SF’s YouTube #fail: The audience also own the frames which surround your ‘social data’…

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I was very happy to see John had picked up early on the ‘Minister hit by Jeep’ controversy at the weekend. It facilitated a fascinating conversation, and captured the fact that reader DC’s satirical response to An Phoblacht’s YouTube video of the incident was taken down after a complaint of copyright infringement from An Phoblacht themselves.

An Phoblacht’s view count was way off their normal scale. By the end of 24 hours it had had 44k views. A success you might say? Well, it just goes to show that metrics in new media can be deceptive. As Malachi O’Doherty points out the video was so well shot that it subverted the very message the party wanted to portray:

.[Gerry Kelly] would be the first to complain if anyone else tried to interfere with the police in the same way, but he lives in the apparent confidence that he has authority to demand that the police bend to his will.

What is even more amazing is that, in making a show of himself like this, he has actually upstaged the story his party wanted told, of how the Tour of the North parade behaved passing St Patrick’s Church.

But he isn’t the only one who has lost his political touch. The party itself, in releasing the video, has provided the evidence which damns him. And Sinn Fein used to be such good propagandists.

At my first Sinn Fein press conference back in November 2003, I was suitably impressed. Held in the Culturlainn theatre it had everything you would expect from a well oiled PR machine, formality, timeliness and visual impact. Journos got their questions in, each was dealt with politely and/or firmly where necessary.

There was no doubt about who was in control.

That determination towards control was (and remains) a distinguishing characteristic, not simply of political parties but of most conventional organisations which are fully and socially engaged in the pursuit of power, influence or money.

The net has not yet changed the fundamental way these things are brokered. In part that’s because networked tools are as yet too crude and unreliable to allow us to find a better and more accountable way to make important strategic and specialised decisions about the way we run our societies.

Liquid democracy remains a unrealised dream or nightmare, depending on your perspective. Besides, technological change as often just layers new forms of communication on top of older ones (think newspapers, radio and tv) as it obliterates prior ways of doing things (horse drawn v horseless carriages).

However the rules are very different.

Socialised content does not rely on top down sponsorship or cozy understandings with a limited (and controllable) set of specialised mediators. Individuals are creators and distributors as well as consumers. Henry Jenkins critiquing the marketing ‘ideas’ of memes and viruses a few years back noted:

In focusing on the involuntary transmission of ideas by unaware consumers, these models allow advertisers and media producers to hold onto an inflated sense of their own power to shape the communication process, even as unruly behavior by consumers becomes a source of great anxiety within the media industry. A close look at particular examples of Internet “memes” or “viruses” highlight the ways they have mutated as they have traveled through an increasingly participatory culture. [Emphasis added]

This increasingly participative culture arises from (rather than is caused by) a shift in perspective. Technology is facilitating a shift from a linear viewpoint in which there is only one authoritative perspective, to a multiple [many to many] one in which the initial impulse gives way to the often precise and sometime adverse judgements of an individuated crowd.

In the case of the former there is every reason to want to control every part of the interaction you can. In the latter it is neither possible nor desirable to try to control every possible outcome.

In writing about Gerry Adams’ tweeting in February this year, I argued that the real test might come “if and when he and his party have to deal with the distortions and transformation” of party messages.

So this year the Carrick Hill video backfired, just as last year JJ Magee’s video worked. Magee’s gambit was intuitive and showed a perspective that once shared effected a change in this year’s Parade Commission’s ruling.

Magee demonstrated to us a ‘new’ truth, and was keen to share it with the rest of us because it was advantageous to him and his party, Sinn Fein. An Phoblacht told us a truth through their video (a usually media savvy member of the Policing Board [Gerry Kelly] losing his temper with the police), but then overlaid it with a narrative that did not fit the evidence they had provided in their own video.

In a connected world it pays to remember that once you make certain social data public it cannot safely be rescinded, reprimanded or remaindered. That’s because in this world of multiple perspectives as my colleague John Kellden has noted, the audience has joint ownership of the frames which surround that data.

And they, as much as you, get to choose which data is relevant and which is not. That means understanding that you no longer control all the gates. And, at some level, you need to have a higher regard for and a more simple means of telling your truth.

Footnote: This is the territory I cover in my work with Slugger Consults. I’m working on a new set of courses and workshops that will be available in the Autumn, so keep an eye out for it.

If you are to hear more, drop me a line: editor@sluggerotoole.com.

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  • sonofstrongbow

    I found it revealing (pun intended) that Shinner TV did not pixelate the faces of the police officers.

    However when the material was rebroadcast on mainstream TV the faces were blurred in the normal way.

    I wonder if the police are lured into a false sense of security thinking that the cameras are TV crews rather than members of a Propaganda Cadre?

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah, along with your real names [whatever they are, although they are rumoured to be spreading by inn... ah, you know, that thing where you seem to be saying one thing when you really mean something else...] ;-)

    Now, the ball?

  • goalsboyce

    So this year the Carrick Hill video backfired>>>

    Go and read the comments page to the video you linked to. Just shows how out of touch people like you and O’Doherty are when it comes to nationalist opinion. I can feel an opinion poll coming along now…

  • Morpheus

    Has this not been done to death in the other thread? Gerry Kelly made an absolute tit out of himself, we get it but senior politicians blocking the road is not exactly news is it?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3373535.stm

    He should hand himself in for questioning or face arrest, end of story really. If he has broken a law then the PSNI should charge him and get him before the courts.

    Speaking of breaking the law the bands breaking it in their first outting, setting the tone for the summer ahead, got a surprisingly low key mention on Slugger. In fact, was it mentioned at all?

    In my opinion if the bands are expendable enough that they can be disavowed by the OO at the first sign of trouble then each and every band should complete their own 11/1 form, each with their own set of restrictions and each naming their organizing committee who would be up on charges and pay the fine if things go wrong. No 11/1 = no march. Quite frankly I find the whole ‘disavowing of the bands when things go belly up’ scenario as incredibly disrespectful to all this volunteers because the bands weren’t expendable or disavowed when the farcical taxpayer funded report into “The Socio-economic Impact of the Traditional Protestant Parading Sector in Northern Ireland” was published.

    So the OO and bands are either legally linked or they aren’t. If they are linked then the OO is responsible and should feel the full weight of the law when things go wrong. If they are not linked then each band should complete their own 11/1 and feel the full weight of the law when things go wrong. We have all those extra cells, judges, PPS lawyers and support staff willing to sit weekends from the G8 – use them.

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t want to jump into this thread too early, but I think it’s worth saying that I was not trying to play politics with this, but getting down to something deeper about the way social media can subvert the way messages go out to an ungated commons…

    Fair play to SF, they are I presume getting their mistakes out of the way before most others…

  • alan56

    Video is the new ‘cool tool’ for protestors,police,orange order et al. It can backfire though especially this sort of video because often the cameraperson has closer access than the MSM and we get to see (and replay,slow and pause) every detail.

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    “Go and read the comments page to the video you linked to”

    Logically, those already committed enough to the cause to take the time to comment are not those SF need to be convincing.

    ABC in the US, for example, reported it as Kelly “diving” onto the jeep; ever so slightly a different impression which the SF propaganda machine on here and elsewhere wanted to portray, ie Kelly “hit” by jeep.

    How it is perceived by the wider audience is the key and that wider audience have been, courtesy of Gerry’s antics been diverted from any misbehaviour by bands etc.

  • Morpheus

    “Video is the new ‘cool tool’ for protestors,police,orange order et al. It can backfire though especially this sort of video because often the cameraperson has closer access than the MSM and we get to see (and replay,slow and pause) every detail.”

    I agree. Nearly everyone has a mobile film studio in their pockets these days and any infringement this summer will be recorded in HD. Even the bands infractions on Friday were recorded but it begs the question, what was done about it?

  • carl marks

    maybe i have missed a link, but where can i see DC’s piss take please?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    carl, you can’t.

    DC’s satirical response to An Phoblacht’s YouTube video of the incident was taken down after a complaint of copyright infringement from An Phoblacht themselves.

  • John Ó Néill

    I am not so sure it is that cut-and-dried.

    A problem with digital culture is that data overload is taken as sufficiently experiential that it promotes a misplaced conviction of infallibility: I watched it on YouTube, read the tweets, saw the blogs etc. Hence, ‘I am as well informed as anyone else’. It is possible, then, to follow events in real time now and be seduced into a false sense of contextual awareness. This is probably what transhumanists would class as posthuman political participation.

    The reason why I don’t think it is so cut-and-dried is that the straining to keep this as an SF story is to avoid discussing the breaches of the PC determinations and the fact that the PC, as a GFA conflict resolution mechanism is dead (and what does that do to he GFA).

  • mac tire

    @Mick “I don’t want to jump into this thread too early, but I think it’s worth saying that I was not trying to play politics with this”

    So what were you playing with then, Mick? Go on, indulge us.

  • gendjinn

    I am *shocked*, shocked to find Mick Fealty criticising Sinn Fein.

  • Mick Fealty

    My fault I fear. The headline was overly aggressive… The post is actually quite sympathetic.

  • http://ansionnachfionn.com/ An Sionnach Fionn

    When I featured the video on my drop-in-the-ocean blog that particular post got over 1100 views in 24 hours and over 14 pingbacks (so far). I received 38 emails and private messages on Facebook and Twitter from new readers in the United States, Australia, Italy and France wanting to know more about the current political situation in the north-east of Ireland. As an Irish Republican I naturally gave them my particular take on things. Most of those who contacted me were young, obviously well educated and politically active. They were also inveterate “reposters” to social media and the very ones who would hit the Share Buttons underneath the Gerry Kelly video on An Phoblact’s YouTube channel.

    Claiming this as “SF’s YouTube #fail” is decidedly odd. The evidence simply doesn’t add up. 65,000 views and rising? C’mon! ;-)

  • DoppiaVu

    Mick

    When I saw the title of this post I could forsee the knee-jerk Shinner reaction. No matter that the main text was little to do with SF per-se rather than a discussion of communications media. Maybe, Mick you should have forseen that yourself when writing the title?

    Anyway, as to the point of this thread, I’m less sure about the point that you make. Yes, SF did miss the opportunity to make capital out of Orange non-compliance with the ruling. However, to my mind the problem is not their misuse of media, but rather their own mixed message about how they want to portray themselves. So, it’s back to the issue of how to be a party of government and a party of protest at the same time. In this instance they went with the protest angle – which probably (inevitably, perhaps) delights a substantial portion of their core support.

    To the rest of us, it looked pretty embarassing. Firstly, his hubris in thinking that a police operation will just stop just because he says so. Secondly, his juvenile behaviour of jumping onto the vehicle in the first place. Thirdly, the way the head copper talked to him like he was talking to a ten year old.

  • cynic2

    That depends no how those viewing the video see it. What they see is a politician out of control climbing on the front of a police vehicle while a mob then attack it. After travelling 5 feet he then tells a senior officer he was carried for 100 yards. The SF propaganda machine is shown for what it is

    This video plays so badly that Irish Central – inveterate SF supporters – have had to censored all comments on the story. Kelly just looks foolishl and the fact that PSNI now claim he is under investigation will damage his capacity to work on the Policing Board

  • DoppiaVu

    An Sionnach Fionn – communications is not just about the message you want to put out, but about who you are targetting with your message.

    If you seriously think that a few dozen Australians, Italians and Americans are going to make the slightest bit of difference to anything in NI, then knock-yourself out.

  • cynic2

    ” the head copper talked to him like he was talking to a ten year old.”

    How apt. First the tantrum now the sulk …has anyone seen him in the media sicne this or have his SF handlers kept him offside

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    I must admit, for me personally, I find the idea of transhumanism a bit creepy, though like all ideas that have some provenance in human thought I am sure it has value.

    At it simplest what I am arguing here is that there is a key shift in perspective when you move into the social realm. I’m always led back to the theatre metaphor to try to explain just how uncomplicated this shift in perspective is.

    Contrast the end stage format (of that presser I mentioned, the lit space of tv) in which the ‘actor’ has complete command when he or she speaks/performs because audience is isolated from one another, with that of theatre-in-the-round where the ‘action’, is entirely framed by an audience whose individual constituent parts communicate with one another across the space during the performance.

    What you get when you force a framing message that conflicts with that more actively engaged audience’s view of the data you present is a sort of negative ‘alienation effect’… and people are forcibly alienated from the message you intended…

    As to the comments zone, SF have built their online tribe well, better than probably any other party on the island. Is suspect that’s partly because of their appeal amongst younger people, but also because they have people in their comms department who are way ahead of the other parties in the understanding of how all this works…

    At the end of the day, if you own your own mistakes you also own the benefit of making them in public. And the message gets across to the older heads in the party that this thing can bring them great benefits but mishandled brings its own costs..

    Joe Trippi’s book on how the Dems learned from the failures of the 2004 general election to put together an hegemony busting campaign in 2008 is well worth a read on that score…

  • Mick Fealty

    Seamus,

    I hope I’ve qualified that assertion (that numbers don’t always indicate success) in the post above… Of course it is good for the tribe because they want red meat to chew on and police brutality is always a good staple…

    But in terms of the broader game, it was a poor play, not least because read simply, it depicted a senior member of the policing board doing what one of his senior southern colleagues said should never happen:

    “There should not be a close relationship between politics and policing. There should be a clear separation between the two.”

    The best thing to do at this stage would be to laugh it off (nobody’s perfect!) and quietly absorb the lessons in future.

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick,

    I think there are distinct visions of transhumanism as utopian and distopian (and ne’er the twain will post on each other’s platforms). For anyone else who despairs at the geekiness of this [just don't read any further, it gets worse] – transhumanism is generally described as the interaction between humanism and technology, such as where it extends life or abilities beyond innate human capability, activities in virtual/online spaces, or where it creates new ways of doing things via technology (eg social media engagement). Since the meaning of posthumanism isn’t particularly stable – I am referring to where it permits forms of interaction beyond being physically present or in identities defined by technology etc.

    I think the perspective you are describing is still a bit *old media* in the sense of that participatory engagement of the ‘theatre-in-the-round’ is still mistaking the frames being presented to the viewer, and the facility to access opposing or contrasting channels as being capable of simulating an equivalent to being there and privileging that in forming opinions. I think the shift in perspective is not as straightforward. Technology seems to be prompting people to simply disregard anyone who was there (and by proxy, their opinions) because it is simulating [what we believe to be an] an *authentic* experience for us, so thus we can argue based with assumed eye-witness status. So it is producing that peculiar transhuman silo effect rather than the multi-directional engagement of the theatre-in-the round. I am not arguing this with Carrickhill in mind, just as a more general observation. My favourite analogy here is people in the south telling me that I didn’t really know what went on in the troubles because I was in Belfast during it and they were able to form a much better informed opinion via RTE, the southern press etc. Once questioned, it becomes obvious that they know little about anything that ever happened in Belfast, they just had their opinions formed and, from their point of view, authenticated by those they trust (and everyone gets uncomfortable when something they believe to be authentic is challenged in that way). Now it requires little more than YouTube and some social media channels for people to believe that they were actually there (e.g. how many people have looked for comments from anyone else who was present in Carrickhill at the time to get some context to the video?). As I understand it, the issue on the ground in north Belfast on Friday and since is the flat-lining of the Parades Commission rather than what I had picked out as the headline (ironically, most of the limited text in the original blog post was about the PC issue and the Indo having to back-pedal on its cut-and-paste shure-isn’t-it-all-grand piece on the Tour of the North).

    Back, as early as 2001, Chris Gray argued that there would be (in effect) ‘cyborgised’ and ‘embodied’ politics (in Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age), the former being played out online and requiring, as Gray thought, some form of ‘cyborg’ bill of rights to protect virtual engagement. All of this is couched as posthumanism (rightly, I think) and is clearly visible in the discrepancies between (e.g.) online presence and embodied engagement (my usual bugbear about the contrast between narrative and metrics, such as electoral results etc).

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    What if we transpose this insight on to JJ’s video from last year?

    “Technology seems to be prompting people to simply disregard anyone who was there (and by proxy, their opinions) because it is simulating [what we believe to be an] an *authentic* experience for us, so thus we can argue based with assumed eye-witness status.”

    In the public row that followed, all explanations from the supporters of the Orange who were there were set aside, since the virtual evidence of the behaviour of the band seemed pretty self explanatory…

    That’s because the artefact (ie, the video evidence, or social datum as I’ve referenced it above) sits outside opinion, even if its creation was politically motivated in the first place.

    You also say…

    “…that participatory engagement of the ‘theatre-in-the-round’ is still mistaking the frames being presented to the viewer”

    In end stage presentations, the frame is the architectural box inside which all the action takes place with the audience forced to watch within those pre-set controlling frames…

    In the basest forms of theatre in the round, the audience itself is the frame for the action…

    So today, whilst TV is still a pure an end stage production, it now has a second life inside a broader theatre in the round, where people rip meaning according to their own tastes, prejudices and opinions…

    That in itself downgrades the prime value of opinion across the board, even if it does not obliterate it. Authentic witness to local events is probably currently at least the most valuable commodity… But even it is not the final word on the matter…

    You raised some interesting (and far from unreasonable) questions re the motivation for the Independent for breaking the Anglo tapes story.

    Now, my simple view is that they have been plotting this ‘event’ for some time as a way of transforming the way people relate to their web presence. The impact is net/radio/tv because the sound files have ‘authenticity’, and they are indisputable. That cannot be carried in a newspaper.

    This is their hard launch, if you like. And I think we need to be alive to that in watching, listening and analysing what’s going on here.

    There was a fascinating moment on Morning Ireland this morning when RTE’s David Murphy pointed out that we are only hearing tapes from when John Bowe was in the dealing room (hence they were recorded) and that since these were mostly informal chats we were unlikely to get to hear the motherload.

    That is: we are highly unlikely to get anything out of these revelations that could end up with proceedings against someone in the bank.

    I’m pretty sure I heard Paul Williams of the Indo taking a quiet gulp at that point…

  • http://ansionnachfionn.com/ An Sionnach Fionn

    @ DoppiaVu,

    “If you seriously think that a few dozen Australians, Italians and Americans are going to make the slightest bit of difference to anything in NI, then knock-yourself out.”

    Fair point. But now scale that up to 65,000 plus views and who knows how many social media shares and blog postings. If you don’t think that makes a difference to a political party like Sinn Féin then I’m afraid you don’t understand how a web-connected global society works. These are the very people SF want to target with their message.

    @Mick,

    Agreed, the numbers game is indeed counter-productive if your online PR is an epic fail (we all remember #Susanalbumparty!). However most people are viewing Republican-/Left-/Radical-leaning edited clips of the Carrickhill clash or skipping through the original video to the “action” parts. This has energised the party faithful, annoyed Unionists, and played well in the rest of the country outside the Dublin media establishment. On a global scale, well most young internet users will side with those perceived as anti-authoritarian. Taking on heavily armed cops in armoured jeeps in the aid of a 14 year old kid is an easy sell to the average internet user well away from this island-nation.

  • John Ó Néill

    “Now, my simple view is that they have been plotting this ‘event’ for some time as a way of transforming the way people relate to their web presence.”

    But that is simply spin (that it is all staged managed) or an attempt to explain away anything that doesn’t fit the narrative as it is from AnPTV, or the like’s of JJ’s famous fenian video camera. It is actually a good case in point. The absence of any credibility in the arguments about it not being the Famine Song but was the Beach Boys song, they didn’t realise it was a church, sure wasn’t it empty anyway etc were, and still are, even more damaging for the Orders and the band since their voice in the dispute gave it the exact context that the video footage didn’t – attitudes and prejudices that were inferred by the video but couldn’t really be captured by a video camera. The bigger problem for the Orders is in continuing endorsement of the homogeneity of the Orders and parading in the aftermath of a public exposition of those involved at St Patrick’s.

    I presume the strategy with AnPTV is to try offer an outlet outside the mainstream media (and I’d think that is mainly aimed at the south rather than the north).

    [And no-one has yet ponied up the reason for the sudden appearance of the #anglotapes at this stage]

  • DoppiaVu

    @ An Sionnach Fionn

    “If you don’t think that makes a difference to a political party like Sinn Féin then I’m afraid you don’t understand how a web-connected global society works. These are the very people SF want to target with their message.”

    You’re kind of making my point for me. For SF’s UI project to work, they need to convince the British population and government, the ROI population and government, moderate NI nationalists and, I’m afraid to say, Unionists. All of these are going to be difficult, but that’s just how it is.

    Instead, from what you are saying, SF would prefer to focus on the low-hanging fruit – Non-British/Non-Irish people who have limited knowledge of what goes on in NI. Well, they may be easy to convince to your point of view, and you may be able to point to all sorts of exciting statistics about how may hits your website is getting. But they have utterly no influence on the key decision-makers in this situation.

    Oh yes and I do have a fairly good idea how things work in the web-connected world. People click on a link, lazily forward it on to someone, then click on something else. Some may retain the information, some may not. How many of these people are likely to be motivated to do anything that will change the situation? Pretty much none of them.

    In short, go after all the low hanging fruit you want. You’re going nowhere until you focus your activities on the decision-makers. And you’ll find that very few decision-makers will be changing their minds on the back of Gerry’s juvenile antics.

  • BarneyT

    Although not directly connected, does anyone else believe we are in danger of a serious relapse this summer?

    The union and loyalist flags are now bigger, bolder and more plentiful, no doubt in response to the City Hall flag issue.

    Loyalists perceive that the PSNI are too accommodating of Nat\Reps and feel victimised (despite the early freedom to close roads unchallenged and bring NI’s local economies to their knees)

    Nat\Reps will see the Kelly incident as evidence that the police are merely the RUC in PSNI clothing. Without taking a view on Kelly’s actions, I can’t imagine an Orange grandmaster or DUP politician (all very capable of standing in front of a PSNI vehicle or demanding a course of action) being treated the same way.

    Add CASP to the mixture (frustrated by the inability of the authorities to enforce parade rulings) and we have, potentially, a very incendiary summer ahead of us. I fear some renegade dissident will take matters into their own hands and set us back perhaps a decade or more.

  • Mick Fealty

    John,

    I think we’re at cross purposes. I was not referencing Carrickhill there but the Anglo Tapes story… I think the Carrick hill video was done and released in good faith…

  • Morpheus

    DoppiaVu

    I agree with your assessment that GK antics were incredibly juvenile and I would say fueled by the fact that a camera with a trusted operator was on hand. If he truly wanted to help the parents like he said then he could have easily placed a call to either of the Area Commanders for North Belfast. If a Police Officer thought that a 16 year needed to be arrested then let them get on with it – that is what we pay them to do.

    Moving on…

    “You’re going nowhere until you focus your activities on the decision-makers”

    Who are these decision makers? Surely the people who will be making the final decision will be the electorate north and south of the border. If you mean that nationalist parties should focus their efforts on those people then I completely agree.

    Barney

    I totally agree that this summer has the potential to be a really bad one. If Friday night has taught us one thing is that the police are still too afraid to do their jobs at the minute for fear of upsetting one side or both. GK should have been arrested and so should those bands who broke the Parade’s Commission ruling because they broke the law as well – despite video evidence in both cases nothing has happened.

    It has got the stage now that I think each band should complete their own 11/1 form so if they do break the law the PSNI know exactly which doors to be knocking on and who should be paying the fine. The OO are obviously not responsible for the bands because they will be disavowed at the first sign of trouble so they should all complete a 11/1.

  • John Ó Néill

    lulz sorry

    Well, it is being rumoured that Williams got the tapes via a Garda and they were held back from Fionnan Sheehan (who had a serious spat with Vincent Browne the other night as well). They were also trailing yesterday that today’s Indo was going to have tapes which covered political involvement but that didn’t match what they ran with. There is something very disjointed and half-cocked looking in this.

  • Mick Fealty

    I thought that was decidedly odd… with VB confessing Peter FitzGerald was a friend of his… and upbraiding FS when the latter suggested the conversation was more cavalier than gallows humour, saying “I don’t think he would have meant it like that…”

  • http://ansionnachfionn.com/ An Sionnach Fionn

    Some of that is true but Sinn Féin knows better than to place all its eggs in one basket. For various reasons (including as sense of straightforward self-importance) SF likes to have a global presence, a brand name in the Progressive market. Why do you think they turn up in the Basque Country or Kurdistan or Israel/Palestine? The party networks on an epic scale and has a reach no Unionist parties (and most Nationalist ones) could ever match.

    This video and others serve that need while the party pursues other strategies in other areas, and with other tools and voices.

    The point about my blog and the response to posting the video was to illustrate that such things generate buzz. The kind of buzz that attracts attention from the kind of people who would be motivated enough to do something about what they see. Maybe it’s a generational thing but the internet is no longer simply a passive artefact. That is old media, dead tree media. You buy, you read, you discard. You click, you watch, you forget. The new online media is interactive, acquisitive. It wants your participation, it rewards your participation. Feed it and it will feed you.

    Could you imagine British paratroopers running amok in Derry in 2013, a camera-phone pointed at every one of them, a YouTube channel or Twitter account for every video upload? 40 years ago TV news editors could censor what they reported and shape the news to their ends. Now they are reporting what is happening on Twitter.

    Republicanism is 21st century while Unionism seems just sooo last century. At least outside of the NI1921 folks.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “That means understanding that you no longer control all the gates. And, at some level, you need to have a higher regard for and a more simple means of telling your truth.”

    Interesting general point, Mick. I’ve just compiled some ‘dodgy dossiers’ on Coleraine Post-Primary area planning and the closure of the Causeway Memorial School Museum which will make uncomfortable reading for the Minister of Education, John O’Dowd, Department officials and officers and members of the North Eastern Education and Library Board.

    There are missing figures which would have dramatically altered headline percentage claims, a ministerial answer which may need revisiting, actions taken but no evidence of permission as well as inadequate monitoring by nominees.

    “The post is actually quite sympathetic.”

    Considering the distinctive qualities of the constituent parts of the OFMDFM I’d rate that a fault ;)

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Republicanism is 21st century while Unionism seems just sooo last century.”

    I disagree, An Sionnach Fionn, I think Unionism is just as capable of spewing out rubbish as Republicanism …

  • DoppiaVu

    @An Sionnach Fionn

    Re Buzz etc

    I just don’t buy this. You can have all the buzz you want, it doesn’t mean a thing unless you can convert it to something tangible. Facebook was a great example – global exposure on an incredible scale, but could they monetise that? No, that wasn’t quite so easy. Indeed I’m sure that if I trawled my memory I could probably come up with various internet ventures that created loads of buzz, but ultimately went nowhere.

    Facebook, however, have figured out ways to turn their buzz into something tangible (in a financial sense).

    I see absolutely no sign of SF strategy behind any of this stuff.

  • http://ansionnachfionn.com/ An Sionnach Fionn

    @DoppiaVu,

    Just to clarify what I meant in relation to the below:

    “Maybe it’s a generational thing but the internet is no longer simply a passive artefact. That is old media, dead tree media. You buy, you read, you discard. You click, you watch, you forget. The new online media is interactive, acquisitive. It wants your participation, it rewards your participation. Feed it and it will feed you.”

    I was not speaking in monetary or financial terms. Again, that is old media thinking (at least for now). The rewards gained for participating with others online are social and psychological. A feeling of being part of something, of connectivity, of finding like-minded people (or causes), of receiving approval from one’s family or friends (or strangers) for ones views or sharings, of interacting with others. SO’T is an example of that. There is no financial reward to the people who read or comment here yet dozens of people do so every week. Why?

    The political party or news media that learns the trick of actively using the internet to push its message, of writing the narrative it wants written, while listening to and engaging with (socially and psychologically rewarding) its online audience will be the big winner.

    How many times have you seen people leave snarky remarks on SO’T for some post failing to acknowledge some news item they claimed to have found and highlighted first? How many times have you heard of people rushing online too be the first one to post some news or meme to Twitter in order to gain some “prestige” out of it?

    Mick could probably explain this new culture far better than I could but those who dismiss the internet don’t understand the cultural impact it has. The tangibility is there is if you know how to read. SF’s video exposure brings its own rewards.

  • http://www.organizedrage.com/ Mickhall

    “If a Police Officer thought that a 16 year needed to be arrested then let them get on with it – that is what we pay them to do.”

    No its not, unless you want to live in a Fascist state, there duties are far more complex that that. Kelly acted admirably, he placed himself in the same trench as his constituents, tell me what is wrong with that? There was absolutely no need for the land-rover to be driven off recklessly. it was a clear attempt to intimidate an elected official. I think it was the police officer driving it who lost the run of himself not Kelly.

    What these events could show is that SF may well be loosing faith in the police committees, and what it certainly does show is in these areas the PSNI name is mud.

    Arresting a 16 year old boy was a provocative act, and bound to light the blue touch paper, if anything Kelly’s action helped calm the situation, whether that is right or wrong it is not for me to say.

  • Reader

    Mickhall: No its not, unless you want to live in a Fascist state, there duties are far more complex that that. Kelly acted admirably, he placed himself in the same trench as his constituents, tell me what is wrong with that?
    Surely one of the giveaways for a Fascist State is when government politicians go around telling police who they can and can’t arrest, moment by moment? Or is that authoritarian socialist states? It’s so difficult to tell the difference once it has gone that far.
    Anyway, since you think politicians should go around doing that sort of thing, I assume that also applies to the DUP?

  • http://www.organizedrage.com/ Mickhall

    Come on, this is not about Kelly telling the police whom to arrest now is it? He attempted, in a situation which was becoming heated, to suggest to the police there behaviour is part of the problem and not helping at all. The officer in the land-rover took offence and drove dangerously. If the youth was in police custody his parents had every right to know where he was being taken. Kelly was trying to establish that as far as I can judge.

    As to the DUP, it is a sad fact of life in the north that the main Unionist parties have all but abandoned much of the loyalist working classes, so few, if any DUP politicos are likely to emulate Kelly on this, but if they did in a similar situation where the police were behaving foolishly I would welcome it.

    The real question is why years after the GFA was first signed are these sectarian marches still causing such hurt.

    To be honest the way the state, the police and security services are behaving these days I think the more elected representatives who challenge them the better. For far to long they have been given a free ride. The more power they get the more power they want.

    best regards

  • News_Meister

    A video released onto the internet can indeed serve a number of purposes… depending on the point one wishes to make.

    The link below is a video with a ‘Frontline’ watermark, depicting an incident involving the arrest of a Loyalist man on the 26-01-2013 in east Belfast.

    Leaving aside we can all probably agree, Gerry Kelly’s recnt antics in Ardoyne were pandering to his electorate and that he probably should have been arrested, it’s nonetheless worth comparing his actual treatment with the much more favourable treatment the PSNI accorded to unelected Orange Man Mervyn Gibson and DUP Councillor Ruth Patterson during the above arrest event.

    - listen to Mervyn Gibson and watch him standing on the back of the PSNI Land Rover explaining to the mob how the PSNI permitted him to visit the arrestee, etc;

    - listen to Ruth Patterson’s various comments but particularly note she advises that the PSNI were apparently permitting her to accompany the arrested man to the Police station.

    The relevant footage begins from 11:30 minutes onwards http://goo.gl/pUqDl

  • Mick Fealty

    Good find NM…

    The value here is not just in the content, but the enhanced ability to compare contexts…

    This is where my point about multiple vs fixed perspective kicks in… YouTube originated as a place to stick your home movies and share them. It had mobility of perspective built in.

    Some of the most revelatory stories we have had on Slugger have sprung from new light cast upon old stories by seeing video shot from the rioters side, video shot of the short stretch of disputed stretch of the Springfield Road.

    It can be a great propaganda tool (if you get your opponent with his trousers down), but it is not one you can transpose a conflicting message upon…

  • http://www.organizedrage.com/ Mickhall

    Yes

    As Mick F said good find, it raises a whole host of questions about the importance of using video as a weapon in the war for democratic accountability and equality. Not least filming beyond the apex of the events, if that makes sense. This is where citizen journos (for want of a better word) come into their own.

    thanks

    Mick

  • News_Meister

    Mick,
    This incident makes one realise, political parties need to more carefully consider the immediate, medium and long-term value of their propoganda mateial – it would have been wiser for SF to store that video for a later date and push the Orange Order band breaches instead of trying to capitalise on an self-engineered incident with their state partner.