participatory web culture

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"I think there's going to be an absolute explosion of user-produced video and content," says Mitch Kapor -- the guy who, it could be said, single-handedly launched the personal computer revolution. He founded Lotus Development back in the '80s. Lotus produced the 1-2-3 spreadsheet program that drove the sale of computer hardware. And the rest is history. To hear Mitch tell it, history is about to be made again.

Yesterday's Boston Phoenix ran a story titled The revolution will be televised - "The Participatory Culture Foundation tunes into online TV — ahead of the corporate curve." corporations lick their chops at the prospect of digital-video windfalls, Worcester's Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), a small cadre of young activists and programmers, is heading in the opposite direction. The group has developed an open-source, nonprofit Internet TV platform that looks to draw the average viewer into this brave new world.

And further on...

"They're attempting to build the infrastructure and applications over the Internet that will eventually supplant broadcast and cable television," Kapor says. "That's a pretty big project. Pretty important, culturally." And while he allows that it "won't happen overnight," he's excited about the PCF's attempt to democratize this new medium. "They really get the vision. DTV is this end-to-end system that makes it easy to publish, and easy to consume and subscribe to videos. It's so much the right thing. And they're doing it in an open-source, nonprofit kind of way, which I think is the right way to do it."

[my emphasis]

Don't miss the sidebar on the second page of the article, which lists some related organizations: the Participatory Politics Foundation, Downhill Battle, Kapor's home page, the Open Source Applications Foundation, and so on.

"The folks with Participatory Culture are real pioneers," says Kapor. "They're really out front in terms of mixing ideas and pieces of technology from the Internet."

Sitting in a Worcester coffee shop, [PCF co-founder Nicholas] Reville opens his laptop and explains how. "A lot of what we're doing is stitching together different technologies into a usable form," he says. "Taking technologies like BitTorrent, RSS, and video playback, and putting them together in a single package."