"The biggest challenge is going to be illustrating why people should care about all of these new connected devices in the first place."
Above all else, sociology helps us learn to ask critical questions about both individuals and their broader context. What factors shape an individual’s life chances? How do changes in policies and laws impact people’s daily lives? Is this person’s experience typical, or anomalous?
Learning about sociology not only enhances a writer’s ability to tell interesting stories, it also helps us tell stories that will have a powerful impact on those who read them.
As a pseudo-sociologist, the skills I learned, namely the importance of the social context of, well, pretty much everything, changes everything.
“Big data is a term describing the storage and analysis of large and or complex data sets using a series of techniques including, but not limited to: NoSQL, MapReduce and machine learning.
The Method for an Integrated Knowledge Environment open source project. The MIKE project argues that big data is not a function of the size of a dataset but its complexity. Consequently, it is the high degree of permutations and interactions within a dataset that defines big data.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST argues that big data is data which: “exceed(s) the capacity or capability of current or conventional methods and systems”. In other words, the notion of “big” is relative to the current standard of computation.”
The new definition of Big Data.
We are truly betwixt worlds, and as editor of a web-based journal, I’ve again and again felt the truth of William Gibson’s familiar observation: “The future is already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.” In my experience the distribution — contrary to popular perception — is less generational than temperamental.
the focus on the hard copy — on the object — is natural enough. You can hold it in your hand and admire the design, feel its weight, appreciate what Nicholson Baker has called “a beautifully browsable invention that needs no electricity and exists in readable form no matter what happens.” But in the contemplation of the object, you do not necessarily consider the many systems — the intricate and overlapping networks of publishers, editors and proofreaders, of designers and typographers and printers, of marketers and distributors and transporters, of booksellers, libraries and archives — that have been activated in its service.
All of which is to underscore that the heart of the matter is not the printed page versus the electronic screen; that what is being revolutionized is not simply the print publication but more broadly the larger systems within which it has played such a central and glorious part.
Twitter is not a startup any more. It doesn’t need to hide behind the skirts of its investors, or plead that it’s too new to understand how being a prominent company works. It has been in the trenches of every major world event for the past seven years. It could even be argued that Twitter is not really a tech company – because Twitter’s future is tied with the future of news itself, it’s a media company now. And as a media company, it should know that words matter. And the lack of words – a strange, uncustomary silence – says more than Twitter’s executives may think.
While a very valid point, there are several pieces of this that bother me. First off, Twitter has not been a startup for sometime. Twitter is indeed a media, communication and entertainment company now. That mission of transparency lingers from the days when it was a social network, of sorts. A way to communication 140-characters of random thoughts or events with anyone who would listen. That was then.
The IPO is the symptom of a larger shift that has been happening within Twitter for years now. They are no longer a social network. That is not a plausible business option for them. Yes, Twitter is inherently social, but it is not Facebook. It’s currency is information, news. That is Twitter’s business now. It is a smart business decision to keep the news about their IPO under wraps because of that shift.
The digital butler is a useful metaphor for how interactive systems can make our complicated lives easier to navigate. But recently the metaphor of conversation has begun to guide interaction designers as they develop systems and define how they should behave as we are using them. In the conversation metaphor, the system is interpreting and responding to our speech and gestures in real time, the way an engaged friend would—anticipating what we are about to say or do and responding in kind, sometimes knowing where we are headed in the interaction before we do ourselves, but also guiding the conversation based upon its own knowledge of our past together and the world we mutually inhabit.
These two metaphors, the butler and the conversationalist, offer very different explanations for why users can become so frustrated when the exchange goes wrong, when our needs or intentions are misinterpreted or ignored. The digital butler, after all, is a servant, and that metaphor allows us to excuse the system even as we blame it—“good help is hard to find.” This reaction is also described by Alan Cooper as the “dancing bear” effect: We are so impressed that a bear can dance that we don’t expect it to dance very well . But in this regard the conversation metaphor is superior because it suggests that we should consider our machines our equals, and hold them to a higher standard—a human standard—when it comes to our expectations in the conversation.
Talking to machines. The device is the mediator of conversation, so it must be treated as the other human element in the conversation.
In other words, the world of constant connectivity and media, as embodied by Facebook, is the social network’s worst enemy: in every study that distinguished the two types of Facebook experiences—active versus passive—people spent, on average, far more time passively scrolling through newsfeeds than they did actively engaging with content. This may be why general studies of overall Facebook use, like Kross’s of Ann Arbor residents, so often show deleterious effects on our emotional state. Demands on our attention lead us to use Facebook more passively than actively, and passive experiences, no matter the medium, translate to feelings of disconnection and boredom.
While these studies are interesting, I am not really sure that we can draw any relevant conclusions from them. There are a few things, first of all, my statistics professor’s voice is ringing in my head, “your sample size should be at least 100 for it to be worth paying attention to.” Or draw any type of generalized conclusion from.
Secondly, what about location? The baseline emotions of the sample group could very well be determined by location, cultural and social contexts. Not to mention behavior patterns and levels of engagement will vary across different locales, groups and ages.
Lastly, why do we care if Facebook makes us unhappy? Will this deter people from using it? No, probably not. Will it change the way that branded content gets pushed? Doubtful. While Facebook, as a form of interaction, is somewhat novel (though hardly at all), it’s effects on our emotional health and psyche will likely be no different from the effects of normal, in-person social interaction. Digitally-mediated social networks are becoming normalized methods of communication and interaction. Yes, there is a distinction between active and passive interactions, but that is no different from when you are a shy kid, standing in the corner at the party or the gregarious one doing a keg stand in the middle of it.
Tricia Wang - How Visual Media Affect Culture and Identity Globally from The Conference this year in Malmo.
Fascinating idea of the elastic self. It is interesting to think of how we have divided the idea of self into the offline and online. The real life and the digital life. Its a silly division. We do not all have multiple personalities; we are one holistic person with multiple facets and attributes that are merely expressed differently depending on the medium.
As Tricia points out, the digital, especially with the increasing visual expression (photos, gifs, etc), it is easier than ever to express ourselves thanks to digital media and platforms. Expression is not just for the arts anymore; everyone has the ability to express and share facets of their identity, manipulate it and more.
Every time you fail, you dent your brand slightly. Enough failures—enough contradictions of your promise—and you’ll wreck your brand. People will start to assume that your promise is a lie and that you’re a phony. Then you’re sunk. Mayday.
That’s why once you create a Personal Brand, everything you do is branding.
It is true. Who you are on the web is a representation of ourself, your brand and what you want to portray to the world. It is hard to escape that. Accept it. What you put out there for people to see is marketing, it is branding.