Friday, November 24, 2006

Loose Change and cash flow

Friday morning
Development spend: £4890 plus 100 euros (bought media player licence)
Cups of tea drunk this morning: Four
People working in shoffice this morning: Two

Pouring down with rain today but feeling fairly sunshiney.

Some University wages came in so finally able to buy the licence (a whole 100 euros!) that means we can start working on adding video and audio to the new version of the site. The license will mean we can buy the media player script developed by a young Dutch developer ( which fits with the open-source, non-corporate ethos of sweeble. But there's still a lot of other work to be done yet before we can start on adding the script.

And I've had two more responses from the emails I sent out to bloggers and citizen media champions. Rachel, from sent an encouraging response and offered to help spread the word when I was ready to spread it. And Dan Gillmor ( wants to know more.

It's a start. But I am much clearer that a) I don't start pushing until sweeble looks the way I want it to look, and b) when I am ready I need to push further.

This afternoon, I've pulled the sweeble launch team together for a meeting to try and push the timetable along and finalise the redesign. I want to have the new version, the one I'm ready to push, up and running without glitches by mid December. Everything's taking way too long.


Spent the early part of this week putting together a lecture for next week on online journalism. Not entirely certain I'll be saying the sorts of things the university is expecting from me about convergence and such, but I think I'll be saying the sorts of things that will get the students excited about what's out there, what's on its way and what they could be doing online now, not just when they graduate.

During the research I was wandering around some of the darker edges of the web, looking at how extreme pressure groups are using it - like the BNP's new volunteer video area, BNPTV: The internet is the means, we can't blame it for the ends it delivers.

But I was also really excited by how individuals with beliefs have created new forms of journalism - using the material that's buried around the web. There's already been plenty written about the Loose Change teenagers (as was) but I finally got around to buying the v2 dvd and watching it this week ( I was blown away by it as an example of how non-journalists can build a story just from the web, publish it through it and create something bigger because of it.

Loose Change could not have existed without the web and, regardless of whether you agree with the arguments the video is making, it does show how much of mainstream media is built on lazy, bear-baiting journalism.

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