Review: Bloggen is zo 2004.

Just finished reading 130 pages of “Bloggen is zo 2004” written by Sjoerd van der Helm, concerning a content analysis of Life- and Shocklogs. It’s a well written overview of the Dutch blogosphere and touches upon subject of journalism and self-therapy. Sjoerd also discusses commercialization, re-mediation and future prospects. is the main focus point. is a shocklog. A shocklog is a weblog that (usually) contains a controversial, critical, surprising and/or appalling content. Sjoerd places the shocklog in contrast with the lifelog, which by nature is a female orientated medium, that contains a reflection of the authors (or the authors cat/child) life. The lifelog is usually aimed at a close circle of friends and family, whereas the shocklog attempts to reach out for a wider audience. The content of the latter is therefore more contentious, leading to debate and is touchy in spirit. Pictures and videos of beheaded journalists in Iraq first appeared on similar shockblogs. Shocklogs are mainly criticized because they are seen as hooligans of the internet (following appalling opinions for the sake of shock), scandalizing actualities without checking sources for facts. Yet shocklogs do touch upon matters that normally would be left aside by old-media journalists. Shocklogs set the ground for debate.

It must be said that the popularity of shocklogs make it interesting for advertisers and therefore these sites become forced to provide shocking material, leading to harassments and false accusations of innocent people.


My presentation is on the Motorola-sponsored research “Generation here:   exploring the impact of 3G mobile phone technology on global communications”. It talks about the key developments in the field of mobile phone technology of the third generation. Between 2004-2006 a few researchers, writers and journalists travelled the world to observe communities and interview people on their attitudes towards 3G.

Generation here presentation

Commonism is a word coined by Tom DeWeese. He is the president of an American rightwing think tank and wrote an article on the dangers of commonism in 2000.

Communism, we’re told, is dead. Welcome to the new era of Commonism.

When the walls around the Soviet Union fell a decade ago, once-proud nations that had been swallowed up by the Soviet empire emerged as a new “democracy movement.” In truth, the “death” of Soviet-style Communism allowed the movement to free itself from its negative baggage. As long as the title “Communist” was not hung around their neck to raise Western fears, the ideas of International Socialism could move forward unhindered. The world has responded in almost thunderous support. Commonism was born.

The distinctive feature of Commonism is its intention to transform private intellectual property and nationally controlled natural resources into common property in the name of the “common heritage of mankind.” The ideology of Commonism is based on political concepts and spiritual values such as global commons, global village, global spirituality, equalitarianism, democratism, disarmament, environmentalism, interdependence, interconnectedness, and participation in world peace.

Commonism is a political ideology containing both a doctrine and a device for its expansion. Commonism advances the idea that problems cross national and local boundaries. In that way, natural and political boundaries are conveniently overcome (overthrown?) through treaties, legislation and policy statements, all explained as necessary for improvement of the common good. Source

As we can read, commonism is used in a negative manner to describe the socialist ideas of making everything common, a thorn in the eye (batavism) of liberal Americans. Famous examples of commonists would be Koffie AnanBenedict Anderson and John Lennon:


benjamin.gifStructurally, the printed press is a medium that operates as a monologue, isolating producer and the reader. Feedback and interaction are extremely limited, demand elaborate procedures, and only in the rarest cases lead to corrections. Once an edition has been printed it cannot be corrected; at best it can be pulped. The control circuit in the case of literary criticism is extremely cumbersome and elitist. It excludes the public on principle.


Dear all,
I recieved this announcement from Jeroen Jansz of ASCor:
ASCoR, the Amsterdam School of Communications Research (University of Amsterdam) advertizes a new PhD position in research about digital entertainment games. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Ed Tan and Dr. Jeroen Jansz. For details see: under ‘vacancies’.


Jan Simons

Today I read that open source peer-to-peer software Bittorrent, is making an attempt to reach out to the market commercially. The downloading software was developed through a participation structure, where people on the internet contributed to the co-creation of the software. Bittorrent tried to reach out to the consumer market before, that is last year, via Phillips. Co-developer Olaf van der Spek was a assigned a research position at Phillips. The idea was that people would buy a hardware component to download programs on demand. They would pay for programs with a reduced fee and in return provide bandwith to upload the program for other consumers. I interviewed van der Spek to see what were the ups and downs. I also asked him what motivated him to participate in the making of the program. Here is the interview.

So I take it everyone has started researching their paper for new media theories? I’ve decided to tag all the useful papers and articles i find with nmtheories, while tagging related artwork or projects with locativeprojects. Anyone up to sharing their resources with these tags is welcome, hopefully this way we can find more useful stuff without having to sift through the thousands of pages tagged with ‘locative’ or ‘mediatheory’.

In response to the article published below concerning the current telecom situation in Serbia, I let Dr. Djukic read the article. He was quite critical about its content. I recorded his response here.

Dr. Djukic created the smallest electronic device known to man. The results from Dr. Djukic’s research are the foundation/cornerstone for all experiments and theory in nanotechnology. It must be said that Dr. Djukic is not working for the telecommunication market, nor does his research have any affiliation in this field. However, Dr. Djukic is Serbian and is well informed in multiple fields concerning the Serbian commerce market.


Anthony Townsend argues in his essay ‘Locative-Media Artists in the Contested-Aware City‘ that the technology of context-aware computing (of which locative media is a part):

will be characterized by an interplay between top-down systems for command and control and bottom-up systems for collective action.


When I was at the netcraft website, I was redirected to another interesting article (from the washington post). The WP reports that internet users are very suspicious when they receive spam e-mails, but they let their guard down when they visit a social network website like MySpace, Hyves or Friendster. Therefore they are an easy target for fraudsters to collect millions of login names and passwords that can be abused for identity theft or financial fraud. According to the WP social networking websites are a great target for fraudsters because the users are predominantly youngsters and the culture on these websites encourages sharing of personal information. And that makes these websites a great site for their practices.


The city of Groningen has installed CCTVs with sound sensors that respond to aggressive voice raising. The police can thus anticipate fights, physical abuse, riots and other threats to public order and intervene before anything serious will have happened. Like Tom Cruise in Steven Spielberg’s MINORITY REPORT. A news item on this subject can be seen at the website of RTL4:’s.

An example of ‘premediation’ maybe? This is the term Richard Grusin coined for the way media do not reflect upon but anticipate and prestage events, in his essay ‘Premediation‘ (Criticism 46.1 (2004) 17-39).

The Masters of Media are blogging (semi) live from the MyCreativity conference:

MyCreativity: Twan EikelenboomMyCreativity: Michael StevensonMyCreativity: Eva KolMyCreativity: Esther Weltevrede and Jasper MoesMyCreativity: Anne Helmond and Twan EikelenboomMyCreativity: Eva Kol and Roman TolMyCreativity: Michael StevensonMyCreativity: Roman TolMyCreativity: Esther Weltevrede and Erik Borra


Google is still maintaining it’s strong number one position in the search engine landscape. Microsoft is trying to get back by launching it’s new Live Search service, but are they strong enough to overthrow the almighty Google? This is one of the questions I asked myself for my BA thesis. And of course there are still and Yahoo! (which is focusing more on social search).

These big media conglomerates are dominating the search engine landscape and there seems to be an endless media concentration going on. What is the impact on the access to information when only a few players dominate the market?


The topic of discussion at MyCreativity was to propose a new system of copyright that withstands the 21st century, respects the domains of knowledge and creativity, and provides artist with a worthy financial compensation. Joost Smiers has clearly thought about this thoroughly. His lecture was the most detailed and covered some important issues. In this blog post I will translate some of his thoughts.

The main point is that there needs to be an alternative for copyright that recognizes that because of the internet the world has changed drastically from how it was in the 19th century, the time when copyright was formed and with it the bizarre idea that the artist is a genius that thinks up all his creations by himself, almost in the name of God, and therefore is entitled to be the sole owner of his creations.


Gerard Goggin. Cell Phone Culture: Mobile Technology in Everyday Life. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. here’s yet another reason why we should all move to Belgium…. or consider moving to Germany! I wanted to show this chart yesterday in class, during our discussion of Philip Agre’s article “Surveillance and capture: Two models of privacy”. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it then…

This is a graphical overview of the ability of countries to assure the privacy of its citizens. Or… you can tell from this overview what the leading surveillance societies are in the world.

This overview only looks at privacy. It makes me wonder if the leading surveillance societies are safer to life in? Or is there just more control needed, because the chance of terrorism is so high?[347]=x-347-545269

Person of the Year: You

Yes, you. You control the Information Age. Welcome to your world.

By Lev Grossman

The “Great Man” theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that “the history of the world is but the biography of great men.” He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year. (more)

Deleuze’s ‘dividual subject’ has finally made it.

A happy Psiphon user from Teheran, Iran wrote the following:

Wow cool!

Dank je wel, ik ga het direct proberen. Dit kan me echt helpen. Oh ja mijn stiefbroer heeft een server in NL, die staat altijd aan. Zou het helpen als die daarop staat? Wat moet ik dan doen? Echt Bedankt!
PS laat het weten als ik iets terug kan doen.


usb logoThis article (that is in Dutch) explains how you can turn your own USB stick into a linux mini desktop. It has a step by step plan to place a small programme, called DSL on your USB stick, so you can take your own data, such as documents and email with you everywhere you go. If you are on another persons computer, or you are on the computer of an internet cafe, you can start the applications through your USB stick.

The English “how to” can be found here!


Today the Chinese state media announced that its government is not satisfied with the growing popularity of blogging in China and wants to force users to register with their genuine name.

This way bloggers can be penalized when they don’t conform to the strict censorship laws.

The Chinese government currently blocks hundreds of websites that contain political sensitive material. Also now search engines do not provide all the available content. From the 58 people that are imprisoned in the world (data from September 2006) with regards to cyber crime, human rights organisation  Reporters sans Frontières claims fifty are locked up in China.

The state media says that at the end of 2006 China had 20.8 million bloggers. In total there are 132 million internet users in China, thus 16% have a blog.

Source: Audio announcement

book coverRichard Rogers is head of the new media department from the University of Amsterdam. Adrienne Massanari wrote a review on Rogers book “information politics on the Web”.

Information Politics on the Web

Author: Richard Rogers
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004
Review Published: February 2007

Scholars are increasingly interested in the politics that influence and structure the ways in which individuals interact with the web. Frequently, this takes the form of research about instrumental uses of the web to obtain material normatively considered “political.” This is most often seen in surveys distributed by organizations like the Pew Internet and American Life Project. These typically focus on individual self-reports in which participants note the frequency with which they go online to research politics; the ways in which they interact with others online to talk about politics (through applications such as e-mail, IM, and social-networking sites like MySpace and Friendster); and the most frequent ways they obtain political information online (see, for example, Rainie, Cornfield, & Horrigan, 2005). While delving into the instrumental ways in which individuals’ political behavior is shaped and/or influenced by their web behavior, these surveys assume that a diverse set of content can be obtained through a simple web search.


This site is an interesting mix of blogging and amateur online investigative journalism – trying to get more information on reported crimes by searching Google, MySpace, etc. Lots of advertising, though – true crime is a popular and lucrative genre across different media, I just hadn’t seen it blogged yet.

Update: Here is another one with a good, if straightforward, sense of humor.