The image above is known as a cinemagraph. I like the idea of time freezing so we can keep up with the influx of news. Even better if the little time we had available could be focused on a digest, the modern equivalent to the photocopy art that Mark Surman refers to when explaining Hackasaurus, a new Mozilla project to remix the web. So simple that even kids can do it.
Do you know how kids remix content today? Tumblr. The moodboard of a generation. I believe that the “News as a mall” analogy is very fitting to how people scan Tumblr. After all, each snippet carries its own baggage of context and could very well represent a whole story. We just don’t have the time to dive into each story anymore.
This is one of the fundamental challenges of modern journalism organizations: how to present what is important to readers within the limited attention span we, the audience, grant them. This is too the reason I’m thrilled to be part of the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, collaborating with a small but talented group of Hacks and Hackers to invent the future of news.
Burt Herman from Hacks & Hackers summarized his experience building Storify as “just build it“. A school of startup thinking that is very prevalent today. But it was Aza Raskin who took that premise to the extreme with his “How to Prototype and Influence People“, a session full of great one-liners. How rapid? You should plan your first one to be done in one day!
TinyWrld, my little tumblr devoted to city videos was launched in one day. Today, more than 4,000 followers later, I know I have something valuable. Its community has allowed me to learn fast on everything from video codecs, players, compatibility across platforms to the qualities that make a video stand-out. Take a quick look at the TinyWrld archive and take a guess as to which posts are the most popular…
If your eyes were drawn to the animated gifs, you’re not alone. Those posts got thousands of mentions, indicating it was critical to use moving vignettes to showcase video content. And with this realization we come full circle back to cinemagraphs. The notorious blogger Anil Dash has claimed the come back of Animated GIFs. But not just any animated GIF. There is a growing group of artists producing sophisticated silent movies of just a few seconds.
In an era of information overload, it is refreshing to watch a movie in just 5 seconds and move on. Well, that is the premise of my project for the Learning Lab: using a combination of video techniques to distill hours and hours of footage into a dashboard (yes, I was inspired by Amanda Cox visualizations) that resembles my TinyWrld archive, full of little vignettes that allow the user to decide when to dig deeper into a story and when to move on. It’s like a Twitter for video.