Holograms and virtual reality… the future is now

It’s been a good week for holograms, what with the Edward Snowden holographic statue tribute, followed by the world’s first holographic protest in Spain.   This is probably the first augmented reality protest, in this case against a new set of National Security bills, which would criminalize gatherings in front of parliament.  There’s a new site, Holograms for Freedom.

Also, what is being touted as the world’s first virtual reality advert, for 7 for All Mankind jeans, has been released.  The downside is that almost noone can see it since Virtual Reality goggles are needed or special cardboard goggles, oh and then a special App, which is only on Android right now.   It’s got them some press notice as advertising pioneers, but few are commenting on the content.

Google has come up with this multimedia interactive of Abbey Road, though Quartz found it frustrating.

For your final reading, this was the week that Politico moved forward with its worldwide expansionNetflix overtook CBS and Buzzfeed got accused of having a censorship problem.

Hillary Clinton Declares

In case, you’ve been living under a rock, here’s Hillary Clinton’s announcement video, which has been viewed 1.8m times in 12 hours.  Note that she did not declare on Periscope/Meerkat or in the New York Times, but on Youtube.

Welcome to the advent of the social straw poll, according to the Washington Post, which notes Hillary’s tweet below was seen 3m times. The right-leaning Telegraph in the UK writes about the social media backlash, including the #whyi’mnotvotingforhillary hashtage campaign.

Interesting that the campaign team is being careful to ensure clarity over the authorship of tweets.

Nate Silver, writing at FiveThirtyEight.com criticises the bad punditry and flimsy analysis so far.  His take – data-driven from an analysis of polls conducted since Jan 1st, is below.   The title – Nobody Likes Anybody – is golden.

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Addendum:  Buzzfeed is in hot water, after deleting two articles that might have annoyed advertisers.  It’s reinstated them, with editor Ben Smith arguing that it was nothing to do with advertiser pressure.

Also, in the light of our debate, this CJR post on Facebook’s chequered record with free speech is fascinating.

Close watchers of the social media site know that most of the time you only see around 6 percent of what your friends post. For organizations who want their followers to see their posts, it’s even less…..Worse, that filtering algorithm has increasingly turned into a pay-for-play system from news organizations. Want more people to see your content? Then “boost” your posts by shelling out some money. This already has turned Facebook into something of a two-tiered content sharing system, where the rich will inevitably see their stories go “viral” (if you can even call it that) much faster than will the poor. This inequality gap will only be exacerbated as more news organizations move over to publishing directly and the pressure—whether it be overt or implied—on those holding out increases.

Final projects must be posted on your blogs by 9am tomorrow morning.   Come to class prepared to talk for 5 minutes about what you have been researching, and your findings.

#applewatch fail?

The first Applewatch reviews are out, and they’re worth reading.  In this video, Farhad Manjoo from the New York Times says the watch is “merging digital technology with our  body in a way we haven’t really seen before”.  His conclusion: “The first Apple Watch may not be for you – but someday soon, it will change your world.” 

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But Business Insider has this useful round-up of reviews, which it characterises as ‘quietly brutal’.   One of the most damning verdicts was from Bloomberg Business’s Joshua Topolsky, who rated the watch as a timepiece in the following way, “I’ve found the experience somewhat inferior to that with a conventional wristwatch, due to one small issue. The Apple Watch activates its screen only when it thinks you’re looking at it.”  Wait, what?

In other news on the perils of using new technology, Madonna was supposed to premiere her new video on Meerkat.   It failed, showing just a 500 error page.  Her fans were not happy.  It’s supposed to happen again today, but maybe don’t hold your breath. 

On the intersection between gaming and journalism, the BBC has created a Syrian Journey: Choose your own escape route game highlighting the dangers faced by Syrian refugees.   It cost just under 30,000 USD to create inhouse, but has been attacked as transforming human suffering into a ‘children’s game’.




Again, on the intersection between entertainment and journalism, here’s Alli Cope’s post on the Six Strangest Ways that Buzzfeed has Covered Iraq and ISIS. 

Assignment: 400 word blogpost on debate motion “Facebook is a Force for Good”.  Pick a side, either for or against the motion, and argue your corner.

The debate format will be as follows:

We will hold a vote on the motion before the debate begins.  The first speaker (the proposer) will speak for 5 mins in favour of the motion, followed by the opposer speaking against the motion.  Then the second speaker in each team (proposer’s seconder, opposer’s seconder) will speak for 5 minutes each.   Then we will open the floor to questions from the floor, and each member of the class will ask a question.  In that period, the debaters can answer questions directed to them, as well as rebutting the views of the other camp.

At the very end, the third member of each team will have a 5 minute period during which they will sum up why the audience should propose or oppose the motion.  In that time, they can sum up the arguments as well as introducing new ideas, if they should wish to do so.   Then we will hold the final vote.

The news is getting shorter… and shorter…

Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to debut this on April Fools’ Day but the BBC introduced its minute – a 1-minute news roundup.

Some of the best comments came from the BBC’s Facebook page, such as “Is this an April Fools’ joke? I can’t actually tell.”  and “Hope it won’t be as trivial as your Facebook page.”

Meanwhile, the New York Times announced its one-sentence reports for i-Watch.  Glance journalism is here, folks!

As discussed, we will be debating “Facebook is a Force for Good” on April 9th.



Erin, Christopher and Jen are arguing for the motion.  Stephanie, Maddie and Amelia are arguing against.  Everyone else is to pick a position either for or against the motion and write a 400-word blogpost on it by April 9th 9am.

For next Tuesday:

Watch: The Islamic State (Vice)

Read: Everything You Need to Know about the Deadly Extremist Group Ravaging Iraq and Syria(Buzzfeed)

The Surreal infographics ISIS is producing, translated (Vox)

The Ukraine Crisis Explained in GIFS and Indepth Policy Papers (Clickhole)

And I’m told to remind you all that there will be free food at the reception in the Hussey room in the League at 430 next Tuesday.