Notes


The History of the Future

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More Willing to Share Than Read [...]

People are more willing to share a news article on Facebook than actually read it. According to a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: In other words, most people appear to retweet news without ever reading it. Worse, the study finds that ...

 

Identity Headlines [...]

Most retweeters and Facebook reposters aren't informing, or even arguing. They are using headlines the way one might use a bumper sticker: to express who there are and bond with others. From a user’s point of view, every share, like or comment is both an act of speech and an accretive piece of a public identity. Maybe some people want to be identified among their ne...

 

Disciplines [...]

Most academic disciplines can trace their roots to the secularization of universities in the 18th and 19th centuries and, with the Enlightenment, the turn towards the sciences and a more orderly system of knowledge. From Michel Foucault's Surveiller et punir (translated into English, of course, as Discipline and Punish): “Discipline” may be identified neither with...

 

The Garden and the Stream [...]

From a 2015 keynote by Mike Caulfield. The Garden: The Garden is an old metaphor associated with hypertext. Those familiar with the history will recognize this. The Garden of Forking Paths from the mid-20th century. The concept of the Wiki Gardener from the 1990s. Mark Bernstein’s 1998 essay Hypertext Gardens. The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It...

 

Technology’s Mindfulness Racket [...]

In essence, we are being urged to unplug—for an hour, a day, a week—so that we can resume our usual activities with even more vigor upon returning to the land of distraction. Here the quest for mindfulness plays the same role as Buddhism. In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to reno...

 

Online Attention as Inferior Good [...]

From _The Empirical Economics of Online Attention (2016)_: > We find that higher income households spend less total time online per week. Households making $25,000-$35,000 a year spend ninety-two more minutes a week online than households making$100,000 or more a year in income, and differences vary monotonically over intermediate income levels. Relatedly, we also ...

 

Poverty of Attention [...]

“…[I]n an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overa...

 

The Full Story Test [...]

Related to the Bechdel Test, the Full Story Test asks three questions of news media content: 1. Are our content priorities committing us to be more inclusive and to tell stories that aren’t being told? 2. Are we tracking the diversity of staff, leadership and our board? How do we measure up? 3. Do we regularly measure the diversity of bylines and sources? Do we have...

 

The Bechdel Test [...]

The Bechdel Test asks whether a work of fiction, typically but not necessarily a film, features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The Bechdel Test is named after cartoonist Alison Bechdel. The test first appeared in her comic Dykes to Watch Out For. Movies that pass the Bechdel Test....

 

Addiction as Metaphor [...]

There was a dust-up last week following a New York Post story which described digital technologies as "digital heroin." The Verge responded with its own article, "Why calling screentime 'digital heroin' is digital garbage." The debates whether about technologies or porn or food all revolve around "what counts" as addiction. From The Verge article: Kardaras’ loose...