[T]echnology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself. There is a high bar for something to be considered a human right. Loosely put, it must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things. For example, at one time if you didn’t have a horse it was hard to make a living. But the important right in that case was the right to make a living, not the right to a horse. Today, if I were granted a right to have a horse, I’m not sure where I would put it.
Certainly, the increasing quality of young adult books is a draw. But there are exceptional videogames, there are exceptional websites and exceptional television programs to fight for a teenager’s attention. So why are they still reading?
I think there is another reason why young adult novels are doing well, and it is less easy gauge. As of yet, there are no real studies determining this, but anecdotally, we all relate to it. A book is an opportunity to get “off the grid.” We read to break free of their digital tether. To experience what life was like before the net. To disconnect. To finally feel alone.
A book holds your hand in solitude and says, here you are alone in your room and everything is alright. You don’t need to call a friend or Twitter something. The world is still turning. If you go for a forty minute walk without your mobile, don’t worry, you’re not going to miss anything.
Then there are the classification errors. William Dwight Whitney's 1891 Century Dictionary is classified as "Family & Relationships," along with Mencken's The American Language. A French edition of Hamlet and a Japanese edition of Madame Bovary both classified as "Antiques & Collectibles." An edition of Moby Dick is classed under "Computers": a biography of Mae West classified as "Religion"; The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts falls under "Technology & Engineering." A 1975 reprint of a classic topology text is "Didactic Poetry"; the medievalist journal Speculum is classified "Health & Fitness."
From his experience as a founder of Global Voices, an aggregator of citizen media from around the world, Mr. Zuckerman says he has learned to value the roots laid down by a community of bloggers.
In Kenya, he said, bloggers were important commentators and reporters in 2007-8 on a disputed election, and people would ask why there were so many bloggers in Kenya.
It turned out, he said, that “Kenya has the second-most bloggers in Africa and that mostly they are not writing about politics; many are writing about rugby.” There was, he said, “a fascinating latent capacity — people who knew how to use the tools, knew how to write well, to tell a story with words and pictures.”
The Russia-Georgia war, he said, offered a contrast.
“Suddenly a bunch of people flocked to blogging tools,” he said. “We had never heard about of lot of those people. A number of people were manufacturing blogs from whole cloth for propaganda purposes. It was hard to know who they were, if they were credible. In Kenya, we knew who they were; we knew their favorite rugby team.”
The dominant revenue model of the web today—the ad that urges a click—embeds distraction into interface design. The more clicks you take—the more Google makes in ad revenue (distraction pays). This is not to say that social media doesn’t have extraordinary value—it does. It is at the heart the emerging social nervous system. Yet, the ability to pay attention, focus and strategically disconnect will be a winning discipline of the next generation of business leaders. As the zen phrase says, “eat when you eat” meaning, give each thing you do all of your attention.
Problem drinking in Western societies contributes to disease and death as well as social and economic woes. Yet only a small number of people with alcohol problems – 10 to 20 percent – ever seek and participate in treatment. This study examined the real-world effectiveness of a 24/7 free-access, anonymous, interactive, and Web-based self-help intervention called Drinking Less (DL) at http://www.minderdrinken.nl. Findings show that DL can help problem drinkers in the privacy of their own homes.
By improving access to a worldwide market, eBay has inadvertently created a vast market for copies of antiquities, diverting whole villages from looting to producing fake artifacts, Stanish writes. The proliferation of these copies also has added new risks to buying objects billed as artifacts, which in turn has worked to depress the market for these items, further reducing incentives to loot.
My basic premise is that the internet is not replacing advertising but shattering it, and all the king’s horses, all the king’s men, and all the creative talent of Madison Avenue cannot put it together again. . . .
It is frequently argued that the advertising industry will provide sufficient innovation to replace the loss of traditional ads on traditional mass media. Again, my basic premise rejects this, suggesting that simple commercial messages, pushed through whatever medium, in order to reach a potential customer who is in the middle of doing something else, will fail. It’s not that we no longer need information to initiate or to complete a transaction; rather, we will no longer need advertising to obtain that information. We will see the information we want, when we want it, from sources that we trust more than paid advertising. We will find out what we need to know, when we want to make a commercial transaction of any kind. The conventional wisdom is that this is exactly what paid search helps us to do, but all too often they are nothing more than a form of misdirection . . . [later defined as] diverting customers to companies that they do not wish to find, simply because the customer’s preferred company underbid.
“If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.
With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.
As the years passed, Lifehacker became my online alter ego, my professional identity, my work and my play. I happily gave up time I’d normally spend on creative side projects to the site, because it was my primary outlet for the two things I love most: software and writing. But as our staff and audience grew, the news chase intensified, and management duties piled up. I started writing and coding less and air traffic-controlling, copy-editing, budgeting, doing PR, and assigning stories to my writers more. While that all has been great experience I am lucky to have under my belt, it’s time for me to recalibrate how I’m spending my days. As someone put well, it’s time to mitigate the urgent to focus on the important.
The bottom line is this: for someone who loves making things on the web, spending 100% of the time blogging about what other people are making is simply untenable.
Geography | How the new cartography is like mapmaking in the Middle Ages: Today’s maps are “geographically accurate beyond the dreams of a medieval mind,” yet they’re still, perhaps more than ever, vehicles for representing the world’s geography as the mapmaker idiosyncratically interprets it — never mind getting from point A to point B. [Boston Globe]
He was describing the ballet of the train station. But his description could just as easily have applied to the Internet. Think about it: Serendipitous encounters between people who know each other well, sort of well, and not at all. People of every type, and with every type of agenda, trying to meet up with others who share that same agenda. An environment that’s alive at all hours, populated by all types, and is, most of the time, pretty safe. What he was saying, really, was that New York had become the Web. Or perhaps more, even: that New York was the Web before the Web was the Web, characterized by the same free-flowing interaction, 24/7 rhythms, subgroups, and demimondes.
So why, with the cornucopia of goodies now available to us, are blockbusters not just still here, but getting bigger? On the face of it, Anderson’s idea of a divergence of tastes in the digital era is logical. But if the long tail effect does not exist, or is not as pronounced as was thought, what is really going on?
Elberse says it’s a bit like the influence of multichannel television on the economics of sport. In the old days, if you wanted to watch soccer, you went to watch your local team in the flesh. Now, she says, in the UK you are more likely to decide to stay at home and watch Chelsea play Arsenal. This change of allegiance cuts the cash flowing into the ticket office of your local club while boosting advertising revenues for TV, which accrue disproportionately in favour of the already wealthy top clubs.
It is a phenomenon known to economists as the Matthew effect, after a quotation from the gospel of that name: “For unto every one that hath shall be given.” Just as for the long tail effect, there is a plausible explanation of why it should be happening in the modern media environment: easy digital replication and efficient communication through cellphones, email and social networking sites encourage fast-moving, fast-changing fads. The result is a homogenisation of tastes that boosts the chances of popular things becoming blockbusters, making the already successful even more successful.
Internet | The meaning of LOLcats, explained by a Psychology Today editor: “Just as the dogs in the New Yorker cartoons don’t represent actual dogs, these cats don’t represent cats at all, but people. By using cats, icanhascheezburger can access themes more tragic and poignant than it could using people.” [Salon]
Mary sed “Ceiling Cat is laik a big deal, Mai I is happy about Ceiling Cat… bcz he kepted me in maind an now evribodi knowz i can haz cheezburgr. Thank u Ceiling Cat, u iz cool. U iz niec to evribodi. Xcept peeplz who doant dizrv it LOL. U haz pwned teh r00lrz whiel stil bein niec to teh n00bz. U givd cookies to teh hungri whiel u tolded teh rich “Niec trai.” U wuz niec to Israel an to all Abraham’s famili liek u promist.”