The Media Playground and Crowdfunding, It’s In The Mix

This is the final entry in this blog, at least for now. Here’s a summary of what was covered:
* Post 1: CLANG crowdfunding campaign opener: A closer look – September 5, 2013
Talked about what crowdfunding is, introduced the CLANG Kickstarter.

* Part 2: Converging to a point we can’t see yet – September 11, 2013
Looked at media convergence, Order of the Stick the webcomic, SHEL the band, the Mailpile secure email project, and Star Citizen (a little bit.)

* Part 3: A view from outside the West, well, sort of – September 18, 2013
Looked at the game Project Phoenix, and the company behind its diverse, globalized employees.

* Part 4: CLANG fails to make noise beyond a muffled CRINKLE – September 25, 2013
CLANG from part 1 failed to satisfy its backers, although I argue it was more a communications problem than anything else and look at how communication is a part of all crowdfunding projects, unlike traditional projects.

* Part 5: Going Out of Crowdfunding Bounds – October 2, 2013
A cursory look at how much some high-profile crowdfunding projects have earned in pledges from the public, as well as a look at Amanda Palmer and the failed Ubuntu Edge phone.

* Part 6: Activism + crowdfunding = ? – October 16, 2013
An overview of two activist scenarios with crowdfunding: Public Access and their fight to digitize public records, and how some suburban parents respond to a drug sting seemingly gone wrong.

* Part 7: To Greedily Go Where No Marketer Has Gone Before – October 23, 2013
A detailed look at two video game projects, Double Fine Adventure: Broken Age, and Star Citizen. Both use elaborate, ongoing advertising and marketing campaigns as well as audience engagement to raise money. I suggest that the crowd wants transparency, honesty, credibility, talent, and hard work.

* Part 8: Crowdfunding vs. Public Relations – October 30, 2013
A look at crowdfunding PR, some of each that have gone well, middling, or borderline disastrous. Further examination of how perceived wealth or perceived dishonesty can harm a project’s chances.

* Part 9: Crowdfunding and Ethical Dilemmas – November 6, 2013
A look at how ethical dilemmas crop up in crowdfunding situations: Kickstarters shipping late, scams, and projects that harm the public.

I ended up talking more about gaming than I wanted to, partly out of, “stick to what you know,” and also because the subjects covered happened to line up well with assigned topics. Because of that, here are some odds and ends I didn’t get to:

The Shackleton British Banjo
2013-11-14 - blog 01
If claims are true, it is the first affordable made-in-Britain banjo in over 60 years, and it may soon be the first banjo to be played at the south pole.

Hacker Scouts
They are a nonprofit who seek to innovate in childhood education, including teaching children how to safely use high tech tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters.

Propublica Crowdfunds an Internet to Study Interns
Why not? On its About Us page, Propublica describes itself as, “an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.”

Bee and PuppyCat: The Series
2013-11-14 - blog 02
A “cartoon centered around women, created by women”, by cartoon industry vets (The Fairly Odd Parents, Adventure Time) who kept having their pitch rejected. An unemployed magic girl does…hard-to-succinctly-explain stuff, with her cat. Episodes are all free on Youtube so far. Episode 1

Bamboo bee Bicycle
Hand-crafted Bicycles made out of Bamboo.

Some people who figured out how to print circuit boards really fast with a 3D printer, and got funded within 5 hours.

Thrice. The least straightforward museum barn raising:
So… if this were a fireside chat, a popular webcomic author decides one day to build a museum to inventor Nikola Tesla, so he creates an IndieGoGo for this purpose which raises a cool million dollars and some change. Soon after he is sued by a lawyer hired by a different website which had had a spat with the comic author although it turned out the lawyer approached the website and convinced them to sue rather than the website approaching the author with a desire to sue, leading to an epic saga of author vs. lawyer, with one using the power of the crowd, the other using the power of the law. Who won? You’ll have to read it to find out, but know this: It is an epic saga of love, loss, and revenge.

I. Hey, Did Somebody Say Something Was Going On With The Oatmeal?

II. How Dare You! That’s The Wrong Kind of Bullying!

III. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part III: Charles Carreon’s Lifetime-Movie-Style Dysfunctional Relationship With the Internet

IV. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part IV: Charles Carreon Sues Everybody

V. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part V: A Brief Review of Charles Carreon’s Complaint

VI. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part VI: The Electronic Frontier Foundation Steps In

VII. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part VII: Charlie The Censor Files A Motion

VIII. Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part VIII: Charles Carreon Gets Sued, Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen Joins The Fray

IX. Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Chapter IX: Charles Carreon Dismisses His Lawsuit

X. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part X: Philanthropy > Douchebaggery

XI. The Oatmeal v. Funnyjunk, Part XI: What Remains

XII. The Oatmeal v. FunnyJunk, Part XII: Brave Sir Charlie Ran Away

In Which Charles Carreon Says Mostly True Things About Me In A Footnote

Charles Carreon Encounters Actual Legal Consequences

In Which I Offer Apologies

Conclusion – Crowdfunding and Democracy.
This course’s textbook ends with an attempt to tie in how mass media fits into an ideal democratic society, so it seems appropriate to end on a similar note here with crowdfunding:

While the power of the cloud is beginning to be both ubiquitous and known, next on the horizon is the nascent power of the crowd. Much as cell phone cameras and wireless access has led to citizen gatherings and uprisings such as the Arab Spring, throughout the world, crowdfunding seems to feed off of a similar discontent among young people with the status quo.

One difference is that unlike the Arab Spring–in which the end result being positive or negative is debatable, the change brought by crowdfunding has been a market change not social. In addition the change has been peaceful, messy, self-correcting, and ever evolving. Whether the end result will be good for democracy, or just the new status quo with all of the old problems (and more!) remains to be seen.

However, there is no question that crowdfunding has begun to transfer the role of the traditional mass media gatekeepers into the hands of those inside the gated community itself itself. Holding the gate open or shut is beginning to be the responsibility of the masses now. The established publishers may never fade away, but the democratization of content markets is well underway. Crowdfunding is yet another part of the mass media landscape now, alongside search engines, blogs, aggregators, social media, streaming sites, and on and on.

And fin. Thanks for reading.

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