Archive for the ‘NYU-ITP’ Category

Elections 2008 – Political Media Strategy for 2012

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

I wrote this paper for a class in 2008 and thought it would be nice to post on my blog since I have not been posting as much as I would like. Keep in mind that this paper was written in 2008 and much has change in the Metaverse, Also I have added images for those who like to see pretty pictures in articles ;) The “Cloud” has exponentially become more complex, yet easier to understand with the addition of a very simple variable; Location.

Location based technologies such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook and Google will become very important as we move closer to 2012. The other important variable that is not as prominent today as it will be tomorrow is semantic data gathering and accessing. With that said, here is the paper I wrote right after Obama’s win in 2008.

NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)
Class: Elections 2008
Professor: Clay Shirky
Author: Oscar G. Torres

Political Media Strategy for Elections of 2012
November 14, 2008

The Presidential elections of 2008, was the culmination of a major shift in political campaign strategies in the United States. How did a democratic “underdog” gain steam and come in as the leading candidate in the general election of 2008?

The Republican Party is scratching their head wondering how John McCain lost the election. They will look back at the campaign trails and realize that they lacked a very important element that proved to be a vital player in gaining people’s vote. The Republican Party did not embrace amateur political campaigns and their effect on the general population.

Amateur political media is not a new concept in the campaign process. Picket signs, homemade t-shirts, printing newsletters or flyers with personal printers are all examples of media created by “average Joes” in the past. In the election of 2008 we saw a new and powerful medium take center stage. This new medium is not your traditional broadcasting system, its actually more that just a way to send messages to a large audience. Social media is the new player in politics and quickly became a major component in winning the trust of people. What makes a “YouTube” video different than a hand drawn sign, a flyer or t-shirt? The answer lies in the comment section of web sites like YouTube, Facebook and the thousands of blogs out there.

“5th Grade Reporter Interviews Vice-President Joe Biden” by CanalPointKECTV is a video where, as the title describes, a 5th grade kid interviews the Vice-Presidential candidate. Normally a traditional broadcasted video would be seen and probably talked about by people and their close friends, perhaps some co-workers as well. The conversation has now moved to YouTube where viewers have the ability to leave a comment on videos or respond to someone else’s comment. A new form of communication has been set in place. Since these web videos can be seen any time and anywhere (with internet access), it makes it convenient for a person to access them and add their thoughts.

The comments left on the specific videos are a rich source of information about people’s thoughts and intentions. You can even see the commenter’s profile and content they have personally contributed, videos they liked/ added as their favorite, and comments others made about the particular person. With all this data you can make pretty good assumption about the person or “user’s” state of mind and can make educated guesses about what their position will be when they are standing inside the voting booth.

Blogs are another form of communication that is making an impact on the campaigns of potential candidates. People can write articles for or against candidates. Those articles are then available for anyone to find, via search engine, email1311 link and/or word of mouth. A group of videos, images and links can form a pretty good argument about why someone should favor a particular candidate. Although blogs are not as popular as other news sources or publications, they reach a niche audience that has potential to be influenced by the content. Blogs are part of the new digital landscape that needs to be considered when running a campaign. Blogs and video content are being viewed in increasing numbers through the use of new devices such as cell phones and iPods. The ability to carry around the information with you has enabled people to scrutinize the data being viewed during their commute, lunch break or random times that lend themselves to a quick browse at the web content. The question is weather this information can be used to sway people to choose differently. And the answer, as we have seen from Obama’s campaign results, is yes.

Mobile communication will become major contributor to media distribution to the masses. Cell phones have become a hub that allows people not only to view web data, but also to contribute data to the “cloud”. Minutes after the announcement of Obama’s projected win, a mass celebration was captured and shared via mobile phone by my close circle of friends. I received text messages accompanied by cell phone pictures and videos from fiends at various locations such as Fort Green-Brooklyn, Times Square, Union Square and even California. Everyone was cheering physically and virtually as they posted images to and along with status updates to twitter and Facebook.

Sharing real time events is becoming a very popular trend. On the morning of November 4, as I was just beginning to undergo my morning routine, I received a text message with an image from a friend. The text read “yay!” and the picture was a voting booth. Although it is illegal in some states to take pictures of the voting booth when you are voting, there is no way so far to enforce this rule and prevent people from doing it. The result is people disregarding the rules out of excitement in most cases. If the uploading of data is happening while or with-in seconds of voting, what is happening while people are waiting in line to the voting booth?

They are uploading information to the web, downloading information or having conversations with others. This precious time is vital if you want to make a difference on the result. And the only way to get there is through the use of mobile technology.

Advice for the new presidential candidates is very simple, put together a teams of individuals whose sole task is to monitor and respond to amateur media content. These two groups of people should have access to technology that will allow them to listen to a large amount of data sources at the same time and quickly formulate a response to counter any attacks and to praise compliments. This system should automatically highlight and arrange content by subject, popularity and by the size, type and location of the group generating the content. An example of this can be an application that can scrape the information on major social sites such as YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that can then analyze and organize the content by a list of desired variables. The application should look for information revolving around key words, such as the candidate’s name and topics in his/her agenda. Data that matches the key words can then be organized by popularity, relevance, time, location, network, etc. as well as the time it was added to the web site or origin. Perhaps image analysis can be done to the thumbnails or images associated with the data. This way in YouTube’s case, you can consolidate redundant content and group content that indicates similarities among image content. This algorithm would allow the identification of a popular piece of media that exists in various contexts and who’s meaning may be different according to the context it is presented. One example of a media that is placed out of context to incite different messages is a YouTube video titled “Obama Youth – Junior Fraternity”.

A second strategy is to crowd-source the gathering of data revolving the candidate. Getting supporters involved in the acquisition, contribution and distribution of information that benefits the candidate is very important because the people that find the information can make it more semantic to the presidential campaign context. If there is a system that allows the general public to easily share information they stumble upon, with their favored candidate’s party, it will dramatically increase the awareness of the candidate about their campaign. This will allow for better decision-making on the direction of particular parts of the campaign. This system could take form in a website.

A web site that gathers data specific to a campaign and a candidate that is generated by people and allows everyone to see what others have contributed is a good experiment that has the potential to be a great source of information that affects the candidate’s campaign. The website should be set up to make it very easy for users to upload data, such as, images, videos, links, audio and text data. It is also very important to have a tagging system that will put all the data into context. The website’s database should be set up to allow information to be added via mobil phone, email1311, or text message. This way there can be supporting software that makes the process easy for anyone to use. All the information that is tagged, as it is gathered in a database, can then be accessed, processed and displayed in a comprehensive way that lists the information in order of importance to the candidate.

My main advice for the candidates of 2012 is to crowd source as much of the campaign as possible. Empower people to help you gain aware of what they are experiencing in their worlds. The substantial increase of digital media generation and distribution is too large for a candidate’s personal team to analyze all the data that is circulating the web. So why not lean on your supporters to be your eyes, ears and brains to help you analyze the data and report their findings back to you, free of charge. This awareness will allow your team to formulate a strategic response that will steer the votes in your direction and preventing an underdog to trample all over you. Unless of course that underdog has a better system to identify with everyone and gain trust, in which case no digital technology will be
able to help.

ITP’s Spring Show 2010!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

ITP Spring Show 2010
Sunday, May 9 from 2 to 6 PM
Monday, May 10 from 5 to 9 PM

Interactive Telecommunications Program
Kanbar Institute of Film and Television
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University
721 Broadway, 4th Floor, South Elevators
New York NY 10003

Take the left elevators to the 4th Floor
This event is free and open to the public
No need to RSVP

For questions: 212-998-1880

ITP Spring Show 2010!

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

ITP Spring Show 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2-5pm & Monday, May 10, 5-9 pm
ITP @ 721 Broadway, 4th Floor
Additional Spring Events:
ITP Thesis Week, Monday, May 3 – Friday, May 7

NYU ITP Spring Show 2010 from Winslow Porter on Vimeo.

Who cares about what you think.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Last week I conducted a mini experiment on the NYU social network.
I wanted to see how much traffic I could drive to my site by writing about Clay Shirky’s rant about women. It was not a very strong argument, but it was one that was aimed at opposing Clay’s point (which I am apposed to, but normally would never write about). The variable in question (which I actually learned about in Clay’s class); the piggy back effect in youtube videos. I was testing this effect with blog content.

From this post I was expecting to draw at least 30% more traffic just by piggybacking from Clay’s popularity. Which is a little more than 45 hundred site hits a day.

Its been six days since I wrote a response to his post and noticed a 15% increase in traffic to my blog which was not anything impressive. I assumed that it was all traffic relating to the post, to my surprise I took a look at the my web site page views and as it turns out, my Shakespeare sonnet post got (which I spent no energy on creating) got the same amount of hits! This came as a surprise to me.

Pie chart

So what did cause the increase in traffic to my site? A combination of interest in my Art Robotica Project, and Damien Hirst from a global audience. 25% of my viewers are from other countries. That’s around 200 people a day. Which is pretty interesting.

As you can see, the piggy back effect did not work. The person I targeted to piggy back from, gained my site very small traffic results. What can be said about this experiment, that people actually care about context. A rant is mere thoughts by a person that don’t have heavy research behind them. This is a very good way to start a dialogue. Playing devils advocate is a good past time of Clay’s he mainly does this to make points or in this case, agitate people enough to begin a discussion. The rant was crafted in such a way that he was instigating a group enough to get a response. And the results, although his web traffic does not reflect the effect, where successful. 415 responses out of roughly 4,500 viewers, that’s roughly 10% participation rate! Very good results in my opinion.

“Hitler Finds Out Scott Brown Won Massachusetts Senate Seat” the most popular youtube video this week has around 2.4 million views and around 10 thousand comments. That’s around .00416% participation.

Even though my blog is linked from Clay’s blog via the site “Responses.” The amount of people that actually cared about my point of view towards Clay are less that those who care about my point of view towards the arts and artists. This was good experiment to find out who is actually ready my blog. It seems that people interested in art are reading this right now =)

I guess an other interesting thing a lot of people are starting to realize, is how to make use of the data available on the web. It took me a total of 10 minutes to do all this research and about 30 minutes to write this post. The mount of information available on the web is incredible. If 10 years ago, you asked the Author of a book, how many people bought and/or read their book that same day, they would laugh. Daily information was not available on things like that for people like Authors. If you asked them to publish an article in one hour so that 100 people around the world can see it with in minutes of publishing, it would probably seem like an impossible task.

A Rant About Women by Clay Shirky?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010


I guess I’m just trying to figure out why clay called me an “behave like arrogant self-aggrandizing jerk” All I wanted was a letter of recommendation. And then his next thought is clearly a con artist! Really! Me! And what does jail have to do with it? Is clay trying to gain a bad-ass persona, or does he just want to tell us that he likes to twist words to gain power?

With all jokes aside (me being a former student of clay’s and joking about he writing about my non existent recommendation) WTF! “women in general” what percentage is he talking about!? That’s kind of like saying that men in general don’t like to have sex, they just like orgasms! Talk about Polarization!

I truly disagree with Clay Shirky’s “A Rant About Women” maybe I owe my way of thinking to my mother, but Women should act as they do; like Women, like people! I think that penis and vagina is not an issue anymore. Its the culture and the all boys club way of thinking that’s the issue. In this world we need to form alliances with people to gain a bit more power, this is the general theory behind politics. The problem that women used to have and still do sometimes, is that there are many circumstance causing women to not pursue professional careers in specific fields (like engineering, programming and garbage collecting to name a few). Because of that, women that do get higher educations and choose to go into those careers with smaller female to male ratios, have a smaller chance of forming their own “all girls” club to gain power. But in this modern world is this really a good move? is having a little girls club or a little boys club a good thing? No. You cannot look at sex anymore unless you are crazy. I mean look at Richard Branson or Hilary Clinton for instance. Branson tends to get people together, regardless of sex, to work together for the better good (or profit) Good things happen when you get a mix of people engaging in dialogue. Hilary was close to getting the democratic the nomination in 2008 and that was not due to her “acting like a man”. The popularity she gained was due to her acting like her self and doing what she thought was best politically. We all know why Obama won, but Hilary is a good example when it comes to politics and power. I mean she went to Wellesley college! You don’t learn to “act like a man”, at an all girls school. You can argue that she would not have done it with out Bill’s help, so why did the Republican Party go with Palin?

The reason Shirky’s female students are not jerks (“women whose educations I am responsible for in particular, are often lousy at those kinds of behaviors, even when the situation calls for it.”) is most likely because he is of the opposite sex and people tend to be politically correct towards the opposite sex in environments like classrooms (well same sex and gender, age, etc. too, people in classrooms I like to think are well behaved). The possibility of a bad grade and offending a “good” professor are enough to keep anyone quiet, this is all an assumption though. Rivalries occur more frequently among people of the same sex because that gender gap is not present. The gender gap often represents either an obstacle or a lack of, depending on your point of view.

“asking women to behave more like men” is completely wrong. Women should behave like Women, gender has nothing with doing a job right (unless is like breast feeding or something?). If a female wants to be a football player, that’s awesome. If she wants to be a Ganitor that’s cool, but not really, but its cool! if she wants to be a chef or the president of the US that’s fine, we need more like that. If they mess up, big deal everyone messes up. Raising your hand to get attention and “risk public failure” has more to do with character and patience than knowledge and sex. As a matter of fact there is something more powerful than raising your hand, and that is talking with an assertive tone to address an answer or response. This happens very often now a days, and its good. You can definitely distinguish alpha males and females.

Bottom line is that there is more than one way to skin a cat, and “forceful and self-confident without being arrogant or jerky” is not the only way to gain power. Its more often that those who don’t need to yell that have the most power. As for “women wait for someone else to recommend them.” Apparently Clay never heard of Women like Cornelia Sullfrank or Rachel Carson two of my row models.

I get that Clay is trying to encourage a conversation (in his mind) that will get women inspired to go on. But indications that you may be a perpetrator of the sexist ideology is not the right way. Maybe Clay did not realize that this point would have as easily been made, with a bit more “Umph” and a less degrading tone by other means. Rants always polarize people. So if the goal was to toss wood in the fire, then we will not go cold any time soon.

My wish is that people (Men/ Women) would deal with other people with grace and stern conduct if any lines are crossed. You will never beat fire with fire (Well maybe in a Savannah with steady winds, but thats not the point) you will beat the fire with water or dirt and there lies the answer. An eye for an eye is part of an “all male” ideology. I’m glad that this era is gone because there just something not fully comforting about that thought.

More Art Robotica

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

These are some of the Paintings that I made with Jackoon at the ITP Spring 2009 show:

Reference image, wasp on a flower:


Collaborative Painting:

Reference image, rodent a skull of a species in the order Carnivora:

Jackoon Painting:

As you can see on the painting of the Skull, Jackoon managed o paint the general area where the skull should be. The brush strokes where not as precise as should be, because the lighting conditions where not optimal at the ITP show so the tracking system was a little off.

Someone at the ITP show told me something really inspiring; “This is the worst work that [Jackoon] and the other artbots will paint. They will only get better.” I agree, even now the paintings are amazing.

Link to pieces that where hanging at the show while Jackoon was making the art above.

Art Robotica in the ITP Spring Show 2009

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

This is some of the art that I showed at the ITP Spring Show 2009 exhibit.

The Art:

“Lemon Wasp” 2009
Acrylic on paper, 48”x 48”

“Daisy” 2009
Acrylic on paper, 48”x 40”

The Art Bots:

Jackoon at work:

Jackoon Painting from Oscar G. Torres on Vimeo.

Art Robotica: Thesis Presentation!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Art Robotica is a term used to describe the body of work created by the collaboration of “ArtBot” and artist. ArtBots are Autonomous Machines that paint or draw on a canvas, sheet of paper or a surface of some kind. Art Robotica reflects our new codependency and symbiotic relationship with machines. ArtBots are, in essence, collaborators rather than just new tools.

A presentation of Art Robotica was part of ITP Thesis Week 2009.
The thesis presentation was Tuesday May 5, 2009 at NYU’s ITP (721 Broadway, 4th floor)

Web Video Archive:

This is one of the paintings created so far:

“Girl” 2009, Acrylic on paper, 48″ x40″

To find out more about Art Robotica visit:

More Art Robotica:

Badger: You got to play it!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Badger is a game based on social status and identity. Its sort of like the digital version of boy scout, but a lot more diverse. If you think you deserve a badge, summit proof and let the community vote on it. Collect enough badges and earn special privileges.

We will hopefully have the site fixed by next week, please excuse the mess =)

find out more at the ITP web site and don’t forget to check out
The ITP Spring Show 2009!
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Earth Hour at NYU’s ITP Floor.

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Earth Hour 2009!


YouTube Stuff:

Chrysler /Empire state building an hour ago:




South Africa:

Some other cities: