Marketing Director

The Digital Footprint: Lessons from Kris Krug (1 of 3)

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Kris Krug is a technology, idea and thought leader with a strong presence in the digital world. He is also described as ‘a tech-artist, quasi-sage, cyberpunk anti-hero from the future’. The more you get to know him the more that description rings true. I like to imagine him as a cyber surfer on the front of the wave enabling arts and culture in the internet age. If you've never heard of Kris check out his Wikipedia page here. Kris describes himself on as, “a photographer, web strategist and author based in Vancouver.” Kris speaks all over the world on the topics of technology and the arts. I was inspired by his presentation at Pecha Kucha in Vancouver titled, “Open Everything”. In the presentation Kris talks about the move away from traditional blogging towards a digital footprint.

To Kris the 'digital footprint' is represented by his photos on flickr, his videos on YouTube, his blog posts, links he shares, comments he leaves, interactions he has and comments others make about him. See a digital footprint by googling his name or mine. I am writing with many links embedded in the hopes that if you are interested you will explore and try these tools for yourself. Powerful computing tools are increasingly moving online and Kris knows his stuff. So join me as I go into the mind of a current thought leader for a lesson or two.

When did you realize that technology was part of your vocation?
I really started working with web technology while I was at University. In early 1996 I was introduced to Netscape(?) and I started creating web pages. It was when my Communications professors approached me to build web pages for them that I knew things were really changing. It was an upheaval of the traditional power structure. Normally students want help from professors, suddenly these same professors were coming to me for help with their work. I went onto to create web pages for my professors, to promote and sell books, and the university.

In 1998 I created, an online magazine exploring electronic consciousness and digital philosophy. It grew pretty big and we were using content management systems before blogging which required us to build new HTML pages every month. 11 years later my life is a continuation of those explorations and the addition of more. I am publishing online and speaking live exploring how we are changing and how the medium is changing.

On Blogging...
When blogging first started it was for everything [pictures, videos, discussions]. Now each of these media has their own tools outside the blog [flickr, YouTube, Twitter/Facebook]. People are no longer blogging every day; comments on blogs aren’t the place for discussions they once were. One great new tool [Disqus] aggregates tweets about a particular post and then includes a link or embeds those tweets into the blog in the comments section. 

Now, instead of writing a blog post after an event I can tweet from the event, post photos and video directly to the web in real time and the day after the event I can do a blog post. I can use tweets from others about the event, embed some of the photos or videos I posted the day before into the post. I feel like we are moving from a web of pages to a web of streams. These streams allow us to aggregate our presence into one central place.

On the Olympics... [from a video of a recent Olympic roundtable w/Kris]

I currently represent "The True North Media House" and we are working to build an independent, alternative media center for the 2010 games. There will be a period of time in the future where the stories we are sharing 20 years after the games will be things that happened online. This is the first Olympics sitting on that brink and I hope to help tip the scales in that way through the organization of this 2010 media house.

A video from Northern Voice 2009 with True North Media House and others

[Also see this post from co-founder Dave Olson]

In order to prevent readers from having to read to much at once I have broken this piece up into 3 posts. Each post is chalked full of great tools, ideas and links from Kris Krug. Read Part 2 now!


  1. What can 140 characters do?

    I believe it was Marshall McLuhan who said the media was the message and Norm Chomsky that said no truly new message can be put into a sound bite. I suspect they are correct.

    Twitter is media, a sound bite used to convey banal or already known ideas. Through it can be great for meeting people at Tim Horton’s that role was already being filled by phones, txt, and email, so nothing really new on that front. A tweet is simply too short for real communication or discussion, so it is stuck as a sound bite.

    That isn’t to say people cannot learn new information with the smallest of messages. Clearly the communication of basic news is possible with 140 Characters. I have used fewer to communicate my location, intention, and progress on a trip. To me that is bland but often important information. But the last thing we need are more sound bites.

    People use twitter to be reminded of old concepts not learn new ones. For example “Revolution doesn't happen when society adopts new technology, it happens when society adopts new behaviors." -Clay Shirky”. That tweet, like so many, is most likely to remind the group of a common interpretation or understanding rather than impart new information. It does not convey details that drive behaviors. Like the idea that our society, beliefs, culture and behaviors, are driven, sometimes even formed by technology.

    Nor would it transmit the details that political and social revolutions always follow significant technological change.

    Twitter appeals not to the masses but to cliques within the masses. Given enough cross communication between cliques it might have mass effect but not likely. What effect it does have, as do the internet and other technology, is allow a further fragmentation of society and create ever smaller, tighter and more isolated groups.

    And that can create a revolution.

    BTW, Great blog, topical and interesting and even educational. Tweet worthy even, LOL.

  2. Thanks for leaving such a contributionary (new word) comment.

    I hope you checked some of my older posts which are more focused on Twitter and it's uses.

  3. Yes you have excellent posts on Twitter which explains twitter very well. I suspect, as is often the case, I am not the target market, in this case, for twitter.