A shirt, found again

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This is the second time I’ve found this shirt. The first time was in Cincinnati in 1995 when I graduated from highschool and some friends and I wanted to wear aloha shirts to commemorate our “never having to go through this again.” I’ve worn it occasionally since then,and it has remained a favorite if not oft chosen garment since that time. Continue reading

Foursquare – It’s Time To Stop Acting Like Dogs

Foursquare is not a pissing contest. It’s an ant farm. So stop acting like a dog.

A lifetime ago (like two months) I was on a mountain bike trail in Bend, OR riding with my friends @cassondra and @SEOeilish. When we got to the trailhead for Phil’s Trail, a well visited site for bike-minded Bendites, @cassondra checked in with Foursquare. She had been trailing @Audette for a while and knew she was close to overtaking him for the mayorship. A moment later, and it was done – Cass was the new mayor and Adam (Audette) had been ousted. We rode for a bit more, and that’s when it struck me – Foursquare isn’t a pissing contest, it’s an ant farm! (Note: at the time of publication @Audette has triumphantly retaken mayorship of the trailhead. What goes around comes around.) This made me think. About ants. I’ll explain why – I swear. But first I digress a bit…

There was a little spike in commentary several months ago comparing Foursquare to a virtual pissing contest in the sense that people were using it to be territorial, and to claim areas as their own. People were pointing out that Foursquare users acted like dogs that piss on trees and fire hydrants and legs and such in order to stack up points, mayorships and badges and compete for dominance. They were calling it narcissistic and creepy, and worse.

Here’s an example. Continue reading

Why Jørgen hates nested acceleration platforms

Update!!: Jørgen was wrong.

Oh Jørgen! Why do you doubt the amazingness of the internet?! You are so crazy like these guys!!

Have you heard of One Million Giraffes? It’s one of my favorite kinds of viral/social experiments on the web. Pointless, but not really. Simple, but executed at a scale that makes it complex. Fun, and with a connection to the tangible world – that is, not entirely digital. And most importantly, it takes full advantage of the third wave of disruption that is currently occurring – the advent of nested acceleration platforms on top of the web as an infrastructure. Continue reading

Chatroulette Breaks the Web’s Fifth Wall of Content Production

Chatroulette is a phenomenon that is sweeping the web like countless memes before it. There was the dancing banana animated gif that started the whole thing off, and ever since then we’ve all been elbow deep in memes. But chatroulette is different – it represents a true breakdown and symbolic revolution of the relationship between content producers and consumers.

If that sentence didn’t make much sense, and it very well might not have, let me back up a second and try it another way… Memes are shared ideas that can achieve deep cultural penetration through viral sharing. These ideas are cultural units, and they have value.

Chatroulette is one of the newest memes on the web and in the world, and although the technology behind it is nothing new, it has tapped into the spirit of the new web – specifically, the idea that we are all content producers now, and that the barriers have been lowered to a laughable extent in terms of who is able to create content. Chatroullette is a video chat site that randomly connects two guests to each other from anywhere around the world. It is dominated by young single white men and perverts, but deep within the layers of perversion there is something beautiful and wonderful there. It was all explained extremely well by Casey Neistat in this awesome video (that you may have already seen): Continue reading

Jeff Goldblum, George Clooney Not Dead

If anyone was unsure of the echo chamber capabilities of Twitter, today was a great example. In the wake of reports of Michael Jackson’s death, a very smart and relatively unscrupulous person posted two fake articles about George Clooney and Jeff Goldblum having died in New Zealand in completely separate and unrelated circumstances.

Twitter bought in, and the messages started (and still are) flying around like hotcakes in a lumberjack food fight. I even bought in for a few minutes, but you’ll notice that the pages were fakes. If you rolled over, or clicked on any of the other links in the pages that looked very much like news sites with tabs like “Business” and “World News,” etc., you would see that all navigation links on the page link back to the page you are already reading. That is, there is no navigation. There is no rest of the site. There is just what looks like a navigation bar to give the illusion of a site.

Furthermore, if you took the time to scroll to the bottom of the site you would see this: Continue reading

McLuhan Thinks Webcams Are Stealing Our Souls. Seriously.

This is part two of a two-part post; a brain dump of potentially lilliputian proportions. The first part was about the idea of Transactive Memory and outsourcing certain types of brain function to the web. This post is about what this new way of thinking and functioning means with regard to our individuality. This might be tricky.

Part two:

shyThere is a long tradition, that is surprisingly hard to document with any specificity online, of indigenous cultures and first peoples being unwilling to have their pictures taken by visitors with cameras – at least initially. Many of these cultures eventually shifted toward allowance, ambivalence, or even adoption of technologies like the camera, but even today there are people who do not allow their pictures to be taken. Continue reading

Transactive Web Memory: Outsourcing Our Brains to the Interwebs

Wikipedia defines Transactive Memory as:

…the process whereby people remember things in relationships and groups. Each person does not need to remember everything the group needs to know, after all, if each person merely stores in memory information about who is likely to have a particular item in the future. This capacity for remembering who knows what is the key to transactive memory…

Now that the internet has become such a deeply ingrained part of our daily lives, are we different? Who are we? And where are we going? Continue reading

Twitter vs. the Dunbar Number, and the Rise of Weak Ties

There’s a great post in The Economist about Social Networks that has a nice little review of the Dunbar Number. The Dunbar Number is a number that social network theorists have been tossing around for a long time that refers to the maximum number of people that an individual can maintain (meaning: interact with at a regular enough interval to maintain a stable relationship) at a given time in his or her social network.  It is commonly believed to around 150. It appears over and over again in social network research. Continue reading

Why You Should Tweet, A Conversation I’m Sick Of

“I’m finding that social media is so much easier to ‘do’ than to explain.”
Twitter: @ittybitties

This is a quote from a college student in one of Brad King‘s (@brad_king) Media Informatics courses at Northern Kentucky University (just outside of Cincinnati – my own home town). And this is the first thing I thought about when I started working on a post about the conversation I’m sick of having: “Why should I use Twitter, and how would using Twitter help me?” I have three problems in trying to engage in this conversation effectively…

Continue reading

Social Partitions, Honesty, and the New Social Media

More open and honest relationships with the entirety of our social network are coming soon whether we like it or not.

Things are changing. The speed of evolution of communication technologies is moving at an unreal pace when viewed in a historical perspective. But it’s like the physics experiment of shooting a projectile straight up from a moving cart (the incomparable Julius Sumner Miller – skip to 7 minutes), or jumping in a moving airplane. These leaps and bounds are taken more or less in stride because, from our perspective, we’re standing still as this system we’re a part of is hurtling from one paradigm to the next. Continue reading