Recent blog posts by mstem

Upworthy's Content Goes Further Than Yours, and Not Because It's Better Content

Sara Critchfield and Adam Mordecai's talk at Netroots Nation (#nnupFTW) was less-than-standing-room only, so I've combined the parts of his talk we were able to catch with a similar talk by their colleague Peter Koechley at the Conversational Marketing Summit. Thanks to Deepa Kunapuli for her notes.

Technology and Human Rights

Liveblog of the Netroots Nation panel, Safeguarding Democracy: Innovations in Technology and Human Rights

Caitlin Howarth, of the Satellite Sentinel Project, has assembled an impressive panel of women working at the intersection of tech and human rights. First up is Emily Jacobi, cofounder of Digital Democracy (@digidem).

Emily has seen some amazing changes in the world in the past few years, and she attributes these changes to technology and how people are using it. People who were completely marginalized from conversations are picking up the tools of mass communication. Digital Democracy focuses on small 'd' democracy and the grassroots engagement rather than large institutions.

Finding Bieber: Using Computers and Humans to Surface the Talent in Millions of YouTube Videos

This is a writeup of Hrishikesh Aradhye, Ph.D.'s talk at the Media Lab last month, with my own commentary sprinkled throughout.

Power to the people, at last! It's a new hour
Now we all ain't gon' be American Idols
But you can 'least grab a camera, shoot a viral

Kanye West, Power

An hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second (or ten years' worth of video every single day). Think about that for a minute. That's a lot of content. And, as haters everywhere have pointed out already, a lot of it is crap.

The more interesting point, though, is that some of these videos are actually really good. If YouTube can get better at surfacing the good stuff, whether it's a funny comedian, a talented singer, or a hilarious FAIL clip, we all benefit (including Google). Identifying talent has traditionally been a very subjective art, and as a result, the quantification of talent hasn't really been discussed in published literature.

The Head of Google News on the Future of News

Richard Gingras

Richard Gingras (@richardgingras), head of News Products at Google, spoke at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard today. I liveblogged it, so let me know where the errors are and I'll fix them.

Everyone has a plan: Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans

Frank Hebbert of OpenPlans

liveblogged by @mstem, @natematias, @schock, and @beckyhurwitz.

How do we empower citizens as equal partners in urban planning with data and analytical tools? If new tech can enable planners, tool makers and community groups to create meaningful change, how do we get there?

Frank Hebbert (@fkh) works at OpenPlans, building tools to help citizens and government come together for better city planning. He thinks we can make great places and beat climate change with the winning combo of planning, tech and public participation.

Frank graduated from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and is also a programmer and GIS nerd. He now runs the Civic Works group at OpenPlans.