Aral’s opening keynote was a passionate plea to reevaluate our relationship with technology, to understand the impact of handing over control of our personal data to organizations whose self-interests can be in conflict with our own.
Appropriately, the next speaker was Richard Stallman whose purist views on technology echoed that sentiment, that our lives must not be contaminated by commercial software.
A bit later I walked through an overview of Contributoria which I described in this presentation as a democratization of the editorial process in journalism. I went through how we got to where we are, what it is that we’re doing, and a direction of travel for the future. Those slides are here.
The timing of the event was perfect, as we just launched our membership program which essentially completes our first phase of development and takes us out of Beta. And it’s important to us that Contributoria resonate with people who want to work independently. It’s intended to operate a bit like a virtual co-working space, as my colleague Sarah Hartley once described it.
As part of the announcement we produced some nice charts showing our growth in the first 6 months. We’re thrilled with progress, and you can see why:
There’s one aspect of the project that feels a bit under-reported, so far, which is our recent introduction of a newspaper. Yes, we’re a digital pureplay that is doing print!
What a bizarre twist! But when you’ve held it in your hand you’ll understand why we’ve done it. It’s a piece of magic created by our technical lead Rev Dan Catt and designer Dean Vipond using the Newspaper Club platform.
A community-produced print product – one where all the articles have been commissioned, written and edited by a collective – is a truly unique thing. It makes being a member here incredibly compelling.
In fact, I’ve started to wonder how long it will be before all publishers start to open up the physical versions of their media the same way they’ve begun to do with their digital platforms.