Recapping #KONY2012 in 28 pictures – a perfect social media storm spotlight child soldiers

Saturday, 10 March, 2012

I’m amazed by the perfect social media storm created by #KONY2012 designed to spotlight Joseph Kony and the tragedy of child soldiers. I will use 28 screen-captured pix from #KONY2012 that I found illustrative to highlight the documentary’s strength, weakness, and intended / unintended consequences.

#KONY2012 - pix 02

#KONY2012 - pix 01

#KONY2012 - pix 03

It is indisputable that Joseph Kony is now a famous/infamous man known to the world especially the youth that supported #KONY2012. Does it make it easier to capture Kony? Or will this fame actually make Kony harder to be found? I don’t know. Extending a blunt observation made by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2011 speech, even with all the military resources and technologies of the United States, it still took the CIA over 10 years to find Osama bin Laden.

Of course, putting a bright spotlight on Kony has the benefit of bringing awareness to the tragedy of child soldiers up front which is important and I will address next.

#KONY2012 - pix 04

#KONY2012 - pix 05

To me, one of the most important achievement of #KONY2012 is to bring the tragic problem of child soldiers up front to people’s and politicians’ minds. At the same time, the oversimplifications also fail in important ways which I will talk about later.

I first learned about child soldiers in 2008 from Romeo Dallaire (his actions saved the lives of ~32,000 people in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide where an estimated 800,000 people were murdered) at Engineers Without Border in Calgary – Are all humans – Humans? Here is a video clip of Dallaire talking about his battle to end child soldiers in Nov 2010.

 Note: Dallaire is the founder of the Child Soldiers Initiative, a project aimed at eradicating the use of child soldiers (see the team bios), and author of “They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers“.

Another clips of talking about Child Soldiers, the special tragedy of girl child soldiers, Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

Watch the insightful and chilling TVO interview “Former child soldier Ishmael Beah recounts his past” [note: Ishmael also has written “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier“, borrow it and have a read.]

#KONY2012 - pix 06

#KONY2012 - pix 07

I have serious reservation with Disney-fying or Pixar-fying complex and nuanced real world problems with Read the rest of this entry »


Forget about Kickstarter, try IndieGoGo in Canada UK Australia Asia?

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

Sept 24, 2013 update: Kickstarter has finally launched in Canada earlier this year and you can find some Canadian projects here.

July 15, 2015 update: Since my 2013 update, I’ve used Indiegogo and like it. Worth investigate it for yourself and decide for yourself if it is a good enough crowdfunding site for your use.

***

After waiting for close to three years and trying to push a little, I am giving up on the idea of waiting for Kickstarter to come to Canada! Unfortunately, no more illusion for me. Kickstarter’s inaction/inability to find an alternative payment solution for Canada or non-US countries is inexcusable and can only be put as they don’t give a beep. To them, US is a big enough market for them to serve? After three years of waiting, I’ve given up caring. Quoting Kickstarter’s FAQ (emphasis added)

Am I eligible to start a Kickstarter project?

To be eligible to start a Kickstarter project, you need to satisfy the requirements of Amazon Payments:

Be a permanent US resident and at least 18 years of age with a Social Security Number (or EIN), a US bank account, US address, US state-issued ID (driver’s license), and major US credit or debit card.”

I am NOT paid by IndieGoGo to write this article! Judging from IndieGoGo‘s press articles and mention, they seem to be legit (I don’t know). A local friend has used IndieGoGo and I haven’t seen any complain from him.

I am sadden to write this article but then again, three years of Kickstarter inaction is inexcusable, enough is enough.

Can you share your experiences using IndieGoGo?

If you have used IndieGoGo to raise funds, can you please share your experiences good and bad? Both good or bad experiences are very much welcomed at this point. May be take a look of projects on IndieGoGo. And if they are worthy of your support, give them a try and let us know how things go? And if you are going to use IndieGoGo to raise funds, tell us how successful (or not) your experiences are.

P.S. To be fair, Kickstarter is doing good for permanent US resident. Even though I love my US friends, I just think Kickstarter sucks in helping projects initiated by non-US citizens around the world.


Facebook IPO – The Joy of an Echo Chamber

Saturday, 28 January, 2012

We may know more about Facebook‘s supposed IPO next week possibly as soon as Wednesday (or later, hedging “timing is still being discussed“). One thing for sure is it has been fun to see media outlets in US and around the world joining in unison to repeat the news quoting WSJ as the source, “Facebook Readies IPO Filing – Morgan Stanley Seen Leading Deal Valuing Giant at $75 Billion to $100 Billion“.

In the age of instantaneous news/media, the name of game unfortunately is to report something quickly. Writing CYA words like “according to XYZ” (in this case, according to WSJ) is as good as, if not better than, doing your own reporting and facts checking! Well, it doesn’t cost you a cent plus writing the words “according to XYZ” almost absolve yourself from responsibilities. If the report was later found to be false, well, it is XYZ that f*cked up, not you. At least it is not like you mistakenly reporting someone’s death or something!

According to WSJ “Facebook IPO: Morgan Stanley Close to Reeling In a Giant ‘Like’

WSJ says the IPO could come as early as Wednesday with a valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion.

When thousands of media outlets all are reporting the same piece of information, it must be true right?! Isn’t echo chamber fun? In case you missed it in the above quote, the echo chamber is going as far as quoting itself in Facebook IPO. Yes, WSJ is quoting WSJ. Why not?! The media outlets are stuck in a “no-win” commoditized news game and I would much rather be in games that are “win-win“.

As a business and technology geek, Facebook’s IPO will come when it comes. What I am more interested in is to read Facebook’s IPO filing prospectus if and when it is available.

P.S. Let me be clear that I don’t have a solution to our echo chamber yet but I don’t know if this reporting of news “according to …” is helping anyone.


interesting articles this week

Saturday, 29 October, 2011

* Huffington Post, “YouTube Snags Amy Poehler, Madonna, Shaquille O’Neal To Launch Original Content Channels

“YouTube is shelling out $100 million to producers, according to people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The money is an advance on advertising money the videos will bring in, and Google will recoup its portion first before splitting the proceeds. Advances are as high as $5 million per channel, said another person familiar with the arrangement, also speaking on condition of anonymity.”

* “Why is Facebook building a server farm near the Arctic Circle?” – It is cold and it has cheap power. AP via TorStar

“Facebook says its new server farm on the edge of the Arctic Circle — its first outside the U.S. — will improve performance for European users of the social networking site.

After reviewing potential sites across Europe, Facebook confirmed Thursday it had picked the northern Swedish city of Lulea for the data center partly because of the cold climate — crucial for keeping the servers cool — and access to renewable energy from nearby hydropower facilities.”

* “Errol Morris: creating reality“, The Guardian

“Talk to any film-maker and they’ll say the same thing: Morris, who was born in 1948, is a revolutionary. His documentaries create reality as much as they capture it. He sees them as art, as essays, as anything but anthropology. Railing against cinéma vérité and its philosophy of “shaky camera equals truth”, he opts instead for dramatic reconstructions, obtrusive soundtracks, striking angles. He also invented and employs a machine called the Interrotron (its name a synthesis of “interview” and “terror”) that makes interviewees appear to be talking directly to the film viewer.

Tabloid, his new film, is as strange as any Morris has ever made. It’s the story of Joyce McKinney, a beauty queen and former Miss Wyoming who in 1977 hired a private aeroplane and with accomplices travelled to England to track down her boyfriend Kirk whom she believed had been abducted by the Mormon church. After kidnapping him, she whisked him off to a cottage in Devon where, depending on whose story you believe, she spent the next three days either raping him as he lay spread-eagled in bed or having a merry feast of “fun, food and sex”.”

* “YouTube Set to Announce TV Initiative With 100 Niche Channels“, THR

“In a low-budget early effort to compete with satellite and cable TV providers, YouTube is set to announce Friday that it has partnered with several entities to roll out television-style channels with professionally produced shows that will strike a sharp contrast to the short videos of crazy cats, skateboard wipeouts and other amateur content that made the site famous. Read the rest of this entry »


Luboh helps users share their buying experiences

Sunday, 16 October, 2011

Luboh - logo

My insightful friend & former co-worker Sarb recently launched Luboh (in beta) with his partners. Here is my text interview with Sarb to tell you more about the cool Luboh.

Kempton: For people who haven’t heard about Luboh yet, can you talk about how they can use Luboh? How will Luboh help people?

Sarb: The idea behind Luboh is to help users share their buying experiences. While there are many online reviews and customer feedback and opinions on many consumer products, the authors are typically strangers. Instead, we as humans place far higher importance on opinions of people we know. Our friends and family. Let me give you an example. Say you’re looking for a new TV and it just so happens that when you mention it to your friend while at the pub. He tells he just got a fantastic deal on a Sony model XYZ TV from a shop down the road. No doubt you’re interested. More so than perhaps reading an online review from an effectively anonymous individual. Luboh.com lets you easily find a product that you’re interested in and then to either ask your Facebook friends what they think of it or if you’ve already bought it, to tell your friends what a great deal you got! You can try Luboh at www.luboh.com

Kempton: Can you share a few screen captures to explain some of the Luboh features or functions?

Sarb: Here is a screen sample showing what search results look like. If you login with your facebook account, we’ll also show you what your friends have recently bought. (Click to zoom in to large image)

And here’s another one that shows how you share information with friends. (Click to zoom in to large image)

Kempton: Does the name Luboh have any special meaning?

Sarb: Well, other than “lu-boh” being a really cool name for a website, the word “lub-oh” in Punjabi (pronounced slightly differently to the website) actually means search-for.

Kempton: Future plans?

Sarb: The site is still in a beta mode and there is still some work left to iron out the wrinkles. In the future we hope to keep on increasing the number of products and services that we have access to, to make it more and more useful to our users.

******

P.S. You can follow Luboh on their Facebook page.


Interview with Sarah Hill – KOMU-TV Google+ Hangouts and new interactive U_News@4 show

Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

U_News@4 #SarahHill

Ground breaking interactive U_News@4

This afternoon, I had the pleasure to interview Sarah Hill, KOMU-TV 5pm news and the new U_News@4 anchor. I asked Sarah to travel back in time to July to share with us her first experiences with Google+ Hangouts. I also asked Sarah to tell us what she had to do to convince the bosses at KOMU to give Google+ Hangout a try. Sarah also talked about the origin of the concept of the new show U_News@4, launching in a few days on Sept 12th 4pm CST, and the various segments of the new show.

Here is my video interview with Sarah. Enjoy.

Also have a watch of U_News@4 #SarahHill Preview.

Concluding Thoughts

One of the Quotes I Love is,

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” – a quote by Arthur Miller

In light of Sarah‘s innovative and expert use of Google+ Hangouts, I think this makes perfect sense.

A good hangout, I suppose, is a world talking to itself.

Additional news & articles references

* Sept 6, 2011, “U_News Test Drive Makes International Headlines“. Here is an excerpt,

“U_News provides a new digital forum for U to personally share your news, opinions, kudos and community events. Our viewers will essentially co-host this newscast.”

* My previous two articles “KOMU Sarah Hill Google+ Hangouts – General insights” and “Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms“.

* July 7, 2011, “KOMU Airs Live Google Plus Video Chat

KOMU became the 1st local television station Thursday to air a live on-air Google Plus video chat.

The group video chat is called “Hangout” and it aired live during KOMU 8 News at 5. Google viewers were able to share their experiences with this new social networking site on-air with television viewers.”


As I tag myself in a Google Plus photo …

Monday, 15 August, 2011

As a journalist, documentarian, … I live my online life pretty openly. At the same time, I am very conscious that we now live in unchartered territories in terms of privacy, and many other online perils. Any powerful enough tools (G+, Facebook, etc) can be used for good and bad (“evil”). It is totally up to us to monitor these tools and to ensure they are used correctly by its property rights owner.

This may sound strange to my economist friends but I believe the traditional economic definition of “property rights” is currently being massaged/redefined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_rights_(economics)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Coase


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