Lynne d Johnson



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03.28.08 06:39 PM

I'm Speaking @ Ypulse Mashup in July

Just got invited to moderate a panel at the 2008 National Ypulse Mashup and I'll be adding it to my speaking calendar soon. I'll moderate the Totally Wired Hip Hop: Reaching Urban Youth, and though I've been told that some heavy hitters will be on the panel, the only one currently listed on the site is Karl Carter, Co-Founder, Inner City Enterprises/GTM Inc. Carter helped launch Current TV and was awarded the first AdColor Innovator award in 2007.

Here's the rest of my upcoming schedule, just in case you happen to be anywhere I'm going to be.

March 31, 2008
"Tooting your own Horn" Panelist
Women Who Tech | TeleSummit

April 3, 2008
"Presenting Four Case Studies: Successful Social Media Creation — Hearst Mobile" Interviewer
BlogHer Business '08 | New York, NY

April 4, 2008
"Moving From "Should" to "Can", Track: Social Media Creation Best Practices" Panelist
BlogHer Business '08 | New York, NY

April 12, 2008
"Black Pop In The Web 2.0 Era" Co-Moderator
EMP Pop Conference | Seattle, WA

May 22, 2008
"Is Print Dead? How Digital Media is Changing the Face of Publishing" Keynote
WebVisions | Portland, OR

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03.27.08 12:36 PM

Further Exploits of the Auto-Tune in Hip-Hop

Video: Lil Wayne - "Lollipop"

This track is yet another hip-hop song that alters vocals with Auto-Tune. Lil Wayne already tested this production effect on his verse in Shawty Lo's "Dey Know (Remix)". It was definitely a case of Auto-Tune gone wrong.

Anil Dash has already thoroughly explored this topic in his posts, The Death of Analog, AutoTune Edition and When Auto-Tune Strikes.

The Auto-Tune is not a new technological advancement, but it just so happens that T-Pain stumbled upon it (probably in his Pro Tools setup) when producing tracks. Auto-Tune is often confused with the Vocoder because they both create a digital effect.

In fact T-Pain is often criticized for his use of this implement, because in his case it proves he can't sing. But even our mother of pop -- Madonna -- has used Auto-Tune in performances to guarantee that her performance is spot on. [The reason you can't tell is because the effect is not as dramatic as it is with T-Pain or with Snoop Dogg on "Sensual Seduction."]

And while I give Snoop credit for taking it to another level by introducing a video that is reminiscent of a time when Roger Troutman and Zapp actually used the vocoder. The "Sensual Seduction" video further confuses us on the differences between Auto-Tune and Vocoder because Snoop looks like he's using a talkbox, which creates a vocoder like effect. Still, the Dogggfather gets credit for solidifying crossover appeal of this style of music. He definitely has more fans than T-Pain. There's no question of that fact. [Teddy Riley later reintroduced the talkbox/vocoder effect during his New Jack Swing phase.]

But does Auto-Tune really have a place in hip-hop rap music? The fact is, there are probably many more "singers" who have used Auto-Tune during performance than you could ever count. But when an entire song's vocals relies on the effect, and we know that the person behind the effect isn't really a singer, doesn't it start becoming a little overkill?

For some reason it's winning though. Whether I, or others like me, start to feel like the Auto-Tune is becoming overused. Snoop's "Sensual Seduction" was a hit, and it appears that Lil Wayne (your favorite rapper) has a hit in "Lillipop." At least radio likes it. But honestly, is anyone listening to radio? (This Lil' Wayne press release I'm reading says there are something like 25.7 million listeners in crossover and urban, but I'm not buying it.)

The stat: Lollipop is #1 Most Added and Greatest Gainer at both crossover and urban radio formats receiving a total of 138 adds at Mediabase and R&R.

Regardless, I am thinking strongly of starting a petition to ban the use of Auto-Tune from rap music. I accept Snoop Dogg's use because it serves as a cultural signifier, wherein the digital device appropriates his voice as the signified symbolizing a bygone musical tradition. The visual representation of his song furthers this theory. In the case of Lil' Wayne, the visual representation is no different than any other rap video being repurposed on YouTube, which removes the use of the vocal effect from any cultural context other than the one it already represents and exists in. It doesn't signify anything but itself and further does nothing to enhance the performer or the performance.

For a current youth market, without context, the use of these vocal devices become new instead of borrowers and reinventers and remixers of existing cultural performance machines. If the remixer has the ability to one-up the predecessor, it does become something new. But if the remixer only borrows for the sake of borrowing and not for the purpose of remixing or mashing it up, then it's basically a bite. A bite with no credit to the predecessor. So, I'm beginning to get a little worried about the route that music production is taking. And don't tell me that it the use of Auto-Tune can be viewed through the same cultural lens as sampling -- because it can't. I'm mainly worried and want to dead this misuse and overuse of the Auto-Tune now before the likes of Bow Wow or Lil Mama start using it, just because it sounds cool.

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03.26.08 03:13 PM

Media 2.Open - Talk About Transparency

A BlogTalkRadio interview with John Havens on Transparency for Media 2.Open -Talk About Transparency. I realized there's far more to transparency than I even realized, that was until I started talking. The conversation drifted from transparency on the Web and social media toward open offices and open corporate culture.

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03.20.08 06:22 PM

Video: BLK JKS - Lakeside

If you don't know, now you know. BLK JKS is the truth. South African rock steeped in Afro Jazz and Afro Punk -- boiling over and burning you from within.

I'm crushing on them sooo hard right now. If you don't trust my word, just go ask The FADER.

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03.17.08 02:58 PM

Interview with Chris Brogan, Lynne d Johnson and Ronald Lewis

John Havens of Blog Talk Radio: New Media Havens
Interviews with leading minds in new media on subjects that push beyond latest news and trends. Join our disruptive dialogue for ideas that transform your business and your world.

In this episode, at SXSW: Chris Brogan guest hosts and interviews Lynne d Johnson from Fast Company and Ronald Lewis of lijit. The discussion focuses on building community and the new age of advertising.

Also, in case you missed it in my earlier post, myself and Lena West of xynoMedia, in a Studio SX video discussing the Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers? panel and other issues -- here. You can also now download the video.

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03.15.08 10:39 PM

Part 2: Tracking the SXSWi Black Tech Bloggers Discussion

Tiffany B. Brown has put up two very thoughtful posts that are written better than I could have written anything about SXSWi and this panel. They are here and here.

Also an update, and as has been pointed out by others -- the original list of panelists, included:

Angela Benton - BlackWeb2.0

N'Gai Croal - Level Up

Darla Mack - Darla Mack: Days In The Life of a Mobile Diva

Ronald Lewis - 24/7 with Ronald Lewis

Lena West - Social Media 360 and TechForward

Craig Nulan - Subrealism: Liminal Perspectives on Consensus Reality

By the time we got to SXSWi though, Nulan and Mack were unable to attend so I asked Tiffany B. Brown and Cheryl Coward, who I've known on the Web probably as far back as 2002, to serve on the panel. Tiffany and I have been on panels together, at SXSWi, in the past.

Also, the panel was not put together because of Loren Feldman, who Tiffany mentions in this post here. In 2005 and 2006, I moderated panels at SXSWi called Blogging While Black and Blogging While Black Revisited, respectively. This panel was an extension of those two and an opportunity to bring more diverse voices to SXSW. The video that Tiffany mentions in her post added another dimension and layer to the discussion. And yes, it definitely borrowed its title from a question he asked back in the summer.

Like Tiffany, I have spoken on panels about technology previously -- just check the list. I started this blog in 2001, and though I've been known as the feminist hip-hop blogger on some levels, I've also always weaved technology through this blog, as this blog/diary is about music, media, and my life. Professionally, I have been writing about technology since the late 90s. And when I say professionally, it means that I've been paid for the writing I've done about technology.

I'll definitely be writing more about this topic over time, and perhaps there'll be some video interviews and podcasts to go along with more of the discussion somewhere down the line. (There may even be a surprise or two.)

Additonally, as the list of black tech bloggers keeps growing, from what's being posted over at boingboing, and the emails and comments I've been receiving ever since I first posted about this in (Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers) and (Black Tech Bloggers Redux), I promise that I'll add a page to my site dedicated to the list. I just need to get my redesign up first and my comments working like normal again -- and it's a go.

Part I: Tracking the SXSWi Black Tech Bloggers Discussion is a link roundup of the coverage or mention of the Where Are The Black Tech Bloggers? panel.

VIDEO UPDATE 12:48 AM: I've just discovered that a Studio SX video of myself and Lena West is up now over at SXSW Interactive, here. This was a post panel discussion.

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03.14.08 06:57 PM

Tracking the SXSWi Black Tech Bloggers Discussion

I haven't yet written up my own take on or response to SXSWi this year, but there are quite a few others starting to process their thoughts. Here's a roundup:

  • From Gaming Gals to Apple Designers, SXSW Interactive Shines
    In this article boingboing gadget writer and popular mechanics columnist Joel Johnson gives one graph to the Black Tech Bloggers panel at the end of his about SXSWi.
  • Where Are the Black Tech Bloggers?
    Joel Johnson Expounds on his graph in the popular mechanices article to go more in depth about what was discussed at the panel, and also to offer credit and linkage to the many lists I've made of Black Tech Bloggers.
  • Where are all the Black Tech Bloggers?
    Jim Brown, writing for My Opera, focused on why it was important for SXSWi to have a discussion on race and blogging.
  • SXSW 08 WrapUp
    j. brotherlove lists the black tech bloggers panel as one of his favorite of SXSWi this year.
  • I heart SXSWi
    Angela Benton from BlackWeb2.0 posts her take on the panel and her experience at SXSWi.

* There's some podcasts and videos out there somewhere, so I'll get my hands on some of that and put up links. There are even photos floating around flickr -- ones that I might actually post later.

** My comments are still down, so you'll have to send me an email via my contact page if you want to follow up with anything here.

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03.07.08 03:36 AM

The future of social networks will be like air

Charlene Li, of Forrester Blogs - Groundswell, predicts social network ubiquity with universal identifies and a single social graph. She says possibly in the next five years we'll see this happen.

read more | digg story

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03.03.08 08:52 PM

Comments Suck

A while back I got on Clyde Smith at Prohiphop about going comment free. I believe commenting tools facilitate discussion -- and possibly lends themselves to all the great stuff we hear about smart mobs, crowd sourcing, and the wisdom of crowds. I see comments as an entry point to those types of activities and outcomes.

But the truth is, like Clyde, comments have caused me major discontent. Not for all the same reasons as he, but nonetheless for reasons that are really turning me away from them more and more. Besides, last time I checked, comments weren't my biggest draw nowadays. I don't blog enough for people to feel a true or real need to interact with me in this space. Many people simply follow the contact link and send me an email anyway, or they find me on facebook or twitter or some other place where I'm hanging out online.

Truth is, lately, my commenting scripts have caused my web host an even bigger headache than myself. For me, at one point it was all the spam. Then j. helped me to finally win that battle. At least the battle of spam actually publishing on the site. But now, they are running so many scripts against my scripts that they're beating up my hosts servers to the point that my host just wants my annoying spammers and my comment script to go away.

In fact, you won't be able to leave a comment on this post until I decide whether I'm turning the comments back on. Though the box for commenting appears, the script is disabled. Do you have any clever workarounds for MT?

My host suggests I get a VPS or dedicated server, but I really don't think my site warrants all of that. It's super small. They also suggest replacing my script, which should be easy to accomplish by renaming the script. But eventually, the spammers will find the new script too, I've been in this exact spot before.

I might just have to x the comments here altogether, or wait until I upgrade to the latest MT to even worry about it.

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