
Library of Congress, Washington, 1989

Daniel J. Boorstin – photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cathy Horyn tells how readers contribute to her blog

October 17th, 2010 by bruno boutot

We read so often that readers’ comments are useless that it’s still worth highlighting when a journalist appreciates the contribution of her readers.

“these are the kinds of comments and the kind of fashion writing we would love to have.”

Cathy Horyn by David Shankbone

Cathy Horyn, photo by David Shankbone, via Wikimedia Commons

In an interview in Harper’s Bazaar, New York Times’ fashion critic Cathy Horyn talks about her exchanges with the readers of her blog, On The Runway:

So we’re looking at the collections journalistically, and in a very timely way, and then everybody gets to talk about it right away. And that’s what matters to people. Last February in Milan, we had a really great discussion about Prada and postmodernism. She did those very round-shaped full skirts, and the girls looked very meaty. Marko came on with this really great post about how it reminded him of his grandmother or his mother or something, about how they dressed, and it was really well done. Then this other person came on talking about feminism and socialism and what it was before the Berlin Wall and after the wall, and it was really smart. I was like, I never thought about that. And maybe I wouldn’t have thought about it, not being European and not having that experience. She wrote it in such a nice, interesting way, and I thought that these are the kinds of comments and the kind of fashion writing we would love to have. The blog is great for that. That’s when all the very interesting and quirky and cranky people come on.


Jeff Jarvis on news media and collaboration

October 13th, 2010 by bruno boutot

Jeff Jarvis makes suggestions to news media:

…the best thing they could do is to enable and protect the voice of the public. They could curate, train, promote, and collaborate with new people using new tools in new ways, for example. They could establish platforms that make that possible and networks that help make it sustainable. They could see it as their role to support a lively, healthy ecosystem and all of its members, including not only the new kids but also the struggling legacy media (by that view, I’ve long argued that the BBC should make it its mission to use its powerful megaphone to promote and support the best of journalism and media in the UK, no matter who makes it; that is a public good).


September 9th, 2010 by bruno boutot

The punchline in XKCD’s comics appears most of the time in a mouseover text that I have made apparent here. View the original.

In abundance as in scarcity, news is about trust

August 5th, 2010 by bruno boutot

It’s strange how the abundance of news shares some territory with the scarcity of news.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s description of “news that you can trust” in a dictatorship parallels what’s happening with news in social media: who do you trust?

With a new mix of Kulaap’s music from DJ Dao streaming over my stereo, I sit down at my little kitchen table, pour my coffee from its press pot, and open my tablet.

The tablet is wondrous creation. In Laos, the paper was still a paper, physical, static, and empty of anything except the official news. Real news in our New Divine Kingdom did not come from newspapers,or from television, or from handsets or ear buds. It did not come from the net or feeds unless you trusted your neighbor or look over your shoulder at an Internet cafe and if you knew that there were no secret police sitting beside you, or an owner who would be able to identify you when they came around asking about the person who used that workstation over to communicate with the outside world.

Real news came from whispered rumor, rated according to the trust you accorded the whisperer. Were they family? Did they have long history with you?

The Gambler
© Paolo Bacigalupi 2008
In Fast Forward 2 / edited by Lou Anders.

Community: who is a member?

May 15th, 2010 by bruno boutot

Paco Blancas, about people he met while participating into Marian Abramovitch’ performance at the MoMA:

I’ve met a lot of people and have made a lot of new friends, many of them artists, but really all sorts of people. I keep in touch with them and we e-mail constantly to talk about our experiences. It’s like a little community of people who come to participate in the piece.

Anonymity And Identity In News Media: What? Why? Who?

March 22nd, 2010 by bruno boutot

A very timely conversation about anonymity and identity has been going on since Saturday. It started with a discussion on Twitter between Mathew Ingram and Howard Owens. Mathew has written a great post about it, then Steve Buttry added important points on his own blog. I say “timely” because suddenly a lot of people are talking about anonymity. I have participated in several discussions about it in Quebec French media during recent weeks and wrote a post on my French blog.

This flurry of activity seems to show that traditional news media begin to feel that the anonymous comments that most of them allow on their Web site are not enough for readers involvement, a sentiment well summed up by Jay Rosen:

@mathewi I agree about persistent identity. I agree that hosts getting involved is key. And I think that anonymity has become a big problem.

This is good news.

The discussion is so wide that I think it can be helpful to frame the topic a little more. Online communities have debated and experienced anonymity long before news media landed on the Web, so we have a vast pool of knowledge to tap from.

As Steve Buttry points out, anonymity and identity are not an either/or question. At Worth1000, for example, the range of ages among members goes from 12 to 80, so anonymity is mandatory, but with an unique and persistent identity. A second identity is a banning offense.

Whereas at MetaFilter, only registered members can post but the basic rule is simply “stable identity”: the degree of openness is chosen by each member. As examples from the front page, we can see that stringbean is anonymous; KokuRyu is half-anonymous (he doesn’t reveal his real name but links to his website); and brundlefly, without giving his name, offers links to his other pages on delicious, flickr, facebook, myspace, twitter, etc. (aggregated identity is the best kind). Furthermore, it is allowed to have two identities on condition that they never interact. Also anonymity can be granted on request to ask a question, but only on a case by case basis.

The most significant lessons from MetaFilter and other communities are that

  • there can be several degrees of identity, either decided by the site or by the member,
  • and these different degrees can vary from one context to another, on the same site.

What is clear here, and what must be stated from the start, is that this discussion is about reader participation in online news media. The rules could be (and are) different in other kinds of communities.

So the first helpful question is “What?” What do we want from our readers?
Jeff Jarvis has swiftly pointed a major hurdle:

we *allow* people to comment on *our* work when it is *done.* insulting

People familiar with his blog and his book What Would Google Do? know exactly what he means: that readers should be involved in the whole news process, from choosing the topic to participating in research to commenting, to adding information and following up.

We are here and now in the river of news, not in a “journalists-write/readers-comment” universe anymore.

So, I think that “What we want from readers” has a huge role in helping us decide what we do with anonymity and identity. And from Mathew’s and Steve’s posts, we can see that we might want different things from different people in different contexts: sources, topics, news, questions, answers, opinions, votes, pictures, etc.

Which leads us the second question: Why? Why would we want readers to be anonymous?

If this is about “protecting absolutely the anonymity of a source”, I am not sure that we are able to guarantee it. But every news media should provide a tutorial on how to use anonymizers.

There is also the question of access: anonymity allows readers to post without having to go through the hassle of registration. I think that this is what Mathew Ingram means when he writes in his post:

I believe that one of the principles of running a media site is that you should open up interaction to as many people as possible.

I see two points here. The first is that I agree with Mathew that involvement should be progressive. If the objective is participation, we have to offer a scale of participation from the most simple involvement (anonymous voting as in The Huffington Post, for example), to full identity with access to all past contributions (as for Mathew Haughey in MetaFilter, for example).

The second point is that I think that “opening up” is not the same as “publishing”. There is already a lot of noise in communities with registered members and we all know that anonymity breeds noise. Sure, there is the slashdot system, which is certainly one of the marvels of the Web: long time members rate comments from 1 to 5 and readers can choose what level they want to read from 1 (all) to 5 (top of the crop).

But as much as I love the slashdot system for rating comments, I believe that a news media on the Web is not in the same business as slashdot. Here, we are entering the economic territory that is the topic of my work in mediamachina but, briefly: before asking “Why should we have anonymous contributors?”, we have to answer “Why do we want contributors at all?”. There are probably a lot of answers to that one. Clay Shirky would probably say: “Because they are there“. In The People Formerly Know as the Audience, Jay Rosen quotes Jeff Jarvis:

“Give the people control of media, they will use it. The corollary: Don’t give the people control of media, and you will lose.”

If you read Steve Buttry and Jeff Jarvis, you know that the only way for news media to survive and prosper on the Web is through the participation of our communities.

So we have a huge incentive to involve people in our processes: survival. We want to welcome our readers, we want to encourage participation, we want to reward contributions, we want to build trust. In a nutshell: because trust is the royal road to commerce.

It means that we are in it for the long haul. I am not so sure that we should be interested in drive-by anonymous shooting. Sure, we need to help our readers and our journalists to learn how to collaborate. So anonymity can be granted at an entry level. But the long term objective of a vibrant community is to have trusted members with a persistent identity. This is probably not for all our present readers. We know the standard numbers in community participation: only 10% of our readers will participate and only 1% will become regular collaborators. Anonymous people are not part of these 10%.

So, finally, comes “Who?” Who can be anonymous?

– Sources who need to be protected: this is a tough one.
– Visitors at an entry level: in that case, anonymity must be seen as a first step and further steps should be provided, with incentives.
– People who prefer to have a persistent identity with an alias. The progressive solution of MetaFilter is a good blueprint.
– Anonymity can be granted in special cases one post at a time.

BUT, but, but, before I (at last) end this post, I have absolutely, imperatively to say that moderators should not be anonymous. Hm. Maybe I didn’t express myself clearly enough: some readers can be anonymous sometimes but


I am surprised when I visit the greatest news media in the world (at least in New-York, Montreal, London, Paris) and not only moderators are anonymous but some of these media outsource moderation! I know: it goes hand in hand with the idea that moderation is akin to police duty.

It isn’t. Moderators and admins are the most important members of a community. But they are “Members”. Moderators are people. Community is about people. Moderation is about being part of a community, about exchanging with other members, about helping, about explaining, about conversation. And, yes, occasionally about banning. Anonymous police forces have no place in a community. Please listen to cortex.

How Steve Buttry Is Building A New Newsmedia, Part I

March 20th, 2010 by bruno boutot

Steve Buttry has begun to recruit his staff. He is the new Director of Community Engagement at Allbritton Communications, preparing the launch of a new Web site in the DC area, one of the most expected new project of newsmedia on the Web.

Steve Buttry has just be named last month Editor of the year by Editor and Publisher.

The simple text of the first 4 job descriptions illustrates perfectly the skills needed in a new newsmedia:

Senior Community Host:

Duties will include:

  • leading community engagement in coverage of breaking news;
  • recruiting and managing relations with community bloggers;
  • moderating community conversation in live chats, discussion forums and site comments;
  • handling community-submitted content;
  • managing special community-engagement projects, such as events and contests;
  • coaching and mentoring other community managers.
  • We’re looking for an experienced digital journalist with involvement in community engagement avenues such as blogging, crowdsourcing and social media.

    [[I applaud here the use of  “community host“, instead of “manager” or even “editor”.  Buttry’s choice of words shows his understanding of the issues and his innovative strategy. “Host” sends the clear message that community is first about welcoming and hospitality.]]

    Community host:

    You will be a part of a team of community managers who will undertake a variety of duties, including:

  • recruiting and managing relations with community bloggers;
  • moderating community conversation in live chats, discussion forum and site comments;
  • handling community-submitted content;
  • managing special community-engagement projects, such as events and contests.
  • Journalism experience helpful but not required. Applicant must be involved in digital engagement avenues such as blogging and social media. Work may include evening, weekend and holiday duties.

    Social media producer:

    We want someone to lead our efforts to engage with the community through social media. While you will take the initiative in developing the duties of this position, some of them will be:

  • managing social media outlets, such as Twitter feed(s), Facebook fan page(s), YouTube and Flickr channels;
  • monitoring and responding to social media references to our work;
  • aggregating social media content for linking to or posting on our site;
  • promoting our content and community-engagement opportunities using social media; using Twitter and other social media to crowdsource breaking news stories, supplementing staff coverage;
  • planning tweetups and other social-media-oriented community events.
  • We’re looking for an experienced digital journalist who uses social media extensively for personal and professional purposes.

    Mobile producer:

    We want someone to lead our efforts to engage with our community through mobile devices. While you will take the initiative in developing the duties of this position, some of them will be:

  • planning and executing mobile engagement projects;
  • managing and producing mobile-focused content;
  • working with tech staff to ensure quality of mobile site;
  • working with social media producer to plan and execute strategy for mobile-focused social media;
  • working with tech staff on mobile apps.
  • We’re looking for an experienced digital journalist who’s an avid user of mobile devices and has ideas for engaging the mobile audience.

    This is very exciting. I’ll bet he has already received 1000 applications.

    Harper’s and MetaFilter: magazines and communities

    February 10th, 2010 by bruno boutot

    Can the content produced by readers be a part of a magazine? This is crucial question that a lot of media are asking.

    Paul Ford, Web Editor of Harper’s Magazine, tells first in a conversation with journalist Choire published in Awl:

    What I wish I could do is take our tens of thousands of nice registered subscribers and offer them a Metafilter-style community – something where they could create the content and talk and interact (with editors) and then we could promote the most interesting stuff to the home page.

    Of course this quote is found by a member of MetaFilter and kittyprecious posts it on the site. There, moderator Jessamyn West remarks:

    It’s just a pipe dream at some level. But people who run magazines would kill for the sort of community we have here. And most people that run community blogs would kill for the sort of income that magazines [still] make, relative to what most blogs make. So we sort of meet in the middle and talk about it. And it’s an interesting conversation.

    Happily, it doesn’t stop there because Paul Ford is also ftrain, a member of MetaFilter, and he adds these precisions:

    My point was that MetaFilter is one of the best communities on the web and that if comments are about community, and not just about traffic, then as a nat’l magazine Harper’s would be well-served to emulate the blue [MetaFilter], and maybe the green [Ask MetaFilter] and the gray too [MetaTalk].

    Is this true? I don’t know. I doubt I have time to build it this year.

    The thing that always strikes me about MetaFilter is that it’s a real editorial success. I’ve now spent nearly a decade (judging from the sign-up date of my first sock puppet, in the 300s) watching editorial norms emerge here. It’s not the same kind of editing that is done at a magazine — sometimes, sure, posts are killed or edited or helped along, but the goal is not necessarily to make every post better but rather to make the community better. It’s sort of like editing a river. Have you ever tried to edit a river? It’s hard, and the moderators here are genius. They have an art and a craft and a discipline. They keep the community working, and that attracts the right kind of people. It’s an amazing loop. It has much to teach me.

    In the future I wonder if there isn’t a way for the different kinds of editing to combine. Could that be good for the web AND for magazines/radio/etc.? Interesting, useful communities where many people share a common sensibility, connected to — but not utterly dependent upon — more traditional media (like articles, or stories, and so forth).

    Now, if you are in charge of a magazine and you are thinking that this is a good idea, you may wonder how something as MetaFilter has been built.

    This is your lucky day because Matthew Haughey, MetaFilter founder, has just been interviewed on this topic by journalist Suemedha Sood.

    I can’t recommand enough this interview to anybody interested in creating a community. A few quotes:

    What about readership?
    Matt: It’s continued to grow and grow — about 10 percent every few months, doubling every year. My Google analytics say there are about 17 or 18 million pages viewed by 7 million people around the world each month.

    (Besides its founder, MetaFilter employs one full time programmer, two full time moderators and a part time moderator.)

    What makes Metafilter a success?
    Matt: I’d like to think it’s intense moderation and customer service.

    media machina

    October 8th, 2009 by bruno boutot

    I have begun to publish my work media machina, 10 years in the making: the quest for business models for news on the Web.

    Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

    If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

    Video: Ouvert 5 Catherine Genest 2009
    used with permission of the artist


    June 8th, 2009 by admin

    The move from modadmin.com is finally done!

    I was planning to create a new site for a work in progress called “media machina” and I used this opportunity to move all my blogs under one domain, boutotcom.com, and one platform WordPress MU, and here we are at last.

    It’s time to thank Robin Millette from Waglo Labs who has originally created this blog on Drupal and has taken care of it for years, and then did the hard work to move the content to WordPress; unfortunately, the comments have not followed, but I keep the original archives and we plan to find a way to bring them back;

    also Patrick Tanguay from taste of blue who installed the new WordPress MU at iWeb, wisely helped me to chose  the theme Shantia by Nofie Iman and created the original design before leaving for Berlin;

    and finally Francis Laplante from iXmédia who did the integration of the boutot.com domain, showed me the ropes and did the final set-up.

    Thank you all for your patience that used up all my attempts at procrastination.

    Twittering from inside the event horizon

    December 17th, 2008 by bruno boutot

    Part of my ongoing collection of (apparently) unrelated quotes:

    warrenellis I appear to gain more followers when I don’t actually post anything. I consider this to be a valuable lesson about the internet, and life. 7 minutes ago from web

    hrheingold 74% of the earth’s population are social media strategists 17 minutes ago from web

    mpesce Having massive brainwave. Had no idea it was coming on, then WHAM, there it is. Beautiful, terrifying, and will not be ignored. 7 minutes ago from web

    Clay Shirky’s hundred dollars bills

    December 14th, 2008 by bruno boutot

    Last summer, I was talking on the phone with Mitch Joel about an article I was writing and he kept telling me I should read Clay Shirky‘s book Here Comes Everybody. I told Mitch I had read all these excerpts and all Clay’s interviews in 999 blogs and that was enough for me. Did I say that Mitch really insisted? And that he is a convincing marketer? So I bought the book, kept it at my bedside and sipped maybe 2 or 3 pages at a time during these past months.
    Of course Mitch was right. Of course the book is a must read. It’s about how we all came to be there, in communities and social networks. While reading, I marked pages with 100 dollars bills of Monopoly money from a bundle a friend had given me (long story). Now I have finished the book and I just went through the 100 dollars pages. The following quotes are not representing Clay Shirky’s essential book. Go buy it. They are just quotes I keep because they are great and I could write an article with each one of them. Consider I just wrote 8 posts.

    How we have become filters:

    Mass amateurization of publishing makes mass amateurization of filtering a forced move. Filter-then-publish, whatever its advantages, rested on a scarcity of media that is a thing of the past. The expansion of social media means that the only working system is publish-then-filter.

    Communities are good and feel good:

    Anything that increases our ability to share, coordinate, or act increases our freedom to pursue our goals in congress with one another.

    Journalism crisis:

    Philosophers sometimes make a distinction between a difference in degree (more of the same) and a difference in kind (something new). What we are witnessing today is a difference in sharing so large it becomes a difference in kind.

    People are important to people:

    We gather together because we like to, and because it is useful. (…) cities don’t exist just because people have had to be nearby to communicate; cities exist because people like to be near other people, and it is this fact, rather than the mere trading of information, that creates social capital.

    Giving a platform and doing nothing:

    Though it seems funny for a service business, Meetup actually does best not by trying to do things on behalf of its users, but by providing a platform for them to do things for one another.

    Acting on a troll in Wikipedia (same process as with graffiti) :

    … he or she had spent the better part of an hour lovingly crafting those three fake entries. I deleted all three in about a minute and a half; the prankster never returned, presumably disappointed by the speed with which fake entries could be undone.

    Moderating communities 101:

    … a basic truth of social systems: no effort at creating group value can be successful without some form of governance.

    The individual is mightier than the marketing plan:

    The transistor and the birth control pill (…) were pulled into society one person at a time, and they mattered more than giant inventions pushed along by massive and sustained effort. They changed society precisely because no one was in control of how the technology was used, or by whom. This is what is happening again today.

    Intelligence augmentation

    December 14th, 2008 by bruno boutot

    Mark Pesce continues to publish installments of his next book the human network. I quote here a few sentences related to collective intelligence and collective knowledge tools from his last chapter: Crowdsource Yourself.

    The first problem in intelligence augmentation: how do you make a human being smarter? The answer: pair humans up with other humans.

    Given that we try to make decisions about our lives based on the best available information, the better that information is, the better our decisions will be. (…) every time we use (—-*) to make a decision, we are improving our decision making ability. We are improving our own lives.

    Douglas Engelbart’s original vision of intelligence augmentation holds true: it is possible for us to pool our intellectual resources, and increase our problem-solving capacity.

    —-* mark Pesce had written “Wikipedia” here but, as he acknowledges a few lines further: … Wikipedia is really only one example of the many tools we have available for knowledge augmentation. Every sharing tool – Digg, Flickr, YouTube, del.icio.us, Twitter, and so on – provides an equal opportunity to share and to learn from what others have shared. We can pool our resources more effectively than at any other time in history.

    New word, 70’s Boomers’ inititative: back-to-the-landism

    December 13th, 2008 by bruno boutot