Every year my little city of Troy, New York holds a kind of Dickensonian Renaissance festival called The Victorian Stroll. The Stroll has been going strong for over 30 years and it affords an opportunity for lots of white people to dress up in period clothing that matches the surrounding buildings and ––as some have recently demonstrated–– their retrograde race politics. Even police officers don those funny dome-shaped hats and long wool coats that make it seem as though they’re ready to beat someone up over taking too much gruel. A few really great activists in the area organized a #Shutitdown solidarity event at The Stroll and I was there to capture video. The video above is a nice summary of what we were able to accomplish. (more…)
Late Monday night it was discovered that one of the EPA’s Twitter accounts was a C-list celebrity on the popular iPhone game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. The Tweet was one of those automatically generated ones meant to announce progress in a game or the unlocking of an achievement. Its easy to imagine the scenario: an over-worked or deeply bored social media manager didn’t realize they were signed into their work account instead of their personal one and let the tweet go. Or maybe a family member borrowed their work phone. Who knows? What we do know is that the tweet immediately garnered thousands of retweets and countless more screenshots were shared on other platforms. Why is this even remotely funny? What sorts of publicly held believes does it reveal? (more…)
dont read all of the tweets
There is often the assumption that the information economy expects us to consume more and more, leading us to process more but concentrate less. Some have called this a “fear of missing out” (or FOMO), a “blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation that can flare up while skimming social media.” However, most of these arguments about FOMO make the false assumption that the information economy wants and expects us to always process more. This isn’t true; we need to accept the reality that the information economy as well as our own preferences actually value, even need, missing out.
Many do feel in over their heads when scrolling social media streams. Especially those of us who make a hobby or career in the attention/information economy, always reading, sharing, commenting and writing; tweeting, blogging, retweeting and reblogging. Many of us do feel positioned directly in the path of a growing avalanche of information, scared of missing out and afraid of losing our ability to slow down, concentrate, connect and daydream, too distracted by that growing list of unread tweets. While it seemed fun and harmless (Tribble-like?) at first, have we found ourselves drowning in the information streams we signed up for and participate in? (more…)
The Twitter backchannel in action. Photo by Rob Wanenchak.
Last weekend, I had the double pleasure of presiding over an excellent panel on technology and protest, and having David Banks as my extremely capable Twitter backchannel moderator and Livestream assistant. Both the Twitter backchannel and the Livestream were getting their first serious run as an institutional part of Theorizing the Web, and despite some minor difficulties with mics and cameras, I think they were a clear success.
But the experience of presiding on a panel and then serving as the backchannel moderator for the panel immediately after delivered some interesting revelations regarding what these kinds of technology actually mean for how our conferences work, and for how we engage with and in our spaces of knowledge production.
Google’s “Project Glass,” is the Augmented Reality (AR) Heads-up-Display (HUD) glasses offering that Google is designing for a near future Internet interactive experience.
(Video credit: Google)
From watching their demonstration video, I certainly have some questions and observations. Google’s vision (no pun intended) of the future is a place where people ignore women except as witnesses to their achievements, talk with their mouth full, and put their live friends on hold to interact with a machine (oh wait, that’s what people do now); and is one without ads (wait…what?). Thankfully, rebelliouspixels mixed them in: (more…)
MVS Virtual Cable™ and Virtual Signs™
In early February, I attended a fascinating conference hosted by the Telecom Council of Silicon Valley. This is a first rate organization and the conference did not disappoint. Many executives were present from various telecom, mobile, middleware, AR, audio, video, electronics and computer companies to discuss the future of the “connected car.”
The car is apparently one of the next battlefields for ownership of our personal data and privacy. It is an intimate environment and there will soon be enough sensors to document every human habit and behavior within it. While cars will become the panoptic reporter to our every move, people will also be burdened with an overwhelming amount of data ostensibly aimed at “aiding” them in the driving task. There will be touch activated windshields, Augmented Reality (AR) navigation lines projected onto the windshield that guide drivers on a track of navigation, and the blending of both scenarios with the addition of ads showing up on screen. Audio feedback based on sensor activity is currently available as a service in certain commercial vehicles. Installed sensors monitor driver behavior and provide immediate audio feedback if a driver changes lanes suddenly, is speeding or engages in other unsafe behaviors. (more…)
This post originally appeared on one of our favorite blogs, OWNI, 25 January, 2011.
Without indulging into the theories developed by radical sociobiologists, we can reasonably hypothesize that the development of the ego, vanity, and a sense of self-importance were more or less the result of evolutionary adaptations needed for our species’ survival.
THE NATURAL NEED TO EMERGE FROM THE CROWD
In prehistoric times, group survival depended on the level of strength and stamina individuals had in an insecure world where they were powerless against nature. They had to be strong enough to persevere over harsh weather conditions, long migrations, and other dangers in this savage world. They also had to be fit enough to compete against other males for females, thus perpetuating their contribution to the gene pool.
More than just mere strength was needed for survival: The cohesion and solidarity of the groupallowed people to defend themselves against larger animals and organize collective hunts. In turn the group provided food security for everyone, justifying why collective actions were instated as an efficient method for survival. (more…)