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Friday, 13 November 2009

Report from Civil Media 2009

Civilmedia 09, Social & Technological Innovation in Open-Access Media
November 5 - 7, 2009, Salzburg, Austria

report by dusand

Open, alternative, community, free, media, diy - these and many other key words could describe this conference.

Little diy (Do It Yourself) published zines exhibition was the first thing that grabbed my attention. Lot of interesting stuff made by people in US, Germany and so on. I've never thought about doing such things.. but why not?
Inspiring link:

The Emerging Power of Social Media and the Post-Election Violence in Iran (Irfan Raja) 
Presentation about how mobile phones play important role in informing and spreading word about what's happening in Iran and other countries with censored (and not so free) medias. Irfan Raja showed us several examples of videos took by mobile phones who spread around the world mainstream media channels in very short time from the act happened.
He was also speaking how Twitter is becoming more and more important in fast communication about some hot news and issues.

/// For those who don't know Twitter - it is simple and fast internet tool for sharing short messages within its users. You can write a message and all your twitter "followers" will get it immediately. And mutualy - you will get messages from all the members who you follow. Stanica started to use it several weeks ago. It's another social media tool. It can be connected with Facebook. In the future, it looks like quite powerful tool also for doing PR in informal, direct way. If you are interested, come to me and I can show you how it works in 1 minute.

Community Funded Journalism (David Röthler)
This was very interesting for me. David Röthler from Salzburg based Radiofabrik showed us few internet ideas for funding the community (not only) journalism.
Community portal where citizens of Los Angeles / so-called Bay Area (=San Francisco, probably) can donate 20 or more dollars to help funding particular story. You as a user and member of the community can choose which article you would like to support. You can see how much more money is needed to write an article. After the amount of dollars is collected, they hire professional journalist for writing the story. By this, citizens of community express their interest in particular topic touching space they live in and they can help with small financial support, as well. So they pay someone who write about their community. For them.
The question is if it could work in European envirnoment and with European way of thinking. Maybe yes, maybe not. It's interesting idea, isn't it?
Check this if you have a band and (of course) no money to produce album.
In that case, this portal is dedicated for you. Bands who wants to be produced can register there, show their idea and people can donate support them. Directly, in small (or big) portions. In return, you can get the money (or some other stuff) back if the project you supported became successful.
So far, more than 2,5 milion dollars were already invested for lots of bands who joined this thing - which is quite impressive.
"Kachingle is a way for readers to choose and equitably share
their $5 monthly contribution with the web sites they appreciate the most."
If you have a website with quality content that people like, you can try to get supported by your fans or let's say community. You register to, attach little thingie on your website. Users of this site can click on it and support you in very little amounts of money (like 10 cents for each visit of your website, or 5 dollars each month - it's possible to set it how you want). If many people will support you with little something, you can get interesting amount of support. Oh and 20% of each donation goes to the services (the provider of the website).

This thing can be boxed into crowdfunding or micropayments category if you like boxes and categories. It's opened for anybody.
This is something similar - you can lend money to people who try to start their own little business in poor countries. You always see particular person, his profil, what is he going to do and so on... Very sympatic thing. Something like adopting children from Africa - sending money to some exact child. Yeah, it's similar principle.

This guy, this David Röthler, made an interesting note about Bertold Brecht's Radio Theory. He compared it to Web 2.0 which was inspiring for me. I know very little about Brecht's Radio Theory but this made me want to know more. I will find some info about it. Or if you know something about it, tell me.

History Commons (Daniel Erlacher/Elevate)
They say it was a workshop but nowadays, people call workshops any kind of stuff. For me, it was more an interactive informal presentation. But whatever. It was not bad at all. is run by american non-profit organization. "The website is a tool for open-content participatory journalism."
The thing is that there are editors who write, make compilations of facts from books, news, media, basically all kinds of information channels with aim to make a bigger picture of what's going on in our world. This thing should be seen as a new way for writing history. They are just facts, no opinions.
You have entities (persons, organizations,...), timelines of some historical (presence is history as well) events.
It's edited by a bunch of editors (mainly US), so it's not like Wikipedia where basically anybody can edit the content.

///One little personal advise from me - don't consider Wikipedia to be some kind of serious source of information. It can be abused, misused for someone's purposes or intentions. Wikipedia is nice idea but a bit utopic. In this world. Because if you want to have relevant source of information, it has to have an author. Wikipedia has no author, you can't refer to anybody.

So, History commons wants to put the news into perspective. You can see lots of facts from different sources which should provide as objective (if we can say that) overview as possible.

A problem can be editors - who choose them? Who decide who will add and edit content on this website? Daniel Erlacher doesn't have deep insight about how it works in the team of people editing the portal. But as far as he knew, his impression was that those people do it for objectivity itself, for having a bigger picture of what's going on, without any secondary intentions. But human element is always the thing, as we all know.

And of course - this idea is ran under Creative Commons. (

Social Innovations in DIY Publishing: Print-On-Demand Technology and the rise of Indie Community Authorship (Deborah Withers)
I missed a presentation that initiated my interested in this conference in the very beginning. Anyway, it was about Print-On-Demand. If you want to publish something and you don't have much money, it's one of the possibilities for you. Print on demand means that you print that many books how many buyers you have. You don't have to print 500 or 1000 books because the big printing house can do it cheap (anyway, you don't have money for so many prints and you are not sure if you will sell it). You just print how many orders you have. So each printed book has its concrete customer. So you will sell all the stuff you have printed. I think it's usually digital print, so it's not so badly expensive. I have to study this a bit more to get more exact information.

In Other Worl(d)s: An Exercise in Collaborative Writing (Tea Hvala)
Tea Hvala is a cool person involved and active in many things in Ljubljana, especially Metelkova mesto. With other people, she organizes international queer/feminist festival Rdeče zore (Red Dawns / Die Rote Zora) every march.
She led a workshop of (collaborative) team writing, with focus on science-fiction genre. Imagine 6 people who set up characters and general topic or setting of the story and each of them starts writing. After 10 minutes, each of them pass his paper to the neighbour and continue writing in someone else's story. You interact with other people's writings, characters, storyline. The process is finished when every people comes to every participant. The results can be very colorful, amusing, innovative and open-minded texts. We were thinking about mixing the languages of writing but we left it for next time maybe. You can check the stories we wrote here.

inspirating links:


tea hvala
Addicted2Random (Markus Brandt, Republik der Sehnsucht)
Markus Brandt, guy from Radiofabrik presented us his music making machines. He programmes this software which randomly creates/generates music. He is going to put it online to the site in a week or so, so you will be able to listen to 24/7 (nonstop!) randomly computer-created live music. Each of his "music machines" play different kind of music. In the future, he is going to connect several machines into.. let's say orchestra of software musicians. Because each machine represents one musician. We can say it like that. Yes.
Or it will be even possible to make it interactive with human musicians. I consider this as quite good project with lots of potential.
The music itself actually sounded good.

Participatory culture and technology in on- and offline networksThe last thing I attended to was a presentation of three people:

Tea Hvala presented festival Rdeče Zore and how they work inside the organizational team and how they network with our activists within feminist and queer scene in Slovenia, Balkan, Europe.

Sonja Prlic (Austria) presented 3d online game called Frontiers which should in an informal way advertise and open the topic of crossing borders, migration and refugees. Very interesting, very innovative approach and quite attractive form for young people.

Rosa Reitsamer (Austria, Wien) was talking about online database and portal of gender and ethnicity orientated music and their open space with the similar focus of activities in Wien - aRtmosphere.

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