n an ecosystem of tweets and retweets, bloggers and re-bloggers the questions of documentation and credit have become tricky. The identity of the singular, original creator of a piece of online culture isn’t always immediately clear – even if that instigator WASN’T posting Anonymously. So… a million “like”s and “post-to-tumblr”s later, a question arises: to whom does this culture belong? Those who make it? Those who collect and study it? The ones who spread and (sometimes) profit off it? This keynote examines the relationship between these various groups: their shared history; their evolving association with the database; the act of creating “value” out of “worthless” culture; the place of the remixer; the conditions of a possible armistice. Also, some jokes.
Listed as a “2009 Silicon Alley Insider 100” and one of the “25 Need-To-Know Bloggers” by Mediaite.com, Elspeth “Ellie” Rountree has appeared as an internet culture expert on major media channels including NBC, FOX, hosted her own show in conjunction with Conde Nast, and has written for the Saving Grace series blog on TNT. She has also recently been cited in the Wall Street Journal and the Huffington Post regarding internet culture. She was also a writer, senior producer, host, and co-creator of both highly successful Rocketboom Tech and Know Your Meme series.
Prior to working at Rocketboom and starting her current freelance consulting career, Rountree graduated with a BS in Cinema and Photography from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. After moving to New York City, she worked in the photo production field then moved to the newly formed Rocketboom.com. As it’s first full time employee, Rountree helped establish Rocketboom as a leading daily feature news and internet culture program that broadcasts online with over 40,000 daily viewers. Regarded as the first successful videoblog, and the longest running, with over 1,800 full episodes to date with tens of millions of views. Rocketboom has been profiled by the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Wired, Business 2.0, Ad Age, PBS, and many other media outlets.
Along with Rocketboom’s success, Know Your Meme was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2009 and has also been featured in Newsweek, Wired, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, MSNBC, PBS, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Mashable, TechCrunch among others and is widely regarded as the leading source for internet culture information. Rountree has also spoken at many conferences including Web 2.0, Social Media Week Brazil, Case Camp in Toronto, among many more. She is also an active member of the International Academy of the Digital Arts and Sciences, serving as a judge for the Webby Awards. Rountree lives and works in New York City.
Kenyatta Cheese researches and fosters media culture and technology. He is probably best known for co-creating the web series and internet meme database Know Your Meme, often cited as the go to resource for understanding web culture. Kenyatta is often called upon to comment on the state and meaning of internet culture by the likes of NPR, MSNBC, The New York Times, and the parents of close friends. In previous iterations he has worked with the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and the online television network Rocketboom.
Jamie Wilkinson is an Emmy Award-winning software developer & Internet culture researcher. His work focuses around open-source, pop culture and the propagation of information & ideas online. He is co-creator of the Know Your Meme video series & Internet meme database, selected as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 50 websites of 2009, and part of the team behind Star Wars Uncut, a crowdsourced recreation of Star Wars that was awarded an Emmy for Interactive Media in 2010. Wilkinson is also a founding member of the Free Art & Technology (FAT) Lab, an open-source research & development group. Previously Wilkinson taught the Internet Famous class in Parsons graduate design & technology program, in which students’ grades depend on how much Internet traffic they can generate. Wilkinson’s work has been featured in the New York Times, NBC, TIME, CNN, NPR, CurrentTV and on the front page of YouTube.
Photo attribution: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid; cc by-nc-nd licensed
Patrick Davison is from Atlanta, Georgia but lives in Brooklyn, New York where he is pursuing a PhD in media studies from the Media, Culture, and Communication department of NYU. He makes performance work as WhatWeKnowSoFar, writes and performs MemeFactory, and does research with the Web Ecology Project. He has spoken at ROFLcon, Ignite New York, Yale, NYU, and Social Media Week (Sao Paulo).
Mike Rugnetta is a composer and programmer. He is co-founder and co-director of the Brooklyn based performance group What We Know So Far which produces past-paced works about information, media and technology culture.