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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

What’s a Rolodex and why would I want one?

with 4 comments

When will the cloud break your heart?

“I don’t care if Google has my information,” said the sales woman.

Digital natives may be a lot of things, but one thing is certain: they aren’t too worried about technology. For them tech is a fact of life, like air and electricity and coffee—always there. Always ready. All slick and wireless and greased to go. That’s why Facebook is mostly just a free $13 18 20 billion Rolodex and Google is a verb. Thus has it always been. And so it shall always be.

Except when it isn’t.

Digital natives have abandoned themselves to the cloud assuming it will always be there. Mostly they don’t have a plan B when stuff goes away. Plan B is to call friends for numbers and addresses and recreate what they had before—but that’ll never happen because Facebook will be there, right?

I don’t put myself in the digital native category, which means I remember a bunch of dumb old stuff like phones with cords and 5 ½ inch floppy disks and, well, I won’t bore you with a kiln-load of nostalgia. But I retain crisp memories of this: important stuff vanishing with a bad piece of media. And an old computer simply destroying things I’d spent lots of time on. More than once. And that lesson stuck. That’s why my contacts and files reside in multiple places, including the cloud. That’s also why I do not assume Internet access in my travels. Instead I have this dumb game of searching for Wi-Fi wherever I go: just last week I ran across a signal called “Chuck Norris” in South Minneapolis. My many experiences losing important information have made me happy to seek redundancy.

The sales woman at the AT&T store has no problem storing contacts, messages and files with Google. Same with millions of us. Who cares if Google scans our communication and sends the right advertisers our way? Who cares if Facebook is about to have one of the largest IPOs in history, based on the dumb comments we type and the hours we spend on the site? Nobody cares—we get what we want out of the deal. We chat with people and divert ourselves with dumb games. Half of Americans think Facebook is a passing fad—and GM thinks their advertising with Facebook is a waste of money. Even if both of those are true, something more enticing and powerful will surely rise next.

I’m guessing down the road we’ll realize the much larger issue was not about losing stuff. And the larger issue maybe isn’t even that we’ve given away the keys to our connections between friends, family and acquaintances. We have yet to understand the full impact of this progressive-thought harvesting, but I’ll admit Nick Carr’s post on digital sharecropping has set me to thinking about where I spend my digits. It also makes me reluctant to entrust everything to the cloud and the enterprising folks who manage it.

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Image credit: Chris Buzelli via thisisnthappiness

Written by kirkistan

August 31, 2013 at 5:00 am

What’s a Rolodex and why would I want one?

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When will the cloud break your heart?

“I don’t care if Google has my information,” said the sales woman.

Digital natives may be a lot of things, but one thing is certain: they aren’t too worried about technology. For them tech is a fact of life, like air and electricity and coffee—always there. Always ready. All slick and wireless and greased to go. That’s why Facebook is mostly just a free $13 18 20 billion Rolodex and Google is a verb. Thus has it always been. And so it shall always be.

Except when it isn’t.

Digital natives have abandoned themselves to the cloud assuming it will always be there. Mostly they don’t have a plan B when stuff goes away. Plan B is to call friends for numbers and addresses and recreate what they had before—but that’ll never happen because Facebook will be there, right?

I don’t put myself in the digital native category, which means I remember a bunch of dumb old stuff like phones with cords and 5 ½ inch floppy disks and, well, I won’t bore you with a kiln-load of nostalgia. But I retain crisp memories of this: important stuff vanishing with a bad piece of media. And an old computer simply destroying things I’d spent lots of time on. More than once. And that lesson stuck. That’s why my contacts and files reside in multiple places, including the cloud. That’s also why I do not assume Internet access in my travels. Instead I have this dumb game of searching for Wi-Fi wherever I go: just last week I ran across a signal called “Chuck Norris” in South Minneapolis. My many experiences losing important information have made me happy to seek redundancy.

The sales woman at the AT&T store has no problem storing contacts, messages and files with Google. Same with millions of us. Who cares if Google scans our communication and sends the right advertisers our way? Who cares if Facebook is about to have one of the largest IPOs in history, based on the dumb comments we type and the hours we spend on the site? Nobody cares—we get what we want out of the deal. We chat with people and divert ourselves with dumb games. Half of Americans think Facebook is a passing fad—and GM thinks their advertising with Facebook is a waste of money. Even if both of those are true, something more enticing and powerful will surely rise next.

I’m guessing down the road we’ll realize the much larger issue was not about losing stuff. And the larger issue maybe isn’t even that we’ve given away the keys to our connections between friends, family and acquaintances. We have yet to understand the full impact of this progressive-thought harvesting, but I’ll admit Nick Carr’s post on digital sharecropping has set me to thinking about where I spend my digits. It also makes me reluctant to entrust everything to the cloud and the enterprising folks who manage it.

###

Image credit: Chris Buzelli via thisisnthappiness

Written by kirkistan

May 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

Jeff Nunokawa & People-Centric Scholarship

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A recent New Yorker Talk of the Town feature showed Jeff Nunokawa practicing his scholarship on Facebook. Rebecca Mead’s article “Earnest” compared Dr. Nunokawa writing his first book in a windowless basement with the way he connects today with his Princeton students. His “meditations” get read because they are brief, accessible and located exactly where his audience spends their time—Facebook.

“…I like the social-media element—I want it to be sociable. It’s not that I don’t want to be a scholar, but this is how I want to be a scholar.” (The New Yorker, July 4, 2011, 19)

Something good is happening here. And the good thing is not that scholarship is dumbed-down or going away. Tightly controlled, peer-reviewed articles using insider-only language will continue as a means of advancing scholarship. But this good thing is a fresh emphasis on accessibility: making the connections so more people can get pulled into the excitement of understanding. You may call it low-hanging fruit. But this copywriter sees it as a ministry to the human race.

At the moment, the academy doesn’t reward this: popular retelling of scholarship is often not tenure-track stuff. But the institutional gatekeepers will not have the last say, as more people join these ongoing conversations.

Something good is happening. Something new. I welcome it.

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Image credit: Scott Dadich

Facebook at Work—A Both/And Approach

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Whole people go to work

Employers are of two minds when it comes to Facebook at work. One view is that it is a great time-waster and should be removed to an employee’s personal time. That view has much traditional merit because workers are paid for productivity. Productivity is part of the social compact we agree to when stepping across that corporate threshold.

Another view is to encourage employees to use their relationship-building tools to advance the cause of the corporation—much like United Health Group invited their employees to lobby congress (mind you, on a “completely voluntary” basis) against reform which could hurt the company’s bottom line. Of course, spouting company talking points in a Facebook news feed sounds even more plastic and lifeless than it usually does in a news article.

Is there a third-way, an alternative that lies somewhere between an outright ban and a manipulative directive? I put this question to a class of college juniors and seniors studying writing in organizations—people who swim in social media all day every day. One woman suggested the typical 5-10 minute coffee break as an opportunity for social networking. In fact, that has always been the traditional purpose of that break: connecting with people over a cup of joe. Generally those breaks have not been work related. Facebook and Twitter and the like mean that now those breaks are taken with friends scattered across the planet rather than colleagues in the next cube.

Of course employees access Facebook and Twitter all day without approval from their employers. But this third way suggests these conversations and relationship-building activities can be good for the company. Not only does limited corporate approval give a nod to employees as whole people who bring their whole selves to the workplace, it also recognizes that connections and communication are life-giving interactions that help a person deal with difficulty—wherever that difficulty happens to come from.

Granted, not every job can allow this. I’d rather my air traffic controller not check Facebook while we’re flying through a crowded airspace. But a lot of jobs have room for connections and communication. Let’s publicly recognize that connections and communication are a good thing.

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