The creative case for work-life balance

A while back I read an interesting NYT piece on how entrepreneurs often exhibit manic tendencies.  Most extreme was Scvngr CEO Seth Priebatsch: To keep the pace of his thoughts and conversation at manageable levels, he runs on a track every morning until he literally collapses. He can work 96 hours in a row. He …

Imagine a smart chair

Hearing others’ visions for the future of the Net can be inspiring.  But a lot of the time it’s not.  One thing I’m struck by with the explosion of social media, in particular, is the shallow nature of the industry’s ambition.  For every person writing about how Twitter can enable political change, five others are …

Who are you calling reduced?

Zadie Smith has a… I’ll say frustrating… essay in The New York Review of Books about Facebook, The Social Network and Jaron Lanier’s book You Are Not a Gadget.  While she raises some interesting questions, and while I look forward to reading Lanier’s book, there’s a lot I don’t accept.  Over at The Atlantic Alexis …

Code is law, and also romance

Alexis Madrigal has an interesting column in this month’s Atlantic on the use of algorithms in online dating.  If data mining and algorithms can help people more efficiently find matches, what could be wrong with that?  Plenty, says Madrigal: The company can quantify things you could guess but might rather not prove. For instance, all …

Facebook and face-to-face

I’ve blogged about this before, but I wanted to share a great post from Ed Glaeser at NYT’s Economix on how social networking – in this case Facebook – supplements in-person interaction, rather than replacing it: it isn’t clear if Facebook will increase or decrease the demand for face-to-face interactions.When theory is ambiguous, we need …

Transparency or objectivity? Yes.

Jay Rosen linked on Twitter to this post by Terry Heaton, a consultant and journalism professor, on new media ethics that frames the subject in a damaging manner: There are basically two forms of ethical conduct in the press today. One espouses a traditional set of canons and exists with self-restraint as a guide. In …

Who will feed me my vegetables?

Here’s a snippet from a post imagining a news aggregator built into Facebook, which the author refers to as “inevitable”: Suddenly, Facebook will funnel news to you from a variety of sources based on data it already knows about you and your friends. Whereas Google News (theoretically) knows little about you until you personalize it, …

Hierarchies and/or networks

The world really doesn’t need another response to Malcolm Gladwell’s article on Twitter and social revolutions so instead of offering my full thoughts, I’ll just make one point.  Gladwell: Facebook and the like are tools for building networks, which are the opposite, in structure and character, of hierarchies… There are many things, though, that networks …

Facebook’s “Photo Memories” and filter failure

If you’ve scanned your friends’ photo albums on Facebook recently, you may have noticed a new feature on the right sidebar labeled “Photo Memories.”  This raises an important issue that I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while: our collective digital memory.  It’s the subject of a fairly new book titled Delete: The Virtue …