Weeknotes #233

This week I did:


Team scoped an MVP aligned with organisational objectives and funding obligations, confirmed technical feasibility, designed wireframes and got stakeholder approval in two weeks. Absolutely awesome people! Next we move into deep levels of definition and get set up for development.

Lessons from managing products in charities

I had an idea about creating a ten-part automated email campaign based on some of the things I’ve learned from developing products in charities. I don’t know why they couldn’t just be blog posts other than because I like experimenting with different media. I started making notes and figuring out the structure the emails would have. I don’t know how I’m going to get the time to finish them but I guess there’s no rush.

Digital creativity and new media

Although I didn’t attend the lecture (work call. Priorities, you know) I already think it’s a really interesting topic. I’m going to cathc up on the lecture, get into the reading and start thinking about the assignment ‘Does digital creativity differ from non-digital creativity? Develop a critical argument and illustrate with examples’.

It also turns out that the lecturer for this module is my dissertation supervisor so I’d better be on my best behaviour.

I read/watched:

Not-for-profit vs For-impact

I watched Simon Sinek’s video ‘Stop Calling Yourself a Not-for-Profit‘. He suggests using the term ‘For-impact’ to describe the kinds of organisation that refer to themselves as not-for-profit to focus on what they do rather than what they don’t do. It’s a fair point, if not particularly original.

Hwang and Powell said, “In recent decades, the nonprofit sector has evolved from informal activities of charitable do-gooders to highly formalized endeavors by enterprising individuals. In such areas as health care, higher education, social services, and the arts, nonprofits are major service providers.”. In this sense “Nonprofit” is professional term used to convey credibility and influence society, almost a badge of honour and a moral stance. ‘For-impact’ might seem more appropriate from Sinek’s ‘start with why’ point of view but in fact the sector is more complex than can be understood by a single axis or characteristic of not aiming to make a profit.

Morris talks about how “Institutions which are neither statutory, nor profit maximising, have been collectively and variously called the voluntary, third, non-profit, or more recently, civil society, sector.” and looks at the definition of the sector from a range of perspectives including the types of goods and services the sector provides and “the positive externalities that they create for society”.

Pallotta suggest calling it the Humanity Sector. His arguments against the other terms aside, he says, “What brings us to this work is our humanity. And what makes the work happen is the generosity of countless people from all socioeconomic levels, who make donations out of their humanity. Moreover, it is for humanity that all of this effort is undertaken. To call it by another name is at best to miss the point, and at worst to betray it.”

Clearly the reason no one can agree on what to call the sector is that no one can agree on what axis to analyse organisations in the sector.

Last Year in the Creator Economy

“Collectively, Gumroad creators earned $142 million in 2020, up 94% from 2019. This post discusses the forces that shaped Gumroad’s role in the creator economy in 2020 and will direct it going forward, as well as what you can do, today, to become a bigger part of it yourself.” This is so much more useful than obscure tweets that attempt to present themselves as insight.

Digital economy report 2019

“The digital revolution has transformed our lives and societies with unprecedented speed and scale, delivering immense opportunities as well as daunting challenges. New technologies can make significant contributions to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals, but we cannot take positive outcomes for granted. We must urgently improve international cooperation if we are to achieve the full social and economic potential of digital technology, while avoiding unintended consequences.”

And thought about:

Leaning into difficulty

There are always lots of problems to solve, lots of difficulties to face. Picking which ones to focus on isn’t easy, but once we know which difficulties we want to tackle leaning into them, getting serious about them is the only way to affect them. Heads in sand doesn’t help.

Communication over coordination

Work needs coordination too, but it needs more and better communication more.

Right or wrong

Everyone is doing what they think is right, it’s just that we all think different things are right. It’s easy to think that some people are right and some are wrong, and usually that those who agree with us that are the ones who are right.

People tweeted:

People like me

Ethan Mollick tweeted “Homophily is the principle that we like people who are like ourselves, and it is a powerful force in explaining how society is structured. This paper shows it goes deeper than skin: You are more likely to be friends with people who literally think like you”. If, as the paper suggests, we are more likely to be friends with people who perceive and respond to the world in ways similar to us (which makes intuitive sense) then how do we get diversity and the benefits that come with it? Maybe work is the answer.

The shape of a product manager

Ravi Mehta tweeted, “Most PMs, even peak PMs, excel at only a handful of these competencies. The difference between the average PM and the peak PM is an understanding of gaps and the ability to unite a team that fills those gaps.”

Rules to live by

Jon Yates tweeted, “After 40 years, I’ve begged and borrowed a few “rules to live by”. Often mess them up! but here they are … What are yours?” The latest rule I’ve been thinking about is ‘Don’t shop hungry’, by which I mean don’t make decisions based the immediate situation you are in. Always try to step back, think about what you are trying to achieve and whether this will help you do it.

Digital Media and Convergence Culture

Digital Media and Convergence Culture

“Convergence culture” is a term used to describe the ways in which digital media has changed the relationship between institutions and their patrons, governments and their citizens, and storytellers and their audiences. Digital media technologies provide interactive and networked communication that accelerates the feedback loop between these groups. Digital media did not create active and creative audiences, but this technology has amplified and enhanced activities that previously had been popular with ardent fans and subcultures with strong social ties. The proliferation of digital media corresponds with marketing and messaging strategies designed to entice people to interact with companies and organizations. These groups encourage people to seek information on their own, “join the conversation,” and “take charge” of their lives through the capabilities of digital devices. In convergence culture, the boundaries between work and leisure, professional and amateur, and artist and audience have blurred. These changes have inspired research on the potentials and limitations of interactivity, immediacy, and interconnectedness. Some work focuses on the effects of these changes on democracy, including the status of journalism, the ability to organize social movements, and the effects of Balkanization in an era of algorithms. Along similar lines, research on privacy and surveillance warns of the darker side of networked technology. Claims about the social impact of digital media build on analysis of the technological affordances of the platforms, software, hardware, and code that governs participation. Many have detailed the ways in which the technology and culture of computing is laden with ideology that shapes its uses. Arguments such as these are especially relevant to the forward-thinking work done on what is referred to as the “Internet of Things,” which theorizes what life will be like when computer chips network all objects in an attempt to organize the chaos of the world through “big data” initiatives. Research on digital media and convergence culture relies on case studies, institutional analysis, theoretical exploration, and software studies. The variety of methodological approaches and the inherent interdisciplinarity of this work speaks to the ways in which digital media has affected all corners of modern life. The enthusiasm, creativity, and rigor of the research on convergence culture demonstrate the dedication of academia to bring clarity to a world reeling from a seismic shift.


Convergence culture in the creative industries

Convergence culture in the creative industries

This article maps the emerging practices in media
professions like journalism, advertising, marketing communications and public
relations in adapting to a new global environment, characterized by an
increasingly participatory media culture. Among creatives and brand managers
in ad agencies ‘interactive advertising’ is at the center of the contemporary buzz.
Marketers in the cultural industries brainstorm about the potential of upstream
marketing, while in public relations the opportunities of two-way symmetrical
communication are explored. Editors of news publications increasingly jump on
the ‘citizen journalism’ bandwagon. All these trends are part of the same
phenomenon: a convergence of the cultures of media production and
consumption. In this essay, these developments are discussed in terms of their
potential impact on consensual assumptions about the nature of media work,
seen through the lens of the combination of individual creativity and mass
production, also known as creative industries.

Click to access Convergence-Culture-in-the-Creative-Industries.pdf

Media convergence

Media convergence

This informative resource is key reading for media studies students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in media industries, policy and regulation.


Welcome to Convergence Culture

Welcome to Convergence Culture

Reduced to its most core elements, this book is about the relationship between three concepts – media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence….


Reflective Remediation as Critical Design Strategy: Lessons from László Moholy-Nagy and Olafur Eliasson

Reflective Remediation as Critical Design Strategy: Lessons from László Moholy-Nagy and Olafur Eliasson

Reflective remediation is an important component of contemporary media theory, which emphasises the creative efforts of avant-garde artists and designers to shape the evolution of media in a critical way. However, the critical capacity of reflective remediations may be compromised by commercial dynamics or conventions, such as the celebration of ‘reflec-tivity for reflectivity’s sake’ that aims to construct an auratic experience for viewers. Because reflectivity is a critical media practice, it is vital to investigate reflective remediations in tandem with the critical intensions and creative visions of artists and designers. We investigate the critical media practices of the Bauhaus master, László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946) who explored the concept of ‘productive creativity’, according to which creative experimentation should lead to design knowledge, redefining the relationship between what is known and unknown. We then scrutinise the artistic practice of the Icelandic-Danish contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson (b.1967), who contextualises reflectivity as an embodied experience , in terms of what he calls ‘frictional encounters’. When applied together, the two concepts enhance our understanding of reflective remediation as a critical design strategy.


Manovich and Remediation

Manovich and Remediation

In Software Takes Command, Manovich challenges Bolter and Grusin’s remediation theory, claiming that computers surpass the mere remediation of previous mediums. Instead, the computer is “‘a metamedium’ whose content is ‘a wide range of already existing and not-yet-invented media‘” (105; italics original). In addition, computers provide the ability to translate various mediums into other mediums (e.g. audio into visualizations) and to control the viewing of a medium’s content.


Digital Creativity: A Survey of the term

Digital Creativity: A Survey of the term

The analysis that we developed in our task for the project Invisibilia confirms that the term digital creativity represents a disperse notion in which a number of different definitions developed along last decades are merged. The dispersion of the concept emerges from the bibliometric analysis that has used a set of seminal essays and articles and has created a citation database. Nevertheless our analysis reveals that the discussion about the notion is still gemmed out of a core of pivotal figures in the field of structuralism, mass-mediology and new media. On the other hand this seems to lead to the conclusion that the digital creativity as a field is less influenced by computer science scholars and still lacks of a specific canon.


Exploring digital remediation in support of personal reflection

Exploring digital remediation in support of personal reflection

Increasingly our digital traces are providing new opportunities for self-reflection. In particular, social media (SM) data can be used to support self-reflection, but to what extent is this affected by the form in which SM data is presented? Here, we present three studies where we work with individuals to transform or remediate their SM data into a physical book, a photographic triptych and a film. We describe the editorial decisions that take place as part of the remediation process and show how the transformations allow users to reflect on their digital identity in new ways. We discuss our findings in terms of the application of Goffman’s (1959) self-presentation theories to the SM context, showing that a fluid rather than bounded interpretation of our social media spaces may be appropriate. We argue that remediation can contribute to the understanding of digital self and consider the design implications for new SM systems designed to support self-reflection.