Activists haven’t been shy in exploiting digital and social media: witness the successes of IndyMedia‘s user-generated street news, and the burgeoning peer-to-peer video distribution community around Miro (formerly the Democracy Player). The message is clear: don’t just have a voice on the street — create content and share it for global benefit. And this message isn’t just for the hardcore: what else is Al Gore’s current.tv, if not a centre-left, normalising riff on Miro’s theme?
Politically aware citizens, armed with video cameras, open source video editing software and BitTorrenting skills, are accessing difficult places and telling important stories, independent of mainstream media agendas. But how to get that activist content out in front of a broader, less engaged audience?
Say hello to InfoGraffiti (positioning: Tell the World What They Need to Know). Coming on like current.tv after a week at the Anarchist Bookshop, InfoGraffiti aims to take activist media to the people, urban guerrilla stylee. The short version of their manifesto reads as follows:
- InfoGraffiti is a new information distribution service intending on eventually rivaling the mainstream press; we need your help.
- We want to distribute internet documentaries and information via a CD format that will play on good DVD players or PC’s.
- Access to a printing press and the large costs involved is what has stopped forward thinking progressive messages from getting out before.
- Social network and Social news site users are forward thinkers (in general) and most of them have CD burners.
- Between us then we have the biggest printing press the world has ever seen and InfoGraffiti wants to organise it.
- You download our ISO torrent (ISO=CD Image, Torrent=FAST method of download) burn it to CD, label it with a logo and then distribute it around our wonderful cities.
- The CD contains all the best documenataries, virals, and information from the web, chosen by InfoGraffiti users. It works on DVD players and PC’s.
- Place it on park benches, in lifts, in coffee shops, on bus seats and in libraries for our wonderful fellow citizens to discover.
We think they might be a bit optimistic with their planned weekly release schedule, but wish them luck. Now is probably a good time for InfoGraffiti’s distribution model: urban punters have been softened up by countless lame ‘experiential marketing’ campaigns on the streets, flogging cable TV and shampoo — when they pick up those CDs they’re going to expect trailers for Shrek IV, not Noam Chomsky’s media critique. Hopefully they’ll keep watching.