In what’s been called the first “death by Web 2.0,” 42-year-old Briton Kevin Whitrick threatened to kill himself, then hanged himself live on a webcam on the video chat site Paltalk after users in an “insult” channel encouraged him to, reports the Evening Standard. (Chatters told the Standard they had thought he was kidding.) It’s a tragic event, but someone out there must be looking for the video. How could they get their hands on it?
For now, they can’t. There’s no footage of the event on YouTube, and any copy would almost certainly be deleted for violating the site’s terms of service. Those present in the webcam chat room during the hanging aren’t revealing their identities to the press. And according to BBC News, investigators have asked people not to distribute images of the hanging.
What would it take to break through the silence? Presumably one could log into PalTalk and start searching around for people who were in the room. (Good luck figuring out which of these rooms is the “insult” room.)
Photo from Evening Standard
“I don’t want a role as a traditional journalist now,” says ABC correspondent Amanda Congdon, “and I don’t believe I ever will in the future.”
The DuPont deal isn’t doing anything to endear Congdon to ABC News staffers, who have already complained to Radar about her low traffic, cloying online persona, and snotty posts on her blog about how lame ABC News’s website is.
Eventually the story hit the Huffington Post with the headline “ABC Videocaster Congdon Caught Working For DuPont On The Side.” But Congdon wasn’t “caught” — she had pointed to the ads on her blog, and she later wrote that ABC and HBO had approved the DuPont work.
It’s not typical for a journalist to do promo work on the side; it’s seen as a conflict of interest. Amanda argues that okay, if those are the rules then she’s not a traditional journalist. Those who’ve seen her interview Dan Rather and parade around as a “new media” queen may call that bullshit. Well, I have to take Amanda’s side. She doesn’t really buy into the whole “do research, cooperate with the studio giving you resources and access, act like a professional” deal. She’s not a journalist, she just plays one on TV.
Cute story. Read it for the pictures.
Remember when the tech blog TechCrunch was all done by founder Michael Arrington, and in even the sketchiest product review, you could at least count on him for some insider knowledge? Well the site’s gone big, and it ain’t that special any more.
Take this review of Dodgeball and Twitter, for example. Writer Blake Robinson has, like, four Twitter friends, and he clearly hasn’t used Dodgeball. He proves the ignorance of the two mass-messaging services with his own screenshots. Blake treats the two services as competitors, even though Dodgeball is used for announcing location and Twitter is used for quipping or microblogging. (In other words, you use Dodgeball to announce you’re at the bar. You use Twitter to repeat what your drunk friend just whispered to you.) In fact, many of Dodgeball’s core users joined Twitter and now use both services.
But back to this useless TechCrunch review. The facts are wrong (you can use something other than SMS with Dodgeball). The analysis is wrong (Facebook’s web-based business model would make a Twitter clone an annoying side project). It’s just rubbish, and it’s clogging up a site that’s usually quite useful for tech news scoops. So all that to say: until TechCrunch hires some reviewers who bother to use the product, don’t trust a TechCrunch product review.
Jason Calacanis, the blogger who founded the dozens-strong Weblogs Inc. network, just gave the world a horrible plan for becoming an A-list blogger.
While rebutting a lame claim that “blue-collar bloggers” can’t profit from their blogs without whoring out to paid review services like PayPerPost, Jason claims anyone could become an A-lister in three months. Step two on that get-big-quick scheme is “Go to 2-3 events or conferences a week.” Now that is a classist insult on the level of “let them eat cake.” That kind of event schedule is for power networkers, not good bloggers. Step four is basically “write about tech.” Actually, that’s a way to get ignored by the tech crowd and make everyone else scared or bored.
Look, some of the top “A-listers” that everyone reads are the four writers at Boing Boing. They have their own lives, write about anything they want, and when they cover tech it’s on their own terms. And they get over ten times the traffic that media critic and supposed A-list blogger Jeff Jarvis gets. They also dwarf former Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble, who now only gets attention when he complains about not getting attention.
Who are the hottest videobloggers? Are they tech pundits discussing Intel and gadgets on the Podtech network with Calacanis and Scoble? No, they’re a ninja advice columnist and a comedian with a duck fetish.
In other words, what Calacanis calls the A-list is really the C-list. Why does he delude himself? Maybe because he’s part of that C-list; maybe because his vision really is that small. Or maybe Calacanis wants the whole world of blogging to be reduced to bitter little men arguing about the future of RSS and HD-TV.
Photo: Rex Hammock
As promised, we’ve posted the presentation materials from yesterday’s panel at SXSW:
Also wanted to take a moment to thank all of our fine panelists — Nick, Amanda, Henry, Karina & Casey. What started as a bit of a PowerPoint-induced mess (f-ing scroll lock) turned into a rather spirited debate on how we measure notoriety in the blog world — be it page views, inbound links, WHO those inbound links come from, RSS views & downloads, PageRank, or just good ol’ cash money.
Thanks also to everyone who participated. Please don’t hesitate to continue the discussion, be it in the comments of this post, via email, or on your own blogs. And for those of you who couldn’t be there — either due to rain, a panel you thought would be better, or just b/c you weren’t in Austin at all — never fear, a podcast of the panel will be live shortly, and we’ll be sure to post the link just as soon as it does.
The Debt: Vlogger Ze Frank and singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton play the famous songs of Ze Frank’s The Show.
I wrote an article at Valleywag (disclosure: I write articles at Valleywag) about the future internets that never happened: Web 2.0, the Semantic Web, Cyberspace, and other stillborn internets. My favorite is Bill Gates’s Road Ahead, which is now brought to you by Steve Jobs.
Ever wish Wikipedia weren’t so damn accurate? OMG me too! Thank the internet gods for Conservapedia, the Conservative response to Wikipedia that got noticed by the New York Times today! In case you’re saying “Oh dear lord why,” Conservapedia has a list of answers. One item reads:
Wikipedia’s article on Feudalism is limited to feudalism in Europe and did not mention the feudal systems that developed independently in Japan and India until this defect was described here.
That last bit is how most of these items read, now that Conservapedia got noticed and the offending Wikipedia articles it named got fixed – which happens every time someone publicly criticizes the site, since, well, that’s how Wikipedia works.
But let’s see what the articles for “feudalism” looked like on Conservapedia and Wikipedia on the day that Conservapedia made this claim (February 2, according to Conservapedia’s logs).
Great fact-checking, dudes. Since then, the Wikipedia article has expanded to include more non-European feudalism, while the Conservapedia article…has stayed the same. If having info means being a dirty lefty, count me in.
We turn our attention to the megablog known as the Huffington Post, center of an important news story: the Guardian’s “What is a blog?”
Haha, no, that bores me to hell too. The reason I’m interested in HuffPo is the whopping seven-page account by Denis Collins of his time on the jury in Scooter Libby’s trial. Collins is a journalist who somehow stayed on the jury despite his relationships with several witnesses.
Collins wrote a book on the CIA, Fox News’ John Gibson points out, wondering if another book is in the works after this episode. And if so, asks Gibson, wouldn’t a guilty verdict make a better climax than not guilty?
In other HuffPo drama news, the site deleted comments expressing wishes that Dick Cheney had been killed by a suicide bomber that instead killed 22 other people. After Bill Maher questioned the decision to censor the comments, arguing that they were protected free speech, Fox News spun the story to say that Maher wishes Cheney were dead. While we’ll never know what’s in Maher’s heart of hearts, it’s safe to say that the man’s learned his lesson since the days of calling American war planners cowards.
Welcome to the relaunched Blogebrity: The Blog. If you missed us when we first launched in 2005, we were the first “blog about blogs” that dropped the boring trade-journal talk in favor of fresh, funny commentary on the personal and professional lives of bloggers. Writing tapered off when Gawker Media hired me away to edit Valleywag.
But I’m back, and I’m bringing a posse. Kyle Bunch, co-founder of Blogebrity with Jeremy Hermanns, will tell you about the kick-ass Blogebrity lists to come.
Coverage on the blog will blow up from just bloggers to vloggers, forums, and all drama that happens online. We’ll also post how-tos: How to hook up with your vlog crush, how to get linked on Digg, or how to win a forum war. Every now and then we’ll post a cluster of goodies we’ve found online — stuff like Adventure Time or Was the Death Star an Inside Job?.
We’re stepping up our coverage from blog-level rechurning to magazine-level original reporting. Most newsworthy bloggers are only asked the most basic questions by the press; it’s time that Internet rockstars had their own Rolling Stone. That’s why Blogebrity brings meaty full-length articles and interviews.
Right now, I’ll be the voice of this blog. But I need contributors both one-time and regular. If you’re interested, e-mail nick@ this domain with a link to your best work.
Featuring appearances by Jason Kottke, Jeff Jarvis, Dan Gillmor and a host of others. The quintessential film about blogebrities to date.
If somebody makes a harsh remark about me in the comments or somewhere else, usually my first reaction is to ask, “Yeah, and what is it THAT YOU DO that is so fucking interesting, Asshole?”
random notes on blogging [gapingvoid]