Author: ricmac

  • How blogs, newsletters & Tumblr can fight back against social media

    The following post is my argument for a new type of social networking built around cultural content. While blogs, Tumblr and email newsletters cannot compete with social media for popular attention, we can build an alternative, more thoughtful, world with these tools.

  • How interactive media fits into the cultural landscape

    Online gaming, virtual reality experiences and mixed reality apps are among the fastest growing parts of the digital economy. But are they what we’d traditionally label as “culture”? A new report argues that not only should these “interactive media” be talked about in the same breath as movies, music and books, they’re also essential to […]

  • Are we doing enough to archive digital culture?

    In this week’s free weekly Cybercultural newsletter, I look at the problem of archiving cultural content from magazines, blogs, musicians and video gamers – and why it matters. Have you ever had any of these issues lately while trying to access content? You wrote a blog in the early to late 2000s, but it’s long […]

  • Cybercultural: my newsletter & consultancy


    In mid-May, I launched my latest media venture: Cybercultural. It’s an email newsletter run on the Substack platform, and it covers the intersection of technology and the cultural industries (encompassing music, tv and movies, news media, books, the arts, and more). The intention is to make Cybercultural a paid subscription newsletter. I had hoped to […]

  • The AI failures of Facebook & YouTube

    The big social media companies have rightfully come under immense pressure over the past week, in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.  But one question continues to bother me: why were Facebook and YouTube so ineffective when it came to shutting down the terrorist’s live stream and the dispersal of the video after? Over […]

  • Time to stamp out hate content on social media

    After the tragedy in Christchurch last Friday, serious questions are being asked of the world’s largest social media companies. Why was the killer able to live stream this appalling act on Facebook for 17 minutes? Why couldn’t YouTube and Twitter prevent copies of the video from being propagated on their global networks? Why did Reddit […]

  • How to cope with the gig economy

    The “gig economy” has its drawbacks, as highlighted recently by Newsroom Pro managing editor Bernard Hickey, but it’s also an unavoidable part of today’s employment landscape. Especially for millennials and Generation Z, two generations that grew up in the internet era – and now have to earn a living in it. I’ve questioned aspects of […]

  • Can UBCO electric bikes take on Lime scooters?

    Electric scooters have been all the rage in parts of New Zealand over the past six months, with Lime scooters clogging up both footpaths and media headlines. But we could soon be seeing more electric moped bikes on our streets too, if kiwi startup UBCO has its way. UBCO is a rapidly expanding business, and […]

  • Government report on digital economy ignores NZ tech

    A recent Government report into the digital economy has been criticized for focusing too much on global giants like Google and Uber, and barely mentioning New Zealand’s leading tech companies.  The report, co-written by the NZ and Australian Productivity Commissions, claims that both NZ and Australia are minor players in the global innovation market. “The […]

  • Digital billboards will save media (yeah right)

    Digital billboards are now an unlikely arm of the media business, if New Zealand’s own MediaWorks is any indication. Late last year, MediaWorks – which runs the Three tv network and popular radio brands like The Edge and More FM – acquired the New Zealand arm of Australian out-of-home advertising business, QMS Media. It was […]

  • Why Spotify wants to be the Netflix of audio

    Podcasting is a version of radio optimized for the internet era, but it’s still a relatively small market. The US podcasting industry earned $314 million in revenue in 2017, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC. But that pales in comparison to the US radio industry, which earned $22.1 billion […]

  • The hidden dangers of better DNA profiling laws

    The NZ Law Commission has just released a DNA Issues Paper, to determine whether our DNA profiling laws need updating. The paper, and accompanying website, is focused on the use of DNA in criminal investigations. But it also raises intriguing questions about consumer safety for kiwis who use – or have used in the past […]

  • Why NZ should take a moral stance on global e-commerce

    Tensions between the US and China are at an all-time high. That’s mostly because of the ongoing trade war between the two powerhouse countries, but it wasn’t helped last week when the US laid criminal charges against Chinese telco Huawei. As a result of the unease and accompanying paranoia over possible cyber-espionage, there’s been growing […]

  • Huawei wants to tear down the 5G wall

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” President Ronald Reagan famously proclaimed in a June 1987 speech near the Berlin Wall. Chinese telco Huawei is currently trying to tear down a wall of a different kind: one preventing it from building 5G networks all around the world, including here in New Zealand. The Berlin Wall did, […]

  • Why is Facebook pushing Snapchat-style stories?

    Perhaps the most popular social media format in 2019 is “stories.” These are ephemeral video and photo posts that disappear from your profile after a day. The stories post format is incredibly popular with the younger demographic, thanks to Snapchat and Instagram. But now Instagram’s uncool dad, Facebook, is trying to prompt the rest of […]