H/T: White Whine
Looking back on the world’s history, I have a funny feeling that today’s revolutionaries may not turn their countries into such benign places as we’d like to think. How do we know they will be able to put everything together and democratically operate? Will a new despot emerge from the rubble? This is not to say that I prefer Mubarak or Ben Ali or Gadaffi, but it is too soon it some regards to sound the horn of cheer. The real work may still be before them. Countries like Tunisia have a lot of problems and a charismatic leader may emerge with a scapegoat strategy for rebuilding. Aaron Brady is more optimistic:
[I]nstead of the personality cult by which Presidents-for-life like Ben Ali and Mubarak have ruled for decades, the masses of nameless Cairenes and Tunisians—assembled on Facebook and in the street—represents a kind of anti-personality cult. When everyone is “Khaled Said” (or “Mohamed Bouazizi” in Tunisia), after all, the story being told is not only that the nation is united, but that it is united by the common experience of having suffered at the hands of the state. In this sense, instead of “leaderless revolutions,” perhaps we might think about how Facebook helped facilitate a “revolution of leaderlessness“?…
In other words, what Gladwell flags as a weakness of social media—the difficulty of producing strong commitment to a single idea or plan—might actually be what makes it uniquely valuable. By uniting around the crimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, the much more difficult political question of what kind of government was to succeed him could be deferred until later.
H/T: The Dish
“I’m very, very calm and pretty relaxed and laid-back – pretty much the opposite of a hurricane. I guess that’s funny,” - Irene Tien, who has owned @Irene since 2006 and recently became inundated with tweets.
I finished last week Eli Pariser’s book The Internet Bubble. His above TED talk is captioned as follows:
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
His TED talk essentially captures the main points found in his 250 page book. What he doesn’t cover in those 9 minutes of talking is some background on the engineers and technological goliaths currently taking the internet by storm. He delves into their dreams for the internet (Google hopes to one day not even have a search bar but have an algorithm so good that it knows what we want to search for) and how this new era of internet and social networking is guissed as transparently democratic but is mostly shadowed by ever changing privacy settings and our data (info we share, links we click on, et al.) sold to creepy third party entities.
Pariser’s caveat regarding personalization as contrary to creative, serendipitous living (as well as democracy) is half truth and half inflated out of fear. While our Facebook newsfeeds are taylored by algorithisms that direct us towards things we “may” be interested in (based on what we click on or search for), personalization is personalized for each of us. What I mean is this: if you use Yahoo news as a daily source for news or even Facebook (which believe it or not is rising rather quickly as a place where plethora of people find out the news), you most likely will receive some skewed results. However, if you are similar to me in that I find my news via blogs (all set up through Google Reader), my personalization will be different from yours. Seventy percent (give or take) of the blogs or news sources I check can be classified as left of center. That itself lends towards a personalized experience that differs from a daily intake of The Blaze, The New York Post, and Fox News. With blogs, I choose which to read based on what I like and the quality. These blogs I check do not (yet) personalize what they present to me and the rest of their viewers. You have no choice in that matter, according to Pariser, when you look for the day’s news on Google or Facebook.
One other note: I experimented with another computer (both logged in to our Google accounts) in Google searching the following terms: BP, Barack Obama, dogs, and horses. Each of our results had the same front page results as well as total number of results. This doesn’t conclusively refute Pariser’s argument that everyone has a different Google search experience but goes to show that this whole Brave New World-type internet bubble is not as scary as he may crack it up to be.
This is an interesting short video titled “How Green Is Your Internet?”
Hungry Beast‘s Dan Ilic explores the facts and figures behind the oft ignored energy expenditure of Internet usage.
NYT columnist David Brooks gives a talk in England on his new book The Social Animal. It isn’t the same old same old on social networking but delves into our subconscious decision making and connections made with the world around us. If his book interests you, look for it in your local library. There are several circulating already in the York County library system.
This of course would increase the value of Facebook, but in reality you can create a Facebook account and lie about your age.
I suppose they would have an account to track “secret” things, but this guy working one night screwed up big time:
The Twitter feed handler for the Secret Service’s verified account inadvertently tweets a personal post critical of Fox News, promptly deletes it, his employment.
The Secret Service released a statement apologizing for the “unapproved and inappropriate tweet,” saying it “did not reflect the views of the U.S. Secret Service,” and the individual responsible — “who mistakenly believed they were on their personal account” — has had their access to the official Twitter account revoked.
H/T: Sherman Alexie
This is a pretty interesting video:
The Filter Bubble author Eli Pariser gives an illuminating TED talk on the dangers of online personalization algorithms that limit our worldview by attempting to predict our interests.
A funny clip exposing how open some people are (or are not) to sharing their personal information in real life.
- The Oxford University Press blog created a neat chart (above):
Political discontent has cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East. Entrenched dictators with decades of experience controlling political life have fallen or had to make major concessions. In the West, some observers discount the role of digital media in political change, others give it too much emphasis.
- Filmdrunk – your one stop place for movie info.
- Another site to peep – URLesque.
- I’ll keep this coming. The Economist has a blog dedicated to charts and info graphics. How sweet!
- Glenn Beck is thinking of leaving Fox and starting his own new channel. He could also want to start a new channel if Fox doesn’t renew his contract.
- Finally, pole dancing…for Jesus?
A neat post on all that comes with having a Gmail or AOL account. The writer totally wrote out most of what I had thought before but never had the audacity to post.
A friend of MJ’s and I had a Facebook status warning others about Spokeo.com. Here is the message:
There’s a site called spokeo.com that’s a new online USA phone book with your personal info. Everything from pics you’ve posted on Facebook or web, your credit score, home value and pix, income, age, children,etc. Remove yourself by searching for your name, copy the URL of your page, then go to the bottom of the page, click the Privacy button to remove yourself.
I used a secondary email of mine to remove MJ and I. This is beyond creepy.
“I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.”
-NY Times article