Clay Shirky, who popularized the concept of cognitive surplus, the time freed from watching television which can be enormously productive, talks in an interview about the risks of social media and broadcasting yourself on the internet. Shirky provides the following example: “The employer says: ‘Anything that is accessible to me is also acceptable to me.'” While in the real world there is a notion of privacy in public spaces (e.g. listening in the neighbors’ conversation in a restaurant is considered wrong), this notion lacks in the semi-public semi-private sphere of social networks and the internet. Shirky concludes that unless we find a better solution than the existing one, we will “have robbed young people of something that they won’t even know they are missing, because they never leave the web of surveillance.”
The Facebook World Map
And said Mark let there be light, and there was light. Besides for China and the former Soviet Union. But they still have Qzone (200.000.000+ users) and Vkontakte (100.000.000+ users), small torch lights compared to the Facebook sun (500.000.000+ users). However, if we believe the official facebook notes this is what interns like Paul Butler do while working with the data infrastructure engineering team: visualizing friendships! Click on the picture to get a high resolution image of this impressing world map (3.8 MB).
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, talks to Mike Wallace in an interview on May 18, 1958. His views on freedom, technology and bureaucracy provide some interesting parallels to our life in the era of the internet. Happy Birthday Mr Huxley and welcome to the Brave New World of Google, Facebook, Microsoft & Co.! Nowadays, hierarchies are called networks, subordinates have become users and the organizations are bigger than ever.
As technology becomes more and more complicated, it becomes necessary to have more and more elaborate organizations, more hierarchical organizations, and incidentally the advance of technology is being accompanied by an advance in the science of organization. It’s now possible to make organizations on a larger scale than it was ever possible before, and so that you have more and more people living their lives out as subordinates in these hierarchical systems controlled by bureaucracies, either the bureaucracies of big business or the bureaucracies of big government.
You can find a trancription of the interview here.
Technologies in School: Just Ask the Students!
What is the future of technology in the classroom? We often ask this question to educators, policymakers and academic experts, but rarely to the ones really concerned: the students.
Katie Ash, Christopher Powers and Jennifer Neidenberg chose a different approach to bring in student perspectives to the decision making process. They made an insightful video asking three questions to US high school students from Maryland and Oregon.
- What technologies do you use to communicate with your friends? – “Facebook, facebook, facebook, and my cell phone …”
- What technologies do you use during school? – “We don’t really use technology …”
- What technologies would you like to have in school? – “More wireless internet. More (really) accessible computers …”
The answers are far from unexpected but could help to adjust the debate on technology use in schools. I was especially surprised that even though the filmmakers asked “what”, students were more concerned about “how” technologies are used in school. Watch Edweek’s new video or read the full length article.
(Thank you edweek.org)
Socialnomics – Nice Video, crude Statistics
Erik Qualman says: “Statistics Show Social Media Is Bigger Than You Think”.
I would say: “Social Media Shows How Flexible Statistics Have Become!”
- Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old – That is right.
- 96% of Millennials have joined a social network – In this context, it is wrong! The truth is slightly different: Trendspotting found in a surveys on the US young generation that 96% of online teens/tweens report ever having used any type of social networking technology including IM/chat, text messaging and email.
- Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S. – That is right. https://www.hitwise.com/us/datacenter/main/dashboard-10133.html
- Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web – That is right since 2009. https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/01/social-media-po.html
- 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media – I could not find the cited McKinsey study. Everyone on the web cites McKinsey but no one links to the source.
- Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)… – I could not verify these numbers but the authors cite https://cyberschoolbus.un.org/
- Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year – That may be right, but only in the 6th year of facebook’s existence. If really compared to Radio, TV, Internet and iPod (point 6), it would be right to say: facebook (4 Years). Facebook reached 1 Million in 2004, 5.5 Million in 2005, 12 Million in 2006, 50 Million in 2007, 100 Million in 2008 and 350 Million in 2009. https://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline
- iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months. – 1 Billion what? Apples? However, one billion Downloads from the Appstore, to be honest. What is social about downloading an app for iPhone and iPod touch? https://www.apple.com/itunes/billion-app-countdown/
- “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” – Another question is how well we DO statistics.
- If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India – That might be true, but obviously facebook isn’t a country. Would you compare your TV to a country? Or your Mobile Phone? Otherwise you could say: Mobile Phones are the world’s biggest country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_number_of_mobile_phones_in_use Read more