August 2008 – Page 2 – Stay N Alive

The Internationalization of Media

olympics.jpgI love the Olympics. It’s a time of competition, a time of pride, generally a time of peace, a time of celebration, and very much a time of new technology and media. I’m noticing something this year however and frankly, as an American it’s a little scary. Ironically, it has nothing to do with the athletes – it’s the lack of competition between American media and their international competitors.

It was a post by Robert Scoble on FriendFeed and the ensuing comments in fact, along with several other posts I’ve seen around the internet, that got me thinking about this. Scoble mentioned, “I hate NBC. They aren’t putting the Olympics on live. That really sucks.” Patricia Anderson responded, “How can you not agree with this? Hey, Robert, do you have access to CBC? I’ve been liking their coverage.” Phillip Jeffrey responded, “I’m watching CBC in Canada. Do you think it would be any different if another network was covering the Olympics in the States?” It appears the Canadian Broadcast Company is getting some serious attention this time around now that it is easier to access their broadcasts internationally, and they’re out-doing NBC in their own game by broadcasting some of the games live. NBC had better pay attention.

I’m noticing as I’m now on the internet much more than I am on the TV that I am getting the news about Olympic events way before I am able to see them on TV. It kind of spoils the fun of the Olympics to tell you the truth. I don’t blame the online news agencies giving me the news as it happens though – that’s what news is all about, and what I want! I’m blaming the companies like NBC that won’t give me the coverage I want as it happens. They have succumbed to the merits of their advertisers to try and sell content at the time that makes their advertisers most money, when, in reality they are ignoring the potential worldwide audience they could be obtaining through means such as the internet. The issue here is, they are only targeting American advertisers!

With services such as, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed, the audiences in America that traditionally watch the Olympics on NBC are now getting updates real-time, some from people actually there, and this news is beating NBC and making their viewers want more live coverage. Viewers are no longer getting this information from NBC.

NBC traditionally has had no competition for the Olympics – it has traditionally been just one media company in the USA that could broadcast the Olympics. However, I can now go online and find many things, real-time, with absolutely no issue finding the access I need. NBC now has competition world-wide and I certainly hope they realize this soon. They’re missing a huge advertising opportunity here that I don’t think they have considered.

In the past, media companies in the USA were built from small town to small town until larger companies would buy them out and build a conglomerate out of those smaller subsidiaries. I’m afraid that’s changing though as we become a more worldwide audience and can talk to each other, worldwide, much easier, and this shift will move from small town to small town, to instead country to country. The large US media companies need to be thinking International now as they grow or this rich, free speech system we have in America right now could be beat by competitors worldwide. This is an issue we should all have concern for.

Are there international efforts you are seeing that have been successful amongst media companies? Is this lack of international competition something we should fear? Let’s chat in the comments below and on FriendFeed!

Win a Free Book! Enter O’Reilly’s Facebook App Idea Competition.

fbml_essentials_comp.pngO’Reilly just published a great interview with me on their FYI blog. If you want to learn why my book, FBML Essentials is important to you as a Facebook developer or business looking to develop Facebook applications, you should check it out. At the end, Mary Rotman announced a competition that could get you a free copy of my book, straight from O’Reilly.

Here’s the deal: regardless of whether you’re a Facebook developer or not, all you need is an idea. Let’s consider this the pre-cursor to getting your fbFund money — I’ll show you how to get started making the app, fbFund will fund the way. Simply go to O’Reilly’s FYI post and enter in the comments the application you would build (or are building) and how it’s different from the rest of the hundreds of Facebook applications out there. The best one or two ideas get a free copy of FBML Essentials – bring it to the next Social Media conference that I’m at and I’ll even sign it for you! How cool is that???

Fire Signal Server – The Inspiration Behind

logo.pngMy good friend, Scott Lemon, made me aware of an interesting project underway that appears to possibly have been the inspiration behind, the open source software behind the service, The project is called “Fire Signal“, and is the brain child of Ron Whitman, the developer behind the Twitter Traffic alerts site, Commuter Feed.

Fire Signal appears to be a set of standards set out to encourage micro-blogging platform developers to build their systems in an open, distributed way. states that they are building off of which is based on the “Open Microblogging Protocol“. Zenji Open Projects (Ron Whitman’s set of open standards) calls this protocol, “Fire Signal”. According to the Zenji Open Projects wiki,

“Fire Signal is an open protocol designed to allow users to publish and send short public and private messages of 160 characters or less across distributed web-based networks of Fire Signal Servers, the second initiative of this project. The concept behind this is commonly known by the term “micro-blogging”, popularized primarily by the web service Twitter and a growing number of competitors. “

650px-FireSignal_Overview.pngAccording to the diagram presented on the same page, the concept looks amazingly like the concepts behind, with multiple content servers all sharing data between each other. I see no links to code on the project (it seems to be a standard only, similar to the micro blogging protocol references), and Ron Whitman seems to be the only contributor, but the site does claim that is a working example of Fire Signal Server. It’s interesting that the website and openmicroblogging website make no mention of Fire Signal Server, nor does

It’s hard to tell if this was the origin of or not, or if several ideas all began at once, and ended up having the majority of efforts focused towards the project, but if it is the inspiration, Ron Whitman deserves a lot more credit for his contribution now that seems to be taking off by storm. If not, this does seem like an excellent new project to help out with – I hope the two projects could work together. I’m interested to find out more about the origins of this and how it relates to – this concept is truly the future of micro-blogging!

You can find me on at, or follow all my updates throughout the web and discuss on

UPDATE: Per Evan Prodromou, founder of, and the project, the two projects are indeed separate. Hopefully Ron Whitman can take his great ideas and contribute with the cause now. It’s nice to see lots of great minds wanting such a standard!