The Friday five: giraffes, stories, consumer power and flash mobs

The usual Friday roundup of some stuff I found interesting this week. I can count, I know that there are more than five links here, but I’m taking a bit of poetic license. “Friday Seven” just doesn’t sound right, so “Friday Five” it is. Next week I will try to limit it to five. Or think of a new title.

New forms of storytelling, weirder than you think – from Wired

I so want to see a VR documentary. And I can’t wait until it gets affordable enough for education.

from VR film "Herders"

from VR film “Herders”

Collectively, these stories signal a shift from passive viewing to something more active. “It’s a relatively recent thing in history that stories became objects,” Melcher says. “These new types of stories are moving us into something more physically interactive, more multisensory, that reawaken our bodies and senses.”


Ad blockers are legal – from BBC and Enrique Dans

I’m not saying that adblockers are good. They are, however, inevitable. Which will force online media to re-think business models, to focus on good content and loyal readers, and to be very, very innovative. It’s going to get interesting (I know, like it hasn’t been already).

Enrique Dans’ take on the subject is well expressed:

“The verdict is based on the logical and inalienable right of self-determination when using the internet, and will be a blow to companies who say that they are suffering as a result of the use of the advertisement blocking service AdBlock Plus offers. The conclusion is clear: if you’re an advertiser and you really want your message to get over, then respect people’s privacy rather than bombarding them with intrusive ads.”


Branded content is not the answer – from Digiday

I’m not convinced that branded content is the answer to the above. But it’s great that we tried it, it will lead to a better idea. And, it has made companies much more focussed on what their customers want.

“Ego is a persistent foil among journalists trying their hand at branded content. Many journalists are attracted to the career because it offers the prospect of being well known and respected for industry expertise and the ability to have one’s name attached to big stories. That possibility doesn’t exist when it comes to branded content, where a creator’s byline is just one in a long list of numbers that includes video producers, product managers and programmers.”

So, where do the journalism refugees go?


New journalism – from Nieman Lab

Maybe to work on some new models of reporting. Jonathan Stray lists in Nieman Lab some possible editorial formats that we’re not producing yet, but that I, for one, would be interested in reading.

“I’ve used the word “editorial” to sidestep discussion of what “news” or “journalism” is. To ask that question misses the point of what it does. And there has been a strange lack of innovation here. Silicon Valley has never been afraid of wild ideas, but the tech world is allergic to any service which requires a lot of humans to deliver. That doesn’t scale, or so the thinking goes. Meanwhile, the journalism world has evolved and finally embraced software and new story forms. Yet the espoused goals of journalism — the fundamental services that journalists provide — seem virtually unchanged. That’s a pity, because there are so many different, useful things you can do by applying humans plus machines to nonfiction information production. We’ve barely scratched the surface.”


Why Internet is dominated by the Big Ones – from The Guardian

One of the many reasons I think that ecommerce startups are in trouble (with notable exceptions, of course), and I say this with a certain amount of sadness, as a former ecommerce entrepreneur.

“Indeed, if you’re trying to sell digital goods in the EU today, there’s really only one cost effective way to do it: use Amazon. Because the rules aimed at weakening Amazon’s unfair market dominance were negotiated with Amazon’s business-case in mind, they can be readily borne by Amazon. Because the rest of us weren’t taken into consideration, we must all now pay rent to Amazon forever, or be bankrupted by the red-tape that it (and only it) can handily dispense with.”

An interesting, business-strategy article by Cory Doctorow, of Boing Boing fame (actually, not really, he’d be famous even without Boing Boing, for everything else that he prolifically gets up to).


The first You-Tube flash mob mega-hit


I love flash mobs. I don’t know why, but they make me feel like weeping with emotion. Something about all those people working together as a team to bring smiles to other people. Videos like this represent, for me, the power of YouTube to spread creativity. It’s not the video technique, it’s the content, and it’s been seen by almost 20 million people all over the world. That is very cool.


Flying, wet giraffes        

You’ve probably already seen this short film viralling around the Internet, but I’m including it here just in case. After the initial sublime silliness, it would get a bit tedious if it weren’t for the brilliance of the animation.


I was in London earlier this week… April is the most beautiful month there. Some pictures:


Have a great weekend!


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