The IRL Fetish

Many of us, indeed, have always been quite happy to occasionally log off and appreciate stretches of boredom or ponder printed books — even though books themselves were regarded as a deleterious distraction as they became more prevalent. But our immense self-satisfaction in disconnection is new. How proud of ourselves we are for fighting against the long reach of mobile and social technologies! One of our new hobbies is patting ourselves on the back by demonstrating how much we don’t go on Facebook. People boast about not having a profile. We have started to congratulate ourselves for keeping our phones in our pockets and fetishizing the offline as something more real to be nostalgic for. While the offline is said to be increasingly difficult to access, it is simultaneously easily obtained — if, of course, you are the “right” type of person.

Nathan Jurgenson — The IRL Fetish

How to Live in New York City

Move here when you’re 18 or 22, maybe even 24. Come from somewhere else-the north, south, west, Xanadu- and come to realize that everyone living in New York is a transplant. Even the ones who grew up on the Upper East Side end up moving into a place downtown, which, as you’ll soon discover, is like moving to a different city.

Discover the cruel and bizarre world of New York City real estate. End up spending an obscene amount of money on something called a broker’s fee, first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. Cry a little bit in the leasing office but remind yourself that you’re so happy to be here.

Picture hearing a man playing the saxophone outside your bedroom window. End up hearing a lot of sirens instead. Figure it’s okay because it’s New York and you’re still so happy to be here.

[…]

Certain moments of living in the city will always stick out to you. Buying plums from a fruit vendor on 34th street and eating three of them on a long walk, the day you spent in bed with your best friend watching Tyra Banks, the amazing rooftop party you attended on a sweltering hot day in July. These memories might seem insignificant but they were all moments when you looked around the city and felt like you were a part of it all.

When you leave the city, you probably won’t come back. Eventually your life in New York will seem so far away and sometimes you’ll even wonder if it really happened. Don’t worry. It did.

Ryan O’Connell — How to Live in New York City (via Michelle)

Om Malik on ten years of blogging

Today we differentiate between blogging on blogging platforms and sharing on social platforms, but that is just semantics. The essence of blogging is not defined by a platform but by what I learned from Dave and his blogging platform — that media now is raw, collaborative and instantaneous.

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Blogging is communal: In 2008, I wrote that “blogging is not just an act of publishing but also a communal activity. It is more than leaving comments; it is about creating connections.” That is the single biggest lesson learned of these past 10 years. Every connection has lead to a new idea, new thought and a new opportunity.

Being authentic in your thoughts and voice is the only way to survive the test of time.

Being wrong is as important as being right. What’s more important — when wrong, admit that you are wrong and listen to those who are/were right.

Om Malik — My 10 years of blogging: Reflections, Lessons & Some Stats Too

Maciej Ceglowski: The Social Graph is Neither

Asking computer nerds to design social software is a little bit like hiring a Mormon bartender.

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We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage – we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action. Even if you have faith in their good intentions, you feel misgivings about stepping into the elaborate shrine they’ve built to document your entire online life.

Open data advocates tell us the answer is to reclaim this obsessive dossier for ourselves, so we can decide where to store it. But this misses the point of how stifling it is to have such a permanent record in the first place. Who does that kind of thing and calls it social?

Maciej Ceglowski — The Social Graph is Neither

Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?

As someone with Franzendentalist roots and Epiphinator tendencies, who consumes too many hours of social media, I keep sensing some serious hurt feelings from the older-media side — “Why would you love that thing instead of me?” They act like my wife would if I brought home a RealDoll. But it’s not like that. I don’t think people love Twitter or Facebook in the same way they might love Parks and Recreation or Twilight. Rather, we like the beer and tolerate the bottle. And even if we have those other browser tabs open, we’re still hungry for endings.

Paul Ford — Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?

Colleges in crisis

The success of these online competitors and the crisis among many of higher education’s traditional institutions are far from unique. These are familiar steps in a process known as “disruptive innovation” that has occurred in many industries, from accounting and music to communications and computers. It is the process by which products and services that were once so expensive, complicated, inaccessible, and inconvenient that only a small fraction of people could access them, are transformed into simpler, more accessible and convenient forms that are also, ultimately, lower in cost. We are seeing it happen more rapidly than one could have imagined in higher education, as online learning has exploded: roughly 10 percent of students took at least one online course in 2003, 25 percent in 2008, and nearly 30 percent in the fall of 2009.

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Although this transition has begun, much of online learning’s promise for higher education is still on the horizon. For example, online learning has not yet led to lower prices from the perspective of many students—even though many of the online universities operate at lower costs than the traditional universities and enable students to fit coursework around existing jobs or other responsibilities. To date, moreover, significant portions of online learning have not taken advantage of this new medium to personalize instruction and create new, dynamic and individualized learning pathways within a course for students.

Clayton Christensen — Colleges in crisis. Emphasis mine.