Obituaries are a mainstay of the local paper. CanÂ local webÂ publishers create a template for folks to write up their departed’s story? PicturesÂ should be easy to add; videoÂ in time. Make the web posting of theÂ obituary free. The publisher can, however, make money byÂ deliveringÂ various hard copy mementos to friends and family (have you seen the new picture books? what about mailing stuffÂ to out-of-towners?). These are servicesÂ thatÂ may have value to the family.Â For artifacts they willÂ pay. TheÂ publisher willÂ offer free web display and user-generated labor toÂ create a place for anyone to be remembered; andÂ simultaneouslyÂ createÂ a network of producers to craft theseÂ mementos. The publisher’s fee will be for pulling these services together.
I recently bounced that idea off Tish (the Constant Observer) Grier and got back a qualified maybe. That leads me to wonder: is there some sort of Open Source development wish list for media people whoÂ come up with ideas that may be money-makers — but they lack the technical know-how to implement?
“This sounds workable–but it sounds also like it would need software development.Â Then, it would be a matter of getting newspapers to integrate the software. I’m not sure how much they’re willing to invest in new kinds of software for one portion of their papers.Â Also, I think there may be some kinds of similar projects being developed right now, that may be in “beta”.Â A friend out here, Jill Fallon (who blogs mainly on death and legacy related issues) has had some sort of digital legacy thing in development for awhile now.”Â
A bit later Tish followed up to say she knew that Susan Kitchen’s 20/20 Hindsight blog is creating a user-friendly Family Oral History site, which isÂ kind of like the obituary notion.Â But a check on Fallon’s blog disclosed nothing new on her digital legacy idea.
“So, from the folks I know, no one seems to be doing an obit software,” Tish wrote. “We could take the conversation we were having out in public. But I’m not sure how much I can contribute till the project I’m on is over.”
Well, thanks, Tish for thinking out loud on this.Â An obituary module would be aÂ usefulÂ addition for local online publisher (such as those who gather at Placeblogger.com).Â But where do non-techhies like me order it? Where is the MIS department for media?
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Half-empty or half-full? Two recentÂ news articlesÂ came up with very different headlinesÂ to encapsulate aÂ report aboutÂ user-generatedÂ video made by Screen Digest,Â theÂ London market research firm. MediaPost sounded excited: “UCG to dominate online video by 2010.” But PaidContent was more sanguine with: “User-generated video: where’s the money?” Yes, they’re talking about the same report. It’s a web media, stupid! Of course there’s lots of it, hence none of it has much value.
Riding roughshod on Mother Earth?Â If you’ve never done so before, visit RedefiningProgress.org to check out their Ecological FootprintÂ project.Â It will make you think about howÂ activities thatÂ we take for granted in the developed world weigh upon the health of the planet. Meanwhile, remember the famous African proverb:
” Treat our earth well for it was not given to us by our parents, It is lent to us by our children.”