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July 14, 2009
The Link That Ate Chicago
It was hungry.
- Two interesting commentaries from danah boyd: in the first, she
presented a paper at the Personal Democracy Forum on the politics
of class online, specifically across MySpace and Facebook. Her
fellow Berkman Center scholar Eszter Hargittai has also done a
lot of research on this, if you're interested.
- Second, boyd wrote a post on generational
use of "backchannel"--how younger people use
Twitter/blogging/IRC/Wikipedia/etc. during public presentations and
lectures to augment the experience. I do wonder, though, if surprise at
this is strictly limited to academic settings. After all, every meeting
I've been in for the last five years has often been populated by
Blackberry users acting in the same fashion. One could, in fact, argue
that this is the real curse of the Blackberry: by giving managers and
knowledge workers the ability to work during otherwise unproductive
meetings via the backchannel, it eliminates part of the valid case
against those meetings in the first place.
- Patrick Meier continues a fine series of posts on digital activism
by noting the
primacy of content over channel. A great series of resources,
especially centered on the many studies of nonviolence available online.
ten guidelines for building low bandwidth pages are meant to benefit
audiences in developing countries, and that's a great thing to keep in
mind. But it's also important for mobile development: 2G networks suffer
from exactly the same problems. And even fancy new smartphones can find
themselves operating on 2G networks once you leave the major metro areas
of the US (or worse, as I was reminded while driving through West
Virginia last month). All of this is a major reason why, despite the
Mile Zero. Also, because I am lazy.
- Cultivating a decent network on Delicious has been yielding all
kinds of great stuff lately: Justin Pickard found Venkatesh Rao's "The
Rhetoric of the Hyperlink", looking at how the link has changed
writing and voice. The examples are fantastic.
- Odd Delicious coincidence: I find new link feeds by looking at
the people who bookmark the same kinds of things I do, but unless you
use something personal (like your name) there's nothing to really
identify who a given user is in real life. Today I realized that one of
the people in my network is Aleks Krotoski of The Guardian's gaming
blog. Weird. So now I've got that going for me.
- If you read enough futurists for long enough, you start to notice
something: at the extremes of the political left and right, they start
to blend together. I had always assumed that was one of those political
aphorisms used by moderates to denigrate activists, but in this case it
seems to be true--when it comes to discussion of "resilient" communities
and local production, you may start to see a lot of similarity between
(on the Left) Rob Hopkins' Transition Towns and (on the Right, I think)
John Robb's new world order of global guerrillas. Case in point: this
Make post on Backwoods Home magazine, a rural libertarian journal
for DIY types that's nonetheless reviewed as "useful, regardless of your
political persuasion, [due to] the wealth of information written by
practitioners in the arts of self-reliance"--and compared directly to
the granola-crunching Mother Earth News.
- Me, I'm more with Bruce Sterling from the talk posted below: I'm a
city kid, and I believe there's a lot of good to be derived from urban
humanity. But its savings are going to come more from addressing the
systemic and cultural wastefulness of global capitalism than learning
how to grow my own radishes. In this, I'm encouraged by this
speech by the WWF's Jason Clay (transcribed loosely by Ethan
Zuckerman) on approaching sustainability from the perspective of
massive, multinational corporations and their supply chains. It's full
of fascinating facts on where the real costs of production occur (Mars
buys more fish than Wal-mart each year, just to make cat food).