Audio vs text: the rise of podcasts & audiobooks

On The Bill Simmons Podcast this month, author Malcolm Gladwell said something that startled me: the audiobook version of his latest book, Talking to Strangers, was outselling the hard cover after the first week on sale. He mentioned this was also happening with the books of Jordan Peterson, a middle-aged self help author who’s become enormously popular with younger generations due to … Read more

Bowie, Houdini & other reasons I ❤️ blogs and newsletters

Last week I argued that blogs, Tumblr and email newsletters can offer an alternative to the Black Mirror world of social media we currently live in. In particular, that we can build this new world – the blogosphere 2.0 – around cultural content. Once again I have to caution: I don’t see this as competing with social media, because … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more