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March 19, 2009

Viral Spiral: The Videos

The digital republic and its implications for journalism, business and educatiion.

In a series of short videos posted on YouTube, OTC Fellow David Bollier talks about many of the themes in his new book, Viral Spiral, with Marty Kaplan, director of the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. The videos were produced by Brave New Studios, an affiliate of Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films project.

One three-minute segment looks at the challenge that online commons pose to Centralized Media, especially commercial journalism. Another segment explores the growing tensions between the marketplace and the commons, but also the potential synergies of the two realms working together. As Bollier notes, “We’re caught in this transition zone between those who want to stave off the future and those who are embracing it and trying to innovate with it.”

A third segment explores the counterintuitive idea of online businesses making money by giving something away for free. Examples range from open platforms like Google and Yahoo to IBM’s embrace of GNU Linux to sports equipment makers collaborating with communities of xtreme sports enthusiasts.

A final, seven-minute video provides an overview of the key theme of Bollier’s book – the role of techies, lawyers, artists, musicians, educators, entrepreneurs and many others in building the software platforms, legal licenses and social ethic for managing their own online commons.

Videos are now available of Bollier’s presentations to the Aspen Institute and the New America Foundation. Bollier continues his book tour next week with appearances at the Open Knowledge Conference in London and the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University.